Saturday, January 5

Manchester (and RVP) so much to answer for…

West Ham 2 Man United 2 (FA Cup)

It’s another unusual kick-off time at a Roger Daltrey-like 5.15, so the pre-match routine for my daughters involves a trip to the Who Shop (where the man gives us a lengthy run-down on the varying prices of Lego Doctor Who figures), then the Newham Bookshop and finally Ken’s Café for a pre-match toasted cheese sandwich.

Nigel’s with CQ, who is dispensing liquorice torpedoes, while Matt is in his lucky CCCP top and Fraser’s carrying his festive cigars. It’s a strong United side with Van Persie, Giggs and Valencia in reserve on the bench, while Big Sam rests Reid Jarvis and Noble, starts Diarra and is forced to play young Danny Potts at left back with O’Brien and McCartney injured. Joe Cole receives a massive cheer from the home fans and still looks like a Dickensian urchin, even if his hair is a little thinner these days.

It’s all United passing early on with Welbeck looking sharp. After a Hernandez break down the right, he crosses for the unmarked Cleverley to shoot home first time on 23 minutes.

West Ham come back into it though, with Diarra having a header cleared from under the bar, Carlton Cole even showing a turn of speed to Vidic and Demel prominent on the right. After 27 minutes, Vaz Te passes inside to Joe Cole, who jinks in a lovely cross the find the head of Ginger Collins.  Lord Voldemort sends a glancing header into the corner and runs for the camera.

“You’re not singing anymore!” chants the Bobby Moore Stand.

We enjoy more of CQ’s lucky liquorice torpedoes at half time as Nigel reveals that Danny Welbeck’s dad used to be in the bomb disposal regiment. “He’d say stand welbeck…” A career in stand-up beckons.

West Ham give it a good go in the second half, and young Pottsy isn’t scared to get forward. Nolan wins a corner with a clever flick off a defender and from the resulting passage of play we score a second on 59 minutes. Cole chips in another finely-flighted cross and Collins scores another great header. It looks like Joe will give us the final ball we’ve been lacking around the box.

“That was the same goal as before…” say my puzzled daughters. “We’re quite happy to score the same goal again and again…” I suggest.

“Your support is effing shit!” suggest the Bobby Moore Stand.

Rather aptly, as Michael the Whovian is away seeing Bobby Davro in pantomime, Vidic has again failed to heed cries of ‘He’s behind you!”

Joe Cole gets a bloody nose but plays on in a new numberless shirt. If he's booked he'll presumably say his name's Julian Dicks. Jarvis replaces Vaz Te, who has shot wildly most of the afternoon, and Cole goes off to a standing ovation being replaced by Nobes.

Crucially, we fail to score a third just before the end when Carlton Cole prods just wide after Matt Taylor sets him up. There’s even a chant of “Que sera sera…” Ominously United have sent on Valencia, Giggs and Van Persie (no relation to Matt Van Percy). Giggs heads a good chance over as the board goes up for four minutes of Ferguson time.

Ryan Giggs plays a great long ball over our defence, Van Persie gets behind Tomkins, brilliantly controls it with his left foot and slots past Jussi with his right.

Bugger. It feels like a defeat, but there’s a lot of positives such as the performance of young Dan Potts in the biggest game of his life and the fact Diarra has come through a game. And we get to wave at Adrian Chiles in his TV box over the Bobby Moore Stand.

A text arrives from my Manc-supporting mate Nick: “Just when you were poised to send that text — what a goal!”

Now all we have to do is get Paolo Di Canio on loan for the replay at Old Trafford…


Anonymous said...

At the end of the game I got to thinking about when Michael Vaughan was captaining the England cricket team against Australia in the Ashes. During one test early on, we were in a commanding position - then the Aussies forced an unlikely draw.

The Aus fans went wild with celebration, as did their team. (They had been the dominant force for so long, and it seemed this wouldn't be changing.)

Vaughan brought England into a huddle and told them to look at the Aussie team and fans cheering and congratulating each other...

Then he said:

"Look at them... celebrating a draw."

It was a turning point - it said a lot about how far the England team had come. They went on to win the Ashes handsomely.

As the Man Utd team and their fans congratulated each other and cheered wildly the other night - I think it may have said a lot about how far West Ham have come in the last year.

We are not the push overs of old. We have grown up a lot since Avram left.

Van Persie's goal was excellent- but....

"Look at them... celebrating a draw..."

Pete May said...

Very good point, Anonymous. It's a sign of progress... and if the Michael Vaughan analogy is correct then we'll go on to win the FA Cup!

matt said...

I think the joke is more along the lines of....Danny Welbeck's dad Stan used to be in the bomb disposal unit...

I imagine that is how Bobby Davro would tell it, anyway....

Pete May said...

Good point, the subtleties of Nigel's humour were lost on me!