Spyin' Kop, West Ham (A), 9th December 2012

Posted by Hazell on December 4, 2012, 08:19:41 PM

West Ham United Vs Liverpool
Sunday 9th December 2012

Liverpool travel to West Ham this Sunday looking to build on the league victory against Southampton. West Ham however, will take confidence from their start and most recent victory, against European Champions Chelsea. RAWK spoke to West Ham supporters Okkervil and West Ham Paul to get their opinion on the upcoming match, their season and some of the issues presently surrounding their club.

Many thanks to RAWKites Okkervil and West Ham Paul for their assistance.

1. It seems as if you've had a decent start to the season, with your most recent result being the victory over Chelsea. December brings some tough games however, where you'll face West Brom, Everton and Arsenal. How is your season shaping up so far? What are your expectations for the season and have they changed since August?

Looking back now, do you think that there were any positives concerning your relegation a couple of years ago and has it perhaps had a bearing on this season?

Okkervil: The target at the start of the season was always to simply survive. We may have had a very good start, but that initial target doesn't change. At the start of the season if we could have guaranteed 17th place I'd of taken it. Obviously as we pick up good results your expectations change a bit, thats the nature of the football fan, but it's important to keep your feet on the ground. If we finish top-half, which is a possibility, that should be viewed as a serious overachivement. We've had a real tough run of fixtures and thats set to continue, but we've have picked up points against Man City, Chelsea, Stoke and Newcastle and if we can come away with 6pts from the next four games I'd be delighted.

In regards to the second part of the question I think that there has definitely been some positives to relegation as strange as that seems. Of course its shit to go down, and it's been frustrating to watch the mistakes made at the club in the last 10 years or so that has turned us into a bit of a yo-yo club. However I can remember thinking when got relegated in 2002-03 that relegation may be a positive in the long run as we could "clear out the shit" and start afresh. It didn't happen and we remained a club with a soft underbelly. With the the new owners and Big Sam at the helm when we were relegated in 2010-11 there was definitely a change in philosophy at the club for the positive. The club feels a bit like its had a deep clean, and without relegation I'm not sure the cleaning process would have been quite so thorough.

West Ham Paul: Were currently on a very difficult run of fixtures but have acquitted ourselves well with wins over Chelsea & Newcastle & a draw with Man City. There's no easy game in the premiership & Everton seem to be a bogey team over the years so just take each game as it comes.
The season so far has gone much better than expected . My expectation at the start of the season was survival & still remains that 40 points being first priority. My only change in expectations I suppose is we know we can compete & aren't easy to beat.

Difficult to describe relegation as a positive but in many aspects it was but only if you have the right manager. Sam Allardyce was the right manager. The club had been in steady decline in the seasons proceeding relegation & had to many players who didnt give a shit & had no passion & on ridiculous contracts. We needed a tough straight talking manager to ship out the crap & bring in hungry players. The club had become lazy & as Sam said a losing mentality oozed throughout.

2. What are your thoughts on Sam Allardyce specifically? Are you happy with him and the way you're playing?

Okkervil: Truthfully it's hard not to like the guy now. I'll not pretend I was happy with his appointment when he first came in to the club. It wasn't really issues with his alleged style of football that I had a problem with, I just didn't like him as a personality. But like most fans I'm pretty fickle, and have to admit for the most part he has won me over. Things like his jumpy-up-and-down celebration of the third goal against Chelsea, his idiotic cake analogy in the post-game interview, and even the mock twitter account just kind of endear him even more! The whole Academy of Football thing, and Sam's apparent footballing antithesis of that old mantra has been blown out of proportion. For starters much of the football, particularly at home, has been pretty good to watch and as long as we are picking up the results no one can moan. Sam has taken the club back to basics, and if there was ever a club that needed to do that it was West Ham and the shambles that got relegated in 2011.

West Ham Paul: Now I understand many Rawkites dislike Sam Allardyce & his style of football. He does at times talk bollocks & doesn't do pretty football but the constant long ball is a myth. I for one & many West Ham fans I'd spoken to had got fed up over the years of being soft & being bullied out of games. We have to be realistic & Sam has made us hard, big & tougher to beat & we can mix it up. It's easy to say your happy when we've had a good season so far especially being a play off promoted side & arguably punching above your weight but despite his personality faults at times I'm 100% behind him.

3. Liverpool haven't had the best of starts points wise. What do you make of us this season? Where do you think we're headed?

