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West Ham United
November 20, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/20/2010

Please, please - can someone please make it stop?.

If you want to see what West Ham were like in this non-existent excuse for a 'match' then take a look at the Soccernet Gamecast. 'Awful', 'over by half-time', 'searching for a consolation they don't deserve' and on and on and on. Is 'abject' in there? Only I like that word....

Ex-Hammer - how many times a season do I say that? - Glen Johnson put the home side ahead, while Maxi Rodriguez and a Dirk Kuyt penalty put Liverpool in total control by half-time but, frankly, who cares? They could have put Doris the Tea Lady in a red shirt, pitched her out and she would have weaved magic around this string of washing wearing a claret and blue shirt.

November 15, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/15/2010

This didn't look like a goalless draw and the fact Ian Holloway felt it was the 'best nil-nil I've ever seen' may reflect that. At the end though, this was another three points dropped and with Liverpool coming up next week - the last time the Hammers won at Anfield, Mafeking was still waiting to be relieved (check your History books!) - it's hard to see how the Hammers won't go into December still rooted to the bottom.

November 11, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/11/2010

I don't usually go in for hyperbole. I've seen too many good leads thrown away and lost causes chased down over the years for that, but Ian Holloway's decision to rest half of his Blackpool squad last night to target Saturday's game has put a different slant on West Ham's next match.

Two things here; Blackpool obviously see the game at Upton Park on Saturday as winnable (no surprise there) and also it is clear that Holloway has decided certain games are vital three pointers that must be won if they are to stay up. To that end he's prepared to lose some games in order to win others.

Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/11/2010

An easing of the job situation till after Christmas allowed me to attend this floodlit game at Upton Park and, while it would be unfair to say I wished I'd saved my money, the end result was nonetheless extremely disappointing.

After Saturday's encouraging display, I think most fans expected three points from this fixture and we all looked at this week as the turning point of the campaign but, after this, I'm struggling to see anything other than a season-long struggle with little salvation at the end. I really fear for Saturday's home game against Blackpool.

November 9, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/09/2010

My Granddad explained it to me when I was very young. “West Ham” he said “are like a fine wine – they don’t travel well”. Now what exactly my Granddad – no stranger to a Capstan full strength and a few pints of Mackeson - knew about fine wine is difficult to gauge in retrospect, but whatever knowledge he had garnered cycling the East End during the war it was certainly more than I knew as an 8 year-old, so I was happy to believe what he told me.

November 7, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/07/2010

I'm simply not sure of what to make of this anymore. West Ham deserved to win this game and should have won it; being denied a blatant late penalty. On the other hand, I probably would have settled for a point before the game and Birmingham came within a post of taking all three points themselves.

Similarly, the Hammers performance was more than encouraging, the Irons looking much more incisive and nothing like a bottom of the table side. Then again, once again we've failed to win and are still rooted to the bottom. I'm starting to get a headache...

November 1, 2010
Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/01/2010

Just noticed my incisive review of this match is missing from the Soccernet pages so I'll just confine myself to confirming that the Hammers won in extra time mainly due to a magnificent performance from Scott Parker - no change there then - and the introduction of a lively Obinna from the bench.

Overall though, Stoke had their chances and the Hammers rode what little luck they have ever been granted by that Great Ref in the Sky. Manchester United next? I may be able to get to that one!

Posted by Billy Blagg on 11/01/2010

Ahh! One nil to the Arse eh? 'twas ever thus huh, sports fans? Confined as I was to Match of the Day highlights, it was interesting to gauge reactions to this from other sources.

Some saw this as a continuing improvement that had only been broken by the home defeat to Newcastle while others saw this as nothing more than a backs-to-the-wall frenzy that almost worked but which, ultimately, ended in the inevitable.

One reaction I saw suggested that the Hammers didn't 'want it enough' and the constant rearguard action was more down to giving the ball away in crucial areas than any type of tactical nous.

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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