How do last month’s hammerings compare to other heavy losses?

Blackburn, Reading Man United and City maulings remind us recent demolitions weren’t that bad

Tomas Soucek (WHU) applauds the travelling fans at the Brentford v West Ham United EPL match, at The G-Tech Stadium, Brentford, London, UK on 4th November, 2023.

December was generally a great month to be a West Ham fan. Wins against Tottenham, Manchester United, and Arsenal left a very pleasant taste in the mouth, and an unusual sense of optimism as we headed into 2024. However, there were also a couple of 5-0 losses, and I’m not sure which one was more depressing – the capitulation to Fulham, or the demolition by Liverpool.

Whatever, both of those defeats acted as a sobering reminder that we are still West Ham, and like a computer game with a couple of bugs, these sorts of things are going to rear their heads at times. I wanted to say that I was surprised – and I was, to an extent, by the Fulham hammering – but to be honest, with the number of games that the team have been playing, the lack of adequate squad depth, and the rumours of sickness swirling around the camp, something that I am prepared to believe, given that me and everyone that I know also seems to have been down with something lately, perhaps we should not be quite so surprised.

Could these heavy defeats just be because a perfect storm caught up with us? Two hammerings these were, though, and no doubt two of the worst games that Moyes has presided over as West Ham boss.

Charitably though, we might describe it as a couple of pin pricks in what otherwise has been a quietly decent season for us, and since I’m adopting a zen approach as a New Year’s resolution, I’ll sit on that side of the fence for now. I would say, for those who used this to clamour for Moyes to depart, it’s worth remembering that we have had heavy defeats in the past – for those counting, there have been no less than 18 occasions in the league where we have conceded six goals or more – and there hasn’t even been the silver lining of European football or progression in the cups to ease the pain. Just one long, hard relegation battle.

Plus, we responded to those defeats with the victories that I mention above. I’ve picked out my top three other defeats that I’ve witnessed in my time supporting West Ham, which might send a little shiver down our collective spines, but also might make us feel a little better about more recent defeats.

Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham (October 14, 2001)

Yes, we conceded seven to Blackburn when they became rubbish. We fell apart in the first half, in at the break 3-1 down, and somehow managed to be even worse in the second. Your comedy highlight was Grant McCann, don’t tell me you don’t remember him, trying to clear the ball from the penalty area, but instead of the ball being launched in vaguely the right direction, it span behind him from about two yards out, and past Shaka Hislop for Blackburn’s fourth goal.

A complete shambles, watched through my fingers in front of my eyes. It would be the last time that McCann wore a West Ham shirt, but we did end up finishing seventh that season, so it wasn’t all bad.

Manchester United 7-1 West Ham (April 1, 2000)

This game was the one which taught me that hope can be your worst enemy. We led 1-0 through Paulo Wanchope after 10 minutes, and then came a capitulation which made our Fulham defeat look like a walk in the park. We conceded two penalties, managed to concede four goals in 22 second-half minutes, and the only real surprise was that we didn’t have anyone sent off. This was in the days that Manchester United were actually quite good though, so there is that excuse.

Manchester City 6-0 West Ham (January 8, 2014)

I mean, this is a horrendous list, but in many ways, this is the lowest of the low. Semi-final of the League Cup, a competition that to this day, we’ve never won, and we were worse than we were against Liverpool this season.

It was an absolute shocker. In the pouring rain, West Ham fans were berating manager Sam Allardyce. Off the back of a hiding against Nottingham Forest, after the match, Danny Mills said: ‘Don’t think being out-classed is the problem tonight. For me, it was the sheer lack of effort.’ Ouch. We went on to lose 9-0 on aggregate, which for a semi-final, is an embarrassment.

I’m offering honourable mentions to the 6-0 defeat against Reading away on New Year’s Day 2007, where I remember clearly standing there watching the carnage unfold with my mouth open, and the 6-0 away again at Manchester United in the FA Cup in January 2003. So, the next time it seems bad, cast your mind back. It could be a lot worse.

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