A Drop of Claret and Blue - QPR vs West Ham preview

October 1, 2012 in Features, Premier League

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Welcome to A Drop of Claret and Blue, Ballsy Banter’s regular West Ham related feature for the 2012/13 season. It seems like such an age since the last instalment, so let’s quickly cast our minds back to the home fixture against Sunderland nine days ago.

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A Drop of Claret and Blue - An Introduction To West Ham

August 17, 2012 in Features, Premier League

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Ah. It feels good to sit down and type a West Ham related article now that we’re back in the Premier League.

It’s something I haven’t been able to do since May 2011, when defeat to Wigan confirmed our relegation to the Championship. The final game of the season was a mere formality, really; we ran out comfortable 3-0 losers against Sunderland, and I lost the urge to write about my beloved football team.

However, I was coaxed out of retirement, so to speak, during the recent Championship campaign, contributing two articles to Ballsy Banter in the form of Fact and Fiction, which expressed my disappointment despite West Ham’s unbeaten streak towards the end of the season, and Reunions, a build-up to the Play-Off Final at Wembley. I have to admit, it felt good. But it feels a lot better now that we’re back where we belong, amongst the Premier League elite. And I’m committed to expressing my views after every fixture in the coming season - aren’t we lucky?

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Season Preview: West Ham United

August 16, 2012 in Premier League

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As the 2011-2012 Premier League season drew to a dramatic close in mid-May culminating in the relegation of an already doomed Wolves, Blackburn and Bolton Wanderers, the Championship play-off finals were just getting under way. With Reading and Southampton already promoted, there was only one spot in the top flight left for Cardiff, Blackpool, Birmingham City or West Ham. In my opinion, it was going to be West Ham United all along. The Irons only narrowly missed out on automatic promotion after losing 4-2 to Reading in early April, from which they couldn’t stage a comeback; that was something the Reading fans revelled in, singing chants of “It should have been you, it should have been you, West Ham United, it should have been you” as they lifted the Championship trophy at the Madejski stadium.  They played incredibly well throughout the playoffs, beating Cardiff in both the home and away legs and managing to suppress Ian Holloway’s Blackpool in the final at Wembley.

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Andy Carroll’s clash: Should he stay, or should he go?

August 4, 2012 in Premier League, Transfers

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Once again, Andy Carroll is making the sporting headlines, and not for good reasons. Since a record £35million move from Newcastle to Liverpool in January 2011, the Geordie-born striker has failed to impress at Anfield. In fairness to Carroll, he really picked up his game towards the end of the season, and did well in England’s Euro 2012 campaign, scoring a hell of a header against Sweden and pairing successfully with Danny Welbeck upfront. Bad news for AC, however, is the installation of Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager, after the Merseyside club could no longer ignore the failures of ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish. Rodgers has not been quiet about the fact that Carroll does not suit his style of play and doesn’t fit in with the plans he has to catapult Liverpool to the top of the Premier League once again.

So what’s Andy to do? Here are his options:


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Trailblazing since 2010 - Following the Venky’s Blackburn Blueprint

July 24, 2012 in Championship, Premier League, Transfers

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As far as football takeovers go, the 2010 acquisition of Blackburn Rovers by Venky’s will surely go down as a failure. The Indian poultry family, who were unaware of the relegation rule in the Premier League, oversaw the demise of the East Lancashire side in May 2012, as Rovers dropped down into the Championship. From their base in India, they have theorised different ways of getting their club fighting for Champions League spots, but key decisions have gone against them. The sacking of Sam Allardyce, the appointment and continued support of ‘positive-thinker’ Steve Kean and the decision to allow chairman John Williams to step-down, have all backfired on the proud family club and their long suffering fans.

The Venky’s blueprint has seen a staggering amount of wrong turns being made by the former Premiership champions, but could it actually be copied by another English side? You’d think that the Venky’s approach would have been disregarded as a failure a long time ago, but could another family run club be taking tips from Anuradha Desai and co?

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