Will West Ham “Pull It Off” at Southampton – Or Will the Clean-cut, Virtuous Saints Prevail? – by Rob Atkinson


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In a rare look at the no-hopers’ stratum of the Premier League, “Life, Leeds United, the Universe and Everything” will focus today on that most archetypal of mid-table fixtures, tomorrow’s clash of mediocrities at St Mary’s, as The Saints face sinners West Ham.

What? Sinners?? I hear you ask, probably with a bemused look on your face as you think of the ‘Appy ‘Ammers’ “World Cup Winners” and of course the Most Holy Sir Trevor Brooking Himself.  Well, I mean no real criticism of the traditional playing habits of The Academy of Football (Finishing Third Or Lower Since Formation).  Give or take Julian Dicks and Paolo di Canio, they’ve generally been one of the less offensive clubs around, and certainly my own beloved Leeds United have usually found West Ham to be a pleasantly soft touch down the years.  No, it’s the somewhat less savoury figureheads at the top of the club who tend to give the lie to any perception of the Irons as a tasteful family outfit.  The embarrassing fact of a pair of former soft-porn barons as co-chairmen rather shatters any such cosy image.  It’s perhaps ironic that these two share the Chairman title whilst the formerly scrumptious Karren Brady has to put up with being Vice Chairman.  It’s an incongruous contradiction that will not be lost on anyone who used to drool over the non-textual output of the Daily Sport.

In any event, misty-eyed memories of the likes of Brooking, Alan Devonshire, the Hurst/Peters/Moore triumvirate, Patsy Holland (Patsy??  Yes, Patsy, for crying out loud) and even more recent alumni such as Frank Lampard Jr. and Rio Ferdinand, have tended to disappear under the more muscular style favoured by one-time Fergie lapdog Sam Allardyce.  Fat Sam, as he is fondly known, is a realist.  He went for the most direct route out of the Championship, gaining a promotion that, while it offended the eyes of the old-timer Upton Park purists, nevertheless elevated them to the level of top-flight strugglers, the usual high-water mark of their less than spectacular history.  Fat Sam knows that, in this company, survival is all that can reasonably be expected of him, and he has accordingly taken the pragmatic approach to recruitment and tactics.  The abandonment of the old “Academy” tradition is mourned by many, but it’s all about money these days and the ‘Ammers need to cling on to their Premier League nose-bleed status for as long as possible.  Historically, this has tended to mean a few years of struggle among the game’s big boys before inevitable relegation and the start of a struggle to get back.  Such has been the pedigree, for want of a better word, of West Ham United.

Fat Sam’s current problems seem to revolve around the perennial injury problems of striker Andy Carroll, who is hors de combat yet again and therefore unable to provide the fulcrum needed for the Allardyce game plan to stand any real chance of success against all but the more inept of the Premier League roster.  The Saints’ own old-fashioned centre-forward, Ricky Lambert has looked a much better bet recently, thriving in international company for England where he has snapped up a couple of goal chances and shown a happy knack of threading an accurate pass through for runners into the box.  This key advantage, as well as a slightly healthier state of affairs surrounding the home side, leads me to conclude that the ‘Ammers chances of returning to Albert Square with anything other than a chastening defeat are quite slim.  My prediction is a comfortable enough 2-0 victory for Southampton, and the jellied eels to taste sour and as nauseating as they look in the Rose and Crahn tomorrow evening.

The ‘Ammers’ prospects for the season ahead would seem to be rather up in the air.  Fat Sam will stick to his script and he’ll hope that his more effective players can steer clear of injury for enough of the campaign to secure another year at the Top Table.  That’s a pretty encouraging prognosis for London’s paupers, who will be looking ahead at their move to the Olympic facility as a chance to elevate their status.  If West Ham can make that move still in possession of their hard-won Premier League status – well that’s enough to give even an aging porn baron’s libido a jolt and maybe even provide a suitable climax to what has been a less-than-palatable career.

