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  1. #401
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised if one or the other had some weird season where they finished 11th. But again, I wouldn't expect it to last for too long all in all.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #402
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    Arsenal are only 7 points clear of the relegation zone.. I know they’re 4 clear of 5th but if a couple of key players got injured I could see them in trouble. Especially as other teams start to sort themselves out. Neither team inspires me as much more than a mid table club right now and I think finances do come into play - which owner will spend to rebuild?

  3. #403
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I think that just says how bunched up the middle of the pack is this year, and most years to be honest. I don't think it'll come to that for Arsenal, especially now that Arteta has come in. Or Manchester United for that matter. There's enough quality even with injuries, plus there's still plenty of teams between them, and not all of them can go on a run.

    If Chelsea continue with their inconsistency, 4th place is up for grabs for a number of teams. The top three are so far ahead now.



  4. #404
    Be interesting if they are sitll there in March but it's too early to worry for either of them. But you do see less United shirts around town than a few years ago.

  5. #405
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    I don't think Arsenal or Man United have anything to worry about long-term. Short-term they might both struggle - and I suspect Ole won't last beyond the end of next season even if he makes it through this one - but long-term they'll sort their ships out.

    Arteta has the background to be a good manager, I think, and Arsenal might really benefit from having him in young and letting him develop his own ideas as well as a squad that he shapes.

    Since I was last in here West Ham have sacked Pellegrini, reappointed David Moyes, and won two games on the spin. Sheffield United away tonight, where I'm expecting us to get nothing, but it should/could be an interesting match.

    We seem to be focusing on midfield improvements and a reserve keeper upgrade this month - reports of us being close to re-signing Darren Randolph from Boro for the latter, and linked with everyone from Gedson Fernandes to Sander Berge to Joe Allen for the former.

  6. #406
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    Your reserve keeper upgrade came too late . And no, it wasn’t an interesting match. It was fairly painful to watch.

    The transfer window is dull, liverpool have pretty much won the premier league- there’s not much to enjoy in football right now.

  7. #407
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    I read somewhere that, if Man City win all their remaining games, they will end up on 95 points still. Liverpool's relentless march to the title seems like it will never stop, and with only two points dropped so far this season how far ahead do you think they'll end up? I reckon they'll break through 105 points with ease - winning every game gets them to 112, if my maths is right?

    And yeah, that Blades/Hammers match was dire. I can't work out what we're doing right now, to be honest. I don't know if Moyes has a plan, I don't know if our transfer business has a plan, and I don't know if we have a plan beyond staying in the league every year. Honestly, it's tiring, I'm tired of it, and I'm starting to tune out.

  8. #408
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    I read somewhere that, if Man City win all their remaining games, they will end up on 95 points still. Liverpool's relentless march to the title seems like it will never stop, and with only two points dropped so far this season how far ahead do you think they'll end up? I reckon they'll break through 105 points with ease - winning every game gets them to 112, if my maths is right?
    I think it depends in a way how they treat the premier league after they've won it mathematically. If they don't drop a beat, they could easily eclipse 105 points. If they start focusing on CL then they may only get to 100 (as if that's somehow not achievement in and of itself!).



  9. #409
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    West Ham have re-signed Darren Randolph, a goalkeeper so bad the last time we had him that we signed Joe Hart as an upgrade when Hart was at his worst.

    Sigh. I just don't get it. Signing a 32 year old with an injury to replace our injured 34 year old keeper because our two 33 year old keepers weren't good enough to understudy for him - baffling.

    Equally, the sort of signing we should have made last summer instead of Roberto and Martin. The way the squad was pulled apart last summer has really hurt us this season. I'm sure Adrian didn't want to stay, but if we could have extended his contract we really should have done. He's going to go from us to being a World Champion and a Premier League winner.
    Last edited by Oliver; 01-15-2020 at 07:35 AM.

  10. #410
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    a goalkeeper so bad the last time we had him that we signed Joe Hart as an upgrade.

    It isn't that long ago that we were coming out of a six-year period during which this would have looked like utter nonsense. Though it is hard to think of a keeper who has had quite such a fall from grace, and while he was still in his twenties no less.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #411
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    I'm never sure what happened with Hart. Was he never actually that good but rarely exposed, or did he suddenly fall off a cliff for a reason?

    Guardiola hardly gave him a chance, and he underwhelmed at Euro 2016 (if I remember rightly) but before that he was a mainstay for City and widely considered a very good, potentially even great, goalkeeper. Apart from not fitting in with Guardiola's style, there seems to have been little reason as to why he fell out of favour there - I don't think the move to Torino did him much good and he made a number of errors, and then he did the same at West Ham that season on loan with us.

