Friday, 29 May 2015

End of season musings



I am not really one to go into depth on matters with the Hammers - there are far better blogs around that go into greater depth from folk that go and see the games in person.

I wish I could do so - but I cannot - geography getting in the way.

So I am just going to jot my musings about the season - short and sweet.

First let me get the Toon game out of the way after watching it on MOTD. It was crap. We lost to a team at the near foot of the table. Not acceptable. There is nothing to write about this game expect it was another crap performance that we should have won.

2014 - an excellent year - ending up fourth in the league and dreaming of CL football - wins against Liverpool and City, with close run calls against Utd and Arsenal - it was a good feeling. Big Sam rightly got Manager of the Month for December 2014. Things were very much claret and blue and I for one was buzzing - with a hint of trepidation. Sahko on fire with 7 in 7 - a club record. Carroll back after injury and getting some important goals. And looking at times like the £15m player we signed.

2015 - "and just like my dreams, they fade and die..............."
What can I say - 2015 was a disaster. I won't go on about it. We should have cemented a top 6, but ended up 12th.

Players were out of sorts - Nolan a shadow of himself, the Teddy effect worn off - Valencia huff and puff, but to no avail. Sakho and Carroll injured, which left us short of fire power. Cole, Nene ineffective. Team just not performing and a blowing the good work of 2014.

We managed to get to safety early doors, so that was a massive relief, as the last few months form was relegation certainty.

Players of the year? Collins played a blinder for a good few games, and really saved some floodgates from opening. Cresswell - Hammer of the Year, was an outstanding signing and has been excellent all season long. Adrian has also shown that he is now Premiership quality - a few rickets, but generally he has been a quality player. Add to that Sakho and to an degree Downing (when he wanted to play). Noble ever present and committing to the club until 2021 as is Winston Reid which came as a shock as well.

We have probably seen the last of Kevin Nolan - a shadow of himself and methinks it is time to move on. There was a time where his performances would have warranted a call the England Squad, but alas did not fufill the potential. Jarvis has been a fringe and not worth the £10m we forked out for him............gutted, as he was excellent at Wolves. Song-  such brilliance at the start and faded away at the end - methinks he blew his chance to sign permanently.

And it is goodbye to Guy Demel, Carlton Cole and Jussi as well.All good servants to the club and I wish them well


And as for Big Sam - I already blogged about this earlier. Thank you, but time for goodbye. Media says it was mutually agreed on, but I reckon he was given the respite of a clean break as his contract was coming to an end.

So now we look forward to the new season which starts in 5 weeks time with Europa Cup qualifiers. And the search for a new manager as well............Ancelotti has been talked about, but I really do fear we are going to end up with second best. Whilst Bilic has form, he does not have Premiership experience, Jurgen Klopp vielleicht?

And farewell to the Boleyn..............the last ever season before we move to the Olympic Stadium. I can't say I am all that gutted as it is progress. Those that insist in being there will never see the club progress.

We can only look forward - and that starts very soon.

#COYI.

                           

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

#We're all going on a European Tour !



Well, well, well - amazingly, despite the appalling performance against the Toon (End of season thoughts to follow hopefully tonight - have not had time to fart), the Hammers have managed to make it into the qualifying rounds of the Europa League via the fair play system, which England qualified for.

Means that there is a possibility that we could be sent to all kinds of random places but with the 2015/16 starting in less than 5 weeks time, we need to get a manager in and start preparing for these games.

The goal is to get to the group stage - therefore we need to  play the strongest sides possible - I believe - this should not be taken lightly as it would be very embarrassing to be knocked out by FC Rubbish of Randomlinia...........

I am going to try my hardest to get to an away leg of these games - all dependent on timing really. But this is something to look forward to. Maybe this was a Big Sam tactic - loose the game, don't get booked, you get European football next season. Who knows.............but the Hammers are back in Europe, and it is going to be a long, hard last season at the Boleyn.

UEFA Europa League – who could we face?

West Ham United fans have spent Tuesday afternoon enthusiastically scouring the internet, trying to work out who their heroes could face in the early rounds of the UEFA Europa League.A glance down the list of clubs who have joined the Hammers in the tournament’s first qualifying round dispels suggestions that it is the reserve of clubs from the continent’s smallest leagues.
Instead, the 104 clubs included in the first qualifying round draw are expected to represent 41 different nations, with West Ham being England’s sole representative at that stage of the competition.
The Hammers are one of three clubs to have qualified for the tournament through finishing top of their domestic Fair Play League – Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles and Irish outfit University College Dublin (UCD) being the other two.

