Spyin' Kop - Fat Sam's West Ham Speakeasy

Posted by JerseyKloppite on April 2, 2013, 04:06:02 PM

This week we need not extend the olive branch of enquiry to another forum, as we have our very own Hammers here on RAWK. With thanks to Okkervil and West Ham Paul....

1) I barely recall pundits discussing the Hammers this season, either as table climbers or relegation prospects, which suggests a comfortable mid table position. How has the season been shaping up so far, and are you confident you won't be dragged into a relegation battle yet?

O: Yeah itís been a mostly quiet season, and thatís a relief to be honest, as weíve had some turbulent ones in recent years. We had a positive start and tailed off a bit through December and January when we had a string of really tough fixtures and a few things werenít going our way. I actually view the 2-3 defeat at home to Liverpool as a bit of a turning point for our season. Before that game we were playing well and picking up very regular points. We should have gotten something out of that match, but to lose the 2-1 lead was very deflating. There was a definite flatness about some of the lads after that game, and it cost us some points in subsequent fixtures no doubt. Credit to BFS though heís picked the boys up and theyíve not folded and kept plugging away. The lower half of the table is really tight with just 6 pts separating us in 11th and Villa in 18th so we canít count our chickens yet, but I get the feeling just 4 to 6 more points will see us safe and I fancy us to pick those up a home.

WHP: Your right in the fact we haven't made much headlines this season with our on the pitch displays. We started the season well and then went through a difficult period and i think we will just about have enough to stay up. Its a strange one really were 11th in the table but only 6 points from Aston Villa in 18th place so were not out of danger at all but with 6 clubs between us im fairly confident one of those will do worse than us for the remainder of the season as i think Reading & QPR are gone.

Overall staying up was the first priority this season and still is another 4 or 5 points should be enough


2) What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

O: As I said in the last SK, the target was 17th at the beginning of the season and still is. There was a point where it looked like we might push on to a top half finish, but I think thatís faded. We could still finish top half, but looking at our fixtures I think 12-15th is more likely, and if that happens it will be job well done.

WHP: Survival, Survival, Survival as its all about Location, Location, Location being in the premier league. My expectations haven't changed. As i mentioned i think we will just about be ok but i wont feel comfortable until we are a few more points away from the team third from bottom. It would be nice to finish as high as possible with 10th being the highest i think we could achieve looking at the table currently. We do have a game in hand but its against Man Utd so doesn't really feel like we have as a win is very unlikely.

3) As we edge towards the season's end, what are your aims for next year? Staying up, or do you think West Ham should be pressing higher?

O: Staying up until we get in the Olympic Stadium has to be the aim every season now, simple as that. Weíve gone down with two very solid squads in the last decade or so, arguably better squads that we have now, so relegation again canít be an option for the club if they hope to fill 54,000 seats in a few years time. Best case scenario for next season is to see some relatively hefty investment in the squad and a season where even the word relegation is not even mentioned. The Gary OíNeilís, Matt Taylors and James Collins of this world are solid players, who will always do you a job, donít get me wrong Iím glad to have them, but they will only take you so far.

WHP: Without sounding repetitive survival is the first aim to get to 40 points as soon as possible but i would like to consolidate a nice mid table position next season. It will depend on who we sign in the summer as the Porn Barons will need to ensure we stay in the premier league with the Olympic Stadium on the horizon. Fat Sam has made us more difficult to beat and hopefully strengthening the squad we can be a nice relaxing mid table.

4) Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

O: Winston Reid and Mo Diame (as frustrating as his decision making can be sometimes) have been fab. Iíll be shocked if one of them doesnít win Hammer of the Year. Jussi have proved himself in the second half of the season after an indifferent start too, and Joey OíBrien has impressed.

WHP: We haven't really been a team of individuals this season and at times various players have had spells where they have been pivotal.  Mark Noble & Mo Diame have both had spells this season being our best player. Diame got injured and the January Transfer speculation took him off the boil for a while and hes slowly get back to his best. Noble has been consistent shame hes injured.  Matt Jarvis has started to come good recently and his pace and crossing are important for our strikers to get onto.  Kevin Nolan although at times he plays shit he seems to be massively important to Fat Sam and if he plays well it boosts the whole team

5) Your worst player(s)?

O: Guy Demel worries me greatly. Miaga and Paulista have been invisible since signing rather than actually bad.
WHP: I wouldn't say we have a worst but again some have had shocking performances. Emmanuel Pogotetz isn't looking to good these days

6) I seem to remember West Ham getting good results against us in the late 90s. Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between our clubs?  Say something that happened to you that day or a decision you disagreed with? The FA Cup Final of course springs to mind...

O: Iíve never even a seen a reply Gerrardís Cup Final equaliser, I donít need to... that fucker is burnt into my memory. Genuinely painful even to think about, and that specific type of footballing pain isnít something I think most Liverpool fans can appreciate fully if your honest with yourselves. We donít win much.

