SkyDaz Fulham Preview

Last updated : 08 December 2005 By Darren Porter

It’s ok I’ve calmed down a little. For the first time I was dreading writing a review of a game. I had to sit next to a cheeky cockney chappie at Sky Sports for ninety minutes and, even though we were ahead at one stage, I never felt comfortable.

We all know there is something wrong. I wish it was simply a case of identifying a weakness and plugging the gap but unfortunately it is bigger than that. I don’t honestly know what Brucie can do to change it round but change it he must. That’s what he is paid to do. It’s his field of expertise. The problem isn’t that we are just damn unlucky, although the injuries don’t help, but more of a general malaise rife throughout the team.

This week I have heard Blues fans blame everyone from poor old Keith, the stadium announcer, to Beau Brummie, the mongrel, to the crowd themselves. The problem lies with option d) all of the above. We have, paraded in front of us, the finest array of individual talent in the club’s history. They play in front of a new, and not always likeable, set of fans who demand results and success. Apparently the music played as the teams walk out sets the tone! Apparently!

Our expectations manifest themselves via dissatisfaction with the team when things are not going right. Folk who read this dreary ramble last season will recall my weekly anecdotes regarding the lunatic fans who sat around me every home game. Seconds into the match they would leap to their feet and abuse players, sometimes before they had even touched the ball. I dread to think about their blood pressure this season!

Izzett’s substitution on Monday summed up the season. Brucie patted him on the back, guided him to the dugout and then looked up into the dark satanic Birmingham skies and muttered grimly to himself. We can all guess what he was saying. Plan A went down the tunnel with Mario, Plan B sat out the majority of the match with Muzzy and Plan C left town.

Our bench was composed of players who like to get forward, it was great to see such a hugely talented bench, but just not so early in the game.

Is there a single West Ham player you would swap one of ours for? None for me, and that isn’t being unkind to the Hammers, I just feel that individually throughout the park we have better quality. But that’s the point. Individually. The boys in blue are not playing as a team. There is little coordination between them and too often the ball is simply passed around like a hot potato until it is fed back to Taylor/ Vaesen to boot up the field and possession is conceded.

Even after going one nil up thanks to Dunn’s slide rule pass and Heskey’s cool finish everyone still looked nervous and liable to concede. As has often been stated our lack of goals does not allow us to let the opposition back into the game. We don’t look like a side that can come back from behind. The equaliser dragged the chins onto the shirts, the substitutions caused an imbalance and the crowd recognised that this was another home match that was going to be pointless.

We should give Zamora credit for a fine finish that no doubt he is still carrying a copy of round with him showing everyone. As for Harewood’s goal ….. maybe the ball was out, maybe not. Kick the damn thing halfway up the Railway End and then query whether it was in or out! Three or four defenders performed the can can and put their arms in the air before Harewood lashed the ball into the net.

In the second half we huffed and we puffed and we tried to blow the Hammer House of Horror down but it was all just a bridge too far. There was the odd chance but despite the West Ham defence impersonating the Keystone Kops an equaliser never looked a sure thing. Even against Roy Carroll.

I know you are probably expecting me to abuse individuals and no doubt some of you will berate me for not highlighting the woeful deficiencies of certain players but it’s not going to do us any good now five days after the event. Those players must know they played bad, they must have been told how poor they were, how weakly they tackled, how disinterested they looked. If not let me make it easy for them. Only David Dunn could come off that pitch and rightly claim his wages. The rest should donate theirs to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital rather than wander round there at Christmas time for a photo shoot.

So onto the West End of the capital city. The East End have had their three points. Clashes with Fulham have always been passionate helter skelter affairs and as a fan I love those kind of games. Unfortunately at the moment I am not sure our players have the heart to compete in such an encounter. Please prove me wrong lads and absolutely stuff the Fulham turkeys. Let’s send Cookie, the Wardrobe and the snake back down the M1 with nothing but the sound of Keep Right On ringing in their ears.

The season isn’t done yet. ‘I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game’s afoot: follow your spirit’.

Keep Right On comrades. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood. It’s war.