Spyin' Kop: West Ham United home

Posted by Tarpaulin on October 27, 2005, 07:05:39 PM

After what can only be described as a difficult week for the Reds on the road, with defeats by both Fulham and Crystal Palace, it's a return to the Coliseum and the visit of West Ham.

With the Hammers  under the astute leadership of Alan Pardew flying high on their return to the Premiership, this could be a tough fixture for Rafa's goal shy men. To help us preview the game we took a trip to the independent website Knees Up Mother Brown. It's an elder statesman among websites having been launched at the start of the 1997-98 season when to many Reds "internet" meant only what Robbie Fowler would do with comforting regularity.

West Ham United
Saturday 29th October - Anfield - KO - 3pm
Referee - Uriah Renee


The Club
A belief in entertaining football has been forged into the side created by workers from the shipbuilding company Thames Iron Works in 1895. The club was relaunched in 1900 as West Ham United and elected to the Football League in 1919. Success came in 1923 with promotion to the First Division and an appearance in the first Wembley FA Cup final. Later, under the auspices of captain Malcolm Allison and later coach Ron Greenwood, the Hammers plotted for the future by nurturing young talent and introducing innovative coaching techniques. It paid off with FA Cup victory in 1964, a European Cup Winners' Cup triumph in 1965 and the club rightfully took credit when three homegrown stars - captain Bobby Moore, striker Geoff Hurst and midfielder Martin Peters - helped England win the 1966 World Cup. Another FA Cup victory in 1975 was followed by relegation in 1978. There was a return to Wembley in 1980 and the Hammers, still in the Second Division, shocked Arsenal 1-0. After mixed success in the 1980s, West Ham sealed promotion to the F.A. Premier League in 1993. And while standing by their beliefs, the Hammers graced the Premiership for 10 years until their relegation in 2003. Secured a return to the top flight two seasons later via the play-offs, beating Preston 1-0 in Cardiff.

Club Honours
FA Cup Winners - 1964, 1975, 1980
Charity Shield Winners - 1964
2nd Division Champions - 1957-58, 1980-81

Club Facts
Year Formed: 1895 as Thames Iron Works FC; 1900 as West Ham United FC
Club Nicknames: 'Irons' or 'Hammers'
Stadium Address: Boleyn Ground, Green Street, Upton Park, London, E13 9AZ - Capacity:35,647

Season so far ...
West Ham     3 - 1     Blackburn      
Newcastle     0 - 0     West Ham    
West Ham    1 - 2    Bolton               
West Ham    4 - 0    Aston Villa     
Fulham            1 - 2   West Ham     
West Ham    0 - 0    Arsenal          
Sunderland    1 - 1    West Ham           
Man City       2 - 1   West Ham       
West Ham    2 - 1    Middlesbrough    

Current position: 9th position. Played 9, 15 points.

From www.paddypower.com: Liverpool 4/7 Draw 5/2 West Ham 5/1

First Goal:
Cisse 5/1 Crouch 11/2 Morientes 11/2 Gerrard 15/2
Harewood 9/1 Sheringham 10/1 Zamora 11/1 Benayoun 16/1

Spyin' Kop

This week's "Spyin' Kop" has been kindly answered by the 'appy 'ammers on www.kumb.com. Thanks to GeorgeParris'Pet, Arch Dandy, londonrebel, Runwell Ray, Countryboy, comeonyouirons and MancIron for their input. Much appreciated.

I've taken the best four answers for each question from the above named fans.

1. What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed from day one?

Fourth from bottom would have done me at the start of the season, but I think we can better that now. I am looking at near the top of the bottom half of the league. 12th.

I expect we'll stay up. That's changed from Day One because then I only hoped we would. Like any sane West Ham fan I'd settle for 17th. But I'm hoping for solid mid-table, somewhere in the 10-14 range.

I would expect us to finish in the bottom half of the table and would be happy with that.

My expectation was that we’d be hard pressed to stay in the league, I now think we should stay up but expect a tough fight still.

2. Who do you think is your most important player(s)? and your worst player(s)?

The most important player is probably (sadly) 420 year old veteran Teddy Sheringham. He’s probably not our best player, that honour goes to Yossi Benayoun, but when he plays well (every other game) we do look a more dangerous outfit. Worst player is pretty tough, on their day anyone of them can look pretty ordinary but Matty Etherington hasn’t looked anything special this season. Tommy Repka has had some critics especially away from home.

Yossi's fantastic as everyone says. Got that touch of quality that really shines through. Also works incredibly hard, tracking back, getting stuck in with tackles: one big reason we love him so much. Gabbidon and Konchesky have also been inspired buys. And don't necessarily believe everything you read on this site about Etherington. Every year we have a player who gets slagged off all season long. He's this season's victim. But - ahem! - the stats say he's our most effective player.

Not going to comment on the worst because they have all done well this season. The best: Sheringham comes up with the goals to turn matches but age is creeping up on him. Also Benayoun in midfield is a good signing by Pardew. Mullins and Reo Coker much improved in the centre of midfield this season. Back four have done very well also. Plus Carroll in the net (injured though at moment).

