In my 27 years supporting West Ham I have never felt such disgust as I do for departing captain Matthew Upson. It was about two years ago that he first started stalling on signing a new contract at the club and, honestly, at that time I was a bit gutted.
That soon changed.
Although he never excelled in a West Ham shirt, at his best Matthew Upson performed as should be expected for a club captain playing at centre back; he was fairly solid. Yet, as soon as he’d decided not to extend his contract, his performances dipped quite dramatically.
It must have been written into his original contract that he should be club captain, because it was clear to see that, over the last two seasons of struggle, Upson went missing. At any other club he would not only have been stripped of the captaincy, he would have been put on the substitute bench. His heart wasn’t in it and as a direct result nor was his head. When the club was calling out for a hero, the captain hid.
Was it Upson that grabbed hold of the dressing room at half time?
Was it Upson encouraging his team-mates after we conceded another goal (that he was probably to blame for…)?
Was it Upson coming out to the press and saying the team can survive?
No, it was the likes of Parker, Noble and Collison.
As the team stared into the face of adversity, poor performance after poor performance led most fans calling for him to never wear the claret and blue again. He didn’t only choose to commit his future to West Ham – he failed to see out his contract with effort, respect, or dignity.
It says a lot that many Birmingham City fans will know what I’m talking about. As a central defender, Upson is probably the worst man marker in professional football, who truly cannot defend an incoming cross. He was routinely out-jumped for headers by considerably shorter players, leading me to believe he was actually short. The fact that he is 6’1″ just goes to highlight his flaws as a footballer.
He also has a turn of pace slower than the RMS Titanic – the fastest he moved all season was when he was mysteriously ‘injured’ as we sat 2-0 down away to Man City after 15 minutes. He bottled it and couldn’t wait to get off the field. Some leader, eh? What a professional. Fittingly, if I remember correctly, that was his last appearance in a West Ham shirt.
So good luck Matthew Upson, I somewhat doubt that you’ll get the move to a top-four club that you believe you deserve., and your England career is dead in the water, after the televised raping the German’s gave you last Summer. If the tabloids are to be believed you might be on your way to Wolves, who see you as a decent free transfer who can help sure-up their leaky defence. Someone better show them a DVD of your performances from the last two seasons; they’ll soon change their mind.
People consider West Ham fans to be harsh on former players, booing them when they return to play at the Boleyn Ground, but there’s a reason Joe Cole receives a standing ovation and Frank Lampard gets booed. I imagine Scott Parker will be leaving shortly too, but you can bet he’ll get a brilliant reception – even if he signs for Spurs. It’s all about your conduct while at our club.
Matthew Upson can expect to get a hard time next time we see him play.