Ambition has been in no short supply since “Big” Sam Allardyce came into the picture at West Ham. There is never a shortage of complaints regarding the system he plays with many feeling that his focus on the long ball and set pieces is blasphemous, a traitorous style not respecting the traditional “West Ham Way.” Fair play on that, his style certainly wouldn’t be described as attractive football.Read more
Andy Carroll made a good first impression now didn’t he? By all accounts Andy’s first outing for the Irons was an industrious one in which he wreaked havoc for Fulham’s defenders before going off in the 75th minute for a full hearted challenge that upset his hamstring. He knocked down the ball which Ricardo Vaz Te laid on for Kevin Nolan to bury before Winston Reid headed home on the half hour mark. To finish off a dream first half Matty Taylor took a gift from Fulham’s Brede Hangeland and knocked it in. Guy Demel was another player who went off injured in the latter stages, replaced by young Rob Hall with Taylor taking over the full back position. It was a far better effort then last weeks calamitous match with Swansea. West Ham played the ball on the ground a lot more and Carroll made a massive impact in his first match for us. Perhaps now with the price tag pressure off his back Big Andy can now gain back some of the form he showed at Newcastle.
Figured with Garcia/Morales II being officially announced this week, part of a card to welcome boxing back to Brooklyn, what better way to celebrate than making this weeks Friday Night Fight the 2000 Fight of the Year Barrera/Morales I. When you talk most exciting fighters in the last decade you will hear the same names repeated again. Marquez, Pacquaio, Barrera, Morales, Gatti, Ward, Vazquez. Really in the lower weight classes we witnessed some of the best fights of all time. Barrera/Morales I might be the one which kick started all the others. It made each mans career, became a signature fight for them one which people will always look back on when reviewing the careers of both men. You want to know how Marco Antonio Barrera fought, how Erik Morales fought? Watch this fight. It’s hard to believe 12 years later we still have Erik Morales in the ring. The man has an undying will to fight, to prove his mettle in the center of the ring. In October he’ll get yet another chance to prove the game hasn’t moved past him.
First Cut Friday is back in full effect. One of our favorite producers is Joe “The Boss” Mansano. Although he was far from a prolific producer he generally only put out quality cuts. His Joe label is one of those labels that isn’t sought after simply for being a rarity to come across, the man put out some serious gold with regularity. And his Brixton Cat LP, which compiled a number of his finer productions, is a highly sought after prize for any collector. Although this particular track comes with a matrix stamp DU-24, as far as anyone has records this was the first 45 put out on the label. Indicative of what was to come. Mansano used Rico Rodriguez quite a bit so it’s only fitting the first record he puts out on his own label features the man doing his thing. Another fine start to a classic label.
We and Jamaicans share a lot of common interests. One of the biggest? Spaghetti Westerns. It may seem like a bit of stretch when you look at the logistics of it. How exactly did it come to pass that Italian produced Westerns became so popular all the way over in Jamaica? There’s likely been some sort of study done on it, but we haven’t seen it. Its easy to see the appeal with the rude boys of the day. It was common for them to get a little too excited during showings of “For a Fistful of Dollars” and “Death Rides a Horse” and other Spaghetti Western classics and start shooting at the screen in tandem with their big screen heroes. Regardless of how they got there they had a big impact on Jamaican society. Since music is oftentimes a reflection on society of the day it’s not surprising that reggae tracks inspired by the genre popped up en masse. This is one of our favorites: Savage Colt by The Eldorados. Really the genre was responsible for numerous huge instrumentals and DJ cuts, so while one of our favorites there still is a lot of gold one can search out. We suggest starting out with the Magnificent Fourteen compilation Trojan put out. Then if you’re lucky enough get a copy of the Big Gundown compilation put out by Earmark. You’re in for a treat.
