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WBA beat lacklustre West Ham


Guest Gary Loughran
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Guest Gary Loughran

After what is ludicrously as "our best start in years" i.e 2 wins, 1 loss (hardly awe inspiring) and a poor Carling Cup victory which needed extra time against 10 men - finally, reality bites as West Ham show the marked lack of ability which was apparent since Christmas to anyone with eyes. The only chance West Ham have is to play at a very very high tempo and hope it works. This team cannot outpass or outplay anyone in this league.

In our 4 league games to date we have played 3 clubs who will likely be mentioned as relegation candidtates, along with ourselves, Hull and Stoke, as the season progresses. Make no mistake "our best start in years" was the most overated, over stated and over egged tripe to come out of Upton Park in years. The sticky tape job of holding the team together for the trip to Throstleville was given to Kevin Keen. Nothing against Keen, but he ably demonstrated how ill suited he is to managing at the highest level.

Firstly his team selection was appalling. What Ilunga showed in training or youtube videos, or wherever Nani found him (another snatch from a second rate Scottish club actually) was in contrast to the display he gave against the Baggies. Luckily he lived in Congo, for anywhere else in UK he would be last picked for the pre school game...and I mean even as an adult. I don't believe I've seen poorer postitional play ever, and I mean that. He looked like the kid who couldn't play, but showed up every week and to every training session, being given a chance because it was the last game of the season. If that's what Keen did then fair enough, but it's not advisable at this level. Just how good McCartney was, was never more apparent.

Then he starts with Luis Boa Morte, who is done. Once a decent PL player now a shell of that player. He is done. Overweight and losing pace, he makes Titi Camara look like Ryan Giggs in his pomp. Please put him and us out of our misery and let him go...anywhere.

Secondly, he brings on Di Michele for Ashton. If Bellamy was injured then don't put him on the bench. Otherwise, act like you know a little about football Kevin, and bring on Bellamy.

To cut a long story short - Neil, Ilunga, Davenport, Boa Morte and Behrami would struggle to combine to be an effective premiership player. I Behrami at least shows that he is worth the money paid to/for him - all the rest have, over time, proven they are not.

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After what is ludicrously as "our best start in years" i.e 2 wins, 1 loss (hardly awe inspiring) and a poor Carling Cup victory which needed extra time against 10 men - finally, reality bites as West Ham show the marked lack of ability which was apparent since Christmas to anyone with eyes. The only chance West Ham have is to play at a very very high tempo and hope it works. This team cannot outpass or outplay anyone in this league.

In our 4 league games to date we have played 3 clubs who will likely be mentioned as relegation candidtates, along with ourselves, Hull and Stoke, as the season progresses. Make no mistake "our best start in years" was the most overated, over stated and over egged tripe to come out of Upton Park in years. The sticky tape job of holding the team together for the trip to Throstleville was given to Kevin Keen. Nothing against Keen, but he ably demonstrated how ill suited he is to managing at the highest level.

Firstly his team selection was appalling. What Ilunga showed in training or youtube videos, or wherever Nani found him (another snatch from a second rate Scottish club actually) was in contrast to the display he gave against the Baggies. Luckily he lived in Congo, for anywhere else in UK he would be last picked for the pre school game...and I mean even as an adult. I don't believe I've seen poorer postitional play ever, and I mean that. He looked like the kid who couldn't play, but showed up every week and to every training session, being given a chance because it was the last game of the season. If that's what Keen did then fair enough, but it's not advisable at this level. Just how good McCartney was, was never more apparent.

Then he starts with Luis Boa Morte, who is done. Once a decent PL player now a shell of that player. He is done. Overweight and losing pace, he makes Titi Camara look like Ryan Giggs in his pomp. Please put him and us out of our misery and let him go...anywhere.

Secondly, he brings on Di Michele for Ashton. If Bellamy was injured then don't put him on the bench. Otherwise, act like you know a little about football Kevin, and bring on Bellamy.

To cut a long story short - Neil, Ilunga, Davenport, Boa Morte and Behrami would struggle to combine to be an effective premiership player. I Behrami at least shows that he is worth the money paid to/for him - all the rest have, over time, proven they are not.

I also saw the game on Sky on Saturday night. I agree with you about Keen's team selection. Luis Boa Morte was an amazing choice. I suppose it was influenced by the good form shown in the reserves. (Keen runs the reserve team.) However, it has been clear for sometime that he is unable to reproduce this form at the highest level. The same is also true of Neil. Hopefully, Zola will not pick them in future.

