Andy Carroll and moments that save us…

Date published: Wednesday 18th January 2017 12:38

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Andy Carroll saved my sanity…
Re: Strawbz email, as a fellow not very happy Hammer, I can understand the frustration given the pretty awful season we’ve had in comparison to the hugely enjoyable 15/16 campaign.

But, I strangely feel positive, almost serene, because if ever a moment summed up why we all still love football, that ridiculous Andy Carroll bicycle kick was it for me.

Regardless of the constant stream of cold-hearted capitalism, and tedious Sky-esque 24hr gossip/reporting that accompanies the modern game, those types of moments are what makes football so special, and what makes following (and watching) your team so special.

I was lucky enough to witness it from up behind the goal (no binoculars required) and if ever a moment encapsulated the slightly sadomasochistic joy of watching your team, that was it.

It’s been a crap season for West Ham, we’ve suffered:

a parade of bad signings coming and going.

probably the worse stadium move of all to contend with (funded in the most dubious of fashions, as John Q Taxpayer will concur).
our most exciting and creative player (certainly over the last 10 years +) deciding he doesn’t want to play for us anymore.

a steady series of kickings in the league, alongside humiliating cup exits (from the heavyweights of Manchester to the more humble Astra Giurgiu).

I’ve sat through the above, I’ve watched as Arsenal decimated us, as Southampton humiliated us, as fans and stewards argued and grown men made fools of themselves and it all felt pretty joyless and bleak, but then, you get that moment, and everything is fine and makes perfect sense.

I can put up with all the above just for those moments of sheer wonder. A 6ft 4in man hurling himself into the air to score a goal of such sheer magnificence that even the very greats would be proud to claim it as their own. And I was there to witness it. To see him shape himself for it, to see and hear that cleanest of connections, and to watch the net swell as the crowd erupted in a shared moment of pure joy and wonder. To quote Alex Delarge, ‘Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh’.

Relegation, heartache, players leaving or not signing, meh, I can deal with all of that and more when football offers moments like that.
James, WHUFC (Lanzini’s wasn’t too shabby either)


Another Hammer emerges…
Nice to see a fellow Hammer in the mailbox in Strawbz. I definitely understand his disappointment with what has happened this season, but I do think it was to be expected.

I had a bet with my Everton-supporting friend that West Ham would finish above them last season. It was mainly because I felt Everton were on the wane under Martinez and in pre season they looked like they may lose a few players (Stones, Mirallas et al) and I felt that we made some useful additions pre season (The one who I will not name). After hearing about this bet a couple of non Everton supporting fans laughed at me and wanted in on the action, I was that confident I agreed. The rest is history and I made a few quid. This season the same fan wanted to repeat the bet, I refused outright, mainly because I knew we would have teething problems this season and there is no way we could outstrip last season’s achievements without some serious investment.

Strawbz mentions the marquee signings who we were looking to bring in at the start of the season. This I felt was decent ambition by the club, but we went about it totally the wrong way. argets were leaked and our slightly richer, more successful brothers laughed at us as we tried a scatter gun approach to try and get someone to come home with us at the end of the night.

Although we are now targeting Scott Hogan I don’t think it shows a lack of ambition. I think if anything we are realising that although we maybe an attractive prospect in a few years time, we are not there yet and we need to slow down a bit in terms of who we are targeting. I think it is more of a case that we were trying to run before we could walk by bringing in players who would want to be in the champions league instead of scratching around trying to qualify for the Europa League.

When Man City came into money at the time they didn’t initially go ‘here is 50m lets go get Messi’ they brought in some good quality players and a couple of famous names who were edging towards the end of their careers. That base (and the cash I imagine) led to the Aguero’s and Silvas of this world wanting to join the project a little later.

We can all target Jennifer Lawrence at the end of the day but it doesn’t mean she will want to be your missus. We might need to try the cute girl next door for a few years first who might turn out to be even better.

Don’t worry Strawbz we will get there mate, just might take a couple of years before we see some real progress.
Ross (If we get Hogan I am dressing up as the Hulkster for home games) Jenkins


Man City need a spine with spine…
Good mail from Lewis, Busby Way in the afternoon mailbox. Refreshing to read a missive that lays out the facts for a change rather than the ‘can’t wait to see Pep fail’ nonsense from the past few days.

