Saturday, August 19

Daily WHUFC News - 19th August 2017

Southampton v West Ham: All you need to know

West Ham's second test in the Premier League this season comes away at
Southampton. The Saints drew their opening match against Swansea and the
Hammers head to St Mary's having beaten the south coast side 3-1 on their
last trip down the M3.

Read on for all you need to know ahead of Saturday's fixture including team
news, players to watch and much more...

Where and when?

Southampton v West Ham United will be played at St Mary's Stadium on
Saturday 19 August 2017 at 3pm BST.

The stadium address is: Britannia Road, Southampton SO14 5FP

How to follow

You can follow the game live via our Matchday Blog on, with
updates also available on Twitter throughout the afternoon. You can also
follow the match in different ways on our official Instagram, Facebook and
Snapchat channels!

Due to being a Saturday 3pm kick-off the match is not available for viewing
in the UK. For worldwide broadcast schedules, click here.

Audio coverage will be provided by TalkSPORT on TalkSPORT2.

Team news

Michail Antonio is expected to return to the first team this weekend, having
come through an U23s contest last Friday unscathed.

Andy Carroll and Cheikhou Kouyate are still out but the duo could be back in
time to feature against Newcastle in a week's time.

Sead Haksabanovic could also be involved after impressing on his debut with
the U21s this week.

Match officials

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis and Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: Neil Swarbrick

Meet the opposition

Southampton started the campaign with a new manager in Mauricio Pellegrino
and earned a 0-0 draw at St Mary's against Swansea City.

The south coast team finished eighth in the Premier League last season, one
point ahead of the Hammers, having returned to the top flight the same year
as West Ham - for the 2012-2013 campaign.

The Saints announced this week that Chinese businessman Jisheng Gao had
purchased an 80% stake in the club, so exciting times are ahead for

Player to watch

Having returned to action with the U23s on Friday Michail Antonio could make
his first Premier League appearance of the season for the Hammers on

Antonio - last season's top scorer - will be a valuable option for Slaven
Bilic to call on as West Ham look to secure a first win of the season at
Antonio's former side.

The versatile attacker brings pace, power and creativity to the West Ham
front-line and will undoubtedly prove a tricky test for Southampton's
defence if he plays.

Head to head

West Ham's last match with Southampton, in February of this year, was also
away from home but the Irons still managed to secure an impressive 3-1 win.

Despite going a goal behind Andy Carroll, Pedro Obiang and Mark Noble all
found the net to give Bilic's team a deserved victory at St Mary's Stadium.

The two clubs have met ten times since returning to the Premier League -
West Ham have won four of those and three have been draws.

Last five meetings

Southampton 1-3 West Ham, Premier League, 4 February 2017
West Ham 0-3 Southampton, Premier League, 25 September 2016
Southampton 1-0 West Ham, Premier League, 6 February 2016
West Ham 2-1 Southampton, Premier League, 28 December 2015
Southampton 0-0 West Ham, Premier League, 11 February 2015

How to get there

By car: From the M25, leave at Junction 12 and merge onto M3 towards
Basingstoke/Southampton. On the M3 exit at Junction 14 towards

Continue onto A27 and then follow signs for the A33. Keep left on the way to
St Andrews Road and turn right onto Britannia Rd/B3038.

Public transport: Shuttle bus services run from Southampton Central railway
station to the stadium, in addition to the regular bus schedule, for a fee
of £2 for a return journey on matchdays. These are also available from the
Town Quay Ferry Terminal.

Those services will begin two hours before the match starts. The service
will be in operation after the match to take passengers back to the railway
station or the ferry terminal.

The service is not a numbered bus service and will simply say 'Stadium
Shuttle' on inbound journeys and 'Rail/Ferry Shuttle' on outbound journeys.

Ticket information

All 3,200 allocated tickets have sold out.


Can we talk about injuries, is Mikael Antonio fit?

Yes he is ready, he took part in a game last week which was part of the plan
and he looks fit and ready to play, he has been training for two and a half
weeks now. He looks good and ready.

Kouyate and Andy Carroll started training yesterday as well, they have done
a couple of training sessions. We have to see with them because Andy has
had a long layout and Kouyate has had a few weeks off as it happened in the
first training session in Austria. Lanzini is training separately and is
joining in with the full squad on Monday. We should have a full squad back
for the Newcastle game.

Some harsh analysis after Manchester United?

You can't say it is Man United and make excuses we should have done better,
especially when it comes to the last couple of minutes. We didn't give up
individually but we know that it is not very smart. It is not the same if
you lose 2-0 to losing 4-0. I wanted to find the balance between
criticising and talking about what went wrong but we don't want to lose
confidence because of one defeat. We have looked good in training today.
We want to approach the game against Southampton in a positive mood, knowing
what we have to do to get something positive out of the game. Southampton
are consistent, not with managers, but with the way they are playing.

What is the latest on William Carvalho?

I don't know, we will see what happens with ins and outs it has become very
busy at other clubs. I have left it with the board and the chairman. I
concentrate purely on the matches.

Karen Brady said clubs are in favour of the transfer window closing early,
are you?

Yes I would like that to happen we agree with them. It has to be across the
leagues otherwise there is no point. Ironically it would put the clubs in a
worse situation because you will still lose players if clubs from abroad do
not have the same system. It would only protect us that no other premier
league clubs could take our players but it wouldn't stop them from abroad.
For me it is a great idea, some teams are losing 30% of their teams and this
makes it hard. So it would be much better if the window stopped before the
first game of the season and across Europe.

You mentioned Coutinho, similar with Costa, do you have sympathy with these
managers because you had the same thing with Payet?

Of course I do, the new window would stop this when the season started. It
makes it hard to concentrate on games because the window is still open.
Sometimes you are on the other side of the story but definitely it doesn't
help the managers?

Do players have too much power?

What is important and gives you strength as a manager and a club is that you
are on the same line as the chairman. This is very important because then
you as a collective group are more powerful, you have to be on the same

Has the balance gone too far to the players?

You know better than me but yes the power is too much on the power of the
players and agents and it is hard for the managers but sometimes you are on
the other end of it. I never advise a player to stop training to force a
move that is low and it shouldn't be like that.

One positive was Declan Rice from the Manchester United game?

It is nice to have those situations, we never try to force it. He is a boy,
who is very mature for his age, who is very good for his age and is very
mature. He has got the quality and he impressed everybody-the West Ham
family. In preseason he played every game and he wasn't in the plans in the
beginning but he forced them. It's too early for the kid but he is
improving and he is doing really well. Definitely the reason, yes we had
injuries, but he came on against Man United because I was confident he could
do it instantly. He came on against Burnley, last five minutes, it was an
important game and it was 2-1 to us and we put him in because he was the
best option. I don't want to praise him too much, despite his family are
down to earth-he will stay focused.

Last season West Ham moved into a new stadium on the football side, Spurs
move into a new one this weekend what advice would you give them?

We found it different and it was only us. It happened to a few clubs who
have moved stadiums. There is no magic formula, last year Spurs found it
hard at Wembley. It wasn't always against top clubs. I am not too bothered
to be fair. They will need time to adjust.

Can I ask you about Joe Hart what impact has he had on the dressing room?

He has had a big impact, he is England's number 1 and he is very vocal on
the pitch and on the training ground. He organises the defence and he
shouts and we are very happy with him so far. We have two really good

Andy Carroll is back in training, is there anything he is doing different to
avoid the constant injuries?

