My uncle Joe was an enigmatic character. A hairy-ar$ed Cockney painter and decorator with industrial language to match, his great loves in life were the boozer, yer West ‘Am and hanging on to Teddy Boy clothing long after the rest of East London had long discarded it.
But he also adored opera and The Times crossword, which he rarely failed to complete. His favourite tenor was Gigli. It all seems so long ago.
He took me to Upton Park a few times. Of course, I was made to stand outside the Duke of Edinburgh on Green Street for ages on end with several similar 10-year-olds with a glass of lemonade and a couple of arrowroot biscuits. We used to knock a ball about in the courtyard until one of the barmen came out, told us off and confiscated the ball.
This was the era of Peters, Moore and Hurst. Joey used to wax lyrical about the “pure” way West Ham played. His attitude was that even if they lost they were great value to watch.
He would love Daniel Farke’s Norwich.
There is huge debate concerning whether playing attractive, on the floor football will lead to an upward exit from the Championship. Fulham managed it, although they are currently suffering in the Premier League. As City fans, we know that feeling all too well.
Okay, Bournemouth made eight changes on Tuesday, but so did we. And by all accounts, the style did not change and from the extended highlights, I’ve seen we gave them one heck of a run for their money. Eddie Howe, who I totally respect, was full of sincere praise for us afterwards. And he knows what it’s like to get out of the Championship. Our last promotion was alongside the Cherries and Watford.
It more than slightly irks me that Bournemouth and Watford found investment and a way to establish themselves in the PL while we did not. But I won’t open that Hornets’ nest just now.
If Dennis Srbeny had a pair of shooting boots and Jordan Rhodes hadn’t fluffed his lines with that late header we could easily have taken it to penalties. We didn’t, life must go on.
There is no need for anyone to feel down about that performance. No need at all.
There are positives in that Timm Klose was fit enough to be on the bench, Ben Godfrey let nobody down, Onel Hernandez is back with a bang and Timmu Pukki made a late cameo which convinces me that he will return to replace the ineligible Rhodes at Wednesday on Saturday.
I’m slightly surprised Alex Tettey played the full 90; maybe with Louis Thompson injured that was Farke’s only option.
And with Todd Cantwell probably out on Saturday, why not try Mario Vrancic at Number Ten?
I had no idea it was Farke’s birthday yesterday, but for him to get a song from our supporters to mark the event shows how much we really are appreciating how his project is coming along.
So no regrets about Tuesday night – the Carabao may be over for this season but the League – which with respect is what really matters to us – continues. Our squad is so much better balanced than last season and we seem to have acquired the depth therein that we need.
Unlike our last two visits to Hillsborough, I can promise you it will not end in a 5-1 reverse.
If Uncle Joe were looking down on us he would be proud of the way we play – just like yer West ‘Am of old, ain’t it?
Or remembering some of Joey’s finer moments, he may well be looking up