Tag: West Ham United

Match of the Weekend 1 – The Championship Playoff Final: West Ham United 2 Blackpool 1

West Ham United are back in the Premier League, after Ricardo Vaz Te’s late strike gave them victory over a doggedBlackpoolside. In a match that inevitably gets linked with the £90million that the club will earn from being in the Premier League for  a season (and the parachute payments should the winning team last just one season), it was a match that the Sky hype machine almost manage to bill as the most important game of the season, but the second most important of the day. In terms of quality, it wasn’t one of the greatest Playoff finals, butBlackpooland West Ham served up yet another exciting game, and one that will sit comfortably among the Championship’s end of season finale.   It was a game that, started as it would play out. West Ham spent most of the early exchanges showing their hand in terms of their main game plan. They looked to get Ricardo Vaz Te behind the defence, and try and spring it from a cross out wide, a tactic the Hammers try three times in the first ten minutes, yet each time, the Portugese forward is clearly offside, The Plan B looks to be pushing the midfield forward, so that any loose balls are met hard and fast, and Matt Taylor shows this tactic’s potential by charging into the box to claim a second ball from...

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West Ham United’s Faustian Pact Bares Its Teeth

A quite, considered hush fell over Upon Park about ten minutes into the second half of West Ham Uniteds match against Reading yesterday afternoon. As the visiting team dispatched their third goal, a penalty kick from Ian Harte after a clumsy tackle by Abdoulaye Faye in fifteen minutes either side of half-time and extended their lead to three-one, it was as if this was the collective moment of realisation for their supporters that, having been there or thereabouts for most of this season, the possibility of thereabouts being the sum total of their forty-six league matches us starting to become rather more of a likelihood. The afternoon had started reasonably well, an early lead grabbed through Carlton Cole and enough possession being maintained to raise the question of what all the fuss over this Reading that has been quietly shuffling its way up the Championship table is all about. In the space of three minutes at the end of the half, however, old unfamiliarities reasserted themselves with two goals for the visitors from Kaspars Gorkss and Noel Hunt to turn the scoreline upside-down. To an extent, the third Reading goal was merely confirmation that the couple of minutes prior to half-time hadn’t merely been confirmation that the couple of minutes prior to the half-time whistle hadn’t merely been some sort of collective hallucinatory experience. Hope came again with a...

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Red Devil To Hammer: Ravel Morrison’s Opportunity For Self-Reinvention

It was, as things turned out, a mercifully quiet transfer deadline day, but the most curious acquisition of the day ended up involving a young player with just a handful of first team substitute appearances under his belt but also, it would seem, the capacity for potential brilliance and and self-destruction in roughly equal measures. Ravel Morrison has been hitting headlines since he first signed for Manchester United, but precious few of them have been for anything to do with his abilities on the pitch. Still only eighteen years old, his Manchester United career ended yesterday with a move to West Ham United – a transfer which may be his opportunity to get his career back on the right tracks, but could easily also the beginning of a slide towards obscurity. Anybody that watched the FA Youth Cup final between Manchester United and Sheffield United at the end of last season will already be aware of the extravagant talent that this young player could have at his disposal. Already, however, his behaviour away from the football pitch raises concerns that are considerably greater than most teenage high-jinks. Threatening the witnesses in a case against his friends – just one of the reasons why he has found himself in court and, it should be added, extremely fortunate not to be in a young offenders institute – and rumours of missing training sessions...

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Match Of The Week: Reading 3-0 West Ham United

The last week or so in the Championship have acted as a sudden reminder to anyone who may have thought that the two automatic promotion places might already have been sewn up. Southampton’s stunning start to the season has seen them ascend to the top of the table with West Ham United, relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, clinging onto their coat-tails in second place. Last weekend, however, both clubs stumbled. Southampton fell to a single goal defeat at loanee-plumpened Doncaster Rovers, while West Ham were beaten at home by Burnley. This weekend, there was a repeat of this stutter, with Southampton requiring a stoppage-time equaliser to rescue a point at home against Blackpool, while West Ham fell to a surprisingly comprehensive defeat  at Reading. Nobody at West Ham United needs to be reminded of the importance to the club of a quick return to the Premier League and, while he continues to have his critics, Sam Allardyce has thus far managed to fulfil his remit at Upton Park. His team has been a lesson in footballing obduracy so far this season, seldom setting the division alight but grinding out win after win – very much as we might have expected from Allardyce. Last weekend’s defeat against Burnley, however, was a shock to the system the jitters continued yesterday afternoon against a Reading side...

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How Literal Will The Premier League’s Survival Sunday Be?

In an August 2009 Radio 5 Live programme on the Premier League’s financial troubles, Supporters Direct Chief Executive Dave Boyle addressed the issue of the “chasm” between Premier League and Football League finances. “Once upon a time,” he said to a gathering of football people including the then-Birmingham chairman David Gold, who wasn’t ‘sitting comfortably’, “relegation meant you’d not had a good season. Now it seems to be this existential ‘it’s the end of the club, it’s the end of the world as we know it.’” Boyle’s theory was tested to an extent by that season’s relegation of Hull City and Portsmouth. But it was difficult to gauge how much of Hull’s traumas were down to the gap between the leagues, or the gap between owner Russell Bartlett’s financial strategies and sanity. And Portsmouth, of course, was a test of a different set of theories entirely, largely connected with the wisdom of allowing convicted Russian/Israeli gun-runners to try out a Premier League club’s bank account for size. Allegedly. Some of this season’s bottom six might put Boyle’s theory to a more pertinent test. The bottom six has mostly been the three ‘Bs’ – Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool – nestling uncomfortably on top of the three ‘Ws’ – West Ham United, Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers (the five ‘Ws’, if you have a certain view of the Hammers’...

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