View from the South Stand - West Ham United 24/10/11
Brighton and Hove Albion host recently relegated West
Ham United at The Amex on Monday night infront of the
Sky Sports cameras.
With the Hammers being arguably the
biggest side to visit our new ground in league action,
we asked Gordon Thrower from the famous
to answer some questions for us as Gus Poyet's men look to
end their seven game winless streak
West Ham were obviously being talked about as one of the
pre-season favourites. Can the club make an instant
return to the Premier League?
Yes – we still have a decent squad but we
need to improve consistency. We’re second as I write
this without actually having been on any sort of run
With a quarter of the season gone, who do you think will
be the sides battling it out at the top this term?
I think the current
top 4 (Southampton, us, Derby & Boro’) will be the ones
looking towards automatic promotion. Throw Ipswich,
Leeds – and despite their start – Leicester into the mix
for the playoffs.
There was a lot of talk about Big Sam not fitting into
the West Ham
style. How is he doing so far?
There have been
spells in matches where we’ve played football. Those are
the matches where we’ve profited from getting the ball
on the deck, out to the wings and getting crosses in.
Then there have been spells where we’ve lumped it long
to an unsupported striker (or three as the manager
insists it is). That hasn’t worked. We are second at
time of writing so I suppose we’re where we need to be
but I’d prefer to see more of the former style than the
latter – not just because of the aesthetics – we’ve got
more out of playing that way.
Obviously we've spent twelve years playing at an
athletics stadium and can safely say it was bloody
awful. Do you think you will one day be watching your
home games from the
Olympic Stadium and what is the
general consensus among the fans about the potential
Withdean wasn’t a great place even for athletics really!
I think we will end up at the Olympic Stadium
eventually, though exactly how it’s going to look for
football nobody knows. There haven’t been any proper
plans set out yet so everybody’s perception is based on
the current seating arrangement plus where the athletics
infield is at the moment. That’s obviously far from
ideal. There are strong views both for and against
moving – the one area of consensus being the lack of fan
consultation over the move in the first place.
Gold and David Sullivan seem to be characters that
divide opinion in the game. How would you say they are
doing at Upton Park so far?
think there’s a grudging respect for SuGo (as we call
them) insofar as whilst they may not be everyone’s cup
of tea, they have stuck their hands in their pockets.
Hey have made mistakes though – the appointment of Grant
and the failure to replace him while there was a chance
of staying up were errors by their own admission. At the
end of the day they were just about the only serious
game in town when it came from rescuing the club from
the Icelandic ownership. We were effectively owned by a
bust bank that had made no effort to run the club so the
fact that we now have owners trying to actually do
something with the club is an improvement on that.
took over they said they had a seven year plan to take
West Ham into the Champions League. Is there any
realistic chance of that ever happening and where can
you see the club regularly finishing under their
nice to aim high but realistic? For that to happen we’d
need to improve our financial position beyond all
recognition whilst those in contention for the so-called
Champions League spots would have to stand still. As
we’ve seen with Liverpool’s recent grubby little bid to
try and go it alone on tv rights, everything is geared
towards maintaining the status quo for those clubs,
You’ll always get the odd blip such as Spurs
gate-crashing the party but that will always owe more to
one of the top four having an off year. A regular
challenge for European places should be a realistic aim
once the finances are sorted out but the changes to the
European competitions over the past 10 years or so have
ruined that for fans.
You've obviously got the
big name players like Kevin Nolan who Albion fans will
be looking out for. Are there any less heralded stars we
should be wary of?
Sam Baldock is beginning to
show promise. However his selection depends on the
system employed. Whilst there have been signs that a
nice little partnership between Baldock and Carew is
beginning to develop, Allardyce has made no secret of
the fact that he will tinker with the formation on a
match by match basis. Matt Taylor is useful from dead
ball situations – but is an injury doubt.
How much do you know about
Brighton and Hove Albion?
Although you’ve gone off the
boil a little bit since the start of the season there’s
still a useful side there. It remains to be seen whether
you can maintain the promotion challenge – no disrespect
intended (honest!) but squad depth may be an issue over
the season. Poyet seems to have a promising managerial
career ahead of him and you may find him difficult to
keep hold of him if you’re not challenging once the
Premiership panic buttons start to be pressed. Mackail-Smith
was a target for us during the summer – apparently we
“dithered” over the fee. He’s impressed me in what I’ve
seen of him on the box this season and he’ll have a
point to prove. I’m amused by the inclusion of some
famous players relatives in the squad (Bergkamp & LuaLua)
– though I’d beware if someone called Sid Messi comes
knocking on the door. And I’d check with Southampton
before returning any calls from George Weah asking for a
chat about his cousin.
Obviously this is your
first visit to The Amex and arguably the first really
big club to visit the stadium in the league. Are you
looking forward to seeing our new home?
I was looking forward to the
visit – I was surprised you didn’t go for a big club to
christen it (!). Unfortunately the change to midweek
(thanks Sky) coupled with a family bereavement means I’ll
watching this one on the box. Glad you finally got it
sorted out though.
Finally, a score
I’ll plump for an
Many thanks to Gordon Thrower for his insight into the forthcoming
fixture. You can follow
Mother Brown on Twitter and send them lots of
lovely tweets about the game.