    I guess his confidence just got a huge knock and he never really recovered. He needs a run in a team somewhere, one that's doing well, in order to get that confidence back. Maybe a Championship club?

  12. #412
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    He certainly got tested in that season at Birmingham, after which he displaced Shay Given as the City goalkeeper. And for years he never looked like losing the England shirt. So I don't think it was as simple as he was just hidden behind a quality defence. I think you're on the right lines with the confidence argument. Trouble is, once a keeper loses it, they often never really get it back because confidence is so important in playing the position to begin with. Paul Robinson and Robert Green are both England goalkeepers that looked quality for a while and never really recovered from high-profile setbacks. Hart looks like he might be the same, albeit falling from a greater height.

    He certainly still has age on his side if he wants to try and build back up. But to be honest, another question is hunger. He's made a fortune, been to the world cup and two European championships with England, and won every major domestic honour. He's also won the individual Premier League goalkeeper award for four years out of five. Whatever he comes back to now is going to be less illustrious than what has gone before, and you have to wonder if a big part of it is whether or not the desire to do the work is still there. That didn't occur to me before but Micah Richards performances at Villa popped into my head, as someone else who was let go by City, and who just never seemed to be interested in doing anything other than taking what cash he could get.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #413
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I had Hart down as a guaranteed future England captain at one point. Was actively calling for it before it was given to Rooney if I remember rightly. I think at one point he was a great keeper, never quite world class like a Buffon/Casillas, but the next level down.

    But yeah he fell far down the pecking order and has just never been the same.



  14. #414
    Hart is a funny one. I think Prime hits half it with the hunger argument but I think he just, overall, showed a really poor attitude towards his position in the long run. I remember years ago, he came out and did an interview after City were beaten 3-2 by Real in the champions league. Think they lost it in the last 5 minutes. He absolutely slated his team mates afterwards. Rocks for brains. Say what you need to privately but going after your team mates on TV after a disappointing result. Just shows how he was ticking at the time.

    I played in goals for years in GAA. There's loads of games where you'll be hanging on and making saves. But if your under pressure and you've got Ronaldo knocking on the door, chances are you going to lose eventually. And there's this old fashioned mentality that kicks in sometimes where the goalie thinks it's everyone else's fault because he made a few saves.

    And the other thing is ability. Doesn't look like he made massive efforts to keep himself at the top level. Most world class goalies his age are peaking now. He's getting more shite every season. Whole thing just stopped working for him. Can see him and Michah Richards doing plenty of punditry going forward as they reminisce!

  15. #415
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    Imagine how we'd be discussing the England #1 shirt if we had a peaking Hart instead of a declining one coming up against a strong Pickford and Pope?

    There's some kind of static protest happening at West Ham this weekend before the Everton game. I'm already thinking this goes the way of the Burnley match from a couple of years ago, and the board will get pelters from the crowd if(when) we start to lose.

  16. #416
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Pickford nailing down the England shirt the way he has is an interesting one, because to me he's very David James. Inspired at times, but not almost the most solid. We've always liked to have a nailed-on Number one who is as safe as we can find in England. Look at it -

    Ron Springett - '59-63 (33 caps)
    Gordon Banks - '63-72 (73)
    Peter Shilton - '72-90 (125) (sometimes shared with Ray Clemence)

    Then some experimentation with Woods, Flowers, etc until landing on
    David Seaman - '94-02 (75)

    Then a bunch of people including James, Robinson, Green until

    Joe Hart - '10-16 (75)

    Pickford is climbing the ranks and already has 24 caps, but he's a very different keeper from the type that England have usually gone for.


    More protests at West Ham? God, a lot seems to happen there. Honestly seems like just yesterday they were run by an Icelandic bank.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  17. #417
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    Oh boy, don't remind me. Nearly run out of business by the Icelandic banking crash, supposedly, and then 'saved' by Gold and Sullivan.

  18. #418
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    Pickford nailing down the England shirt the way he has is an interesting one, because to me he's very David James. Inspired at times, but not almost the most solid. We've always liked to have a nailed-on Number one who is as safe as we can find in England. Look at it -

    Ron Springett - '59-63 (33 caps)
    Gordon Banks - '63-72 (73)
    Peter Shilton - '72-90 (125) (sometimes shared with Ray Clemence)

    Then some experimentation with Woods, Flowers, etc until landing on
    David Seaman - '94-02 (75)

    Then a bunch of people including James, Robinson, Green until

    Joe Hart - '10-16 (75)

    Pickford is climbing the ranks and already has 24 caps, but he's a very different keeper from the type that England have usually gone for.
    I've had that thought multiple times, funny you should say that. England have almost always had that one world-class (or close to) GK and since Joe Hart's demise we've really struggled for a consistent GK. Take the World Cup out of it (harsh, cos it's when it actually matters), Pickford has been iffy, for both country and country.

