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No excuses left – there’s no fight in this squad


By Pete Ellis

What’s going on? There’s a lot of negativity and I take it with a pinch of salt usually, but when the glass half full brigade like me begin to worry, surely there are things that raise concern.

I thought, like most, that the return of Payet, Lanzini and the introduction of Zaza would see our woes disappear.

How wrong was I !!!

A good pal of mine  said that he thought there was no fight in the team vs Watford when they pulled level.
(Well Tony, I think you may have hit the nail on the head there pal!)

It’s beyond me that there seems to be no fight in this  team anymore.

It’s been poor since the start  and the injured players, Europa commitments excuses have disappeared – yet still we are struggling?

Having just three first centre backs doesn’t help  and with the form of Reid and Collins at the moment, what I’d give to have Tomkins as an option.

Burke has been farmed out again, despite his rave reviews at Bradford, and Oxford can’t get a sniff either.

There seems to be something wrong at the club. I can’t put my finger on it, but when things don’t go your way creatively, you still have the ability to put the effort and hard work in to get results, to dig in as we did last year when Payet and co were out pre-Christmas.

We didn’t win, but we didn’t lose a lot either ( just one game ) . There was a fighting spirit that was there despite the lack of creativity.

Can you really say we have that fighting spirit when we ship eight goals to Watford and West Brom in the space of a week? It’s a shambles at the back, and going forward ain’t much better either.

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Noble’s been dining out on last year’s performances for a few games now, as have most others, and the only player that can take any credit is Antonio. If it wasn’t for him we’d have less points than GB in Eurovision.

Last year is looking more and more like a fluke with every passing game, and while some will cry “plastic fan” at anyone that dares criticise the club, players or management, I would question which type of fan is more dangerous to the club.

The one that sits idly by and accepts the dross and poor decision-making like an obedient minion, and belittles anyone that dare say a bad word, or is it the ones that question lack lustre work rate, and demand answers/improvement.

After all, as I mentioned to our hammerschat friends after the game, do the club want a fanbase or an audience?
It seems the latter is becoming the preferred option in the shiny new boardroom.

Pay your money, sit down, do as you’re told and at full time, off you pop to the station. There’s a good fan.

There’s a lot going wrong off the pitch, we all know that, but events on the field can ease that pain or intensify it.

The longer this abysmal run goes on, the more this mis-managed move is going to cause pain.

String five wins together and all will probably be forgotten, we all know that’s how us fickle football fans think, so let’s not pretend we are a special breed to others because we’re not.

We are not too well at the minute. There’s one cure for the cloud that’s hanging over us, and it needs to be administered by Dr Bilic and his match day squad.

Let’s just hope they don’t go on strike like the junior doctors, because we’ve had enough of West Ham going AWOL already this year!


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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

47 comments on “No excuses left – there’s no fight in this squad

  1. There ain’t no fight and we’ve got ourselves another Nolan in Noble as a captain who gets picked whatever form he’s in. Showed some fight when he went off though 🙂

  2. Think it’s worth looking at the stats. Only 5 teams have scored more than us so far but no team has conceded as many. We are scoring goals despite not ripping teams to pieces. If you go away to West Brom and score twice you should be winning the game. If you are 2 up within half an hour to at home to Watford you should be winning the game. At the moment the simple fact is we are leaking too many goals. The stats show that West Brom scored from pretty much every shot they had and I imagine Watford were similar. That simply can not continue.
    There’s a lot going on with the club at the moment with the move, players out, lots of new additions and fan unrest. All these factors don’t help.
    Slav needs to take a look at his squad selections and focus on those out of form. Noble should be dropped along with Reid, Collins and Nordveidt.
    Noble has been poor and Nordveidt has been worse in my opinion. Every time I have seen him he is passing sideways or backwards. You can’t play that way these days. When you have Payet, Lanzini and Antonio in your side there is an argument to let them do go and play but cover them with 2 defensive mids. Obiang and Kouyate should be the first choice for this role as they both have the best energy levels.

  3. I don’t think last season was a fluke Pete ; as you said we seem to have lost the will to fight for it ( brought on I think by constant individual errors – they make it look useless to fight for it ).
    I risk getting pilloried when saying; the will to fight is better kept under the supervision of local produced players. We have always done that better than the foreigners. That is why players like Tomks, Nobes, Carrol Cressie and Antonio are essential.
    When Cress and Carroll come back back I will be happy.

