Filed: Thursday, 27th September 2012
By: Julian Dicks
It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to KUMB.com. Julian shares his thoughts with the readers of Knees up Mother Brown on a regular basis via his weekly column, the latest of which begins with the sad passing of a West Ham legend...
It's probably a year or so since I last saw John Bond. I'd never said it to him before but that day I told him that he was one of the best managers I'd played under - and he was, he was incredible. He just said: "Thank you very much!"
When Ron Saunders - who signed me for Birmingham - resigned, John took over. He was a big, big bloke and I was only 16 or 17. I went training for the first time and I remember it like it was yesterday.
John stuck me up front with Wayne Clarke and said: "I want you to do this and this," - and I couldn't do it, I couldn't understand what he wanted me to do. So he shouted at me and said: "Oi you, f*ck off over there!" - and that was it!
In the beginning, when he first came in I thought, "f*cking Hell, what's happening here?" - because he just b*llocked me left, right and centre! But once I started playing, it was very different.
When John took over from Ron at Birmingham, it was a total change of direction. It was get the ball on the floor, play, pass; he didn't even want you to boot it in your own box and I'd never heard that before! So, he shaped the early days of my career and when I went to West Ham, that was just the normal way to play football.
I signed my first professional contract under John. We'd just played against Luton and I'd had a blinding game. The next day, he came in and said: "I want you to sign a professional contract". I was only 17.
Along with Ron Saunders, John Bond probably shaped my footballing career. Because he'd played for West Ham he didn't want me to get the ball and just smack it up front, he wanted me to play. He didn't want me to play for England because that was the way the football was being played.
As a manager you take bits from every manager you've worked under, even if you don't think you do. Ron Saunders liked to play direct football at Birmingham, then there was John Bond. When I went to West Ham, we had John Lyall.
John [Bond] was both an incredible man and manager; his record speaks for itself. We didn't keep in touch after we'd left Birmingham but when I went to West Ham we used to see each other frequently.
He was an absolutely fantastic person. He was funny - and loved a cigar! - but was incredible. He's a massive loss to football.
Lucky - and unlucky
I thought West Ham did well against Sunderland and I thought they deserved more than a point - even though in the end they were lucky to get one! They dominated the game and I thought when they got going, West Ham were going to win quite easily.
Kevin Nolan's goal was a fantastic volley - but Simon Mignolet's save in the first half was just as good. But overall, whilst you think we should have got three points you've got to be happy with one in the end.
It was good to see them work for the whole 95 minutes; sometimes when a game enters injury time you resign yourself to not getting a result but they carried on fighting, which was pleasing.
Head and shoulders above everyone else for me was Momo Diame. I thought he was fantastic; he reminded me of a poor-man's Yaya Toure! I think if we can keep him, your Jarvises and your Nolans fit then we have a great chance of a good season.
I also thought Matt Jarvis did particularly well when he came on. Carlton Cole played but he was substituted - and rightly so - but you want someone like that or Andy Carroll up front when Jarvis is playing. He put some great crosses in the box and I think had Andy been in there we may well have got another couple of goals.
That was the first time I've seen Jarvis play a full game this season and he impressed me. At the end of the day he's a winger and it's about crossing balls - and he put in more than anybody. He also played on against Wigan without the same success but obviously he has just come back from injury.
Sam put a load of kids out on Tuesday night but any way you look at it, it was a disappointing result. Personally, I would have kept the same side.
We know West Ham aren't going to win the Premier League so that's one chance of silverware out of the window. We could win the FA Cup, or have a great run, but the Capital One Cup is a trophy that we could win - which means a trip to Wembley and a great day out for everybody.
If I was going to change the side I would have changed one or two players, maximum. I know some managers like to rotate but we have almost a week before the next game. They worry about injuries but you can get injured in training just as easily so I would have kept a similar side.
