Wednesday, May 31, 2006
England 3-1 Hungary
Theo Walcott got his first cap and became the youngest ever England international during England's 3-1 friendly defeat of Hungary.
The young lad did have his moments, although I don't see what he's offering that other strikers don't. It's a big load for such young shoulders in a squad with only three fit strikers - four if you include Gerrard.
The formation early on was 4-1-4-1, with Carragher in the holding position and Owen up front on his own. Gerrard was nominally working off Owen although he tended to play his normal role as roaming midfielder more than support striker.
Carragher - for the quality player he is - added nothing to the squad, particularly in the first half when he played within a tight zone just in front of the two centre backs. Here he did not really break up any Hungarian attacks, and acted mostly as a resting place for the ball when England were in possession. Whether Eriksson ordered this or not, it just didn't work and I'd rather see Carrick or even King there.
Owen looked lonely up front in the first half, through no fault of his own. Those long balls were somehow reaching him but even if he managed to win the ball, what was he to do with nobody to give it to? Later, when the midfield started pushing up (and particularly as Gerrard moved into more of a striker's role) England looked far more balanced.
Robinson 6 - Nothing to do.
Neville 7 - Surprisingly (for me) did most things well, although the quality of his crossing could do with improvement.
Ferdinand 7 - Read the game and broke up many attacks.
Terry 8 - Reliable in defence, and got a goal.
A. Cole 5 - Barely got forward, and found too many dead ends. Average defending.
Carragher 6 - Immobile in midfield, although his skill and experienced helped him retain possession. Adequate at right back.
J. Cole 8 - Found lots of space in the first half but had no end product. Strangely enough, in the second half when Hungary started to pressure him a little more, he seemed to really enjoy the game and became a real danger.
Lampard 7 - Did his usual job.
Beckham 7 - Plenty of good crosses and dead ball work.
Gerrard 7 - Worked hard, and looked better up front than in midfield. A nice header for his goal.
Owen 6 - Could barely get involved, and somewhat out of sorts when he did. But given little opportunity to prove himself.
Hargreaves 5 - For a while I thought he was Dailly in disguise. But that's harsh on Dailly.
Campbell 6 - Don't remember much about him playing.
Crouch 7 - Good awareness and finish for the goal.
Walcott 6 - Made a couple of good runs and seemed to have a good sense of positioning, but will need more time with the team before it all clicks.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Welsh boys defeat World Cup newcomers
I know it's late to report, but Hammers Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Carl Fletcher all played in Wales' 2-1 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in a friendly on the weekend.
Collins and Gabbidon were two of only four Welshmen who played the entire game, while Fletcher played for the first half. Collins set up Wales' first goal.
Shaka Hislop did not appear for T&T.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
World Cup Fever!
Bring the Internationals to QLD
Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House that the reluctance of the Queensland Events Corporation to help bring the Australian Football (Soccer) team to Queensland is a major disappointment to a significant number of residents. Football (Soccer) has the highest participation and support base rates of any sport in the world and this is reflected by the facts.
• Bureau of Statistics figures show that more children aged 5-14 are playing Football (Soccer) than Australian Rules and Rugby League combined.
• 98,000 people are expected to pack the MCG for Australia’s next international friendly.
• In the 1997 NSL Grand Final, over 40,000 attended Suncorp Stadium to watch the Brisbane Strikers defeat Sydney United.
• The Queensland Roar boasts the second best attendance figures in the Hyundai A-League national competition.
Those attendance figures are equal to any sport in Australia or anywhere in the world, and would give great exposure to our state both nationally and internationally without even factoring in the associated economic benefits.
Your petitioners therefore request the House to (through Queensland Events corporation) reassess its current position on attracting International Football (Soccer) matches to Queensland. This change will in effect see this Government Portfolio incorporate a pro-active stance on obtaining competitive international matches as per its long-term strategy of bringing major sporting events to the state of Queensland.
Sign petition here
Friday, May 26, 2006
Australia: Lucky strike beats woeful Greece
Josip Skoko's volley from 25 yards gave the Socceroos a 1-0 win against a lacklastre Greece side last night, in front of a massive 95,103 crowd.
