Posts Tagged ‘West Ham’

Manchester City v West Ham
PLUS Greaves scores twice in Hammers romp at Maine Road

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Allardyce – feeling the pressure

By Rob Shepherd.

For West Ham their trip to Manchester City in the semi-final first leg of the Capital One Cup is akin to jumping from the frying pan into the fire in the wake of their FA Cup Third Round humiliation at Nottingham Forest.

Having fielded so many young inexperienced players at the City Ground Sam Allardyce was always likely to gamble away The Hammers interest in the FA Cup.

But even if from a financial point of view Premiership survival is a priority for West Ham – which makes their next league against Cardiff a “must win” -Allardyce surely can’t surrender any interest in keeping the tie alive for the second leg at Upton Park and so having the chance of reaching Wembley and maybe even winning the League Cup.

Such an achievement could easily inspire a revival in the league. The manager then must surely recall the bulk and the best (not that there are too many in that category at the moment) for the City game.

More to the point it would give suffering Hammers fans a taste of honey.

It could also save Allardyce’s increasingly precarious position as manager from the sack.

Survival AND silverware? That is the definition of success for a club like West Ham.

Duty

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Jimmy Greaves being tackled by City’s Mike Doyle at a muddy Maine Road in 1970

In that sense he has a duty to the club, its fans, the players and himself to field a team strong enough and experienced enough to at least compete with a City side who have been unstoppable at the Ethiad Stadium this season, where they are unbeaten and average nearly four goals a game.

On the face of it the tie looks a shoo-in for the City.

But strange things do happen in the Cup as a weakened West Ham won at Tottenham in the quarter final.

At the very least West Ham should aim for damage limitation so they would still be in with a chance of overcoming City in the second leg.

Hammers Romp

Older Hammers fans will also cling to a fond memory of a day they went up to City and thrashed them in the mud of Maine Road.

It was way back in 1970; the day Jimmy Greaves made his debut for the Hammers after he had been part of the deal which had seen Martin Peters sign for Tottenham.

Greaves, as he did on all his debuts, scored. Twice in fact. The Hammers romped on to win 5-1 in a total mud-bath against what was at the time a very strong City side.

The game is also remembered for Hammers midfield Ronnie Boyce scoring a wonder volley from 40 yards (see below).

Yet the following year, to highlight the Jekyll and Hyde nature of The Hammers back then, they lost 4-0 at Blackpool in the FA Cup Third Round, just to remind younger Hammers fans that Sunday’s collapse at Nottingham did not shock older West Ham fans!

That debacle was compounded by the fact that England skipper Bobby Moore, Greaves, Clyde Best and Brian Dear had all been dropped for the game and would later be suspended and or fined by the club having spent the Friday night before the game at a Blackpool night club.

There is more chance of the Hammers being thrashed similarly by City, not a cats chance of them putting five past City. But if The Hammers can avoid a trouncing at the Ethiad, scrape a draw, even a shock win then suddenly there atrocious season won’t seem quite so bad.

THE ODDS

Man City:  1/5    Draw:  6/1    West Ham:    12/1

Selected Bets:

City to win –  1-0: 10/1,  2-0: 7/1,  3-1: 10/1,  4-0:  10/1

West Ham to win – 0-1: 28/1, 1-2: 33/1

Draw – 0-0: 20/1, 1-1: 12/1, 2-2: 25/1, 3-3: 100/1

First Scorer:

Negredo: 3/1  Dzeko: 4/1  Toure: 6/1  Nasri:  8/1

C Cole: 12/1  Maiga: 12/1  Morrison: 16/1  J Cole: 18/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY: Dzeko to score first and City to win 3-0:  22/1

 

Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes.

 

 

 

Heads You Lose!
Lloris injury a warning to heed + When Bobby Moore went in goal

HugoLloris2

Dazed and confused: Was Lloris mishandled by Spurs medical staff?

by Rob Shepherd.

It was too easy to make the flippant remark asking what all the fuss was about after it emerged that Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris had played on against Everton after suffering concussion following a blow to the heed from a collision with Romelu Lukaku.

What about the days when football was a man’s game, eh lad..?

