Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Week To Focus

Its been a while since my last entry, and i thought it was about time i did another one to update everything!

I am back at work this week after having 7 days off, and as always it was tough getting up for the early shift after a week of sleeping in! I needed the week off, didn't do a huge amount of stuff, but was able to chill out, think about everything that's gone on recently and prioritise a few things. It was almost like a detox for my head, certainly not for my liver though! Went to see West Ham on Wednesday, the less said about that experience the better, and went to 2 Concord Rangers home games, which also didn't end too well! Friday was the interesting one though, as me and Ben played in a charity darts night in Farringdon. It was a great laugh, and got more out of the night than expected. Great bunch of lads, a top laugh was had, and we won 3 of our 5 matches, one of which being a sort of West Ham - Orient grudge match! Ok so we didn't make it past the first round, but it was a great event and extremely well put together.

So i guess i should mention West Ham, and we've had contrasting fortunes in games this season so far. Away from home the team are undefeated, playing 3, winning 3 and scoring 9 goals. At home though we've been shaky, a loss and a draw so far, and a loss in the league cup. Big Sam reckons the players may be feeling intimidated playing at Upton Park, well hopefully that feeling don't last too long as it'll be our home form that gets us back in the premiership! Players have been coming and going as well, and today the transfer window will slam shut and we'll see the final squad to take us through to at least Xmas. Its inevitable really that Parker is off, did blinding for us over the past couple of years, but he needs to play top flight football. Best of luck to him in all honesty. I'll have a detailed look at all the players we brought in next time round.

I tend to fill these blogs up with sport, sport and more sport, so I'll leave that topic for now! Work is going well, progress is being made and certain aspects are changing, but all in all i am still happy where i am, and i am enjoying it, which is always a bonus!

Oh and i heard the news yesterday of a huge rock tour happening at the end of the year. Def Leppard are touring, and will be supported by Motley Crue and Steel Panther, and tickets go on sale at the end of this week, which just happens to be when i get paid! So I'll check the dates and more than likely get myself a couple of tickets! There's been a lot of great bands touring over the past few years, and I've been lucky enough to see some of them, and this set of shows will be worthy additions to my list!

The last thing before i finish, i was caught by surprise by my dad during my week off, as me and Ben got a text asking if we wanted to go to the crematorium. This was completely out of the blue, but we went, and it was only then that we realised it would have been the birthday of an aunt who passed away when i was very young. My nan, aunt and cousin were also there, and it was good to see them, but i am not great at handling that sort of thing to be honest. Still worth doing though that's for sure.

And on that note, thank you for reading!

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Season, New Start, Same Old West Ham?

After seeing the result of West Ham’s first game of the season this year, first impressions would be that the title of this blog is spot on. Well I beg to differ, if only in a small way.

Yes the first result of the season wasn’t the way we wanted to start things, especially if Big Sam is right in that we can only lose around 8 games if we want to earn promotion at the first attempt. But there are many ways to look at Sundays’ game and see what we can learn from it. Starting with the negatives I guess, and it has to be the glaringly obvious lack of firepower the team has up front. Our two fit strikers (Carlton Cole and Fredric Piquionne) were ineffective against Cardiff, having a few chances but not really coming close on any of them. To win games you quite simply have to score more goals than your opponents, and as was the problem last year, we cannot score the goals. Strikers are a priority and supposedly have been all summer, however only now has someone been signed, John Carew, the big guy who formally played for Stoke and Aston Villa. The thing is, he is a big guy and will need someone with speed to assist him, and hopefully a second striker will be signed soon.

Secondly, our defensive focus late in the game was just as woeful as it had been last season. Silly mistakes at the back allowed the decidedly average Kenny Miller to be in the right place at the right time to get on the end of a pass to score the late winner. Until the final whistle blows, the players need to be on the ball and aware of what is going on around them! A bit of focus could have prevented that goal and earned the team a draw, which is better than nothing!

Positive notes are a plenty though, and should be enjoyed and treasured at the moment given the disappointment and emotional failure of last season. The main positive I saw from the game was that the team actually played as a team! Players seemed to have more determination on the pitch, were running constantly and putting in the tough tackles needed to get the job done. Passes were made, and decent football was actually played! Obviously the end product wasn’t there, but I addressed that earlier!

