Monday, January 3

Here's Freddie!

West Ham 2 Wolves 0

Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners fame is in the Ercan chip shop on Barking Road, presumably searching for the young (Dover) sole rebels. Rowland — a Wolves fan — is the only man at Upton Park in a beret, bar Fraser. Not quite sure if the impressionist painter look will catch on in Essex. It’s tempting to ask him to tell me when West Ham’s light turn Green.

Will we be playing 4-4-Too-Rye-Aye? Grant has reverted to the side that won at Fulham and Matt’s furtively retained his “lucky” Dukla Prague away kit under his jumper, as it looks suspiciously like a Wolves shirt.

Wolves start well and Jarvis has several dangerous crosses that result in corners. But we improve and our best chance comes when a Wolves central defender stumbles and Carlton Cole prods the ball wide in front of a gaping goal.

Then young Freddie Sears latches on to a loose ball and sends a ball towards the net only for Wolves defender Stearman to make a great clearance off the line.

At half-time we predict the scores. Mystic Massey opts for 2-0 to the Irons, Mystic May goes for 1-0 with a Freddie Sears strike and Nigel goes for 0-0… Mystic Matt then predicts that Freddie Sears will never score another league goal for the Irons.

Wolves start the second half as if fired up by a Mick McCarthy “shit and caramel” speech and create four quick chances. Robert Green makes a great save from a Carlton Cole’s misdirected header and then makes another flying stop from Ebanks-Blake. Quietly he’s played himself back into England form in the last few weeks.


On 51 minutes we take the lead with a bizarre own goal. Piquionne beats the offside trap to cross from the right. Carlton Cole takes an air kick and completely misses the cross. This so bamboozles Wolves’ Zubar that he allows the ball to bounce off his thigh into the net. Cole can only shrug his shoulders and grin.

Nigel refuses to celebrate such a lucky goal while the rest of us jump up and down. “I like to see us murder teams,” he says in a moment of aesthetic fervour, claiming that we wouldn’t want to support teams like Stoke and Big Sam-era Blackburn.

Although in the absence of West Ham playing like Real Madrid I think most of us will opt for a comedy goal. And the thought of Zubar’s effort going on an Own Goals and Gaffes dvd will surely help Danny Baker recover from cancer.

Then Mattie Upson hits the bar with a header from Parker’s corner. Hopefully Grant is becoming a lucky general, a fact emphasised by a poor back pass kicked out by Green, a missed tackle by Upson and Ebanks-Blake heading against the bar.

Mark Noble replaces Stanislas and immediately brings more bite to the midfield. We seal it after 79 minutes. Parker finds Ben Haim on the right and the Israeli crosses for 13-year-old Freddie Sears to score with a crisp striker’s finish. We’re up out of our seats as Freddie runs to salute the East Stand.

It’s his first goal since March 2008 and the crowd will always rise to a local lad. And it’s a personal vindication that Father Christmas really does exist. Since Freddie wrote that letter to Santa and Ruud Boffin the red-nosed reindeer asking for a return from Scunthorpe, a first team place and a goal at Upton Park he’s been rewarded with everything bar that Nintendo DS he also requested.

A deserved moment for Sears who has impressed with his sheer energy wide on the right. He’s not the greatest of footballers but he plays like the West Ham fan he is and his work rate has exposed some of the more senior pros.

Even Nigel celebrates. If the last goal was his version of Black Lace’s Agadoo, then this one rivalled Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans for artistic merit.

The whole ground breaks out into a spontaneous chorus of Bubbles and it’s a big, big win. The only worry is Carlton Cole, who’s worked hard for the team, but has missed two clear chances and is clearly not fit. Grant insists on keeping the half-paced Carlton on for the whole game, for no apparent reason.

Two-nil in our Cup Final. Astonishingly we go up to sixth from bottom for the evening. All this and Kevin Rowland in one day. It’s tempting to seek him out and say There There My Dear.


Steve Rapport said...

Carlton Cole worked hard for the team? He's injured? Do me a favour Smeggins, he's a carthorse who really needs to be peripatetic or otherwise removed to the barn. The man is an embarrassment to the shirt, and his two laughable 'efforts' at scoring would get him kicked out of any decent pub side.

Why are you always so generous towards him?

Pete May said...

Guess I'm just a nice guy!
It looks to me like Cole's playing when injured so it's not really his fault if Grant keeps picking him.
He was limping at the end but in true West Ham style we kept him on despite having Obinna on the bench. He's never been right since he got injured scoring that penalty against Burnley.
Yes, he was rubbish on Saturday and Steve Rapport could have bagged those two chances while reading an i-Pad.
But as he showed at Fulham and under Zola, when motivated and match fit CC can be really difficult to play against. He's got the physique and potential to be much better — although you're right he's not England class.
But whether he will ever be the same player after injury or if he will go the way of Ilunga and Dyer is a moot point. Maybe Liverpool will offer that £10 million…