Ironside: Collison’s return and Liverpool star’s arrival make it a happy new year

12:00 03 January 2013

Joe Cole. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Joe Cole. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS


Our West Ham blogger gives his thoughts on an exciting start to 2013 for Sam Allardyce’s side.

About our blogger

Name: Chris Wilkerson

Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson

Regular Attendee

Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid

Most memorable game: Playoff Final

Predicted finish: 12th

The Christmas break away from writing this column was a blessing considering the poor form we endured over the festive period.

The Reading game will live long in the memory. For some reason games against Reading are categorised in a folder within my mind marked “West Ham United: Never Get Carried Away”.

Many, many defeats to Everton are in there too, and that red card to Carlton Cole is at the forefront.

Thankfully, we picked up a much needed win and produced a far livelier performance against Norwich on New Years’ Day.

Nearly every player was exceptional, if only in parts rather than over the whole 90 minutes, but the most pleasing aspect was the way our returning players slotted back into Premier League football.

Guy Demel was once again brilliant, if only his fitness were better, and Ricardo Vaz Te gave us a winger-cum-striker that we have been missing.

However, the really important part, and the most heartening, was watching Jack Collison putting his stamp on a top flight game of football again like he had not missed a step in injury.

The young Welshman has talent, a grace and guile that oozes West Ham academy and Tony Carr’s teachings.

He really is a joy to watch when it’s all working, and only a fine reaction stop from Bunn in the Norwich goal denied him marking his return to Upton Park with a well deserved goal.

We have lacked zip with Diame out injured, and although Collison lacks the dynamism, he may give us something in midfield that lets us forget the Momoshaped hole in the middle of the park for the time being.

I must briefly move onto the story of the week at West Ham United.

As a child I had a few favourite players. Julian Dicks was almost forced upon me as a hero to worship, my father adamant (and rightly so) that the man was a legend.

Paolo too is a hero of mine, and I will not be the only one this weekend remembering a daft French ‘keeper with no hair waving his hand around as our Italian maestro poked the ball beyond him at Old Trafford.

But Joe Cole was everything I wanted a footballer to be. Courageous, outrageous and passionate, a player who cared and a man who hurt with us when we went down.

Joey was the one I went out and copied, I must have attempted countless mazy runs and unnecessary flicks as I played football with friends.

I hope the deal is financially sound, but forgive me for sitting with childish expectations and nostalgic excitement, forgetting the complexities and details of a transfer as I pray to watch one of my footballing heroes return home to east London.

Happy New Year.

Related articles


Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News


Mauricio Pochettino feels summer signing Vincent Janssen might be putting too much pressure on himself as he bids to end his dry run in front of goal, and the Tottenham manager says the Dutchman simply needs some encouragement and patience.

A fixture between Toulon and Saracens is always billed as a blockbuster – and Saturday’s pool three Champions Cup opener certainly lived up to the pre-game excitement.

Yesterday, 21:51

Arsenal’s first match against Bulgarian opposition was a successful one, as Arsene Wenger’s men ran out comfortable 6-0 winners on matchday three of the Uefa Champions League group stage.

Yesterday, 17:00

Hendon boss Gary McCann admits he is “embarrassed” by Hendon’s lowly league placing – but he expects it to change as players return from injury and suspension.

Yesterday, 16:00

Spurs Ladies midfielder Maya Vio says the team’s clinical streak in front of goal is down to their hard-working nature.

Yesterday, 15:13

Andy Maud finished second on his Metropolitan League debut to lead Highgate Harriers to victory in their opening race of the season at Claybury.

Tue, 22:39

Tottenham drew 0-0 away against Bayer Leverkusen in Group E of the Champions League tonight. Here are four talking points.

Tue, 13:33

Six successive Premier League wins on the bounce mean Arsenal take on Middlesbrough on Saturday at the Emirates as joint leaders.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now