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West Ham United
October 26, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/26/2009

This was a draw that felt more like a win and the home point, perhaps, may represent a solid base that could kick start West Ham's season, such was the impact felt in pulling back a two goal deficit from a strong Arsenal side who looked solidly in command until the final 15 minutes of the match.

It would be unfair to suggest that West Ham were outclassed by Arsenal until the latter stages; certainly in the first 15 minutes the Hammers had given as good as they got, but, once the home side were forced to chase the game after poor defensive errors, there is no doubt that the likelihood of a Hammers comeback looked extremely unlikely. I'm ashamed to admit at one stage that I was just hoping that the score finished 2-0 rather than it turning into a rout.

October 23, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/23/2009

It was a week in which football moved from the back pages to the front and then to centre. A week in which web pages buzzed and the gossip in the office was all on the same topic. You could hear it on trains and buses; whispered in libraries and debated loudly in pubs; spoken of in reverent tones as young lovers nestled between the sheets. Even our local vicar was moved to mention it in his sermon on Sunday (not that I was there to hear it, of course). "And, lo, verily the word went out that David Beckham was to grow a beard. And the Lord looked and he saw that it was good". I have always suspected that the early 21st Century finds us as a Nation with too much time on its hands. Now I am certain.

October 19, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/19/2009

I can't help but feel that West Ham are trying to fulfill a self-perpetrating prophecy here. A few weeks back, with less matches played than their rivals and only two home games, one against local rivals who've got a bit of a sign on us currently and Liverpool, who we've not beaten since referees last wore top hats, we find ourselves in the lower reaches of the division. "Woe is us - it's relegation" scream the knee-jerkers and, all of a sudden, we start playing like a relegation haunted team; Confidence drains away and top players - not the ones usually open to fans criticism - suddenly start looking second rate. Saturday's game was a case in point.

October 12, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/12/2009

“I have always resisted the temptation to describe any match as the most exciting I have ever seen, but this was the exception. This really was the greatest”
Peter Batt – The Sun

“If this match had been presented as a piece of football fiction-writing, you would have rejected it as being too ridiculous”
Desmond Hackett – The Daily Express

October 7, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/07/2009

The second part of the story of one of West Ham's greatest ever cup runs and the League Cup's finest semi-finals.

This week; Gordon Banks' wonder penalty save from Geoff Hurst.

October 4, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/04/2009

Well thanks, West Ham. I have been telling all and sundry this week that the Hammers position in the bottom three was mainly down to the vagaries of the fixture list, and that our real direction would be revealed when we played Fulham. On this showing though, I'd have to admit that direction may be backwards!

One up against ten men with only a last gasp equaliser to spare the blushes, is really not good enough at this stage. More worringly, the lack of onfield leadership, defensive mistakes, bad luck and positional confusion is merely giving ammunition to neutrals and pessimistic fans who sense that a season long fight against relegation is the best we can hope for. It should have all been so different though.

October 1, 2009
Posted by Billy Blagg on 10/01/2009

A fantastic cup run in which West Ham beat some of the best teams of the day, eventually taking part as odd-on favourites in one of the great cup semi-finals decided over four games and 420 pulsating minutes before cruel fate and controversy intervenes to ensure it all ends in heart-breaking defeat, may not be the type of story that you think will need re-telling after 37 years. In some ways though, the 1971/2 League Cup run is everything that West Ham represents. Like it or loath it, the very reason that you - young or old - support the Hammers can be laid bare on a miserable, cold, rain-sodden Manchester night in January 1972. Read on if you dare.

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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