I hate it when other supporters say “We don’t play football.” I understand ignorant opposition fans using this clumsy easy stereotype. However I find it much harder to comprehend from anyone that watches us?
What is that supposed to mean? Is there a wrong way or a right way of playing football? Other managers have different methods, for example Wigan play the proclaimed “good football” but where did that get them? What would you prefer fancy football or effective football? It’s all well and good on the eye, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, “Sam’s football” on it’s day is as effective as any.
We played Swansea last Saturday, one of those “good footballing” teams. They had a lot of possession but were wasteful. Whilst our “long ball game” was extremely effective, no one won a header against Andy. I still remember the totally boring football under Zola . We used to have 60-70% of the possession and only have 4 shots on 90 mins . We love our football at West Ham but if you look at our players of the year, historically most it’ll be the Bonds, Dicks, Parker type winning the award . Just give us blood and thunder and we are happy that’s our football. That’s the football we are known for, however if you look at our side; Downing, Ravel, Noble and Nocerino are all great passers of the ball.
For anyone who says it is isn’t good football, take Negredo’s goal against us in the Capital One Cup or RVP’s goal against us in the FA cup last year. I could name countless goals from “long balls”. Both goals were from a long pass, straight to the striker, but when it comes from someone like Gerrard it is deemed a “good pass”. Well Colllins to Carroll against WBA last year, what is that called “a punt”?
Yes, there is times where I get frustrated with some of our aimless long balls, and it is a risky system to play. As we have seen without Carroll it is pretty useless and I struggle to see Sam’s plan B. Our team is built around it now, but I’d rather see my team winning than see my team losing pretty. If I think back, Zola’s defence was shambolic, but the attack was good! Some could say the opposite with Sam. We are well regimented and organised at the back, even without our full strength defense. On our day, one of the best in the Premier League. Sam is an old school manager, he likes hard workers, he likes his British players and he likes to utilise the wingers!
In conclusion, it annoys me when an ignorant fan makes the simple comment that we are a “long ball” team, especially due to our illustrious past players, and the “West Ham way.” The pure fact is that many other teams do the exact same as us such as top four teams yet it is not labeled a “hoof.” Yet the principle is the same. Win ugly, or win pretty? Winning is winning.