West Ham United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
by East Stand Martin
I ain't gonna pick over this too much, because I'm on suicide watch at the moment.That was a particularly depressing night last night.....but I can't say that I was too surprised by the outcome. As soon as the first goal went in, the writing was on the wall. I would have taken the draw there and then.
The reality is that Wolves were on a high, full of commitment and desire. They got that momentum from the draw away at Villa. We had absolutely nothing to draw upon, with our row of defeats.
I am going to say this again, because people sometimes forget exactly where our club has been over the recent period. I actually see little difference between what has happened at Portsmouth and what has happened at West Ham United. We have been nothing more than a total shambles as a club for too long and although the playing staff and management can to a degree isolate themselves from that, there has been a big impact.
Although it is good that the Spunk Daddies came on board at a time when a Portsmouth style implosion was very much on the cards, I think that in terms of putting things back on track they either not had enough time or have already made several mistakes.
Firstly, it is clear that the interventions in the transfer market in January were hopeless. We have not seen a single benefit there, perhaps apart from creating more instability in the team selection.
Secondly, the management of the manager has been poor. All that bollocks about "Is he too nice" has soured relations and built mutual mistrust. The logic of last night's non-performance and fifth loss in a row should be that Zola gets the Phil Brown treatment, yet there is clearly no chance of that given the financial implications. There was never any chance. This must mean that the Spunkers should have been absolutely behind Zola in every way from the outset. My perception is that their backing has always been grudging and from day one he has been set up as the fall guy. Their egos do not permit them to accept that they might get things wrong. Call me old fashioned but I tend to reject papal infalibility as much as ex-porn baron infalibility.
Thirdly the continued media-w*** which these people have been on from day one has been nothing short of an embarrassment. Take yesterday. We have one of the biggest games of the season and there we are off on another fucking news masturbate about the Olympic Stadium. Do we need distractions like this? What ever happened to good old quiet negotiations? The reality is that if we take the drop, then we need to forget about Stratford as there is no propsect of raising the ??100million + to do it (if indeed it can be done at all).
Fourthly, I am not totally convinced that the Spunk Daddies are that fazed about a drop into the Championship. Much of their analysis to date of the business problem is that the club is saddled with too many expensive contractual commitments. The overheads are the result of our Premier League status (although admitedly not of their making). A wage bill of ??60million and associated player and managerial contracts which they do not like. They have been here before elsewhere and rather than being a disaster for them, I think they see relegation as an opportunity. Anybody who gets a valuable asset by shelling out 50% of its value at a given time is bound to like the idea of getting the remaining 50% for a song when its value is diminished significantly further. In short, I do not trust their motives for coming into our club, although I hope to be proved wrong over time.
What they are relying upon is brand loyalty - the numbers will still come even if we go down. I will still be there next year come what may. Many others will be as well. Maybe, looking at it objectively, it is the only real way for us to rebuild. When you hit the depths, the only way is up. Look what happened to Man City over recent history (but equally, look what happened to Leeds and there is no sign of them getting back into the Premier League in the near future).
I do accept many of the criticisms that have been made of Zola, and the stark reality is that he has been taken way out of his comfort zone into territory which he has not experienced before. A bit like what happened to James Tomkins on the pitch last night and at the Bolton game.
But here's the real deal now. Abusing Carlton Cole and singing 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' is going to take us nowhere at the moment. People will say that they have a right to do it and it was a particularly gutless performance, but we have got to try and inject some positive vibes into the team this Saturday. This is a massive game now and there are six which follow.
We're all disappointed, but let's not gift our enemies the delight of seeing us turn on our own. It aint what we are about.
(Below player ratings by Staff Writer).
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Player RatingsRobert Green
Faced four shots, conceded three goals. Not really his fault but he wasn't anywhere near a single one.
Once again anonymous until instructed to get forward. We were two-down by that stage however.
Got stuck in and only really beaten for the shot that hit the post.
Failed to win a single header in the opening twenty minutes and failed to have a quiet word with Tomkins when his mistake led to the first goal. Not a captain's performance.
Actually did okay if you ignore the faux pas that gifted Wolves the lead. Which obviously, you cannot.
One of the few to get stuck into the opposition - but you expect nothing less.
Just really, really poor. Awful passer of the ball and was lucky not to conceded a penalty for a simply stupid challenge.
Lots of running for absolutely zero end product - as has been the case too often in recent weeks.
Doesn't appear to have the legs to play in the Premier League - or a right foot at all. He's one of the players that plays for himself, rather than the team, whom Zola referred to after the game.
A home debut to forget. Unfit and well below par.
Just never in it - and regardless of the level of provocation, shouting at the fans won't do his cause any good.
(Replaced Kovac, 46 mins) Barely featured at all. Being played on the left doesn't help.
(Replaced Tomkins, 46 mins) Placed in an unfamiliar central defensive role, in which he saw the ball hit the net twice in his opening 15 minutes on the field.
(Replaced McCarthy, 75 mins) Hallelujah - someone who had a decent game. Found row Z on a couple of occasions before finally hitting the target in the third minute of injury time.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Robert Green, Julien Faubert, Fabio Daprela, Matthew Upson, James Tomkins, Scott Parker, Radoslav Kovac, Valon Behrami, Alessandro Diamanti, Benni McCarthy, Carlton Cole.
Goals: Guillermo Franco 90 .
Sent Off: None sent off .
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hahnemann, Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi, Foley, Mancienne, Henry, Jones, Jarvis, Doyle.
Subs not used: Hennessey, Iwelumo, Milijas, Ebanks-Blake.
Goals: Doyle (28), Zubar (58), Jarvis (61).
Booked: Mancienne (29), Zubar (48).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
Man of the Match: Scott Parker.