When you have a round trip of 360 miles just to get to a West Ham home game it gives you plenty of time to contemplate not only life but also all things West Ham.
In these torrid times the meaning of life may be the easiest one to answer as being a West Ham supporter at the moment is one of either just commitment to the cause or sheer stupidity.
With an earlier than normal kick off time for the Manchester City game it also meant an early start to my Sunday morning. With my daughter in tow we left home at a time when only dog walkers and church goers are up and about.
Normally the journey entails a listen to talk- SPORT but on this occasion I avoided that radio station knowing that it would be full of the doom merchants predicting a West Ham defeat.
After all a poll had been earlier conducted and was already stating 68 per cent were predicting a comfortable City win with only 8 per cent predicting a West Ham one.
I, on the other hand, crazily had a feeling that we might just get something out of the game. We had put up a bit of a fight in Manchester earlier in the season so a surprise just might be around the corner.
After all if Wigan could put the newly- crowned champions to the sword then why couldn’t a Hammers team fighting for survival. Ever the optimist. The good thing about a Sunday game is that there seems to be less traffic on the roads and I was pulling up in my usual parking area with over two hours prior to kick off.
It was at that moment I should have realised things were not going to go to my optimistic plan.
It seems that in an effort to make it awkward for the long-distance Hammer, the local council were about to change the parking restrictions in that area and my usual place would soon be restricted, yet another annoyance in this whole move from the Boleyn.
But onwards and upwards, we decided to go straight to the ground as I was on a mission to buy a reduced priced Hammers away shirt. Walking around the ground there seemed to be a subdued feeling of impending doom, and after the shirt was bought it was time to arrange a meet with friends.
The talk naturally was all about the day’s game and our battle against relegation. The general synopsis was that we would get nothing out of the day but at least would put up a fight. All eyes seemed to turn to the Leicester game with the hope of getting something there and praying that Huddersfield and Swansea would implode.
It’s sad that despite the promises of moving on to the next level when we moved to the London Stadium we all agreed that we needed to rely on other teams to secure our Premier League status. As we parted to enter the ground the feeling was that goal difference could be a factor today we would be determined to at least keep the score down.
It was bitterly cold as we reached our seats, I’m not saying that I’m really popular but being a long-term opinionated Hammer I am a focal point for a few guys around our seats.
I was told that I was mad thinking we would get some sort of result. Even more worrying as kick off approached was the amount of empty seats in the ground where ticket holders had clearly chosen to stay away, something that seemed to be a trend in these desperate times and something that would never have happened during a relegation fight at the Boleyn.
From the off we gave City far too much respect. I stupidly believed that we would put up a fight but as the game went on it was clear that we were there to roll over and have our bellies tickled.
Other than a spell just before half time we simply offered up nothing. At one point in the second half City were playing keep ball, not attacking and not one Hammer pressing them.
One interesting fact was that not one West Ham player was booked. Now I am not saying a booking is a good thing but it was clear that the players had no interest in challenging for the ball. It was simply embarrassing to watch.
Where was the fighting spirit? We were after all just three points above the relegation zone but were playing as if we were already on the beach.
Once again the substitutions were all too late happening after the game had been lost. Fortunately City were happy to win 4-1 otherwise it could have been much much worse.
I was one of the few that stayed in my seat until the final whistle more out of habit than out of desire. But if the performance on the field was embarrassing there was more to come. As I drove home I got to hear our manager’s thoughts on the game and for the second week running he picked on one player and one player alone.
For the Arsenal defeat in was poor old Declan Rice but this time it was Lanzini’s turn.
It was an absolute disgrace to hear a manager put the blame onto one player, stating that Manu was substituted for his part in City’s fourth goal when we could all see that he already had Mario ready to replace Manu before the goal was scored.
It was not the defeat against City that concerned me, after all they are an outstanding team, it was our performance which simply was not good enough, no fight, no desire. These are worrying times both on and off the field.
I’m just thankful that less that 24 hours after the City embarrassment the club was kind enough to email me to remind me that I have yet to renew my season ticket. I wonder why they thought that was a good idea?