Category Archives: Views

Slaven Bilic

Beware complacency, but COME ON YOU IRONS!!!

As 9000 Hammers fans travel up to Manchester today, it seems everyone is predicting a West Ham win. It has been a long, long time since we West Ham fans have felt this good. The manager has been a revelation, Payet is now a West Ham legend, and Antonio, Lanzini et al have all helped make this one of the best seasons I can remember.

But I have a slightly uneasy feeling that complacency will set in and it’s all going to go pear-shaped. West Ham have been slow starters of late, and if Man Utd go off all guns blazing we might be in for a bit of a shock.

Saying that, in Bilic we have one of most calm, considered managers ever. He has already said that they are still Man Utd and they will be a “wounded lion”. I just hope his feeling of caution will filter down to the players.

In our last season at Upton Park what better way to leave than with an FA Cup and Champions League qualification. I’m nervous already, and either way, I know it’s going to be one hell of a match.

COME ON YOU IRONS!!!!!

dimitri-payet-sunderland-west-ham-goal

Will Bilic go where Allardyce feared to tread? Thoughts on Sunderland.

It is usually the case that when a team is struggling for results, the West Ham fixture is generally the one when they rediscover their winning form and turn their season around. And so it was very nearly the case last Saturday when the trip to Sunderland saw the Hammers go two goals down in the first half. A poor, lethargic performance saw yet another unforced error result in a goal against, and the signs were there that this was to be a bad day at the office. Victor Moses had a subdued half, and I was coming to the conclusion that he should be making way for Antonio when a bit of trickery down the left saw a good cross turned in by Jenkinson, whose needless foul resulted in Sunderland’s first goal. So the Hammers went in just one down, and the half time team talk probably turned out to be not quite so tetchy, and hopes were a bit higher in the second half.

The Hammers’ task was made an awful lot easier just under the hour mark, when Lens of Sunderland collected his second yellow and an early shower, and Payet duly obliged after 60 minutes, knocking in a rebound after a long range effort was fumbled by Pantilimon, who certainly didn’t “catch ’em all!” (Pokemon joke for the uninitiated). After the sending off Sunderland seemed to give up the ghost and West Ham should really have nicked a winner, but after the abysmal first half a point was not so unpalatable.

Things of note that came to me during the match:

1. Mark Noble is a great skipper and always puts in a shift, but he is noticeably lacking in pace these days. Add that to his habit of collecting cards and his error strewn passing, and we have a potentially difficult decision coming up for the manager. Drop the captain? Allardyce wouldn’t do it, but will Bilic?

2. Since the first game or so, Victor Moses has lost his spark a bit. Let’s hope he starts firing again soon.

3. Cresswell seems to be reluctant these days to get to the byeline and put in a cross. He nearly always just passes it backwards. He also gets caught out of position at the back quite often. Get Julian on the job!

Saying all that, we’re still doing great as a whole. When you consider that the manager is still making his mark, applying his football philosophy and getting the players a bit fitter, results have gone well. I just hope we are not flattering to deceive. Oh, and isn’t Bilic just a breath of fresh air? No excuses, no blame, just honesty and integrity.

COYI

mark noble

My preview and prediction for today’s game

After the disappointment of losing against Leicester in the League cup in midweek, the Hammers welcome Norwich City to Upton Park in what should be an entertaining affair. West Ham’s three away wins against the “big boys” has certainly set them on track for a good season, but it will probably pay to heed the two home defeats against Bournemouth and Leicester when assessing their chances this afternoon.

There is no doubt the Bilic’s team is a “work in progress”, and the two home defeats can probably be put down to the players getting used to the way that the manager wants them to play. After all, it must be a bit of a culture shock switching from Sam Allardyce’s direct style of play to the more measured and passing-based style that Bilic is attempting to impress on his squad. The long ball from the defence up to the front is now virtually non-existent, so much so it makes you think whether the players get fined for every long ball they play (joking, of course)! The fact that the Hammers’ away wins have been achieved with a more counter-attacking style is probably no coincidence. The players will have been more used to playing like this under Allardyce and the home games where West Ham have to take the initiative will take longer to perfect, I am sure.

