West Ham Have Become A Toxic Car Crash

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Effra just can’t see any light at the end of West Ham’s tunnel this time.

I am not sure that there is anything left to say on the West Ham soap opera beyond the still unsayable. Certainly Saturday’s pathetic display showed us nothing that most of hadn’t already accepted since the Manchester City home Premiership defeat.

There will be no dramatic redemption at the end of the West Ham story this season. We are going down. The only questions left are whether there is any chance of holding onto any of our better players, and whether the Icelanders will trust the dream of instant return to the Premiership to Curbishley, or whether they have seen enough to think that they made a terrible mistake as most West Ham fans have concluded.

Of course relegation always hurts. But for those of us of a certain age it is something that we have learned to accept once in a while as part of the rollercoaster of being a West Ham fan. What is happening now though is something seriously different. Our club has become a toxic car crash, consuming players’ dignity, managers’ reputations, the chairman and his friends’ money, and the fans’ love and belief.

In the seconds preceding Marlon’s miss, in what should have been a rallying call for the rest of the season, there was no roar of anticipation around Upton Park because nobody actually thought that he would score. We all, the moment made clear, had given up on poor Marlon some time ago, just as he has on himself, and just, no doubt, has Curbishley. Somewhere we have stopped believing either that the players can do it, or that our passion can make any difference to them once the going has got a bit tough. And, just as surely, the players have given up on us too.

When I look at the way they respond to the crowd now, all I see is guys who hate us for criticising them as much as we hate them for their excess and arrogance. The one player who still has a claim on a lot of fans’ affection, Christian Daily, is a player who probably not a single West Ham supporter thinks should be in the team. Whatever the misery of other relegations, this chasm between the fans and the players just wasn’t there. Strangely, for all his serious failings, I think Curbishley does understand this and must wonder how it became his fate to ruin his own credibility as a manger on the wreckage of the fall-out. And yet probably lots of us will be back next season, paying no doubt the same ludicrous money to watch some more over-paid players take on Coventry, Barnsley and Scunthorpe.

I wish that that were a source of pride, like it was last time in the Championship. But it’s not, just an understanding of the addiction to a football club that can somehow survive the total shattering of faith.