Football: A menace to himself

Click to follow
The Independent Online
West Ham United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Chelsea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

WITH friends like Dennis Wise, the new West Ham defender, David Burrows, does not need enemies. Put another way, with a captain of Wise's volatility Chelsea will always run the risk of having to compete one man short.

It was a very unwise Dennis who failed to read the warning cards, not just once, not twice, but three times. Bookings in each of his last three appearances suggested he was treading a fine line. Commitment and determination are one thing; spiteful lunges like the one perpetrated on his pal, Burrows, which brought his sending-off are something else and something he has to stamp out for the good of his career.

Sadly, the Menace has always been one of those players whose compact and underrated skills seldom reach their proper platform because he has a fuse proportionate to his diminutive build. Yellow and red cards have coloured his talent whether it was as the architect of so many Wimbledon goals or, now, as the mainspring for turning Chelsea's possession at the back into attack.

'It's an emotional game and Dennis has to learn to count to 10,' said Glenn Hoddle, who inspired Chelsea to nullify the numerical disadvantage and highlight West Ham's defensive deficiencies without quite achieving the breakthrough.

Discipline underscores the Hoddle creed whether it is applied to formations, conduct on the field or lifestyle away from it. He gave considerable thought in the summer to the question of how to get the best from Wise. The answer was the captain's armband and at first he was repaid with impressive performances and behaviour to match. Now it has ended in tears and angry words and Hoddle is pondering a change of skipper.

''What was said was private and will remain so. Over the years I have seen players who have managed to change their behaviour. Graham Roberts is one that comes to mind and it's just a case of helping the lad to help the club.'

West Ham owed their second home victory to Trevor Morley's outstanding strike a minute before Wise went, but not too many bubbles should be raised on the strength of it. Around the corner a long hard winter beckons.

Goal: Morley (44).

West Ham (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Potts, Gale, Burrows; Butler, Bishop, Marsh (M Allen, 76), Holmes; Morley, Chapman. Substitutes not used: Boere, Peyton (gk).

Chelsea (5-3-2): Kharin; Clarke (Hall, 81), Sinclair, Hoddle, Kjeldbjerg, Dow (Spencer, 71); Donaghy, Newton, Wise; Peacock, Shipperley. Substitute not used: Hitchcock (gk).

Referee: R Hart (Darlington).