Lewis you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the need for a new spine which is frankly ridiculous after a net spend of £160 million last summer but I feel the need to evolve you point further. We do need a new spine but what we need is a spine of leaders, something which has been missing this season. To resort to one of the old tired clichés we need people to stand up and be counted and this team, whilst having undoubtedly talented players, is packed full of those that don’t have any b*llocks!!

The old core of the team is either gone (Hart/Nasri), broken (Kompany – sob), a complete arse (Yaya), aging (Fernandinho/Zabaleta – double sob) or utter dross (Kolarov/Clichy). You can take it a step further and look at players that we have had over recent seasons that have made unbelievable contributions to our cause like De Jong, Milner, Barry, Dzeko, Tevez etc. None of them shirkers, all of them playing a part. I look now and see players like De Bruyne (an unbelievable talent don’t get me wrong) but when we go one/two goals down so does his head. We have others like Otamendi, Fernando, Delph, Bravo who are just not good enough for where we are, never mind for where we want to be.

The last two summers of transfers have clearly been based on buying potential. Looking at the signings of De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Jesus, Stones, Roberts, Zinchenko is exciting on paper, but it is only exciting when they are complimented by the right kind of player. I’m not saying that we need a team of hard nuts or those that are full of pashun but we drastically need players to (cliché alert) rally the troops, players that inspire. We don’t have enough of them and we’re suffering as a result.

Pep is partly to blame for this, I think he probably looked at our squad and thought he could extract one more decent season out of some of the aforementioned dross. He’s got an amazing CV, but a magician he is not. Which takes me to the main culprit in my opinion for the state of our squad, Txiki Begiristain. Since our last title-winning season how many unqualified transfer successes have City had? Sagna on a free but only because he was free, Sterling maybe, De Bruyne yes but he needs to contribute more, I can’t actually recall when he last scored or assisted for us. Other than that we’ve had an enormous list of rubbish signing after rubbish signing…Bony, Mangala, Fernando, Delph, Otamendi, Bravo. Txiki is our DoF and is underperforming, big time. The point I’m trying to (badly) make is we need a new spine, but do I trust those in charge to deliver the calibre of player required? Not a chance. Pep is getting the benefit of the doubt from City fans for the time being, the expectations were unrealistically skewed (not by us, mind) and it does take time to bed in new ideas. Our red city rivals and the red half of Liverpool have begged in recent seasons for patience due to ‘transitional’ seasons, maybe give Pep the same courtesy.

The glass half-full outlook is we’re still in the FA Cup, in the knockout stages of CL and three points off second in the Prem which is what I keep trying to remind myself of. If this is a crisis then everyone is bang in trouble when Pep gets it right!
Mark, M32 Blue


Magic of the Cup!
So the FA Cup is dead then eh? B*****ks

One contract change the FA should introduce though when the rights next come up is that the BT/BBC (or whoever has the rights) HAS to show at least one match where a non-league team is involved if such teams reach the third and fourth round. I’m sure we all agree the choice of live matches for the third round was abysmal and not what the Cup is all about.
Nick Haj, Gooner, Norf Telford


A Sutton United v Leeds prediction
When asked ‘Do you think Sutton will beat Norwich City?’ by the late, great Helen Rollason on a Newsround feature aired in the week before the 4th Round tie, I confidently replied, ‘Definitely!’. We lost 8-0 at Carrow Road which I was there to witness. So ended my one and only foray into TV punditry with ignominy.

Being denied the TV audience of millions I had then I hope the kind MC will let me provide my thoughts on Sutton’s chances in the next round to the global readership of Football365. In interview format then,

– “Rob, do you think Sutton will beat Leeds United in the 4th Round of the FA Cup?”

– “Definitely!”

