It’s funny how the optimist inside of us often surfaces despite all of the available evidence. There was no reason for me to expect a victory against Burnley given our respective recent form and league standings. Sean Dyche is a manager in the ascendancy and ours is one who has failed in his last three jobs and has the lowest basic wage of any manager in the Premier League.
Despite all of the above, I started the day in a reasonably positive mood – David Moyes had spoken during the week about the need to ditch the ‘respect the point’ philosophy and go for the win. There had been rumours circulating that we’d switch to a flat back four and allow Mario, Lanzini, Arnie and Antonio to be deployed to supply our fox in the box Javier Hernandez.
Alas, the reality of the day’s ending was very different to that I’d hoped for and I’m sorry to say that the bloke at the start of the video (me) is of a very different demeanor to the chap at the end of the video (also me). This was the most heartbreaking day following West Ham that I’ve ever witnessed, easily trumping any relegation.
I’d traveled to Cardiff in 2006 and whilst we lost the Cup Final, having grasped defeat from the jaws of victory, there was a pride in performance and certainly a unity amongst fans. Lionel Scaloni’s ears were probably burning as we discussed the game in some obscure boozer following the game, but I remember there was an air of optimism about the following season.
No such thing can be said about yesterday with everything wrong about the club surfacing at the same time. Make no mistake about it, the football and tactics were poor and David Moyes was outsmarted by a better coach. The subsequent crowd shenanigans will deflect away from that for obvious reasons, but once Dyche had got the measure of Moyes it was game over.
Some fans began invading the the pitch, Mark Noble decided to police the incident himself and can consider himself lucky that Joe Hart intervened. He managed to handle our captain with assured composure and I’m sure Gareth Southgate will be relieved to at least see him catch something during the game.
The fan managed to pick himself up and make a dash for the safety of the crowd, however a couple of the stewards managed to momentarily rouse themselves from their slumber to detain him. Shortly afterwards, another hipster looking chap who may or may not have been called Crispin, made a dash onto the pitch to do something or other. He looked a little bit like Mo Salah, so I was buoyed for a split second – until I concluded that we’d not signed the Egyptian on a temporary loan and it probably was Crispin.
At 2-0 down our manager decided to introduce our best striker to play the old double bluff routine that was so successful at Sunderland, but unfortunately Burnley hadn’t read the script. The Hammer’s defence continued to make Chris Wood look like Chris Ronaldo and the striker who was playing for Leeds last season ran amok. It just goes to show that there are gems to be had in the Championship and this particular one looks even better than Jordan Hugill if such a thing were possible.
As all of this unfolded and Moyes was working out how best to unleash Patrice Evra, a group of fans began to congregate under the directors box. The stewards did little or nothing to stop them and they hurled nasty words, songs and a few coins at the joint chairman. As I understand it a £2 coin struck Sullivan, which whilst violent and uncalled for has handily doubled the transfer budget for the summer.
As the mob swelled Gold, Sully and Brady were advised to vacate their seats in the box and head for the sanctuary of the boardroom, yet there remained a solitary figure overlooking the chaos. West Ham legend Sir Trevor Brooking sat in his seat dumbstruck and surely trying to work out exactly what had happened to his beloved West Ham.
I’ll leave the rest of my for my video below, but if I jest it’s only gallows humour to mask the genuine sadness I have at what has happened to little old West Ham United.