Friday, December 5

Kop that

Liverpool 0 West Ham 0

“I’ll be watching on Setanta thinking of you as we go 0-4 down at half-time,” I tell Big Joe who’s travelling to Anfield in the hope of seeing us get our first win there since 1963, back in the days when the Beatles were a support act.

Matt, Nigel and Fraser are watching the gamer in our lucky Covent Garden pub. I’m booked to play for my pub quiz team, so plan to watch the first half at home and then, secure in the knowledge we’re losing, head off to the pub.

It’s the normal one-way traffic at Anfield. Hypia goes close with a couple of headers but Liverpool look strangely pedestrian, unable to get to the byline and cross the ball into the danger areas. Neill looks steady and Upson and Collins are continuing their fine form of late. Then, just before half time, incredibly, Craig Bellamy races unopposed down the left and fizzes a 30-yard shot on to the inside of the post. Sod it. This being West Ham we might win and I won’t be watching.

I head for the Faltering Fullback, not named after a West Ham defender, as far as I know. At least the game is on in one bar, but we’re at a table in the TV-less middle bar. So in between identifying song lyrics and the first World Cup Final to be decided on penalties as well as who plays at Blundell Park, I’m rushing into the other bar every time here’s a big "Oooh!". Green has just made a fantastic save from Benayoun.

Then, stunningly, Carlton Cole puts a header from a corner just wide. Quite a few Hammers fans are in the bar upping the noise quotient. The ref gives two dodgy offsides against Carlton when he’s through. We surely can’t win this, can we? Then there’s the biggest groan of the evening as Boa Morte is played in and fires widely wide... He’s only been on the pitch for two minutes.

We come fourth in the quiz, just outside the money, so our dreams of going professional will have to wait. And then comes the text from Big Joe: “If only the dead snake could shoot straight.” Three clean sheets in a row, where once our defence looked as dodgy as Roy Keane’s beard. We’ve held the new league leaders. In fact we gave them one hell of a 0-0 beating. Time for another pint of London Pride. Top four here we come.

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