Ahead of today’s clash with West Ham United, we’ve invited Jello Diafra on to discuss his thoughts on the Hammers current high flying situation, a spot of banter and predictions for a second London derby in three days.
You loved beating us By JD
There’s a great line in Fight Club which sums up the current position of my favourite club. It’s not “I’d fight Gandhi” ’cause I’m not supporting Millwall. It’s not “I felt like destroying something beautiful” either since I’m not a Stoke City supporter. “The richest, creamiest fat in the world, the fat of the land”? Nah, that’s Chelsea. It’s not even “Bob had bitch tits”, as the only thing you lot will ever agree with me is that Bob means Tottenham. My club is West Ham and the line is: “you met me at a very strange time in my life.”
West Ham is one point away from a Champions League spot on Boxing Day. I can repeat that all day long and it won’t really make an impression on me. Why? Because I’ve been following West Ham for too long to believe life is anything but the endless list of cruel disappointments ranging from funny ones like Tevez and Mascherano being substitutes for Marlon Harewood and Hayden Mullins to heartbreaking ones like Dean Ashton’s career ending injury. That’s the reason I can’t imagine the Real Madrid bus on the streets of East London unless it’s nicked and on its way to be chopped. So, instead of dreaming about Wednesday city breaks I dream about West Ham reaching 42 “safe” points in January.
The first step towards that goal is to win today and that really goes to show how things have changed for our clubs. For too long the goal has been to win a game with Arsenal or any other big or supposedly big club. These days winning that kind of game is not a prize anymore, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Which makes me really, really sad because if we don’t win tomorrow we’ll win against Brummies and Hull and suddenly it’s about grinding points and European qualifications and merchandise and the future so bright everyone is at risk of becoming completely blind and forgetting that supporting a team like West Ham is not about that.
Being a Hammer is having one over your Arsenal supporting friend, making Mourinho speak about bus parking, having one Modibo Maiga scoring a decisive goal in a cup comeback after Adebayor’s opening goal… It’s about being an underdog, fighting against all odds and finding joy in small things.
Oh, today’s game. Yes. Where were we… Cresswell and Jenkinson on the flanks are big part of our great season. They are the reason Downing switched to the hole behind the strikers which enabled a fast, free flowing game suited for Sakho and Valencia, with Carroll suddenly looking like his old self again, only with better haircut.
Watching West Ham this season produces emotions similar to what an OCD person would feel while watching falling dominoes in reverse. But Jenkinson won’t play today. That one domino which starts everything even when you play the clip in reverse is missing. That’s the reason I’m not confident even with the better half of your midfield injured, your defence in shambles, Giroud banned and Sanchez completely exhausted.
I’m expecting a West Ham win by the smallest of margins though, but even if Arsenal thrash us I’ll giggle in my corner because today you’re not expecting three points at the Boleyn, which must be a completely new concept for all of you. Add a new stadium in 2016 for us and Wenger leaving you, maybe even sooner, and suddenly it seems almost like a start of a new era, doesn’t it?
You loved beating us but don’t worry, guys: you’re also going to love being us.