And then make the obvious reference to Manchester City’s ex German prisoner of war keeper Bert Trautman who completed the 1956 FA Cup final after suffering a broken neck in the days when there were no substitutes. [See Great Shot archive]

Of course that was in an era when society had not heard of the health and safety brigade, the days when some doctors performed surgery in between having a cigarette and glass of whiskey.

It should also be remembered that no one at the time realised that Trautman’s injury was that serious until well after the game.

Given all the medical staff that are now on hand and the fact there are substitute goalkeepers ready to step in, it was on reflection irresponsible of the Tottenham management to allow Lloris to play on at Goodison Park.

After all, FA guidelines make it clear that once a player has suffered concussion he shouldn’t play for FIVE days let alone after five minutes. On that basis perhaps the referee should have stepped in.

Dangerous

Delayed reaction to head injuries can be fatal. Fortunately it seems Lloris has made a full recovery.

Although even that was cast into doubt just a few minutes ahead of the 1-0 Sunday defeat to Newcastle (Nov 10) when the Tottenham medical staff advised manager Andrea Villa-Boas that Lloris had failed an “impact test” and could not play even though seven days had elapsed.

That seemed to suggest, much to AVB’s ire, that it was in fact wrong to have allowed Lloris to carry on playing the previous week and was potentially dangerous.

And as often happens suddenly there is a London buses scenario where another two high profile head injuries turn up straight away.

In Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny suffered a nasty blow to the head following a collision with Manchester United’s Phil Jones.

The difference with regards to Lloris though was that as painful as it must have been for a while, Szczesny was not knocked out and played on without any further fuss.

Niether was United’s centre-half Nemanja Vidic knocked unconscious after a collision with his keeper David de Gea.

But Vidic’s blow was a sufficiently bad knock for him to be withdrawn and taken to hospital for a precautionary scan straight away.

The incidents have caused a big debate on head injuries and goalkeepers are especially at risk.

After all seven years on Chelsea keeper Petr Cech still wears a protective skull cap after a sickening blow to the head which saw him knocked cold and rushed to hospital following clash with Reading’s Stephen Hunt in October 2006.

Iconic

Apart from the debate now raging the Lloris incident did bring back memories of what proved to be one of the iconic moments of Seventies soccer when Bobby Moore ended up in goal.

West Ham were playing Stoke in League Cup semi final, second (yes, second!) replay at Old Trafford in 1972.

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West Ham’s Bobby Ferguson is injured, leaving Bobby Moore to take over between the sticks! (Click on photo to see the action)

Hammers keeper Bobby Ferguson suffered a blow to the head and even back then – when a patient could still have a fag in their hospital bed – he went down to the dressing room for treatment before returning twenty minutes later (only one sub back then).

For that time the Hammers played with ten men and England’s World Cup winning captain Moore went in goal after Clyde Best, the nominated stop gap keeper, lost his nerve.

MooreSaves

Bobby Moore is beaten by Stoke’s Peter Bernard after incredibly saving his initial penalty

Not long after Moore got between the sticks West Ham conceded a penalty and incredibly Bobby saved it, only for Peter Bernard to follow up and slot home from the rebound.

Stoke went on to win 3-2 and beat Dave Sexton’s Chelsea in the final to land what remains their only major trophy.

Health wise Ferguson made a quick recovery, but as a top flight keeper from a confidence point of view he never really got over that blow.

 

Stoke City 3-2 West Ham United
January 26th, 1972
Semi-final, 2nd replay (Old Trafford)
Stoke goals: Bernard, Dobing, Conroy.
West Ham goals: Bonds, Brooking.
Attendance: 49,247*

STOKE CITY: Banks; Marsh, Pejic, Bernard, Smith, Bloor, Conroy, Greenhoff, Ritchie, Dobing, Eastham.

WEST HAM UTD: Ferguson, McDowell, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor, Moore, Redknapp (Eustace), Best, Hurst, Brooking, Robson.

*Reduced capacity due to the building of the cantilever stand. Over 170,000 fans watched the four games and the average ticket price for the final match was a mere 35 pence.

 

Spurs v West Ham Preview + Who Scored All Four for The Hammers in ’81 Romp at The Lane?

