Sunday, June 29
Pablo Armero had another good game for Colombia against a toothless Uruguay last night. He was up and down the left flank all evening and chipped in a lovely dangling cross for James Rodriguez's second goal. Five loan games at West Ham, several as sub, wasn't really enough of an opportunity to judge him. Armero certainly looks good going forward, although a virtual wing back might not have suited West Ham. But as the club needs a new left back you still wonder if there might be any chance of a permanent signing from Udinese. Armero is also the Colombia choreographer, so he could take our goal celebrations to Latin American levels of sophistication, all combined with Kevin Nolan's clucking. And maybe he could bring that James with him as well…
Sunday, June 22
Friday, June 20
Not sure about all these consultations about changing the crest. The WHU board seem to be trying to sneak any changes in under the radar during the close season and in the middle of the World Cup. David Sullivan says it will be up to the fans and he has publicly stated that he doesn't want to change the club's name, as Hull City's owner does. But Sullivan has told the press he would like to see the word "London" included in the badge for marketing reasons, as many fans worldwide don't realise West Ham is in London. I can see some logic to this, so perhaps we could learn from the finest purveyors of jam in Essex, Wilkin & Sons, who brand their jams with three iconic words, "TIPTREE, ESSEX, ENGLAND" and insert a small "London" under West Ham United. But the crossed hammers and Boleyn Castle are just fine and truly reflect the club's heritage.
Wednesday, June 18
West Ham have signed Anderlect midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate for an undisclosed fee, believed to be about £7 million. This all seems very good on paper. He's a Senegalese international who has won the league four times with Anderlect and has Champions League experience. He'll fill in the gaps left by the departure of Taylor and Collison and might even be a replacement for Mo Diame, who seems to think he's too big for WHU. Kouyate can also play in defence which is useful. So we now have the Zarate Kid and the Kouyate Kid - should be good for the animated version of our season if nothing else.
The fixtures are out and it seems we really can play Tottenham every week. The big kick-off is on August 16 and West Ham play Tottenham at Upton Park. The next game is away to Crystal Palace, although not looking forward to sitting in their ancient stand with the miniscule exits. And QPR visit in October so we can say hello to Robert Green…
Sunday, June 15
And now a fantastic tackle by Valon Behrami (with blonde mohican) saves a goal and then his run and the ref's good use of the advantage rule sets up a last minute winner for Switzerland against Ecuador. We knew he had a good engine from his time at Upton Park, but that was a bit special. Good few days for ex-Irons.
Well, an encouraging performance from England, even if we lost the young players played without fear. Some hope with Sterling and Sturridge, and encouraging to see Barkley take players on when he came on. We just need to be able to tale our chances so maybe a role for Ricky Lambert as a sub soon. And away from England a couple of ex-Hammers produced the goods. Paolo "The Chop" Wanchope is assistant manager of Costa Rica and his side demolished Uruguay 3-1. While Pablo Armero, who had a few games last season but was dropped for George McCartney after giving away a penalty against Crystal Palace, scored the opener for Colombia against Greece with a rather tame shot that deflected off a leg (an Armero and a leg?) into the net. He then produced a bizarre arm waving celebration with his team-mates. Not sure he could have choreographed that with Nobes and Nobby Nolan at West Ham…
Saturday, June 14
Strange to say I felt a tinge of sympathy for Sam Allardyce last night. Holland might have been brilliant, but had Van Persie's first goal been scored by say Andy Carroll from a Stewart Downing or Matt Jarvis cross it would have been labelled as classic Big Sam direct football. The Netherlands' Daley Blind played a long diagonal cross from near the halfway line and Van Persie managed to get his head on it and direct it past Casillas. Yet the Guardian described it as "a beautiful lofted pass for Van Persie's majestic diving header" and a "stunning diagonal ball." Holland's second came from a diagonal cross too, while the third was from a set piece, Van Persie closed down the keeper for the fourth and Robben outpaced a static defence for the fifth. Perhaps the problem is not so much the style of football WHU play as not having the likes of Daley Blind, Van Persie and Robben to do it effectively.
Saturday, June 7
Has there ever been a World Cup with less interest for West Ham supporters? Admittedly we have former Hammers Glen Johnson and Frank Lampard in the England squad, but looking through the squads for the other countries the only players I can find with WHU links are Javier Mascherano of Argentina, Pablo Armero of Colombia and Valon Behrami at Switzerland. It doesn't say much for our foreign recruitment. Gone are the days when we had stray Pantsils, Bilics and Neills turning up whenever you switched the tele on and the England team was built around Ferdinand, Lampard, Cole, Defoe, Carrick, Johnson and sometimes even Upson and Green. Our best bet for 2018 is probably New Zealand qualifying and Winston Reid getting a game…
Tuesday, June 3
One of my early books Sunday Muddy Sunday, subtitled the Heart and Soul of Sunday League Football, is now out on Kindle for a not-too expensive £1.83. Readers can enjoy tales of playing with a hangover, harassed secretaries forgetting to register players, dodgy nicknames and riotous behaviour at Christmas parties and on club tours — so not too dissimilar to supporting West Ham over the years. Plus iffy showers, dogs, cows, rabbits and frozen fish on the pitch, nicknames like Captain Deep, Eggs and Bacon, Jugsy and Glass Back and teams like Real Ale Madrid, A3 Milan, Homerton Academicals, Inter the Valley, Red Star Belgravia and Norfolk Enchants (try saying it with a Geordie accent). Click on the link to view.