Saturday, 30th September 2000
It will be interesting to listen to Harry Redknapp's excuses on the back of this one. Bar Davor Suker he had his best side out there today (and no, on the evidence so far Frank Lampard shouldn't be included). Questions have to be asked:
Why can we not finish teams off when enjoying total possession?
Why is Redknapp loathe to make changes when it is obvious they are needed?
Why does Freddy Kanoute not understand the offside rule?
Bradford, after being run ragged by Joey Cole in the first 45 decided to man mark him after the break. Now, why, when it was plainly obvious that the tactic was proving effective didn't Redknapp alter HIS system? Instead he stuck with what he had, and paid the ultimate price as Bradford snatched a point.
It all looked so different in the first half. It was exhibition stuff from the Hammers, which duly presented the opening goal just before the half-hour mark. Freddy Kanoute's pinpoint cross was nodded firmly home by Joe Cole, scoring his second league goal of the season.
It should have been the signal to put the game beyond doubt as the Bradford rearguard literally fell apart. But once again the Hammers failed to find a second goal, and the visitors went into the break knowing that they were still in the game.
Tactical adjustments from the visitors were instrumental in bringing them back into the game, and they got their reward in injury time, with 90 minutes registered on the clock. Igor Stimac, responsible for giving away free-kicks against Chelsea and Man.United which led to goals obviously hadn't learnt his lesson as he needlessly bundled over Carboni 25 yards from goal. The resulting free kick led to panic in the Hammers quarters and Dan Petrescu profited by nodding home the equaliser to the dismay of the crowd.
The Hammers still had time to find the net before the final whistle, but Kanoute's strike was ruled offside. Full time, and the team were rightly booed off for failing to beat the most mediocre Premiership side they will meet this season.
Redknapp's claims that 'this is the best side for 20 years' look pretty shallow tonight. Make no mistake, if there isn't a complete transformation in this team and the attitude of the management then we are going to be fighting relegation come next May.
WEST HAM UNITED: Winterburn, Hislop, S.Pearce, Stimac, Ferdinand, Sinclair, Lomas, Cole, Carrick, Di Canio, Kanoute
SUBS: Bywater, Potts, Margas, Moncur, Diawara
BRADFORD: Clarke, Atherton, Whalley, Wetherall, Lawrence, Petrescu, McCall, Windass, Carbone, Jacobs, Ward
SUBS: Davison, Halle (Whalley 46), Beagrie (Jacobs 60), Sharpe, Grant
Goals: Cole (27), Petrescu (89)
Booked: Wetherall, Windass, S.Pearce, Di Canio
"What is Harry doing slagging off Sinclair for standing on the goal line for their goal? Isn't there supposed to be a captain or a goalkeeper or a defender on the field to sort out where you all stand at freekicks?"
"I say Alan Curbishley is our man .....It would be like having a Redknapp with a brain...."
Matty in China
"Bill the Hammer, you are spot on. HR needs to drop Stimac and bring in Margas, he lunges in too much and his ball distribution is terrible."
"I thoroughly believe that you get the league position that you deserve, and 3rd from the bottom is what we deserve this season. There are plenty of reasons: key injuries, inability to change tactics mid-match, lack of subs, small squad, wrong formations, Stimac's fouls, playing injured players. The common factor of all these reasons is that Redknapp could have done something about each and every one. He didn't, and he can no longer blame bad luck for every point dropped. Bad luck will always equate with good luck over a period of time. We have bee in the bottom three for the last 7 weeks, when will someone from the board have a word with Redknapp to accept some responsibilty."
"I think this will be a long hard season for us with HR being as tactively naive as they come, constantly bleating on how this is the best team we have had for 20 years. Well if it's the not the players that are the problem it must be the management."
"After watching Arsenal beat Man U I noticed one important thing. When Arsenal were under the cosh they CHANGED TACTICS, they also brought on SUBS, I just hope HR watched the match too ! ! !"
Paul in Sweden
"I think we are gonna be faced with a decision soon: either Harry goes or all our superstars will leave a sinking ship... and who can blame them... H has the tactital know-how of Dot Cotton yet we are blessed with PDC, Joey Cole, Rio ... what more does the man need. It's time for change... we have the squad... now lets get the manager!"
Jim the Northern monkey
"We can whinge all we like - only one action will save this team from a hellish relegation fight and that is the sacking of Redknapp. He is living off dubious past glory (3 & 2 seasons ago). We underachieved, woefully, last year and got nothing but bloody excuses. This season, the bloody man doesn't even seem to realise there is a problem!! He is tactically inept, arrogant and unacceptably stubborn. Neither he nor his backroom staff can properly prepare a team; they lack motivational skills and must be using coaching/training methods from the 50s!! It simply is not good enough and our future is very grim - if we go down this time there must be very real fears that we will be gone a very long time!!"
"Sometimes I feel I want to kill Harry Redknapp. Good on the transfer market, not on team tactics. Unfortunately, West Ham have a tradition of not sacking managers, otherwise, he would have been gone ages ago. There's no more he can do for us: sack him now!"
"You say H should have changed tactics because Cole was man marked in the second half! He was also man marked in the first half by Lawrence but ran him ragged. The criticism should be aimed at the players not H. He wasn't him that told the players to stop passing and stop moving."
"Just want to say I agree with you 100% about West Ham's attitude and the very real threat of relegation. I honestly like Harry, and think he has done a great deal for our club, but I am sick and tired of his attitude towards changing the system. It's not just this game, but every game we can all see who the tired players are, but Harry NEVER makes a substitution unless forced to do so by injury. As you say, Bradford made changes to their system so we didn't we? Why is Harry so bloody stubborn?
"Another thing that annoys me about this West Ham team is their inability to finish a game off. West Ham teams of the past who went 1-0 up would always go looking for 3 or 4 (ok, often it wouldn't come off and many times we paid for it - but it was great to watch) but it seems whenever we go 1-0 up at home the team are under instructions to sit on the lead. It's not the West Ham way, it doesn't work, and I don't bloody like it. We just didn't look like we wanted to attack them for the final 15 minutes of today's game, then they score the equaliser and we are all over them - why the hell does it take the opposition scoring before we lift our game?
"I'm really not happy at the moment. I pay about £600 quid to watch this lot every season and we aint won at home since April ! We need a real shake up and a whole change in attitude towards the way we approach a game. We have the players, but unfortunately we just don't have the tactics or 'know how'.
"PS - I forgot to mention - Stimac and his needless fouls at the edge of the area are a f***ing liability."
Bill the Hammer
"Very poor indeed, just won't do."
"FOR THE LAST TWO/THREE SEASONS WE HAVE BEEN NEARLY UNBEATABLE AT HOME WHAT'S HAPPENED? HARRY SEEMS TO BE BURYING HIS HEAD IN THE SAND THE LONGER THE GAME GOES ON. WE NEED SOME OF THE OLD HARRY WHEN HE HADN'T A GOOD SQUAD TO WORK WITH. LET'S SORT OUT THE NO HOPERS AND LET THE REAL IRONS DO THE JOB."
"I agree with this match report. I can only make about three games a season, and I had to choose this one. I think the problem is that Harry can not recognise when something ain't working and change them. In the second half they all looked tired and dejected, especially the great PDC who should have been replaced."
"I couldn't agree more. We may well have the best squad for a long time but we are a long way short of having the best team. H should realise that having good players is only half the battle, teamwork is equally important as Bradford showed today. Man for man we have the better individuals but in the second half Bradford retained possession far better than we did as a result of having greater tactical awareness. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't want H to go, he has achieved a great deal, but let's see him bring in a top quality coach to work alongside him."
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