Norwich City have impressed this season, with the Hammers’ Matt Jarvis scoring valuable goals, although he is ineligible to play against his parent club. The match today should have a few goals in it, with both sides likely to play open football, and it will be a good benchmark for both clubs to see how well they are progressing. Andy Carroll is likely to start on the bench for West Ham, but will probably get some game time at some stage as he tries to get match fit. I for one am not convinced as yet that Carroll knows quite how to play in the new regime, with his aerial power being his biggest asset. It will, though, be pleasing if does adapt to the new style and, more importantly, stay clear of any injuries this season.

As for my prediction, if West Ham have got rid of the tiredness they displayed against Leicester in midweek, I will go for a 2-0 home win. If the midweek exertions and the number of matches played so far start to take their toll, I might have to go for a 1-1 draw. Whatever happens, it should be an entertaining match.

COYI

george-michael

Bilic out? You’ve got to be kidding me!

I must admit I am amazed how many people are clamouring for Slaven Bilic’s head before the Premiership season has even started. The poor guy must wonder what he has walked into. That said he seems to have a ruthless, no nonsense approach to the game, so it probably won’t even bother him, but come on!

The furore seems to stem solely from the decision to send a weakened team to Romania for the second leg against Astra Giurgiu, but I for one am pleased that he did. Let’s not forget that it was the first team that cocked it up against Astra in the first leg, and let’s also not forget that we all lambasted Sam Allardyce for not having faith in the youngsters in the squad. Well, Bilic does, and not only was it refreshing to see, but it was also invaluable experience that will improve them as players and as men. Yes, Maiga was his normal ineffective self, and Randolph seems a bit ropy, but Bilic was right to praise the young lads who gave their all for the club the other night.

The there is the common sense aspect of it all. We have already lost Valencia, do we really want to risk losing to injury the few other good players we have just for the slim hope of winning 23 matches in a row and winning a European trophy that, to be fair, we simply do not have the strength in depth to do? The main priority is surviving and progressing in the Premier League. Period. Bilic has his head screwed on. The fans that berate him for the side he picked against Astra Giurgiu are blinkered and need to see the big picture.

After watching the match on Thursday, sure I was disappointed that we lost. But it also gave me hope for future. We used to be renowned for bringing players through the Academy. It looks like those days are coming back.

So let’s give the manager a chance. Let’s give him till Christmas and then take stock.

As George Michael once said, “you’ve gotta have faith, faith, faith ahhhh!”

happy-lamb

This is how you do it, Mr Allardyce

Oh what a joy to behold. The sight of a West Ham side littered with promising youngsters giving a good account of themselves in the first team, backed up with seasoned professionals coaxing and encouraging them through the games. This is the way it should be. The future is bright methinks.

When I think back to the dark days of Allardyce’s reign when, as if to prove a point, he sent a team of young kids out to slaughter against Forest in the cup, out of their depth and bereft of support, without giving them an ounce of a chance in hell. That was the day that I turned against Allardyce, and it is a day I will never forgive him for.

Compare that to the way that the squad for the games against FC Lusitans has been prepared. Chalk and cheese. The kids have been nurtured and encouraged, and the teams are spiced with a backbone of experience. The first match was just a revelation, the way that the ball was knocked around, confidence in abundance. Terry Westley has done a great job getting these kids ready, and Bilic is to be commended for letting him run with it. This is how it is done, Mr Allardyce.

True, West Ham are playing a team who are no great shakes in Andorra, but that is not the point. Allardyce NEVER gave youth a chance. His percentage game plan didn’t give him that option. He was fixed in his ways and was a one-trick pony. Imagine if he was still in charge now. What side would he put out against Lusitans? You can bet it would look nothing like the one that is playing tomorrow. It would contain the same old journeymen that would give him the best chance in his eyes of not losing and maybe nicking a win.

Tomorrow, if luck prevails, I will be watching the game on the internet again, and I shall be smiling. This is how it is supposed to be. This is how I want it to stay. COME… ON… YOU… IRONS!

stewart-downing

Why Stewart Downing must stay

I was a bit surprised when I initially heard that there had been bids for Stewart Downing a few weeks ago or more. I thought it was all just paper talk and would not come to anything. After all, Downing had a great first half of the season, and although his form tailed off in the second half, that was largely down to Allardyce abandoning the successful diamond system and sticking Downing back out on the wing.