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52 responses to “Will West Ham “Pull It Off” at Southampton – Or Will the Clean-cut, Virtuous Saints Prevail? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. scott adams

    touché Rob … like your style rub the buggers nose in it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he who laughs last laughs the longest.

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  2. Oslo_Hammer

    ‘It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’

    So continue to enjoy championship (or 2nd division) mid table mediocrity – and we’ll settle for premier league mid table mediocrity. That is until we move into the Olympic Stadium.

    Regards

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    • Not where you’re from? All the Spammers I know drone on relentlessly about “winning the World Cup” – nearly half a century ago. You have to be very selective about your clichés to come out with that one!

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        cliché or not – it’s the truth. And I can only speak for myself.

        So, while we look forward to competing with the genuinely big clubs (the only Leeds fans I know all seem to have an inferiority complex about Leeds being a big club) you can get enthusiastic about striking up rivalries with the likes of millwall.

        Big game for you today at Bolton. Have you written a piece on that as well?

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      • I’ve written several, you should have a look around my blog and the other blogs I write for – you might learn something 🙂 I reserve the right to write about lesser teams as well though. Your fellow fan HF by contrast looks up the food chain and prefers to concentrate on clubs further up the food chain than the team he allegedly supports. Sauce for the goose, my resentful cockney friend. I hope you clicked the Spammers 1, Leeds 5 link in my article there – a bit of nostalgia is good for the soul.

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        I believe the only one coming across as resentful is you ‘my friend’.

        Good luck in the championship this year. Be good to have Leeds back in the premier league.

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  3. West ham have had more seasons in the top leagues in the last twenty years than Southampton or Leeds. You lot are lucky to be in and around the plays offs rubbish manager rubbish squad and a grim city. We may meet one day in the fa cup if you lot can make the third round. Couple of years we’ll be challenging for Europe with England’s most expensive ever forward and you’ll be in the football league with Warnock and doiuf. Carry on writing articles about us the famous World Cup winners. IRONS

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    • As long as your fellow sufferer HF continues his obsession with Leeds, I will continue to write the odd article about the long running comedy soap opera that is West ‘Am – even though it’s so sleazy these days. If you ever want me to write something explaining just how it feels to be Football League Champions, just say – I know it’s a concept totally alien to you spammers. I would of course include my thanks for the helping hand you gave us in ’92, right at the death of one of your relegation seasons.

      Like

      • scott adams

        top man grind em down MOT even Oslo Hammer came down with a bump …… in the end ha …. you are breath of fresh air …. I enjoy your articles good honest opinions …..

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        ‘down with a bump’ 😀

        To be fair it was a well written original piece, and I even afforded myself a wry smile.
        But it did come across as resentful, which of course I understand – it’s a case of premier league envy.

        I do not however understand the aforementioned HF’s irrational fascination with a now insignificant club from Yorkshire.

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      • You can bend over backwards, Oslo, but you’ll have difficulty selling anyone this line to the effect of Wet Spam being bigger than Leeds, in any context whatsoever – apart from current status, which is always a transient thing. Your attempts are brave, but ultimately laughable. Form is temporary – class is permanent (not that any club run by Porn Kings have any right to claim “class”)

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  4. couple of years you will be challenging for europe?? ambitious!
    everyone can see that andy carroll was never worth the money liverpool paid for him and as a knock on effect liverpool HAD to sell him for a high price.reminds me of james beattie,just not quite good enough

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  5. Oslo_Hammer

    And talking of clichés you deliver the classic; ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’

    So what happened to your class. Where is it?

    leeds bigger that West Ham, hilarious. Still averaging around 20,000 in the championship?