    There's some promise though, few GK in the next couple of years could make that breakthrough.



  19. #419
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    The trick is whoever can nail it down when they get in the England shirt. Lot of keepers look good for the club, but the elevation not only tanks them for England, but quite often for their club as well (Scott Carson jumps immediately to mind, mainly because he was at Villa at the time. People forget how brilliant he was for several months ahead of winning the Number One shirt).

    Speaking of Villa, am hoping that the previous weekend's point proves to be a good one. It's still all a bit tough and tight at the bottom, and I reckon most people would probably have us in the bottom four. Question is just whether we'd just get over the line or be one of the three to drop.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  20. #420
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Bit of a rollercoaster last night. After winning the game in a high I started looking at the fixtures... and crashed down to earth as even in that wave of optimism I couldn't find a convincing path to 40 points. We're going to need some surprises at home, and to improve away, or for the points target to be lower than average this year.

    Pretty deflating....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  21. #421
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    West Ham's next six:

    Liverpool (H)
    Brighton (H)
    Man City (A)
    Liverpool (A)
    Southampton (H)
    Arsenal (A)

    I will place a £1 bet with you, Prime, that West Ham are still below you come 10pm on March 9th, after you play Leicester.

    With the exception of Brighton, where I have an outside hope of getting something, I can see us not getting points until April. Our three fixtures after that are Wolves (H), Spurs (A), Chelsea (H).

    I can already see our survival riding on our final five - Burnley, Norwich, Watford, Man United, and Villa.

  22. #422
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    You might still be below us, but my trouble is that our remaining home games are Spurs, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Wolves, Man United, Crystal Palace, and Arsenal. Everyone of them 11th and up, currently. I would say that if you exclude freak results our best case scenario is maybe ten points, which leaves us needing to get a few points away (from West Ham, Newcastle, Everton and Bournemouth, most likely, given I don't see us getting much out of away trips to Leicester or Liverpool, and frankly even Southampton looks a bit of a stretch right now). But I could also see us losing all seven and needing to win all four of those away games to even have a chance.

    Our record at home isn't bad, so far. 5 wins out of 12 games is not too shabby, and if we'd nicked a couple of draws from defeats we'd be most of the way there. But away we've only won twice all season - the hard-fought win at Burnley and spanking Norwich back in October. And we've lost fully eight out of twelve games on the road. I am not at all comfortable having to trust to points won away from home to stay up, especially with Watford hitting a run of form.

    My only consolation is that right now, you wouldn't be surprised if this was more 34-35 points to stay up than 40.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  23. #423
    Have a very funny feeling West Ham might just do a job on 'pool tonight.

    Let's see how mad that statement looks in a few hours....

    Edit: ah well.....
    Last edited by Shee; 01-29-2020 at 06:28 PM.

  24. #424
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    Ha! That was more hope than even I had, Shee.

    I'm just glad it wasn't 4 or 5.

    Moyes has been in charge for six games and used six different formations, flipped between 3, 4 and 5 at the back and 1, 2, and (technically) 3 up top. Honestly, I don't think he has a clue what his best line up is, nor does he have a clue how he wants us to play and what formation that is. I thought he did alright with us before but didn't really achieve any more than Bilic would have done. I feel like this time he has no plan and we're worse off as a result.

    Matt Law from the Telegraph has made some really good comments, and by all accounts written well, about our problems. Our behind the scenes is an absolute shambles, we apparently have only got one scout, our training ground is a lot of prefab buildings and not up to scratch - the lack of investment in structure around the club is really damning.

    Honestly, I think relegation this season will lead us to being like a Sunderland or Portsmouth and we'll be drifting to League One with financial issues.

  25. #425
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I wouldn't mind betting someone would try and take you over if you got relegated. If the club is cut-price, someone like West Ham - huge fanbase, London-based, massive stadium - is always going to be attractive to someone. If a foreign billionaire saw it as a chance to cut the club on the cheap, they could then pour some of the money saved on the club into the infrastructure, and voila, you've got a Premier League quality club again.

