Wednesday, August 31

Super Scotty Parker

Thanks to Scott Parker for all he gave to the club in his four years at Upton Park.

The inevitable has happened and Scotty has gone to Spurs for a reported £5 million. He was Billy Bonds-like in his commitment and gave a seven or eight out of ten performance every game.

Certain things stick in the memory, a tackle away at Everton, playing after the death of his dad against Spurs, that goal against Wigan that kept us up and his run from deep to score against Stoke last season.

Perhaps the move is right for both clubs. We were a one-man team last season and when he was injured it was almost as if it gave the players a psychological excuse to fail. Now Scotty has gone the players we have left will have to take more responsibility. Without Parker a midfield of Noble, Nolan, Collison and Taylor still looks strong enough to take us up.

Papa's got a brand new club

We've signed the admirably-named Papa Bouba Diop, the unattached ex-Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder. Always thought he looked a decent player at Fulham and he could shoot from distance. Even at 33 he's probably a decent addition to a Championship squad and another big man to puysh into the box at set pieces too.

We've also signed Paraguay Under-20 striker Brian Montenegro on a season-long loan from Uruguay's Club Deportivo Maldonado. Our record has been pretty disastrous with South Americans (Javier Margas, Pablo Barrera, etc) so let's hope we have better luck with the life of Brian.

Forest felled

Notts Forest 1 West Ham 4

What a great weekend. Spurs lose 5-1 at home, Arsenal are hammered 8-2 by United and we win 4-1 away. "Watched" the first half late at night from a Sydney hotel room via's live updates and went to bed pretty confident at 3-0 up. And this time even we couldn't blow it.

Now back in Blighty and able to see the goals. Incredibly, we're now lethal at set pieces. We've finally found a use for Faubert - winning corners from his deflected shots. Credit to Tomkins for heading the ball back into the box for Nolan's second and Winston Reid for finding Cole's bonce for the third. While Taylor made the first own goal with a fine cross and set the fourth up for Reid.

Admittedly Green had to make two fine saves and Forest were woeful at the back but three away wins in three is something we haven't achieved since prehistory. What was also encouraging from the highlights was that Carlton Cole was chasing lost causes, setting up Faubert and Nolan for chances they should have buried.

And what has Allardyce done to inspire Winston Reid? As a former ugly centre back Big Sam's definitely helped Reid with his game and perhaps the fact that Allardyce worked with fellow Kiwi Ryan Nelson at Blackburn is a promising sign too.

A great win. Shame we'll be bypassing Arsenal next season though...

Saturday, August 27

Baldock spirit

For a moment I thought my Dell notebook was telling me that West Ham had signed Baldrick - which would have been apt last season - but a second glance revealed we've got super Sam Baldock from MK Dons.

The lad knows where the net is - one in three games in his MK career and six in six games this season. He's young and hungry and if he can do it at Championship level he could be the foil we need for our big strikers.

Meanwhile Pablo Barrera has been loaned for a season to Real Zaragoza after language and personal difficulties according to the club website. Another disastrous signing by Grant - never sign a player after a good World Cup, particularly South Americans, who for some reason invariably fail to adapt to Chigwell.

And now Scotty's in talks with Spurs...

Thursday, August 25

Concentrating on the league

West Ham 1 Aldershot 2 (Carling Cup)

Aldershot in routine win against plucky cup minnows West Ham. I'm sitting looking at Sydney Harbour Bridge in one of the most beautiful cities in the world wondering how we lost at home to Aldershot.

Yes it might be a benefit to have no distractions and we played our reserves and had a kid sent off, but even so... and as for obligatory 89th minute winners... Oh well, at least I'll be home soon to witness the misery first hand.

Tuesday, August 23

Freddie's load of rubbish

Proof that footballers have more rubbbish than sense. Freddie Piquionne's been fined for fly-tipping in a country lane at Stapleford Tawney in Essex, three miles from his gaff.

What could have been in the eight bin bags and box he left? Surely not the remains of Avram Grant's dossiers on defensive solidity and clinical finishing?

Sunday bloody Sunday

West Ham 2 Leeds United 2

We've conceded another stoppage-time goal, this time to U2's bass player Adam Clayton. Big Sam has spotted our fear of playing at Upton Park and that's three points thrown away though late goals. Maybe Bono could restore some self-belief. Or perhaps Amdy Faye should be employed late on to boost the defence?