The lads played all right, and were tactically better than I've seen them for a while, but I just couldn't share Fozzie's enthusiasm. Greece were awful, a pale imitation of the European champions we saw two years ago, and Australia could put no more than one spectacular (and, I believe, slightly mis-hit) volley into their net despite a wealth of opportunities. The buildup play was there but the killer blow was not.
In addition, a tougher side would punish us for the mistakes we made, and would not gift us possession so easily. Our upcoming match against Holland should be a more reliable yardstick.
Having said that, there were some positives to take out, namely, the excellent buildup play and the emergence of Sterjovski as a real contender for a starting place in the big matches. Culina and Neill also both played very well, and Skoko showed that he is still in form.
Kalac 5 - A clean sheet but not a save to make and did not look convincing or decisive. Capable of better, but on the strength of this performance I'd be sticking with Schwartzer.
Chipperfield 6 - Adequate
Neill 7 - Strong and reliable, good forward support as well. My MoM.
Moore 6 - Good to see him back.
Grella 6 - Cleaned up well but passing was below par.
Culina 7 - Excellent vision and worked hard.
Skoko 7 - Heavily involved and was the starting point for many attacks. Got the official MoM.
Emerton 6 - I really don't know why he plays. Really looks average. Indecisive and slow.
Sterjovski 7 - A great outlet. Pushing hard for a start in Germany.
Bresciano 7 - Buzzed about energetically.
Viduka 6 - Held up the ball well and kept the Greek defence on their toes. As usual did a lot of off-the-ball work.
Popovic 6 - Did well when he came on to allow Neill to push up.
Thompson 6 - Poor decision making spoiled a hardworking performance. Has the skill to do well.
Wilkshire 6 - Had a decent pop from a long way out.
Lazaridis 6 - The ex-Hammer can still get forward and cross the ball, and will be good for the bench to solidify the field late on.
In other news, reports say Alan Pardew is looking at Deportivo La Coruna hardman Aldo Duscher. The 27-year-old Argentinian midfielder is priced at around £4 million and has previously been linked with Manchester United.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Scaloni & fringe dwellers released
Other professionals who have been released by the club are fringe dwellers Darren Blewitt, Petr Mikolanda, Sekou Baradji, Matthew Reed, and Aussie defender Trent McClenahan.
The Club has also shifted out some Academy players, namely third-years Darren Behcet and Jemal Henry, and second-years Ryan Andrews, David Cowley, Liam White, Ishmael Welsh, Densal Davidson, and Eren Kemal.
To replace them the Club has named 10 youngsters who will be inducted to the Academy: Tom Harvey, Jordan Spence, Bondz Ngala, Robbie Blackwell, Ben Hunt, Ashley Miller, Ryan O'Neill, Junior Stanislas, Fred Sears, and Gary Bowes.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Good enough for Argentina!
"There is a permament evolution with footballers." said Pekerman.
Zanetti fumed, "Nobody told me what I did wrong to not be in the World Cup squad. I'm calm because I think I did my best to be on the list and I've been always available for the national team when they needed me. We'll never know if I've been excluded because of football reasons or not."
In a brief interview with reporters Scaloni said, "WOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"
Newmarket Hotel shafts FA Cup fans!
"A dyed-in-the-wool Liverpool fan and a bunch of soccer tragics were imbibing freely at Newmarket Hotel watching the FA Cup last Sunday morning when the staff called time at 2.15. Only trouble was the Reds and West Ham were locked at 3-3 and in extra-time. Our fan managed to flag down a cab and make it home to Red Hill, missing only a few minutes of the action. One of his mates ran home to Wilston and just caught the penalty shoot-out."
Friday, May 19, 2006
WHU-AU Cardiff Report
Just a quick report on the day out in Cardiff...the whole city was bubbling (pun intended). We (DPL's tour party) stayed in Cheltenham the night before and got to Cardiff about 10am cause DPL had to do a couple of radio spots - the Five Live one had a spiel about my 3 month old Ben and the FA trying to charge him full adult price at the last minute! (As it turned out we didn't take him to the game anyway - we got someone to look after him which was a good move).
