What do you do when you have a problem like West Ham? With every high there seems to come a low. That’s the West Ham Way.
It has nothing to do with playing attractive football, it’s all to do with a dedicated group of supporters who suffer the highs and lows of following a football club. Maybe we should be called West Ham Inconsistent rather than United as it’s fair to say there has been inconsistencies not just this year but also through my whole 50 years of supporting the club I love, and I’m not even a local.
This year has been full of inconsistencies for us long term hammers. It’s a bit of business as usual, it’s the West Ham Way. This year though there have been a few worrying trends. It’s a fact that we will always struggle against teams like Forest or Brighton and it’s not exactly a rarity to see a team get a late, late goal like Palace did recently to send us all home heart broken.
Anyone remember Leeds at the Boleyn and the heart breaking late equaliser they scored or am I the only one to remember that night under the lights? But for every game we lose against seemingly lesser opposition, we normally come away with a spectacular result against one of the big boys.
That trend seems to have ended at present. It’s a fact that a West Ham win at Anfield is as rare as an email from the club not offering to sell me something, but we should have got something out of that game under the lights. To get a penalty at Anfield is a rare thing, but to then go ahead and miss is sacrilege.
The historian in me once again thinks back to September 2002 when up stepped Kanoute to take a penalty to hopefully make the score 3-1 against Arsenal but only to tap the ball back to an eager keeper. We went in to draw that game but it left an indelible mark on our season, one we never recovered from. Could Bowen’s miss me a similar omen to what lies ahead?
But I’m getting ahead of myself, our second game of the season against Forest was a marker too. We should have got, in my eyes,all three points that day but came away with a flat zero.
To win games you have to have loads of skill but also elements of luck and Lady Luck has not been kind to us Hammers this season. Let’s start off with Chelsea away and the VAR decision that robbed us of at least a point.
Then a month later the referee at Southampton decided to block Bowen and VAR couldn’t see anything wrong and the resultant Saints goal was allowed to stand. Then there was the penalty miss at Anfield, followed by the late game winner for Palace and then a 10-9 defeat on penalties against Blackburn.
Maybe in poor taste but if anyone believes in karma that cat must have been a black one that Zouma kicked. Just think of all those points we could have gained had luck been on our side. Our league form has made the European campaign seem like an unnecessary distraction and we have looked on that campaign with apathy.
A poor ticket pricing strategy in the early rounds seemed to have put home fans off and the days of last season’s European nights seem to have fizzled out like the remains of a bottle of champagne in the morning after the big celebration.
It’s all well and good marching through the European games undefeated but what good is that if relegation is a reality. I don’t think it will come to that but these are worrying times at the London Stadium.
We entered the ludicrous World Cup months with just maybe a glimmer of hope. A tough week of losses against Palace and Blackburn could just maybe be put behind us with a win against Leicester.
Stupidly I had missed those three fixture having decided on a winter holiday. And no bar in Tenerife saw West Ham as being massive as I could not find one showing the Palace, Blackburn or Leicester games. So it was data roaming for me on that last game before the enforced break. Surely our bad luck would come to an end and the boys could send us home happy and eagerly waiting for the World Cup charade to end so that we could get back to some ‘proper football’.
Sitting poolside and following the game online is not an ideal way to follow a football game but with the sun beaming down in 27 degree heat, it felt a far better way to spend a Saturday than eight hours in the car, and boy was I the lucky one. My disappointment at missing three home games in a row dissipated when after Leicester, all three were defeats and bad ones at that.
Any hope of going into the forced break on a high were destroyed after just a few minutes after Madison got Leicester’s opening goal. Leicester even missed a penalty and came away with a 2-0 win. David Moyes had been quoted pre-game as stating that as we were level on points with Leicester, we were doing OK in the league.
Well after yet another defeat, we found ourselves now fifth from bottom with little to look forward to after Christmas. Not a good way to end this first part of the season. Success breeds luck and there is little of either at West Ham so far this season.
I will be back in attendance after the World Cup, the question now remains will David Moyes? One week of football at the start of November, three games all winnable on paper.
Should we have had a better return by World Cup break? Absolutely. Only time will tell if Lady Luck decides to come out on our side when football returns. After all inconsistencies and bad luck at the moment seems to be the definition of the West Ham Way.