Hammers to Fall…?

by Rob Shepherd

Back in July, before the Gareth Bale saga neared its conclusion, most bookies were offering 25-1 for Tottenham to win the title.

The odds barely moved when all the new signings started to be made ahead of Bale’s £86 million departure.

BalevWestHam

Bale broke West Ham hearts with a late winner back in February

A stronger squad on paper perhaps, but could Spurs do without the Bale magic..? Statistical evidence from last season showed Bale’s equaling or winning goals were worth 24 points for Tottenham.

One of Bale’s “three pointer” strikes was a stunning long range last minute shot at Upton Park in the spring when Spurs won 3-2.

According to the stat men without Bale, Spurs – who finished fifth – would have finished tenth. That said if the contribution of the top goal scorers of their rivals were taken out of the equation then Spurs would have finished third.

But thus far, as Bale finds his feet at Real Madrid, Spurs have hit the ground running and are one of the pacesetters in the title race.

Carroll

Carroll is a big loss for West Ham

For the first time since the mid-eighties – when teams managed by Peter Shreeves then David Pleat went close – Spurs are in a position where they could make a real and sustained challenge for a prize that has eluded them since The Double season of 1961.

Their best finish since (third again) was under Terry Venables in 1989 but that Tottenham team was never part of that famous run in when Arsenal pipped Liverpool with the last kick.

Now with Manchester United and City stumbling Tottenham’s odds have been slashed.

And Spurs must expect to maintain their momentum with a win at The Lane against a West Ham side who have slumped towards the foot of the table.

Instead of moving on from their solid 10th placed finish last season the priority now for The Hammers is averting a relegation battle.

West Ham’s big problem is a lack of goals. The prolonged absence of injury prone Andy Carroll is painfully obvious.

When Carroll did play last season West Ham were a vastly superior team. If he wasn’t that prolific himself it was the chaos he caused in the opposition’s box and chances he set up for team mates.

And for those who don’t think a “Big Centre forward” like Carroll has ever been part of the West Ham way then they should look back to this clip of when David Cross – aka Psycho- tortured Tottenham at The Lane in 1981 when he scored FOUR times in a 4-0 win.

There’s a good chance the score line will be the other way around this time…

THE ODDS

Spurs: 4/9   Draw: 10/3   West Ham: 13/2

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY:  First Goalscorer – Sigurdsson: 11/2

Selected other bets:

Correct Score – Spurs 0-4 West Ham: 500/1

Correct Score – Spurs 4-0 West Ham: 17/1

Scorecast – Paulinho to score first & Spurs to win 3-0: 45/1

First goal to be an own goal: 22/1

Spurs to win title: 15/2

West Ham to go down: 11/2

Odds courtesy of Paddy Power

 

The Saints March Again + Southampton v West Ham preview

By Rob Shepherd.

To Southampton fans it must seem a bit baffling that Rickie Lambert has already had a more prolific England career than Matt Le Tissier and could end up playing at a World Cup finals.

Even if it was a dour draw in Ukraine, Lambert did his bit tirelessly leading the line to push England further down the road to Rio and with two goals in three internationals is putting up a string case to be in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans as a new boy at the advanced years of 31.

By that age Le Tissier’s career for one reason or another had passed him by when he was omitted for the 1998 World Cup finals with eight caps and no goals.

Saints fans often argue there was a prejudice against their hero Le Tiss because he remained loyal to their “unfashionable” club down on the South Coast. Such barriers no longer seem to apply.

And of course there was a time when Southampton was a showbiz club of sorts and the centre of the England team when the England captain was a Saint.

soton_KeeganOn 10th February 1980 Lawrie McMenemy called a press conference at the Potters Heron hotel, Ampfield in Hampshire.

‘A new shirt sponsor perhaps?’ pondered the handful of press guys that were hanging around.

When everyone was sitting comfortably McMenemy pulled back a curtain from behind the stage and out walked Kevin Keegan. The reigning European Football of The Year would be joining Southampton from German club SV Hamburg for the significant sum of £440,000.

