Wednesday, February 22

Should Hammers sign the roly-poly goalkeeper?

Now that pie-gate goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has been sacked by Sutton United you wonder if West Ham should make a move for the roly-poly goalkeeper. After all, we do have a history of giving a home to other famous pie-eaters, such as Razor Ruddock. Shaw could be cover for Randolph and Adrian and would certainly fill the posts, if not most of the London Stadium. The only issue would be could Wayne actually afford to buy a pie outside the stadium? And talking of illicit betting, some very strange gambling patterns have emerged of wagers on a West Ham fan finally saving enough cash to buy a pie at the next home match, and even a 5000-1 bet of someone splashing out on a Cornish pasty with potato wedges and a £2 bottle of mineral water.

Tuesday, February 21

Scott Hogan carried off and yet to score for Villa

Scott Hogan was carried off for Aston Villa during their 2-0 defeat at Newcastle last night and could face a lengthy lay-off. The former Hammers target is clearly a good prospect, but so far he hasn't pulled up any trees for Villa. Since signing from Brentford at the end of the window he's played in four defeats against Nottingham Forest, Ipswich, Barnsley and Newcastle and has yet to score. That's not to say he's a bad player, but it's unlikely he would have started scoring instantly in the Premiership if he's having problems at Villa in the Championship. His two previous cruciate ligament injuries also suggested his signing might have been a gamble and we can perhaps understand why Bilic thought £15 million was too much to pay.

Monday, February 20

London Stadium stewarding progress

With a lull in games it might be a good time to reflect that there have been some improvements at the London Stadium. Allowing flags bigger than 2 x 2 metres has given the upper tiers more of a Cup Final look and makes the game appear more of an occasion. 

Things aren't perfect, but the recent meeting of Karren Brady and the new Supporters Advisory Board seems to have yielded some positive results. The club has agreed to invite all ex-Boleyn Ground stewards to work at the London Stadium, deploy the same stewards in the same areas each game and to use ex-Boleyn Ground stewards in sensitive areas where "empathy with supporters is key". Although all this emphasis on empathy does have me imagining Mariella Frostrup counselling us about our sex lives at half-time… 

The newer stewards will also be briefed in the culture and history of the club so they don't confuse us with Coldplay fans. Karren Brady has received a lot of flak, sometimes rather bizarrely for not being a West Ham fan and also for being a woman and a Conservative. She's never claimed to be a football fan and if we were taken over by Abu Dhabi we wouldn't have a fan in charge of finance either. But she does know about unhappy consumers being bad for business and appears willing to listen to some of our concerns from this season so that's progress. It would have made sense to employ all the old Boleyn Ground stewards from the start, but at least it seems that mistake is being rectified.

Sunday, February 19

You get a book wrapped round your head

Goodbye to Boleyn just been trolled in an Amazon review. My book appears to have been mistaken for a piece of hoolie lit by one ‘Dusty S', who comments: “Oddly glossed over the many years of football violence, I thought you was proud of your firm… Did they mention about smashing up the Man Utd bus on their final swansong at the Boleyn? Anyway, the most use this book will get, is when you smash your mate around the face with next time you’re in a fight with your own fans at the Stratford Athletics Stadium."

Still lots of other good reviews and you suspect Dusty S might not be of the claret and blue persuasion. If only he knew that my not-very-hard firm includes a vicar's son and the only Kew Gardens Iron. Support has come from Brian Williams, author of Nearly Reach The Sky, who comments, in the spirit of literary hooliganism: “Arrange to meet the bloke at Mile End and I’ll twat him with my Kindle while you distract him with a lecture on the futility of hyphenated adverbs.” Brian is also part of the Guardian mob, so may come tooled up with a rolled-up copy of G2. There could be yet another Green Street sequel in this and a new chant of, "you get a book wrapped round your head."

Friday, February 17

Andy Carroll with two lions on his shirt

So the West Ham lads are now in Dubai for some warm weather training. Just hope that Andy Carroll doesn't find any new ways of getting injured. When he was in Dubai in 2014 Andy tweeted a picture of "2 lions being walked like dogs on the beach 50 yards away from me!" accompanied by the hashtag #waytooclose. This inevitably sparked fears of the striker being given a right mauling. As the rest of our season depends on keeping Andy fit let's hope Slaven keeps him away from any big cats this time.

Thursday, February 16

Boom time for Slaven

Slaven Bilic has escaped with an £8000 fine for throwing down a TV microphone boom against West Brom. There was a chance he could have received a stadium ban but presumably the FA gave him some credit for innovation. It's all very well for Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger to kick water bottles, but Bilic had to show real initiative to find a new inanimate object to trash. There's not too much to grab at the London Stadium and he'd have had to replicate a Usain Bolt sprint to get to the touchline hoardings to give them a good kicking. So credit to Slav for grabbing a provocative furry microphone. 

The FA's decision also has the advanage of further annoying Jose Mourinho who was given a touchline ban after theatrically kicking a water bottle against the Hammers in December. West Ham's assistant manager Nikola Jurcevic also received an £8000 fine for getting stroppy with the lino. Presumably both Nikola and Slav are now receiving anger management classes from Julian Dicks. 

Wednesday, February 15

Save the World Cup statue for Upton Park

Clyde Best backs the statue campaign
It's not too late to sign the petition to have the Moore, Hurst and Peters World Cup statue listed by Historic England and kept at Upton Park. To sign the Save Our Statue petition click on the link here

Councillor Veronica Oakeshott is running a campaign to keep the statue at Upton Park, while West Ham seek to have it moved to the London Stadium at Stratford. A forthcoming Newham Council meeting will ultimately decide its fate.

Local MPs Stephen Timms and Mike Gapes support the campaign and former-West Ham star Clyde Best (one of the first black players in Britain) lent his backing to keeping the statue where it is during his recent signing at the Newham Bookshop. Moore, Hurst and Peters achieved their feats at the Boleyn Ground and that's surely where it should stay. If the club really want a similar statue in place at Stratford then they could commission a copy.