b. Tough opposition, tough game but we might nick a point, Draw
c. Sergio Aguero will tear us a new one, Lose
d Oasis are shite and don't get me started on that diving cheat Franny Lee
e. I'll be walking the dog early, watching this on SKY and then carrying the wife's bags like a lap dog whilst out shopping, perfect day really, West Ham till I die me
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View From The Opposition - Manchester City Vinny 23 Oct 2014
View From The Opposition - Manchester City
A superb second half display away at Burnley saw West Ham record another victory which has propelled the club into the top four.
Whilst it is still early days and no one is getting completely carried away, there is a sense of excitement around West Ham at the moment.
To be going into a game against a team that beat West Ham four times last season and believeing that you will get a result is evidence of just how quickly things can change in football.
Whatever the result on Saturday I cannot see the optimism being drained from West Ham fans just yet and I am delighted that there seems to be a little more positivity around a club who has been immersed in doom and gloom for far too long.
This week we have two Manchester City supporters answering the questions and as always, all questions have come from members of WHO.
The two fans are Russ Neil and Neil Travis. Many thanks to both for their answers.
As a club you have changed massively since the money came in - Apart from the obvious, what is the biggest positive and what is the biggest negative the money brings with it?
Russ: Positive - I'd say the huge investment in the infrastructure of the club and East Manchester. With the new Academy set up and training centre at the ground, the Sheikh has secured our place at the top table for years to come.
Negative - Diluting our support. As a born and bred Manc but having lived in London for nearly 10 years now it's gone from 'Oh, City are you mate, good on you' to 'City eh, how long you been supporting them?' With success come half and half scarves, day trippers and the like. Shame but that's the route you have to go down now unfortunately if you want to become a 'big' club internationally.
Neil: The positive is how much more professional the club is run since the takeover from a fans perspective. The fiascos of the past ticket office, club website, match day experience were a joke and probably why as a club we would never be successful. Opposition fans don't see how much more pleasurable it is to be a supporter of the club from the way it's run all together. The website and content is fantastic, the shops in Manchester are now really nice and getting tickets for away games can be be bought online easily rather than a trip to the ground.
The negative is the fact that what ever we do it always seems to be wrong. The press are so against us that these days personally I go to all our games and don't even watch SSN etc anymore. Also the " where were you when you were shit" chant shows what short memories people have. The price of success costs and in fact it seems we have less support at times.
Did it annoy you last season that, despite your amazing goal scoring feats up until the turn if the year and then your slow and steady wins the day title push, all the media cared about were the struggles of your arch rivals?
Russ: Not overly no. It very much felt like karma for all those years of dreading going into school on a Monday morning after United had handed out another hammering to us in the 90s, and let's be honest it was hilarious. More annoying I think, was the national media narrative about Liverpool and the destiny of their return to the top and Brendan Rodgers false modesty. How I laughed when Chelsea beat them.
Neil: I think all the media cared about was Liverpool winning the title and United struggling. To be fair I think in the long run its what helped us win the league as it took all the pressure off the players who went about the business professionally. Personally I will never be to upset at seeing United get slated, however the enjoyment of winning the league in 2012 instead of them was more enjoyable than beating Liverpool to it. Catch 22 as want them to struggle but them big games when we're both up there are unbelievable.
For having such a strong team, why do you think you've struggled so much in the champions league?
Russ: Writing this the morning after the night before our latest shambles in Moscow so very pertinent. With Pellegrini I think tactically he is naive and a bit too gung-ho in Europe. I also fear now it might be in the players heads a bit. It might even be the case that it requires a change of management to get us over the European hurdle.
Neil: There are two major factors in why we have struggled. Firstly if you look at the four seasons we have been in it the first season we got Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. Tough group in which we got 10 points which was one of only few times you don't qualify with that many. Second season we got Real Madrid, Dortmund and Ajax. Good luck to any English team in that group. Third season we got plzen, Moscow and Bayern Munich. For once an easier group and we got 15 points and I think we're the only team to get 15 points and not win the group. We finally got through and got Barcelona. We were not fantastic against them but it's hardly embarrassing to lose to them over two legs especially with our centre half sent off at home and a penalty given when it was outside the box.
Under Pellegrini (who is loved) we were told he was brought in due to a good champions league record etc. However we seem to play far to open in Europe with 2 up front all the time and these top quality sides can make chances and when they do unlike sometimes in the premier league there usually taken. Think we need to change to a 4-5-1 in Europe and be harder to breakdown in midfield.
Like yourselves, we're moving to a new stadium that was originally designed for athletics. What should we expect in terms of atmosphere?