    • Sleeps I agree about Cressie / Antonio and Tomkins shouldn’t have been sold but Nobes and The China doll are the issue! To slow in midfield and route 1 when the other graces us with his presence 🙂

  4. What worries the most is that there was no effort from the very first game pre season as if nothing matters, indeed as if they are still waiting for the season to begin or are physically and mentally tired from last sentence. It’s like they have all been on a Summer binge and have no fitness whatsoever as they mope around like Johnny Vegas on the Great British Bake Off.

    People say that pre season performances are irrelavent but this season proves the delusion of such thinking. While they may not reflect form when things get serious it is less likely form will suddenly change than more likely and here certainly all the faults, no matter who the personnel are, have remained exactly the same since the very first game after the break with no sign that the inherent frailties have been subsequently been addressed. That very presumption that pre season is simply about getting fit which seems to have gone to the top in this case seems to have led to a frightening lack of focus.

  5. More holes in this article than a colander! No fight? Then how do you account for the two goals when our confidence must have been at rock bottom at 4-0 down!! And the fact that we were so close to a seemingly unattainable draw with Payet’s free kick and Collins’ shot from Antonio’s excellent approach play? And how can you say Antonio is the only player who can take any credit? Did you see Lanzini’s stats? Obviously not. They were outstanding. And then there’s Payet – apart from the free kick I mentioned, he had yet another assist. We lost, primarily, because of errors by individuals – Masuaku had an awful game BUT, he has been outstanding in previous appearances; Collins, again, was too slow in closing down players – but nobody can accuse him of having ‘no fight’! He’s just SLOW! .And I am no ‘Plastic’ fan – 64 years old and went to my first game at the Boleyn in 1960!!

    • Well said Chris , similar age to you and been there as many years . C&H is a great blog platform and most people here seem sensible , intelligent and ” Lord Mayoring ” is minimal .
      We need an inspirational Captain in the middle of our back line – sorry to swear but : Adams , Terry , Bruce – a guy who drives the defence and defensive midfield from behind – who gets the players to do exactly what he wants , they should and the manager has asked – if someone’s head is down – a strong word straight in the ear , if a man is cruising – a strong word in the ear !! The guy must have the full respect of the squad – lead by example . Then our foundations are sound and set , then our attacking midfield and striker talent can finally come together knowing that behind them is nothing short of a ” rock face ” . Is that person I describe Reid ? Ogbonna ? Collins ? . . . . or is it Arbeloa !!! World Cup winner , Euro Winner , CL Winner – you don’t get more respect than that ?? Or have we got to wait until the next transfer window ?
      Leicester won the PL with Wes Morgan in the role I describe and Chelsea with Terry and City with Kompany – it is our missing jigsaw piece .⚒COYI

  6. Start games with 7 defensive minded players who’s only instruction is to get a clean sheet. Let the other 4 try and nick a goal and keep possession up the field. Our current 5 defensive and 6 attacking line-up is woefully unbalanced. Fine way to finish a game, poor way to start one.

  7. Is it because of injuries that we persist in a 4 2 3 1 formation ?., or has Bilic decided that’s the way forward . Seems like a formation where creativity is key and we ain’t got it .
    Give the old 4 4 2 a bash , it can’t do any harm judging on our performance and results .
    Anyway, it’s the manager’s job to sort it and , I’m sure he will . Not time to panic yet , but
    West Ham do have the bad habit of panicking too late .
    Yes ; selling Tompkins was a bad move and totally unnecessary .

  8. Is there a bigger picture here, I cant explain this away game but at home the distractions off the pitch tell you all, and being posted letters to core fans shows the unrest that must have an effect on the team, no excuse for how we play but if the players feel we are not part of them as the 12th man that always get used, then are we that disjointed with all and deserve to be as we are now, confidence is a master cure that is far away from us all, its up to the 3 to bring back harmony, and please KB as clever as you are, I have always found with very bright people they lack common sense. and that is so needed right now.

