Go On My Son!!!

As miserable a day as Sunday April 23rd was over on this side of the pond, the sun was shining down on Villa Park in Birmingham for the FA Cup Semi Final between Middlesborough and our beloved Hammers of West Ham United.

Thanks to a Satellite dish at my parents' house I was able to catch the action in exchange for barbecuing lunch for the folks and the rest of the fam (some freshly back from mexico and suspiciously pale despite what I was assured was beautiful weather down there).
It was a tightly contested tilt between two teams vying for a UEFA Cup spot in next season's tournament. Neither side were willing to give up too many chances in the first half although 'boro seemed the more spirited side as they still had the memory of a mid-week loss to Steaua Bucharest in this year's UEFA Cup Semi-final first leg fresh in their memories.

But after the break it was a rampant West Ham that took the lion's share of posession and created the more dangerous chances– one of which, a Marlon Harewood touch in the 78th minute, resulted in the games only goal and a subsequent Harewood booking for the post-goal celebration (you're no longer allowed to take off your shirt after a goal in the Premiership).

Sadly, I actually missed the goal and the glory since it took place around 12:30 pm local time while I was busy standing in the rain, braving the afternoon's distemper and flipping chicken!!!! However, being superstitious about my sport I rationalise it this way: there are times when the team  you support wins because you watch and believe and times they lose because you watch with shaky faith. I'll have to say that I was 50/50 on the Hammers in Europe next season so i s'pose i'd've jinxed things by actually 'participating' in the moment.

Regardless, well done West Ham, European cup football awaits. Which is to say nothing of a mouth-watering FA Cup Final to contest against a spirited Liverpool side (who beat Premiership Champions Chelsea to book their spot in this year's final and have already qualified for the Champion's League Next season, hence the automatic UEFA Cup qualification for the team winning the Boro/West Ham match even if they lose the FA Cup final) on May 13th at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium. It's been a brilliant return to the premiership for the Hammers and an absolute cracker of a season so far.


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