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Premiership
Sunday, 17th September 2006

West Ham United 0
Newcastle United 2

by Nick Bull


Time allowing, I like to write my musings for this site as quickly as I can after a game. Sometimes – for example following the Charlton and Liverpool matches- work commitments have prevented a fast write up. Suddenly, things are different. I had to draw myself away from the computer last night, simply because what I was writing had stemmed from a thoroughly disappointing afternoon in East London. I was fuming. Now, I’ve planned what I will be rambling on about, and my comments are rather similar for the third game in a row. Apologies go out to the Ed, and you good people who are reading this.

I continue to stress that I hate impulsive kneejerk reactions. More often that not, the person(s) making them is ill - informed, negative and generally loathsome. I certainly do not want to join this exclusive club, but boy am I worried about how things currently are at the club I love. I may be negative in what I have to say and in my player ratings, but I’m trying desperately not to become fickle. Somewhere in the middle of these things in honesty. This is what I’m seeking, not some overblown reaction.

Too much has gone on recently at the club, a lot is still being reported by the press and everyone’s minds seem to be a million miles away from where they should be. What really gets me is that no-one at West Ham asked to get into this situation, and probably want it to go away like the rest of us. Greatest sympathies go to Alan Pardew. The man most accountable for how the team play finds himself in a position that has nothing to do with his own making. Nothing. Yet he finds himself having to deal with everything: the manager has got to keep the players as settled as they can be, deal with all the press rumours about Sven/Scolari coming to the club, deal with the other rumours about the takeover and how he wishes to keep the history of the club going. And so on. Most difficult job in football at the moment ? Could well be. Someone around me in the Centenary Upper said that he doubted whether the manager really wanted the Argentineans at the club. I believe him. There is no doubting that the two kids are exceptional talents, but this side looked far more settled before their arrival. Did he have much choice ? Probably not. My sympathy towards the manager is simple – he hasn’t created the problem at the club, but he could well find himself under pressure to resign if he does not sort the dilemma out. No-one is better suited to managing this club. For all the negativity around Upton Park during the Championship years, it is proven that he gets it right when he needs to. Pardew out ? If you say that, it should be you going somewhere else.

I’ve heard the ridiculous shouts already. ‘Drop them all’ remains the best one I’ve noticed thus far. I certainly would not go that far, but I hope that the manager rings some changes as soon as he can. Despite all his critics, I’ve never really had a problem with him, but Roy Carroll’s continued ‘lumping’ the ball forward everytime he gets it has made me lose patience. For the last three games – since Tevez has been on the pitch – he has done this more frequently. There is no cheaper way than rid the teamof possession. It’s schoolboy standard. Rob Green does not exactly seem like an awful goalkeeper, and I would love to see him get the nod between the sticks. The left back spot has been Konch’s ever since he walked in. Clive Clarke came and went, now Spector and McCartney have been drafted in, seemingly as cover. The former had a blinder against the Hammers at the Valley for Charlton in that left back position in January, and McCartney was one of Sunderland’s best players during their dismal Premiership campaign last season. The American is not 100% fit yet, but I hope either himself or the former Mackam gets a chance to impress sooner rather than later. Konchesky has simply been awful this campaign.

The weakest link within the team at the moment is, sadly, the Captain. Last season, vibrancy and dynamism defined Nigel Reo-Coker’s play. Now, his inept performances smack of someone who has gone off the boil big time. As mentioned previously, I don’t think the transfer speculation has helped him, but I don’t think he should be playing as poorly as he is. A figurehead in the ‘Nasty Crew’ is currently anonymous. Must do better, Do Do. The same can be said for Bowyer, who did not produce anything really noteworthy. Etherington faded after ten minutes. Gabbidon sank again. Someone told me Zamora played, but I cannot remember. Did he ?

A relegation battle is too strong at this stage of the season, but things must pick up soon. Teams were always going to work out how West Ham play, and many probably did last season, yet the side overcame this through and endeavour and determination. At the moment, the system has become clear but no bottle is present to overpower the sides that attempt to mute our threat. The passing is poor and does not progress anywhere, the side have created about four good chances from open play in the last three games and, worst of all, the team spirit has gone. The players used to convey the notion that they would die for each other on that pitch. This season? Their souls seem to have died. Everyone knows that the West Ham of present are much better than they currently are. As soon as the norm returns to the club, the football will start improving. That I’m sure of. Sadly, that day seems a long way away – especially as Mr. MSI continues to attend games at the Boleyn.

What really bugged me yesterday was the fact that Newcastle were pretty average too, yet deserved to take the three points. Even worse – Roeder loved every single minute of it. I used to despise the man for his managerial skills (or lack of). Now, I have utter contempt for the man. What he did was disgusting, and that summed up September 17th, 2006 in East London.



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Player Ratings

Roy Carroll
Distribution was awful yesterday – continuously kicking upfield with little consideration.


Tyrone Mears
Did ok, at times his best performance in a West Ham shirt. Sadly, lack of tracking back allowed Duff too much space for the opening goal.


Paul Konchesky
The rating says it all. Stupid booking, poor crossing, average defensively.


Anton Ferdinand
One of the better players in a West Ham shirt yesterday, but the failure to shine shows how bad the side were.


Danny Gabbidon
After showing signs of improvement, Gabbidon looked unsettled again. Awful error for the second goal.


Javier Mascherano
Still not 100%, but his class was evident in flashes.


Nigel Reo-Coker
Football is cruel. At the start of the season, Reo-Coker was outshone by Hayden Mullins in the centre of midfield. Because of the system, the captain plays on, but Mullins has to make do with the bench and cameos at the unfavoured Right Back position.


Lee Bowyer
Nearly embarrassed Given with a long range effort, other than that a lot of effort with little reward.


Matthew Etherington
Fitness was not there before the game, and his knock early on dented that and seemingly his confidence too. Very quiet.


Bobby Zamora
No service at all, but poor on the ball when he did receive it.


Carlos Tevez
Energetic, looking sharper with every passing game. His substitution baffled many.


Substitutes


Marlon Harewood
(Replaced Tevez, 45) Like the starting two upfront, had scraps for service and so making an impact was always going to be difficult. His rating suggests he was poor- infact he did little wrong when he got a rare chance with the ball.


Yossi Benayoun
(Replaced Mascherano, 67) We missed his creative abilities, and he also had little chance to impress when he came on. The team already looked defeated at that point.


Hayden Mullins
(Replaced Mears, 67) Good to see Hayden play again. I want to see him start, even if it means to defensive players in the centre of the park.


Robert Green
Did not play.


Carlton Cole
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: R.Styles.

Attendance: 34,938.

Man of the Match: Javier Mascherano.

West Ham United

Roy Carroll, Tyrone Mears, Paul Konchesky, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Javier Mascherano, Nigel Reo-Coker, Lee Bowyer, Matthew Etherington, Bobby Zamora, Carlos Tevez.

Goals: None.

Booked: Tyrone Mears 45 Marlon Harewood 74 Paul Konchesky 78      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Newcastle United

Given, Carr, Moore, Ramage, Babayaro, Milner, Parker, Emre, Duff, Martins, Ameobi.

Substitutes: Sibierski (Ameobi 72), Harper (Given 86), Butt (Emre 90+3).

Subs not used: N'Zogbia, Rossi.

Goals: Duff (50), Martins (75).

Booked: Babayaro (41), Moore (74), Parker (77).

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Nick Bull's Man of the Match: Javier Mascherano