Couldn't get to see the game vacationing in the Solomon Islands but overall, it's not a bad start to the season and we're unbeaten for three games. At least we've played reasonably well in all four games and Allardyce is surely the man to instill some professionalism into our defence late on.

We seem to be playing good football too, which allays the long ball fears. Another goal for Cole and an assist from Faubert are signs suggesting some of our underperformers of last season are playing for their futures at last.

Like Adam Clayton, Big Sam Still Hasn't Found What He's Looking For. But you hope we'll eventually find some Elevation at the back and Pride (In the Name of Love). But in stoppage time it seems we're suffering from Vertigo and currently Stuck In A Moment We Can't Get Out Of.

Friday, August 19

Zav it

So Zavon Hines has gone to Burnley for a fee that will be decided by a tribunal. The lad had pace and scored a great goal against Villa a couple of years ago, but after a bad injury the big Cup matches last season - where he was inexplicably picked by Grant - suggested he wasn't really up to he standard we need.

At least our wage bill must be healthier. That's six players in and 14 shifted in Upson, Dyer, Gabbidon, Jacobsen, Spector, Keane, Obinna, Bridge, Ba, Hitzlsperger, Kovac, Da Costa, Boa Morte and Hines.

Mad Dog whistle

Notts County boss Martin Allen says:

"I am desperate to find someone who can teach me to whistle. This may sound like a joke but I can assure you it's not. This is not for my dog. This is for me to whistle from my technical area."

Couldn't he just bark instead?

Wednesday, August 17

Four-nil to the Cockney Boys!

Watford 0 West Ham 4

When did the words "rampant Hammers" last appear on BBC Sport? Come to that when did the words "controlled" and "disciplined" last appear in a Hammers match report?

It's the first time we've won successive away games since December 2007. A fantastic win and Big Sam reckons the side played to the maximum of their ability.

Good to see Tomka and Joey O'Brien score, and Cole get a start and a goal. While Parker scored a fitting fourth, hopefully not his last for the club.

Allardyce is looking like a proper manager who has reinvigorated the likes of Reid. Maybe we're coming to terms with this division.

Meanwhile I'm still marooned in the South Pacific but now I'm looking forward to rather than dreading returning to Upton Park in September.

Sir Elton John, we gave your boys one hell of a rocket, man!

Monday, August 15

Dyer straights

Back in the Premier League it's nice to see our ex-players winding up Neil Warnock at QPR. Signing the permanently-injured Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon - once a solid defender but past his best - always seemed a fanciful way of ensuring Premiership survival.

During Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Bolton Dyer lasted just seven minutes before being stretchered off and Gabbidon scored an own goal... Maybe they'll soon sack Warnock and appoint Avram Grant.

Sunday, August 14

Oh what fun it is to see West Ham win away!

Doncaster 0 West Ham 1

Hammers in shock win at Doncaster on my birthday. Exactly the sort of game we need to gain three points from if we're to go up - and our first away win since Fulham at Christmas.

Kevin Nolan scored 18 goals when he won the Championship at Newcastle, and could be the goalscoring midfielder we've lacked since Big Fat Frank left.

Interesting to see Allardyce opt for a five man midfield, bringing in Jack Collison. Most of us expected Collison to have replaced Parker by now, but he certainly gives an extra option for away games and made Nolan's goal. Meanwhile Scotty exudes professionalism, wherever his future lies, still prepared to scrap in Yorkshire despite his likely transfer before the window closes.

Big Sam appears to prefer Piquionne to Cole - perhaps a sign either that he doesn't think CC is fully fit or that he's likely to leave.

A clean sheet is a boost and Ilunga will gain confidence from that, even if he is likely to be replaced by McCartney. With our squad so thin we need all the players we can get.

Yes it was only Doncaster, who had ten men out. but then we played Rotherham away at a similar stage the last time we were in the Championship and lost 1-0. Encouraging.

Saturday, August 13

McCartney Gets Back

Well, the riots are over, my house is still standing and it's my birthday today - sadly, I'm now officially too old to play for WHU - and West Ham are playing at Doncaster. So expect they'll let me down as usual...

Still, George McCartney is a great loan signing on the evidence of his last spell with us (could we get Aaron Lennon as well?) and suggests Big Sam has lost belief in Herita after last Sunday. Collison's signed a new deal and we still have Scotty, Carlton and Robert so perhaps a win might not be too much to hope for?

