Thursday, August 24, 2006

a petition to mr. pardew on behalf of benayoun

Poor Benayoun. I think he looks at the stars at night and dreams of a soulmate-in-football, a Ronaldinho, a Kaka, someone as fleet of foot as he is who can read minds while running. Someone with whom to sprint up-pitch, a parallel run, some fancy footwork, a few snakelike passes to and fro, a simple finish, a shared celebration. Is that so much to ask?

Alas, he's on a squad of scrappers and lone wolves. There are some team players: Konchesky, Etherington, Ferdinand. None of them fit the bill. I think Ferdinand would like to be that guy, but there he is, stuck at the back, defending. All the other fellows, they'll play with you, but you have to remind them or they'll forget you're there.

Take the other day against Watford: somewhere around the 75th minute, when we so longed for that second goal, Benayoun launched himself forward, tapped the ball to Zamora, sprinted around his marker, turned to receive the return pass, and found Zamora in glory-hound mode, dribbling aimlessly, no thought in his head except, "How can this ball go straight from my foot into the net?" The moment was lost, the ball surrendered, the match drawn.

I don't trust Zamora. He fights with refs; he has a certain golem-and-ring relationship with the ball. I'm glad he's scoring. Of course I am. His equaliser was sneaky, well-placed, and greatly appreciated, and owed everything to those glorious crosses of Konchesky's.

He never stops, Konchesky, one after another, the long, beautifully-placed ball in, an endless moving feast for all those lone-wolf forwards. How perfect would it be if Benayoun had his running-partner as well, so that the Hammers might excel in attack on two separate fronts?

And so, Mr. Pardew, here is my suggestion: your purchases have been inspired. Ashton was a stroke of brilliance. Let's have one more! Since we're on a budget, we'll avoid South America and head further north to Costa Rica. In their last two World Cup showings, the fast and graceful tandem runs have been the area in which the Ticos really shine. Look at Ronald Gomez, Winston Parks, Paolo Wanchope. Do you remember the look on Jens Lehmann's face? Not one time, but twice? What nectar is sweeter than that?

Please, sir, a playmate for Benayoun. I am your humble servant.

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