In the gambling industry, two of the exports East London is most known for right now are Ray “bet365” Winstone and West Ham United Football Club. There was once a time in that both of these two were considered equals. Winstone was as far as he could go with his cockney charm more recently than the football club, but now that Ray has retired to bet365 commercials, should this not be the next coming of the football club?
Last night’s victory over Birmingham might, from the outside looking in, seem as though a return to those days isn’t far off. The manner of their victory will do little to dispel the disquiet amongst the club’s bubble blowing fans though.
Taking a goal advantage into the second leg of their cup-tie is, on the face of it, quite a feat. Birmingham may well have better off having a ballerina in goal, such was the display put on by ‘keeper Ben Foster though. The first goal you might be able to put some of the blame on central defender Scott Dann, not the second one though.
West Ham was already down to ten men and Foster couldn’t resist indulging in a little jig after hearing the drones of Knees Up Mother Brown. Unfortunately Carlton Cole was 12 yards out and in the mood to hit the ball as if it were squirming across a quagmire of a pitch. It trickled underneath him just as he was finishing the first verse and meant a 2-1 win for the East London side
After the game, West Ham manager Avram Grant was more interested in talking about the criticism of himself in recent weeks, and William Hill spokesperson Graham Sharpe seems to agree with those thinking he doesn’t have long left at Upton Park.
“West Ham were very narrow winners of that game and Avram’s grasp on his job seems equally narrow,” he said.
Grant is 1/4 not to be in charge at the end of the season and Mr Winstone may well be getting a call rather soon to see if he doesn’t mind being the caretaker until the end of the season.