Arriving so early gave us heaps of time to soak up the atmosphere - amazing. Just on our way to Cardiff in the coach was incredible, seeing all of the cars decorated with flags and scarves and stuff. At the toll plaza there were about 200 cars all festooned in claret and blue.
We ran in to our mate Rick outside the ground who flew there and back from OZ a day either side of the game - a mighty effort.
No hassles getting in my camera & 400mm lens. I have some good photos that I will probably not get to post till we get back to Brisbane in mid June.
We had seats in the next section to the press gallery, about 30 feet from the sideline, deep in the WHU area. From the moment you walked in the atmosphere was amazing. The noise was off the dial and everyone just had this great sense of anticipation. Bubbles were blowing and people were singing.
The teams were announced and Matty & Deano were in (excellent) as was Scaloni (hmmmm).
Its a cliche but the game *was* a roller coaster ride of emotions. Its hard to put into words what happened when we scored so I won't try, suffice to say it went off....then a 2nd and we dared to hope. As we found out later, not since 1966 has a team led by 2 goals in the cup final and been beaten :( . We thought we were gone when they got both goals back but then Konchy's flukey cross had us thinking this was gonna be the fairytale ending.
Ant then just as the time added on was announced our hearts were ripped out. Ashton was off, Marlon was completley hobbled...deep down we knew what was to come..fading and dying :(
The scenes at the end showed what it meant to the players.....
I hafta get off this puter so I'll finish off in a comment later...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Messages of Support for WHU
Email firstname.lastname@example.org - they deserve it.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
And the award goes to...
Well, the scores are tallied and the results are in for the inaugural and unprestigious Aussie TV Hammer of the Year awards. These awards take an average of all the ratings we have given the players over the season based on the TV coverage in Australia. Players must have played more than a third of the televised matches (that is, 9 or more matches over the 25 that were covered) to be eligible.
Astonishingly, we have joint winners for the major award. Marlon Harewood and Nigel Reo-Coker have both achieved an incredible 7.00 average rating for their performances over the year and so will share the award, although Harewood has been rated in more games (24, versus 20 for Reo-Coker). Matty Etherington scoops the runner-up award with an impressive average of 6.91 over 22 matches.
Aussie TV Young Hammer of the Year goes to the supremely talented defender Anton Ferdinand with an average rating of 6.63 over 20 matches - although this rating is hardly indicative of his superbly consistent performance throughout the season. Fear not, the match reporters are being ruthlessly tortured as we speak. (NRC of course was eligible for Aussie TV Young Hammer of the Year, but you can't win both...)
Israeli playmaker Yossi Benayoun picks up the Best Signing award with an average rating of 6.79 in 24 matches, just pipping Roy Carroll who averaged 6.78 over 9 matches.
The Worst Signing goes to Lionel Scaloni with a dismal average of 5.67 in 12 matches.
The Encouragement award (highest average rated player with insufficient matches to qualify for Hammer of the Year) goes to Carl Fletcher, who averaged an excellent 7.14 rating over 7 matches. Eternal Hammers hero Jimmy Walker only played a single match but received an 8 rating for it, although you could hardly call that an average!
Interestingly, official Hammer of the Year Danny Gabbidon only averaged 6.48, demonstrating either the difficulty of rating players based on what you see on TV, or the utter incompetence of our match reporters. (Probably a bit of both.) Frankly I'm surprised Danny G and Anton were so far down the list, but there you have it.
Average, Appearances, Name
7.00, 24, Marlon Harewood (joint Aussie TV Hammer of the Year)
7.00, 20, Nigel Reo-Coker (joint Aussie TV Hammer of the Year)
6.91, 22, Matty Etherington (runner-up Aussie TV Hammer of the Year)
6.79, 24, Yossi Benayoun (Best Signing)
6.78, 9, Roy Carroll
6.72, 25, Paul Konchesky
6.67, 9, James Collins
6.64, 22, Bobby Zamora
6.63, 20, Anton Ferdinand (Aussie TV Young Hammer of the Year)
6.50, 16, Teddy Sheringham
6.48, 24, Danny Gabbidon
6.39, 23, Hayden Mullins
6.31, 16, Shaun Newton
6.25, 12, Christian Dailly
6.25, 12, Dean Ashton
6.20, 15, Shaka Hislop
5.67, 12, Lionel Scaloni (Worst Signing)
*7.14, 7, Carl Fletcher (Encouragement award)
* Ineligible for full award due to insufficient appearances.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
So many emotions...