Go Ahead will be the only Dutch club in the first qualifying round, which kicks-off with the first leg on Thursday 2 July, while UCD are joined by fellow countrymen FAI Cup winners St Patrick’s Athletic and League of Ireland runners-up Cork City and fourth-place Shamrock Rovers.

So, who else is in the first qualifying draw, which will be made on 22 June?
Of the clubs to have already qualified, the Hammers have faced two of them previously.
FC Lahti finished third in the Finnish Veikkausluga, and were known by their former guise of Lahden Reipas when West Ham beat them 5-2 on aggregate in the European Cup Winners’ Cup first round in 1975/76.
The Hammers faced Dinamo Tbilisi in 1981, but who will they face on 2 July?Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi finished third in their domestic league this season, earning them the chance to be drawn against the club they knocked out of the European Cup Winners’ Cup at the quarter-final stage in 1980/81. Then a Soviet league club, Dinamo won 4-1 courtesy of arguably the finest performance by an visiting side that the Boleyn Ground has ever witnessed.
Of the teams whose qualification has been confirmed, West Ham are expected to be amongst the seeded teams, including Moldovan Cup winners Sheriff Tiraspol, Norwegian league runners-up Rosenborg, Swedish side Elfsborg and Croatian league runners-up Hadjuk Split.
Also in the hat are 1991 European Cup finalists Red Star Belgrade of Serbia, 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup winners Aberdeen of Scotland and two-time UEFA Cup winners IFK Gothenburg of Sweden.

Due to expected seedings, West Ham are almost certain not to meet any of the above in the first qualifying round, bar FC Lahti, who are unlikely to be seeded.

That is not to say that the unseeded teams could not present a banana skin for West Ham, with Norwegian side Odd, Hungarians Ferencvaros and MTK Budapest, Latvians Skonto Riga and League of Ireland title chasers Cork City – who hosted the Hammers in a friendly a year ago – all potential opponents.

For those among the Claret and Blue Army who want to collect some air miles while following their heroes, the longest potential trip is to Kazakhstan Cup winners Kairat, based in the city of Almaty a mammoth 3,482 miles from the Boleyn Ground. Compatriots Ordabasy finished fourth in the Kazakhstan Premier League and are based just a tad closer at 3,211 miles from east London.

If you fancy a bit of sun on your back, Balzan FC finished fourth in the Maltese Premier League and are unseeded, as are the yet to be crowned Gibraltan Cup winners. Unfortunately, Cypriot clubs Apollon Limassol and Omonia Nicosia are both seeded!

Closer to home, the shortest potential trip West Ham could make is likely to be to Welsh Premier League side Newtown, who qualified through a play-off and are based in the Powys town just 208 miles from the Boleyn Ground. Fellow Welsh sides Airbus UK Broughton (214 miles) and Bala Town (221 miles) will also represent Wales in the 2015/16 competition.

The two Scottish sides – Aberdeen and one other – are both likely to be seeded, but Northern Irish clubs Glentoran and Glenavon are also expected to be among the unseeded clubs in the draw, as are representatives from Albania, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Luxembourg, Montenegro and San Marino, among others.

Whoever West Ham are drawn to face, the Claret and Blue Army are sure to enthusiastically follow their team over land and, providing we do not draw any of the three Welsh sides in the hat, sea in their thousands. Roll on 22 June!

Read more at http://www.whufc.com/News/Articles/2015/May/May-26/UEFA-Europa-League-%E2%80%93-who-could-we-face#olW80KWYylFc4tGT.99

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Has Mark Curtis just realised that the MCCH is no longer relevant..............

Just saw this on the MCF FB page: I have removed the poster's name :


Mark Curtis barely escaped being knocked out by a well known Lady attendee when they let him get up to speak at the 2006 Albuquerque Gathering Dinner. I was at the table and saw her storm towards him and then change her mind. The next year the Charity Auction was completely changed after Curtis was exposed for taking all the Charity money and spending it on his daughter. I had been invited there to produce their first ever Customizing Contest & Customs Show, and soon found out how much he is hated by all those who attended the Gathering. The same story over and over was how he had the only MatchBox forum at that time and none of them wanted to denounce him. A very insecure and sad little boy is Mark Curtis.
12 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1

 It's hilarious that Mark Curtis now says he cannot afford to fix his old MCCH website when he constantly told everyone his parents had Hundreds of Millions of dollars. The attendees at the Gathering Conventions all called him Chipmunk and you can see he has the same outrageous cheeks as Kanye Kardashian.
2 hrs · Unlike · 2

The farce goes on..........Curtis even tried to say that I was spreading malicious rumours about him on LinkedIn, so I promptly stopped any further interaction which could cause a raised eyebrow.

