NB: This fanzine has a 96% anti-name change opinion poll. The following is aimed at that audience.
What I have enjoyed over the years of reading match reports on this website is that it tells a story of the day, not necessarily just of the game, that story today isn’t going to be pleasant to write.
In what should have been a night of excitement, City took on West Ham United. An eminently winnable fixture, particularly at home and particularly with the squad that City have amassed in the recent weeks. But that excitement was put pay to by a press conference that made Eric Cantona’s seagull analogy look sane. Far from accepting the Premier League’s decision, the East Riding FA’s decision, the Official Supporters’ Club’s decision or the FA’s decision, our owner once again caused a ruckus on a week before a big game on telly. A pattern is emerging here.
Before moving on to the football, there was a match played, I think it is right to discuss one happened at 19:04:
First of all, football stirs emotion in grown men that is generally rare to see, as an example when this writer left the Lokeren home leg; I can honestly say that is the single biggest disappointment I have felt watching City. But Monday was different, what happened at 19:04 didn’t make me angry, it didn’t make me upset, I just felt nothing, like what I had been part of since my fifth birthday was being torn out and that there was no connection left. As the booing ensued (far from drowning out CTID), there was confusion in the North Stand, like what is happening?! How can these people think that is the right thing to do?! There is a core of City fans that are a real community, the rest… I just don’t know what to say anymore.
Purely football now, we’ve all had enough of discussing this nonsense…
City lined up 4-4-2 for the visit of the Hammers: McGregor; Robertson, Dawson, Davies, Elmohamady; Quinn, Livermore, Huddlestone, Diame; Jelavic & Hernandez. Quinn was a surprise inclusion given our new signings but warranted his place in the side. Hernandez starting was a surprise given the late visa and new boys Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez had to make do with places on the bench. Livermore appeared to be playing right midfield (please don’t play him right midfield).
The first five minutes belonged to City, getting at the West Ham full backs and managing to get some balls in the box, not much was happening in the box but promising signs. The first half ebbed and flowed with City attacking, and having to defend set pieces from Big Sam’s boys, they defended well in the first half.
Thirty eight minutes in and the first moment of real magic, Elmohamady found the most perfect cross in from extremely deep, Hernandez somehow placed the most perfect header beyond the despairing Adrian. City led and deserved it. Minutes later and it could have been two, Hernandez again, he received the ball back to goal on the edge of the box, turned onto his left foot and crashed his shot off the bar, Jelavic headed in the rebound, celebrations followed, as did the linesman’s flag. Rightly so, City went into the break with a single goal lead.
The second half started and City looked a little bit sluggish, and when Enner Valencia (another South American debutant) picked up the ball on the left wing, all seemed fine, but he moved inside, and further inside, being given far too much space. What followed however was pure class, from twenty five yards he crashed in a shot that dropped in off the cross bar, it was brilliant, but I bet Michael Dawson doesn’t think so…
City brought on Brady as a response, who looked like he might be getting back to his old self, he might need a run in the team, but that’s going to be hard to come by. Almost immediately a sloppy throw in from West Ham Diame pinched the ball, he drove at the back four, one step over and curled it into the far post, think Olofinjana vs. Stoke, City led again but it wasn’t to last. Sakho cut in from the right wing and shot at McGregor whose save rebounded on to the unfortunate Davies’ heel before being bundled over the line, it was very messy but the game was level again.
Ten minute cameos from Ben Arfa and Ramirez got some excitement going but it was West Ham who very nearly went on to win it as a deflected header was tipped on to the bar by Michael Dawson’s chest, a point a piece then.
As it stands Pardew is still the Newcastle manager, we go there on Saturday and must be looking for the three points given there slump at the start of this season.
To put a bit of perspective to this, on Monday night I witnessed the following: Hull City’s record £9m striker score on his debut, one world class strike from a Ecuardian World Cup star, another City debutant score against his former club, the introduction of two players that have been branded ‘wonderkids’ on Football Manager (that really should excite me).
Yet I still came away from the game devastated, and it was nothing to do with the football.