Take your own advice Sullivan

WEST HAM supporters were simply immense at Liverpool despite the decision by the club to reduce allocation from the normal 3,000 to just 1,800. The away contingent outsung the home side and fully got behind the team – but most of all displayed quite clearly via Sky Sports how and why they want David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady to vacate their positions on the board.

The move by Sullivan to enlist the help of so many of his paid staff of ex-players to spread a message that fans should support the team is both bizarre and counterintuitive. Hammers United have been very clear all along fans should protest the board but support the team. The focus of the discontent is the lack of input the toxic three have given our club. Fans go to great expense journeying up and down the country to support the team. Meanwhile, Sullivan and Gold starve the first XI, reserves, Academy and Women’s team of cash at the same time as loading debt onto the club to line their own pockets.

Karren Brady’s “support” involves doing the club reputational harm via her column in The Sun newspaper. This week’s laughathon involved the Lady beseeching us all to “reflect on the importance of kindness” in the wake of the apparent suicide of Caroline Flack. Leaving aside the fact her own colleague David Gold, showing all the sensitivities of the Duke of Edinburgh, liked a Tweet claiming Flack to be “weak” (whispers are the club have now banned him from social media) Brady’s plea equates to Syrian leader Bashar al Assad taking to the press to denounce tinpot dictators carpet bombing their own civilians.

No doubt Robert Snodgrass, Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge, among many who have been the subject of Brady’s vitriol in previous columns, will be reaching into their boots to pull out the very hollowest of laughs at her newly-discovered piety. Just as ill-fitting is Sullivan’s Damascene conversion from dumping fans into the London Stadium’s sterile pit for financial gain (has anybody found out who owns the company Boleyn Phoenix yet?) to abruptly flooding the ether with messages about how crucial it is supporters get behind the side.

This fan believes the protest atmosphere at Anfield, which the team appeared to react positively towards, would signal the need for a protest at every game.

West Ham 0-1 West Brom

Fuck off Gold and Sully
Where’s the fucking money?
It’s all lies, lies, lies

West Ham fans to the tune of Slade’s Cum on Feel the Noize
Baggies celebrate

Where we are:

The chickens are coming home to roost for West Ham owners. And how. The deadly duo of David Sullivan and David Gold, plus henchman Karren Brady, have spent 10 years telling us how they “saved the club” and “all” the money they’ve pumped in despite neither claim having any basis in fact. They now have just a few days to finally make good on their promises as all their poor decision making has led to the very real threat of not “A world class stadium for a world class team” but relegation to the Championship.

Poor decision-making, a lack of a coherence in scouting and buying players and a dearth of team identity mean the side need Premier League quality buys at right-back, centre midfield and striker just to stay afloat. Worse, the signs are not encouraging anybody wants to come and the club’s single scout might feel themself a little overwhelmed.

A spidergram of West Ham’s scouting “network”

Sullivan’s populist insistence the club aim for a cup run, has proved to be the folly some predicted. For a team with such a small and lopsided squad to put out a near first team at the busiest time of the season is all but suicidal. Ryan Fredericks and Lukasz Fabianski have already succumbed to injury as a result – and judging by the way he kept feeling his hamstring against West Brom, Michail Antonio might not be far behind. Five players started the game playing their fourth game in 15 days. As it was the side couldn’t even make it past the Championship’ West Brom reserves, never mind the better sides.

The counter argument that “winning breeds confidence” carries little weight. One of the prime drivers of our 2011 relegation, apart from the ineptitude of Sullivan appointed manager Avram Grant, were cup runs to the semi-final of the League Cup and sixth round of the FA Cup. Those extra 10 games left the squad completely drained physically and mentally and they managed just two draws and no wins from their final nine league games.

The game:

Perhaps the best comment came as the result of a father noisily remonstrating with a steward about the language his six-year-old son was having to endure. A more grizzled head quietly and laconically observed: “It was your choice to bring him to an X-rated show”.

Chief among the obscenities was midfielder Carlos “Dirty” Sanchez. Picked only to allow Mark Noble to rest his weary 32-year-old legs the Colombian put in surely one of the worst individual performances ever seen in claret and blue. The first goal in a game is crucial – and especially for away sides at the London Stadium who know how brittle the Hammers confidence is. Predictably Sanchez took centre stage.