We are trying as a club and him personally. It would be wrong to think of
the World Cup. Hopefully in 10 games we can build on that but unfortunately
with a long lay out you can't plan that long term. Our aim is to find a
solution that will make him long term fit. For that you need him to start
playing games. We don't want to rush him into a game against Southampton,
even though he could have a big impact from the sub bench. We don't want to
risk getting new injuries and we have to give him a short preseason before
he enters the pitch. Only that way could he try and stay fit and then he
can think about England.

If Courtinho does leave for Barcelona are you worried that Liverpool will
come for Lanzini?

Max emails me these stories straight away to shock me a bit. We spoke about
this before Manchester United, I speak to Manu every day, he is happy. He
feels at home, he feels liked. You can see it, you don't have to talk to
him, and you can see by how he is smiling and is happy. He broke into the
Argentina national team. So he knows if he plays for West Ham he has a
chance of getting a better contract with West Ham and playing for Argentina.

Is there a price tag? £100m?

No I am sure he is going to stay with us. He knows he is wanted, the
chairman and the board, he was on loan, and we took an option before we had
to. He was voted the players player of the year, makes you feel wanted. He
likes it here.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic sympathises with Southampton over Virgil van Dijk
By James Dale
Last Updated: 17/08/17 11:15pm

Slaven Bilic has sympathy for Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino over
want-away defender Virgil van Dijk. West Ham face Saints at St Mary's this
weekend with Pellegrino unable to call upon centre-back Van Dijk - who has
submitted a transfer request. Southampton maintain Van Dijk will not be
sold, but the ongoing transfer saga is all too familiar for Bilic after he
saw Dimitri Payet eventually get his way and leave for Marseille following a
drawn out impasse with West Ham. "I know that the power is too much on the
side of the players and their agents," said Bilic. "The power is massive.
And you can't say that we have to fight it. We have to live with it and we
have to try to find the best possible solution for the club. "That is the
best possible situation for the manager as well. "That's why I say the
football game is very simple but the manager's job is very complicated.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, on the pitch and off the pitch. "Of
course I have a lot of sympathy. It's hard for them, and sometimes you are
on the other side of the story. "Sometimes you are in the position that you
are getting the player, but it definitely doesn't help. It doesn't help the

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady revealed on Sky Sports' The Debate
earlier this week that 17 Premier League clubs are in favour of shutting the
transfer window before the season starts. Bilic - who insists Manuel
Lanzini will be staying at the club this summer - backed the sentiments from
his board, but believes the change must take place beyond the English top
flight. "Yes. It is mutual from me and the club," said Bilic. "I would like
that to happen, it would help everybody. "For me it is has to be across the
leagues. Otherwise there is no point. Ironically it would put the clubs in a
worse situation that you would still lose players if clubs abroad want them
and you can't replace them. It would only protect us in that no other
Premier League clubs can take your players. "The [Philippe] Coutinho
situation, it would not stop Liverpool losing him, but would stop them
finding a replacement. It's a great idea, first one I'm definitely like
"Some teams are losing like 30 per cent of their teams."

The West Ham Way is now the Southampton Way, and the Hammers have to make it
ES Sport

The West Ham Way? Remember that? It's changed so much. But one laughable
aspect of the way the Hammers do things remains steadfastly in place.
That's their weak-minded capability to roll over and capitulate against the
big teams (and some smaller ones) in a feeble style un-matched with such
regularity anywhere else in the Premier League. Already, the 4-0 humiliation
they suffered at Manchester United last Sunday has made this weekend's trip
to Southampton more fraught than it needs to have been. There will be added
scrutiny of the result and performance on the South Coast because of the way
in which Slaven Bilic's side surrendered at Old Trafford.
For that immediate reason, it is welcome news that the robust pair of
Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate may be available for the game after
recovering from injury. The team needs to toughen up. Quickly. In fact, it
makes this a good time to set aside all those fallacies about the Hammers'
unquenchable penchant for elegant, lovely football and about their
much-marketed Academy, too. It all happened decades ago. Those ideas are
actually practised with more conviction these days by Saturday's opponents,
who have a well-defined philosophy which produces young players and attempts
to create a technical style of play whoever is manager. Funnily enough,
they call it The Southampton Way. And it put them in eighth place in the
final table last season.

West Ham, meanwhile, have chosen a different path in their awkward new home
at the London Stadium. For example, it's been made clear by the board that
there will be little room for young players to break into the side regularly
in future. The demands of the modern Premier League mean they have to buy in
ready-made seasoning and experience, they say – with much justification, in
fact, given that West Ham see themselves as a bigger club than the Saints.
It certainly made good sense when Bilic signed the physically powerful pair
of Marko Arnautovic and Pablo Zabaleta during the summer It was recognition
that the team was seriously lacking strength as well as pace last season.
The pursuit of Sporting Lisbon's defensive midfielder William Carvalho -
once described as a new Patrick Vieira - underlines this idea, even if it
should temper the excitement which greeted the appearance of 18-year-old
Declan Rice amid the carnage in midfield in Manchester last Sunday. "The
West Ham Way? Funnily enough, they call it The Southampton Way. And it put
them in eighth place in the final table last season."
But having chosen this path – and added to the disgruntlement of many
supporters who despair at the changes in the nature of the club - they now
have to make it work. That's the trade-off required for the abandonment of
much-cherished Upton Park. So far, there is little sign of it.

To get things straight, the so-called West Ham Way was represented by the
tough, physical and honest attitudes of Billy Bonds as much as it was by the
deft magic of Sir Trevor Brooking and Alan Devonshire. It is Bonzo who is
the all-time greatest hero of the fans – even more so than Bobby Moore –
which is why the club, with all its PR troubles, should heed the campaign to
get a stand named after him in Stratford. True enough, all of those players
had more bad times than good. That's the West Ham way, too. They were often
seen as a soft touch. Especially Up North. So even now, it will be welcome
progress if Bilic makes his side more combative and muscular. Yet last
Sunday's performance at Old Trafford contained too many echoes of the
thrashings suffered against Manchester City (twice), Arsenal and Liverpool
last season . It means that many fans already fear nothing has changed on
the pitch, even if so much has been altered off it.
True enough, Jose Mourinho's side were bursting with power and purpose
following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. It just made West
Ham's collapse all the more inevitable in what is supposed to be the world's
most competitive league. The Hammers' long injury list was irrelevant, too.
This is a squad game nowadays. Southampton are not from the newly-minted Big
Seven. And West Ham won 3-1 there last February. But they are a club with a
detailed sense of structure, mission, identity and talent production similar
to the ideas cherished by supporters in east London. West Ham won't play at
home for more than three weeks - until September 11 - in the aftermath of
the world athletics championship. Even that is somehow typical of the club's
haphazard ways. So they urgently need to change the mood around them at
Southampton. Or the West Ham Way so embarrassingly on display last weekend
could become a bad habit this season.

Portuguese media deliver major update on West Ham's bid to sign William
Carvalho from Sporting
The Hammers are desperate to land their man
Football London
05:30, 18 AUG 2017

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has made Sporting Lisbon star William
Carvalho his number one target this summer but talks appear to be on hiatus,
according to the Portuguese media. The reports claim that the midfielder is
also struggling with injury currently, having missed Sporting's last match
with a shoulder injury and has now picked up a new knock that could keep him
out for longer. Portuguese media outlet Record also claim that the Hammers
will come back with a £36.4m bid, including add ons for the player, with the
Lisbon outfit holding a sell on fee as well. The report states that West Ham
must sell players before being able to afford to make such a move and for
that reason the move is currently on hold, although Record also write that
Carvalho is the only midfielder Bilic wants to sign this summer.

