Sunday, January 13, 2008

West Ham United 2 Fulham 1 - Keep the Faith!

Reduced to watching the Internet for text updates during the game I then caught the limited Match of the day highlights which as always provided scant detail of the game but probably told me all I needed to know.

Simon Davies scored an early goal with a wispy free kick that evaded everyone, including Bocanegra who was closest to it but whose presence did enough to prevent Robert Green from making a save. Bocanegra was then replaced, less than 5 minutes later, by Aaron Hughes having caught a blow to his face. West Ham levelled just before the half hour as Dean Ashton lashed home a wicked Freddie Ljunberg cross. Niemi kept us in the game with good saves from Ashton (twice) and Carlton Cole. It took 67 minutes for the Hammers to claim a second, Anton Ferdinand firing home another cross we were unable to deal with, but having conceded a second it seemed unlikely we would be able to respond. We had one late chance which fell to Chris Baird of all people. He was unmarked but unable to head home a Danny Murphy cross. Jimmy Bullard made his return playing the last 15 or so minutes. This is great news for Jimmy, and football in general, but must not be seen as the answer to all our problems.

I guess it's always the case but the doom and gloom on the message boards got to me this weekend. Many people seem to think we are down already, and whilst I don't doubt we have a mountain to climb I'm not prepared to give up just yet. I lambasted Chris Coleman shortly before his departure for his quote about having to "fight like dogs" when in a dogfight. Yesterday Roy upped the ante, according to the BBC, asking the players to "fight like tigers" in their remaining matches. It's going to take a few more games, a lot of work and maybe a bit of luck but Roy's certainly not going to throw the towel in, in his post match interview he said "There are enough games left. It won't be easy for us or many of the others around the relegation zone either. I believe we can do it. We had chances at the end and it was difficult to see a point disappear. I can't complain about the effort but our balance is not right and we will have to work to bring new players in".


Jason Gatties said...

Losing sucks. I usually feel like crap after a loss. However, I didn't feel bad after the loss yesterday. I felt like the boys played real well and loss the match despite that.

I hope we stay up, however, I also wouldn't be too hurt if we went down. Going down may allow the club to re-focus. Sometimes you gotta get knocked down in a fight before you wake up and kick the other guy's ass.

Chopper said...

Jason - That was how I felt back in 94 when we dropped into the basement division for the first time in our history. I'm not sure I'd be so confident now. The Championship is a very hard division to get back out of and if we didn't manage it in the first two seasons we would really start to notice the drop in funding we currently benefit from being in the Prem. I do feel though that if we do drop down, we are in better shape with Hodgson than we would have been with either Sanchez or Coleman.

Brian Quarstad said...

Ya, but the question is, will Hodgson stay if the team goes down.

Thanks for the optimism Chopper as I'm not feeling anything of the sort right now. It really bums be also because if the team goes down I'll not be able to follow them anywhere near as much. They'll be almost no TV coverage in the States and I'm sure media coverage will also dwindle.

It's a shame that the team couldn't do better because with four Americans on the team the club could pick up a huge audience in the U.S. which they have already done to a lesser extent. But I'm telling you the numbers would be huge.

Now I know there will be some purist who say that they would rather have loyal fans anyway that Johnny-come-lately's, but with the revenues that jersey sales and other things would bring in the club could keep building their talent pool. Then again, could it be inferior American talent that is causing some of the problem?

chopper said...

Brian - I hope that having signed a 3 year deal Hodgson was well aware that the likely outcome was he'd be trying to gain promotion from the Championship next season. I think that's part of the attraction of having him in place, whatever happens this season we've started the process of recovery now.

I hadn't even considered the consequences for Americans (and I guess other overseas fans) if we went down. I think the U.S. member's of the squad have all made good contributions and I hope we don't lose too many fans over there if we go down. I guess it would depend on who stays but hopefully with our high percentage of American players you might get better coverage than other Championship level sides.