Another massive positive was the impact that the new signings had on the game. The main one was Matty Taylor, he didn’t stop running, hit a couple of cracking free kicks, and provided some width to the team that we haven’t seen since Matty Etherington left a few years back. He deservedly picked up the sponsors man of the match award, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he picks up many more before the end of the season. Another new signing who impressed was Joey O’Brien, a former Bolton player who hasn’t really been a regular for anyone over the past couple of seasons. He shone at the back, again seemingly running forever and providing a welcome bit of support on some attacking moves. Big Sam brought him in on trial, and over pre-season O’Brien had impressed and earned himself a contract. Obviously it was a good move by the gaffer!

Another game was due to happen on Tuesday however due to the civil unrest within the UK it was postponed, so we’ll see how the team play and hopefully improve this weekend as the Hammers travel to Doncaster for the first of 2 away games in a row. COYI!!!!!

A Tough Week All Round

Proper blog time once again, some of you may be relieved as I wont talk about football in this post, mainly because I’ve got a whole separate entry coming after this focusing on West Ham! But I have a few other bits to talk about, and it won’t be about sport!

Obviously first of all I will quickly mention a recent event in my life. Some of you already know, but I recently split up with Gemma, my long term girlfriend of 4 years. We remain good friends, as we still get on great, and we still talk to each other regularly. That’s all I will say though, as to be honest there are some things that should remain private, the reasons etc are down to us and nobody else. I thank you all for your understanding!

Moving onwards and I can’t really ignore the big topic that has been a big part of the news this past week, the civil unrest across the whole of England. Now I don’t claim to know all the details, I only can go by what I read and see, and form my own opinions, just as you can, so I may have things the wrong way or may say something you disagree with, but it’s just the way I see it.  

Now it all kicked off Saturday night, after a peaceful protest descended into violence, rioting and destruction of property. This protest was regarding the shooting of a man by the name of Mark Duggan in a police incident the previous Thursday/Friday. Now I understand a protest taking place, we as people have a right to voice our opinions, right or wrong. However I don’t condone the violence and destruction that immediately followed it. Burning police cars, buildings and a London bus were shocking acts which should be punished heavily by the police. Honestly though I thought that would be the end of it, the protest led to some violence, but the point was made and something would be done, of course the following day it was proven that I was wrong in that thought!

The riots kicked off in Hackney and Croydon, and followed to Clapham, then further afield in Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol over the next few days. Personally I saw no reason for these, other than pure greed, criminality and thuggery, and when you saw/heard the people doing this, it was clear they had no real reason, no real cause behind the actions they were taking. And on first glance the police seemingly stood back, and allowed it to happen, although it was clear that they were stretched, and low in numbers. However along with many others, I saw the police reaction as tame, especially when compared to their reaction when football hooligans are fighting. It took longer than I feel it should, but finally all police leave was cancelled and they flooded the streets to stop it occurring. Last night was reportedly quiet across the UK, which is about time!

The inquest has begun into what provoked the extra looting and violence since Saturday, and people are coming up with reasons upon reasons. The main one I hear is that the youth are bored, have no opportunities and have nowhere to go. And to this I say quite simply bollocks. Everyone was bored when they were younger, but they didn’t go out looting and causing mass destruction and havoc across towns and cities! People went to play football in a field, went to a cinema to watch a film, and generally found things to occupy their time that wasn’t illegal! The way I see it, a lot of this was down to a lack of discipline and respect for authority. Previous governments, and even this one, have ensured that the nation has become soft, with the luxuries that some reportedly get in prison, with the tiny jail sentences for murder (someone being released after 14 years of a life sentence?) and the culture of claiming abuse of human rights for absolutely everything.  The people carrying out these acts are criminals, and should be treated as such. Theft is an illegal act, destruction of property is an illegal act, assault, arson and public disorder are illegal acts, and thankfully people are being punished for carrying these acts out, its about bloody time!

Right I’ll get back down from my pedestal, enough of my typing for this entry. Thank you for reading, if you’ve managed to get this far that is!

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