West Ham v Sunderland: cheer or gloom in store?

Sixer by Jake

See the West Ham ‘Who are You?’ – https://safc.blog/2012/09/west-ham-v-sunderland-who-are-you/

Pete Sixsmith admits that his attendance at Upton Park tomorrow is perhaps more a case of duty than the pursuit of pleasure. He probably lets that 8-0 defeat in 1968 prey unduly on the mind …

West Ham United away is not a fixture I particularly enjoy, so this weekend’s game is being approached more with trepidation than optimism.


Over the years, we have had some painful defeats there, including the infamous 8-0 hiding that almost saw the family Ford Cortina plough into several houses in Leeholme Road and an awful 5-0 walloping in 1989 that put me off my stroke in a quiz in Bishop Auckland.


On the other hand, I witnessed a fine 2-1 win when we sealed the Championship in 2005 when Julio and Stephen Elliot (currently scratching a living at Coventry City – surely working in McDonalds is preferable) notched two fine goals.


I was also there eighteen months ago when we won 3-0 thanks to Sess, Zenden and Riveros and we celebrated well as we sneaked above the Mags to finish tenth – something that a certain Humberside resident constantly reminds us of.


That was a day when the Hammers fans went up in my estimation. They were already relegated and the mood could have turned sullen and unpleasant as the Boleyn Ground once again was plundered by raiders from up north.


But the Hammers took their punishment stoically and accepted the fact that a stint in the Championship, while a wee bit embarrassing, might be a way of rebuilding the club and they certainly did not take it out on the sun drenched Sunderland fans who celebrated wildly when West Brom came back to equalise at the soon to be Sports Direct Arena.


Still time – until kickoff – to guess the score and maybe win, er, a mug … https://safc.blog/2012/09/west-ham-v-safc-guess-the-score-while-mon-mug-stocks-last/

Their Championship sentence duly served, (although it took a very nervy play off victory to get back), they are once again welcoming fans to Upton Park – but maybe not for much longer.


They have their eyes on the nearby Olympic Stadium, scene of so many breathtaking moments over the summer and it looks as if they will succeed in their latest bid to become tenants rather than owners.


If they do, no longer will we be able to walk down Green Street, past the jolly pubs and cafes of the East End while Pearly Kings and Queens regale us with stories of Ronnie and Reggie and Charlie Richardson (RIP).


We will miss the lovely stroll past the bus garage, with its authentic East End exhaust fumes as we make our way to the visitors end, with its wholly unsuitable rake of seats and its poor view. Upton Park is a good advert for moving rather than improving. In fact, I would say that it is worse now than it was in the 1970’s.


As always, I travel with optimism, although the definite absence of Cuellar and the likely absence of Johnson leave me less optimistic than I would have been had they been playing.


Bramble will not have to face pace as he did last week and he needs to out muscle Carlton Cole and whichever other big man flung on by the tactical genius known as Big Sam.


Hopefully, we will not have to suffer the Nolan Chicken Dance as he will be snuffed out by Cattermole and Colback, allowing Larsson and McClean to rampage down the wings. We can but hope.


As one of the few undefeated teams in the league, alongside the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and, er, Stoke, we have shown that we can eke out results.


However, we are also in the company of Reading, Southampton and, er, Liverpool as teams who have failed to win so far, so a second consecutive win at the home of English football’s Finest Hour (as some of their fans tell us) would be more than welcome.


I hope for a cheery coach journey home, but am prepared for a gloomy one.

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