Dramas involving Diego Costa and Philippe Coutinho show player power is a
problem in the Premier League, claims West Ham boss Slaven Bilic
Diego Costa is currently exiled following a fall-out with Chelsea's Antonio
Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho has handed in a transfer request at
Slaven Bilic said: 'I never advise or ask the players to stop training.
That's low'
By Kieran Gill for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 01:35, 18 August 2017 | UPDATED: 01:36, 18 August 2017

Player power has become a problem in the Premier League amid the sagas
surrounding Chelsea's Diego Costa and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho,
according to Slaven Bilic. West Ham boss Bilic expressed sympathy for Jurgen
Klopp and Antonio Conte on Thursday, having experienced a similar situation
with wantaway Dimitri Payet last season. The France winger went on strike to
force a move to Marseille for £25million and Bilic will hope there are no
tantrums from Manuel Lanzini as the Argentinian attracts interest from
Lanzini is due to return to first-team training on Monday before hopefully
being included in the squad for Newcastle United following his knee injury.
As reported by Sportsmail last week, the club still want to tie the
£35,000-a-week winger down to a new and improved deal. Speaking on Thursday
about the likes of Costa and Coutinho, Bilic said: 'The power is too much on
the side of the players and their agents. 'It's hard for the managers. Make
no mistake, we are sometimes on this side and sometimes the other side. But
I never, ever advise or ask the players to stop training. That's low. That
is low. It should not be like that. 'The most important thing is that you
are on the same line as your board, then you are strong. 'It's a club
problem but at the end of the day, it's the manager's problem. It' s
happening now with Coutinho, with (Antonio) Conte and Costa or whoever. It's
a problem for the manager. 'Is it hard? It is very hard. Is it becoming
every year harder? But that's why I say the football game is very simple but
the manager's job is very complicated. And that's it. 'I know that I got a
lot of praise for the (Payet) situation but I spoke to my staff, my family,
"Why are they praising me for that because it was very logical thing to do?"
I couldn't do any different.'

Bilic is waiting for the thumbs up from co-chairman David Sullivan that he
has Sporting Lisbon's £36m-rated midfielder William Carvalho, though talks
have stalled with other clubs now involved. 'It is very busy,' Bilic
conceded. 'It is becoming more busy in other clubs. I have left it to the
board, to the chairman, to the people involved in those ins and outs. 'I am
concentrating only and totally on our game against Southampton. We are going
to see what has happened there with ins and outs.' Meanwhile, Bilic
confirmed on Thursday that Michail Antonio will be fit to face Southampton
on Saturday, while Andy Carroll is back in first-team training.

Slaven Bilic confirms Michail Antonio return for West Ham United
Shane Callaghan

West Ham United will have Michail Antonio available this weekend, following
a four-month absence. Slaven Bilic has revealed that West Ham United will
have the option of using fit-again Michail Antonio this weekend. The Hammers
have another tricky away day on the horizon as Bilic's side visit
Southampton on Saturday, six days after being thrashed 4-0 at Manchester
United. But this time West Ham will have the 27-year-old available, with
Antonio missing the last six weeks of last season through injury. The former
Nottingham Forest man was the Irons' top goalscorer in the Premier League
last term, and Bilic is delighted to announce via The Mail that the pacey
winger is set to return. He said: "Antonio is back, he's fit, he played last
week for the Under-23s. It was part of the plan and he looked really good.
He looks ready. "For this game, we're going to have 100 per cent Michail
Antonio back."
The East Londoners would've been lost without the ex-Brighton winger last
season and his return should not only boost performances, but morale within
the squad. Only two players - Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll - scored more
than his seven goals during the 2015-16 campaign. He has 16 Premier League
goals his last 52 games.

By Dan Coker 18 Aug 2017 at 08:00 8 comments
Blast from the past

1st April 1907 – Edward VII was on the throne, Henry Campbell-Bannerman was
the Liberal Prime Minister and the first taxicabs with taximeters had just
begun operating in London. West Ham United, meanwhile, were defeating
Southampton 3-2 in front of 8,000 at The Dell.

The Hammers recorded victory on the South Coast with goals from 23-year-old
centre-forward Harry Stapley, 22-year-old half-back Len Jarvis and
25-year-old inside-forward Lionel Watson. Trialist John Patten and
22-year-old Frank Jefferis replied for the Saints but it was the Hammers who
took maximum points back to London. This was one of two goals Patten scored
for Saints from four matches but it still wasn't enough to win him a
permanent contract. Jefferis would go on to win two England caps and the
1915 league title with Everton.

Stapley (pictured right) was born in Tunbridge Wells on 29th April 1883 and
was considered something of a coup when, as an amateur player, he accepted
an invitation to play for the Hammers in late 1904. A schoolmaster by trade,
he had resisted the lure of professional football throughout a distinguished
football career with Manor Park Albion, Bromley, Norwich CEYMS, Reading and
Woodford Town. Slightly-built for a centre-forward, he topped West Ham's
scoring charts for three consecutive campaigns and, after then moving up in
the world to join Second Division Glossop, he was the Derbyshire club's top
scorer for seven successive seasons. His duties as a teacher prevented him
from travelling to midweek matches but he became the private tutor and
cricket and football coach to the Hill-Wood children (the family long
associated with Arsenal); Stapley served as private secretary to Sir Samuel
Hill-Wood when he became MP for High Peak. Harry Stapley died in Glossop on
his 56th birthday in 1939.

West Ham United would finish the 1906/07 Southern League First Division
season in fifth position, while Southampton would end up 11th in a campaign
which saw Fulham top the division, Newcastle win the Football League title
and The Wednesday win the FA Cup. Stapley would finish as the Hammers' top
scorer with 22 goals in 37 matches.

Southampton: George Clawley, John Robertson, John Eastham, Horace Glover,
Joseph Harris, James Bowden, Sam Jepp, Fred Mouncher, Frank Jefferis, John
Patten, Wally Radford.

West Ham United: George Kitchen, Bill Wildman, Bill Taylor, Tommy Allison,
Len Jarvis, Frank Piercy, Dave Lindsay, Billy Grassam, Harry Stapley, Lionel
Watson, Fred Blackburn.

Club Connections

Jose Fonte and Michail Antonio travel to the home of their former club. An
array of West Ham United's good, bad and ugly have also turned out for

Goalkeepers: Richard Wright, George Kitchen.

Defenders: Richard Hall, Christian Dailly, Joe Kirkup, Wayne Bridge, Neil
Ruddock, Bill Adams, Ian Pearce, Darren Powell, Albie Roles, Horace Glover,
Calum Davenport.

Midfielders: Bobby Weale, Luis Boa Morte, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic,
Robbie Slater, Paul Allen.

Strikers: Vic Watson, Justin Fashanu, David Speedie, David Connolly, Ted
MacDougall, Henri Camara, Alex McDonald, Frank Costello, Fred Harrison,
Walter Pollard, Arthur Wilson, Jimmy Harris, Jack Foster.

In addition, George Kay played for the Hammers and managed the Saints while
Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew have managed both clubs.

