The Lee Clayton Column


"West Ham's display was about as bad as it gets. It was a muddled,  clueless, anaemic performance that had manager Alan Pardew scratching his head in bewilderment."
                       -Ken Dyer, Evening Standard.

And that was one of the kinder reviews.
Did you go to Upton Park in the cold on Tuesday? Feeling bad about life as a West Ham fan at the moment? Okay, now imagine having to try and write something positive as a column! Lose 1-0 at home to Stoke, who have lost their last eight away games on the bounce and it's easier to write something complimentary about Swampy's tailor.

West Ham fans know about being on a rollercoaster ride, but this season is proving to be more haunted house than waltzer. How can a team play so well against Wigan, be within minutes of a deserved victory at West Brom and than play so shockingly badly against Stoke? This is not what it said on the invite, is it? "Come out of the Premiership, lose some of your better players for financial reasons, regroup and then storm the division and everything will feel a lot better come next May..." Okay, well the good news is that the leaders are only ten points clear and a string of victories will change the ugly look of the table at the moment. But, like Santa, it's fast becoming the time when the team have to deliver. I wasn't there on Tuesday, but my best mate was. The deal was this...he went to the game, I went to the office party.

Go to The Burning Question, part of the members only fanzone section, and let us know what you think of Lee's column this week

At least I was doing okay, until he continued to interrupt me with text messages which I mistook to be goal flashes. A beep and buzz in my pocket (no need for obvious cheap joke here) and I thought it must be a good nights work. The news, however, turned out to be about as uplifting as Christmas telly without Fools and Horses. Okay, enough of the gags. I was trying to bring a little cheer to an otherwise shockingly bad week, if you are a West Ham fan. Let's get it right. Beat Sunderland, they might be forgiven. I said might... It is time for the players to stand up and be counted, for them to prove what playing for West Ham means to them, for them to show support for their manager and reveal how grateful they are to the loyal support that still bring 24,000 paying customers through the door in the middle of winter. So here to help them is my (early) Christmas list of gifts. Me? I will just settle with three points against Sunderland, a bit more effort, a few more goals, a lot more quality. We know it is there. Sitting in ninth place in the First Division is a good time to show it.

Michael Carrick. Some confidence. We all know you have the ability and have just returned from a long injury, but we need you to start bossing games and edging back to your best form. You should be THE outstanding player in this division. I am sure you will be.

Jermain Defoe. Discipline. No more silly bookings. You are the best striker in this division and we need you to show it, for as long as you are here. Give us something special to remember you by. Sitting on the sidelines for five games while the team toils isn't one of them.

Tomas Repka. The form you showed against Wigan. Did the manager take you off because you were giving their players such a hard time? You looked more comfortable than ever before.

Mathew Etherington. Fitness. You have made a good start in a West Ham shirt and, as the only winger, need to avoid those late, crunching tackles from rival full-backs. A bit more work on the final pass to match the direct build up play would also be gratefully received. Big things are expected of you.

David James. A new contract. Still great to see his imposing figure between the sticks. Long may it continue, for West Ham - and England.

Hayden Mullins. A compass. Only joking, just a goal or two like that at the other end and everything will be fine.

Steve Lomas. Cotton wool. He is going to be crucial in getting out of this division, lending a hand to Carrick and Mullins when the going gets tough and has never shied away from a tackle. No more injuries, please.

David Connolly. A run of goals like the one you had last season for Wimbledon.

The groundsman. A pot of green paint. To get rid of the sign that says 'The Academy of Football'. Well, come on fellas. If going down isn't bad enough, we lost 1-0 at home to STOKE. You can always paint it back when the First Division trophy is collected at the last home game of the season...

Go to The Burning Question, part of the members only fanzone section, and let us know what you think of Lee's column this week