Written by @farehamhammer
Ten seconds away from a slow and painful descend into The Championship, where we could have joined once great Clubs like Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday in spending years in the lower reaches of English Football. If we had lost or even drew, morale and belief in the manager would have ebbed away, and it would have been goodnight Vienna. But for once it was a case of fortune’s siding and not hiding. There was palpable relief all around The London Stadium, when the much-maligned Andy Carroll, smashed in a low cross from the right-hand side of the penalty area. Cue mass celebrations and rightly so!
Before the game Alan Pardew, made much of the fact that Albion had to play two days in forty-eight hours, while West Ham had a week off. “Tough Alan! You have not had to put up with crooked referees”! West Brom started the game well, were well organized and frustrated The Hammers. Salomon Rondon almost punished West Ham when he spun away from Ogbonna, Reid hesitated, and the ball landed on the roof of the net. A lucky escape! As the game approached the half hour mark the deadlock was broken. James Mclean, whose last goal was against us some 16 months ago, cut in from the left and past Winston Reid as though he wasn’t even there, hit a shot in hope more than anything, took a wicked deflection off Obiang’s heel and it was 1-0 to the Albion. When The Hammers did threaten, they found goalkeeper Ben Foster more than equal, as Manuel Lanzini found out just before half time.
It was the same old problem! The midfield! No pace, creativity or movement! Created virtually nothing for the strikers, and no protection for the defense. WBA cutting through our defense at will, dragging them all over the place. Obiang and Kouyate were bloody terrible, if I didn’t know better I would have thought they were part of a corrupt betting syndicate. We have got to bring in a defensive midfielder as quick as possible no if’s or but’s. The last goal showed exactly what we need, the ball was carried forward with pace, the opposition retreated, space opened, and Albion were punished. It was clear that something had to be done but I couldn’t see anyone who could come in and change things in the middle of the park.
The savior was someone most unlikely in my eyes and a few others. I’m still not a fan of Mark Noble it would be deeply hypocritical to say so. I still don’t think he is good enough. I don’t do sentimental choices “He is West Ham “or “One of us. Yes, it was against a poor West Brom side! But Mark Noble was absolutely immense. He brought a calmness and reassurance to the team, two qualities you can’t buy. The team grew in confidence as soon as he appeared on the pitch. He set up chances, switched play, cajoled the team on. Mark James Noble won it! No doubt about that. The equalizer came when Aaron Cresswell swung over a perfect cross for Andy Carroll to attack. Up against Johnny Evans, there was only going to be one winner. The giant Geordie towered above Evans, to power a header into the back of the net. Then came that goal which resulted in a 2-1 win for The Hammers. In years to come we may well look back at the goal, and acknowledge that the goal saved our season, but also made sure that we still have a bright future, which we do have. Things are far from perfect, but a lot of others are in a far worse state than we are.
You have Everton who are owned by Mr. Moshini who The Club owe 180M to. Brighton owe their owner 214M, Swansea have been taken over by American’s who have not got a pot to piss in. Their Chairman Huw Jenkins, who used to own The Club desperately wants out. “I bet he does! He knows The Swans are Pompey No 2 in waiting”. What about Southampton? Who have sold 160M worth of talent to Liverpool but have taken out loans to buy players. With Sky and BT showing each other’s games, do you think The Premier League will get the same amount of dough for the next TV deal? Of course not! Who is going to pay for the unsustainable wages? The golden age of football is coming to an end. West Ham? Better days and a bright future lay ahead. Granted it will take time, so what! As long as we get there!
We are more than a football club, we’re a way of life!
(Edited by Danny Twigg)