Liverpool vs West Ham: Batman, Tangerine Smoke and Tiger Feet


By Simon Meakin

Simon Meakin is back with a bang. Here he discussed the crisis at the Etihad, 1960s American TV, 70s pop combo, Mud and somehow manages to look ahead to Monday’s tussle with the Hammers. Enjoy.

Chaos!  Mayhem!  Cheating!  Deception! Points Deductions! (Maybe).  Yes I’m announcing the news of Man City being caught bang to rights for (let’s not beat about the bush here) cheating and lying in the style of those 1960’s Batman serials with their Pows and Thwacks and poisonous gases, that despite always being bright pink or green or yellow seemed to take Gotham Police Departments finest by surprise every episode.  Did no-one ever tell the next guy down on the rota to guard the really big important safe with a diamond in it, to watch out for dodgy blokes in green leotards letting off flares in a particularly nice shade of mauve or Dulux Autumn Sunset?).

We’ll have to wait and see what punishment the Premier League and FA come up with (more than likely nothing more than City being sent to their room and being banned from Snapchat for a week).  But Premier League, if you are going to deduct points do it next season.  Not so much because we don’t exactly need any help winning the league this season, but because I don’t want any uncertainty hanging over us when we do win it (not being quite sure whether we can celebrate because City have whacked an appeal in for instance).  Or, even worse. clinching the title at the end of the committee meeting when the points deduction is decided.  Whatever happens it needs to happen (appeals and all) while Leicester can still catch us.  Or, if not, once we’ve already wrapped it up.

I realise I’m spending half my West Ham preview talking about Man City. But, re-reading my Man City preview, it turns out I spent half the time in that one talking about West Ham (and Dave Swindlehurst in particular). So I think that pretty much evens things out (it’s almost as if I planned it that way – I am the master games player – I see every move 15 steps ahead – although if that really was the case, maybe I should be putting these talents to better use than talking about Dave Swindlehurst?  I could become a criminal mastermind instead.  If anyone knows of any large diamonds being stored in big safes nearby, and how I can get my hands on some tangerine coloured smoke bombs, please drop me a line).

It’s been a while since my last preview, thanks to the winter break.  And, I have to say I’ve come back refreshed and raring to go.  I can’t praise a mini-break in Colwyn Bay in February highly enough.  Had a bit of a hot streak in the seafront arcades and was able to use my winnings to indulge in some high end retail therapy in the local Home Bargains (although I have to say the staff in there do get a bit uppity when you try and purchase some new pants with a bucket full of two-pence-pieces).  I’ll upload the photos on to Instagram just as soon as I work out how to open an Instagram account. James Maddison eat your heart out!

I did almost have to cancel my holiday because of the Shrewsbury replay, but luckily I managed to find a toddler to write the review once Messy Mayhem had finished at the local playgroup, with James Milner on hand to supply crayons and moral support. We’ve also managed to pick up six more (unexpectedly hard fought) points against Southampton and Norwich, moving remorselessly closer to that title. There was a slight hiccup in the Champions League though. Still all to play for, but there’s that nagging doubt that we can’t keep pulling it out the bag at Anfield on big European nights.  Can we?  Yes we can!  Maybe.

So what of West Ham? They were another team I had a soft spot for as a kid.  It became a bit of a cliche but they always did seem to play proper passing football, and this seemed to persist well into my adulthood more so than with other clubs which supposedly had a similar tradition (Ipswich were another one).  I can remember the Ian Bishop (he of the long straggly hair who looked like he wanted to be in Iron Maiden) inspired team in the early 90’s playing some lovely football (although I think they ended up getting relegated).  And although the passing football force was strong in that one, it wasn’t strong enough to survive an encounter with Darth Big Sam unfortunately.

I can also remember the 1980 FA Cup Final with John Lyall leading out his team in the glorious sunshine (the FA Cup Finals of my childhood were always played in glorious sunshine – I’m sure that is a fact) resplendent in a cream blazer (not quite Spice Boy 96 but still enough to stand out in my memory) and thanks to a famous Trevor Brooking goal vanquishing the dark forces of boring boring Arsenal with the infamous Willie Young (the only footballer ever who also happened to be the guitarist out of Mud.  If you don’t believe me you can see him on You Tube performing Tiger Feet on the Christmas Top of the Pops in full on Obi-Wan-Kenobi robes and Christmas Bauble ear-rings) committing a notorious professional foul on 17 year old Paul Allen (got me very het up as a 9 year old at all the injustice in the world that did!).  And, more importantly, avenging the team who had knocked us out in the semi final after endless replays.

The romance has worn off West Ham in recent years it has to be said though. What with that “lovable” pair of rogues Sullivan and Gold in charge along with sidekick Karen “Catwoman” Brady (she doesn’t look like a cat, I’m not sure I’ve seen her in a skin-tight black catsuit, she doesn’t drink from a saucer or bring dead birds in from the garden, but I’ve spotted an opportunity to shoe-horn a meaningless Batman reference and I’m going for it), rattling around in a Stadium paid for by my taxes (my taxes!  Possibly some other people’s taxes as well) with David Moyes (Football Genius™) at the helm.

All is not well at West Ham and I feel this is the match where we’ll really let rip, with no game for five days either side.  A 6-1 hammering (pun absolutely intended) with a Firmino double (Pow!), one each from Mane (Thwack!), Mo (Clonk!), Gini (Zap!) and Minamino coming off the bench late on from his debut goal (Crump!). West Ham to somehow get a goal somewhere (that Haller feller maybe).

So there we go.  This review has been brought to you by me whilst listening to Tiger Feet by Mud (featuring Willie Young and Drake). Which has inspired me to write my own version.

“We’re Top, We’re Top, We’re Top, We’re Top, I really love my Jurgen Klopp!”.

“He won’t get the Chop, Get the Chop, Get the Chop, Get the Chop, I really love my Jurgen Klopp!”

“We Beat the Slop, Beat the Slop, Beat the Slop, Beat the Slop, I really love my Jurgen Klopp (even though he didn’t turn up)!.”

We got a Club shop, Club shop, Club Shop, Club Shop, I really love my Jurgen Klopp”

He might consign West Ham to the Drop, To the Drop, To the Drop, To the Drop, I really love my Jurgen Klopp!”