Spyin' Kop: West Ham United Vs. Liverpool, 19/09/2009, 5.30p.m.

Posted by E2K on September 16, 2009, 02:44:11 PM

West Ham United Vs. Liverpool
Upton Park, Saturday 19th September
5.30 pm kick-off



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West Ham United Honours

Division 2
1957-58, 1980-81

FA Cup
1963-64 1974-75, 1979-80

UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
1964-65

UEFA Intertoto Cup
1998-99

West Ham Club Staff

Manager: Gianfranco Zola
Assistant Manager: Steve Clarke
First Team Coach: Kevin Keen
Technical Director: Gianluca Nani
Youth Academy Director: Tony Carr

Form Guide (last six league matches)
West Ham: LWWLDL
Liverpool: WLWLWW

Liverpool’s All-Time Record Against West Ham*
(Overall) W62 D34 L23
(At Upton Park) W20 D17 L20
*Stats correct with http://www.liverweb.org.uk as of 16/09/09

Most Recent Meetings:
West Ham 0-3 Liverpool (Upton Park, May 2009)
Liverpool 0-0 West Ham (Anfield, December 2008)

Betting Guide**
West Ham to win: 11/2
Liverpool to win: 4/7
Draw: 13/5
**Odds correct with http://www.paddypower.com as of 16/09/09

One game at a time for Liverpool, it may sound fairly obvious but that’s how it is five games into the season. Two defeats with poor performances in each tends to dull expectations quite a bit, and you find yourself looking a lot less to next May than to next week and the hope of three much-needed points. It’s the way it should have been anyway, the way it always was for Liverpool teams – one game at a time. The next game is West Ham United.

The Hammers have got problems, many of them familiar to us. Financial issues mean that they haven’t been able to rebuild to push on from a good finish last season, and while the first team contains some quality players, a thin enough squad means that avoiding injuries is key to any hope of success. Meanwhile, a good manager and decent man tries to do his best under all the circumstances around him, and has been doing very well as it happens. Definitely rings a bell from a Liverpool perspective, I’d say.

Both teams have had inconsistent starts to the season. Liverpool have looked very good going forward against Stoke, Bolton and Burnley, bagging eleven goals in those three games against teams who are usually regarded as the reason why we’ll never win the Premier League. It is all the more impressive given the absence of both Xabi Alonso and his replacement, Alberto Aquilani. Throw in the fact that Torres and Gerrard have dipped below their sky-high standards in the first five games, and there is reason for optimism. Liverpool are putting teams to the sword on a regular basis, and that can only be a good thing. On the other hand, the underwhelming performances against Tottenham and Aston Villa gave real cause for concern which hasn’t been put to bed just yet.

West Ham, meanwhile, have beaten promoted Wolves and drawn with Blackburn, as well as losing to Tottenham and Wigan. Only three goals have been scored in those games, which has to be a worry. In addition, James Collins has been sold and there is still a cloud of uncertainty over Upton Park. What do their supporters make of it all? I asked a few of them and here are their answers.

Thanks firstly to our own Okkervil and Marcus6, who kindly agreed to take part. Along with them, having e-mailed three West Ham sites to no avail this week, I took the risk of joining one and posting the questions on the forum. Amidst the time-wasters and piss-takers that predictably followed, there were a few decent lads who answered the questions honestly in the spirit they were asked. So thanks to Know It All, Mr. Burns and V For Vendetta from westhamonline.net.

1. West Ham finished a very comfortable 9th place last season, just three points away from a Europa League spot. What were your expectations for this campaign at the start of this season - to push on and challenge for those European spots or was another mid-table finish as much as you were hoping for?

Okkervil: Personally my expectations weren't too high. I'd be delighted with a top half finish, but in reality more than happy to just keep away from any relegation battle. There is talent in the squad, but I've always felt Zola needs a touch more time and money to be guiding the team to Europe.

Marcus6: I think it's a case that we would all love to be in Europe, but the way the year has been (skint, not enough players in, Sheff Utd pay off, owner going bust etc.) we'd be happy just having a quiet one at 10th again. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see us in Europa, but from a financial sense, anything other than relegation will keep me happy.

Mr. Burns: Had we strengthened the team in the right area's then yes. But I feel we've been left with a team that whilst the first eleven is decent, should we get a few injuries we will struggle.

Know It All: It all depends with our small squad on injuries, we haven't had the best of starts BUT we've not been able to put out our best 11 more then the opening game which we won. I think we'll be competing in that little group fighting for 7th again

2. Has anything happened so far in the first handful of games to change those expectations? Has anything given you cause for either optimism or pessimism?