We were heading for a glorious victory as the clock ticked down. We (in the pub) had just finished a song - honestly, I can't recall what it was for certain but I think it was "Bubbles" - a moment of silence followed, and then Gerrard scored his cracking equaliser. You can't buy that sort of thing. Gerrard is the model professional and a true club player, few of whom any club can boast, but West Ham and Liverpool both can point out a number of greats in their illustrious history. If anyone was going to score in the 90th minute to deny West Ham their glory, then I'm glad it was Steven Gerrard.
To see so many players (on both sides) go down with cramp or injury, and especially to see Marlon Harewood attempt to shoot at goal with his injured foot, was gut-wrenching.
That save by Reina is indelibly etched into my memory as the moment when West Ham United came within a hair's breadth of lifting the FA Cup at the finale of a fantastic season.
Our goals may be partially attributed to luck, but West Ham showed the sort of guts and honour worthy of the scoreline. A proud day, indeed.
As for our little gathering at midnight in Brisbane, the atmosphere was incredible. The Liverpool fans showed up in droves and I think outnumbered the Hammers, but not by much. They sang well, and we matched them. There were moments when the hair stood up on the back of my neck as the fans sang "Come on you Irons" - the determination and love for the club that the fans showed was second to none. And the mood between both opposing sets of fans was that of friendly rivalry and good sportsmanship. Both sets of fans were superb. It was a fabulous, unforgettable night, despite the result.
I still don't really know what to think of it - gutted, but proud, I guess to sum it up.
Congratulations to Liverpool and their amazing fans.
Thank you so much to Alan Pardew, all the players, and all the West Ham United fans who have made this season such a great one.
Let's do it again.
West Ham United v Liverpool FA Cup Final LIVE in Australia and NZ
*** UPDATED 5 MAY 06 ***
We have OZ Hammers venues all over Australia and NZ - Please email me if you know of any other Hammers venues.
Many thanks to David Lewis and all the other Hammers who worked hard to make this a possibility... Get on down and support the boys in Claret & Blue!
The Hakoah Club, 61-67 Hall Street, BONDI NSW 2026
Tel: 02 9130 3344
The Hakoah Club serves dinner until at least 9.30pm and we are negotiating to keep the restaurant open longer. The Bar will be fully stocked and more food will be available at midnight.
(major venue - no children)
Pig 'N' Whistle, 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane
Tel: 07 3832 9099
(***NEW*** secondary venue - children welcome)
Pig 'N' Whistle, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, Indooroopilly
Tel: 07 3878 8899
The Celtic Club, 320 Queens Street, Melbourne.
Tel: 03 9691 7444
Rosemont Hotel, cnr Morphett & Hindley Street, Adelaide
Tel: 08 8221 5156
Contact: David Sosnowski email@example.com
The City Club, Lower Level Garema Centre, Garema Place, Civic
tel: 6248 8917
Coverage starts at 11.00pm with kick off at 12.00
Entry will cost $3.00.
Canberra Hammers have been invited to this venue as part of the Canberra City Soccer Clubs annual FA CUP night. The invitation was extended by Club president Mr Arthur Huggins.
PJ O'Brien's, 87 Lake Street, Cairns 4870
Tel: 07 4031 5333
Floreat Athena Football Club (Litis Stadium), Brittania Road, Mt. Hawthorn.
Saturday 13th May 2006. Doors Open from 7:30pm onwards.
Sausage sizzle, banners, balloons, (we have an invitation to decorate the place how we like). TV coverage is on SBS starting from 8:30 pm Perth Time.
Contact: Peter Hamersley - "West Ham WA"
***NEW*** Auckland, NZ
Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery
Late night & early morning food menu will be (most probably); Hot pies & bread, Scotch Eggs, & Ham & Cheese rolls, this is after the Kitchen proper closes, but the chef will be on call. 10 beers brewed on site from 4% to 11.1%
Plenty of room and the brewer is definately West Ham friendly.