Reo Coker and Benayoun. Worst on current form Repka though to be fair he's not a right back.

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

Carroll, Repka, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Konchesky, Benayou, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Etherington, Harewood, Sheringham.

Repka Ferdinand Gabbidon Konchesky
Benyoun Mullins Reo Coker Etherington
Harewood Sheringham or Zamora

Bywater - GK
Daily - D or M
Sheringham or Zamora - F
Newton - Right Midfield
Allidare - M or F

Recently, we've tended to start out 4-4-2 away from home, go a goal (or two) down, switch to 3-5-2 and then equalise (or at least get one back). So why doesn't Pards start with three at the back? Ask him. Teddy started on Wednesday against Bolton, so I'd expect Zamora to start on Saturday. Unless there are injuries between now and then, the rest of the line-up will be as predicted by everyone else.

4-4-2 – Hislop – Konchesky, Repka, Gabbidon, Ferdinand – Etherington , Benayoun, Mullins, Reo-Coker – Harewood, Sheringham. Probably be the starting 11 depending on how tonight goes against Bolton.

4. Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Over Land and Sea and Bubbles are our favourites, I expect Crouch will get some abuse on Saturday although that shouldn’t require any explanations ...

Bubbles, Blue Flag,Over Land and Sea & Twist and Shout

We have been known to invite a certain West London team to stick their blue flag up their arse. Shouldn't need to much explanation!

Bubbles pretty much sums the West Ham experience.

5. What have you made of your previous visits to Anfield, and what do you expect on Saturday?

Usually a good day out spoilt by the 90 minutes in the middle of it. I've seen us take some right pastings there. But our day will come.

Past experience suggests that we never win. What I expect on Saturday is one of two things. EITHER you lot finally react to all the piss-poor performances you've been putting in, and we suffer the backlash, in which case we get stuffed, OR you really are as bad as you've been looking. In which case, my squeaky-voiced Scouser chums, you are in deep, deep shit.

Have always been treated well (not in the mid 70s-early 80s always went off). Nice stadium but the police/stewards are over top. West Ham fans have always outsung you when I have been there. In general I have always looked at your fans to be like our own - working class people who are very passionate. The kop is VERY impressive when singing YNWA - we are banned from taking flags into Upton Park.

Disappointed in the atmosphere, but I see that looking at your official club site that this particular game has sold out. We will sing all the way through I hope you guys do as well. Normally it's quieter than expected though probably because for The Kop, a visit from West Ham isn't exactly the biggest game of the season.

6. We know domestically we have been below par this season - but who do you feel will cause you problems on Saturday, and what do you expect from us not only on Saturday but ultimately for the season?

Morientes. People may raise eyebrows but he hasn't scored for what, 7 games? Means he'll probably score against us! Your poor away form looks to mean 4th place would be your best hope. Wouldn't have thought you'd slip below 6th. Surely you can finish above Spurs?!

Is Gerrard playing? He’s the obvious quality. I quite like Cisse from what I’ve seen on the box this season and our strikers, especially Harewood will struggle against Hyypia. I expect L’pool will be in or around the UEFA spots come the end but hope you play some decent football on Saturday. After the last couple of results you’ll have to go for it, especially at home. This might suit us as we’ve the pace to counter attack all over the pitch and our defence has been the stand out point of our season (for a change).

If Zamora plays, the front 2 will cause you problems with their pace. Benayoun if given time on the ball will cause you major problems. I expect you to finish in a UFEA Cup place.

I agree with you that Crouch isn't half as bad as people make out. I also agree that there's no point signing him unless you're going to play wide-men who'll get the ball to him from the by-line in the air. Ironically, he'd have had much more service if he'd come to us. Sooner or later he'll score. Have a bad feeling it could be us. Otherwise Gerrard, Alonso, Cisse, Garcia - the usual suspects.

7. From an outsiders point of view, what do you think about our club?

Both Liverpool clubs are what I term "proper" football clubs with fans who will/have stuck with them through thick and thin unlike Newcastle for example. Always a great atmosphere at Anfield when we play there and one of the away trips I look forward to the most.

How can anyone fluke a European Cup? Dunno, but you did it (brilliant entertainment on the night). That aside, you don't seem any nearer to solving your domestic problems than you were under Houllier. And your football hasn't got any less dull or defensive, either. Given the undoubted talent at the club, you should be doing far better. Why don't your board appoint a British manager who understands this league? Was Shankly a Frenchman? Was Paisley Spanish? No.

Nothing too bad. Apart from the glory supporters who jump on the band wagon of supporting a club because of their past success i.e. non-scousers.

As already stated most West Ham fans do not have a problem with Liverpool (Saturday being an exception). Great family club, .play some good football and after the Hillsborough Disaster have always been closer to my thoughts.

8. Do you have any young, up and coming players that we may not know about?

Mark Noble is a little cracker, he is West Ham through and through and he will be one to watch for the future. Paul Konchesky is another who plays with his heart on his sleeve and he has got that fighting spirit.

