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West Ham United
February 25, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/25/2009

West Ham slumped out of the FA Cup as Middlesbrough finished off what they threatened to do at Upton Park two weeks ago; the Smoggies generally out muscling and out playing a disappointing Hammers outfit.

The whole evening wasn't helped by the bizarre circumstance of ITV showing the replay on a night that Sky were covering two games in something called the Champions League, said games involving Chelsea, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid. There are some people out there who prefer this type of tedium and they were all in the same pub!

February 22, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/22/2009

The classic phrase is 'a game of two halves'; but this represented a game of 80 minutes against 10 (You can do the maths and tell me what that represents!).

Two goals down after 11 minutes, West Ham looked down and out on a ground they have never won on and against opponents who seem to have the 'sign' on us. If that wasn't bad enough, Kevin Davies - who would surely be picked for England if he had to face the Hammers every week - scored his inevitable goal against his favourite opponents.

February 21, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/21/2009

A frustrating afternoon at Upton Park, as a lacklustre and strangely off the pace home side struggled in a cup-tie that they must have had good hope of winning on current form.

Herita Ilunga's late goal gave West Ham a draw that they will probably relish, as there was a definite suggestion in the air that Boro's messy goal on 22 minutes was going to prove enough to put the Teesiders through to the next round.

February 8, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/08/2009

In a fascinating rather than exciting encounter, Manchester United scored the only goal in a tightly fought contest.

This was a game that had so much huff and puff in midfield - with little to show with regard to shots - that nil-nil looked written all over it. In fact, it was difficult to believe that the Hammers had lost it at the final whistle. It's not exactly that the home side were unlucky, more that they had nullified ManUre's attack to the point at which it looked as if both sides would be happy with the draw.

February 6, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/06/2009

There's always a certain trepidation when you open the West Ham calendar on Christmas morning. You skip through the twelve months in personal hope and expectation, wondering what the year has in store for you and, at club level, contemplating if any of the players and staff pictured will still be there when you consign the calendar to the bin the following December.

I'm pretty sure if you'd told me then, as I tucked into my mince pies, that thirty five days or so later, when I turned the calendar onto February, the pictured action shot of Craig Bellamy would leave me looking at a player who was no longer wearing the claret and blue, my heart would have sunk and spoiled the whole day.

It's easy to forget how perilous West Ham's position looked before Boxing Day. Situated just above the relegation zone more because Manchester City's form was even worse than ours and with the Red Tops proclaiming the whole squad will be sold to prevent financial meltdown, it all looked grim.

February 1, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/01/2009

"Move along - nothing to see here"

West Ham fought out a goal-less draw at the Emirates, extending their unbeaten run and frustrating the Arse into the bargain.

It was pretty much defensive duties all afternoon and Arsenal had two reasonable chances that fell to Adebayor although Man of the Match James Collins also saw Clichy clear a header of the line just before half-time. Otherwise that's about it. I'm not going to waste my time writing about it and yours reading it except to say how gratifying it is to be able to see West Ham go into a game like this with a reasonable chance of getting a result. Well done to a defensive unit that is now looking rock solid thanks, presumably, to excellent coaching. Odd how things can turn around, isn't it?

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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