More info closer to the time, however please spread the word and help to get a good WEST HAM crowd at all venues so we can sing a few songs and celebrate our entry to Europe in 2006/2007. Wear your colours, bring your voice and support this club that is supporting us!
Monday, May 08, 2006
Spurs win caps off a fine league season... and there's still the FA Cup to go!
A cracking good game, at least if you're a Hammer. It was great to deny the Spuds their champions league slot, although I'd rather it didn't go to Arsenal. At any rate the Irons played very well with a good shape and plenty of hunger. Just the way we should be against our biggest top-flight rivals (can I remind everyone that Millwall were relegated to League One?). It capped off a brilliant season and, come what may at Cardiff, I'll be very happy.
Shaka 7 - didn't have much to do.
Konchesky 7 - looking like his old self, maybe he just needed a rest.
Gabbers 7 - very good reading of the game.
Anton 7 - played well apart from the goal.
Scaloni 6 - decent.
Yossi 8 - harried Spurs like nothing else and got a nice goal. Could have had four if he'd found his shooting boots early.
NRC 7 - tireless.
Fletcher 9 - Outstanding. Involved in everything in attack or defence. Put in some brilliant tackles and incisive passes. Well done Fletch, I reckon you've earned yourself a start against the Scousers.
Newton 7 - saw a side of him that I haven't seen before, reminded me vaguely of Trevor Sinclair. 10K is improving and it wouldn't surprise me if he came really good on the basis of this performance.
Sheringham 6 - Poor but did have his moments.
Zamora 8 - worked very hard and, once again, excellent support play although he really has to make the most of his chances. Should start with Marlon next week.
Harewood 7 - hassled well when he came on.
Reid 6 - No chance to impress.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Massive Etherington Blow - & Paolo di Canio to Australia?
West Ham have suffered another major injury blow ahead of the FA Cup final after Matthew Etherington went to hospital for an x-ray on an ankle.
Etherington went over on the ankle in a training session at Upton Park and is unlikely to be fit for Sunday's Premiership clash with Tottenham.
The Hammers are already without suspended midfielder Hayden Mullins and there is a doubt over striker Dean Ashton, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
"Unfortunately Matty has taken a really bad knock and I think he is doubtful, not just for Sunday but for the cup final," said Pardew.
"That is really bad blow. The whole squad is disappointed that Matty has this injury."
Ashton, meanwhile, limped out of West Ham's 1-0 win over West Brom on Monday night but Pardew believes there is a "strong chance" he will be fit for the final.
He will use an oxygen tent this week to aid his recovery.
Di Canio Aussie bound? (AAP)
Controversial Italian star Paolo di Canio has confirmed he is considering contract offers from the A-League.
Di Canio says Australia is an option for him due to a contract dispute with Serie A club Lazio.
The 37-year-old has previously been linked with a move to Sydney FC.
"Enough is enough," Di Canio said about his Lazio dispute. "They want me in Australia."
"If any club treated me like this, I would have told them to stick it up their arse."
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Danny G scoops HOTY
Danny G has been a key factor in West Ham's incredible success this season so it's good to see him get the recognition.
Runner-up was hardworking striker Marlon Harewood, possibly among the league's most underrated players.
WHU-AU will publish the inaugural unofficial Aussie TV Hammer of the Year awards after the FA Cup final. These awards will be based on the televised coverage of the season as seen by our resident Aussie pundits. Of course, these awards aren't held in very high esteem, but we'll see how it goes nonetheless... If you'd like to vote for your Aussie TV Hammer of the Year in one of the following categories please do so by leaving a comment:
People's Choice Aussie TV Hammer of the Year
People's Choice Aussie TV Young Hammer of the Year
Claret & Blue Through & Through (the player most dedicated to the West Ham cause)
Young Hotshot (young up & coming players)
Of course, this website is SO POPULAR that there will probably be at least 2 votes, so get cracking and make your vote count!
I will be summing up all the player ratings we've given over the year to see who comes out top for the ATVHOTY and ATVYHOTY awards (how catchy!)