The likes of Manchester United might not think twice about the Cup because they're going to be challenging for the Premier League and the Champions League but I would have liked to have seen West Ham progress and perhaps win some silverware this season.
I'm not convinced by the theory that says a good Cup run can hinder progress in the league. As a player, you want to play games more than you train - at least that's how I used to come into the season. As a player it's great to have a chance of playing in a Cup Final. I wonder whether Sam will also rest players in the FA Cup, or whether he thinks the Capital One Cup is the lesser competition?
On the bright side, it was good to see Dylan Tombides play against Wigan. Fighting cancer is going to be the biggest battle of his career - everything else should be easy by comparison. For him to get over that is incredible and it's great to see him back and getting a few minutes on the pitch.
Looking back: League Cup woes
The League Cup is a competition that West Ham have never won. Julian was part of the West Ham team that reached successive semi finals in 1989 and 1990 only to be humbled on both occasions - firstly by Luton Town and then by Oldham Athletic on their Boundary Road plastic pitch. Julian takes up the story...
Highlights from the 1989 semi final second leg at Luton
Against Luton we put our best team out - and came up short. In the first leg I gave a penalty away after grabbing someone round the neck. I remember John Lyall coming in and asking: "did you touch him?" - and me replying: "No, I didn't!" But I definitely grabbed him round the neck!
At the end of the day we lost 3-0 at home in the first leg and the second leg 2-0 - but Luton were a very good side then, they had some good players like Mick Harford and Roy Wegerle.
The following year against Oldham was embarrassing - even though we nearly made an unexpected comeback! We lost 6-0 in the first leg on their plastic pitch which was a huge advantage to them. It wasn't like the synthetic 3G pitches we have today, the ball used to bounce all over the place.
In the second leg we gave it our best shot. We absolutely battered them like they battered us up there but once we got 3-0 ahead the ball just wouldn't go in the back of the net again. We hit the crossbar, the post, the 'keeper pulled off a couple of great saves as well. But if you're getting beat 6-0 you know you're not going to win the tie - it would have had to be some comeback to win 7-6!
But we had opportunities; it wasn't the case that we gave up. We went out to win that game which we did - and we should have won it by more. Oldham were a decent side but when you're playing on a pitch that they played on day in, day out, it helps them. I think that's why the pitches got ripped up because they were unfair for every other team.
But the League Cup tie many remember was the game at Stockport in 1996 [West Ham lost 2-1].
I scored with a header from a corner to put us in front before Iain Dowie scored a better one at the other end a minute later. It was just one of those things; I think he forgot which end he was scoring in! He was about 12 yards out - and it was a great [own] goal - but these things happen. After the game I remember him sitting there with his head in his hands. I was half expecting him to run away!
The thing is, losing to lower league opposition happens at every club. When I was at Birmingham we got beat by Altrincham who were non-league whilst Manchester United got beat by Bournemouth. These games happen, especially in the FA Cup where the lower league teams have nothing to lose and all the pressure is on the big clubs. It shouldn't happen, but it does.
* Julian is currently available to coach both junior and senior football teams. For more details, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JULIAN3DICKS.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
by Staff Writer
04:58PM 28th Sep 2012
''@TIHIIC: Re: the nudity, the KUMB forum member named 'The Oldham Stripper' might remember it too...''
by Tell it how it is Charlie!
01:41PM 28th Sep 2012
''Pull the other one, Julian, about the ball bouncing funny on the plastic pitches (maybe a bit higher). The grass pitches of the '80s were hardly perfection as they are today (mud, sand, divots, you name it)! I would have thought playing a passing on the floor game on the plastic pitches would have suited the West Ham style.
I was at that Oldham game where we got thrashed, the whole lot of you were a disgrace that night. The most memorable thing that night was the West Ham supporter (who was drunk) deciding to strip for the crowd. He went all the way. He got arrested. Any one else remember this guy in the seating bit?
I´ve just watched the Luton clip, both goals look incredibly poor defending.''
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