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West Ham United
February 25, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/25/2010

Hey-ho whadda I tell ya? The inevitable happened today as Technical Director Gianluca Nani left West Ham by 'mutual consent'.

This announcement, following the departure of Scott Duxbury some weeks ago, was safely predicted by me on the day Gold and Sullivan took over at Upton Park and I can only assume that Gianfranco Zola may well now be considering his future at the club; Nani was largely responsible for Zola coming to the club and there must be little doubt the Italian's power base has now shifted.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/25/2010

I saw nothing of this match and even the match highlights have passed me by so far so I don't feel confident in passing any judgement on this whatsoever. Better teams than West Ham have been knocked about at Old Trafford though and probably will be for years to come.

Rooney was virtually unplayable apparently - which is bloody annoying as I think Sir Alex should have given the lad a rest so he's fit and raring to go for the World Cup...

February 20, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/20/2010

In what probably had to be seen as a 'must win' game, the Hammers dominated proceedings at Upton Park and ran out comfortable winners; if they had scored the fourth or fifth goal their play deserved we'd have been calling this a bit of a thrashing but whatever way you look at it, this was a stylish win that showed a fair gulf between the two teams. There may be some difficult away games coming up but West Ham have hit their stride at just the right time.

When you're struggling at the wrong end of the table and confidence is low, there is nothing better than to go into a game following a win in your last outing, and find yourself a goal up after only three minutes and, thanks to Behrami's goal after an interchange between Franco and the Swiss International, that was exactly what happened.

February 11, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/11/2010

News that Gianfranco Zola has had to 'go to war' with the new owners David's Gold and Sullivan will surely be of no surprise to anyone, barring those who take no interest in football or know little of the two's history at Birmingham.

David Gold's statement of threat that the financial situation at Upton Park is so bad that all staff will have to take a 25% pay cut, may be true, but it was badly timed and, in any case, should be spoken of behind closed doors and not waved like a petulant child in front of playing and coaching staff.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/11/2010

On a bitterly cold evening in the east end, West Ham at last got the result they needed to send everyone home a little warmer and with a little more hope in their heart.

It would be wrong to suggest that the Hammers turned on the style and brushed aside Birmingham, but the midlanders gave a good account of why they are sitting comfortably in mid-table and, once they had gone ahead, the home side showed the type of form that has eluded them for most of this season as a goal in each half from Diamanti and then Cole enabled the Irons to take three valuable points from a match they had to win.

February 8, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/08/2010

You'd think it would be hard to make this result worse than it was but I seemed to achieve that on Saturday evening when, for reasons I'd rather not go into, I found myself at 5pm in a bar in Sticksville, Suffolk with poor radio reception, no mobile connection and no TV (yes - such places do still exist).

I knew West Ham were 1-0 down to a first half Burnley goal - although only Saturday's nights Match of the Day could reveal the full horror of the 'up and over' played forward by Danny Fox and Nugent's lob over a struggling Upson and stranded Green - so I was hoping the second half would bring about an improvement and, at the very least, an equaliser.

February 1, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/01/2010

Confirmation has been made that forward Benni McCarthy - a player initially linked with a move to Upton Park before he went to Blackburn - has at last arrived at Upton Park for a reported fee of £2.5m.

The odd 'visa issues' that delayed him playing against his old club at the weekend seemed to have been ironed out and the South African is a welcome addition to a forward line that has looked pretty toothless all season. McCarthy fell out of favour with Fat Sam at Ewood but otherwise there seems little reason why we should not expect a fair number of goals from a player who has scored consistently since his arrival in England

Meanwhile, a host of other players have been seen arriving down Green Street and I'll report in if and when deals are done rather than get involved in rumour and conjecture.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 02/01/2010

There's no disguising the fact that this was poor fare until about the last 20 minutes and also a severe disappointment in view of the expected performance resulting from the G&S takeover in mid-week. It had surely been hoped that the appearance of Gold and Sullivan in the Director's box and a bit of home crowd fervour would drive the home side onto a victory they might expect against a side they traditionally do well against. It wasn't to be though as West Ham spluttered through a pretty tiresome 90 minutes.

On balance it may be Blackburn who will go away thinking they should have got more from the match so I suppose there is some element in saying the home side did well to take a point, but this toothless display does little to dispel the gloom and threat of relegation, and only Gold and Sullivan's loosening of the purse strings is likely to blow those cobwebs away.

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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