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West Ham United
August 29, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/29/2010

Result! I said anything less than a 4-0 thrashing would be a good day out and so it proved. Of course, ManU correspondent Mark Payne thinks the Hammers got off lightly but the man is obviously confused by watching too much attacking football, £40m footballers and the ball being pinged about under floodlights on a Wednesday night. What did he expect?

At least, we let them have a stroll around and allowed them to look good. We could have come to clog and drop ten men back in defence. I tell ya - he'll miss us when we're gone!

This is the face of 21st Century football and you'll excuse me if I don't get too uptight about it. It'll be another 'avoid a thrashing' game next weekend when Chelsea come to visit and then we can concentrate on the other league - that's the one that doesn't incude oil-rich owners and Leeds United. I can't wait...


August 26, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/26/2010

So the phone rings at Blagg Acres and it's the Editor of Soccernet; "Blagg, we want to whet the appetite of punters and get them to tune in to the live ESPN game on Saturday. 200 words by this afternoon. My desk 5pm. Get to it"

What can I say? This is the type of game I tend to ignore nowadays; a pointless - in all senses of the word - mismatch that makes me think wisfully of the 1970's when, despite the fact that when you left home to watch a match you were never sure what state you were going to come home in, there was at least some sense of a competition in the league. Now, there isn't so much a gap between those at the top of the Premier League and those at the bottom, it's more of a gaping chasm that makes the Grand Canyon look like a fissure.

August 25, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/25/2010

The Two David's reduced the price of match tickets for this game to £10 per head. At the end of the game while I waited for some of the 20,000+ fans this cup tie generated as a result to dissipate, I found two 20p pieces lying on the floor beside me. So that's £9.60 this match cost me - and I still reckon the club shouldn't baulk at giving me another fiver back!

August 24, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/24/2010

I love the way football plays with your emotions and sensibilities. Take a bog standard 1-0 win, for example (assuming you can remember such a thing!); There are 90 minutes plus stoppage time to put the ball into the net and it counts exactly the same if the goal is scored in the first minute or the last and, on paper at least, tells exactly the same story. But in the stadium it’s so different.

That first minute goal could herald a bit of early pressure and then a frustrating afternoon searching for a second or an early break against the run of the rest of the game in a backs-to-the-wall defensive fight that could shred your nerves. On the other hand, a last minute counter could indicate a lucky win or a well-deserved break for an afternoon of solid pressure and missed chances. Similarly, your emotions – relief, joy, frustration, pain – can all be played out by the timing of the goal. Think of any win that has come about as a result of a last minute goal and remember how that felt.

August 21, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/21/2010

I'm not sure I know what to say about today. West Ham were under enormous pressure to reverse last week's insipid performance against Aston Villa and, certainly in the first half where they ran Bolton ragged, they looked to have done that but when the whistle blew for the end of the first period, Carlton Coles' missed penalty was all that the Hammers had to show for an attacking 45 minutes where they created a good seven or eight chances and took none.

Now take another look at that result and recall that this was Bolton's seventh straight win over West Ham. That's seven and that's Bolton. It's all very well talking about bogey sides but this is not good enough and it's not good enough by a long way. Those seven defeats won't all be down to Avram Grant, Gold or Sullivan or even a good many of the players but, unless you blame the only constant the fans, you have to look at other reasons. As to what those reasons may be - well, how long ya got...?

August 16, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/16/2010

Look, I know this was a bad defeat and I realise that the Hammers looked lacklustre and out of sorts and the score could have been as bad as that suffered by West Brom, but - come on! - it was only the first game.

I say this because I remember how cock-a-hoop I was when the Hammers won last year's opening day away game, little knowing that it was the only away win I'd celebrate all season. I'm also mindful of my England coverage this summer and the dangers of expecting both too much and too little. This is still a West Ham side with enough in it to not expect too much of what occured last season but, even if it does, there's surely enough experience with Avram Grant and the two David's to ensure it doesn't all end in disaster.

August 3, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 08/03/2010

Those of you who have been following the Blagger for some years will know that I am a notoriously slow starter on the football front. I've long thought the season starts too early and goes on too long and my involvement in the World Cup has made what is laughingly called the 'closed season' even shorter.

Nevertheless, Soccernet have demanded I come into the office (Ha!) and write something about West Ham United, so here we are and this will have to do.

About
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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