I thank you.
Rob Y, Stockholm

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Disappointed with F365…
I don’t normally write in to your mailbox, but I really felt compelled to today for various reasons…

As every morning I checked the BBC sportsday feed and was not surprised to find that the back pages of most newspapers (I live in the Netherlands so luckily don’t have to endure the British press too much) were almost completely ignoring the FA Cup games from last night, in which two non-league clubs qualified for the fourth round. Now I thought to myself that no wonder “the magic” of the FA Cup is gone if the biggest selling papers (ie tabloids) can’t even be bothered to report on it and instead focus on rehashed stories about Costa, Hart and Toure…

I then turned to F365 to see if I could find some analysis and maybe a few match reports from last night’s games and unfortunately it was pretty much the same… Your first nine articles are as follows:

– Weekly awards, obviously Premier League focused. Aside from the fact that it’s Wednesday and the weekend’s games have come and gone, I find these to be quite disappointing compared to say 16 conclusions, weekend watcher etc.
– Portait of an Icon, fair enough, absolutely great feature.
– LVG not retiring…don’t get me started on this. He never said he was retiring and yet every media outlet decided to confirm that he was.
– Cheeky Punt, this needs to be stopped sharpish. A feature from a mentally ill, alcoholic, gambling addict is quite unnecessary.
– Chelsea want to sign Sanchez and Lukaku, this should be in Mediawatch.
– LVG again.
– Allardyce and Palace
– Moyes and Sunderland
– Mailbox from yesterday afternoon.

So not until the 10th article is there any mention whatsoever of the non-league clubs making the fourth round of the FA Cup.

For a football website that seems to take pride from being rather more “alternative” and enjoys taking the piss out of the mainstream football media, I find that really disappointing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and also the thoughts of your readers, as I refuse to believe that people would rather read about the all of the above instead of some proper articles and focus on the week’s FA Cup replays.

You do have some great features and articles, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them and I can’t help but think that sometime soon I won’t bother anymore.
Andrew, Amsterdam (Whilst I typed the above, you’ve added two new articles…the Premier League leading goal partnerships…are you kidding me? And Man Utd appointing a counter-terrorism chief… So the FA Cup is now 12th on your list).


(There is logic behind not extensively writing about the FA Cup; the audience is tiny. There is so much football media out there that if you want to read about Lincoln City or Sutton, read the local newspapers online. We are not a one-stop shop for football. We are not funded by a licence fee. Not sure what ‘proper articles’ you want as we produce a ridiculous amount of original content for a very small team. Sorry you are disappointed with our free service – Ed)


A massive loan mistake
I have been reading the mailbox since I was a school kid and now at 25 I am mailing in for the first time (it’s the kind of thing that get your mail published isn’t it?) But reading today about the mistake Wenger made or in some opinions shouldn’t be blamed for in inserting a call back clause for Wilshere made me think of a different mistake made in a loan deal.

I refer to the loan deal between Juventus and Bayern Munich for Kingsley Coman. A two year loan deal which did not include a clause meaning the player couldn’t post against his parent club ie Juventus and as a result he played and scored against his parent club in the latter stages of the champions league. Surely this is a much bigger blunder than Mr Wenger’s.

On thinking back I’m surprised this didn’t get more coverage at the time.
Daniel MUFC Belfast


On the mighty Warriors
Having visited the mailbox for the past couple of days and not seen anything on the African Cup of Nations but stuff on Russia and Putin and Pep (oh pep)!, maybe because some fans are pissed off that their players had to leave their clubs for AFCON duty, l decided to try again and see if l would make it into the mailbox.

The most standout game for me so far has the game against Algeria and Zimbabwe (the Warriors). l hail from Zimbabwe by the way and me picking this match is not cause l love my motherland that much. The match kicked off at the same time as the Man Utd-Liverpool game but l chose to be patriotic and watch my country instead despite my fears and apprehension. Like most ordinary Zimbabweans, l had little belief that we would actually win let alone draw the game against a side with the likes of Mahrez and Slimami. In dark times we aptly called our national team the ‘Worry-us’.

On Sunday they were not the worry-us but the warriors nd made the world notice we were not there to just make up the numbers. We are there to write our own Icelandic Story. With our talented players like Khama Billiat and our hard-hitting captain Willard Katsande, we took on the Algerians toe to toe and despite an early Mahrez goal we managed to fight back and take the lead up until the 82nd minute when we conceded a late goal (From Mahrez – thank God he is not the scourge he was to teams last season). For those teams looking for a gifted, speedy, dribbling, scoring winger take a look at our Khama Billiat.

