Following West Ham United’s excellent performance against Manchester United on Wednesday night, the press had a field day. But not, as you would think, in relation to the fact that we absolutely battered the future Champions of England. No, the press took this opportunity to blast Andy Carroll’s battling style, one reporter in particular, Paul Hayward of the Telegraph, says that Carroll’s style is not welcome in the Premier League anymore, and mimicked a style that was in English football in the 1980’s.
The main point of his report related to Carroll’s challenge on David De Gea in the first half, where Carroll was late for a challenge and clattered into him. Sir Alex Ferguson said he felt that he should have been red carded, and of course, every member of the press agreed with him because they seem too intimidated by him to form their own opinion. If I am honest, I’m surprised Carroll didn’t pick up a yellow card, but there are other decisions and challenges that go unpunished also, and I firmly believe that Carroll was going for the ball. If you look closely at the replay, Carroll only connected with De Geas torso, and not his face like the flappy Man U keeper made out. So no, I don’t think it was worthy of a red card.
As for the article written by Paul Hayward, suggesting that Carroll is an 80’s throwback, what about Peter Crouch, what about Alan Shearer, and what about Les Ferdinand? All of these were/are powerful target men, who were too strong for their opposition. They fouled their opponent many times without punishment; Crouch himself nearly kicked Matt Taylor’s head off at the Brittania in our recent win there. Just because we play a different style to others, doesn’t mean we are not welcome in the elite of England, and doesn’t mean we are wrong to be doing it. Do West Ham United play within the rules of the game? Yes they do. Andy Carroll has nothing to worry about either – his form has been brilliant for West Ham since his return from injury. Andy Carroll won a battle against two of the best centre backs in Europe in Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
In the article by Paul Hayward, supposedly Sports Writer of The Year – he mentions that football is no longer played at head height, and that the ball up to the striker is caveman stuff. Well, yes, sometimes we play the ball up to big Andy when we are under pressure, and we use him as an outlet. But tell me Mr Hayward, tell me where the long ball was when Mohamed Diame sprinted 50 yards with the ball, who spread the play to Matt Jarvis, who then made Rio Ferdinand look stupid as he wrong footed him, before dinking a beautiful cross to the back post, where Andy Carroll’s movement had lost his marker, Vidic, before he nodded back to Vaz Te to finish…… Where was the long ball to the striker when Vaz Te picked the ball up on the right, flicked the ball back to Demel, who guided a pass on the floor to Diame, who then mugged off Rooney and then smash an absolute beauty around the Manchester United defence, and into the corner?
I am the first to admit that I would love us to play total football every week, but I also love watching Andy Carroll out muscle two defenders, and bully a back line that’s meant to be the best in the UK. I love watching his work rate, his passion for football, and the effort he puts in every week. If only players like Wayne Rooney, who is meant to be England’s best striker, showed that passion when on England duty, we wouldn’t be in the predicament that the International team find themselves in.
So Mr Hayward, why don’t you concentrate on talking about the fact Manchester United were lucky to draw because of an absolutely terrible decision by a linesman, instead of crawling all over Fergie and trying to make a name for yourself. Let’s take a look at how West Ham out muscled, out powered, and out played the Premier League Champions.