Me and WHP took our Old Boy (a Liverpool fan) to Liverpool vís West Brom in 2010 at Anfield. It was the first time heíd been up to Anfield in well over 2 decades. It was a fucking dreadful match, possibly the worst Iíve ever been too, truly dire. Even Fat Sam would have winced. Even so the Old Boy was genuinely excited to be an Anfield again in his own repressed way. Was nice.


WHP: Well the FA Cup Final 2006 firstly springs to mind. It was my dream cup final against Liverpool i couldn't get a ticket so i watched it in the pub with Okkervill my brother and our Dad who is a Liverpool fan. Its the most gut wrenching heart breaking game ive ever watched and ive suffered four relegation's in my lifetime and never seen us win a major trophy. We played well and not being biased i felt we deserved to win.

I remember thinking with about 30 seconds to go i cant believe it were going to win the FA Cup and seconds later Gerard scored THAT goal. i knew then we wouldn't win after that. A strange feeling afterwards as i was also so proud of how we performed and that it was arguably the best cup final ever a great game.  Ive never watched THAT goal since and if its coming on the TV i turn it over quickly haha.

Since 1999 we've beaten you twice in 23 games so memories don't tend to be too good. Growing up in the 80's I mainly remember the hammerings 6-0,5-2 & 5-1 so not many fond memories. 14th Sept 1963 the last time West Ham won at Anfield its sort of become a holy grail to our fans now & a win would be the highlight of the season without doubt.


7) Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

O: From the finest footballing academy of note in the world? No not really. Danny Potts maybe.

WHP: The main hope at the moment is a young lad Robert Hall a forward was on loan this season at Birmingham City until injured and now on loan at Bolton, hes played for England U16 through to U19's at the moment.  Plus Blair Turgott a pacy winger who was on loan at Bradford City this season & got great experience with there cup run & also England U16-U19 plus Matthias Fanimo also England U16-U18

Other prospects are Elliott Lee a striker son of Rob Lee , Daniel Potts defender son of Steve Potts, George Moncur midfielder son of John Moncur and a young American called Sebastian Lletget a midfielder a USA U23 player.


8. What sort of line-up will be put out against us?

O: Jussi
Demel Winnie Ginge OíBrien
Diame
Nolan OíNeil
Vaz Te   Jarvis
Carlton


WHP: Its a real shame we cant play big Andy & Mark Noble is injured & the late Liverpool legend Joe Cole isn't 100% fit,  so i cant be for certain but i reckon we will line up roughly as follows


                            JAASKELAINEN

DEMEL           REID          COLLINS          O'BRIEN

                     O'NEIL          DIAME

      VAZ TE            NOLAN          JARVIS

                            C COLE



9) Andy Carroll won't be playing - your views on his loan spell so far, and do you want to sign him permanently if the option arises? If so, how much would you be willing to pay?

O: Has in recent weeks looked fit and mean. Heíll be a loss. My position hasnít changed though; Iíd like to see him as the club but not for the reported £17m

WHP: Injuries really haven't helped but two great goals last week against WBA showed what he is capable off. He fits our team & system at the moment if he could get a good injury free run who knows . That was also when he produced his best for Liverpool at the back end of last season. I like him and can see he is no way worth £35 million id be happy to pay £10 million as he just gives us options & can terrarise a defence on his day it just needs to be more consistent. I get the feeling he quite likes it at West Ham as the fans have never got on his back & to be fair was bit of a coup when we signed him.

10) The Olympic Stadium - a good move for West Ham?

O: Good move. I think most Hammers have come around to then idea, particularly with the latest technical specs released by the club. 

WHP: Well what a conundrum this is. Overall thinking with my head it is a good move. I would love to stay at Upton Park but for the club to progress we need a bigger stadium. The area around Upton Park is a shithole and transport links to get there are appalling, parking is horrendous. There is no space to expand either. If we are ever to compete as a top 10 premier league side on a regular basis then we need this move. someone please correct me if im wrong but i don't think any other club in Europe has to deal with having three big clubs on there doorstep in there city with Chelsea, Arsenal & Tottenham like we do. All champions league & potential title contenders etc. 

In the last 10-15 years locally we have lost a lot of support from the next generation as the kids all want to support these three clubs & not a struggling yo-yo club like West Ham.

There are the negatives regarding tradition and will we fill the stadium & will the atmosphere be shit ( it is now at Upton Park) but you know what F%*$ em I say. Tottenham are shitting themselves with the potential of us having this ground could do to our club and so are others

To have an Iconic stadium with lots to do for families in the Olympic Park with it being the ground away fans will want to visit as they will probably get a 5-8000 allocation i don't see a problem with it being 90% plus full. . Easy to get to from mainland Europe by train with Stratford station. Excellent transport links.

Its something 90% of clubs would want and sorry Liverpool fans but your own lack of progress over a new ground or expansion i think has cost you in recent years Revenue and marketing wise. You needed a 60,000 minimum stadium 10 years ago. .