Monday, August 8

Snatching defeat from victory

Oh Monday, Monday... Now is the time for Big Sam to prove that he can instill some professionalism in to the side. Playing well and not even coming out of it with a 0-0 draw has the hallmarks of the Roeder and Grant relegation sides. It's surely about mental toughness as much as anything.

Some goals would help too. Sears has yet to prove himself as a scorer so we should stick Cole or Carew up front with Freddie. A midfield of Noble, Parker, Nolan and Taylor should be the best in the league - we just need to prove it at Doncaster, a match which will shape our season.

Sunday, August 7

It's not the despair I can't take...

West Ham 0 Cardiff 1

Bugger! just stayed up till one o'clock Pacific time to read West Ham conceding the winner with the last kick of the sodding game. Sounds like we created nearly all the chances and hit the post, then Ilunga was at fault at the end. Not sure why the substitutions were left so late? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Get Faye and Carew in quick. Should have stayed in bed. Or chucked a coconut at the computer screen.

Confirms it's going to be a bloody difficult league to get out of...

Exiled from Green Street

It's 11pm in the Solomon Islands and I'm "watching" the Cardiff game via internet updates from BBC Sport, with a can of Solbrew at the ready. My host ML has just offered to cook a chip buttie, but after a six-hour ex-pat lunch party think I'll leave that to Ken's Cafe and the more sober time of 1pm.

Interesting to see Ilunga back at left back, Taylor in midfield and 13-year-old Freddie Sears preferred to Carlton Cole up front...


John Carew, Carew, he likes a lapdance or two...

Well, we've signed a fifth Premiership player in John Carew. Say what you like about Sam Allardyce, he's certainly attracting a better class of player than Avram Grant would have.

Carew is 31 years old, but scored nearly one goal every two games at Aston Villa (52 in 133 games) and has 88 caps for Norway. He's not that mobile, but at 6ft 5ins you'd expect him to be unstoppable in the air at Championship level.

Admittedly he comes with an attitude having argued with Martin O'Neill at Villa and being famously caught at a lapdancing joint the night before a game, hence the memorable chant of "John Carew, Carew, he likes a lapdance or two..."

But you'd expect Allardyce to be capable of motivating just such a player and keeping him away from the fleshpots of E13 (or at least just giving him a few of the chairman's mags to keep him content).

The big question now is will he play with Carlton Cole or has he been signed as a replacemenmt?

Saturday, August 6

A message to Robert Green from Nell, aged 10

Dear Robert Green,

You are my favourite player in West Ham United Football Club and I would really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really like you to stay, please. I think that you are also the best player in West Ham United as well as my favourite.

Do you remember when West Ham went down in 2003? They went straight back up in two years. All it took was a good manager (you've got that), hard work (you can do that), and good players (you've got them too).

So you see if you stayed you'd be a hero of West Ham. You could be up there with Bobby Moore, if you stayed.

I've been supporting West Ham all my life, (I'm ten so that's ten years). If I can do that you can stay with West Ham when they really, really need you. (That's now.)

Please,please, please, pleaae,please, please stay with West Ham United Football Club.

Best wishes,

Nell May

PS I am writing this from the Solomon Islands (where I am travelling) but I will be back in London shortly.

I hope you take notice of this letter and decide to stay.

Thursday, August 4

Waiting for the great leap forwards

Well, we've been out of cyber range for ten days, most recently scaling ridges and yomping through rivers on the semi-dormant volcanic island of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands. This Jurassic landscape is stunning in the mist and rain. But can all the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-style scenery in the world really compare to Ken's Cafe and Green Street?

The big surprise is that we've only bought one Bolton player during my radio silence, Joey O'Brien. Why not just bid for the whole squad, Big Sam? Boa has been deselected and Spence has surprisingly been loaned to Bristol City again. And we still to seem to have Super Scotty.

We're currently stranded in Gizo due to inclement weather and, like most other temporary expatriates, I'm longing for Radio Five Live and the score from Upton Park. Even Nigel's football trivia facts might be welcome. As Rupert Brooke might have put it:

And does the clock still stand at half past three?
And has Matt started swearing at the referee?

Surely this season has to be better than the Grant-maintained debacle of 2010-11... Irons!