Even some of the seasoned hacks – many of whom were close to McMenemy and were often give a nod and wink about news – were taken aback with shock. It was hardly the sort of razzmatazz that now comes with signature signings (as former Saint Gareth Bale had at Madrid) but it was more jaw dropping not least because there had been absolutely no hint of the move until the theatrical unveiling.

It had been assumed that if Keegan returned to England a clause would see him go back to Liverpool. But by then Kenny Dalglish had taken over Keegan’s number 7 shirt and Liverpool didn’t want him back.

When McMenemy got wind of the situation he moved swiftly. And that summer Keegan would lead England at the 1980 European Championship and was an injured skipper at the 1982 World Cup finals.

And for a couple of seasons he was the shaggy haired focal point of a swashbuckling Saints team which included former internationals Alan Ball, Mick Channon, Charlie George and Dave Watson. Watching the Saints was a bit like watching a roving England all stars XI.

Keegan’s England career ended in 1982 with 21 goals from 63 games and he moved on to Newcastle.

It’s unlikely Lambert will surpass that but he may yet have a bigger impact than the 20 minutes from the bench Keegan managed at the ’82 World Cup.

And there is a new batch of young Saints knocking on the England door such as Luke Shaw and James Ward–Prowse, with of course ex youth product Theo Walcott a regular.

In Keegan’s day Southampton was a former England veteran club – it’s now becoming something of a feeder club for country. ‘If only back in my day’ Le Tissier might ponder ….

The Odds

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Extra pressure will be on Nolan to score for West Ham with Carroll out injured

Certainly Lambert’s attacking menace and sky high confidence could give the Saints an edge in Sunday’s televised game against West Ham.

The Hammers have been rocked by an injury to key man Andy Carroll, so added pressure will be on the likes of Kevin Nolan and new recruit Petric to score their goals.

Southampton:  5/6  Draw: 5/2  West Ham: 7/2

Selected Bets:

Correct Score: Southampton 2-1 West Ham : 7/1

First Goalscorer: Kevin Nolan 12/1

Bobby’s Bet of the Day:

Half Time / Full Time:

Southampton / Draw:  13/1

 

Odds courtesy of PaddyPower

 

Premium Bonds

09-Billy BONDS - Panini West Ham 1978
 

Great to see that Billy Bonds was given a guard of honour at West Ham before their first home game of the season.

The Hammers legend, who played for over 20 years at Upton Park before retiring in 1988, was given a rousing reception by West Ham fans before they beat Cardiff 2-0.

‘Bonzo’ also managed West Ham between 1990 and 1994.

More on Billy Bonds coming to BOBBY Soon.

 

Family Affair

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has started the season in fine form, scoring derby-county-dean-sturridge-199-merlin-premier-league-98-football-sticker-57942-pthe winner against Stoke on opening day and then repeating the feat against Aston Villa at the weekend.

Clearly scoring goals runs in the family, as Daniel is the nephew of former Derby County, Leicester City and Wolves forward Dean Sturridge.

Dean scored 92 league goals, including the very first in the Premier League by The Rams, before retiring in 2007. He’s now a commentator for Sky Sports.

The family can also boast another professional footballer in their ranks as Dean’s brother Simon also played for Birmingham City and Stoke City.

 

 

 

Lampard: Flavour Of The Old School

By Rob Shepherd.

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Frank smashes in his freekick against Hull

A new season but Frank Lampard was straight back in the old routine scoring a goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 opening day win over Hull. And to think earlier this year Chelsea had been prepared to let him walk out the door and end his career in the USA.

Having surpassed Bobby Tamblings’s record of 202 goals for the Blues last season Lampard hit his 204th with a stunning Ronaldoesque 35 yard free kick and that just a few minutes after having a penalty saved.

It obviously enthused Jose Mourinho that Chelsea will get back into the old routine they established when he was manager last time around and win the title as they did in the first season of that previous reign.

Back to the future ?

That is the Chelsea’s plan and why one of the first things Mourinho did before agreeing to come back to the club was to persuade Lampard to stay on for another season.

It can be revealed by BOBBY that having not been offered a suitable deal by the club at the turn of the year Lampard was on the verge of an agreement to take him to the MSL, with LA Galaxy.

