Anang To Replace Roberto, It Had To Be!

Such has been the clamour to replace 'calamity' keeper Roberto Jiminez Gago from the West Ham United starting line up, or even the match day squad entirely, that all sorts of alternatives have been mooted. Matches against high flying Chelsea and Wolves await who ever is between the sticks, their job made just that bit harder due to the fact that Hammers best defender, Issa Diop, is suspended following the yellow card he unfairly received for a supposed foul on Tottenham's Harry Kane.

No one at the club envisaged a situation like this, Lukasz Fabianski, last season's Hammer of the Year and the Barclays Premier League's best goal keeper, didn't miss a game all last season, but the hip injury he sustained, almost undoubtedly because of having to clear the ball long so many times, required full surgery which will end up keeping him out of the team until the New Year.

It doesn't take a genius to say that Roberto, Fabianski's number 2, has had a torrid time, during which the club have conceded an average of three goals per game. He looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights as a result and now spreads fear and anxiety to his defenders and throughout the entire team. Training practice keeper David Martin is an option, however he was only ever signed as 'cannon fodder' for the strikers to fire at, throwing him in against Chelsea could be catastrophic, so what other options are there?

Attempts to sign an out of contract keeper have failed because the club have to sign a British player due to the squad limits, although emergency dispensation can sometimes be granted, but that is usually to cover for injuries, not loss of form (if Roberto ever had any). Extremely promising keeper Nathan Trott is currently getting well grounded experience playing for AFC Wimbledon and is not available until January, about the time Fabianski is due to return, so there would be little point in disrupting his 'education'.

The only other option is to use highly rated West Ham's U-23 team keeper Joseph Anang, the 19 year old also plays for the successful England U-20 team, and was intriguingly omitted from the team that beat Brighton 3-1. He wasn't injured, but wasn't even in the match day squad. It may be a last throw of the dice, but could Anang possibly be worse than Roberto? Definitely not, most fans who have witnessed Roberto's antics would rather bring Robert Green back!

So, Anang it is then, a word of caution though, a broken leg sustained by Shaka Hislop meant a debut for the then England U 21 keeper Stephen Bywater at the age of 19 against Bradford City in February 2000, a baptism of fire that saw Bradford score four times but which West Ham eventually won 5–4! The promising Bywater was scarred by the experience , and only appeared in the final three games of the 1999–00 season, against Arsenal, Sunderland and Leeds United and made a single appearance in the following season against Bradford in February 2001. He did return to play in the 2005 play off final, but he spent most of his time out on loan at various clubs, he was supposed to be England's next keeper but eventually found himself well down the pecking order, partly because of a hand and wrist injury sustained around the time he was up for selection to the main squad.

In a way Stephen might have had the last laugh, because he still playing now at the age of 38, in goal for Burton Albion. In his long career he has made appearances for thirteen clubs in addition to West Ham, most notably for Derby County, where he made over 150 appearances. Touchingly, Bywater has worn the number 43 shirt in memory of his mentor and coach at West Ham United, Les Sealey, who died aged 43 in 2001, Stephen believes Les is still guiding his way in football.

It took Bywater years to recover his form properly, does anyone wish that on Joseph Anang? - Ed



boogerscaravan's picture

Anang or Martin. I don't care any of them is better than 2 Bob.

Everton and Englands Jordan Pickford has proved if your good enough it doesn't matter how young you are. He was playing in the EFL at 19/20 years of age. I'm sure Anangs bottle would be flapping a bit. Same with Martin. But that has got to be better than punch drunk 2 Bob, committing hare kare in his own box.

If Wurzel Pellegrini picks 2 Bob again on Sat then the'll be a riot I'm sure...He couldn't could he???

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To see Declan & Mason on football focus getting on so well...

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