I was also not impressed with Ilunga or Di Michele. Both are clearly past their best. But what do you expect when no other club in the premiership was interested in them. It seems we are only wlling to sign players who are willing to accept low wages.

I thought Davenport had a good game in attack. He made one goal and nearly made a second one. Noble and Parker were both reasonable in the first-half but appeared to tire in the second-half. Zola said afterwards that he was concerned about the fitness of the players. Upson and Green probably had the worst games since joining West Ham.

I was appalled by the third goal. With eight minutes to go and drawing away from home, it was completely irresponsible for the whole defence except for Ilunga to go up for the corner. Especially as we must have the slowest back-four in the premiership.

It also emerged over the weekend that Lopez, who looks good on paper, was on trial at West Ham for three weeks before Curbishley rejected him as not being good enough. Yet he seems to have been signed without Curbishley knowing about it.

With Zomara and Pansil playing well at Fulham it seems we have exchanged four premiership players for a group of loan signings that are not up to the job. The squad is definitely weaker than last year and therefore Zola will do well to get the team into the top ten. In fact, they might well be in for a relegation struggle.

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Guest Gary Loughran
I also saw the game on Sky on Saturday night. I agree with you about Keen's team selection. Luis Boa Morte was an amazing choice. I suppose it was influenced by the good form shown in the reserves. (Keen runs the reserve team.) However, it has been clear for sometime that he is unable to reproduce this form at the highest level. The same is also true of Neil. Hopefully, Zola will not pick them in future.

I was also not impressed with Ilunga or Di Michele. Both are clearly past their best. But what do you expect when no other club in the premiership was interested in them. It seems we are only wlling to sign players who are willing to accept low wages.

I thought Davenport had a good game in attack. He made one goal and nearly made a second one. Noble and Parker were both reasonable in the first-half but appeared to tire in the second-half. Zola said afterwards that he was concerned about the fitness of the players. Upson and Green probably had the worst games since joining West Ham.

I was appalled by the third goal. With eight minutes to go and drawing away from home, it was completely irresponsible for the whole defence except for Ilunga to go up for the corner. Especially as we must have the slowest back-four in the premiership.

It also emerged over the weekend that Lopez, who looks good on paper, was on trial at West Ham for three weeks before Curbishley rejected him as not being good enough. Yet he seems to have been signed without Curbishley knowing about it.

With Zomara and Pansil playing well at Fulham it seems we have exchanged four premiership players for a group of loan signings that are not up to the job. The squad is definitely weaker than last year and therefore Zola will do well to get the team into the top ten. In fact, they might well be in for a relegation struggle.

I am absolutely shocked and stunned by this news (in bold above). Just how desperate were Duxbury and Nani to appease fans - likely to be infuriated at the McCartney sale and Curbishley resignation - that they signed these loan guys late on. Signings for signings sake it seems. Ilunga has absolutely no pedigree, ability or chance of remaining in the team.

You can't blame Upson and Green alone for their performances. They are part of a defensive 5 where they are the only Premiership quality players. They aren't good enough to compensate for the others around them. Though Upson didn't do a bad job playing across the back 4, filling in for the errant and error strewn Neil and Ilunga.

Curbishley's buys are more than responsible for the state of the current squad and I believe people have grossly overlooked that fact.

What irritates me most is that Curbishley and the board, variously, off loaded all the players unearthed by Pardew. Absolutely no-one brought in by Curbishley was really looked at by other premiership clubs. On top of that no-one would pay more for them than Curbishley did - so we'd be selling at a loss.

Reo-Coker, Harewood, Wright, Paintsil, Zamora, McCartney, Konchesky (and more I can't recall offhand) all sold for a remarkable profit of £ 20 million. I may not rate all these guys highly but nevertheless.

Curbishley's one signing that has left cost the club £3million to bring in - £4 million to dispose of and wages of £3million for a handful of games. Yes Freddie Ljungberg cost West Ham £10 million for one season. Great buy Alan.

I am not sorry Curbishley has gone. The more I learn the more it seems he was aware that somebody had to go to 'balance the books' and he didn't want to lose the clubs only left back. That it seems was the final straw.

Also XL were loaned £202million Euro by Lansbanski of Iceland. You guessed it, our chairman virtually owned our sponsors. He is as likely to be responsible for their demise as he looks to make any assets into capital.

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Could be the best signing of the season:

BBC Website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/t...utd/7616932.stm

Chelsea assistant coach Steve Clarke has joined West Ham as their new first- team coach after the clubs reached a financial settlement.

