Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday August 22 2008
Henry of Vital WHU takes one step forward to face Vital MC's Magnificent Seven Questions Pre Match Interview...
1. So the Premier League is up and running again and you have a hard fought opening day win under your belts. West Ham to reach for the stars this season?
I would hope so, but yet I'm still to be convinced. In the match against Wigan, we did well to score the opening two goals but the rest of the match felt laboured and hard fought for, especially in the second half where from the second half whistle onwards we felt like we were holding on for a draw at the best. I hope this season is not going to continue like this, which is a style remarkably similar to that of recent, which ultimately makes for very dull football to watch under Curbishley - hence tenth place in 2007/8 and no real feel of achievement.
2. How's the transfer business going?
I'd be lying if I said it was going well. The sale of Bobby Zamora is an example. We sell bench players but are not replacing them at all which will mean that we will struggle when the usual suspects limp off after five minutes in a match. Dean Ashton and Craig Bellamy are fantastic players but their injury records speak for themselves - Carlton Cole and the eighteen-year-old Freddie Sears I fear are not adequate back up. In the same transfer though, regarding Zamora, we had sold John Pantsil, a squad player initially bought by Alan Pardew to compete for a first team place, and have subsequently brought in what should be a first team regular in the form of Valon Behrami - a good bit of business. We need to spend more on players, and admittedly offload some more players, before 1st September.
3. Next stop Manchester City. Smell the fear or relax with a beer?
Playing against Man City is difficult at the best of times, hence the fact that we are without a league win against you in over two years. As seen with our club and the ownership fiasco it has destabilised your team so looking at the situation optimistically it would seem to be a good time to play you. However, despite the injuries you may currently be facing, Sven had built up a quality base of players so the match is not to be underestimated.
4. Who of Manchester City's relatively small squad would you love to see in a Hammers shirt and who would you like to send us in a part ex?
I would love to see Benjani sign for us though I'm not sure his style of play would compliment Dean Ashton completely. I remember when at Portsmouth there were question marks hanging over his ability so he has really come on leaps and bounds since then. I'm sure you'd be happy with Nigel Quashie in return.
5. YOU are the new Premier League Chief Executive. You have been granted three measures / ideas which will go unopposed by all 20 clubs to improve the top flight game in England. Choose them wisely...
-A referendum to be held on behalf of each clubs' fans before the sale of any player, to stop greedy club officials farming any teams' best players off the the top seven in an order to pay for their new luxury yacht.
-Reduce the inflation of prices set upon home grown English players. For the kind of money that could tempt a club to sell an English player worth around £10-12m, it is possible to buy five or six South American players of a similar ability, which ultimately, I believe is killing the national game.
-A wage cap across the league. Players now are greedy and whether or not they get near to £100k-per-week often depends on if they sign for a prospective club or not.
6. You appear to be enduring something of an injury crisis. Do you have the strength in depth to see it through?
In a word, no. We need to sign more players, desperately. We have perhaps one of the largest squads in the league but a lot of players involved rarely participate and really belong at a lower level. The problem being, we need to sell before we buy which is stopping us buying new players as no-one wants to buy the worst players in our squad!
7. Go on then. Sunday's result?
I'll be going to this match so having driven 'oop north' for a rare away game I shall be expecting a result. However, this is unlikely and in the past few seasons the West Ham way in the opening few games is to go W-D-L, so I'll go with a score draw.
Many thanks and respect going out to Henry and the Vital WHU team.
Date:Friday August 22 2008
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