Wednesdays are busy days for me. I have the radio show in the morning, then spend the afternoon writing questions and preparing handout rounds for the quiz I run at my local in the evening. With everything tending to happen a little bit later in Dubai, we don’t get going at the quiz until around about 8.30pm and it runs for between two to two and a half hours, so generally we’re done around 11pm .
For the last few weeks, the Wednesday night football calendar has been full with Champions League action and, of course, the other week was West Ham v Hull. After a few beers when hosting a quiz, I often end up gossiping away to some of the attendees and ignore the football altogether or decide to camp out in the bar and watch the entire match and very occasionally go home.
On March 26 I decided that following the rather poor showing against Manchester United that I’d have a couple more drinks and watch the second half at home. Oblivious to the on-pitch action and the developing furore, I blethered away about something or other until late and as I was leaving caught one of the TV screens in the bar showing Hull scoring.
Without a hint of surprise I got home and switched on to watch the dirge that was the rest of the second half and put together the story of the previous 55 or so minutes. Frustration building with the poor display witnessed I took to WhatsApp to message fellow Hammers to try and work out why on Earth we were playing like this against a team who were down to ten men away from home. The responses were of equal despair.
Ok, so I understand that it was imperative to get the three points. It was essential to ensure that all the good work accomplished in February was not completely undone a mere four weeks later. I get that with difficult fixtures looming, not least the one this weekend, that if we had not picked up the three points against Hull then we’d be having to look very closely at the results of the teams below us
I get all that. But what I do not get is that performance. Sam says he didn’t understand the booing at full time and has never been booed after winning before. Well, doesn’t that tell you something, Sam? Doesn’t that tell you that West Ham fans will not tolerate watching dross served up on the pitch for £40 a go. You don’t deliberately go to the cinema to watch a romcom with awful reviews if you love action movies.
Of course not, you wouldn’t waste your money. David Gold tweeted that the priority is to ensure that we get to the Olympic Stadium debt free and in the Premier League and that has to come first before anything else. While getting the finances sorted is, of course, vital, the bread and butter of the business is the fans who cough up week in week out.
Bore the fans to tears and there will most definitely not be 54,000 fans in Stratford, more like 24,000. Three points was crucial, against Hull, yes. However, for a manager to set the stall out for us to perform as if he believes we are not up to the challenge is not acceptable. When did West Ham become a team where a points total in the thirties has become acceptable?
When did West Ham become a team where the manger is pointing out the ‘healthy’ fact that our points total is more than games played? You know, it’s nearly eight years since West Ham and Liverpool met for that FA Cup Final. Eight years since one of the greatest FA Cup Finals ever. A match that thrilled to the last moments, a match where despite defeat you were proud to stand up and wear the shirt, proud to say that you supported West Ham United.
Can you imagine West Ham performing and competing at that level now? No, neither can I. This past week we’ve seen the likes of Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble coming to the defence of the manager and the team as a whole. Back the team, don’t boo us is the plea. Overall, the sentiment it fair, booing is not nice. It can be hard to take and will definitely leave a manager and players incredulous when the team has just won a match.
Surely though, Sam, you have to see that even with three points, there are some things that are not acceptable for any reason. Have the team play with passion this weekend and win, lose or draw, you will see what it’s like to have 35,000 fans roaring the team on. We know we can’t win every week, but we do expect the team to perform. COYI!