Reflections; Wellington Phoenix vs West Ham

I had an argument on Twitter yesterday following what I perceived to be our generally poor showing in this fixture. I remarked that I felt we lacked fitness, sharpness, desire and determination, had little creativity, a confused shape and were in defensive disarray against a supposedly inferior opposition. It was my usual positive stuff, you see. ‘Nonsense’, replied my follower, ‘this game achieved its objective – fitness, match time, playing with strategy and formation, giving everyone a runout’ etc etc.

I’m not convinced.

It is at least heartening to hear Allardyce admit that he was surprised and concerned by aspects of this performance. He is right to be:

“What is important to me is our level of performance, what we are as a team, and our technique levels. That did worry me, because our technique levels were way down on our standard so I was disappointed about that.”

I’m not sure we learnt too much yesterday. Defensively, going into a season with Joey O’Brien and James Collins in the first team squad has to be a worry. Collins will cost us goals, make no mistake about, it. The second yesterday resulted directly from his missed block tackle and the collective failure of the remaining defenders to close down the attacker. We certainly didn’t learn that Carlton Cole is absolutely not a premier league striker, we knew that anyway. Quite how this player is still being paid by my football club and remains in and around the squad is totally beyond me.

Carroll breaks down. Again.

Strange that, following the content of our last thread, the official site is tonight reporting that Andy Carroll is being withdrawn from the pre-season matches in New Zealand “as a precautionary measure”.

If you choose to take the club’s word for it, then we have to conclude that our own latter day version of Darren Anderton’s former tag (SickNote) has yet another injury that, reportedly, is not linked to the injury he is supposed to have successfully overcome last year. It doesn’t bode well, particularly given the usual reports about Carroll’s lack of pre-season conditioning in comparison with his team mates and the usual standards expected of a professional footballer.

If, like me, you tend to read the official version of events and then try to work out what is really going on, you start to ask yourself some questions. Here are a few that occur to me but no doubt you may have one or two of your own.

  1. Is he injured at all?
  2. If he is not, is it just a lack of fitness or are we keeping him back for another reason, such as to sell him? (Anyone who genuinely believes Gold’s proclamation that even £100m wouldn’t prise Andy from Upton Park needs to change their medication.)
  3. If the injury is as the club say it is and is not related, how confident are they that he will be “fit for the start of the season”? (Interesting choice of language. Not ‘fit for the season’s opener against Tottenham Hotspur)

Carroll’s Exit would be a merciful relief for West Ham

One story caught my eye this weekend and it has to do with the alleged interest from Newcastle United to bring ‘home’ their Andy. I’ve seen various sums mentioned, ranging from £10m to the £15m we paid for him.

Now, I have no idea how far this is just idle paper talk during the silly season or whether there is indeed any truth in it but what I will say is that were it to be true, if I were Gold or Sullivan I’d be biting their arms off for any offer within that range.

Carroll is damaged goods. He has been a flop at West Ham for various reasons. In truth, his inflated transfer fees are all a legacy from the Torres to Chelsea deal and the money paid for him by both Liverpool then West Ham has not even come close to being value for money, in my book. This is a player who will remain unfulfilled potential.

He is a one trick pony, when he is actually fit and available for selection, who doesn’t score goals. He dictates the style of play that is so loathsome to the majority of West Ham United fans and he costs us around £85k a week in wages.

Please, please let it come to pass. Send the fella home and let’s concentrate on building upon the so far encouraging transfer business that has been concluded this summer to date.