Tuesday, September 23

Taking Di Michele

West Ham 3 Newcastle 1

“We’re all going on an XL holiday/ let’s get stranded for a week or two!” sang the chirpy Geordies on the District line. Followed by “You’re not flying anymore!” in the ground.

There’s no fanfare for Zola as we come on the pitch, but the applause seems warm enough. From the kick-off it’s apparent that he has new ideas. He’s dropped the Head on a Stick and plays Neill at centre back, where he looks much better. Faubert plays at right-back and Etherington and Di Michele float behind Carlton Cole. Cole beats a defender for speed and surges on goal as if inspired by Zola’s advice to learn from Maradona (ok lads, maybe not the handballs, drugs or chat shows).

“One Mike Ashley! There’s only one Mike Ashley!” chant the Bobby More Stand followed by “Where’s your Keegan gone?”

As seems obligatory at home matches we go 2-0 up. The Newcastle defence looks petrified by Cole’s muscular interventions. Di Michele lopes in a deflected shot and then has a shot saved by Given before chipping the ball over the prostrate Colocinni and volleying in a Di Canio-esque finish. He over-elaborates at times and can be selfish, but on this evidence he has the class to become an Upton Park favourite.

"Down with the Tottenham! You're going down with the Tottenham!" we chant.

“We don’t even have a song for Zola yet…” muses Matt.

“What about ‘Hello hello Zola’ by the Kinks?” I suggest.

“Followed by ‘We’ve got Carlton Cola’, adds Matt.

“And Julien Faubert…’ I finish. Right, that’s the song sorted.

Early in the second half Newcastle have more possession. To the amusement of Nigel, Mystic Matt sighs “We’re not playing well we don’t deserve to be leading,” seconds before Cole plays a superb through ball to Di Michele who crosses for Etherington — relishing his now floating role and, ahem, taking a gamble in the box — to stroke home.

The Newcastle fans are regaled with choruses of “Three–nil to the Cockney Mafia!” and the superb cockney humour of “Your messiah is a c••t!”

The open midfield makes the game seem like a throwback to the 1970s. Di Michele misses a great chance to get his hat-trick, but this being West Ham, we let Owen score with a fine finish and then Duff has a shot saved by Green. Matt starts talking about the Wimbledon and WBA games (3-0up, 4-3 down). But then Boa Morte comes on (yes, Zola is a Boa Selector) and blazes over before missing a one-on-one.

There’s a full-house, sunshine and warm applause. The DJ plays Golden Years by Bowie as we leave, which seems a little over-optimistic. But just as long as we play Newcastle every week we should be fine.


Mouth of the Mersey said...
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Mouth of the Mersey said...

Whilst I don't think I have ever wanted a new manager to succeed as much as I want Zola to, this Tevez ruling looks bad.

Never dull down Green Street eh?