Forever Blowing Bubbles: West Ham United's All-Time Starting XI
Well I stayed up way past my bedtime on transfer deadline day, just as chairman David Gold told me to, finally turning in when it became clear that West Ham United spent absolutely zilch on new players to stop the club’s inevitable slide down the EPL from lofty fourth place to the usual fourth from bottom by the end of the campaign.
I can’t say I was particularly enthused at the prospect of Emmanuel Adebayor continuing his shuttle around London to pick up his paycheck at Upton Park. The thought of him and Andy Carroll playing together sends shudders down the spine anyway and the Hammers have little need for another player like Darren Fletcher forever passing the ball sideways.
Still, it’s always nice to dream and after my late night waiting for nothing to happen I am feeling a little sleepy…
(Cue ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ over a blurry flashback of West Ham heroes running out on the pitch)
NBC Lead Match Commentator Arlo White: “Manchester United are looking somewhat tentative coming out on the pitch here at the Boleyn Ground and no wonder, considering the array of world-beating talent the Hammers have on display. Any thoughts, Graham?”
Pundit Graeme Le Saux: “Yes, Arlo. In my day we would just kick West Ham all over the park and they would shy away like mice, but it’s all change here these days. Ever since David Sullivan invented the time machine to wipe away his past in the soft porn business, the glory days have been back at Upton Park.”
White: “When you say glory days…”
Le Saux: “Well Arlo, (rustling of paper) I guess we’d have to go back to the European Cup Winners Cup win in 1965. Plus three FA Cups and a 3rd place in the league in 1985.”
White: “So a couple of glory days then.”
Le Saux: “Yes, Arlo. But that’s all going to change with the club moving to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. With a line-up like this, big things are ahead. Chelsea and Manchester City are in trouble.”
White: “So are you going to give us a prediction for this one, Graeme?”
Le Saux: 6-nil to the Hammers, Arlo. No question. Manchester United just haven’t been the same since Pete Carroll took charge. They keep going for the long ball instead of the short pass and it’s just not working.”
White: “We don’t have a Manchester United team sheet because it keeps changing, but here’s the West Ham line-up. Do you want to run through it for us, Graeme?”
Le Saux: “Thanks Arlo.”
White: “My pleasure. Isn’t this a great job.”
Le Saux: “It is, Arlo. Almost as good as when I won the title with Blackburn Rovers. Did I tell you about that, Arlo?”
White: “Several times, actually, Graeme.”
Le Saux: “Okay, well here is the West Ham team. We have a few minutes while the entire Manchester United team changes positions so I’ll run through each player for you. It really is quite a dream team.”
White: “You should probably get on with it then, Graeme. I want to catch the 18.05 from Paddington.”
Le Saux: “Right, I’ll run through from back to front.”
Goalkeeper: Phil Parkes
The hair and moustache are a bit 70s but he was a great keeper at a time England was jam packed with them.
To take the penalities.
No not THAT Frank Lampard; he did play for West Ham but he’s a Chelsea legend isn’t he? Or was that Manchester City? – This is his dad. Solid, and I should know. Did I mention that I won the league with Blackburn Rovers?
Captain Fantastic. West Ham through and through. Enough said.
Excellent in the air and good on the ground.
Legend and for good reason. He was so ahead of his time he’s still too good.
The second of the West Ham Big Three that won the 1966 World Cup for their country. He ghosts into the box to score countless crucial goals.
Pure class. Midfield maestro.
The only player to ever score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final. He can hold the ball up and score like lightning.
Paulo Di Canio
Pure entertainment. Total madness.
Bryan “Pop” Robson
Proven goal scorer and nice guy.
White: “Graeme, I have to say that’s quite a team. You have to worry for Manchester United.”
Le Saux: “Yes Arlo, and take a look at who’s sitting on the bench. Manager Russell Brand is a tough taskmaster and he won’t play anyone in the first eleven who’s not solid West Ham. Sitting in their sweats we’ve got crowd favorite Carlos Tevez, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Paul Ince, Craig Bellamy, Jermain Defoe and Frank Lampard Jr.”
White: “The referee is about to blow the whistle and the Red Devils are only just taking their places. We’ve got Van Persie at center back, De Gea is on the right wing and Rooney’s in goal.”
Le Saux: “This reminds me a little of when Kenny Dalgliesh played me in midfield the season we won the premier league with Blackburn Rovers.”
White: “They’re off and it’s Hurst to DiCanio back to Brooking, who has crossed the ball into space but there’s nobody there. Oh, there’s Peters. GOOOOOAAAAL!
“Manchester United has kicked off and Bonds dives in to catch De Gea in possession. He passes to Di Canio, who’s dribbling…”
I wipe my chin. It seems I am the only one who’s dribbling. I must have nodded off. Oh well, we can but dream.
At least it was better than my 'Long Ball' dream last night - but that's a whole other story...