  9. Still mowning about Tomkins going eh? Well wasnt it him who wanted first team football & that’s why he left.He must have been one of the most overrated players we had & all because he was local his faults were dismissed,same with Noble.The mush was so good he is now not even getting a start at the mighty Palace.

  10. Sorry boys. I took this post from an older thread, so I’m putting it into the discussion:

    As a defender Bilic should know.
    He should also know that a 17 year old novice is not going to be the solution. I’m sure he wishes he had Tomks to call on ( always strong and dependable )
    All our goals were individual mistakes ( 3 for Masuaku. 1 for Ogbonna ), but the teamwork was better ( except for the 4th goal where all the team were up for a corner ). The attack was at least more cohesive and threatend.
    Most will agree that Masuaku had looked good till now, but his attacking game has masked the fact that he still has it to prove about his defending. This won’t help.
    WBA were prepared to sit back and counter-attack even at home, after seeing our defensive record so far.
    I myself am still looking foward to seeing us sort it out. The sooner Carroll comes back and especially Creswell, the better.
    Home to Accringtons Stanley would be a disaster if we lost, but I think even we will win that one, and can be the start of the season we need.

  11. Adrian is still a top keeper, I am hoping Arbeloa will solve our RB position. If he does not then I am afraid the club have made a major mistake during the summer. I now firmly believe it is time for Oxford. Reid is so far ahead of Collins. The sooner Cresswell is back the better but Masuaka has done well up to yesterday. Kouyate and Fernandez in midfield for me. I would play Payet as the 10 with Antonio and Lanzini wide. I would play Sakho up top. So basically my team does not include Tore, Zaza, Nordsvelt (imo no where near good enough), Ayew (big question marks), Calleri, Fletcher, and when Cresswell is back Masuaka will drop to the bench. IMO we have bought quantity rather than quality – all we needed was a top RB, a CB, a top midfielder and a goal scoring forward. At the moment we may have got none of them.

  12. Great deal on Stella Artois down my local Tescos..Go grab some,get steaming & lighten up people…….

  13. I see all the couch football managers are out in force this morning across the west ham blogs hehe.

  14. Anyone else think the issue isnt a lack of fight, but an issue of organisation? No other premier league club leaves their back five so exposed as us, with no midfielders tracking back in support. That’s why there is no pressure when opponents have the ball and our centre backs are having to make so many last ditch challenges. We can blame the back five for individual errors, and yes they are all making some, but we have to defend as a unit more. Koyate and noble have gone missing and with the best will in the world neither Lanzini or poyet are there to defend. So for me the balance is all wrong, the space between the back 5 and the rest is huge and the fault sits squarely with bilic. Zara isnt mobile and can’t hold the ball up to bring others into play, ( Carroll does hold it up and Sakho is quick), so I can’t see what he does offer the side. Antonio would better serve us as a striker than right wing back, and both Burke and Oxford have the pace which is lacking when we play Ginge. If we can’t win with 24 attempts and 73 per cent possession then we never will. We’ve got to get back to defending as a unit and being a bit more difficult to score against. Had we gone in just a goal or two down yesterday we would probably have come away with a point at least.

    • I think defending as a unit was the main problem this season, but it improved on Saturday, only for 4 individual errors to take over as the main cause.
      As for Zaza, I also think he has been below standard so far, but he needs time after not doing much for the last 12 months.

    • I agree Jimbo. It’s not fight, it’s really poor defending as a unit. Our defenders have made too many individual errors and our defensive midfielders are awol. Sometimes it’s not that complex of an issue. Defend better, make yourselves harder to beat and the rest will fall in place. No matter what anyone wants to say, our defending is the the massive issue. Sort that and we will start picking up points. Start cutting out the individual mistakes and makes a few tactical twitches and we will be fine. We still have Payet, Lanzini and Antonio to bang them in. Zaza may come good but needs time but personally if Sakho’s head is in the game and Carroll is around as a impact sub I don’t think we need to look too much further. Fletcher looks to be the best of the rest for me

  15. And please send Zaza our marquee signing back before we have to sign him permanently. I really do not understand what professional people, experts in their business see in certain players. I was against signing Jenks again on loan, I was against signing Byran not good enough, I was against signing Ayew and Zaza. I don’t claim to be an expert nor do I get paid for it but if I can see that these are poor signings then I believe Bilic or whoever our director of recruitment is should, that is what they are paid for. I would gladly take their place and be given the job. In addition to these signings Nordsvelt and Tore are an absolute joke again the sooner we can get rid of these the better.

