When they banned smoking in pubs and restaurants all those years ago, many thought it would be a great idea…and in many ways, it obviously was! However what nobody realised at the time, was that smoking would mask other factors most vile, depending on your point of view and your sense of smell of course.
I had become accustomed to non smoking public places whilst living away form these shores, but the ban also coincided with my decision to finally quit too. But one of the things that I loved to do…have a few jars in the pub, became less appealing as all I could smell was stale beer, yeast and pungent body odour. These manly odours more often than not made me want to vomit into my bag of cheese and onion crisps, which is not a good look for anyone, especially a middle aged gent who had lost all good sense along with his hair.
However I digress, for much of that ill feeling paled into insignificance when I started to analyse the goings on within the claret and blue universe. Just scratching beneath the surface would reveal so many absurdities and I realised that there were indeed many parallels with many of my displeasures.
Fast forward to the current predicament of barely surviving in the Premier League and club owners who would fail to inspire and invest in the squad…if one takes away the bright lights and media attention that comes with occupying the league, then the truths are there for all to see…and it’s very smelly indeed!
The team and managers have largely underperformed all season long, and let’s not get sidetracked by two very good results in the last two weeks which may just save the club’s bacon! The performance against Southampton was fantastic of course, well certainly in the first half at least…but the damage had been done by then. The well grafted point on Sunday away at Chelsea was glorious in that a point was earned…but it really wasn’t pretty for the most part, but I’m ok with winning or drawing ugly in the short term.
However, what was evident in certain periods of the 2nd half against Southampton and for almost the entire game against Chelsea, is that the players are very poor at retaining the ball but are also over reliant on a couple of players to lead the team in every battle. As soon as they drop their individual performances by 5%…or get injured, or the supporting players fail to perform at anywhere near their peak, then the form and function of the team breaks down.
Since Moyes arrived, he has heavily imposed his might upon the shoulders of Noble and Arnautovic, whilst other players have fallen well below the curve, only for sporadic excellence that would fill the West Ham faithful with a sense of hope. However, given what resources he has had at his disposal, one would argue he has done just about enough to leave a good impression…but is this really good enough? No, it isn’t!
The club transfer policy has been lamentable for some time now but the final nail in the coffin for the fans were the failures in the January transfer window that would bolster the squad but also strengthen the first team…which it hasn’t. I am bemused why Patrice Evra is on such a high salary, if only until the end of the season, when he was currently unemployed and is at his retirement age.
That is not to say that he cannot function in the team, and indeed ably replaced Cresswell on Sunday, BUT…Ashley Cole is currently playing for LA Galaxy for a fraction of his salary. Indeed his annual salary in comparable to Evra’s weekly wage! Is this right? No, it bloody well isn’t!
Mario has been brought in on loan for more silly money and the club are entertaining paying the £35million price tag in the summer too for his permanent services. Why? Let us not forget that since his arrival, he has shown some flashes of good skill and one solid half performance against Southampton..who were really poor, but he faded into the background on Sunday against Chelsea and still remains weak on the ball, in fact he looks like a luxury player that West Ham can ill afford to keep.
Of course one does not need a doctorate in football to understand that the club system has failed the fans for more than a couple of years, indeed one could argue it has been that way for years even before the ‘three tenors’ arrived, spinning their fluff and singing their ‘next level’ tunes…well nobody is sleeping tonight, that’s for sure!
After the last couple of games, I feel confident that the mighty Hammers will survive and may one day be the ‘mighty’ I hope they can be, however there are serious questions that need to be asked, not only of the owners but also of the manager and the players, come this summer.
The owners are not about to leave anytime soon and my concern is that they will white wash over the last two seasons with another poor transfer window and not weed out the weak links within the squad and the backroom staff. There have to be wholesale changes within all aspects of West Ham United life and starting form the very top, however the decisions must be challenged, salaries need to be reviewed and get value for money…and spend where it is most needed and where there will be a decent return on the investment. That return will be for the fans and the club…not the board members and their shared interest earnings!
They have acted liked sociopathic criminals without due care and attention…and with a total disregard for the well being of the club and fans. It has been rotten to the core for too long…and I can smell the stale stench of yeast from a mile away. There must be change in the way West Ham does its business from now on in, and the players must be as consistent as Noble, Arnautovic, Zabaleta…even look to the young gun; Rice who hasn’t really put a foot wrong in most of his appearances all season. They must all stand up and be counted…they have been found out…there is no more smoke and mirrors, no more plumes of fog…for the outlaw bandits have had their day!