Speaking With The Enemy – West Ham
I’m Jason Rose, a West Ham fan since I was a little kid and a season ticket holder in the West Stand. I’m on Twitter @Ja50nR05e
I’m happy with things. We made some shrewd signings in the summer, look organised and have a good team ethic about us which was sorely missing in our recent relegation season. The fixture list was kind to us in so far as it gave us an opportunity to get some points on the board before we hit the tough run of fixtures we are in the middle of now. We still need to pick up some more points during December to keep away from a relegation scrap and if we do we can set our sights higher up the table and play without that sort of fear, especially if we make a couple more signings in January.
2. As an outsider looking in – what do you make of Abramovich, the managers etc?
To me it was almost as if a part of Abramovich was cursing when you won the Champions League as he knew he would be saddled with RDM, who clearly didn’t fit the profile he was looking for. Crazy when you think he spent so much time chasing a manager who could bring European glory yet when one lands in his lap he isn’t interested. Bates used to get through his fair share of managers but I think Roman must have outdone him by now and by bringing in the Spanish waiter it really does appear to be sticking two fingers up at the fans. I think he will go all out for Guadiola now, it surely can be the only explanation for his actions.
3. Which West Ham player should Chelsea be wary about on Saturday?
Our midfield has been top drawer most of the season. Diame has been an excellent signing, Noble’s tackling, work-rate and passing continues to improve and since March Kevin Nolan has fulfilled what was expected from him when he first signed. He is a good leader on and off the pitch and time and again pops up with important goals.
4. If you could choose any Chelsea player to play for West Ham, who would you choose and why?
I’d go for Mata, get him to grow a ‘tache for Movember and pretend that he was Alan Devonshire! Mata has been different class whenever I’ve seen him play this season (so I hope Rafa sticks him on the bench again on Saturday).
5. What do the fans generally think of Gold & Sullivan?
I think they will always divide opinion. Many are grateful they came in when the did (including me) when we were at the mercy of the banks following the Icelandic debacle. Some fans don’t believe things were as bad as they make out and would have preferred a different buyer. Gold initially being vocal in the press and undermining Zola didn’t go down well with many but he leaves most of the PR work to David Gold now who comes across better to the media. Sullivan is actually a lot more articulate than he is portrayed and like Gold I really believe is a big fan at heart. If we move to the Olympic Stadium that will also divide opinion even more. Some think they are in it just for the money, I don’t believe that, although I do believe they would step aside if a billionaire or consortium came in. They would make a mint and the club would would be better off to boot. However, after the aforementioned Icelandic experience I am now always careful what I wish for,
6. With so many London clubs now in the Premiership do you think the rivalry between West Ham & Chelsea has diminished? Who do you consider your most bitter rivals in the Premiership?
There will always be a healthy rivalry between West Ham and Chelsea and long may that continue, it is certainly one of the fixtures most fans look out for each season, although our most bitter rivals in the Premiership would have to be the mob from White Hart Lane. The derbies against Fulham and QPR don’t have anywhere near the same feel about them so I think the rivalries between the main London clubs will always remain.
7. What would make a good season for West Ham?
Got to be careful not to get ahead of myself here, so first things first, survival is a must, especially with the increased TV money next season and the fact we have a year or so still paying down our debt. A good season would be Top 10 with a couple of memorable wins to look back on and some decent football along the way. A great season would include an FA Cup run as well (see, I’m getting carried away now).
8. When Drogba stepped up to take that penalty in Munich in May – did you want him to score or miss?
Like many West Ham fans that night I was still revelling in the glory of our play-off final win earlier that day so the memory is a little hazy! I was travelling back from Wembley so missed the first half and a lot of the second but as unpopular as this might sound to some of my fellow Hammers I wanted him to score. I’ve always loved a good football fairytale but most of all because my best mate is a Chelsea fan, a proper fan who remembers when winning wasn’t so easy to come by and I knew just how much it would mean to him.
9. Who’s been your favourite ever West Ham player and why?
Trevor Brooking. He was my boyhood hero, although Bonzo and Devonshire weren’t far behind. In the 90’s it was Julian Dicks, followed by Paolo Di Canio who allowed me to enjoy skill that I hadn’t seen for years and most recently the tenacity of Scott Parker was something I really admired.
10. What has been your biggest high as a West Ham fan?
Difficult one, but the moment that stands out above them all was a Ray Stewart penalty in April 1986. The ground was heaving, we had beaten Man City 1-0 on the Monday night and 2 days later we had battered Ipswich before going a goal behind. Alan Dickens equalised and then Mark Ward won a penalty with just minutes remaining. Goals from open play can be wonderful, but the fact the whole ground was waiting expectantly, primed to go barmy made the celebration all the more barmy (as I’m sure you know from Drogba’s penalty in Munich). Everyone just went loopy, we really believed we were going to win the league that season. Then on the Saturday Liverpool won at the Bridge and that was that!
11. Frank Lampard – discuss?
I always rated him, long before he became an international and was sorry to see him go, although the writing was on the wall as soon as ‘Arry and his Dad got the boot. I didn’t have a season ticket when he first broke in the team so I can only judge him on the games I saw, others who went every week didn’t rate him as highly as I did. He has got a fair bit of stick from the fans over the years, given some back, and has the ‘honour’ of his own regularly sung song. For me, I look back at the period when he played for us alongside Rio, with Cole, Carrick and Defoe also just breaking into the team and think of what might have been.
12. Finally, what do you think the score will be on Saturday?
I’m always the optimist so I’m saying a long overdue win for us 2-1. We are in reasonable spirits despite the two loses this week and came out of the game vs Man Utd with some credit and confidence. Its difficult to know what to expect from Chelsea, with the new manager in charge so I’m just hoping the fixture list has been kind and we’ve caught you at a good time due to injuries and changes.
Posted by Trizia