Add to this the following message on the MCCH:

Hacked again!
The MCCH is currently offline. I believe the Trojan has been eliminated. I am starting the long process of restoring that which I have backed up. Please stand by and check back, as the site and its features will be unavailable over the next several days.

Let's not also forget the MCCH Gathering that is meant to take place:

http://www.mcchconvention.com/

Oh, yes.................this is the Gathering that started like Usain Bolt and ended up like Oscar Pistorius.

And the nickname of Chipmunk.............I like that.

I want to document this man's failings as a thief and a charlatan, supported by a few who still thinks the sun shines out of his Kennesaw backside.

Time to concede Fat Boy that your empire is coming to an end. You had it all............you lost it. 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

It's all over - Toon 2, Hammers 0

Yet to watch MOTD, but I will be blogging about the game very shortly.

But one thing that was made certain today was the final dismissal of Sam Allardyce - be is mutual agreement of sacking - he has finally gone.

Whilst at Europa Park with the family today the text alert came through to advise me that we had gone down 2-0 to the Toon, I knew it was the end.

And about time - we have been appalling this year...........and it was simply not good enough at all. The losses against the likes of Leicster, Villa, Palace and Newcastle - add to the dropping of points in injury time against the Spuds, Mancs and the ghastly loss against Everton last week. The work in 2014 was a perfect platform for going forward and it was not built upon.

BUT

We have to thank Big Sam.

He got us back into the Premiership.

He has kept us up for 3 seasons.

He signed some good players (and some bad)

He stopped the yo-yo of up and down.

And twelfth this season is not all that bad in reality - it was only because we were in such a good position in December.

So whilst we have to say thanks, it is with relief that Big Sam has gone. It was fun while it lasted. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

SIKU INTERNATIONAL > NETHERLANDS > ANIMAL AMBULANCE

Another one picked up in Lisse, NL - and this one is a local.

Animal Ambulance apparently.................

Again, this one is a generic, but clearly based on the MB Sprinter casting template.

Not exiting, but as a unique country casting, I am happy with the addition.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Tomica Limited Vintage Neo - TLV-N105a - Toyota Century

My word.

When I got wind that this model was going to be released it was like West Ham winning the league.............well, not quite, but I got rather excited.
Tomica Limited Vintage Neo - TLV-N105a Toyota Century

The Century represents everything that Japan stands for in terms, work, rigour and culture.
To give some background to this car, have a read of the Wiki on the Century to understand the significance: 