Carlos Sanchez attempts survival of the fattest with his moobs like Jagger

Issa Diop contrived to loop a routine clearing header sidewise to Albion midfielder Filip Krovinovic, who set off with the ball more in hope than expectation. Pitifully overweight Sanchez, who would be nicking a living at 70 grand a year never mind a week, bore down on him with all the malicious intent of an extra from The Day of the Dead. Just not the pace.

The ball broke from Charlie Austin and the Colombian (it would be crass to suggest he may have been imbibing his country’s most famous export. especially as he appeared off his not inconsiderable tits on some super cray cray bud) contrived to take a shot. At his own goal. Fortunately his initial effort rebounded once again off Diop for Conor Townsend to complete the job.

Thereafter, the first half was a tale of Fabian Balbuena attempting lose possession each occasion he was rashly presented with the ball by team-mates. At half-time manager David Moyes gave a pretty strong message to his Chairman and took off three players. Most notably, despite being largely anonymous Manuel Lanzini was quite accurately perceived at least the fourth worst performer on the pitch. The woeful Sanchez and Balbuena were hooked along with an ineffective Pablo Fornals.

Oops, Nobes has passioned one again

On came Michael Antonio, Mark Noble and Angelo Ogbonna as the game turned on its head with an attacking 4-3-1-2 formation. Instead of giving the ball away, the home side concentrated on blazing wide of goal from advanced positions and not putting the ball behind the Baggies defence for Antonio to run in on.

It is said patience is its own reward and so it proved with Sebastien Haller finally managing a first effort on target for the home side in the 84th minute. Off his shoulder. Noble managed to absolutely passion a sitter over the bar as Albian Ajeti stood watching – same as he had all game as West Ham’s “best squad ever” slumped to defeat.

Had it not been for the massive “once a season” presence in the crowd – the day was surely every half-and-half scarf seller’s Christmas – things could easily have become as nasty as the infamous Burnley game a couple of seasons ago. As it is there may be a substantial proportion of parents not bringing their children again.

The manager:

Moyes has taken a lot of stick on social media over the past two games, all of it pointless and much unfair. Yes he’s the man in the hotseat and of course he’s earning decent money – although nowhere near the scale of his useless predecessor – so he cannot be completely immune to criticism. The first thing to say is to those who didn’t want him “Fair enough”. Followed rapidly by “tough shit” – as he was essentially the only person to put himself up for the job.

Furthermore, there is plenty of mitigation. He has picked up a terrible squad, been ordered to play strong teams in cup games and suffered injuries as a result. He has no back-room team, nor likelihood of signings as only he and Alan Irvine are brave/stupid enough to want to come to Sullivan and Gold’s “Shit show at the fuck factory” (Many thanks @dirtyepic7).

Moyes is the subject of criticism

Having spent a season and a half criticising previous incumbent Manuel Pellegrini for lacking a Plan B it seems a little rich to then slate “Dithering Dave” when he takes the bull by the horns and changes things up – as he did at Leicester and again versus West Brom. Moyes has been mugged off by Sullivan’s promises in exactly the same manner as you and I. Empathy, not scorn should be the order of the day, we all know how he feels, yeah?

Another target is Moyes’s treatment of Pablo Fornals put against that of Lanzini. Frankly, we are half a season on and still yet to see anything beyond “promise” from the £24million Spaniard as he continues to underwhelm. In contrast Moyes has seen strong evidence of how well Lanzini can play. What we and he really require is a talisman to replace the efforts of Marko Arnautovic during the Scotsman’s last stint. Haller has shown little sign of being that man and Ajeti none. The irony would be if turns out Antonio can inspire the side – he and as manager didn’t get on particularly well last time out.

Plus, each and every time you get onto Moyes there is an exhalation of gratitude from the board as he is taking their heat. This blog feels there is a limit to how much he can continue to parrot the party line and it is testament to his professionalism he has yet to offer criticism of his employers. That may come from other quarters – as fan protests grow, unhappy former employees of the club may feel less pressure to remain schtum. Certainly the narrative is changing in the mainstream press. Let’s forget About Talk Sport for a minute even if Ian Abrahams certainly knows which side his bread is buttered… As well as the double sausage, three rashers, two eggs, beans, tomatoes, hash browns and double chips.

