New Season, New Home

Ok I admit I’ve been lazy. I’ve let you down. But to try and make up for it we’ve got a new home and a fresh start.

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Fans Know Best is moving to FansKnowBest.com. Here we’ll be building on what we’ve done, and with Allardyce still in charge I’m sure there’ll be loads to rant about… Can’t wait. See you there.

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Survival all but guaranteed. Now let’s play with freedom.

Sam_AllardyceAllardyce has made it clear that he is now confident, that the job of securing safety is complete. So now there are no excuses. He made it clear that in the situation we were in, the result was the most important thing… Well now that safety is pretty much a sure thing, I and I’m sure most West Ham fans, want to see our team play with the freedom our position now gives us.

There is no longer that desperation for points, so performances will now be scrutinised even further by the Upton Park faithful. Big Sam has always had a strained relationship with the West Ham fans, and yes he has ‘got the job done’ but there is more to it. To fill the Olympic stadium, not only do results matter but the football must be entertaining.

The style of play has been work hard and scrap our way to results. I want to see our side try to actually play their way to a result not defend their way to it. If we lose… So what? We know that we shouldn’t be caught by those below us, and should prove that we can play football, last season we did (at times). Even though we are now in this pretty comfortable position, I have only really seen us actually outplay our opposition two or three times. Which for a team like ours is simply not good enough.

Still, don’t mean to sound negative, will be nice to go to Upton Park tomorrow to enjoy a game of football as opposed to getting stressed before the game has even started!

Andy Carroll should be on the plane to Brazil

Andy Carroll

As the season draws to a close attention is beginning to turn to the World Cup this summer, and Hodgson’s squad. One member of that squad, for me at least, has to be Big Andy Carroll, definitely. I’m not suggesting that Carroll should start every game, but there is no better option as a ‘Plan B’.

Our record signing has proven that on his day, he’s unstoppable. No one can dominate a centre back partnership quite like Andy. Not only does he win headers and hold the ball his service from the knock downs is exceptional. It is no surprise that Nolan scores so many alongside Carroll, because quite frankly I think most would. While Carroll is about power, he is not only a powerful player his finesse as a target man is up there with the very best.

Sam reaction sign of the strains

Booing a team that wins is certainly rare and questionable (in our situation), but Allardyce’s reaction for me is a no go.

The ‘ear cup’ quite frankly sums up the strained relationship between the brash manager and the Upton Park faithful. Yes, he’s effective, and (as he likes to remind us on a daily basis) ‘gets the job done’ but there is more to it.

The money in the game has transformed football from the simple ‘beautiful game’ it once was, into a results business and Allardyce is the loan shark of this business.

He does what he has to, it’s not always pretty (in fact it rarely is) but he bullies his way to results.

However, at the heart of this money crazed game is the fans. These fans determine the success of leagues, clubs and managers (afraid so Sam) and they cannot be ignored. Rightly or wrongly they have a big say in the running of a club. Fans come for the love of their club, more than those that run it or play for it and this game (which is part of the entertainment industry) is a lifestyle for fans, if it doesn’t fit they will speak.

There’s no denying it yesterday’s game was dreadful. We were out passed, out played, but got the result. While not safe, results is what the majority care about… but trust me, if we’re safe and continue to play in the same negative manner that minority of booing may become the majority.

I’m not trying to attack Allardyce, as at times we have played alright and I do think with a few additions we could improve… But we are currently built like a business trying to keep afloat, not one looking to the future.

One thing to note Sam, it is unwise to question West Ham fans loyalty to the club, that’s a no no in my book.

The weekends blip changes nothing.

Firstly just wanted to say, apologies for the lack of content, but fear not, we’re back. (I just didn’t want to jinx it while we were winning buy starting up again ;).)

The loss to stoke was very frustrating, a game that quite frankly could’ve gone either way, but for me at least this changes nothing. We are a few wins away, and these wins shouldn’t be too much trouble to pick up in our remaining games.

Annoyingly Moyes’ laughable team may well have disappeared after the Champions League turnaround, just a few days before their fans take the (short) trip to Upton Park. The Man Utd team that are coming, are not the same who visited last season, they’re fragile, they have weaknesses, especially at the back. With Vidic out as well, Carroll could well have a field day against their defence.

The fear for me is we give them too much respect, if we give the likes of Rooney and Mata time they will kill us. If we pressure and stay positive I really think they’re still there for the taking. But thanks to our form throughout February and start of March, this game is a bonus. We still have very winnable games, so chillax.

It’s no surprise that our form has improved as Nolan’s has.

Now I am happy to admit that  I questioned the performances from Kevin Nolan in the last few months, like the majority of West Ham fans, hut he has something about him that I find infectious, an honest attitude. Nolan himself admitted that after his second red card he knew he’d let the club down. Well he has certainly made up for it in recent weeks and proved what he can offer.

Goals are the obvious thing. Five goals in as many games has fired us into the top half and he showed no signs of taking his foot off the gas when Saints visited Upton Park on Saturday. Allardyce stated “There are very, very few players better than him at scoring goals from midfield,” and he is absolutely spot on, not many read the game as quickly and as well in the oppositions penalty box.  What he has also added recently is a greater work rate, that we hadn’t seen very often this season, tracking back getting involved in both boxes and fighting for the cause alongside his team-mates, which has undoubtedly 

The most pleasing thing about Captain Kev on Saturday, was seeing something I didn’t know he had in his locker. The vision and quality to pull apart a defence… the pass to assist Jarvis’ goal was, simply put, world class. If Ozil, Oscar or Mata played that ball a lot more would’ve been made of it that’s for sure (and no I’m not comparing him to them, just making a point).

It’s great to see our captain firing again. Long may it continue.  I will continue to look forward to the glorious chicken dance. Kev, you’ve won me back, just please god don’t lose your head again, please? Cheers.

Aston Villa vs West Ham Match Preview

The build up to this game has no doubt been hindered by ‘Carrollgate’,  which will hopefully be resolved today before a vital match in our bid for survival. The away tie against Lambert‘s Aston Villa is the start of a run of ‘winnable’ games. There is no doubting it will be tough against a decent Villa side but we need to pick up points throughout this month even if it’s just one.

I doubt we will be beaten by the counter attacking style that Aston Villa usually play which will struggle against our solid midfield and defensive lines. Whether we can snatch more than a point will come down to the striker situation.

Assuming that today’s  arbitration is unsuccessful (as I think it will be), it comes down to Cole and Borriello to lead the line. Whoever steps in, the key will be their hold-up play, we will not play expansive away from home, and so keeping hold of the ball for support to arrive will be the key to our attacking performance. We can take a lot of confidence out of recent away games and can look to our impressive performance against Cardiff for inspiration.

Prediction: I’m reasonably confident we will get something out of the game. Whether it’s a point or three for me depends on how our striker performs (whoever he may be)… I’m going 1-1 but hoping we’ll nick all three. COYI