    • Yeah you was against signing Antonio as well wasn’t you Johnham.Didnt you say it was a crazy signing if we got him & the board let us down by not getting Moses instead haha.
      Nothing like forgetting what you don’t want to remember haha 😀

      • No they are clueless P45,i mean what were they thinking last season signing Payet,Lanzini,Ogbonna & Antonio.All such well known names across the footballing world anyone would have known they were a given to sign at any club.
        Oh no wait a mo,it was Bilic & Henry who signed them because of their footballing knowledge.Just a pity they didn’t have John on board,it could have been even better hehe

      • Sam you keep saying this but send me the post where I said Antonio was not at this standard, I liked Moses but I never said anything negative about Antonio. In fact if you look through my messages I am all for giving youth a chance. So please do not be little my comments by making up stuff like this. My comments are genuine. I believe we have fantastic players in Adrian, Oxford, Payet, Lanzini, Sakho, Kouyate..Let me ask you if this was your money west ham were spending would you be happy, answer is no.

        • You mean this one you never said Johnham..Never fear I found it for you.Google is wonderful

          August 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm
          FFS, Antonio is unproven at premier league level, what are you at. Moses all day long followed by that Danish lad. I have seen this guy play, crazy stuff going on, I am wondering who is making tis up. Moses deal cannot be put in jeopardy. Forget tis qukly before you end up losing out on Moses. Typical Wes Ham fill us with hope of Moses and then us down.

          • Naughty P45 making stuff up…er maybe not then 😛

          • I just spotted John running over the brow of a hill with his tail between his legs.I dont know Sams P45 you really shouldnt make this stuff up about John saying it was crazy stuff..tsk tsk

  16. Haha all the experts are really on a roll today.Johnham is now more knowledgeable than Tony Henry,Bilic is a fraud & Martinez 2.0 haha Feck me Monty Python couldn’t write better sketches than some on the sites this morning 😀

    • I was thinking more Basil Fawlty with his car.Just swap his car for our team & some of our fans with a branch of a tree 😉

  17. Hang on a minute here with all this Bilic transfers bashing going on.Bilic stated he wanted to go big game fishing (his words) at the end if last season,to get targets in hard & fast,no messing.He said it was the board that didnt oblige him so maybe when it comes to signings you should look upstairs not dig Bilic out because he was left with the second,third & fourth tier options.

    • I agree with you Tone, Bilic isn’t at fault with the vast majority of our new signings as he went to Harrods whilst Sullivan was browsing at Walthamstow market. But Bilic was the one who pushed hard to get in His mate from Turkey in I fear! Has he improved the squad from last term? Ditto Nordveld or whatever his name is. and captain Corelli clearly isnt a natural finisher. I think we’ve increased the squad if the measure to compare is quantity, but we haven’t if you consider quality.

      • I agree but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t Bilic who was shouting for freebies Feghouli & Nordveidt.I dont know of course but I only see them as a cheap Sullivan options

  18. Bring back Tomkins during winter transfer window!!!

  19. Come on, it’s just the fifth of 38 games… Eat, drink and enjoy your figas… there’s plenty of time to sentence Slav to death… lol if he is one-season wonder, then what is Hipposaurus? One-minute wonder? Lol 😉

    • The hangmans noose is up Matte.Bilic is a Martinez Mk2 apparently & we all know what happened to him Lol

      • Haha…Slav is a dead man walking on death row Rick, his days are numberd… lol 😀

        • Crikey isn’t all this talk ludicrous.The only positive to be found is that of the millions of Irons fans across the globe there are possibly only about 100 who regularly use blogs to moan all the bloody time about every little blooming thing they can find.If everything was rosie you wouldn’t see their backsides for dust on sites!
          They certainly don’t use sites unless they can moan.