Even when we signed Payet I thought, we would still need a decent sized squad of players with the number of matches we have to play, and injuries, etc. When he is on form Downing can be the creative spark we need, and his left foot can be sublime. I personally think that Downing would thrive under Bilic, and I was therefore increasingly alarmed when these bids for his signature kept on coming, and then I read that we had accepted a bid from Middlesbro. Of course, this has not been confirmed by West Ham, and could just be more speculation from people supposedly “in the know”. I just hope that the club continue to see sense and keep Downing on the books, as I think they would regret it if they let him go.

COYI

Alex Song

Going for a Song

Am I the only one that finds it a bit strange that West Ham are now interested in signing Alex Song on a permanent basis? There is no doubt that Song was a class act when he first joined the Hammers on loan last season, but it appeared that as soon as retired from international football his form dipped quite alarmingly. Defence splitting passes were now going astray, and he just didn’t seem to be as committed as we was when he first arrived. Some would say he was even becoming a liability.

Odd then, that after the end of the season when the club was reportedly no longer interested in signing him permanently because of the dip in form, we are now reportedly on the verge of signing him on a free transfer. Perhaps Mr Bilic feels he can get the best out of him and has intervened, who knows? One thing is certain, if Slaven can get him back to where he was at the beginning of last season, we are in for a treat.

COYI

Carl Jenkinson playing for West Ham

West Ham astonishingly lose out over Jenkinson loan?

If reports are to be believed, Sunderland have won the race to sign defender Carl Jenkinson on loan from Arsenal for a paltry £1.5m

If this is true I am gobsmacked. How could the Dave’s and/or Slaven Bilic let this happen? Jenkinson was one of our top players last season and made the right back position his own. He apparently wants to come back to West Ham, so what is the problem?

Sort it out!

Slaven Bilic playing guitar

Bilic is da man!

For the first time in absolutely ages, I am now looking forward with great excitement to watching West Ham play a game of football. Bit of a stunner eh?

Well done to the board for appointing Slaven Bilic. He was the stand-out candidate from the start of those who were actually available, and I think he is just what West Ham need right now. And the good news does not stop there. New signing Pedro Obiang seems to be a great signing and should be as successful as Sakho and Kouyate have been. Rumours abound too that we are after Yohan Cabaye from PSG, Loic Remy from Chelsea and Vedran Corluka from Lokomotiv Moscow. The good thing is, with Bilic at the helm, we actually stand a chance of getting players like this. I have always been a fan of Remy and couldn’t understand why we didn’t get him before. Cabaye is a great player, and Corluka would be a superb addition to our defence that is bound to be stretched with the Europa League adding to the fixture list. I think the next few weeks are going to be very interesting indeed, transfer-wise.

I have no doubt that Bilic will need some time to get the team how he wants it, and with lots of new additions the dressing room dynamic will take a while to adjust, especially if the likes of Kevin Nolan take more of a back seat in the twilight of his career. But yes, yes, yes! I can’t wait for the seaon to start! So long Sam. You did what was asked of you and deserve thanks for that. But you were never a good fit, or the manager to take us to a higher level. I hope Bilic is. I think he is. Happy days.

fans asleep

A new dawn..

Like sleeping beauty (you know that’s right!), I have wakened from a deep sleep. As I brush the cobwebs from my eyes and blink into the light, I ask what could have happened to rouse me from my slumber. With mouth wide open and a fixed gaze, I hear of how the dinosaurs who used to rule our land have now since moved away, driven by the Gods on high and accompanied by the cheers of the People.

After years of oppression the People were downtrodden and morose. With no obvious hope for the future and with heavy hearts, their daily lives turned to drudgery, and many (including myself) succombed to a deep sleep, as if drugged. But now the Gods have spoken. The dinosaurs have gone and a new Prince has arrived to breathe life into the land. The People are waking and there is great excitement in the air. Joy fills the land and the People carry the Prince on their shoulders, singing songs and looking forward to the future. Knights of the realm come flocking to join the Prince in his new adventure to the cheers of all.

But with this new-found excitement and hope brings danger. With the ability to fly comes the peril of crashing to the ground. But the People do not mind. They accept the dangers that come with envigoration and adventure, and they celebrate the banishment of the moroseness of times past. We all look forward to the future with joyous anticipation in our hearts, whatever that might bring.