Tuesday, November 18

Something better change?

West Ham 0 Portsmouth 0

Nigel’s been to see the Stranglers, he informs us in the nice’n’sleazy Ken’s Cafe.

“We certainly need to straighten out the midfield,” says Matt.

“You could say after no wins for six games that something better change,” suggests Nigel.

“There are no more heroes anymore,” I moan.

“They wrote a song about our misunderstood former chairman didn’t they?” says Matt, “Golden Brown”.

My seven-year-old daughter Nell demolishes egg, chips sausage and beans and ketchup and salt, enjoying the substances forbidden once you pass the border patrols of Islington. We’re waiting for my pal Fleur down from Yorkshire and her son George, somewhere on a train from Slough. They are delayed by a late train and the impression that it takes half an hour to tube it from Paddington to Upton Park.

In side Upton Park the good news is that Cole and Behrami are back and Upson has recovered from his dead leg. David James receives a sporting ovation from the Bobby Moore Stand.

As against Everton, our football is good. We make lots of intricate patterns, Parker is busy, Sears is causing trouble out wide and Collison is again a revelation in midfield. We’re playing with spirit, but again we lack a cutting edge.

“Daddy, why do West Ham always lose?” asks Nell, causing Matt, Nigel and Fraser to chuckle. I wonder if I have the moral right to inflict further claret and blue traumas upon an innocent child…

At half-time it’s not looking too bad. “Our football’s been really good apart from creating chances,” I suggest.

“That’s like saying someone’s really attractive apart from the huge birth mark across their face,” counters Nigel.

News reaches us that Fleur and George have picked up the tickets I left at Ken’s at 4pm only to find the stadium shut. But security have helped them find seats in the Bobby Moore Stand where they’re greeted with cries of “You ain’t missed much!”

In the second half we have a good chance is when a defender skies the ball into the air and Carlton Cole takes an air-kick. For all his industry he’s no Deano.

Defoe is their biggest threat. He slips past Collins and Rob Green makes a fantastic save. Then Green tips over another Defoe lob and saves a third effort with his legs in front of Fabio Capello. Nell asks why we boo Defoe and not Carlos Tevez. Ah, the intricacies of football allegiances…

The hardworking Behrami is brought down on the edge of the box. Craig Bellamy’s free kick thumps back off the bar and Collison does well to volley the ball back but it goes straight to James. The crowd are behind the lads now, we struggle for that elusive win, make pretty patterns but as ever, we make Distin, Kaboul and James look like man mountains.

We plead with Matt to start swearing again because we haven't won since he stated behaving like a vicar's son. But he claims he can only get angry when we're winning and look like throwing it away.

Defoe is through again but Greeny saves with his legs this time. The final whistle goes, and Nigel points out that we’ve kept a clean sheet for the first time in 25 games. That should be the headline item on the national news.

Zola talks about his grand project and creating a new mentality after the game, but the harsh fact is we haven’t won in seven games and Curbs’ sides regularly picked up points.

Nigel forgoes hanging around to head home to relive his Stranglers gig. I reflect that there’s the germ of something in our football. Sears and Collison look like our next stars to flog to Chelsea, it’s all there apart from the finishing. One day, perhaps, we’ll give someone a tonking.

Although as Hugh Cornwall might sing: “But the money’s no good… just get a grip on yourself.”


Jeff said...

I thought Nigel was more of a Hi Ho Silver Lining fan?

Pete May said...

Nigel's tastes do indeed run from Hi Ho Silver Lining, Uriah Heep, the Darkness and Queen to the much more acceptable Men In Black (the Stranglers that is, not Mark Clattenberg).