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Cheering a Nation
"The result that cheered a nation" - That’s the way Radio Five described West Ham’s famous FA Cup win at Old Trafford this morning. And they were right! I can’t remember a day at work when I’ve been so popular. Everyone greeted me with broad grins on their faces, seemingly as delighted with the result as I was. All of them had elected themselves honorary West Ham supporters for the day, and judging by radio phone-ins, this was common throughout the country.
When you follow a club like West Ham, for whom trophy successes are very few and far between, then it’s days like this that keep you going. The memories of this game will help sustain us through another series of disappointments that are bound to come our way in the future.
The goal will remain a classic moment, with Fabian Barthez making himself a national laughing-stock with his attempt to con Paolo into thinking he was offside. I can’t wait till he comes to Upton Park next season, where I can foresee much extraction of the urine.
He’s bald, he’s fat,
His arm’s up like a prat,
He’s Barthez, he’s Barthez…..
Thoughts of Freddie’s audacious back flick into the path of Schemmel, while looking in the opposite direction, will also linger but perhaps the best moment for me (apart from the goal and the final whistle), was near the end when we were stringing a few passes together. The Hammers contingent started up with the “Ole” chant every time a West Ham pass found its mark. Now that really was taking the piss.
Just to round things off nicely, Fergie does his usual whinging after the game, blaming everyone except himself or the players, with the ref and rugby league being the main culprits. Ahh, shame…….
Though this was a great team performance, I’d like to mention a few individuals. Firstly the two on-loan players, Schemmel and Tihinen. Schemmel was up and down the line all day, doing much to nullify the threat of Giggs, and Tihinen was regularly “Johnny-on-the-spot” in the penalty area cutting out crosses and through balls. In the midfield, Carrick was excellent, he seems to be improving with every game he plays. Some commentators are now starting to talk in terms of Carrick, Cole and Lampard forming a future central midfield role for England. This may be rather optimistic, but it’s good to see three of our youth products being talked of in such glowing terms, especially when it follows a game against the best in the land.
All in all, a fantastic day which will live long in the hearts of West Ham fans.