    Like

    • It’s not really my place to educate the irredeemably thick, but our class lies in our glorious history, massive global support and a profile that remains high whatever the current abilities of the squad that represents the club. Let’s face it, there’s bound to be some sort of class accruing to any club that’s been hailed as the best in Europe, as Leeds were generally acknowledged in the late sixties and early seventies. The likes of Trevor Francis and other professionals who have actually played the game still rate that team as the best ever. But I suppose you’ll maintain that you know best 🙂

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        I think you may be confusing ‘best’ with ‘dirtiest’

        Your rivals Huddersfield Town were a big club once too.
        It’s interesting that you have to refer to your past all the time.

        And far from it to be my place to educate you (I’ll refrain from name calling and insults) – but I think you’ll find that West Ham also have supporters clubs all over the world, in every continent.
        WHU have consistently averaged higher attendances than Leeds for decades – can you imagine if we actually started realising our potential and winning trophies. The potential for a London based club like West Ham is limitless.

        So – you keep looking back on your ‘glorious past’ and we’ll look ahead to our bright future.
        Nothing stays the same, there’s always change.

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      • So West Ham are bigger than Leeds – well that’s two of you that think so, you and Alf Garnett.

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        So, I can only infer that your ‘class’ is firmly entrenched in your past. And even that is debatable when you consider the style of football back then from Europe’s once dirtiest team.

        You certainly don’t possess any class now.
        Only an inferiority complex about being a big club.

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      • Yeah,yeah, you’ve done that. As I said, nobody’s buying it. The article obviously nettled you, which is good, even though you weren’t the target.

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        As mentioned elsewhere, I enjoyed the article – it was well written and humorous if a little provocative.

        Clearly you have a talent with the written word – but your subsequent comments and insults let you down.

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      • It’s just struck me – Oslo. No wonder you’re bitter – town full of Leeds fans 🙂

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        I’m not the bitter one here Rob.

        And Oslo is a city. It’s also blessed with a large West Ham following.
        I don’t know any Leeds fans here.

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      • Of COURSE you don’t. And the ‘Ammers are bigger than Leeds. And Man U deserved a penalty today for an outside-the-box tackle. And there IS a Santa Claus. You’ll be telling me the World Cup’s off to Qatar next.

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    • well actually Mr. Oslo the average is around 27,500 so stick another 37.5% on your statistic. and it’s the highest in the division..

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        27,500 – are you sure ?!

        Please remind me what ours was in the championship in 2011/12

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  6. Good article, well written and it gave me a laugh.

    You say that WH people get misty eyed and nostalgic about the days of Moore, Hurst, Brooking etc. I and other WH supporters don’t live in the past. When it’s talked about it’s with a sort of ironic fondness that has no impact on our current reality. I’m happy to support West Ham with our history and bright future, You have a team in terminal decline and can only look back to the distasteful era of Don Revie. As someone here said “the dirtiest team in Europe”

    From those days ’til now I still get up half an hour earlier each day so I can hate them for longer.

    I think, looking at your situation that there maybe really is a god.

    Like

    • If there is a God, you’d better think about according Him a capital letter, or He may decide to send a bolt of lightning your way, prior to dealing with your co-chairmen by sending them to Gomorrah and shrivelling their balls off 🙂

      Like

      • Oslo_Hammer

        Hey Rob what happened to my earlier reply to your Santa Clause message.
        Censored by any chance ?

        Like

      • Yes, you were becoming tedious. You aren’t going to do it again, are you?

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        That’s a good one. Anyone who puts you firmly back in your place is censored.

        And you consider yourself a ‘proudly opinionated lefty git’. Communist then ?

        Like

      • You fancy yourself a bit don’t you? Put me in my place – the next time will be the first and it’ll take a bit more than you have in your locker, mate. Now be quiet like a good lad or I’ll turn you into spam.

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      • Oslo_Hammer

        Look, you may look like Ray Winstone but you don’t frighten me.
        Hilarious.

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  7. Who’s HF(I get he’s WHU and a blogger but WTF)and why do we give a proverbial about this bloke. Go spend some time with your wife and child or your beloved Leeds.