Ian “Moose” Abrahams

Up next:

On Wednesday Hammers will peep through collective fingers as we take on the steaming juggernaut of champions-elect Liverpool at Stratford. Only the criminally insane expect us to get anything from the game. Of much more concern is Saturday’s must-win tie against Brighton – the side we never beat. If it means making sure players are fit for that one then surely Moyes should do it?

Of course, by then we will know if Sullivan and Co managed to get those three players. If not, they deserve everything they get.

A day in the life

I read the news today, oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade

Lennon/McCartney
A message to you Sully

EVENTS off the pitch took at least as much precedence as the game against Everton. Instead of a match report I’ll present a diary of West Ham-related events throughout the day.

Foodbank collection:

After the short ride in on the Central Line and a stroll through Westfield watching happy dads and sons playing table tennis, I headed for the food banks collection point to say hello. Possibly the only thing our monarch and myself have in common is these days I don’t carry cash (the only time I ever need it is when I get the car washed) and was unable to contribute.

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, the Trussell Trust’s foodbank network distributed 1.6 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year. More than half a million of these went to children. This is a disgraceful statistic. In the fifth largest economy in the world that figure should surely be zero – and I loathe the idea of foodbanks. However, my moral objection doesn’t mean I won’t contribute and every Christmas the missus and I do a shop for our local centre. Yes, I know it’s a paltry effort – but it’s something.

The protest:

Following a short walk along the river with a mate we arrived at the site for the Hammers United protest around half an hour before events were due to commence. As with many others, I suspect, we were less about protesting ourselves and more about seeing what the fuss was about. Hellos were said, introductions made, and we spent an enjoyable few minutes reminiscing, joking and taking the piss with friends old and new. My favourite line came from a girl replying to my observation about a nameless person associated with the club whom I described as “incredibly fucking thick”. “Yes”, she said, “It’s the only part of his personality that’s authentic”. Boom!

Take it to the bridge

Estimates vary between one and two thousand as to how many people turned up – but either way it was a good turnout. As well as many familiar faces, there were also a good proportion of familiar “faces”. Disappointingly, I didn’t hear a word of any of the speeches due to a poor PA system, even if I am told all contributors spoke well. In all honesty I’ve been dubious about the aims of any protest and have expressed that opinion on social media. But it seems to me Sullivan, Gold and Brady’s PR output over the previous week – it’s always offensive – was enough of a goal in itself – even if it was of the “own” variety.

In her emetic Sun column Vice Chair Karren Brady described her highlights of a decade at the club as “naming the Billy Bonds Stand” and “the first game at the London Stadium”. Highlights indeed. Following her promise of a “World class stadium for a world class team” she has rowed some way back to “First and foremost West Ham are now financially stable” and compared us against failing Bury FC. The only “world class” aspect of her tenure is the phenomenal effort at managing her own expectations.

The takeout from all this is that under the pressure of the forthcoming protest the club press “machine” revved up with all the efficiency of departing Hammers keeper Roberto defending a corner. For as long as the board are embarrassed in this fashion they will continue to blunder.

West Ham bring a new meaning to Public Relations

Stewarding:

Off we tootled to the search areas prior to going into the ground and it became apparent my mate was not well. Almost doubled up with pain, he was struggling to even walk and sweating like Harold Shipman on a Saga holiday. By the time we moved through the gates it was clear he needed more assistance than even I, as a trained first aider, could offer. Left curled up against a pillar I went in search of help.

The first steward I spoke to had clearly never been trained for such emergencies and didn’t know what to do. As did the second. Controlling my anger and pointing out my mate could well be having a heart attack I asked to speak to their supervisor. He just shook his head.

Eventually, I managed to get hold of somebody who knew what he was doing. Steward Henry was brilliant and took charge of the situation as we got the patient sorted, seated and on the way to recovery. For all the claims of how our stewards are trained, they clearly are not. Although a bad situation could have been a lot worse it is nonetheless hugely concerning three separate stewards didn’t know what to do. For all the good it will do I shall be writing an appropriate letter.

