West Ham United fan Jonathan Roffey provides an insight into Saturday’s clash at Upton Park – discussing his side’s new arrivals, the best place to get a pint and the Fulham threat he fears.
How keen are your boys going to be for a positive result this weekend after the 3-0 loss to Swansea City?
Very keen; the Swansea game was difficult with them coming off the back of a very good result at Queens Park Rangers and playing some very fluid football, while still feeling the effects of the new manager syndrome. We didn’t help ourselves giving away two silly goals early on but I think most West Ham fans will admit that apart from the last few minutes of the first half, they generally outplayed us. Our home form was the big problem last year but we started with a win against Aston Villa and I think we’ll definitely be looking to continue that at home to Fulham so yes, I think we’ll definitely be up for it
What do you make of both Fulham and West Ham’s chances this season?
The first thing for a promoted club is always consolidation, and I think that must be foremost in our thoughts this season. Realistically, if we can nab a goalscorer in the last few days of the transfer window we’ve got a chance of a higher mid-table finish - I’ll be brave and say 12th for West Ham. As for Fulham, I think it will be a tougher season than last year. However, I think you’ll be fine come the end of the season so I’ll say 13th - just below us!
Which Fulham players do you admire most?
I would have said Mousa Dembélé but I guess that is a bit of a sore point right now, so I’ll go for the big man at the back, Brede Hangeland. I’ve always admired someone who gives everything for the cause and on the occasions I’ve seen Fulham, he’s always been like that.
Who in the West Ham team will Fulham need to watch out for?
I’ll go out on a limb and say the new boy Matt Jarvis - he’d only signed the day before the Swansea game so hadn’t quite clicked with his teammates but he showed flashes of what was to come, and if he can get some decent crosses into the box for Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole I think that will cause you a few problems. Also if Ricardo Vaz Te is on form and allowed to play a bit more centrally, he can cause any defender a problem.
How have your new signings settled?
James Collins and George McCartney are making their second and third comings at Upton Park respectively; “Ginge” was at fault for the second Swansea goal on Saturday and didn’t have his best game, but was a rock against Villa and looked strong. McCartney is always dependable, if not spectacular, but having spent the end of last season on loan he’s slotted straight back into the team. Jussi Jaaskelainen was at fault for Swansea’s opener last weekend and had very little to do at Villa, so jury’s out. At least he didn’t concede five on his debut like a certain former West Ham keeper!
We haven’t seen much of Jarvis yet, so again need to see how he settles in, and the same for Modibo Maiga up front, although he was unlucky not to score against Villa on his debut and looked bright with a goal against Crewe Alexandra in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. Most impressive summer signing so far for me has been Mohamed Diamé; he was immense against Villa, a good ball-winning midfielder who was willing to take players on when needed. So overall, pretty pleased - could just do with a goalscorer and perhaps some defensive cover!
What’s the best and worst thing about a trip to Upton Park?
Best thing - the atmosphere! Maybe I’m biased but West Ham fans will support their club through thick and thin; I remember last time we were in the Championship (before last season) we had more fans at a Wednesday night game against Bradford City then Chelsea did at a Champions League game. It’s an old fashioned, proper football stadium (I’m not convinced with the whole Olympic stadium idea) and is definitely a good day out for away fans.
Worst thing - trying to get home. The queue to get back into Upton Park tube station after the game stretches round the block and takes ages. If you don’t mind a walk, my best advice is to go to Stratford or Plaistow stations and go from there; you’ll probably get home quicker!
Where can Fulham fans go for a pint?
Probably best to stay away from The Boleyn, Queens, and Greengate which are for home supporters only. The Millers Well, opposite East Ham Town Hall, is good for away fans but is a 20-minute walk to the ground. The Denmark Arms, in the same area, is also said to be okay. The Duke of Edinburgh near Upton Park tube station is also not too bad for away supporters.
Upton Park is a bit of a bogey ground for Fulham - have you got any stand-out memories from previous games between the two sides?
Having spent a lot of time watching football with my Fulham-mad mate, I think we’re a bit of a bogey side for you both at Upton Park and at the Cottage. There have been a few good games between us but I think the 3-3 in early 2007 sticks out, first and foremost for the entertainment but also for how it summed up our season up until then; we were staring relegation in the face but were leading 3-2 going into injury time, only for Philippe Christanval to get an injury-time equaliser!
Ignoring last week, we’re usually pretty tight at the back, but somehow I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet against you, so I’m going 2-1 to West Ham, with Jarvis to get a late winner.