Today's focus is on a striker who had a period with Southampton in between
two spells with West Ham. Iain Dowie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire on
9th January 1965. He was rejected by Southampton aged 16 and later went to
the University of Hertfordshire to study for an engineer's degree. On
completion he became an employee of British Aerospace, whilst playing
football at non-League level for Cheshunt alongside his brother Bob. He left
Cheshunt to improve his fitness and signed for St Albans City, then moved on
to Hendon. While playing for Hendon, Dowie was spotted by Luton who signed
him in the 1988/89 season, when they were in the First Division. An
old-fashioned centre-forward, he had a brief loan spell at Fulham before
establishing himself as a first-team player at Kenilworth Road in the
1989/90 season, when his eight goals in 29 league games helped Luton finish

On 22nd March 1991, with Luton still in the First Division and Dowie still a
first team regular with seven goals from 29 games that season, he agreed to
drop a division to join Billy Bonds' promotion-chasing West Ham United for a
fee of £480,000. He proved himself to be a competent deputy for the injured
Trevor Morley as his four goals in the final 12 league games of the season
helped secure the team's promotion as Second Division runners-up. The
26-year-old Dowie made his Hammers debut in a 0-0 draw at Hull the day after
signing and scored his first goal on his home debut, a 3-2 win over Barnsley
at the Boleyn Ground on 1st April 1991. He scored in his next two home games
as well, a 2-0 win over Swindon on 20th April and a 1-1 draw with Newcastle
four days later, before making it three goals in a week in a 3-1 defeat at
Blackburn on 27th April. When the 1991/92 First Division season began
however, Morley had returned to fitness and Dowie found himself on the
sidelines until his £500,000 move to Southampton on 3rd September 1991 after
less than six months at Upton Park.

Dowie played alongside Alan Shearer and Matthew Le Tissier – two of the
country's highest regarded players in the early 1990s – and scored nine
goals in 30 league games to ensure that Ian Branfoot's Saints finished high
enough for a place in the newly formed Premier League, while the Hammers
were relegated in bottom position from the old First Division to the new
First Division. His good form continued into the 1992/93 season, despite the
sale of Shearer to Blackburn, as he scored 11 league goals. His tally
dropped to five goals in 39 games during the 1993/94 campaign, though
Southampton avoided relegation again, and he managed another five goals from
17 league games in the 1994/95 season before manager Alan Ball decided that
he wanted younger partners for Le Tissier in attack, signing Gordon Watson
and Neil Shipperley while dropping Craig Maskell and selling Dowie to
Crystal Palace for £400,000 in January 1995. Dowie had scored 30 goals for
Southampton from 122 matches in just over three years at The Dell.

Dowie could not save the Eagles from relegation from the Premier League and
returned to Upton Park in September 1995 in a deal which saw the late Jeroen
Boere move to Selhurst Park. The 30-year-old Dowie made his second Hammers
debut under Harry Redknapp in a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea on 11th September
1995 and scored his first goal back at the Boleyn in a 1-1 draw with
champions Blackburn on 21st October. He scored the only goal of the game at
Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend before grabbing a late winner
against former club Southampton on 16th December. He bagged the Hammers'
first goal of 1996 in a 2-1 New Year's Day defeat at Manchester City and
notched an 85th-minute winner in a 3-2 home win over Coventry on 31st
January 1996, a match which saw the debut of Frank Lampard Junior.

Dowie scored the equaliser in a 1-1 home FA Cup fourth round draw with
Grimsby on 7th February 1996 but the Hammers would lose the replay 3-0 the
following week. He tapped in the opener in a 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough
on 9th March and made it three goals in as many games by bagging a brace in
a 4-2 home triumph over Manchester City. Dowie ended the 1995/96 campaign
with nine goals from 39 appearances in all competitions and was voted
runner-up to Julian Dicks in the Hammer of the Year voting as West Ham
finished in the top flight's top ten for the first time since the famous
1985/86 season.

1996/97 was to prove less fruitful, with Dowie's only goals coming in a Hugo
Porfirio-inspired 4-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the third round of
the League Cup, a match in which Dowie notched a double on 23rd October
1996. Redknapp had broken up Dowie's previously successful partnership with
Tony Cottee (who had moved to Selangor of Malaysia) but his experiment with
foreign imports was not paying dividends – neither Florin Raducioiu nor
Paulo Futre, both summer signings, would be in east London by the end of the
winter. Dowie ploughed a fruitless furrow up front in the bleak winter of
1996/97 and had to bear the frustrations of supporters who also had to
contend with loan flop Mike Newell when Dowie was injured in January before
the signings of John Hartson and Paul Kitson breathed new goalscoring life
into the claret and blue strikeforce. Dowie's nightmare own goal at lowly
Stockport also dumped the drenched Hammers out of the League Cup in a fourth
round replay.

Dowie remained in east London until January 1998, fourteen months and 32
matches after his last goals for the club. He departed, alongside left-back
and fellow Northern Ireland international Keith Rowland, in the deal which
brought Trevor Sinclair to the Boleyn Ground from QPR. Dowie, who left at
the age of 33, had scored 15 goals in 95 appearances in all competitions
across both his spells with West Ham United. Twelve of these goals can be
seen in my video below.

Dowie spent three years at QPR, ending his career playing in defence and as
player-manager of the reserves. He was also caretaker manager of the club
for two games in the autumn of 1998. He retired having also won 59 caps for
Northern Ireland, for whom he qualified to play through his father, scoring
12 goals. He became manager of Oldham in 2002, knocking Glenn Roeder's West
Ham out of the League Cup at Upton Park, before moving to former club
Crystal Palace in December 2003, taking the Eagles from 19th place in
Division One to the Play-Off Final, where Dowie again engineered a victory
over the Hammers. He took over at Charlton in the summer of 2006 but left
before Christmas and became manager at Coventry in February 2007 only to
leave a year later. He returned to QPR in the summer of 2008 but was sacked
after just 15 games. Alan Shearer named Dowie on his coaching staff at
Newcastle when he took over for the final stages of the 2008/09 campaign.

Dowie was named as the temporary 'Football Management Consultant' of Premier
League Hull City on 17th March 2010 but the Tigers would be relegated with
one game left to play. Now 52, Dowie works as a commentator for Sky Sports
News. His niece, 29-year-old England international striker Natasha Dowie,
plays for Boston Breakers in the American National Women's Soccer League.


Saturday's referee will be Lee Mason from Greater Manchester. Mason refereed
the Hammers once in 2016/17 – the 1-0 home win over Hull when he awarded the
Hammers a match-winning penalty – but took charge of two West Ham matches
the previous season, those being the 0-0 draw at Swansea in December 2015
and the 3-0 win at West Brom in April 2016.

Mason refereed three Premier League matches involving the Hammers in 2014/15
– the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, the 1-0 home win over Sunderland and the
2-1 defeat at Old Trafford when he sent off Wayne Rooney, denied the Hammers
a penalty when Morgan Amalfitano's cross struck Radamel Falcao's arm and
disallowed Kevin Nolan's last-minute strike for a marginal offside. Mason
was also the man in the middle for our 1-0 FA Cup win at Bristol City in
January 2015. He also officiated in four of our games in 2013/14, sending
off two of our players (Mark Noble against Everton and James Tomkins at
Cardiff) and disallowing a perfectly good Stewart Downing equaliser at
Crystal Palace.