Okkervil: Rodgers hasn't had it easy. He's not had the money that Kenny was given and your squad is painfully thin up front, and not too fat elsewhere either to be fair! As objectively as possible I look at the Liverpool squad, and there is obviously quality, but not top four quality, or even top six. That's just the harsh reality. Rodgers is likeable though, he plays good football, and with time and the right signings he's as likely to achieve success as anybody else. Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world, there will always be people ready to play, invest and back the club in a big way. As such you'll always in the mix and in the hunt for silverware at some level, but this season personally it's hard to see any immediate success. I'll think you'll end up chalking this season off as transitional, probably finish top 8 and then push on to brighter things with Rodgers in the future.

West Ham Paul: Now I've been posting on Rawk for nearly 8 years & have seen your highs of Istanbul to the lows of Roy & Kenny's second coming not quite working out & the mood of the forum is clearly evident at various stages & currently it's a confused & angry at times . To much energy & emotion is spent on things that aren't really important ie Rafa to Chelsea. Does it effect or matter to Liverpool Football Club, No it doesn't so move on & worry about your own team. Liverpool have a great support & need to just concentrate on that. To many things have affected the club in recent years such as Hillsborough, Suarez's ban, the American Cowboys & Hodgson ineptitude so the Rafa thing is a distraction you can do with out. So the club seems to be heading now in the right direction off the pitch on the pitch it's still abit hit & miss. Nice football but not enough cutting edge. If the fans can be patient there are done good youth prospects coming through. I think you'll finish about 7th or 8th. I'd like to see you get 4th spot but you need another striker & Lucas to hit the ground running upon his return.

4. The decision on the Olympic Stadium is soon to be announced, with West Ham seemingly the front runners to get the move. What are your thoughts on leaving the Boleyn Ground and potentially moving there?

Okkervil: I'm pro Olympic Stadium. 60000 may be a tough fill for us admittedly, but with lower ticket prices, brilliant transport links, large away allocations, and general renewed interest in the club, I wouldn't put it completely out of our reach. I would miss the Boleyn; getting off at Upton Park, walking down Green Street, getting a first sight of those tacky castle turrets on the West Stand. The club needs to move on to remain competitive, and the OS can help us do that. I'll admit some trepidation over the stadium itself; atmosphere, closeness to the pitch, etc, but I think it's worth the risk.

West Ham Paul: I'd love to stay at the Boleyn but realistically there's no room for expansion the area around is a shithole & has no investment potential. We're in a situation where locally were competing with Chelsea, Arsenal both champions league regulars & Tottenham who have been in it & knock on its door each season now. We have been slipping further & further behind these clubs & the only way to compete is to become an attractive investment option. Having the Olympic Stadium goes some way too this.

The David's aren't stupid & see the potential of having a world famous iconic stadium (although I think it looks shit). It's been said Man City would not of had the investment they've had without getting the 2002 Commonwealth Games stadium .

5. Both Liverpool and West Ham over the past few years have had massive problems with their respective owners. From the outside looking in, what do you think about our present owners so far and how positive they have been for us after Hicks and Gillett's disastrous reign?

And your own, Gold & Sullivan, what are your thoughts on them and where you are now in comparison to your Icelandic owners?

Okkervil: It's still early days for FSG really. Dalglish was an emotional appointment, one for the fans. It was understandable, but it was turned out to be none too wise. The football wasn't great, and Dalglish wasted a fair bit of dosh. Anything is better than Hicks & Gillett though, and too be fair I think they are looking very long term and Rodgers will end up being a fine appointment. Those kind of owners, like West Hams Icelandic clowns are not just bad for the football clubs that they own, but they are bad for football as a whole. I was delighted to see H&G go almost as much as Egghead and the Icelandics. Owners like that are simply poison. 

I'm fond of Gold & Sullivan. The club was probably hours away from administration at one point, so we have to be grateful for them saving us really. They do come across as a bit of a comedy duo (Sullivan in particular reminds me of David Brent for some reason?) and sometimes when I see them interviewed the stuff they come out with can make me cringe, particularly Sullivan, but what they have done for the club cannot be underestimated. They may not be the richest owners, even compared to FSG, but there is one big difference between FSG and G&S, and that is that G&S's purchase of West Ham was done out of love for the club. It sounds corny, but it can't be undervalued. I think it makes Hammers much more lenient towards G&S that is the norm for fans towards chairman.

