Friday, 21 August 2015

Rival Lines: West Ham Til I Die - Bilic's gambles sometimes pay off

Rival Lines
Match Preview
West Ham Utd v AFCB
Blogger Interview: West Ham Till I Die
Twitter: @westhamfootball

It's hard for the Cherries to keep under the radar these days and us fans seem to be equally in high demand so when Sean Whetstone of the West Ham Til I Die blog asked me to share my views with his readers on the fortunes of AFCB so far it was a good opportunity to get a little more information on West Ham's preparations for the match against AFC Bournemouth and to see what another Hammer fan thought about how Slaven Bilic would do this season. So here you go - some more Rival Lines.

CC: Were you pleased to have a change of manager over the summer?

WHTID: I think it was time for a change for both parties, Sam Allardyce did what he was asked (just) for the seasons he was in charge but we lost our passion and he never bonded with the fans really. His arrogance finally cost him his job but I don't wish ill as long as he keeps his mouth shut about his time at West Ham and saying we were ungrateful.

CC: What do you make of the disciplinary start you have had this season - unlucky or deserved?

WHTID: Slightly ironic that we win the fair play league last season and get a Europa league place then get three players sent off plus a manager. On top of that we lost Adrian at the weekend for three games. I think we have been slightly unlucky, we are not a dirty team.

CC: The Cherries stuck eight past Darren Randolph when he was last in a Birmingham shirt at St Andrews so I guess he might not feel overly confident going into this game?

WHTID: Actually you have put 16 goals past Randolph over the past three matches against him when in goal for Birmingham [Ed- don't worry it was only 12 he let in against the Cherries last season in total but who's counting? Robert Green is now said to be a target for the Hammers]. I think you will find our defence slightly more robust that Birmingham's. A few fans are worried about him after watching him in the Europa league. This is his one chance to shine. If he fails on Saturday he is unlikely to get another chance. He has big shoes to fill in the shape of Adrian but I wish him well.

CC: Your start against Arsenal was terrific what did Bilic get so right in that game?

WHTID: Bilic took a gamble and played Reece Oxford, everyone had Arsenal to win and we surprised them. Great team performance and worthy of the two nil win. Mauro Zarate has an excellent game too and showed his talent to his new manager.

CC: Do you think there is more pressure at home on the West Ham players as they started slowly against Leicester or is there another reason for that first half performance?

WHTID: Leicester City put 10 men behind the ball and made it very difficult for us to play our game, far play to them that's their job. The damage was down in the first half. We had a good second half but couldn't make up the ground. Yes the Ref had a part to play but no use moaning about it, swings and roundabouts, some decisions go your way and some don't. It usually evens itself out over the season.

CC: West Ham have brought in some quality players but which player will give AFC Bournemouth the most problems on Saturday?

WHTID: Dimtri Payet is amazing with one assist and one goal already, hoping he creates a fantastic partnership with Diafra Sakho who has yet score in the first two games. Lanizini is due to replace Zarate who is injured and both new boys Obiang and Ogbonna are likely to feature.

CC: What kind of view do fans get from the Trevor Brooking stand?

WHTID: My season ticket is the Sir Trevor Brooking lower stand so I bias, the atmosphere is amazing and it's the best place in the stadium for noise. Obviously it's behind the goal so the view is not the best but you can be guaranteed lots of banter with West Ham fans in the away section.

CC: Are you looking forward to moving to the Olympic stadium or are you apprehensive about it?

WHTID: I am very much pro stadium move and can't wait to move in. It is a real opportunity for us to move up a gear in the Premier League and it is a shame our move is dominated by talks of state aid and tax payers money. It would have been a white elephant had West Ham not bid to move in and people forget we only rent it for 25 days per year, so we have to get up our permanent home in a way. I recently visited the Stadium during the Athletics weekend and it still has that WOW factor!

CC: West Ham pinched Harry Redknapp from us in the past and there were whispers that you were chasing Eddie Howe this, but would you say most of the Hammers' fans want a manager that has played for the club?

WHTID: Well you have to remember, Harry is East end boy and West Ham through and through having played for us more than the Cherries. He joined us from Tottenham in 1962 as a boy and played for us between 1965 and 1972 before joining Bournemouth. So you pinched him from us first! As for Eddie Howe, I know our board greatly admire him and it was on a B list of candidates but I don't think they would take the gamble a year before the Olympic Stadium and I don't think Howe would leave you either in his moment of glory. I like Eddie Howe and hope it will became a great English manager.

CC: What is your score prediction for the game?

WHTID: Well you showed you can handle yourself with Liverpool and mix it with the big boys. I think you will stop us playing our game like Leicester City did and it is likely to be a low scoring game. I predict a 1-0 narrow win for the Hammers. From set play from a Payet corner and Sakho getting his first goal of the season.

CC: A pretty good set of answers there from Sean. I'm not sure about Eddie Howe ever being on a B list but I liked Sean's recovery! As for the Olympic stadium it looks like that story will run and run with eight London teams now deciding that they don't like the idea. I wonder where those clubs were when Leyton Orient were trying to make a stand a couple of years ago. Personally I'll be please that the stadium is being used and not being knocked down. West Ham are all about legacy with their great history and may be the Cherries can make some of their own history at Upton Park this weekend by getting their first win in the Premier League.

Please check out more of Sean's great words on the West Ham Till I Die Blog. Bianca Westwood has a good piece on Slaven Bilic and thoughts after their Arsenal and Leicester City games - From ecstasy to agony - well worth a read. You should also find my return answers up on the West Ham Til I Die site today.

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