Possible line-ups

Southampton and England left-back Ryan Bertrand has been passed fit but
Virgil van Dijk remains unavailable.

West Ham United could welcome back Michail Antonio from injury, while Aaron
Cresswell could claim a starting berth. Cheikhou Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini and
Andy Carroll could return at Newcastle next weekend.

Possible Southampton XI: Forster; Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand;
Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Redmond, Davis, Tadic; Gabbiadini.

Possible West Ham United XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell;
Obiang, Noble; Antonio, Ayew, Arnautovic; Chicharito.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

Follow @dan_coker on twitter.


Friday, August 18

Daily WHUFC News - 18th August 2017

Bilic: Love for Lanzini, respect for Rice, Hart's impact and why the window needs to close

Slaven Bilic sat down with the media on Thursday afternoon to give a typically insightful press conference. The West Ham United boss was asked for his opinion on a host of subjects by broadcasters, but strangely Saturday's Premier League fixture at Southampton was not one of them! We will have more on the manager's thoughts on facing the Saints on Friday but, in the meantime, here is what he had to say about speculation surrounding Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll's imminent return, Declan Rice's promising introduction and the ongoing debate over the transfer window…

'He is happy and he likes it here' Part 2

As was the case a week previously, Slaven Bilic was asked about the speculation surrounding the future of Manuel Lanzini. And, as was the case a week previously, the manager talked of his close relationship with the Argentina international and the playmaker's happiness in a Claret and Blue shirt. "I said it last week, I speak to Manu every day, he is very happy," he said. "He really feels at home here. He feels wanted. You can see it every day – he is smiling and happy. He broke into the Argentina national team. "He knows if he has a good season at West Ham, he has the chance to improve, to have a better contract with West Ham and to play for Argentina. He is very happy here. "I am sure he is going to stay with us. He knows that he is wanted. He was voted the Players' Player of the Year, which is a really good thing. It makes you feel really wanted at a place. He likes it here."

'It's still the beginning for Dec'

Slaven Bilic knows as well as anyone that young players need a combination of hard work, good fortune and talent to make it at the highest level. As a player himself and manager of both a national team and club sides, Bilic has seen dozens of teenagers given a chance to succeed at first-team level, with only a handful going onto establish themselves. Last weekend, he gave 18-year-old Declan Rice a second Premier League appearance at Manchester United and the midfielder generally impressed. The manager is rightly happy to have blooded an Academy product, but urged restraint when it comes to putting pressure and expectations on the young Irishman's shoulders. "Although it's nice to have a situation (where a player comes through the Academy), we are never trying to force that," said Bilic. "We didn't go 'Let's put Declan in to gain something from the fans'." "He's a boy, a very mature and good player for his age. He thinks about the game and has the quality and has impressed everybody – the players, staff, West Ham family. In pre-season, he played every game. He was very important. He did very well in all our games. "It's still early for the kid, but is he improving and doing good? Yes, he is. "OK, we've had some injuries in that area, but the reason he has played is because he was the best option and I was confident he can do it. He has done it already in the last couple of months. "He came on against Burnley and it wasn't because of any other reason – it was an important game for us and we brought him on because it was the best option for us. "We don't want to praise him too much – him and his family are down to earth and will stay focused. It's still the beginning for him but he is doing really well."

Unfinished sympathy

Eight months ago, Slaven Bilic was the Premier League manager dealing with a high-profile player who reportedly and publicly wanted to move elsewhere. Dimitri Payet was that player and, come the end of the transfer window, he was wearing the white of Marseille, rather than the Claret and Blue of West Ham United.
Fast forward to this summer and a number of players are reportedly digging their heels in to force moves elsewhere. So, does Slaven have sympathy with the likes of Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Southampton's Maurico Pellegrino? You bet he does, while also endorsing the view that the transfer window should close before the season stars to avoid ongoing and unsettling speculation. "Of course, I have sympathy for that [situation]," he said. "That would stop at least if the season starts after transfer window has closed. "You want to have your team and concentrate only on the game and you're not because of those things. "Sometimes you're on the other side of the story and you're the one getting the player, but it definitely doesn't help the managers. "It's a great idea, and I'm definitely in favour. We end the pre-season with a team and we are into the season with the same team. "Some teams lose 30% of their team or whatever [between the start of the season and end of the window], but it definitely should be across Europe [and not just England] otherwise there is no point."

AC and Joe Joe

West Ham United have lots of leaders in their dressing room these days. The Hammers have three England internationals – Joe Hart, Andy Carroll and Aaron Cresswell – and no fewer than ten others who have featured at major tournaments for their respective countries. When asked about the impact England's No1 has made since arriving on loan from Manchester City, the manager was effusive in his praise. "Joe made a big impact," he confirmed. "He is No1 for England he's very vocal in a positive way and he is in games and training. You need that from a goalkeeper, to organise the defence and shout. We are very happy with him so far."
And what of Carroll, who has returned to full training and could make his first appearance of the season at former club Newcastle United a week on Saturday? What kind of impact can he make on his comeback? "We don't want to rush him into the game against Southampton," Bilic said. "He has a great impact on the pitch but we don't to put him in a situation where after a few days' training, he plays for us. "Maybe in that game he would be great, maybe he would score, but that kind of approach has caused new injuries for Andy in the past. "So we don't want to drag it too long, but he has to have at least kind of a short pre-season before he enters the pitch. Only then can he maintain his fitness."

Pedro Obiang: I'm working hard to get back to my best

Pedro Obiang has assured supporters he is working hard to return to his best ahead of West Ham's Premier League match this Saturday against Southampton.
West Ham's clash with Manchester United on Sunday was Obiang's first competitive appearance for the club since March, having suffered an ankle injury in the home contest with Leicester City last season. Although the Irons were defeated the midfielder was happy to get back onto the field and once again play for Slaven Bilic's side. Obiang admits that recovery has been tough but is now feeling strong ahead of Saturday's fixture with the Saints. "It's been difficult to come back to the team because I've had to get back to full fitness, had to trust in myself and had to have the same confidence in my ankle," Obiang said: "It's not the same but I think you need time. I've been working with our physical trainer and at the moment I feel okay. I have a little problem but it's normal. I need a little time to be perfect."

The 25-year-old joked that he enjoyed the initial weeks of his lay-off due to the lack of running but was eager to return to the first team as soon as possible.
"The first two or three weeks were lovely because I didn't have to run! But after that I wanted to be back on the pitch. You want to be with the team. You want that feeling when you start to prepare. "You have to be patient and you have to be focused. When you come back with the teammates it's lovely. You feel like a proper player again. You're in the team. It's not the same when you aren't. It's like being school and the teacher tells you to go to the other classroom."

Obiang is once again likely to start for West Ham at St Mary's Stadium this weekend and has fond memories of scoring at the ground last campaign. The midfielder's first Premier League goal was in this fixture last year and Obiang is hopeful of scoring again. "St Mary's is an important stadium for me. It's a lovely. I have beautiful memories because we won that game and I scored my first goal. I will try to score another one this weekend. There have been many changes in Southampton's team and they have signed some good players, which will help them do well. They try to play lovely football. We have to perform well against them and we have to be ready for the game."