Ashton to be fit for final?
It's looking like Deano might be available for May 13th after a scan on his hamstring showed that the strain was only slight. They reckon it'll only take him 10 days to recover, so it'll be close but he might make it.
In other news, Alan Pardew, like all West Ham fans, still wants the Irons to beat the Yids this weekend and confirm a top-10 Premiership finish. "We have been up there all year so to fall out of it right at the end because of the pressure of the Cup final would [be] disappointing. We have now almost secured that place in the top 10 but I know how important it is to our fans to put in a good performance against Tottenham."
Doing so would also give Arsenal a second chance - aside from beating Barcelona - to steal the final Champions League slot from their rivals.
As our resident prophet Beex said, prior to the start of the season, "Got a funny feeling that we're gonna be ok this year (finishing 8th)". He may well be proved exactly right if we beat Spurs and Bolton lose to Birmingham.
On the other hand if we beat Spurs 8-0 and both Bolton and Newcastle lose, we'll end up seventh... A hat-trick each for Marlon and Zamora, and one each for Anton and Yossi should do it!
P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 37 51 91
2 Man Utd 37 34 80
3 Liverpool 37 30 79
4 Tottenham 37 16 65
5 Arsenal 36 33 61
6 Blackburn 37 7 60
7 Newcastle 37 4 55
8 Bolton 37 7 53
9 WEST HAM 37 -4 52
10 Wigan 37 -5 51
11 Everton 37 -15 49
12 Charlton 37 -10 47
13 M'boro 37 -9 45
14 Fulham 36 -10 45
15 Man City 36 -1 43
16 Aston Villa 37 -14 39
17 Portsmouth 37 -23 38
18 Birmingham 37 -21 34
19 West Brom 37 -27 29
20 Sunderland 36 -43 12
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Baggies defeated but injury worries to Deano and Matty
Dean Ashton and Matty Etherington both picked up injuries against West Brom, Ashton after 20 minutes and Etherington in the warmup. Ashton had a hammie - not sure about Ethers. Hopefully they'll both be 100% fit for the final.
Thankfully the Irons ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a Nigel Reo-Coker goal before half time. According to the Guardian, "the goal was simply constructed and owed much to the pace of Zamora. The West Ham forward outstripped Steve Watson on the Albion left flank before stepping inside Davies and teeing up the West Ham captain. From around 12 yards Reo-Coker made no mistake, sweeping a right-foot shot emphatically beyond Tomasz Kuszczak's despairing dive for his fifth goal of an impressive first Premiership season."
Once again, Zamora has proven himself to be a great support striker. His link up play is superb. He has been pushing very hard for a start against Liverpool and is becoming quite an accomplished player; if only he could find a little more consistency. Reo-Coker is also clearly coming back to his best. Just in time...
This reader (peter101) of TEAMtalk had a good idea about the team shape for the coming matches (including the final): "I would be tempted to try a 3-5-2 over the next two league games. Konch (or Ethers) and Newton as wing-backs with Reo-Coker, Fletch, and Yossi as the 3 midfielders. At least Gabbs, Ginge, and Ferdy can all play in their best positions then, and Yossi can start in a central position. I know...this means dropping Ethers or Konch, but I think Konch wastes far too many crosses anyway."
This is definitely a good idea. Fletch can allow the other midfielders to play, and Konchy and Newton are natural wing-backs anyway IMO. We can bring Ethers in off the bench for 10K, and shift Yossi and Anton to the right to bring it back to 4-4-2 if required. Worth a thought IMO especially if Etherington is injured.
In other news Alan Pardew has said that he will be targeting world-class players by offering a footballing challenge rather than a fat paycheque.
The West Ham gaffer said: "Some of these world-class players are so financially secure that you think maybe the challenge of coming to West Ham would be greater for them. That is what I want. I don't want to tap into a player who we have to put ourselves at financial risk for. I want to tap into a world-class player who fancies the challenge of coming and inspiring some young players and taking us to another level. That is something completely different. We are not going into the UEFA Cup for the experience and to come out saying 'well, that was fun'. We are in it to win it. A lot of European teams would not fancy drawing us."