When I was a boy, I marvelled at the incredible and was swept away by the absurd…however boys must grow into men, and with the passage of time I am still astounded by the incredible but I am not marvelled by the absurdity…and never more so that what goes on in the West Ham world!

I find myself switching daily between utter revulsion and abject apathy in consideration of the activities behind the scenes at West Ham, but I am less charitable when it comes to the decisions made by David Moyes, especially his starting eleven and his untimely substitutions.

After the Chelsea game, every fan would likely bet their wages away that Hernandez would start the next game against Stoke City. Surely, the man who bagged a magnificent goal to earn a valuable point warranted a place in the starting line up? However, amazingly Moyes decided against this, preferring to stick with the starting eleven at Chelsea which was found wanting again…especially in midfield from an underperforming Mario, Kouyate and Fernandes.

The manager would hope that his charges would take the game to Stoke and kill them off early, as was the case against Southampton two weeks prior. However Paul Lambert’s team is a different proposition and have been performing well of late, without getting the results they would like. They would be dangerous and would aim to dominate the midfield where the West Ham players would fail to engage in the dog fight.

When the fans recognise that the club have a proven goalscorer that is not being utilised, then there would be much sympathy for the player who would hand in a transfer request at the end of the season. Regardless of the result or the performance on Monday night, surely a manager must play his finest players and start with his best eleven? Of course Moyes must use the players to balance the side, however he has not be willing to play to Hernandez’s strengths and support his game…is it any wonder the lad wants to leave?

As an added insult to injury, Moyes recalled Carroll to the substitutes’ bench alongside Hugill…it was all set for a long ball game whenever Moyes decided the substitutions should be made. Of course every manager must have a plan A, then B and possibly even C,D and E…but Moyes seems to fail in his first choices, then skip the best alternatives and lunge straight for the last resort.

Much of the derision he has attracted this season has been based upon his starting lineups and substitutions, as well as his negative posturing, however he has had ample opportunity to play on the front foot and play higher up the field to get more activity into the opponent’s penalty area whereupon Hernandez would be at his most threatening. But he hasn’t done so, and has failed to recognise opportunities against the lesser teams and would tend to favour caution rather than adventure.

The performance on Monday night was troubling whilst there was intent to drive forward, there was little success in the final third, especially in the first half and Stoke posed little threats albeit having at least four clear shots on goal which Hart dealt with reasonably well. In the second half West Ham took control of possession however the script was still not being followed as the fans would expect…and against the run of play Stoke took the lead through a Crouch goal after a Hart fumble.

West Ham were proving to be the better side but could not unlock the Stoke City defence although there was a significant amount of activity in the Stoke penalty area…but a crucial player was missing; Hernandez was still on the bench. Whilst Paul Lambert brought on subs in the second half, Moyes was once again lethargic with his changes and waited almost until the 75th minute to introduce Hernandez and thereafter Carroll too. Hernandez was immediately in the action and was close to scoring on a number of occasions before a cross from the left hand side was brilliantly converted by Carroll to equalise and earn Moyes another less than glorious point.

As most fans are now looking to next season, many are wondering whether Moyes is indeed the right man for the job. Perhaps he is or he isn’t…but he must change his ways to endear himself to the West Ham faithful and must play a more attacking style whilst still being resolute in defence. The two can be achieved but he has to be courageous and ambitious too…however any plans are unlikely to feature Hernandez as the two do not seem to play the same game of football. Of course one cannot legitimately state that if Hernandez had been on earlier that many of the penalty area chances may have fallen to him which he may have converted…however the impossible may yet be highly probably.

With Moyes I find myself watching a corny monster movie…we’re supposed to be thrilled but we’re simply not. His brand of football is missing that final ingredient that would give us a good surprise but not a nasty shock. His adventure and direction of players is as unlikely as the empire of the ants taking over the world and feasting upon goats, however the end result is almost known before the theatrics even start. With Hernandez, he had the opportunity to go for the jugular against Stoke, but he brought him on too late in the game to have a proper impact and will see the later equalising goal from Carroll as the best plan B…which is exactly what the fans do not need.


By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

3 thought on “The Empire of the Ants eating goats!”
  1. I would have probably selected a different movie, say the Godfather. David Moyes taking the role of Tom Hagen, “You’re not a wartime Consigliere, David. Things could get rough with the move we’re making trying to stay in the premiership.”

    1. Thanks Doug, Glad you’re liking the columns…I Hope. I’ve already done the Godfather reference in an earlier column but I like your thinking. Cheers

  2. Sorry i missed your previous reference to the Godfather. Enjoying the columns. Its refreshing to read posts with some degree of applied intellect.
    Keep up the good work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.