West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul and Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals.
Saturday, October 15
West Ham 4 Blackpool 0
Where were you when we were sick? Fraser texts to say that he has a stomach upset and can’t make the game. Nigel is hoarse and ailing after too much heavy living attending Ritchie Blackmore old English music gigs. Matt simply holds up a post-it note reading “I have lost my voice” and “the referee’s a tinker!”
It’s an interesting line-up with Noble dropped for the first time, no Cole and Carew and Baldock up front. Our nerves are calmed after 12 minutes when Gustave Faubert curls in a lovely cross for John Carew to rise above Hill and head home.
Blackpool blast a free kick hopelessly over the bar, but otherwise hardly trouble Almunia. Baldock and Carew are thwarted by good saves from Gilks.
Carew shows surprising skill on the ground for a big man, while Baldock is a nagging presence at the shoulder of the Pool defenders. Though ref Andy D’Urso seems to penalise our strikers for the slightest touch and shows no grasp of the advantage rule when Collison is clean through. Matt would be swearing at him if only he could speak. Diop gets some good tackles in and though his distribution is sometimes poor, he looks a difficult lump to get past.
Amazingly we score three goals in seven minutes after the break, Baldock calmly beats the keeper having latched on to Taylor’s header and sprung the offside trap. Four minutes later Carew causes further consternation and Baldock bundles home another poacher’s goal, and on 55 minutes Collison fires home a deflected drive after another Gilks’ parry.
“How shit must you be we’re winning at home?” comes the chant from the Bobby Moore Stand.
“Game of the century,” I text to Fraser.
Matt scrawls several illegibible messages on his post-it notes.
"Matt should have been a doctor," suggests Nigel.
We then have three further good chances in the next five minutes. Baldock has a shot saved by Gilks’ legs and Carew tries to curl one in the corner rather than pass to Baldock who is free. Good to see that Baldock has the confidence to give the experienced striker some stick for his decision.
With Blackpool’s defence looking worse than Liam Fox’s, West Ham then relax, which is a shame as goal difference might prove vital. But 4-0 without ever playing brilliantly will do me. It still seems very quiet without Matt lambasting the ref. We’re so relaxed that while looking at George McCartney, Nigel is able to joke that he hears Paul McCartney’s new marriage is in trouble as he’s noticed that he’s having to buy twice as many shoes for his new wife as he did for his last. Arf, arf.
Fraser texts back to say that the stomach bug has sent his blood pressure is up and if he’d had to have four celebratory cigars it would have been killed him.
Then it’s off to the Black Lion with Matt and Mike O’Brien for a celebratory pint of Maldon Gold. Matt even recovers his voice thanks to the rejuvenating ale. Just as well as otherwise it would be like having a pint with Marcel Marceau. We go second as well. A nice set-up for the big game at Southampton on Tuesday.