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  8. 125000 applicants for play off final, that’s potential, cant see Olympic stadium full unless a big team play their including leeds , they always filled upton park mot

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  9. Getting rather old testament arn’t we?
    I said “maybe” there is a god. When the existance is proved he (or she) can have a capital.
    If you believe Ilightning strikes and ball shrivelling from on high for people you disagree with is a goer, perhaps use your inside line to bring your team some sunshine.
    Lawdy lawdy.

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  10. West ham have well and truly shot this down on a Leeds blog.

    Everything I said still stands. Crap manager club and city destined for the football leave for the next 30 years. We’ll believe your “global fanbase” when you eventually fill out your drab stadium.

    Sensoring people’s comments and “turning them to spam” sums you lot up really you can’t have an honest argument with us because you know your a smaller club.

    One league title won by being dirty. One World Cup and 3 FA cups from being the academy of football.

    STAND UP FOR THE WORLD CUP STAND UP FOR THE WORLD CUP

    Like

    • While we’re shooting things down – lame ducks in your case – it’s THREE League Titles for Dirty Leeds, although I’d hardly expect you to be an expert on the subject of Champions. I’ll let the rest of your uptight and illiterate post speak for itself.

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  11. Illiterate, I’ll let your constant use of uneeded capital letters speak for themselves.

    You seem to use a lot of words without actually saying anything nor answering or responding to any of the facts put to you, such as attendance, recent history current squad and future prospects.

    However I think we both accept your only achievement of note of the last 30 years wouldn’t of been possible without the mighty west ham. For such a global fanbase it is quite ironic there is more west ham fans than Leeds on a Leeds blog.

    But your right, your the bigger club with the bigger fanbase with a bright future. Heck we’ve got alladyce and we may not like it. But no honest football fan would swap him for Neil I’m retiring because my career has been a joke Warnock.

    I’m leaving now to catch a train to st Mary’s where west ham will fill there allocation in the premier league as per. You guys can watch and hope we lose with the false hope we could get relegated and you can have another cup final. Coz we all know you only sell out when the World Cup winners are in town.

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    • Pitiful, yet funny. The main thing I got from that was a poignant image of your English teacher reading it and then reaching for a pistol to end it all. But I’m sure your superiors at KFC or Maccy D’s are proud of you.

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  12. Hilarious. As if my point needed proving any further.

    Like

  13. 4737carlinsir

    Funny. The author berates west ham fans for recalling 1966 and then goes on to reply to a comment by referencing the late sixties and early seventies when he believes Leeds had a good reputation. Keep up the contradictions, they certainly help slip the veil of intelligence that you try, albeit unsuccessfully, to portray.

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    • The humour in the West Ham 1966 thing lies not in the vintage, but in the foolish bravado of the ‘Ammers to take undue credit for England’s success. I don’t mind explaining that to you, as you’re clearly having difficulty grasping the concept.

      Like

      • 4737carlinsir

        Strange then that in your reply to the first comment you draw upon the vintage – ‘nearly half a century ago’.

        As I said, keep the contradictions coming.

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      • 4737carlinsir

        Strange then that in your response to an earlier comment you draw upon the vintage – ‘nearly fifty years ago’. A lazy retort really as even the lesser numerate amongst us could quickly deduce its actually 47 years.

        Lazy and contradictory, you could go far as a journo. Its a pity you left it so late.

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  14. Shropshire

    Well, at least this article gave me more entertainment than this afternoons game, but one serious question; Blackburn have won the title more recently than Leeds, does that make them a bigger club than either Leeds or WHU?
    No, didn’t think so, so I would be inclined not to use this argument, otherwise Burnley would also be a bigger club based on how many times they have won the league.
    By the way certainly not many Leeds fans here in Shropshire, but plenty of Hammers. (That has also been my experience travelling around many parts of the globe)

    Like

  15. just bigger then w a, or may be a lot bigger then w a

    Like

  16. by the way Shropshire , burnley champions twice, check out 1969 .1974 , and 1992, goes to show what you know about big clubs and football in general M O T mar`s white`s

    Like

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