  20. Talking about our new signings, Masuaku seems to be not of Slavs making, as Slav said quite clearly, that he was bought in on the recommendation of the clubs scouts.
    Of the others, I still think Nordveit, Ayew, and Fegouli will be more then useful. Fletcher already is. Caleri and Zaza obviously need more time to tell what they will achieve, and the other youngsters are a mixed bunch. I suspect Fernandes will come through this season.
    Other than that we should not be assassinating the new signings, when the established players are not exactly doing the business.

  21. Regarding the signings I think we have been fortunate in the last two seasons that our new signings,especially the foreign ones have hit the grounding running.Its universally known that our league takes a while for players to adapt too,maybe this current crop are like many others who need some time,if fans give them that,to get their bearings & acclimatise to our league.Just saying lol
    Im of course not after Henrys job,Johnham1 seems to have that position covered 😉

    • I agree with you Rick, a lot of the current complaints fail to take into account all the new signings we have made and the time it will take for them to gel, with so many of them it will naturally lead to unrest throughout the squad, normally you would expect some players to up their game and some to be negatively affected it seems most of ours have taken it negatively which as a manager Bilic can’t account for. Also most of our signings are under 25 so they haven’t yet become leaders on the field, we have bought a lot of potential, I have said many times how happy I am with them and that remains the case, I believe we are suffering a blip, the spotlight is on us and anything negative is amplified, I have faith that if given time Slav will fit it and make us a much better team than last year. It is in most cases last years players that are underperforming and if I were Slav I would drop more of them give the new recruits a chance, we have Fenandes, Obiang who is as good as a new recruit, Callieri, Nordveidt, Oxford, Arbelloa etc and if Adrian has another shocker put Randolph in. Force last years players to prove they deserve their slot and that they will defend with as much passion as they attack, COYI!!!

      • I can still remember Antonio’s first few matches,the clamour for him to be dropped,we had been sold a dud,send him back to Forest lmao.Thank God no one at the club listened to these geniuses 🙂

  22. Ha Ha, I am just shocked at the standard of some of the signings this summer. I never seen Nordsvelt or Tore play but they are dreadful. I did see Zaza play and it was always a big no from me before we signed him, like I said about Jenks, Byran and a few more. My point is that if I can see this then why are the people in charge of signings not be seeing this. At the end of the day it is my beloved west ham who will suffer. I really hope Bilic was not responsible for these signings as he has instigated a big problem for himself and if he has I would be delighted if he can get us out of this dreadful start.

  23. Obiang has never been given a fair shake and we always look better with him in the team,
    Calleri has had time to settle now so needs to lead the line and play along side Lanzini
    I would play Lanzini alongside Obiang ask Antonio to drop a few yards to help out on the right,
    Play Feggolui on the left but get him and Antonio to swap regularly
    And let Payet move more central just behind Calleri,
    Back to breaking fast,no more 10 passes before we head for goal,
    Back 4 that gets the ball and goes forward with the passing not 3-5 passes across field for 3 minutes until the other side gets 11 men behind the field,
    And when you are by the corner flag either play the ball off the opposition or put it off,
    No more playing the ball back 20 yards to Adrien then standing giving him no options so you don’t get the blame for xucking up
    Thoughts from Spain

    • When I watched Fegouli for Valencia he looked a very decent player. I think we will see the best of him once up to speed.But yet again it will be a case of him probably being written off by some after one or two matches.This calling players out as useless after one or two games really does get under my skin.I appreciate everyone has an opinion but it is ludicrous.

  24. We should feel privileged to have a man of your knowledge on here Johnham1.I mean you can see in Zaza what Bilic can’t see,Massimo Allegri couldn’t see when he signed him for Juve & what Antonio Conte couldn’t see when he picked him for Italy.What a bunch of clowns they are.Clueless are they not hehe

  25. When I read the article I had to check that I wasn’t on WHTID. Now I’ve read the comments it appears I’m in a parallel universe where C&H has more pant wetters than the other place… Total hysteria if you ask me and as for Tomkins, as much as I like him, how’s he doing? Hardly pulling up trees is he? To all those of a frenzied teeth nashing persuasion is with remembering that currently we have the highest goal scorer (MA) and the most assists (DP) in our team. Slav’ll sort it!

  26. Lol AnyOldIron,nice try but I think you will find there is only one or two who have Wet Pants,it just so happens Johnham has wet his about 5 or 6 times on this article 😉

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