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West Ham United
December 28, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/28/2008

A desperately needed home win came late, but was deserved none the less, when a Carlton Cole shot deflected off of Diego Tristan to deceive the Stoke keeper. The MOTD highlights showed Cole shaking his head and beaming wildly and he must have been thinking what the rest of us were; when your luck is down you get nothing - see Aston Villa - when it's up you it a deflected winner with five minutes to go. Crazy game!

In fact, West Ham showed a good deal of fortitude in this match. They went behind early with just five minutes on the clock when Faye lost his marker James Collins and headed in from a Fuller corner.

December 26, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/26/2008

A fine away win this, after Portsmouth squandered the chance to take a first half lead just before half-time when ex-Hammer Jermaine Defoe missed his spot kick - to the delight of the travelling faithful.

The Hammers, who dropped behind early in the eighth minute to a Behladi goal only to equalise through the increasingly impressive Jack Collinson, came good late on when Carlton Cole was on hand to tap in after seventy minutes with Craig Bellamy scoring twice impressively to wrap it up.

December 25, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/25/2008

Not without resonance to me this year, as I missed mine and had to settle for a Christmas in the Town - and it is not the same thing at all. In fact I'm not sure it hasn't knocked the whole season out of kilter... but I digress.

December 24, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/24/2008

Recorded in December 2003 and to be found on Volume III - Ding! Dong! - of the sometimes wonderful and other times downright puzzling 'Songs for Christmas' CD Box set, comes this stirring version of the classic Carol.

December 23, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/23/2008

As the Day draws closer there is more time for quiet introspection No one raced off to work through the din of honking horns / There was truly peace on earth on a quiet Christmas morn

December 22, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/22/2008

Found in the loft of my Granny's house recently, this old and festive manuscript written by my great-great-grandfather Sir Arthur Conan Blagg.

It was Christmas Eve, a fine crisp night, and I had just poured myself a large brandy, stoked the fire and settled into the leather chair with my copy of Dickens 'Christmas Carol', when Virginia, my eight year old daughter, open the door into my study. "Daddy", she said, rubbing her eyes with one hand while fiercely clutching a teddy bear with the other, "Will Santa still come tonight?" Pausing to place the drink on the leather topped bureau, I held my arms open to her and then placed her on my knee and looked into her little blue eyes. I am not an unsentimental man, though some claim that I do not suffer fools gladly, but I had always resolved to be forthright and truthful with my offspring and answer all questions in the only way I knew how. The Scientist and philosopher in me demanded nothing else. So it was not without a heavy heart that I adjusted my pince-nez and held my darling daughters little hand. "Now, Virginia, you must listen carefully to what I have to say. There are several points you must heed, for me to answer that question....."

December 20, 2008
Posted by Billy Blagg on 12/20/2008

Five defeats at home before Christmas is relegation form. Two goals at home in six games is relegation form. But now - were we in any doubt - we've really hit the point that decides when the relegation dogfight has started; that is the dreaded 'play well but unluckily lose to a fluke goal' scenario. Heads down everyone - we're in a battle!

Those wonderful Soccernet statisticians tell me that West Ham had twenty shots on goal of which eight were on target, but sometimes it seemed much more as Bellamy terrorised the Villa defence and forced Brad Fieldel into several top notch saves.

December 11, 2008
Posted by Dom Raynor on 12/11/2008

Billy Blagg Born at an early age a mere defenders' spit from the Boleyn ground, Billy Blagg has seen every West Ham game from 1898 onwards. Blagg was mentioned by Kenneth Wolstenholme in 1966 as one of the people on the pitch during the famous Hammers win over West Germany that lifted the World Cup and he returned to the pitch again for the 1975 FA Cup Final but stayed on the terrace for 1980 FA Cup victory. Blagg, 26, now lives with his eighth wife and innumerable children in a small semi-detached with chintz curtains in Dagenham, Essex and still attends every Hammers match and training session.

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