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West Ham United
January 29, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/29/2010

As suggested by your friendly Blagger in this very column last week, West Ham's MD Scott Duxbury as resigned from his position with the usual 'Thanks for all your hard work but don't pop back to see how we are doing any time soon, will you?' quotes ringing in his ears. Duxbury's claim that he was 'free to persue other opportunites' (welcome to my world Scott - I've been free to persue other opportunities for about 10 months now!) sounded pretty hollow as it seems unlikely he would have 'resigned' had the Gold / Sullivan / Brady consortium not hit town.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/29/2010

The news that Eidur Gudjohnsen chose to sign for arch-rivals Tottenham rather than West Ham must have struck hard at the hearts of most Hammer's supporters. Not because the club have lost out on a player they appparently flew over; one who had completed a medical and was expected to sign and boost West Ham's squad as the transfer window draws to a close. No, rather it puts an end to the 'Gud to Hammers' story that has been going on for well over two seasons now. To finally end the speculation as the player signs for another Premier club is going to cause a lot of heartache as we now have to find another player to be continually linked with for another couple of fruitless years. Perhaps the Benni McCarthy rumour will rumble on as we were linked with him before he originally signed for Blackburn.

Is Frank Worthington still available?

Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/29/2010

I suspect the benefit of this point, or loss of three, will really only be seen at the end of the season but I was a bit disappointed as I thought with the week West Ham have had, the team might have been galvanised and gone on to take all three points after Matthew Upson put them ahead half-way through the second half.

It wasn't to be though as Danny Webber's goal in the 75th minute gave the home side a draw and ensured Portsmouth remain rooted to the bottom while the Hammers remain out of the bottom three.

Beyond that though, there is not much to add as a chilly trip to Portsmouth in mid-week was never on the cards and the shots and goals highlights on Match of the Day revealed little except some disappointment from Zola. Let's move on, shall we?

January 23, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/23/2010

I think at the end of the first week our new owners need to sit down and have - as Mo in EastEnders would have it - 'ave a word wiv 'emselves'.

The need to engage the brain before letting the mouth into gear is very important at this stage of the game. There is much to be gained both on and off the pitch with a bit of serious tub-thumping and Gold, the dubiously attired Sullivan and hatchet woman Brady have all indulged to differing effect this week.

January 19, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/19/2010

I'm not sure if it's really au-fait to go quoting yourself but I remember writing some time ago during the Rio / Brown / Redknapp argument that, despite what the popular maxim states, there are not three types of lies – lies, damned lies and statistics – but actually four; lies, damned lies, statistics and football talk.

Despite the protestations that David's Gold and Sullivan represent the return of West Ham United to the steady hand of East Enders, I must admit to receiving the news of the new Gold Standard with just a hint of cynicism. Perhaps I've been around this club too long but anyone who listens to promises of plans to "take the Hammers into the Champions League within seven years" and gets all excited are either naive or just have plain short memories.

Remember someone we affectionately christened Eggy? Am I alone in not wanting this type of talk? OK I know it's the equivalent of a ‘these are beatable' team talk, moments before a 2nd Division club steps out against Manchester United in the FA Cup but we need to reflect before we can make such bold statements.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/19/2010

David Sullivan and David Gold have completed their takeover of West Ham with Sullivan confirming that has a seven-year "plan to take the Hammers into the Champions League." Sound familiar? With plans to move West Ham from Upton Park to the Olympic site post 2012, Sullivan has big plans for West Ham although I suspect the opportunity to relocate to an area just miles from their current home surely always made the Hammers a more viable proposition than their balance sheet currently suggests.

Sullivan is a big West Ham fan and fought to win the battle for control of the club. He added: "It was a struggle all the way, and we finally pulled it off close to midnight. There were two others fighting hard as well, Tony Fernandes came close, but we have got it and I cannot tell you how delighted we are."

Sullivan confirmed that Karen Brady will be hired to oversee the transformation of the club. Sullivan said: "She's on her way there now." So it's head down over at Green Street currently, I suspect. I'm thinking of popping over to see if there is actually thunder and lightning as she pulls past the gates.

I'm currently collecting my thoughts on the whole matter and will be back later with something that may possibly be a large dose of cynicism.

January 17, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/17/2010

Make no mistake this was a stirring, disciplined and organised display from West Ham that fully deserved a point and, although briefly, did promise a little more at times. I've never subscribed to the theories that Zola is an inept tactician and that point was surely proved here as the Hammers blunted Villa early on and grew in confidence as the game continued. Whatever the outcome of the proposed buy-out's I hope the new owners see the worth of Zola and give him more time and a little money to show what he can do.

January 14, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/14/2010

In case readers of this column think I am being derelict in my duty in failing to report the numerous rumours of bids to buy the heart and soul of West Ham United, then let me assure you that is not the case.

Put simply; I'm not interested in rumours but only facts. When, by whom and for how much the club eventually get purchased - and the only cast-iron certainty is that it eventually will - is then the time I will jump in with my feelings. Until then this is just another week in the continuing soap drama that is West Ham United FC.

Time for the dumph-dumphs?*

(*Readers not aware of the UK soap called 'EastEnders' may not understand this; in which case, another time perhaps?)

Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/14/2010

West Ham have been found guilty of breaching FA rules following the crowd violence at their Carling Cup match against Millwall in August and now face a number of sanctions that include fines - quite likely - and being forced to play games behind closed doors. Millwall have been cleared of all charges however and both clubs have had charges of failing to prevent racist behaviour by fans declared as ''not proven'' by an disciplinary panel.

January 4, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/04/2010

Sometimes the intial thoughts that pop into your head after a game are worth much more than hours spent in critical appraisal and, leaving Upton Park my first thoughts were 'we didn't deserve that' and 'I can't believe we actually lost'.

In retrospect perhaps, you can look at the Arsenal bench, compare it to West Ham's and see exactly where the match was won - or lost depending on your stance - but at the time the Hammers looked to be so much in control of the game, it looked like one of those days where the more-fancied side would come unstuck.

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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