Obiang shared the pitch with four of West Ham's five summer signings this past weekend in Chicharito, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Pablo Zabaleta. The No14 is excited to see what West Ham can achieve this season with the experience these new signings bring. "They've come here to give us a little more experience than before. When we have a totally fit squad we'll be able to see what we can do together. "Hart is a big guy. He has experience. Zabaleta also has experience. He speaks Spanish so I talk all the time with him. Arnautovic is a really good player. I know him from Italy. Chicharito is a lovely guy too. He's always happy."

Team news: Antonio back, Kouyate, Carroll and Lanzini set for Newcastle return

Michail Antonio will return to West Ham United's Premier League squad for the first time in four-and-a-half months at Southampton on Saturday. The winger is back in Slaven Bilic's squad after recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the victory over Swansea City at London Stadium in April. Bilic enthused about the No30's fitness and his performance in the Premier League 2 Division 1 fixture at Everton last Friday, when Antonio produced a typically all-action performance at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. "Michail is back, he is fit, he played for the Under-23s last week on the Friday when we played Manchester United on the Sunday, which was part of the plan," the manager said. "He looked really good, he is in shape and he has been training with us for two-and-a-half weeks now. He did 90 minutes on a big pitch in the Under-23s and then he came back to train with us and he looks good and he looks ready."
While Antonio is ready to return to action against his old club at St Mary's Stadium, Saturday's fixture has come a week too soon for Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll. The Senegal midfielder has been out since the start of pre-season with a knee problem, while the England centre-forward has been sidelined since April with a hip issue. However, both were back in full training with the squad this week and are on course to return to first-team duty at Newcastle United on Saturday 26 August.
"On Wednesday, Cheikhou and Andy started to train with us, so they have done a couple of sessions," Bilic confirmed. "We are going to see with them because both of them, especially Andy, had a long lay-off. Andy was out since April and Cheikhou had a few weeks off, as his injury basically happened in our first pre-season training session in Austria."
Finally, the boss had more good news regarding Manuel Lanzini, who suffered a knee injury in training during pre-season but is also in line for a first appearance of 2017/18 at St James' Park. "Manu is training individually and he is joining us on Monday, so we are going to have a full squad back for the Newcastle game," Bilic enthused. "We will have Mikey back 100 per cent for this game [at Southampton], but for Cheikhou and for Andy, it's a bit too early, I think."

Jamie Porter: The West Ham fan bowling for cricketing glory

The Claret and Blue Army has one of English sport's rising stars among its ranks. It is less than three years since Jamie Porter bowled his first ball in an Essex Cricket shirt, but the 24-year-old is now being widely tipped to become the county's latest England international. Born just two stops down the Central line in Leytonstone, Porter's wickets have also put Essex on course to win their first County Championship title since the year the Premier League was born, 1992.
He is also a proud and lifelong West Ham United fan. "I was born into a West Ham family raised in Ilford, so I had no option but to be a Hammer," smiled the seamer, whose Essex side face two make-or-break T20 Blast fixtures with Kent and Sussex this week. "My Dad and Grandad would not have been too pleased if I had supported anyone else. "I am told the first thing I ever wore were West Ham baby clothes, which I left the hospital in!"

While his promise on the cricket field meant he was always more likely to bowl a ball than kick it, Porter's family ensured young Jamie also enjoyed plenty of football as a youngster. "My Dad is a Season Ticket Holder and I go to as many games as I can with him, but obviously with playing cricket all year round these days, it's not as often as I would like," he confirmed. "My favourite game? I remember seeing us beat Liverpool in the last season at Upton Park in the FA Cup, that really sticks out in my memory."

Porter is not the only Hammer associated with Essex Cricket, either. Wicketkeeper Adam Wheater is also a fan, as is legendary batsman and captain Graham Gooch, while Sir Geoff Hurst even played a Championship game for the county in 1962. "There are quite a few football fans in the dressing room, to be fair," Porter revealed, "although most of them support Manchester United, Spurs or Arsenal. "I am flying the flag, though, and I always try to catch the matches on my iPad or phone in the dressing room when we are on TV. I remember we were playing during the Play-Off final back in 2012 and I somehow managed to turn my ankle…"

The 2017 season has been a hugely successful one for Essex and Porter – so far. They sit 41 points clear at the top of County Championship Division One, with just five matches remaining, with Porter's 40 wickets making him the fourth most-successful bowler in the top flight. "It's a big thing doing what I have done this season on a bigger stage," he said, with deserving pride. "I have just tried to keep doing what I have done in the last few years and to be consistent."

That approach has worked not only for Porter, but for his teammates too, and he now believes Essex are 'well set' to win Division One. To put that in context, Essex were considered 16/1 outsiders to win the title in April, but now their odds have shortened to 1/6. Just once previously since cricket's County Championship split into two divisions in 2000 has a club been promoted from Division Two and gone on to be crowned Division One champions the following year – Nottinghamshire in 2004 and 2005.

So, just how big a sporting upset would it be if Essex were crowned County Champions next month?

"Cricket is probably more of a level playing field than football in that players are probably paid the same at every club, but the difference is that bigger clubs can afford to pay more players in the top bracket – so Essex winning the title would be a little less impressive than Leicester City winning the Premier League!" Porter explained. "That said, it's been a long time since a club from a non-Test county won the Championship, although Somerset went close last year. It's a nice feeling to know we could be just the second team to come up and win the title straight away. "To win Division Two and Division One back to back would be pretty special."

Naturally, everyone at West Ham United wishes Jamie and Essex all the best in their pursuit of what would be, to steal his own word, a truly special achievement.

Premier League International Cup dates confirmed

A date has been confirmed for West Ham United U23s' Premier League International Cup tie against Portuguese outfit Benfica.

The Hammers will take on The Reds, who just missed out on qualification to the knockout rounds of last season's competition, on 21 November 2017, though a venue and kick-off time is yet to be confirmed.

The tournament was won by Porto last season after a 5-0 final win over Sunderland in the north east.

The Hammers' campaign in the International Cup kicks-off at the end of this month, with a second trip to Tottenham Hotspur in the space of two weeks taking place on 31 August.

Then, Terry Westley's team will host Villarreal – a date that has also been changed – just five days later on 4 October at Dagenham and Redbridge's Chigwell Construction Stadium.

ISA call for 'goodwill gesture'
Filed: Thursday, 17th August 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United Independent Supporters' Association have written to the club after it was revealed that there would be no trains returning to London following next week's Carabao Cup tie against Cheltenham.

Although West Ham were drawn as the home side in the tie, which takes place on Wednesday, 23 August, the match will be staged at the League Two club's Whaddon Road ground as the Hammers do not have a ground in which to play the match as a result of the recent World Athletics.

And should the game enter extra time, and possibly penalties, Hammers fans travelling by rail will be left stranded - as the last scheduled train to London leaves Chelteham at 10.01pm.

As a result of this possibility, WHUISA have written to the club asking that they make a 'gesture of goodwill' to the 1,050 fans who will making the trip to Gloucestershire next week.

"WHUISA wishes to express its disappointment in the club and the apparent lack of goodwill shown towards the fans who travel to away games to support the team," read the letter, which KUMB has seen.

"West Ham were drawn to play Cheltenham Town at home in the Caraboa Cup but this was re-arranged as an away game at West Ham's request making it the fourth consecutive away fixture in the space of two weeks.

"This fixture could attract extra time and penalties but without leaving the game early during normal time, it is not possible for away fans to take the last train back to London which departs at 22.01 so a lengthy road journey or overnight stay is the only practical solution.