It’s been awhile since we’ve just sat down and enjoyed watching the highlights of a fighter. It’s debatable if there has ever been a fighter that provided more highlights throughout his career than Mike Tyson. He was quite simply a destroyer, a man who had one of the most impressive, devastating and violent rises to the top of the sport in its history. Before he took on the “Iron” monicker, Mike was known as Kid Dynamite. Our personal favorite nickname for him. Few nicknames in the sport have ever been more definitive of the fighter, Mike’s KO power and bursts of violent flurries unrivaled. The rest of his life has been just as incredible of a journey as the beginning of his career. Who would have thought the kid in this video would end up on Broadway doing a one man show?
Big Sam has finally landed his man. It was confirmed by the club today that West Ham have completed the signing of Andy Carroll on a season long loan. Let us be honest: we didn’t want Andy at the club. It seemed as though he had no desire to play for the club and while that was the case we had no use for him. Our thinking was if he thinks he’s too good for West Ham than he can jog on. Now that he’s signed for the year, we’re behind him 100%. While certainly still wary of just how well Andy will fare, if he’s a Hammer he’s a Hammer and he gets our full support. Certainly when we look at the situation more objectively it looks like it could be a very good piece of business. Big Sam’s style of play is built around whipping the ball into the box towards a big striker and/or scoring off of set pieces. Andy Carroll, all 6’3” of him, is built for that style of play. We’re not going to see any tika-taka style passing or Messi inspired mazy runs through defenders, he’s a goal poacher and a very serious aerial threat. Yes his stats last season were far from impressive but at the same time he had Stewart Downing providing service. We rest our case. So let’s get on with it Andy. Make us regret ever doubting you.
Nice snap of one of our summer signings, Modibo Maiga, banging in one at Crewe on Tuesday evening. By all accounts the match was a bit of a walk in the park with a load of fringe players getting a run out to show their stuff. Alou Diarra landed his first full cap playing in the center of defense and we personally rather seem him partnered in the middle of the park with Winston Reid rather than James Collins. We were as pleasantly surprised with Collins performance in the Villa match as everyone else, but does he really have what it takes to perform at that level throughout an entire season? Diarra excels in the middle of the park as a defensive midfielder but we have Diame to play that role as well as get forward with the ball. Stephen Henderson started in goal for West Ham which may be a sign that Big Sam is moving on from Jasskelainen. We hope so at least, Henderson is a very talented youngster. It’ll be interesting to see whether either goalscorer, Maiga or Nicky Maynard, start on the weekend. Big Sam is going to have some tough choices in his team selection this week.
We wanted to honor Neil Armstrong, but we were unsure how to do it in our way. A dig through a record box with a faint recollection of possibly owning a track by the Hippy Boys that was titled after the American astronaut and first man to step foot on the moon brought us to this track. Although the impact of the moon landing on society as a whole cannot be understated, we’ve always found it interesting just how excited many Jamaican recording artists seemed to be about it. Just look at the number of skinhead reggae tunes with “Moon” in the title. It’s also been said certain stylistic traits of the astronauts casual wear had an influence on skinhead style. Neil Armstrong is bigger than all that though. Icon is a oft misused phrase nowadays. Mr. Armstrong was one man the word icon was never misused when describing him. Rest in peace.
This wasn’t exactly a great sight for West Ham supporters yesterday afternoon. Yes that’s James Collins watching Swansea’s Michu chase down his back pass. Collins looked a completely different player then the Man of the Match in last weekends opening day win. Jussi Jaaskelainen didn’t fair much better. Jussi has been one of the most reliable ‘keepers in the Premier League throughout his career so mistakes are few and far between but that doesn’t mean much after his calamitous error on Saturday. We’re left wondering if perhaps Big Sam takes a chance on young Stephen Henderson next week. There was very few positives in yesterdays match so we’re just going to think forward to the next one. Also, to those West Ham supporters who were acting like the loss was a sign of the end of the world: keep it together. We’re not going to win them all and Swansea smashed QPR for 5 last weekend. We’ve got a lot of improvements to make but one loss in August won’t be the story of our season.