The central defence, Gabbidon and Ferdinand both look like they could go all the way. Bubbling just under the first 11 at the moment we’ve got James Collins, another highly rated centre back and Mark Noble a local midfielder who everyone has high hopes for.

I think you may know about Ferdinand, if rumours of a £10m bid are to be believed. Reo-Coker's all over the media, but perhaps not quite as good as people are saying. Mark Noble is quality, but crocked. We've got some great lads coming through the system, as always. But you won't be seeing any of them on Saturday.

Yes lots. Our teams changed completely since relegation. Look out for Ferdinand (Rio's younger brother) and Gabbidon (signed from Cardiff) in defence. Reo Coker in midfield. Reo Coker and Ferdinand are both regulars in the England U21 team with Reo-Coker captain. Mark Noble may feature on the subs bench - one for the future here hopefully.

9. Are you happy with Alan Pardew and what he's trying to acheive down there, and do you feel like a lot of us do, that transition requires patience at times?

Well we have had the patience over the last two seasons. The crowd were on Pardew's back a little. Now everyone has fallen in line behind him. We have had a good start to the season and the signings have been good. He cares and is unlikely to leave the touchline throughout the game. Maybe Sven could learn something there? I think our style of football is more suited to the Premiership rather than the Championship.

Pardew has worked a miracle. He took over a club in meltdown. You had to be around West Ham during the two years after relegation to feel the sense of despair and bitterness in the stands; booing our own players; calling for Brown, Pardew, anyone to be sacked; endless rumour about takeovers; court cases where the club sued its own supporters - madness! Amidst it all, Pardew watched a team of so-called stars being sold. He's bought lesser-known players for peanuts. He's slashed the wage bill in half. He somehow (f*ck knows how, because we were shite all year) got us to the play-offs ... and we've not looked back since. He got us promoted. He bought brilliantly in the summer. He's kept us in the top half of the table all season. The man has had his doubters, to put it mildly, but give him credit, he's proved everyone wrong.

I started as a believer, then became a doubter, then angry, then cried a bit, then a bit optimistic, now I’m happy. He seems to have turned the club around since promotion (or Reading away last season) and there is a sense of purpose and optimism around the club that hasn’t been there since the early Redknapp days. Transition takes time, but not too f*cking long as we have to leave early to beat the queue for the train.

He is after two seasons getting it together, unfortunately managers don't get the time to build a team anymore but he is a bright prospect for the future. Will probably leave us for someother club like, hmmmmmmm, yours?

10. From a purely footballing point of view do you feel differently now towards the game, with the cost, and widening gap between the players and the fans who adore them so much?

We as working class fans are being priced out of the game. Travelling away is my passion but with a son to take as well its over £100 per match. The players like Ronaldo and company are so far up their own backside I do not think that they even give a thought to the financial problems we as fans travelling suffer.

It’s all changed and there is not a lot that the fans can do about it. West Ham fans I believe love the club first and foremost, the players have to work hard to earn a place in our affections and as the gap between the players are fans is widening it gets harder so you love the club even more. The last player who really won over the crowd to the point of being called a legend was probably Di Canio. Even he divides the fans (Major anyway) and it’s not like the days of Brooking, Bonds, Moore who the fans were 100% behind.

Up to a point. Cost is definitely an issue for a lot of fans. But it's just a fact of life in a media age that stars get paid mega-money. Am I bothered if my favourite bands become millionaires? No. So why should footballers be any different?

The game's changed massively over the past 15 years. The cost of going is ridiculous and to be honest sometimes you're glad to watch it in the pub and save yourself £30.

11. Do you feel that the football bubble will soon burst? And if so, we will go back to the days of a working class game?

It will fall off a little especially as Chelsea look set to dominate even more than Man Utd did in the 90s. But it will never be a working class game again, that ship has sailed. Not even sure the working class exist as such any more (but that's a debate for another board).

Why do you think it ever was a working-class game? Back in the 19th century, the Old Etonians won the FA Cup! Seriously, we'll never go back for the simple reason that the traditional, industrial working class no longer exists. Western economies are post-industrial. The vast majority of the population own their own homes and have white-collar jobs: that's middle-class by any conventional definition. The government is aiming to make 50 per cent of kids go to university. It's not football that's changed. It's the world.

Not anytime soon and it’ll be a slow decline and levelling out again rather than hot pockets and bunking over turnstiles. There is too much corporate involved now plus Health and Safety etc.

I would love that to happen but think we have moved too far from that now. Bring back the terraces for a start, or at least have a section in each stadium for terraces.

12. And finally - go on, predict a scoreline?

Would love the 3 points but would settle for 1 - 1.

2-1 Liverpool, I'm afraid.

My heart says the first West Ham win at Anfield since 1963? But my brain says Liverpool win after set backs at Fulham and Crystal Palace. So I am going to go in the middle. 1 - 1. Gerrard and Harewood to score.

0-0 or 1-0 to youse (Crouch). I'm sticking a fiver on him for first goal.

p.s there was a lot of 1-1 guesses as well.

Thanks again to www.kumb.com for the replies.

© Roper 2005

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