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West Ham v Watford

John Simkin

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It will be interesting to see the team put out by West Ham this afternoon. With Davenport cup-tied they have problems with the centre of defence. Personally, I would prefer to see McCartney play there instead of Dailly. I would like to see Noble get a game. I don’t suppose Kepa will start but I hope to see him come on for Cole or Zamora during the second-half.

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Guest Gary Loughran

From sporting life .com

1. Roy Carroll

34. Lucas Neill

18. Jonathan Spector

7. Christian Dailly

6. George McCartney

26. Shaun Newton

20. Nigel Reo-Coker

33. Nigel Quashie

13. Luis Boa Morte

25. Bobby Zamora

12. Carlton Cole


21. Robert Green (GK)

8. Teddy Sheringham

11. Matthew Etherington

14. John Pantsil

17. Hayden Mullins

I agree with your centre half choices. In fact it looks like Spector and Dailly in the middle. I'd rather have Neill and McCartney in there and the other two at full back.

Any idea where Yossi is today. It looks a little workmanlike without him!!

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Guest Gary Loughran

Bah!!! 19 (9 on target) shots versus Watford's 6 (one on target!!!!).

We need a quality striker and centre half. I'd have went for Ronaldo on a 4 month loan and offered him anything he wanted!!! As things stand I'd still go OTT on pay for a quality striker even an on loan mercenary.

Thank goodness it was 'only' the FA Cup. A loss of 3 points in this fixture would have been devastating.

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Guest Gary Loughran

FWIW...West Ham First

STAT ATTACK (once again courtesy of Sporting Life.com)

9 Shots On Target 1

10 Shots Off Target 5

13 Fouls (Conceded) 16

10 Corners 5

2 Yellow Cards 0

0 Red Cards 0

Obviously the stat that really matters 0 Goals 1.

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Guest Gary Loughran

I've read that Yossi was simply omitted from the squad. This could mean injury, but I wonder if there are more concerning reasons, such as an imminent sale.

Barring Jensen can you think of a flair player ever employed by Curbishley?

Are you aware that Cottee was a player in the Eggertson takeover and could take legal action over the fact he has been denied a position at Upton Park. He was also the main advocate of Curbishley during the deal and allegedly he [Curbs] was primed about this well in advance?

Have you read Dunphy's "Only a game". It's probably the best book on football, from a playing perspective, around. He says, when playing for Millwall in a friendly against the Hammers, that West Ham played like aristocrats and like aristocrats showed an unwillingness to sweat. I loved that line. It's well worth the read if you get a spare half day or so.


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I've read that Yossi was simply omitted from the squad. This could mean injury, but I wonder if there are more concerning reasons, such as an imminent sale.

Barring Jensen can you think of a flair player ever employed by Curbishley?

I agree that Curbishley's attitude to flair players could be a problem. So could his tendency not to forgive people when he has rows with them. I remember Danny Murphy and Charlton doing very well at the beginning of a season. Then the two men clashed. Murphy was out of the team and Charlton went on the slide. I was very disturbed to hear that Green had been dropped because of a row he had with Curbishley.

From what I could see on the highlights and the reports I have read, except for the Carroll mistake, the defence played fairly well (they had four central defenders missing yesterday). However, West Ham are still not making chances. Yossi is vital for West Ham. Yet it would not surprise me if he was sold. I think he would do very well in Italy and Spain. Let us hope Curbishley has lined up a good replacement.

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A very perceptive article on West Ham appeared in the Guardian today:


Matt Scott at Upton Park

Monday January 29, 2007

The Guardian

Watching West Ham at the moment recalls the old gag about the non-swimmer who fell in the sewer: he just goes through the motions. A glance at the league table shows that the Hammers are clearly up the Premiership's creek and the semblance of effort they displayed on Saturday suggests the paddle has been misplaced. Most worrying for the board is that the manager, Alan Curbishley, does not appear to have a grip on things.

For a team in West Ham's position the FA Cup might have been considered a distraction but the effect this competition had in buoying the club last season must not be forgotten. Last year the Hammers coupled a valiant run to the final with a top-10 Premiership finish but that source of confidence has now run dry.

Curbishley, though, seemed unconcerned to have let the FA Cup slide here. "What I said to the players after the game is that I can't ask much more of them," said Curbishley. "I know the fans will look at that and say, 'Blimey, what's he on about?' But they tried their hardest."

Curbishley is right: the fans would be astonished by that assessment, since the jeers they directed at the players were the background music to an insipid second half. But Malky Mackay, the Watford player-coach who two years ago spent a Championship season at Upton Park, appeared to endorse the fans' frustrations.

"Just as the sign in the tunnel at Liverpool says 'This is Anfield', there's a reminder of West Ham's 'academy of football' status in front of the dug-outs here," he said. "But for the academy to flourish, you need desire and commitment as basic requirements."

Mackay said that recent acquisitions of big-name players on big-money contracts might in fact have had a negative effect. "It's a club in transition," he said. "Where they are going is none of my business."

Tact forbade him to spell it out but the subtext was clear: Curbishley has failed to gel the incomers with the incumbents. "The confidence is a major factor," said the Hammers' manager. "The fans' confidence, the players' confidence. We have got to try to get it back and the only way we can do that is by winning some games."

That is only because Curbishley's force of personality and imagination will not turn things around. Instead the former Charlton Athletic manager hugs excuses like a comfort blanket. Take his response to the suggestion of a whimsical team-bonding exercise to try to inspire his troops, paint-balling or some such. "No, I don't think there is anything in that," he said. "We have got so much football going on, though we will probably get a free weekend now.

"If you look at what has happened in the five or six weeks since we have been here, the injuries to certain areas of the team, it's just one thing after another, and we can't seem to get that settled. We get a decent result up at Newcastle but we can't keep the same side today."

Curbishley considers himself to be of the Sir Alex Ferguson school of management. The pair are close; leading lights in the League Managers' Association. But where Ferguson is the undoubted monarch of his club, where his accomplishments command respect, Curbishley cannot brandish trophies as a banner for his players to rally to.

He forged a tremendous career at The Valley and in so doing admirably constructed an entire club. But he finds himself with different problems at Upton Park; namely a collection of players who have no affection for him.

The board must regret disposing of Alan Pardew without first seeing what effect new signings would have on his stewardship. Now, with less than three days of the transfer window remaining, directors can provide little stimulus to Curbishley's ailing team.

Aidy Boothroyd, like Pardew, recognises the value of creating a wholesome working environment for his players and recently reshuffled his coaching staff. Anthony McNamee's hooked shot capitalised on Roy Carroll's error to provide Watford with a second successive win and they will be confident in their return to Upton Park in the Premiership in 12 days.

How does Curbishley see it? "What we wanted to do today was put a run together so players can go home feeling happy," he said. "But we have not managed to do that, so they are going home a bit down. But they have got to pick themselves up, because we have got a game in a couple of days [at home to Liverpool tomorrow]." Inspirational stuff.

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