Tuesday, August 12, 2008

EPL Preview: West Ham United



I love the song, OK? Always have. And I have a soft spot in my heart for the entire Hammers thing. The bleak East End economy over the years. The raising of incandescent talent (Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick...) for bigger clubs to poach.

The fact is that the Hammers about single-handedly won England their one World Cup (Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst... look it up!).

But it’s the song that kills me. "...And like my dreams, they fade and die. Fortune’s always hiding! I’ve looked everywhere! I’m forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air!"



Now, sure, if I were a London Chelsea supporter, my soft spot for the Hammers would make little sense. My uncles and dad would have spent their entire life exchanging beatings with Hammers supporters. This is why Bigus mocks me with the sobriquet "Bubbles."

When I went to the FA Cup Final in Cardiff a couple of years back, I passed on Liverpool luxury box tickets to sit with the Hammer support (this was an easy decision), and I sang their song long and loud at the Millenium Stadium. I drank many pints with Hammer supporters at many pubs. These are the Steelers or Bills fans of the Premiership, except that they drink more heavily, typically have a more checkered past (the discussion over pints surrounded how each bloke had gotten banned from continental stadia), and bleaker prospects.

So, yeah, call me Bubbles. I don’t mind. But it’s a better damned song than even "You’ll Never Walk Alone." We all have our soft spots for other clubs. Mine is for Hammers.

This season? The buzz is that Alan Curbishley may be the first manager fired in the League. The Hammers have a notoriously short leash with managers. Alan Pardew and, before him, Glenn Roeder were canned early in new seasons after having had success their previous years. Personally, I think that Curbs is example number one of the English Manager job program. English managers always get another chance after mixed results. (see also Glenn Roeder…so maybe the Hammer board is actually smart!)



Last year they finished 10th, putting Spurs fourth in London, and that’s about where I see them this year. Curbs saw injuries to expensive signings Julien Faubert, Craig Bellamy, Keiran Dyer and Scott Parker. This year they are all back, but for how long?.

However, there has been only one big signing this summer: "The Swiss Beckham", Valon Behrami from Lazio. And they’ve shipped off underwear model Freddy Ljungberg. It appears that the Hammers Icelandic owner wants to wait and see on Curbishley’s success rate. Three successive late season 4-nil thrashings will do that to an owner.

The Hammers have the talent. And Curbishley, all kidding aside, is no slouch. If Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole start scoring and the squad stays healthy? Call it 6th and a spot in Europe. If not? Well, maybe Curbs can move over to the Galaxy....

8 comments:

Keith said...

To hell with those claret and blue biters. . . but thanks for Nigel and Marlon

BerbaBent said...

4th in London? Arsenal won nothing, West Ham nada,Chelsea nothing. Spurs won a Cup. I cannot see Spurs finishing behind West Ham this year. We have too much quality and a much better manager. Probably the best in London at the club level. We are fielding a much better side this year than we did at Sunderland last August and for that I am thankful. Juande and Poyet will ensure the Hammers are looking up at us and rightfully so. Their supporters are animals. There song is weak. Its sweet that a Chelski supporter can have a "soft spot" for a bitter rival. Very odd indeed.

Eladio said...

I'm still confused, Berba...for all that money that Juande has been throwing around, what has he done to shore up the defense? Sure, you'll score a lot of goals (maybe not as many as you did last year, now that Berbatov is off to the Red Devils), but how are you going to stop anything less than 3 a game?

Get ready for more mid-table mediocrity.

"Purgatory's kind of like the in-betweeny one. You weren't really shit, but you weren't all that great either. Like Tottenham. "

Precious Roy said...

"Probably the best in London at the club level."

Thanks, needed a laugh today.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Lay off of berba - he's a little torn up about having to change his commenter name for the second time in two weeks...

Keith said...

He knew it'd happen. . he should probably stick with Bentlestone, or Bentric or Bentovani

Bigus Dickus said...

Bubbles, Cole is not a starting forward this year. Ashton and Bellamy are quite a potent strikeforce.

Also did you know that 'on the ball city' is the oldest song in football? 1902 and still sung..

Autoglass said...

Bigus, there are many great football songs. And there are many fantastic football facts. And many of these songs and facts have absolutely nothing to do with Norwich City Football Club.