West Ham Paul: Hicks & Gillette were a disgrace who the fuck did they think they were believing they could come to this country & virtually destroy one of our country's most successful clubs. Stupidity or arrogance I don't know. Your new owners have been good & backed Kenny with loads of money but unfortunately spent dreadfully. They have to back Rodgers now.

The Icelandics ended up being a nightmare they put players on contracts that weren't sustainable for a club in our position & generally just pissed money away. The David's have made mistakes such as hiring Avram Grant but financially the club is going in the right direction the debt has been reduced from £110 to £84 million & despite talking bollocks at times they saved the club from administration & have the overall good interest of the club at heart. 

6. Andy Carroll then, how has he performed this season and will his injury be a big problem? Would you be happy if he was lining up permanently for you next season?

Okkervil: He's doing a job, and so far he's done it pretty well. He's considerably fitter than Carlton Cole, who struggles over 90 minutes even in peak condition, but wether he actually gives us much more of an edge than Cole, meh... I'm not sure? Cole is a confidence player, and when he turns up he can be a monster, a la Chelsea and if he hits a bit of form I don't think we'll actually miss Carroll too much. Carroll is a better player than Cole, and I'd happily see him at the club permanently, but would I want us to part with £17m for him? Short answer: No.

West Ham Paul: Personally in the right team I rate Andy Carroll, he's no Messi but a lot of comments I see after games when people say he was shit don't actually see the bigger picture of what he does. Yes he needs to score more but that style of player is a 15 goal not a 25-30 goals a season player. He has a decent touch & I like how he holds the ball up puts himself about is awkward defends well from the front & at set pieces at the back plus keeps running.
He's been a real boost for us despite only 1 goal & the fans like him. It's a real shame he's injured & hopefully well have him for the rest of the season. I'd like him permanently but only at a reasonable price 10-12 million thanks .

7. On to the match. Who have been your better performers this season and which players should we be wary of? Which of our players, if any, are you concerned about for the weekend (Suarez is suspended)?

Okkervil: Winston Reid is our most improved player by some distance. It's cliche, but he is one of the players that seems evidence that sometimes a year in Championship can improve a player. Diame is one of the signings the season and Captain Kev deserves a special mention too.

Suarez being suspended is bonus. He is world class. Gerrard is top class too, and to be honest I've not taken enough notice of his performances this season to know if the current critisism of his form is at all justified. I think Joe Allen is a fine player, but looking at your line-ups for the last few matches I can only point to Gerrard as a individual player I always worry about, what with Suarez' suspension. Our full backs worry me a bit so if Sterling and Assaidi were to start that would cause me some concern.

West Ham Paul: Mo Diame has been superb this season a free from Wigan. Gerrard will need to be on his game. Winston Reid has been a revelation at the back he looked out of his depth when he first joined 2 seasons back but has improved immensely. Some unsung heroes thus season have been Joey O'Brien, Gary O'Neil & Matty Taylor, nothing fancy but their work rate is spot on. Don't forget Kevin Nolan hasn't great pace but drives the team on & has a knack of stealing into the penalty area & nicking a goal.

As for yourselves, Suarez would have been the obvious answer but his suspension is a bonus for us. I like the look of Jonjo Shelvey (West Ham fan as a kid), I think he's got real potential & Rodgers should stick with him. Raheem Sterling looks very talented as well & his pace could cause us problems. Agger always seems to have a good game against us.   

8. How do you think you'll line up against us and how do you think you'll perform on Sunday?

Demel   Reid   Collins   O'Brien
Noble   Nolan
O'Neil         Jarvis

If we turn up in the first half I quite fancy a home win. But it will be tight. 

West Ham Paul:

Demel.   Collins.   Reid.   O'Brien

O'Neil.   Noble.   Diame.  Nolan.  Jarvis.


Ok you like to play nice football Sam will be telling our players to be big strong & disrupt your flow. Mix it up & use Cole as the target man with Nolan, Diame & Noble running on. My concern is Liverpool are due some goals & if you play your football we could be chasing shadows.

Well give a good account of ourselves confidence is high especially after beating Chelsea & Liverpool will need to be up for it. I think it will be a close game

9. And finally, care to predict the score?

Okkervil:1-0 West Ham.


West Ham Paul: My heart says a little sneaky 1-0 win but my head says 1-1 draw.

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