Next up for us are Sadio Mane and his Senegalese counterparts. Hope the football gods will smile on us and we manage to pick up three points. Since it will be Thursday with little or no football. Match to watch Senegal v Zimbabwe 9pm CAT.
Takunda (hoping you all support Zimbabwe tomorrow)


Question of the day
Who the flying f*ckballs buys their partner a ‘Congratulations’ card for giving birth to their own child?

Wait, scratch that. Who the flying f*ckballs stops off *on the way to the hospital* to buy their partner a ‘Congratulations’ card for giving birth to their own child?


If you are going to boycott, don’t just boycott Russia
A bit late to the party, but Toby’s recent two articles just reek of pomposity. I am not sure which I disagree with more as they both possess appallingly researched views. Criticism of men doing their jobs for guaranteed money rather than less certain fame or glory and now urging people to boycott an event because you disagree with the organizers despite the fact that they would play no part at all in the event (i.e on the field).

While your views on Hulk and his cohorts are completely ridiculous, your views on Russia are more understandable. However, you fail to understand the importance of sport. My mom once asked why people are so obsessed with football, and I replied that so many have lives so monotonous and strenuous that sport provides a distraction. For a brief time, they are able to forget our troubles and feel truly happy.

If you want to boycott Russia, extend it further. Clubs are charging increasingly high gate fees, boycott matches. TV subscription are too high, no more TV. Your club’s board have a different opinion on how a club is run, boycott them. Barcelona sponsored by Qatar, betting companies in football, FIFA and UEFA corruption, just boycott football.

We do care about things outside our personal sphere, but Putin and Qatar are both going to benefit regardless because let’s face it tourism hasn’t exactly helped Brazil and South Africa and as you said the Russian themselves are less enamored with Putin, you are also going to deny the citizens as well of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. By the way I hope you boycotted Brazil as a result of the corruption in the country.

I am going to attribute your recent articles to the new year party, but it’s time to buckle up. I can take a different view from mine as long as it’s well-researched.
Victor A, (Daisy, please write again)

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Boycott not a bad call, actually
As someone who has studied International Relations, I was surprised to find a scathing piece about Putin on my favorite football website. I hate to explain politics here but humor me for a little bit. In International Relations, we are often told to not to cast value judgments when writing about international issues but allow me to drop that academic facade and explain something in a straight forward manner. Putin is a thug at the head of a petro-state. Apart from establishing and maintaining complete control in Russia by any and every means, what he really wants is to turn Europe on each other, upend the international order that America and its allies created post WW2 and most importantly be taken seriously as a ‘great international power’ (It was something Soviets used to be when he was in the KGB).

“But what has all this got to do with me supporting my team?” I hear you ask. Well, here is a concept very few people seem to grasp. That we vote or speak with what or who we spend money on. By potentially boycotting the WC, you’re showing a middle finger in metaphorical and financial terms not just to Putin but also to Blatter and his cronies who “allegedly” sold out the bid to the Russians. As Neill explained, this would lead them having to explain a lot of things and make themselves look mighty silly.

Since I cannot write a rousing call to a revolution where the fine folks of F365 take over the British government and then engage in hardball and/or football with Putin, there is only so much that can be done. Agreeing not to pay a penny into their economy is simultaneously the least and the most you can do. Would it hurt them the way, say, a mass boycott of conflict diamonds could have shut down some diamond companies? Maybe not. But its embarrassing for them. And that HURTS. Though probably not as embarrassing as the information Putin has on his orange colored pawn in Washington.

I wouldn’t presume to tell you fine folks what to do. I am just telling you why the boycott is not a bad call. It really is up to you and if you do give two hoots about the world. I mean, there were people buying from Hugo Boss even when they designed clothes for the Nazis and Gestapo. As long as you are paying, nobody cares about your opinions.

Having said all this, I am not sure I would look forward to more political mailboxes or posts on the website.

And to Ant, CPFC, for the longest time I felt every Tom, Dick and Harry was producing their greatest performance or scoring goals on their birthdays against my beloved Arsenal. So I can totally empathize with you.
Lashness Monster, Gunner


Actually, Toby was too soft
To those who felt Toby went too far in his bashing of Russia and the World Cup, I say to you, he went not far enough. FIFA, in agreeing to stage the World Cup in two of the most corrupt, inhumane societies in the world tells you everything about the power of money, and how it will triumph every time. Here’s a little breakdown of just SOME of the sh*t housery committed by Putin and his minions.