The game:

By this point the Hammers side to face Everton had been released. Five starters over 30-years-old. A bench comprising of a keeper, a striker, four centre-backs including two with no first-team experience and a wide player. This is not as has been claimed “our best ever squad”. Part of my friend’s brief rehab included a rest in the club café – a place I’ve never before entered. On the wall were paraded the shirts of the 1980 FA Cup winning team to provide a useful and stark contrast with our current side.

Those were the days

The match itself was of Shakespearean drama – unfortunately the play was Much Ado About Nothing. A game of low quality, both goals came from first half set pieces. The home side had the better of that initial period but faded following the equaliser. Those around me agreed former manager Manuel Pellegrini would have most likely lost. Also clear was current boss David Moyes desperately needs quality reinforcements. I don’t imagine anybody thinks he will get them.

Let the protests continue.

Eight reasons you might wish to protest

Three and sleazy – Sullivan, Gold and Brady

ON Saturday West Ham supporters will be gathering outside the London Stadium before the game against Everton to protest against the board. (For more details go to KUMB). Here are our top eight reasons why we feel the trio of David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady have failed the club.

Without supporters a club is nothing
The unholy trinity don’t appear to understand their money doesn’t buy ownership of West Ham United FC. They merely rent it for future generations. The owners of any football club are always the fans – memories, friendship, community, hopes, fears and dreams are not to be sold to the nearest bidder. The club tone is relentlessly hostile and the only people with whom they have anything like dialogue are the hated OSB – who are best seen as a focus group of unpleasantry and of use only for Brady to extort more money from fans.

Sullivan and Gold did not “save“ the club
For all the narrative about the money “put in” to the club, the reality is they have not spent a penny of their own cash. All finance wrongly attributed to them has been high-interest bearing loans. Sullivan and Gold have earned £16.8million over the last two years alone in above-industry standard interest from the club. Even if the club was in a rocky situation 10 years ago, that free pass they award themselves is not indefinite. Promises are seldom realistic, never mind kept – Brady’s “A world class stadium for a word class team” a classic of the genre.

The reputation of the club has been dismembered
Whether it is Sullivan’s behaviour towards other clubs in the transfer market, Brady’s loathed column in The Sun newspaper or the leaking of news via favoured websites the club are seen in the industry as a bad joke. Many other sides have a policy of refusing to deal with us. The tone in communication with supporters is most often condescending and lacking empathy.

The sale of Upton Park was for the benefit of David Sullivan’s bank balance, not the fans or club
Quite apart from the mystery of why the ground was sold to a holding company only to be immediately sold on again at nearly 100 per cent profit, the London Stadium is not fit for purpose as a football ground. There is no Family Enclosure, no singing area and little character – all thrown away because of the desire to sell tickets during a badly botched migration. The gaps between stands remain as a metaphor for the gulf between promise and delivery. The blowing up of a stand in a scene from a Sullivan-produced straight-to-DVD film could not be more symbolic.

The club infrastructure is a mess
As well as a dysfunctional stadium the training ground and Academy are a disgrace to a so-called Premier League club. Most Championship clubs would be embarrassed by the facilities at Rush Green – yet the two Daves barely let up telling us how much “they” spent. Far from the force it once was, the Academy is little more than a retirement home for former players short of a bob or two. Most of the good coaches have left and there is little in the way of basic communication never mind auditing and assessing the progress of individuals.

The appointment of staff is haphazard and without focus
There has never been a bona fide Director of Football nor recruitment manager with Sullivan jumping in and out of those roles according to who is asking the question. There is virtually no scouting system, with agents being employed at great expense instead. Of the five managers appointed during their tenure, only two (Sam Allardyce and David Moyes) have left the club in a better league position than when they started.

Transfer policy is unco-ordinated
Old and injury-prone players are routinely bought and over the top players given unwarranted contract extensions. Certain positions are all but neglected while there is a ridiculous obsession with strikers and attacking midfielders. There is little due diligence on background and no effort to incorporate players into any recognisable playing style or line-up. Players are seldom sold for full value and often as a means to mitigate a long-running cashflow crisis.

Most of all, on-pitch the club have failed
The three amigos have been at the club for almost exactly a decade. The money flooding into the club means they are currently the 18th richest in the world. On arrival the club was languishing near the bottom of the Premier League with a squad full of dead wood. Yet here we are 10 years later in exactly the same position.

Is it any wonder fans have had enough?

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.