Russ: It'll get worse, no denying that. Happens to every club when they leave their spiritual home. Also with us, the fact that we now expect to beat most of the sides that turn up doesn't help make for a great atmosphere either. I think you need supporters groups working with the club to get singing sections, flags, banners and the like. It won't just happen on its own. There's a group of lads at City called the 1894 group who are doing some important work in this area-especially important when we expand the capacity in the near future.
Neil: Probably like us when we left Maine road a lot of your fans are attached to Upton Park as its a proper traditional football ground. Personally for me I think the move took a good few years to adjust into it feeling like our proper home. Lots of fans for the first season were probably not true match day fans and it took a few years for our vocal fans and the family ones to get together. Personally I love our ground now, even though the atmosphere at times is poor the expectations have risen. The new ground for us has in the long run brought success and hopefully it will for you. I would take that over atmosphere as you can get that at the away games.
Do you wish you had some more homegrown players in your team, or are you happy just signing Galacticos?
Russ: I do yes. I think that is the stated intention of the owners as well, but not just for the sake of it. Our youth set up contains some very promising homegrown (English and even Manc in quite a few cases) players and I think that will bear fruit in the near future. Our u-19 side beat Bayern Munich 6-0 in the UEFA Youth League last season and have won every game in their group so far this season (take note first XI). Under Patrick Viera (who will be a very good manager one day) I think we are heading in the right direction at the youth and reserve level.
Neil: I am not too bothered where are players are from as long as they perform. Lots of players who have signed for us have now played over 100 games and seem very committed to city. Zabaleta, Kompany, Silva, Yaya, Aguero. Unlike what other clubs have spent I also think they have all come at a good price. Aguero being the most expensive at £38m.
Yes it would be nice or see home-grown English players but I just don't think there good enough if you want to win things.
Which Wembley win did you enjoy more .. beating Gillingham in the playoffs or Stoke in the FA Cup final?
Russ: Blimey that's a hard one. I'll plump with Stoke, as 3 years after the money came in we finally had something tangible to show for it. It was at this point that we could all say, with certainty, 'City are back'.
Neil: I was 18 when we beat Gillingham and it was fantastic but in reality we were struggling in the third tier of English football.
The Stoke FA Cup win was magical as for me I had spent 25 years going to city thinking we would never win anything and it had finally happened 4 days before I was 30. Grown men actually crying at us winning something at last was odd but brilliant.
We beat United 1-0 in the Semi before Stoke and that was my favourite Wembley win as realistically in my lifetime it was the first time we had beat them in a game that really mattered not just for bragging rights. Although for me the fa cup semi finals are ruining the excitement of getting to Wembley for that May show-piece final.
Apart from West Ham which other sides are you hoping to avoid in next seasons Champions league group stages?
Russ: Haha, nice one! Bayern Munich, every bloody year. The main thing is UEFA redoing the seeding system so that Arsenal's unfair artificial advantage is removed. Domestic champions should rightly be rewarded.
Neil: In contradiction to what I said in the Champions League question, personally I want us to play the big teams. Would much rather see us play Milan, Munich or Madrid on a Tuesday night instead of Basel, Zenit etc. In the end you have to play them so might as well do it in the group.
Champions League or League, League Cup and FA Treble?
Russ: I think I can safely say the first of those is gone and I don't think the domestic treble has been done before so I'll go for that. One day though the CL would be a dream...
Neil: League, League cup and FA Cup treble for me all day long. All about the domestic trophies for me and I just don't have the same excitement for the European games. As a club it's where we need to go but nothing like winning the league or FA Cup
Your favourite West Ham vs Manchester City moment
Russ: In games I've seen at Upton Park I would probably go for last season actually and David Silva's quite sublime 3rd goal in front of us. For such a skilful player his goal scoring record is terrible so that was a beauty to put the game to bed that day.
Neil: Has to be last day of last season when we won the league. Over the years have always enjoyed going to West Ham away, having seen everything from 0-0 fa cup 3rd round, 1-0 losses and also decent wins. My mate broke his arm celebrating when Yaya scored at Upton park in December 2010.
From West Ham point of view it was an absolutely insane celebration when Dean Ashton scored at our ground in the FA Cup quarter final. Looked over at your 6000 who were all over the place. Just a shame you didn't beat the scousers in the final that year
Your favourite Crisp
Russ: Smoky Bacon Walkers thank you.
Neil: Salt and vinegar Pringles
Russ: You'll be bang up for this and we are going to have a Champions League hangover. I can see it being a 2-2 draw.
Neil: 3-1 to City.
Massive thanks to Russ and Neil for their help.
Next up is Stoke. If you know a Stoke fan you would like to see take part, get in contact.