But in March, when the deal to bring Mourinho back to Chelsea from Real Madrid was in an advanced stage, Jose still wanted to iron out a few issues. One of which was to offer Lampard the sort of one year deal that would make him stay.

A source close to Lampard told me recently: “Frank was all set to go to the States with Galaxy but then he got a text message from Jose telling him he was on the way back and urging him to stay. Jose wanted his experience and his goals. He worked hard on him and Frank couldn’t resist.”

The traditional man management skills Mourinho learned from the late Bobby Robson are one of his greatest assets. It’s how he gets key players on side and straight away Chelsea hit the ground running with Lampard back in the groove, old school routine even you might say.

If ever a contemporary player is a throwback to a previous era then Lampard surely is, especially in the sense he is more like an old fashioned inside forward (a ‘number 10’ or ‘number 8’) than what has become the more restricted role of most conventional central midfielders.

Perhaps that is partly due to the fact he inherits a strong DNA from his father Frank who was a West Ham legend in the seventies and eighties; he plays with a more thoughtful less rushed style of that era and his attitude and respect towards the spirit of the soccer reflects his understanding of the game’s history.

FrankSnr
When he was first coming through the ranks at West Ham he was referred to as Frank junior, because at the time his dad was still THE Frank and also assistant manager (and brother in law) to Harry Redknapp. Now of course young Frank is now plain Frank, while the old man is known as Frank senior.

It is incredible now to reflect not long after he emerged into the West Ham first team following a short spell on loan to Swansea, he became the subject of an increasing barrage of criticism from short-sighted West Ham supporters.

Essentially the allegation was that Lampard was only in the team because of nepotism.

An exchange at a fans forum where Redknapp had to defend Lampard’s ability (Harry is young Frank’s uncle) now looks plain ridiculous and exposes those West Ham fans who branded him ‘Fat Frank’ as, well, thick. (click on the below link)

Since his £11 million move to Chelsea in 2001 Lampard, still in fine physical shape at 35, has become an all-time Chelsea legend, one of Premier League ‘Platinum’ and is just two short of 100 England caps.

Not bad for a kid who couldn’t play.

For the record: Matt Holland did bounce back with Ipswich and Charlton, playing for the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup. Scott Canham drifted on from Brentford, played for Orient then did a tour of non-league clubs ending up at Thurrock. He is now manager of Aveley who play in the Isthmian League.

Coming soon to BobbyFC: Frank Talking with Frank Lampard Snr and Frank Lampard Jr.

La Gola Vita!

Paolo-Di-Canio-managerIt’s no surprise Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager has courted controversy. Some of the knee-jerk, jigsaw style journalism has of course been ridiculous. If some of Di Canio’s complex political views (so simplistically and erroneously portrayed as bordering on the neo-Nazi) are an impediment to being a football boss in England then why weren’t these issues raised when he was appointed by previous club Swindon Town?

That is another debate. Although one aspect of the reaction to Di Canio taking over from Martin O’Neill is true; It will surely be a roller coaster ride on Wearside.

On pure talent alone Di Canio was one of the most outrageously gifted players of his generation around the globe, yet he never won a single senior international cap for Italy. That was not just due to players such as Roberto Baggio or Ginafranco Zola in front of him in the No. 10 role for the Azzuri but because of a volatile temper that once saw him come to blows with manager Fabio Capello then walk out of Juventus.

Successive national managers didn’t feel they could trust him so Di Canio became surely the best player NEVER to play for Italy. He sought refuge in Britain and amazed with his skill and sometimes appalled with his antics at Celtic,  Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton.

Many consider his goal of the season strike for the Hammers against Wimbledon in 1999 as the best ever to be seen in the Premier League.

Paolo Di Canio Volley vs. Wimbledon video

But many Italians will argue he scored an ever better one when scoring a stunning solo effort for Napoli against AC Milan in 1994.

Calcio -Paolo Di Canio Goal (Napoli – Milan 1-0) 1994

To get a better idea of the volatile nature of Di Canio as a player then just listen to his manager when at West Ham, Harry Redknapp, as he lifts the lid on the wild and wonderful world of Paolo Di Canio.

Harry Redknapp tells funny Paolo DiCanio stories