The 45-year-old Clarke joins West Ham on a three-year deal, joining up with new boss Gianfranco Zola, after handing in his resignation last Thursday.

Chelsea had sought £5m compensation for the Scot, with West Ham offering £1m, but a compromise has now been agreed.

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Guest Gary Loughran

I hate to sound all jingoistic because that is really not how I am. I did, however, realise yesterday when I was writing about Ilunga etc. that I was mentioning mainly foreign players, hence I cut my long story short, that and I was literally frothing at the mouth. It is a fact though that Ilunga, Neill, Boa Morte, Behrami and Di Michele have added nothing of value to the club. I, of course, add Davenport, who I believe is an absolutely useless player at this level.

Noble, Parker and Cole have good moments but are incredibly workmanlike players. It could be argued this is necessary due to the lack of talent that surrounds them. I must emphasise I have never, ever considered nationality when making a judgement on a football player, manager or coach.

Green, Upson and Ashton are class players. I accept Upson is not quick, he does however play Centre half very well and is currently being dragged out of position a great deal by the classless full backs at the club. Green should be England's number one. That is indisputable in my opinion. James' judgements against Croatia were appalling. People have, however, come to expect this of James and the scoreline and some poor finishing shielded James form criticism. Ashton can be a top a class striker. He is however injury prone and I'm not convinced about his fitness. He does score goals which alleviates criticism. If he did not score goals there would be huge question marks about him.

So it seems the ratings reflect this quite well - I think Green and Upson as our best defenders are being scored poorly sue to the fact that they are having to adapt to the lack of talent now overwhelming our defence. I hope Clarke can do some good here, I know Zola can't.

Spoke to Mal Donaghy at length about several things last night (as I do every Monday). Neill is done he says or approaching that status. Noted were his 'tucking in' to avoid engaging with wingers and his propensity to get forward and not back. Mal, a top class fullback, cites these factors of evidence that Neil is past it. This totally apart from his lack of ability :lol:

He also spoke about Glyn Snodin and Steve Clarke. I pride myself on knowing a great deal about West Ham but was unaware that Glynn Snodin was our first team coach (until recently) - Mal worked with him and Worhington in the NI set-up until recently. He also spoke about Steve Clarke, whom he really liked form their time at Chelsea. he thought he was a really top player, though didn't see the coaching potential in him. He also told a story about a steward who worked at the club and was fluent in Italian getting a full time (well paid) job at the club as interpreter during Vialli's reign.

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Spoke to Mal Donaghy at length about several things last night (as I do every Monday). Neill is done he says or approaching that status. Noted were his 'tucking in' to avoid engaging with wingers and his propensity to get forward and not back. Mal, a top class fullback, cites these factors of evidence that Neil is past it. This totally apart from his lack of ability :lol:

He also spoke about Glyn Snodin and Steve Clarke. I pride myself on knowing a great deal about West Ham but was unaware that Glynn Snodin was our first team coach (until recently) - Mal worked with him and Worhington in the NI set-up until recently. He also spoke about Steve Clarke, whom he really liked form their time at Chelsea. he thought he was a really top player, though didn't see the coaching potential in him. He also told a story about a steward who worked at the club and was fluent in Italian getting a full time (well paid) job at the club as interpreter during Vialli's reign.

It has been clear for sometime that Neill is going downhill fast. The only reason he has been in the team is that Curbishley was not brave enough to admit that he had made a terrible mistake. I am sure that Clarke is aware of this and his days are numbered. However, the problem is that we no longer have any good full-backs in the club. One possibility is to play James Tomkins in this position. He did play at full-back in the reserves last year. I was not over-impressed by Joe Widdowson on the American tour but would rather have him in the team than a burnt-out player. At least he would have the ability to get back in position after an attacking move.

It is reported today that Clarke has taked a £200,000 a year pay-cut to take the West Ham job. He must have been very unhappy at Chelsea.

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Guest Gary Loughran
Spoke to Mal Donaghy at length about several things last night (as I do every Monday). Neill is done he says or approaching that status. Noted were his 'tucking in' to avoid engaging with wingers and his propensity to get forward and not back. Mal, a top class fullback, cites these factors of evidence that Neil is past it. This totally apart from his lack of ability :)

He also spoke about Glyn Snodin and Steve Clarke. I pride myself on knowing a great deal about West Ham but was unaware that Glynn Snodin was our first team coach (until recently) - Mal worked with him and Worhington in the NI set-up until recently. He also spoke about Steve Clarke, whom he really liked form their time at Chelsea. he thought he was a really top player, though didn't see the coaching potential in him. He also told a story about a steward who worked at the club and was fluent in Italian getting a full time (well paid) job at the club as interpreter during Vialli's reign.