Okkervil: First few games have gone pretty much as expected. We were unlucky against Sp*rs, but all in all they've been pretty mixed performances so far, and I'm expecting a season of mixed fortunes.

Marcus6: The same as what I thought at the end of last season. If we do not sell our defence, we will be strong at the back. If we do not improve our strikeforce, we will hardly score. So far, our first 4 games (2.0 win, 2.1 lose, 0.0 draw, 1.0 lose) have not proved me wrong.

V For Vendetta: Feel a bit more pessimistic that we arn't going to score enough but I'll give the new strikers some time before I push the panic button.

Mr. Burns: As I've said above injuries will cost us. No disrespect to Blackburn or Wigan but I'd have hoped for more than a point from those games.

3. Both of our clubs have had well-publicised financial issues in recent times. How are things looking for The Hammers as we speak?

Okkervil: The clubs in the financial shit. The books are dire, even Duxbury called the clubs finances a "disaster". There is no money to spend, and CB Holdings seem pretty intent on running the club like a financial assest and a business, rather than a football club. so I don't expect things to improve unless someone comes in a buys the club.

Marcus 6: We had a millionaire biscuit baron who had as much common sense as a man eating a raw steak in a piranha tank naked. How the hell he became loaded with absolutely no idea of financial value I will never know.  He jogged on. Then we had a millionaire who went bust. Our sponser run out of pennies. An Icelandic bank took us over. They went under. We are now with a holding company who's only role is to sell us. Not to put money in, just to get rid asap. According to our Chief Exec, our accounts are (and I quote) 'an absolute disaster'.

All I can say on the matter is I wouldn't be complaining if my clubs overlords bought the likes of Torres and co  :P

Mr. Burns: Not great. The sale of Collins and the fact the manager is lauding the way we managed to keep some of the other better players is proof of that.

Know It All: Well we're in limbo right now being owned by what in effect is the Icelandic govenment so we have no outside money coming in but our CEO for my money is doing a fine job of keeping up afloat.

4. Gianfranco Zola took charge at Upton Park one year ago this month. It appears from the outside at least that He's done brilliantly, all things considered. What qualities in particular do you think he has brought to the West Ham job?

Okkervil: I'm a massive fan of Zola. We all love the way he tries to get the team to play. But most of all for me he has brought a touch of class and positive energy to the club. Pretty much since the 2006 Cup Final defeat (to some Northern club!?), there seems to have been nothing but bad news coming from Upton Park, with exception of Zola and Clarke. I just hope they are given the time to get it right.

Marcus6: He's a genuinely nice, likeable guy! He doesn't complain about the refs, he doesn't kick off , he just gets on with it. West ham are usually a club 'who no-one minds', but that took a battering for various reasons over the last few years (some valid, most not), but I think he is starting to repair that damage. And the most important thing is he has us playing proper football. None of that negative grinding Curbs football. Not his style.

Know It All: The football has improved 100% even if results haven't improved greatly. I think he'll get better and better with experience

Mr. Burns: This is a good question. Some people may disagree, but I do believe has us playing some decent football and that is what he is striving for. I'd have hoped his name would have been able to attract players but most just seem to be interested in money.

5. Who is West Ham’s most indispensable player at the moment, if you had to pick one? Why?

Okkervil: Scott Parker. Was never too much of fan of the lad before he joined us. But he grafts hard and has a touch of skill. Very good player, we definatly lose something when hes not playing.

Marcus6: You'd think having only one senior striker (Cole) I'd pick him. But seeing as he barely scores, I will have to say Upson or Green. If we start shipping in goals we are f*cked.

Know It All: Very much Carlton Cole as he's our only senior striker

Mr. Burns: I'd say Upson. I think he is out best most consistent player and holds the defence together.

6. And which player makes you think “Ah f*ck…” when you see his name on the teamsheet, if any?

Okkervil: No one too much at the moment. Last season I could have picked Tristan, Di Michale or Boa Morte easily. But this season even Faubert's not looked complete shit. I only worry a little when it looks as if too many of the youngsters are starting. I suppose I could say Nigel Quashie if he ever played, but no one knows where he is or if he is alive?

Marcus 6: Quashie. Thankfully, he's only played about 7 times in 3 years, picking up 20 grand a week (thanks Eggy, see question 3). In all fairness, none of our players really give me great deal of concern. Some of the younger ones might make the odd balls up, but none compare to the legend of Gary Breen.

Know It All: None really in the first team squad but we still have Nigel Quashie taking a wage in the reserves which is a shocker

V For Vendetta: None really but I'd have to go with Spector, especially when he's played out of position.

