Unknown to many, Slaven Bilic hosted a birthday party at the Losers Bar after seeing his team defeat Huddersfield Town on Monday evening. This iconic venue, much-used by Russian athletes seeking non-prescription refreshment during the 2012 Olympic Games, is a key part of the London Stadium’s roadmap for the local community.
Called ‘White elephant’ it seeks to make West Ham’s new ground accessible to all and many visitors have already left it, happy and glorious, with hope in their hearts and not needing to be shown the way home by over-zealous officials hiding behind hubris and high-vis jackets.
Slaven invited a select few of his fellow Premier League managers, obviously excluding those with jobs to do in Europe midweek and Frank de Boer. He also wanted to create an enthusiastic, positive atmosphere in which he would not be outclassed, so David Wagner was not admitted even though, admittedly, he admitted several times that his team had not deserved to win but that party bags on the long journey home might have been an A1 kind of plan.
We managed to get into the party, disguised as bubbles and these are the kinds of speeches being made:
Slaven: Of course, I mean we were under a little bit of pressure, you know. The lads done everything we asked. We had a game plan and, overall, we played really good and deserved the parcel which arrived at the crucial time without us having to worry about, you know, passing it.
Frank: Passing is everything though. I mean the lemonade, it was all fine and we were learning to drink it slowly. What was frustrating was the straw – that was sloppy and floppy and disappointing.
Slaven: How did you get in, I mean, we had defensive shape that, you know, should have prevented it?
Frank: I brought the cheese.
Sean: And, weirdly, that’s what made the difference I think. Alright, the sausages on sticks were OK, if you like that kind of Germanic thing, but they weren’t at their best and I think we resisted them well and we were patient, knowing that the cheese would come out sooner or later.
Paul: I’m not really very happy with any of it, to be honest. I mean it’s one thing to have to translate words down here like Caerphilly but all cheese is there to be eaten, there’s no need to change our language, our culture. We were just second-best and you could see the mould forming.
Chris: Yes, I think that’s a fair comment. We’re feeling a lot better now and I feel that we deserved what we got. Once we managed to contain our nerves we were ready for the apples and you saw what we were able to achieve with the bobbing, once that fear of water dissipated.
Mauricio: It was tough. At Southampton, we know that there are never enough chairs and, once that music stops, this is the game. Players disappear every summer and that is all part of it. You do your best but, with headphones on, it isn’t easy to hear what is going on. You find your energy levels falling and quickly realise then that Virgil isn’t really in charge of Thunderbird 2 after all.
Marco: But I’m really happy. When I saw a jelly like that it made me think, finally, not of fish but of custard. The game plan worked perfectly, no lumps…
Eddie: I felt we had a real chance but it wasn’t a true representation of what we are all about, our true philosophy and our character. We’re not giving the performances I know we are truly capable of and we certainly aren’t passing with our usual fluency – Postman’s Knock was a case in point when we failed to deliver.
Slaven: True, but Lady Brady, I mean she and the Brothers have been really good to me. They gave me a lovely present of, you know, a knife sharpener, to make my life a little bit easier and, I must say, if you look around, there are many irons in the fire, I think. The golden number is 50 and, I mean, I have less than a year to go now.