Are West Ham The New Stoke City?

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Joe Cole Jonny Evans Manchester UnitedIn recent weeks, pundits, journalists, managers and fans have been concluding that West Ham United are becoming the new ‘Stoke City’. Personally I find this laughable and degrading to both West Ham United and Stoke City. Simply because the objection of what is ‘long ball’ football and what is ‘direct football’ has become so blurred.

This weekend, I came back from Upton Park feeling fairly perplexed. I wasn’t sure of what I had seen from our performance against Newcastle United. I wasn’t sure of whether it was a hard earned point, two points dropped, or if either team deserved anything from the game. Nonetheless, I arrived home and saw that Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew had said, ‘you’re going to get a lot of balls in the box when you come here’. He could only have been referring to the fact that West Ham United like to flood the box with crosses. However, I then later thought that this was a reference to the link that West Ham United are becoming a new ‘Stoke’.

Firstly, I couldn’t care less about West Ham United’s style of play. I’m not bothered if we play football that wins awards for being over pretentiously brilliant, or if the ball touches the floor once in 90 minutes. All I want to see from West Ham United is energy, passion, and commitment with hopefully some wins. Entertaining football is winning football. Not one comment will be made about the club’s style of play if we win; however if we draw or lose, it’s dying out long ball football. Nevertheless what is ‘long ball’ football?

Ashley Westwood played a perfect fluid through ball to Gabriel Agbonlahor at Norwich at the weekend, this assist set up a pivotal win for Aston Villa. Was this a long ball? The ball must have travelled at least 25 yards to Agbonlahor, surely that is a long ball. Recently, Wayne Rooney passed an inch perfect ball to Robin Van Persie for his second goal over Aston Villa. This has since been called one of the goals of the season. However this ball was played at least 40 yards. Was this long ball?

Of course they were long balls, the football was of course direct. When was it law that every club has to play perfect fluid football? Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis have found ways to win football matches. They keep their teams in the Premier League. Stoke aren’t yet safe, but they are highly unlikely to drop out now. If Pulis and Allardyce keep their team in the Premier League, everyone is happy. If managers, fans, pundits and journalists want to link West Ham United to Stoke City, good for them. I’ll certainly take a media perception of being a ‘Stoke’ over welcoming Doncaster and Bournemouth to Upton Park next year. I’m sure Mr. Redknapp and Mr. Adkins would be happy to do so too.

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  • The Cat says:


    But we could’ve been the next Pompy, if we didn’t have a common sense approach from the manager and chairmen.
    Clubs in a hurry crash and burn. Keep an eye on QPR and their sexy football in the near future!

    • Dave Lea says:

      Well said mate.

      I know that yuo can’t please all of the people all of the time but I do despair at our fans. We were at an all time low 2 years ago yet some fans seem even more concerned about our plight now than then?? Did people really enjoy our football under Zola and Grant, losing to average teams every week and being the leagues easy touch. I think its arrogance to put our football tradition and history above everyone elses. Personally I like the fact that we are a tough orrible team to beat now and promotion and a probable top ten finish 2 years after being easily the worst team in the league and being close to bankruptcy is close to astonishing. will be happy when he signs a new contract and we can move forward over the next few years

  • Paul says:

    The point is that you don’t have to play like Stoke to stay in the Premiership. You could play like Swansea. The budget’s the same. If not less. And I’d rather watch that kind of football than be the club that’s committed the most fouls. But maybe that’s your idea of entertainment.

    • Taffyhammer says:

      Paul – go and watch Swansea then. Give me this anyday. I don’t yearn for the West Ham Way – turn up and cross your fingers – we had a terrible and depressing time under Roeder, Curbishly and Grant. Now it seems everyone’s an expert when we overachieve. If we finish 10th this year – anything less than top 5 all season next year is going to cause a crisis and Big Sam will be called a clueless Neanderthal. When Swansea (incidentally Wigan try to play a similar game) struggle next season, do we switch our role models? Garth Crooks was banging on in that self-righteous way of his just a couple of weeks ago – ‘if Stoke manage to survive, Tony Pulis’s days are numbered. The Stoke fans will demand that the team improves and plays a better style of football’.
      What a load of nonsense. We don’t all marvel at the wonderful Barcelona team that lost in the semi (or Real Madrid for that matter). Just be the best at what you do and use any attributes at your disposal to achieve the end goal. If football was all about ‘the pretty fluid game’ then nobody would ever bother watching anything outside ‘classicos’ and we would not have any youngsters playing at all.

  • webbo says:

    I prefer a direct style of play. Too much is made of our style of play, in any case. There have been times this season when we’ve played some brilliant football. Other times maybe we have been a bit brutal, but the important thing is we’re effective. Wigan play a nice passing game and they look odds on to be relegated. As my old P.E. teacher would say, “safety first, boys.”

  • Davie D says:

    im 45 and im still wondering what exactly this famous west ham way is ! Must have been the 50’s , 60’s and early 70’s cos ive been watching whu since the late 70’s and i havent seen it. Since then we have mostly mixed it up . We just used to have excellent wingers like alan devonshire and mark ward. . Are we the new stoke ? F off ffs WHU are much bigger than stoke city. I too much prefer getting stuck in and winning games.

    Also in the 80’s any ticky fickin tacky teams would have been kicked off the park. The game has changed and allowed such play by teams cos tough tackling and intimidation are all but gone from our game.

    Hence the reason liverpool aint won the league for so long. Well that and the back pass rule.

    Keep it up Sam . Im lovin it!


  • Shaz says:

    I too have been going to see west ham since the 70s and don’t for the life of me know what people mean when they go on about the west ham way either – Bobby Moore used to play some great balls up to Geoff Hurst straight out of defence and we have always loved a winger who could get down to the bye line and cross into the box. I love the fact that we are a tougher side and as fergie said aggressive – that’s called competing much rather that than be pushovers!! All I ever ask for from players at west ham is commitment, passion and pride in the shirt – when you leave the ground after a game you like to know that they have given 100% win lose or draw that’s what matters

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