"It is therefore disappointing that no gesture of goodwill has been made by the club for this game at a time when the income it receives from Sky TV and Season Ticket sales is higher than it has ever been.

"We believe a solution to this would be a gesture towards all fans whether travelling near or far to the match in funding the cost of the match ticket.

"If every one of the 1,050 allocation were sold at the full adult price it would cost the club a little over £22,000 to pay for them. This is a televised game and the positive publicity a gesture like that would attract is a small price to pay to reward some of the most loyal and dedicated West Ham fans.

"We are certain West Ham United will want to make a strong positive gesture to its loyal fans in this quite unique situation."

More Athletics = no European football
Filed: Thursday, 17th August 2017
By: Staff Writer

Athletes from Great Britain and the United States will meet at the Olympic Stadium next summer in a freshly-devised competition entitled 'The Meet'. Niels de Vos, chief executive of British Athletics confirmed that the event would be taking place next summer at the stadium on Saturday, 21 July - less than three weeks before the 2018/19 Premier League season commences.
"British Athletics and USA Track & Field (USATF) have today announced that two of the strongest nations in global athletics will go head-to-head in a new format, one-day competition next year," read a statement on "Hosted by British Athletics, the event will be staged at the London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London."
Whilst the event shouldn't impact on West Ham's Premier League campaign this time around, it WILL however affect the club should they qualify for the preliminary stages of European competition at the end of the current campaign. This season (2017/18), Europa League qualifiers began on 26 June and 2 July (1st round). The second qualifying round took place on 13 and 20 July and the third qualifying round on 27 July and 2 August. All of these dates will almost certainly to be unavailable to West Ham next season as a result of the planned Athletics meet.
And should the Hammers by some miracle qualify for the Champions League, the third qualifying round took place this year on 14 July and 2 August - which again means it is extremely unlikely that the stadium will have been returned to 'football mode' in time. West Ham Vice-Chair Karren Brady previously insisted that West Ham have the ability to veto any event taking place at the stadium during the regular football season.

West Ham remain in talks to sign William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 17/08/17 11:05am

West Ham remain in talks to sign William Carvalho but Sporting Lisbon are demanding a higher price for the midfielder, according to Sky sources. The Portugal international is understood to want a move to the Premier League and has a £40m release clause in his contract. Despite holding talks over the past two weeks, Sky Sports News understands Sporting will only sanction a deal to sell Carvalho if West Ham match the buy-out fee. Sky Sports News also understands West Ham have had an opening offer turned down by Sporting for Carvalho, who was left out of the matchday squad for the 0-0 Champions League play-off first-leg draw against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday. The 25-year-old, who helped Portugal win Euro 2016, is a product of the Sporting academy and has scored nine goals in 137 appearances since making his first-team debut in 2011. Sporting have recently signed midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia as a potential replacement for Carvalho.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has made five major signings during the summer transfer window, with Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Sead Haksabanovic arriving at the London Stadium.

Slaven Bilic says Manuel Lanzini will stay at West Ham this season
Last Updated: 17/08/17 3:29pm

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says Manuel Lanzini will stay at the club this season amid links with Liverpool. Bilic says the midfielder "feels at home here" and has ruled out any chance of a transfer this summer. The 24-year old, who joined West Ham permanently last summer after a year on loan, has been linked with a move to Liverpool as a potential replacement for Philippe Coutinho. "I speak to Manu every day. He is very happy, he feels at home here and he feels wanted," said Bilic. "You can feel it, you can see it. I don't have to talk to him. You see how he is smiling here."
The West Ham boss believes playing regularly for West Ham in a World Cup year means Lanzini is happy to stay in east London. "He broke into the national team of Argentina despite being injured, he got a call up for the September games. So he knows if he is playing here for West Ham and has a good season, he can improve, sign a better contract with West Ham and play for Argentina," said Bilic. West Ham are interested in Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho. The Portugal international is understood to want a move to the Premier League and has a £40m release clause in his contract. "We are going to see what happens with ins and outs," said Bilic. "I have left it to the board and chairman. I am concentrated only on our game with Southampton."

Robert Snodgrass surplus to requirements at West Ham
By Keith Downie
Last Updated: 17/08/17 6:15pm

West Ham have told Robert Snodgrass that he is surplus to requirements, according to Sky sources. Sky Sports News understands the Scotland international will be allowed to leave either on a permanent basis or on loan. Snodgrass only joined West Ham from Hull in January, but has since struggled to find his best form and has been unable to establish himself as a first-team regular. The 29-year-old scored nine goals for Hull last season before joining the Hammers in a deal worth £10.2m. Snodgrass, whose former clubs include Leeds and Norwich, has three years remaining on his contract at the London Stadium. Meanwhile, West Ham remain in talks to sign William Carvalho but Sporting Lisbon are demanding a higher price for the midfielder. The Portugal international is understood to want a move to the Premier League and has a £40m release clause in his contract. Despite holding talks over the past two weeks, Sky Sports News understands Sporting will only sanction a deal to sell Carvalho if West Ham match the buy-out fee.


West Ham are set to make a €40m offer for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho. According to Record, via Sport Witness, Sporting are expecting West Ham to come in with a €35m + €5m in add-ons bid for Carvalho soon. The report does claim, though, that before the bid is made West Ham have to raise funds by selling players. It was reported earlier today that Robert Snodgrass has been told he can leave the club, eight months after signing from Hull last season.
It is also said that West Ham boss Slaven Bilic believes Carvalho would be the club's most important signing this summer. This is despite the club signing prolific marksman Javier Hernandez in a big deal from Bayer Leverkusen. West Ham have also splashed cash on Marko Arnautovic, who signed from Premier League rivals Stoke for £24m. Pablo Zabaleta joined the club on a free transfer, whilst Joe Hart is on-loan from Manchester City.

Five situations that need resolving at West Ham before the transfer window shuts
West Ham transfer news centres on William Carvalho's potential club-record arrival but there are other issues for Slaven Bilic to sort too
Football London
20:00, 17 AUG 2017

Just two weeks remain before the transfer window slams shut and West Ham intend to remain busy over the next fortnight as Slaven Bilic finalises his playing
squad for the 2017/18 season. Bilic has already completed the majority of his business with five first-team arrivals and a raft of departures to overhaul his options and inject confidence into the fanbase that the Hammers can enjoy a successful campaign. But he has not quite finished fine-tuning his squad and there remain some issues to resolve at the London Stadium between now and the window slamming shut for business at 11pm on August 31. We've taken a look at what will be on the Hammers agenda up until the transfer deadline.

Completing the William Carvalho deal

Negotiations have proven more protracted than West Ham would have anticipated and there is slight frustration that a conclusion has yet to be reached, but they still have time. Sporting Lisbon have been accused of moving the goalposts on a deal, with the Portuguese side now hunting a fee in excess of €40m having previously indicated to West Ham they would accept lower. Bilic's comments in his press conference ahead of the weekend trip to Southampton were naturally cautious. "I don't know," he said when asked on the latest on the transfer. "We will see what happens with ins and outs. It's becoming very busy at other clubs too." West Ham have other, ahem, irons in the fire should a deal for Carvalho not materialise, with both Danilo Pereira and Ljubomir Fejsa - of Porto and Benfica respectively - on their radar as alternative targets.