– Banned Gay Propaganda…or in other words, homosexuality in any shape or form. He banned any gay couple from adopting.

– He annexed Crimea, which is a fancy way of saying invaded and took over. You seem to forget that if you take over one place, you kinda get a taste for it. It’s how Empires are born!

– While his citizens starve, while poverty and a bleak future is all many can see, he spent $50 billion on the Sochi Olympics.

– Jailed opponents and journalists. One of the first acts of a dictator is to delegitimise the press, and those that dissent.

– He jailed activists who were protesting peacefully against the regime.

– Created laws to prevent NGOs working in Russia for fear of what they’d find and share with the world.

– Shut off gas to the Ukraine, and by proxy, all of Europe.

– The privatisation of all of Russia’s natural resources and creation of many more oligarchs.

– Sold weapons to Assad in Syria which he used on his own citizens who were peacefully protesting and has helped create the largest humanitarian crisis since World War 2, displacing over 8 million children.

– Interfered in the election of another country through hacking.

And that isn’t me even starting on Qatar, where more people have died in the construction than all the other World Cups combined, where they are using indentured workers from Nepal, Pakistan and India, and basically making them trapped having sold them lies about the opportunity. As FIFA expands its World Cup, no doubt to generate even more money, and sells what remains of its soul to the highest bidder, maybe the ONLY thing we can do is boycott it.

Now I know I am a bleeding heart liberal, and lots of people will say football and politics shouldn’t mix. But I doubt we’d have got so far in race relations in this country if it wasn’t for football. So I agree with Toby, and actually I’d go even further, by accepting the World Cups that are going to be held there, and not think those actions are reprehensible, you are validating those opinions. You are saying that it is ok to treat people like that, because, FOOTBALL!
John (bleeding heart) Matrix AFC


On ThoughtControl365
Couldn’t agree more Andy, London. I too was shocked and appalled by Comrade Springer’s latest column on Doublespeak365. I have been monitoring the site for a while now, and it is only recently, as their attempts to control the thoughts of their readers have gained traction, that their methods have become so overt. Dangerous, very dangerous. Especially that bit about thinking – and ‘looking in the mirror’ – well I think we all know what that is really all about!

If it wasn’t for citizens such as yourself this extremist literature would undoubtedly have been absorbed unquestioningly by the slobbering somniferous slaves that make up their readership. You just need to look at all the people out there ‘Just Doing It’ to see the extent to which Lobotomy365 and their mates in the dark media control people’s minds these days. I can only commend you for speaking up, as until I read your email I had honestly felt that I was the only person out in cyberspace that was wise to this blatant manipulation.

No doubt Herr Pinkosklyrahmanovichsky (or whatever is real name is) has his own motive for urging a boycott of the Russia World Cup, (something to do with Stonemasons and the Illuminati I expect) and whatever it is, you can rest assured, Andy, that I will join you by rising up and not standing for it.

I hope you will find it within yourself, Andy, to independently contemplate the pros and cons without any outside influence or coercion, and consider forming the opinion that you might join me in a F365 blackout. Hopefully you will join me and I look forward to never reading another one of your emails, brother (if that’s OK with you, of course)!

World Cup 2018, hurrah (probably)!
Jeff Sims, an island in the Pacific Ocean, using a VPN


Worth a read
Seeing as our wonderful leader has just told us that as far as she is concerned the EUpocalypse is actually happening and it’s great, I thought an article looking at how Football Manager has looked at the various forms of Brexit and their effects on the Premier League might be interesting.

It breaks down to one of three outcomes in terms of how the Premier League is affected as far as Sports Interactive see it:

1: Nothing much to see (soft Brexit)

2: Oh shit we’re a bit fucked (hard Brexit with exclusions)

3: Is that Jimmy Saville and why am I in a hospital gown and straitjacket (Hard Brexit)

We seem to be heading for option 3, which leaves the Premier League in an interesting situation.

May you live in interesting times.
Tim Sutton

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