It has been clear for sometime that Neill is going downhill fast. The only reason he has been in the team is that Curbishley was not brave enough to admit that he had made a terrible mistake. I am sure that Clarke is aware of this and his days are numbered. However, the problem is that we no longer have any good full-backs in the club. One possibility is to play James Tomkins in this position. He did play at full-back in the reserves last year. I was not over-impressed by Joe Widdowson on the American tour but would rather have him in the team than a burnt-out player. At least he would have the ability to get back in position after an attacking move.

It is reported today that Clarke has taked a £200,000 a year pay-cut to take the West Ham job. He must have been very unhappy at Chelsea.

Could Zavon Hines be adapted to left back?? He looks fit and has pace, precious commodities at that role. Of course he would have to learn defending, an art form in itself. But he has the basic tools. Tomkins just looks too big to be an effective full back. Maybe I'm sterotyping but I like full backs who are small(ish) fast and tenacious. Irwin, Winterburn, Dixon, fit my prototypical player. I think Hines could as well. Barring Maldini and Cafu I'm struggling to think of any tall full backs who were effective. We had to goto wing backs to get the best out of Tim Breacker as he was Neill like as a full back.

It was rumoured that Clarke was unhappy at his percieved removal from the inner circle of management. I think Mourinho held Clarke in such high esteem and worked so closely with him...that anything less was bound to irk Clarke. It seems also that Scolari wanted to keep Clarke. Whether the meal at his house with Clarke was for show to appease the fans I don't know.

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Could Zavon Hines be adapted to left back?? He looks fit and has pace, precious commodities at that role. Of course he would have to learn defending, an art form in itself. But he has the basic tools. Tomkins just looks too big to be an effective full back.

I have seen him a couple of times but he does not look like a full-back to me. He has no fear and could end up as a better prospect than Sears. Tomkins size would help us at set-pieces. Faubert is another possibility.

It was rumoured that Clarke was unhappy at his percieved removal from the inner circle of management. I think Mourinho held Clarke in such high esteem and worked so closely with him...that anything less was bound to irk Clarke. It seems also that Scolari wanted to keep Clarke. Whether the meal at his house with Clarke was for show to appease the fans I don't know.

West Ham have announced today that Keen has been promoted to work alongside Clarke!

Lampard has said that Clarke deserves the move as he has always wanted to become manager of a club. Maybe, Zola is just a front-man. The acceptable face of the Italian Mafia.

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Ashton can be a top a class striker. He is however injury prone and I'm not convinced about his fitness. He does score goals which alleviates criticism. If he did not score goals there would be huge question marks about him.

Ashton was injured in his first training session with Zola and is expected to be out for a month. It is his ankle again. I am not convinced that it has ever healed properly since he broke it a couple of years ago. Have you noticed he can no longer jump very high. He is almost always beaten to the ball when he goes up with a centre-half. He is a good header of the ball as he showed with that great goal against Everton last season. However, he did not have to jump for that one.

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Guest Gary Loughran
Ashton can be a top a class striker. He is however injury prone and I'm not convinced about his fitness. He does score goals which alleviates criticism. If he did not score goals there would be huge question marks about him.

Ashton was injured in his first training session with Zola and is expected to be out for a month. It is his ankle again. I am not convinced that it has ever healed properly since he broke it a couple of years ago. Have you noticed he can no longer jump very high. He is almost always beaten to the ball when he goes up with a centre-half. He is a good header of the ball as he showed with that great goal against Everton last season. However, he did not have to jump for that one.

I have to agree with you on all this. It has been frustrating because Ashton is so good when he is fit. Unfortunately the time has come to evaluate whether to sell him or not. If I trusted the club to respend the money on a proven striker it would tempting. I fear Ashton will neve regain full fitness.

You are also right to point out the compensations he is making, though I believe the jumping problem stems from his back injury and not the ankle, I could be wrong. To jump aggressively, as he should, takes a certain ability to not care about the outcome and likely tumbles. It is this and not the actual mechanics of jumping I feel is hindering him.

Perhaps less gym time bulking up and more flexibility and stretching would benefit him greatly. At times this year he has looked like a centre half bumped up forward and this is disappointing for a player of his undoubted quality.

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