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West Ham United
January 31, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/31/2011

A Victor Obinna hat-trick earned West Ham a home draw against Burnley in the 5th round and helped, very slightly, to banish the memories of Wednesday night's sem-final Carling Cup defeat.

It was an excellent game with Nottingham Forest showing why they are pushing hard for promotion from the Championship but, it has to be said, also proving that there is a big gap between the two divisions, West Ham resting nine of the players who performed at Birmingham in mid-week and still looking comfortable after a first-half scare.

January 27, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/27/2011

Walking back to my parent's house from the 'Hammers' pub in East Ham after this gut-wrenching defeat in the Carling Cup semi-final, it occured to me that this match almost summed up my life supporting West Ham United. In many ways it actually sums up my life full-stop - but I'm seeing someone about that and the psychiatrist has asked me not to talk about it.

From joy and expectation to abject misery and disappointment, all in the space of 45 minutes plus extra time. They say you can't script it but really, with West Ham United it has all been writ before and just needs dusting off every few months.

January 25, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/25/2011

With a bit of movement in the transfer window involving West Ham, I thought I'd keep an update blog running as we watch the Hammers once more plot a Great Escape (TM Patent Pending). Rumours that Steve McQueen was seen parking his bike in the car park at the Boleyn, can almost certainly be discounted.

I'll try and wait until the signings are confirmed rather than get involved in the usual 'my mate saw Kaka eating Pie 'n' Mash in Nathan's Eel Emporium' type stories

January 23, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/23/2011

Anger, frustration and disappointment have been West Ham bedfellows for most of this season but in this match those emotions reigned for another reason, as Everton's injury-time equaliser denied the Hammers three points they really should have had. That the Hammers can thank referee Peter Walton for the late, late goal seemed in little doubt, being at the visitors had to play the last few minutes with ten men when Piquionne was sent for over-zealous celebration of his 84th minute goal.

Following Avram Grant's post-match comments that 'perhaps we should treat a goal more like a funeral' I think we should fully expect, next time he scores, to see Piquionne lying prostrate on the floor as six of his teammates carry him back to the centre-spot. I look forward to seeing it at Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final at Birmingham.

January 18, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/18/2011

In a shock announcement that could have serious repercussions for all the other clubs in the Football League, West Ham United issued a statement on Tuesday in which, effectively, they have revealed that absolutely nothing has changed. Avram Grant is still manager, Martin O'Neill is not coming, everything that has been written about the Hammers over the past week is utter nonsense and Karren Brady has been misquoted; I'm not sure if the full text of the announcement also revealed that Saint Bobby Moore is still sadly deceased, Sir Trevor Brooking is still retired and 'Pop' Robson is no longer scoring 28 goals a season, but I think we can take that as read.

January 16, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/16/2011

About an hour into this non-event of a game, a look around at the crowd told the whole story. People sat with chin on hand, rubbing eyes, scratching heads - one Gentleman looked to be asleep - and barely anyone said a word. If it was a summation of Avram Grant's tenancy of the Upton Park hot-seat then it said much; if it was a ploy to lull Arsenal into a false sense of comfort then - like Grant's other tactics - it failed lamentably.

This then was abysmal. No fight, no clue. no interest. This club is either in such a state that we can't even manage to string together a team capable of just chasing Arsenal and annoying them or, as I suspect, this was one match too many for a Manager who looks beaten before the game starts.

January 13, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/13/2011

Well it was the season of peace and goodwill towards men – providing I take the King James’ version rather than James Moffatt’s ‘goodwill towards those whom he favours’ that I seemed to hear continually over the past month. I’m not sure any of us ‘favours’ talking to a Spurs supporter but that was what I found myself doing on New Years Day - and I have to say I found the result of that conversation deeply disturbing.

I need to get three things straight here before I continue: Firstly, this article isn’t primarily concerned with the rights and wrongs of West Ham’s attempts to move into the Olympic Stadium post 2012. I will say, in my opinion, despite all the inherent problems – and there are a lot of them – not considering at least a move to the site itself would be a major mistake but, this though is more about what happens if we don’t do anything or, as it seems a majority of West Ham supporters seem to indicate, simply shelve the plans and think on developing Upton Park..

January 12, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/12/2011

West Ham United 2 Birmingham City 1 (1st Leg Carling Cup Semi)

This was a little corker of a game that swung wildly over the 90 minutes, promising a nail-biter for both sets of fans when the Second-leg is played at St. Andrews later in the month.

That West Ham go into that match with a narrow advantage is thanks to substitute Carlton Cole perhaps, but more likely the major pat on the back needs to go to Brum's keeper Ben Foster, who ten minutes from time, allowed a weak shot from Cole to trickle through his legs to the delight of the home fans. It was particularly amusing in view of the abuse heaped on Robert Green by the Birmingham supporters, considering Green's own performance was top-drawer and confirmed his own World Cup nightmare is now firmly consigned to the archives.

January 10, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/10/2011

I have galloping Man-Flu currently - feel free to send cards and chocolates..oh! and Brandy - and didn't get to this one. The weight of third-round matches meant only the goals were shown on TV, but I understand from Blagg minions that a virtual West Ham second XI were pretty much in control of this for long periods and, had they taken their first-half chances (nice to see the second string have the same problems as the first) then this would have been over as a contest long before half-time.

January 6, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/06/2011

Oh dear, Oh dear! It’s virtually impossible to know what to say after this mauling. That it came against Newcastle and will give my in-laws something to wave until we play them next – and who knows when that will be? – is bad enough. But the results of all the teams around us, the fact that our 'mini-revival' has seen us back at the bottom where we were before Christmas and the inept defending that made us a laughing stock, just tips this result off the scale.

Undefeated in five games and with seven points over the festive period is a situation I would have taken had it been offered a month ago, but the fact is Wolves are lifting points off of clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea and we are getting thumped by Newcastle and it means our revival isn’t worth a light. This is turning into a pretty odd season and I think we’re going to need to play like Champions to even keep up with everybody else. I can genuinely see a club going down with as little as two or three points behind a club finishing half-way. Can we do it? Not like this we can't

January 2, 2011
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/02/2011

Rumours that Avram Grant needed extra tissues to stem the flow of blood from the nosebleed induced by the Hammer's dizzying rise to 15th place in the table can probably be discounted, but there is no doubt this home win, which took West Ham out of the bottom three for the first time this season, was a crucial result.

It's true that the home side made the most of the chances that fell to them while the visitors were guilty of failing to take theirs, but there is a feeling that confidence is growing with this unbeaten 5 match run and the points taken over the holiday period so far have made a significant difference to the outlook for the rest of the season.

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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