The Toyota Century is a large four-door limousine produced mainly for the Japanese market, serving as Toyota's flagship car. Production of the Century began in 1967 and the model received only minor changes until a redesign in 1997. The Century derived its name from the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries. The Century was available with only a V8 engine, the third Japanese built sedan post-war, at its introduction in 1967 until a major redesign in 1997, and is now only available with a Toyota built V12, an engine unique to the Century. Although the Century is a premium, full size luxury sedan, it is not available at Japanese Lexus dealerships; it can only be purchased at Toyota Store locations.
The Century received a complete redesign in 1997, although the new model was visually very similar to the previous generation. This current model is powered by a 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) 5.0 L 
1GZ-FE V12, initially with a 4-speed automatic, until a 6-speed "intelligent" transmission arrived in 2005. It also features air suspension. The Century remains the first and only Japanese front-engine, rear-wheel drive production car equipped with a V12, and it is Toyota's first V12 engine.[9] As this is a top level luxury flagship, private owners are comfortable with the yearly road tax bill.
The Century was Toyota's most luxurious model at its inception in 1967, and maintained this status throughout the 20th century. Today, it is positioned above the Lexus line-up, and remains the most luxurious and prestigious model to wear the Toyota badge. The Century is distinguished by different paint options than the rest of the Toyota line-up. The Century shares the role of flagship with the Toyota Crown Majesta with almost identical dimensions to the Century but with a more modern approach and appearance that appeals to younger buyers, and both vehicles are exclusive to the Toyota Store dealership network in Japan.
Like other cars in the top of the luxury class, the Century is designed with the rear passengers in mind. Hence, the rear seats recline and the front passenger seat has a fold-down center section so that a passenger in the back may stretch his feet forward. The rear seats are equipped with a massage system. The exterior door handles open the doors electrically since the sound of the door being opened mechanically is perceived as being "too obtrusive". The doors do not need to be closed directly, instead the door only needs to contact the latch, causing the door to pull itself completely closed electrically.
The vehicles' interiors are usually ordered in wool cloth, rather than the leather seen in many luxury cars; leather is not as quiet as cloth when sat upon. The vehicle can be ordered in any color the purchaser desires, however, they are usually medium brown, burgundy or royal blue inside, with black exterior paint. Vehicles primarily intended for livery service usually have leather interiors in gray, for easier interior cleaning and durability. White lace curtains are usually installed in the rear window, instead of tinted windows, which are perceived to attract unwarranted attention. The passengers usually like to be seen in a Century, despite Asian tendencies for modesty.
The Century is priced at ¥11,445,000 (approximately US$100,000 as of 2009). In comparison, the base price for the full-size luxury 2008 Lexus LS 460 is approximately ¥10,000,000 (US$87,000), with the LS 600h L at ¥15,000,000 (US$125,800).
In year 2006, the G-BOOK vehicle telematics subscription service was added to the list of standard features.
Although the Century is not exported outside Japan in large numbers, it is used frequently by officials stationed in overseas Japanese offices and embassies.
In contrast to other luxurious cars (such as the Maybach or Rolls-Royce), the Century has not been positioned and marketed as a sign of wealth or excess. Marketing literature states roughly that, "the Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit."

Tomica Limited Vintage Neo - TLV-N105a Toyota Century

I have been after a scale model of a Century for some time and then all of a sudden they come in 1/43 and 1/64.

As the preferred scale of choice is 1/64, then my order with Japan Booster this month had to contain this one.

The box and presentation is similar to that of the NISMO R35 GT-R - quite large, but gives the impression that this is no ordinary model.

The car is actually quite large in scale terms - I stuck it next to an R35 and it is huge in terms of length.

The paintwork is reflection of perfection - smooth and clean (although my model had a slight flaw on the bonnet which was treated swiftly with a permanent marker).

It is very well re-created and captures the car, it's lines and presence beautifully.

I think however, that as this is probably the first batch to be released there could be perceived QC issues with the chrome inserts at the rear - does not seem to have been cut perfectly and fitted, but I can live with that.

The wing mirrors are optional to attach, but as there is no notch to place them in, they would be a pain in the arse to fix. Lots of OCD about the positioning and getting it right, would lead to a very stressful experience. So I am staying well clear of doing this.

Overall, this is a super model and a highlight for the TLV line this year. JDM fans will not be disappointed, and I can only predict that this model will retain a high value for a long period of time whilst it is available.

I am tempted to also get the grey version for the desk at work, but with so much to choose from, I may just wait a short while..............


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Thursday, 21 May 2015

May's model order

Ah, the joys of recriving post.......this is May's order from Japan Booster.

I have been very excited about the Toyota Century since it was shown as a release and having had a quick look at the box and model, it does not disappoint.

I will photo the models hopefully in the next couple of days - I still have a massive backlog of musings to write, but these and hopefully April's models will take some priority.

I now have the problem that The Garage is now running out of space - so methinks it is time to cull the 1/43's, difficult that this will be to do. 

Life is certainly better without Matchbox.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

SIKU INTERNATIONAL > NEW ZEALAND > KIWI EXPLORER CAMPER VAN

On a recent trip to Lisse in the Netherlands, there an obligatory stop in a toy shop just to see if there were any unique castings to be had.

Lo and behold some Siku - and this NZ edition.

I cannot fathom what this was doing in the wrong country as the model is not really sold outside NZ - but as I am not going to get over to NZ in a hurry, then it was an immediate grab.

The blister had better times, so this is no longer a MOC.

However, as I am keen on getting models unique from around the world, this was too good an opportunity to miss. Not a stunner, but unique nevertheless and how many folk actually own one?

Apologies for the quality of picture - not using my trusty 10 year old Sony, but some new fangled Canon which I have yet to master!

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