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West Ham United
May 27, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/27/2009

I was going to summarise the English Premier League season by quoting the ancient Chinese proverb ‘May you live in Interesting Times’, but when I went to source the material – you didn’t think I just chucked these things together, did you? – I was both surprised and heartened to find that the phrase is probably not even Chinese in origin, let alone an ancient proverb. Why heartened? Well, this at least saves me from the task of trying to paraphrase it and, as it seems the phrase is reckoned to be the first of three curses, it’s actually quite appropriate…

The Barclays Premier League is, apparently, the biggest and best football league in world football and is enjoyed by millions worldwide. It is certainly the richest, contains a large proportion of the world’s best footballers (Manchester City hope to have the rest by the end of this year) and is watched by the most spectators both in the stadia and on TV worldwide. It’s certainly not without excitement and it’s often fast and competitive with no team ever prepared to roll-over to a stronger side so, why then, does the end of season league table produce such feelings of déjà vu?

May 26, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/26/2009

Carlton Cole and Junior Stanislas both scored in the 2-1 defeat of Middlesbrough to round off the season in fine style and condemn Boro to relegation.

On a baking hot day in East London, the football looked a little leaden at times and there was very much an 'end of term' feel to proceedings despite the fact that the media had tried to buoy Boro's hopes of survival. In fact, the Teeside club and its fans had obviously already decided their fate, as there was none of the desperation and urgency usually associated with these matches and Boro only had a few hundred fans follow them down for their last hurrah.

May 18, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/18/2009

West Ham's Euro hopes disappeared with defeat at Goodison Park; a game in which James Tomkins saw a straight red and the Hammers finished rather in disarray.

It all looked so good when Radoslav Kovac opened his account with his new club, scoring spectacularly from 25 yards in the 24th minute after Everton had made a strong start, but the game changed after 38 minutes when Tomkins was adjudged to have tripped Tim Cahill, Everton were awarded a penalty and the Hammer's defender was sent off.

May 10, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/10/2009

You know it's going to be a bad day when you've been unintentionally held up and get to the match or the pub a minute or so after kick-off, just in time to see the opposition roll the ball into your net...

Of course, for West Ham it's Liverpool in general and Steven Gerrard in particular, and we should all really be used to it by now so, what can only be described as a bit a pasting, didn't really come as any great surprise. As I've said earlier, the Hammers can hold their own against the Stoke's and Fulham's of this world but, with what is esentially the season's fourth and fifth choice forward line, this side aren't really likely to give a team like Liverpool much in the way of sleepless nights.

May 5, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 05/05/2009

Another good away win for the Hammers against a team who, rather like West Ham, have rather flown in under the radar this season. This was Stoke's first home defeat of 2009 and only their fourth at home all season and rather negates the 'well, whaddya expect?' opinion I got from Blagg Jnr when I told him the result.

Stoke City are a tricky mob at the best of times but when, as they did in the second half in this game, they give their all to the cause backed by a vociferous home crowd, they become even more difficult to handle.

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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