7. West Ham, as we know, has a great tradition of nurturing talent, and plenty of top players have gotten their starts at Upton Park. Are there any prospects coming through at the moment that are giving you particular hope for the future?

Okkervil: Plenty of young talent knocking about at the moment. Tomkins, Collinson and Stanislas obviosly look very good and already have a fair bit of first team experience. Zavon Hines, Josh Payne, and Oliver Lee have all shown promise, and two young lads from overseas Fabio Daprela and Davide Ferrari may well be prospects also.

Marcus 6: Stanislas has started making a name for himself, scored 4 goals now and has got a good bit of pace. Hines is meant to be our next super striker, but I'm not entirely convinced.

We have Bondz N'Gala as our reserve captian, this kid is a lump. CB, built like Samba, he is highly rated and has made our bench afew times.

Other than that, we have the sons of John Moncur, Rob Lee, and Zola, all playing youths / reserve football now, so it is looking good for us for the next few years.

Mr. Burns: James Tomkins and Jack Collison are both very good players.

Know It All: Plenty, it's hard to know where to start. James Tomkins is now a first choice centre back, Zaron Hines had a good full debut last weekend, Junior Stanislas is playing regular first team football and behind these the production line is still in full flow

8. Do you have any lasting memory of a previous meeting between The Hammers and Liverpool, fond or otherwise?

Okkervil: Yeah one game comes to mind....

Marcus6: THAT game, which I won't mention. I try to forget most of them because we normally get twatted. The 0.0 at your place last year was the first point I've seen us get an Anfield, so that was nice. And the last minute penalty win 2 years ago was nice  ;D

Mr. Burns: Not away from home no. I suppose the 4-1 win in the league cup when we were botton and shit always brings a smile to my face (even if that judas c*** got 2). Recently I enjoyed the 1-0 when Noble got a last minute penalty.

V For Vendetta: The FA cup final of course! Was very gutted at the time but it's still got to go down in history as one of, if not the best ever FA cup final

9. Of all the chants we’ll hear on Saturday, are there any less well-known ones that you particularly like?

Okkervil: Personally Im a sucker for the old classics. Cant beat a stirring round of YFBB or OLAS.

Marcus 6: Not really. Our chants have stagnated abit really, all we generally do is call people c*nts, which gets abit boring. We need to put our heads together and think of something good again. All of the old Millwall ones are getting an airing again though, now that we've reminded ourselves who we really hate.

Mr. Burns: Chants? What are they?

Know It All: We don't like to sing anymore it seems

10. Which one Liverpool player would you love to miss Saturday’s game in an ideal world, and why?

Okkervil: Gerrard. The lad's class.

Marcus6: Gerrard. Sorry, but I can only give the same reasons that you get every week in Spying Kop. He is a class act, and can score out of nothing. Bastard.

Know It All: Gerrard but I'm sure I really don't need to explain why

V For Vendetta: Yossi. Former players always have a way of scoring the winner.

11. Where do you think our teams will finish in the League this season? Any silverware for either of us, do you reckon?

Okkervil: Liverpool 2nd. Hammers 13th. fancy you might have more luck in Europe that domesticly again. Wouldn't rule out another European final for your lot. The Upton Park trophy cabinet will stay empty for another season.

Marcus6: I really thought it was going to be your year for the league, but I've not been overly impressed with your start to be fair. You will need to improve to get 19. However, I don't think Utd will win it either, so you won't get overtaken (touch wood). I don't think you look like the strongest squad in Europe, but I never do and you normally prove me wrong so you may have a good run in the Champions League.

I would love to see us win something. I genuinely fancied us in the Leage Cup, but now we've been drawn against Bolton, we won't. They usually ruin things for us.

You lot - 3rd
Us - Anywhere between 7th and 17th. I know I'm being vague there, but sorry  ;D 

V For Vendetta: Would have said 2nd at the start of the season but I think 4th possibly 5th is more likely now, you'll probably have a few good cup runs, think Europe will be beyond you this season but the FA cup is probably your best chance of silverwear

Mr Burns: Liverpool will finish 3rd. We'll finish 10th. You may win a cup (FA or League). We'll win nothing.

12. Finally, a prediction for the final score?

Okkervil: Heart: WHU 2-1 Liverpool. Head: WHU 0 - 2 Liverpool

Marcus6: I'd like to think we have enough to nick a point at home, but I'm not convinced. 2.1 to Liverpool.

V For Vendetta: 4-0 to Liverpool

Mr. Burns: 1-3

Know It All: 1-0

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