West Ham Season Preview

Jess Whitehead
August 16, 2012

My name is Jess. You may know me from my seminal work “Jessie on the Cute Beat” on BrutalHorse.com. What you may not know about me is that I love others things besides those that are cute. My newest passion is for the English football club, West Ham. This blog highlights all things West Ham, and will follow them throughout what is sure to be an exciting (or at least aggravating) season of football.

Just in case you aren’t up to speed on the ins and outs of the English pro soccer (aka football), their system is organized in tiers, kind of like our American baseball. There are four tiers in all. The Barclay’s English Premier League (EPL) is akin to our MLB. The Championship would be the next level down, or AAA baseball. Next is League 1 (AA) and worst of all is League 2 (Single A). The best part about these tiers is that at the end of every season, the worst three teams in every league get bumped down (aka relegated) to the tier below, and the best three teams from each league get bumped up to the next highest level (aka promoted). It makes for a super interesting end of season because at the end, you’re not only watching the best teams in the league battle for the title, but you’re also watching the worst teams fight to avoid relegation.

So last May, West Ham played Blackpool in the last game of their season. Both were top teams in the Championship league, so the winner would move up from the Championship to the Premier league. I had no idea who West Ham was at this point, but I decided to wager a rather gross bet on them winning, which may have involved me kissing my husband’s butt (eww). So . . . 90 gut-churning minutes later (my husband doesn’t shower very much), West Ham pulled out a 2-1 victory. In my relief, I pledged my life-long gratitude to what was now the worst football club in the best league in the world.

After doing a bit of Internet research on West Ham, I realized there were other things to love about them. Okay, well really only one: West Ham’s major claim to fame is that their fans are hooligans. Literally Hooligans. Hooligan is a term British people our age use non-ironically to describe thugs and/or troublemakers who commit minor acts of violence. Hah. In honor of their first game of the 2012-13 season, I am committing a minor act of hooliganism in my hometown this weekend. (More on that in future blogs . . .)

The EPL season starts this Saturday, with West Ham playing a contentious match against Aston Villa. Aston Villa stinks, and only narrowly avoided relegation last season, so I think this will be a pretty evenly matched game. We’re hungry, we totally have something to prove, and Aston Villa stinks. Look out for number 16, mid-fielder Mark Noble, who was named “Hammer of the Year” for the 2011-2012 season. Concicidentally, Noble also kind of looks like Nicolas Cage. GO HAMMERS.

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