West Ham 1-3 Arsenal

West Ham boss Pellegrini takes the long walk

WATCHING West Ham under Manuel Pellegrini is to be reminded of the old joke about the yokel who starts work in a sawmill. After 20 minutes the rookie calls his foreman over to complain he’s lost a finger on the saw blade. “How did you do that?”, enquires his boss, “Well, I just put my hand like this and – oh, there goes another one!” Just like the newbie, the Chilean never seems to learn – and cares even less.

Once again, the Hammers lost a game to a team on a poor run of form due to mental frailty born of tactical incoherence. Arsenal were terrible. Really poor. They looked like Avram Grant era West Ham. Unfortunately, the home side in contrast could be best viewed as a late-era Arsene Wenger side attempting to pass the ball into the net.

Pellegrini plays a formation that sacrifices central midfielders for wingers that won’t defend. Except the widemen (as well as everybody else) appear to have a moratorium on crossing the ball. The received wisdom is many goalkeepers are scared of crosses – at West Ham it’s our wingers. All the more frustrating when the first decent cross of the night resulted in Angelo Ogbonna scoring.

Arsenal, without a win in nine games could and should have crumbled. The Hammers should have tucked in, filled the midfield, shut the game down and picked the away side off as they stretched their play.

Instead of which the home team threw themselves lemming-like into the Gooners trap of playing out from the keeper. The claret and blue attempt at a press was dismal, those in yellow played through it and scored three goals in a nine-minute blitz as the Hammers defence disintegrated. For the third home game in succession West Ham conceded three.

Post-match as far as the eye could see were fans who shorn of anger were metaphorically throwing their hands in the air. David Sullivan might do well to reflect that apathy is a much more corrosive emotion for a football team than anger.

An accurate summary of the blossoming relationship between West Ham and their fans

As to the immediate future, all the studies show that managers make very little difference to a football team’s performance and that wages are a far better predicator of a team’s success. It would appear sacking Manuel Pellegrini will make very little difference to West Ham’s prospects for the second half of the season.

However, there is also good evidence to suggest certain managers are outriders – David Moyes, Sean Dyche and Sam Allardyce among others, consistently overperform.

The West Ham Board have said their manager has one game (Southampton away) to save his job, a decision that by any logic is futile. If the boss needs that gee up in the first place it would suggest he hasn’t been carrying out his duties to the full in the first place. A win doesn’t solve the problem but merely delays crunch time until the next game. Whereas, if there is no improvement then it’s one more game we haven’t won. This would be a very West Ham tactic that allow a Board famous for the practice to brief against the manager to once again attempt to escape responsibility for poor decisions.

When Alan Pardew (in)famously called Pellegrini “A fucking old cunt” on the touchline at St James Park who was to know he would be speaking for all of us – even if the former Palace man is NOT a suitable replacement. Coming back to the opening quote, the only question remains how long it will take the Hammers manager to saw off his remaining fingers.

West Ham Board say “Sack the fans”!

A West Ham supporter earlier today

TEMPERATURES reached fever pitch at Premier League West Ham today as the Board of Directors launched a noisy protest against club supporters, who they claim have let the club down.

The demo resulted in unpleasant scenes as Associates stormed well-know fan pubs before congregating outside the Olympic Stadium in expectation of ambushing punters before the next home game, against Arsenal on Monday week.

A Board spokesman, who wished to be referred to only as “John” was in combative mood as he explained: “We work hard all week and want to see our club play attractive football, and hopefully win games”.

The 70-year-old Cardiff-born, 5ft 2ins tall, ex-pornographer continued: “Things have really come to a head, the fans promised us ‘next level’ football but all we see week in, week out is the same old rubbish.

“We want to talk to them – but they flat out refuse.

He added: “Fans out!” and waved a banner that read ‘Sold a dream, living a nightmare’.

Live from the Queen Elizabeth Park

We later caught up with Hammers supporter Clive Daley, 44, of Chafford Hundred in Essex who was in a contrite mood as he admitted things hadn’t gone entirely to plan.

He said: “Yes, some of it is fair criticism, us fans probably shouldn’t have insisted on a move to the grim, soul-sapping, characterless concrete bowl that we call the London Stadium.

“And when it comes to the keeper situation, it wasn’t the best idea to raffle off the spot in order to fund one week of Jack Wilshere’s wages.

He added: “But we’re doing our best under difficult circumstances – the Board don’t understand how difficult all the day-to-day business of running a football club can be.

“After all, it’s our money we invested.”

When questioned on the appointment of Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini the plastering contractor refused any further comment and walked away murmuring: “Ungrateful bastards … filthy ungrateful bastards…”

We contacted the club press office but they refused to give a statement although we later received a WhatsApp message from the same number that read: “We no wear you slags live – you wouldn’t want nuffin to happen to little Whiskers now, wood ya?”

Protests are expected to continue.

You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

WEST HAM are currently applying short bans to supporters who advertise tickets for sale on social media in an effort to rectify the lack of available tickets to away games.

As you might expect of this club, the process that led to this more than regrettable conclusion lacked transparency, involved the Official Supporters Board and resulted in good honest fans being punished while far graver offenders carried on their business.

Here is how we arrived here:

The club commissioned a fans website who do pretty well publishing confidential chit chat received from senior club officials to produce a survey on tickets. Just coincidentally, one of the club’s OSB “representatives” happens to co-run the site chosen.

A sub-committee of the OSB were formed to look into away games ticket distribution. Three or more of the members of this committee were anonymous. Of the two members who outed themselves one was given suggestions on yet another website that included removing away season tickets, ending priority points and entering everyone into a ballot for high demand games.

Accusations abounded of bondholder and away season ticket holder abuse and the selling on of tickets. Throughout this process the Chairman of the OSB in typical fashion made it his business to run around social media blaming Independent Supporters’ Associations for “scaremongering” when in they were in truth presenting facts.

The meeting was held and little of substance resulted until letters were sent to fans banning them from home and away games for selling tickets.

Questions remain.

If it were that easy to contact supporters to ban them, why weren’t those very same supporters directly contacted to give their views in the first place?
So far there has been no announcement from the club as to any further measures. Are they looking at their own employees who bang tickets on (we know of one particularly egregious practitioner)?

Are the club taking a more confrontational stance on ticket touts – they appear far nastier transgressors than somebody selling a seat at face value because they cannot manage one particular game?

Summary:

If the club had provided a more transparent approach to the whole affair, including how many tickets are allocated to whom, they could have brought fans onside, got hold of the real culprits and engendered much goodwill.

Instead of which, they acted in poor faith and with shadowy intent as they stoked up bad feeling, increased suspicions of opacity and furthered mistrust.

We have no idea whether their behaviour is naked incompetence or an inherent loathing of the fans that provide their living.

Either way this is not how a successful club should behave. From our perspective the “West Ham family” seems pretty dysfunctional. Sadly, so long as the club continue their refusal to speak with ISAs we cannot metaphorically call Social Services in.

Who we, who we are

Oh West Ham We Love You is a loose collective of West Ham supporters who have been sharing thoughts about the club with each other via WhatsApp for some while.

We now believe there is room for our views to become more public.

We claim no constituency or mandate beyond our own.

Included in our group are season ticket holders, away season ticket holders, corporate users and “once in a while” supporters. We are men and women and have a wide age range.

What most defines us however, is our desire for a better West Ham. We believe with more thoughtful management across all areas the club have the potential to regularly improve their league position and consistently pick up silverware.

Let’s build something together.