Opposition View: West Ham

Last updated : 08 August 2007 By Ben Collins
Big thanks to Graham Roe, of westhamonline.net:

How do you feel about the Carlos Tevez affair?

Well, it hasn't been the finest hour in the club's history, that's for sure. However, I feel not enough people, including many journalists and the disgraceful chairmen of Sheffield United and Wigan, didn't look into what happened enough or understand the case. Dave Whelen even admitted as much. It was never the case of him not being registered properly or unable to play but a simple illegal clause in his contract where the club fell foul and that clause wasn't in the club's favour anyway.

Whatever happens the Premiership clubs agree to a process and that was followed to the letter and an independent panel decided a fine was punishment, albeit a record one for a crime not as bad, in my eyes, as Chelsea and Tottenham have been guilty of in the not-too-distant past.

Should West Ham have been docked points? Well I know many West Ham fans that think we were lucky but how many should we have been docked? 1? 2? or the 3 that Sheffield United wanted to play judge and jury to dock us?

At the end of the day, had Tevez not played in those last games it's impossible to say what would have happened. Whilst we shouldn't take anything away from the performances Carlos Tevez put in, he wasn't the only one and I know many fans have been angered by the lack of acknowledgment and praise towards Alan Curbishley and the form players like Rob Green, Lucas Neill, James Collins, George McCartney, Mark
Noble and Bobby Zamora showed in the run-in.

Sheffield United were 10 points clear of West Ham and hardly said a word about the Tevez saga until they lost a few on the spin. In the run-in people forget we lost 3-0 at Sheffield United with Tevez or the interviews Warnock gave about enjoying his summer when they looked safe. I can well understand Sean Bean's anger towards Warnock, if not his family, over the way they went about and lost to Wigan on the final day.

Sheffield United are playing Championship football on Saturday because they got 38 points, not because of a 3rd party clause in Carlos Tevez's contract.

...and the new owners?

When I think back to early last season when it looked as if Kia Joorabchian might gain control of the club, I can be nothing less then over the moon to have Eggert Magnússon in charge and billionaire Björgólfur Guðmundsson's money backing us.

It may be that Terry Brown was such an unpopular figure or it may be his
bald head, but Magnusson has become a bit of cult hero with the fans and
so far has done very well in often difficult circumstances not of his making.

...and Alan Curbishley?

I have to be honest and have not always found his football at Charlton
to my liking and he would have been way down my list to replace Alan
Pardew. I was worried he would be able to attract the right players and
that looked the case in January when only Lucas Neill looked money well

However, whilst I reserve judgment a little longer, he has impressed me
the way he has gone about things and managed to keep us in the
Premiership, again in difficult circumstances, most of which were not of
his doing. His signings have also impressed me this summer. So I am
warming to him.

...your new signings?

Very pleased so far, of course it's gutting to lose Julien Faubert for 6
months to injury but he looks an exciting prospect for the future. Craig
Bellamy will be the bargain of the summer if he plays week-in week-out
and recaptures his Blackburn form. Sure, he comes with a bit of baggage
but that doesn't bother me so much. Scott Parker is a player I have
always rated and again, if he can recapture some of his old form he will
be a great asset to our midfield, and Freddie Ljunberg is a player we
could only dream about a few years back. He has so much to his game if
we can keep him fit. Richard Wright is a bit hit-and-miss but he was once good enough to play for England and Arsenal and is still not that old for a keeper and is good enough back-up for Green.

...our new owner?

I haven't paid too much attention to him really. Football fans are a
fickle bunch by nature and I'm sure if he keeps Sven in transfer funds
the fans won't really care what he's done in the past.

Do you think Sven will succeed at City?

Yes I do. Well, if he can keep his hands off the secretaries for long
enough. He would have actually been my choice to replace Pardew as I
think he's a great club manager and has a record to prove it. He wasn't
as bad for England as some suggest, and as the hapless McClaren is now
showing, but at club level he has everything needed to make City a success.

How do you think you'll do this season?

I think we should be aiming for a mid-table finish, somewhere between
8th and 12th I'd be more then happy with and although we haven't the
depth in our squad right now, IF we can keep our first 11 pretty much
fit all season and Ashton has his shooting boots on, I see no reason we
shouldn't be fighting out the UEFA Cup spots.

Match prediction?

I'm delighted we have caught you so early on in the season when your
team is still new to each other and hasn't gelled yet. I think you will
be far easier to beat now then in a month or so. If Sven doesn't manage
to get a decent keeper in you could be in trouble early doors, so I go for
a 2-0 home win.