On paper the opportunities are endless but we need to stay in the premier league first and foremost and with good management and wise spending we could be a top 6-8 club in 7-10 years who knows. Knowing West Ham though it will all go tits up haha


11) Big Sam - does he get the credit he deserves, and do you think Real or Barce beckon? I know there are a fair few Blackburn fans out there who view his departure as an absolute travesty
 
O: Sam gets a shit load of stick, and I still donít like the man as a personality much. But heís done a fine job and that canít be argued with IMO. Heís belligerent, no nonsense, couldnít give a fuck what others think and has the players respect. Weíve needed that desperately over the last few years. The football hasnít been as bad as some say, not even close, but there have been some scrappy matches away from home I suppose. I watch other fans of other clubs lay into Samís style of football, then see those clubs play and end up thinking ďPot, Kettle, BlackĒ. Do I see Sam as the long term future of West Ham United? No. Do I see Sam as potentially laying a very solid foundation for someone else to build on from in a few years time? Absolutely. I never ever thought I'd say this, ever, but I hope he signs a new contract.

WHP: Fat Sam can be deluded at times but he has very nearly done what he set out to do at West Ham promoted and then survive. The football has improved we don't just play a constant lump it up to the strikers but we play to our strengths be it Carroll or Carlton Cole we mix it up a bit. The difference to when he was derided at Newcastle compared to West Ham was that they hadn't hit rock bottom when he took over eventually they did get relegated a season later i think. Still some fans aren't pro Allardyce but grudgingly accept his done a good job . Can he take us forward i honestly don't know all i would say is he would have to sign better quality and play more football as very few teams are successful with the long ball but i think he knows that and would look to implement a slightly different style of play over time but you have to be tough to beat & managers like Mourinho get the plaudits but under him Chelsea were tough to beat & at times played some dull & unattractive football which Roman didn't like.

I do feel Fat Sam gets a bad press although the Real/Barca sort of comments are ridiculous.


12) Do you have any favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation? Bubbles aside...

O: Heís here, heís there, heís every fucking where... John Moncur, John Moncur! No explanation needed. Obviously doesnít get the air time it used to!

WHP: Its a shame really as many of the old songs have died or been lost now. When i was at the Play Off Final last year v Blackpool apart from the usual & bubbles it was the standard songs any club sings. Back in the late 80's & early 90's on the terrace i loved it a different song for each player or opponents & if any funny or action incidents happened. Now its shit to be honest i miss the mad celebrations on the terrace. The songs i loved where the spontaneous funny ones of which in the seats you don't get now.

13) Where do you expect West Ham and Liverpool to finish in the Premier League? And what do you think about Brendan's project so far?

O: I think youíll finish 7th, which to be truthful is probably a genuine reflection for you guys this year. The six sides above you are simply better sides, but you do have significant quality in the side, which is why youíll be comfortably 7th. It may not be nice to hear, but youíre Ďbest of the restí at the moment. I wouldnít be too downhearted though. I think Rodgers is a man with a plan. Youíve had a season of consolidation, and Iíll think youíll push on under Rodgers. There has been enough quality in the squad for him to implement his philosophy, but perhaps not enough quality for him to always make it work. I think heíll buy well, and although your several seasons away from even having a sniff at a title, if Liverpool are a long term project I donít see many better managerial options than Rodgers knocking about to lead it?

WHP: I think West Ham will finish between 12th - 14th of which i will be happy. Yourselves either 6th or 7th just above or below Everton i reckon.

Slowly i think Brendan's project is coming together I don't see enough of your games but it appears to be improving. If you can sign about 4 quality players in the summer then a champions league challenge is on but im afraid your a good 3 or 4 seasons away from a title challenge & only if you can get in the champions league every season from next season to be able to attract the players you need and get the revenue in. Brendan has got a really tough job ahead arguably the toughest as how many more years can Liverpool afford to be out of the champions league and see others get stronger and stronger.


14) Which Liverpool player will you fear the most? And what are your views as relative outsiders on the magician that is Luis Suarez?

O: Suarez is world class. I genuinely couldnít give a toss about all the media nonsense that has surrounded him. I take no notice of such things. Downing and Gerrard both look in solid nick, so Iíll be hoping they have off days.

WHP: You play with high energy and pace at home which really suits Suarez. I can see how fans find him annoying and irritating but when he plays for your team you love him. A bit like Craig Bellamy a little shitbag but when he was at West Ham he was quality and our little shitbag. so those fans slating Suarez are hypocrites as they would love him in there team . He is class and if on song our defence have no chance. We will pack the midfield to try and nullify this and hope to nick goals on the counter attack. With no Andy then Carlton will really have to hold the ball up well to ease the pressure on our defence.   Coutinho - Suarez link seems to be the biggest danger but lest not forget about Gerrard & his long shots.

15) Last but not least, care to predict the score?

O: Head - 2-0 Liverpool. Heart... err... 2-0 Liverpool. Some things are unavoidable.  :wave
WHP: I would take a draw now but ...................

Could this be the end for the Holy Grail after 50 years , bollocks im going for it a 1-2 win to West Ham ;)


Good Luck Rawkites and hopefully be a good game and may the best team win  :wave


 

Thanks to both for a great contribution and a cracking read. Here's to a good game.

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