    But yeah, we looked like we were on for the huge slide and then got took over, and I'd see the same as the likely outcome with West Ham. Don't take it personally if I say that I hope you don't sort it out at least until Villa are safe!

    Speaking of Villa, feelgood factor is back around the club after reaching the League Cup final. Don't think many people really thought we'd get the win over Leicester. Don't think there's much genuine optimism about the City game but turning over Leicester has given us the feeling that it's not over until it's over. Just as important is that maybe it'll pick everyone up enough to get a few wins in the league.


    Quick look at our form with/without Tyrone Mings. When he was out injured in December we managed just three points (out of 12). We've got seven from the twelve available since his return. Other than the Man City game (ominous for the League Cup but we'll gloss over that) we've only conceded a goal per game where he's played. Safe to say we'll need that tightness at the back to continue - and implicitly for him to stay fit and firing - if we're going to get over the line.

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  26. #426
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    Rumours were that Red Bull were interested in adding us to their group of football teams not so long ago - I believe there was a £650m bid rejected in 2016. Honestly, given what they've done at Leipzig and Salzburg, it seems like they'd really change the way the club played. I'm sure some fans would see it as the final nail in the 'old' West Ham coffin, but I don't doubt that it would move us forward.

    I think what's most appealing about that would be that they seem happy to build clubs from the ground up - and we need that kind of input now, let alone if we were relegated. I know their stuff at Salzburg and Leipzig wasn't exactly done in the nicest or most considerate way to club history or footballing traditions, but the idea of having them come in, rebuild the entire backroom staff, invest in the training facilities, potentially even buy the London Stadium for improvement/conversion - it's quite tantilising. RB West Ham London. Bring it on.

    On training facilities specifically, you look at or read about Rush Green and it's clear that we've been completely left behind in terms of how modern day football training facilities should be.

  27. #427
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Wow. West Ham is a kinda conservative fanbase, I think a lot of them would have an aneurysm at those developments!

    Reminds me of when Randy Lerner came in, and one of the things that people were concerned about was whether or not the American billionaire would sell off the naming rights to Villa Park. Obviously that never happened, but it was clear that the fans didn't want Villa Park to become the 'DWS Investments Stadium' or whatever. I recall there was a hint that they might do a deal on the name of the North Stand or similar but even that never came off in the end.

    But yeah, in some places and at some clubs traditions matter a lot, and since 90% of the West Ham fans I've ever met like to remind you that Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters all played for them in 1966 - even if the fan is about 30 - then I think it tells you what you need to know!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  28. #428
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    Equally Prime, there are a lot of that sort of fan who are already into not going to games any more since we move to the new stadium - they feel that there's been a massive sale on our history and club culture to benefit only Sullivan and Gold, and that we now attract a lot of 'football tourists' rather than fans, which has played a big part in the reduction in or loss of atmosphere at the ground. Seems like very game you hear about away fans being in with the home fans, people being present who are clearly not bothered either way, and so on.

    There's an American, Tripp Smith, some kind of hedge fund owner, who bought a 10% share of the club a couple of years ago. Apparently he's a specialist in takeovers of businesses. He also loaned the club £10m interest free, repayable only when the club changes hands. So it looks like there might be the groundwork there to get a takeover sorted.

    One thing of note - under the LLDC contract, if the club is sold for more than £125m, once debts are paid off (currently nearly £66m - doubled in the last year), a percentage of the money has to go back to the public purse. That clause only lasts until 2021. The more cynical fans I talk to believe that Tripp Smith was brought on board to secure a takeover, and that the basis for this is already in place - they're just holding off on pulling the trigger until that clause has expired. All a bit risky, especially when you look at our current position.

  29. #429
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    With quite a few clubs seemingly up for sale, itís interesting to see where the best purchase would be

    Good points raised about west ham

    Newcastle are attractive, and can add more fans with success, harder to do in London

    Leeds offer good value for money

    Then thereís a club like Man United...

  30. #430
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    Newcastle's an interesting one - a takeover there would, you'd think, bring back a fair few fans who've turned away during the Ashley ownership. St James' is a bit squashed in where it is, so developing it seems to pose a problem - I seem to remember there being some plans to rotate the pitch and gain capacity as a result not so long ago.

    Any Premier League club is probably an attractive proposition, in fairness. And as you say Bear, Leeds could probably be picked up for a relatively low cost but turn that into something if they pulled themselves into the Premier League.

    Man United has clear upsides, but they're also still quite in debt aren't they? Quite a big burden on any potential buyer, although I would imagine easy to relieve given their income as a club.

