As a rule I don’t put much faith in reviews on Amazon – and I certainly don’t like being pestered by email asking for my thoughts shortly after I’ve made a purchase.
What do you say? ‘I bought this toaster. It makes toast. Who knew? Five stars.’
That said, I am more than happy to review Amazon’s TV coverage of the Burnley game – and it definitely merits a five-star rating.
Jon Champion and Ally McCoist were fantastic. It was easily the best commentary of the season so far, and I doubt it will be surpassed.
It became apparent we were in for a treat when McCoist slipped in the fact that West Ham had scored more goals from corners than any other team in the Prem and was promptly rebuked by Champion – who, with tongue firmly in cheek, pointed out that it was his job to provide that sort of information.
Champion then suggested McCoist had used his train journey down from Glasgow to study the 25-page dossier of facts and figures that the commentary team are provided with before a game – a charge which the former Scottish international readily admitted.
Despite having a wealth of facts and figures at their fingertips, Champion and McCoist spared us the usual avalanche of trivia that most TV commentaries consist of these days and described the game instead, adding some useful insight when required.
I particularly liked McCoist’s full-time analysis which, in a nutshell, pinpointed the fact that West Ham were the better team and fully deserved to win. I don’t remember ever hearing Jamie Carragher say that.
When Champion and McCoist weren’t describing the action – and, to be honest, there wasn’t much action to describe – they cheerfully discussed other vital topics, such as the contents of their lunchboxes. (Please, we’re all adults here. Those of you sniggering at the word ‘lunchbox’ really need to grow up.)
At one point there was a touch of Test Match Special about proceedings as we learned there had been a sandwich swap involving McCoist’s ham and mustard and Champion’s smoked salmon, cream cheese and a squeeze of lime juice.
It also emerged that McCoist’s return journey to Scotland would be made that little bit more bearable by a decent bottle of claret, which was safely tucked away in his rucksack.
All they need to do now is invite the BBC’s excellent Alex Scott to the party and I really might start to enjoy watching football on TV.
Three days after the Champion/McCoist show we were brought back to earth with a thud by BT, which had got its hands on a 6 o’clock fixture against West Brom.
And that meant I had to let Martin Keown into my living room for a couple of hours. Honestly, I’d rather have the Grim Reaper as a house guest.
Keown takes “annoying” to the next level (where have I heard that expression before?).
Stating the obvious is bad enough. But he has the incredibly irritating tendency to take a well-worn opinion and present it as if it were an original thought.
Let’s face it, the idea that West Ham are a better side with Michail Antonio than the departed Sebastien Haller is hardly ground-breaking stuff.
Some of us had managed to fathom that out for ourselves and didn’t need to be told by an ex-Gooner who spent 20 years kicking lumps out of opposition strikers.
Keown also felt the need to repeat the idea that, in Tomas Soucek, David Moyes has found his ‘new Fellaini’.
This notion has been doing the rounds for a while now, but Smarty Marty lobbed it into the mix as if he’d just come up with the thought.
Clearly, Keown had not watched the previous game during which Ally McCoist had dismissed this particular piece of nonsense out of hand – principally on the grounds that Soucek is a far better player.
Still, it was worth putting up with Keown just to see the look on Sam Allardyce’s face after Antonio’s second-half winner.
The 2-1 victory over the Baggies was our fourth in January – and there would be more to come.
The month had started well with an unexpected win at Everton, followed by a hard-fought third round FA Cup victory at rain-soaked Stockport, complete with a highly unofficial firework display.
Remarkably, the commentary team avoided the temptation to make a reference to damp squibs. Better still, there was no mention of damp squids.
Shortly before the Cup tie we saw the draw for the fourth and fifth rounds, which paired us with Doncaster Rovers and the winner of the Man Utd v Liverpool game.
The more pessimistic among us felt that spelled the end of our hopes this year, but I’m not so sure. It really would be the West Ham way to win the Covid Cup with no supporters inside Wembley to witness it.
After we’d successfully seen off Donny Rovers with a clinical 4-0 win at the London Stadium we faced a league game at Palace.
Wilfried Zaha put the home side ahead shortly after kick-off – and still managed to sulk for the rest of the game – but we just rolled our sleeves and got on with the job, scoring three times before they grabbed a late consolation goal.
We might have got six if Antonio had worn his shooting boots – or maybe even his Wellington boots.
I don’t know who’s got the contract to handle the drainage at Selhurst Park, but I don’t think I’ll bother looking for their number the next time I need a plumber.
Yes, I know it rained heavily. But while you can forgive a waterlogged pitch at a place like Stockport there’s no excuse for standing water at a Premier League game in this day and age.
As things turned out, we dealt with the conditions far better than Palace.
But it would have been all too easy to have thrown away three well-earned points with an under-hit backpass that held up in a puddle or a goalkeeping error induced by playing on a surface better suited to ducks.
The BT commentary for the Palace game was provided by Adam Summerton, who made the point that many West Ham supporters had been distinctly underwhelmed by the loan signing of Craig Dawson at the beginning of the season.
I have to confess that I was one of them. However, I am more than happy to admit I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Dawson’s defending has been awesome since he came into the side and he can consider himself distinctly unlucky not to have secured a permanent deal during the transfer window.
Sadly, January did not finish quite as well as it started. The 3-1 home defeat to a weakened Liverpool came as an inevitable reality check after six wins on the bounce.
It’s hard to fault David Moyes after the way he had the team playing for most of the month, but his downbeat TV interview before the game seemed to set the tone for the timid performance that followed.
Still, let’s not dwell on that. Riding high in the table, still in the Cup and playing like a team that actually believes in what it has been asked to do.
Forget corny old jokes about Christmas decorations – this looks more like a new year’s revolution.
If you enjoy Brian Williams’ Blowing Bubbles column look out for his two brilliant books, Nearly Reach The Sky and Home From Home. They get great reviews on Amazon!