Inside the Opposition: West Ham United

Robert Pollard

Saturday’s tea-time kick-off against West Ham looks set to be a great match. City are in good form in the league – the only unbeaten Premier League side left – and will be confident of a win to continue their good run, while West Ham are enjoying a great start to life back in the top-flight. I spoke to Sean Whetstone, a prominent West Ham blogger and podcaster, to get his view on the match.

West Ham have had a great start to life back in the Premier League. What would constitute a good season for West Ham in your eyes?

Despite reaching sixth place this season just one win away from a champions league spot we have our feet firmly on the ground. In our first season back in the premiership anything above 17th place is just fine by us. Mid table obscurity is a realistic target and a top 7 finish a dream return. Next season we will expect much more though.

Sam Allardyce has a reputation for playing ugly football which completely flies in the face of the way West Ham fans view their tradition. How are those two seemingly very different philosophies being reconciled?

Much has been written about this and it seems a media obsession at times. Sam Allardyce  is an experienced manager who knows what is needed to get promoted from the Championship and survive in the Premiership. I must admit there have been some frustrating games to watch at times when the ball is hoofed long and there have been some beautiful games where we have played on the floor. Sam’s style of play at times is a necessary evil and a price we pay for our limited success. Although the West Ham way won two FA Cups, a World Cup for England and a 3rd place in the top flight in 1986 we can’t live in the past. More recently the West Ham way has lost us many games which resulted in being relegated from the Premiership twice. Most of the time I prefer winning compared to clinging on to the dream of the West Ham way.

Who’s been your best player so far this season?

It is a toss up between Momo Diame, Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble this season. Momo Diame has been the best signing over the summer, Mark Noble pass and work rate has been fantastic as he is home grown talent and Kevin Nolan is the expert at shaking off defenders, finding those gaps and scoring those simple yet important goals. If pushed I would go for Momo Diame although he had a poor game against Wigan.

How much would you pay to take Tevez back to your place?

Pay?! He loves West ham and would gladly come back for free 😉 Tevez is still hero worshipped at the Boleyn ground despite the cost to club of Tevezgate. However, we remain a club in around £100 million of debt. Any up front cost and wages would need to be realistic, we need to live within our means. That said loaning Andy Carroll was just a pipe dream so anything is possible especially when strikers have stained relationships with managers.

How have the fans taken to Andy Carroll? It seemed like he was reluctant to go to Upton Park for much of the summer.

We love Andy and Andy loves us. Don’t believe everything you read in the papers. We sing his name and play him feel wanted. He is also re-united with his best mate Kevin Nolan. Although he has not scored any goals he has contributed to several wins and I am sure goals will come in time.

What are your perceptions of City from the outside?

There has never been too much trouble between West Ham and City historically. Obviously you are seen as the richest club in the world with money as no barrier to success. A friend of mine in London is a City fan who was initially embarrassed by the thought of buying success but he has come round to the idea now. I guess most premiership fans are jealous at the resources available to City but as West Ham fans we are also happy when you beat old foes Chelsea or Spurs or nick the premiership from Man United in the last game.

Which City player do you most fear?

I don’t fear any City player but Yaya Toure is the player I most admire this season followed by Vincent Kompany

Match prediction time. What do you reckon?

My heart says we will turn the Boleyn ground into fortress Upton Park, park the bus and try to score on the break. My heart prediction is 1-0 win for West Ham. Realistically I expect us to put up a fight in the first half but succumb to your superior squad second half losing 1 or 2 nil.

Sean Whetstone
Sean is a West Ham Season Ticket Holder, Member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board, West Ham Tweeter, Blogger and Podcaster
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