  31. #431
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say St James's needs developing, it already holds over 50000 which is still on the larger side of things in comparison to many other premier league grounds.

    The real sleeping giant for me is Leeds, they've been out of the premier league for so long now. A promotion and takeover within the next 2 or three 3 years could catapult them.



  32. #432
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Of course, Nottingham Forest were a huge club who'd been down for too long with a massive upside, and the Kuwaiti money didn't really do the job there. And I think some big investors have been through Sheffield Wednesday, who are obviously not as big as a Leeds but probably less far off it than people imagine, other than with that generation who were brought up on Billy Bremner et al. Though the failures in those cases doesn't seem to have put anyone off giving it a try.

    London may be a fairly saturated football market, but there's a bit of a theory out there that if you want to recruit players from Europe, they're generally more interested in going to London. Obviously success mitigates that, but teams like Spurs have always been able to attract good players even when the side was struggling, while it's harder to get players to go to some other cities (we couldn't even get David Unsworth's missus to move to Birmingham).

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  33. #433
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    Joey Beauchamp didn't like London!

    Forest are looking pretty good this season, mind you - and you'd have thought that should they get to the Premier League their backers would stump up. Marinakis is worth a lot of money.

    The thing with somewhere like Leeds is it's a one team city. You look at Newcastle and you've got Sunderland really nearby, Sheffield you've obviously got United and Wednesday, Nottingham you could make an argument for County I guess...Leeds doesn't have a really local competing club for people's affections, Hull is probably the nearest. So if someone did invest in the club and expand the stadium (for example - it's still a 38k stadium so probably doesn't need to be expanded) it would likely get filled. Where as in Sheffield you're not going to suddenly convert a United fan/family to going to Wednesday.

    I would guess London is similar - although there is the offset, as you say Prime, of being more attractive to players. Mind you, such is the money in the Premier League now that I daresay you can sweet talk someone into moving to anywhere for enough weekly wages...

  34. #434
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Not within the city, but you've got Bradford, Barnsley and Huddersfield in close proximity, and the two Manchester teams are just a short trip up the M62 for the more 'glory hunting' supporter. There's also an unusual amount of competition from other sports in the area. Leeds is one of the few cities to boast decent sides in both Rugby Union and League, not to mention other League teams in nearby Wakefield, Halifax, Castleford, Bradford again....

    Obviously that last won't make a dent in the 'football or nothing' crowd, but Leeds also isn't that kind of city and I suspect the people who are like that are already in the Leeds fanbase. Like Leicester, it's always been inclined to play up it's 'triple threat' multi-sport background and proficiency. Go to Leeds and half the hotels are trying to trade off the fact Headingley is in the city.

    There are a hell of a lot of people who were Leeds fans under Don Revie who are all about 60 now. It'd be interesting to see how many of them started piping up if Leeds were good again, and if they could pass it on to their... I guess grandkids? That could grow your audience outside of the city pretty substantially.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  35. #435
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Fun quiz if anyone fancies giving it a try. I got 123, but I'm sure some of you can do better.

    https://www.sporcle.com/games/manont...trick?t=soccer

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  36. #436
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    Will give it a go later!

    Terrified about our match with Man City tonight - think we're going to see a real backlash from the loss against Spurs, the rest period, and the UEFA stuff.

    Apparently the odds on City winning 6-0 are worse than the odds on West Ham winning at all!

  37. #437
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    121... That was harder than I thought it'd be. Though a point of pride is the I got all the players from the last 10 odd years, it's the oldies I struggled with!



  38. #438
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Very much the reverse with me. I think I nailed most of the 1990s ones but struggled with more contemporary players in the perennially lower-half teams.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  39. #439
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Will give it a go later!

    Terrified about our match with Man City tonight - think we're going to see a real backlash from the loss against Spurs, the rest period, and the UEFA stuff.

    Apparently the odds on City winning 6-0 are worse than the odds on West Ham winning at all!
    This was...a better result than I was expecting, but a miserable, miserable performance. Seemed like we effectively lined up in a 5-5-0 and never got out of that formation, even when we went down a goal. 3 shots all night (all off target), an xG of 0.09(!), one pass completed within 20 yards of City's goal...genuinely, we played better when we lost 0-5 to them on the opening day than we did last night.

  40. #440
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    What we really wanna know, though, is how you got on with the hat trick quiz!

    Saw a lot of speculation on the twitterz tonight, does Rooney still get into the United team if he was on their books? Lot of people saying he probably would, even allowing for the fact he's playing at a lower level.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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