Mickey Blue Eyes...
Everton V West Ham United
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Mickey Blue Eyes


Sam Allardyce has been around as manager: two years at Preston, two years at Blackpool, two years at Notts County, eight years at Bolton, one year at Newcastle, two years at Blackburn, almost three years (so far) at West Ham, and won almost 40% of his games. Yet he is not loved. Instead, he is often accused of coaching his teams to play ersatz football, accusations that always seem to appear when his teams have ground out a good result against one of his "betters." Yes, Sam is one of those football personalities who split opinion.


Count me as one of those between extremes. No, I do not like the way his teams play; no, I would not want him in charge of Everton; but yes, I do admire his ability to do much with little. With Sam, you get what you see. Large, craggy, uncompromising......just the kind of manager hapless West Ham United needed to get them out of relegation trouble. It takes all kinds.


It also means he has few friends when events turn against him, as they did earlier this season. It means he is merely tolerated when events flow his way as they did with a four match winning streak prior to our game on Saturday. I suspect he would be the first to tell you of the weird pathological hatreds that bedevil all sports. Who can forget the images of two Newcastle fans shouting their venom at him during a match? Not surprising, I suppose, coming from the same source that saw one lunatic punch a police horse. That is what irrational hatred does to the human psyche.


So I was not looking forward to Saturday's match that much. I anticipated a gruelling encounter, hoping Roberto's butterfly would not be broken on Sam's wheel. The former transpired, the latter not. We won in the end, but only just.


Sadly, again there is not much to say for the match. As usual we had most of the possession and often looked on the verge of a breakthrough. Equally as usual we failed until after the substitutions. Up to then it looked a nailed on scoreless draw in spite of increasing pressure on the enemy goal, hopeful long range shots punted anaemically wide, no central penetration whatever. Like all Sam's teams West Ham are big, muscular and mostly irritating more than threatening: except for the disgusting thug Nolan, who really should be doing time in the slammer for the damage he has done to the sport and opponents. The sooner he is gone the better for decency in the sport.


The substitutions made all the difference. McGeady managed to produce some runs down the right that replaced Deulofeu could not summon - frequently lost the ball in fact - while Lukaku meant they had to pay attention to his very large presence. It told in the end when Pienaar and Bainsey carved their umpteenth move down our left and Bainsey hit a speculative ground cross the incoming Lukaku sidefooted home from right of the penalty spot. It was well deserved but tenuous to the end.


Actually, I got more entertainment from watching and listening to the fans in my immediate vicinity. For a change I was in the Family Enclosure. It was fascinating listening to parents trying to explain the game to their offspring without breaking into expletives at the referee or Nolan; they failed on a few occasions so it had its comic moments, including a cascade of boos for the ex-pinky Carroll when he warmed up in front of us. It helped to relieve the cold as the sun sank beneath the yardarm.


So we won 1-0 and sent West Ham back to all those aptly bent office buildings in London. What else did you expect against a Sam team?





Comments about Everton V West Ham United
Not a fan of big Sam but fair play to him, he does what he says on his tin. If we think back to some of our teams in the last 20 years... those in glass houses? Well done to Gold & Sullivan at Xmas when everyone else around was knee-jerking and sacking they backed him and he will be back at Goodison next season. We did what Chelsea couldn't.... stop bitching, we've had a nightmare injury run for 3 months with players coming and going and some key players out all season. We do need a top goalscorer for next season as Rom will go and do whatever it is he is doing....and no grumbles with the kid, the world really is his oyster. Nolan? Knew his dad and uncle, top blokes (better footballers too) and top family even if they are reds. Local boy done good so good luck to him, even if he acts like an arse now and again.
Bitter, Liverpool, 9:53 AM 4/03/2014
As the guy said on Radio 1 - feel sorry for Sam's granny - imagine knitting a balaclava for that HEAD ?
Craig Findlater, Romsey Hampshire, 7:02 PM 3/03/2014
Bob,UK, if Nolan were an Evertonian he would'nt be the gobshite he is. Or is it because he's a scummy red fan that makes him that way? One word "thug" sums him right up.
daz.m, st.helens, 6:49 PM 3/03/2014
Who's the miserable fella in your photo, the one in the pink hood? Yuk Yuk!
Eddieparkend, Real World, 6:03 PM 3/03/2014
Bit harsh that Mick. It wasn't that bad and given our squad I think El Bob's tactics were spot on. Barry and Deulofeu both had near misses in the first half but you didn't mention them, if they had gone in West Ham would have had to come out and that would have left them more open. We just have to be more patient and that's why the crowd are so quiet these days.
Spectator, Crosby, 12:21 PM 3/03/2014
Just politely pointing out that Bainesy had a little look up before he put that cross on a plate for Luka #COYB
ian , prescot, 11:51 AM 3/03/2014
PS Great win for the lads. Aiden put in a great cameo and Romelu showed excellent fowardry presence, culminating with a super finish! Play up the Toffees!
Bob, UK, 9:58 AM 3/03/2014
Steady on with the Nolan stuff! He ain't that bad! A local boy who came good - yeah there's been some bad tackles in his career, but he's a scorer of plenty of goals, and a great on-the-pitch leader as well - if he were an Evertonian we'd love him!
Bob, UK, 9:55 AM 3/03/2014
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