Getting rid of Robert Snodgrass

The writing was on the wall before his omission from the squad to face Manchester United at Old Trafford - that just served to confirm where his future lies.
It isn't at West Ham, with Bilic having decided the player can leave on a permanent deal or, failing that, on loan. There has been tentative interest from Premier League and Championship clubs but formal offers have as yet not been forthcoming. West Ham are determined to offload him in this window as Bilic continues to trim the fat from his squad after Sofiane Feghouli's move to Galatasaray, though the departure of the Scot could potentially leave the Hammers short in the wide positions. Snodgrass has never settled since moving from Hull City in January and though he has made all the right noises, West Ham fans have never warmed to him and have requested his exit almost from the get-go. They might get their wish in the next couple of weeks if Aston Villa, Brighton, Leeds or Norwich follow up on their interest.

Deciding on Declan Rice's role

The emergence of young Irishman Rice has captured the imagination of West Ham fans as much as the exciting additions of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have. Particularly given David Gold's comments on the likelihood of youth players proving their first-team worth amid Reece Oxford securing a loan move to Borussia Monchengladbach. Rice appears the exception to the rule, but his continued involvement with the first team needs to result in regular football at this stage of his development. West Ham are not inclined to allowing Rice out on loan but if Carvalho arrives his chances of a midfield berth become more limited while there is plenty of cover in central defence. Toni Martinez may find himself in a similar situation if Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho regain enough fitness to challenge Hernandez and a decision needs to be reached on both young talents.

Fending off a possible Liverpool move for Manuel Lanzini

Barcelona are beginning to speak with a confidence about their chances of prising Philippe Coutinho away from Liverpool and his departure could yet pave the way for Lanzini to make the move to Anfield. At this stage it's considered unlikely - and West Ham would almost certainly issue a firm stance on the future of one of their most prized assets. Lanzini would seem a natural fit to replace Coutinho but West Ham hold all the aces over his future and the player has shown no desire to move and will not agitate for a transfer. But West Ham need to be wary of the threat Jurgen Klopp's side will pose if they do lose Coutinho, as they will be armed with what would surely have been a world record fee in the pre-Neymar transfer market. Every player has his price and West Ham would not be in the position to turn down silly sums, but equally they can also charge them in such a heavily inflated market.

Keeping hold of Adrian - or replacing him

With Crystal Palace having allowed Steve Mandanda to leave for Marseille, Frank de Boer is desperate for a new goalkeeper and has reportedly earmarked Adrian as his top choice. The Spaniard is under no illusions that Joe Hart's arrival has demoted him to second choice but after the departure of Darren Randolph, West Ham's goalkeeping options are increasingly sparse. They may need to offer him assurances that he will get the first-team football he craves, though that will be difficult given the gulf in quality between him and Hart, barring injury or suspension to the arrival from Manchester City. The quality gap to Wayne Hennessey isn't quite so significant and so he may well be minded to start afresh, though West Ham will not entertain any offers unless they can receive top dollar for him and source a replacement. Palace already look as if they are set for a season of struggle and West Ham can compound those fears by refusing to negotiate on a player they still require.

By Goatygav 17 Aug 2017 at 17:00

A 4-0 defeat is tough to take at any time. When excitement and expectation ahead of the first kick of the season is still at play it's even more of a let down. That said did any of us really expect to go up there and win? After a few days of reflection, and with emotions running at a far lower level, it's good to have a more detached 'hindsight' view.

The tactics were quite plain to see. Try and contain by sitting deep and protecting the defence. The sight of Chicharito completely isolated in his 'lone furrow' role in the first half was frustrating watching but there was a plan. Not necessarily the right one IMHO – but a plan nonetheless.

So half time arrived and we were getting battered but still only one goal down.

For me the second half was better viewing. Yes – we were still being outplayed in the most part but there were occasions where we started to move the ball quickly with some incisive, one touch stuff, that was better viewing for sure. Problem with that was the defence became more exposed and it lead to 3 more goals. Lukaku loves playing on the break. He loves playing on the break even more against us. I know his second goal didn't come by this route but, let's face it, he could have got 5 on Sunday afternoon. So would it have been better to continue to sit rigidly and keep the score down? Not for this Hammer. It's not 'The West Ham Way' but, more importantly, it wouldn't have been the right approach for that particular situation. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and as I sit here typing it's clear, to my mind, that we should have 'had a go' from the first whistle. Lessons to learn there by my reckoning. By having a go I really don't mean in an Ossie Ardiles or Kevin Keegan 'completely abandon defence' way – just don't sit so deep your're practically on your own goal line. There were some positives to take out of the game btw but more of that later on.

Last season we saw the addition of squad players in the transfer window. For the right, or wrong, reasons it was a case of quantity not quality. I fully understood those reasons. A bigger squad of players was considered a key requirement but then we got drawn against our bogey European part time team again and that was that. So many squad additions became more of a burden than a boon.

This time around it is a completely different story. Player positions that needed strengthening were recognised and the club worked hard to bring in the right quality to improve, not simply grow, the squad. On that score the club has certainly delivered.

So, with all four new signings taking the field at Old Stretford, the appetite was well and truly whetted. Let's consider that for a second. Four completely new players to the team all thrown in at once. "Ah yes but they played together pre-season," I hear some mutter. Doesn't count for me. Pre season is about fitness and the intensity of a game with points at stake cannot be replicated. Results and performances have little relevance before the first official whistle of the season. So numerically not on the same scale as 2016-17 but four from eleven is a big percentage of the team all the same. Here's the rub. A team with so many new additions really needs time to gel. I'm constantly hearing, from virtually every football pundit, that time is not a luxury afforded you in the Premier League. Be that as it may you can't 'demand' understanding and confidence amongst, and with, team-mates. It takes time and, for me, Sunday was more about players looking like strangers than it was individual poor performances. Don't get me wrong, there were some howlers with the defence leading the hit-list of culprits (Masuaku looks like the man who started last season again, not the one who finished it, and Reid clearly hates playing Lukaku), but it's going to take a few games before the team starts to buzz again IMHO.

"The bite and fight in this lad is on a Mike Tyson level"
On to those positives I mentioned earlier. If you were to list those positives Declan Rice's performance would have to be right at the top. Frankly the academy product showed other players the desire and hunger that they should have been displaying. The bite and fight in this lad is on a Mike Tyson level. And not without quality either. You only have to compare Obiang's passing to his and you can rest your case. Young players not getting played because they make costly mistakes? Yeah – right. Go compare in this game Mr Wenger? This was a Premier League game not a Sunday afternoon stroll and Declan Rice seemed to be one of the few that understood that. Of the others who 'put in a shift' Chicha stood out. We're going to love this player. The only thing that's a little frustrating is his passing, and speaking to a Manchester United mate of mine it's clearly a common theme amongst fans of clubs he's played for, but his crossing certainly is not . If he could have only been on the other end of his own sublime ball from out wide in the second half we'd have halved the deficit and, perhaps, played with a bit more confidence in the last quarter of the game. My advice – work harder to get there Chicha ;) .

"Young players not getting played because they make costly mistakes? Yeah – right. Go compare Mr Wenger?"

"If he could have only been on the other end of his own sublime ball"
I've not even mentioned the players we were missing. For me the most creative, most powerful and most combative weren't able to take the field and that was a huge contributor. But that's not the point I'm trying to illustrate here. A good cake depends on quality ingredients and this group are going to improve us from a flat Victoria Sponge to a 'Great Bake Off' contender. It's just going to take some patience and careful, expert, mixing, rolling and baking (not sure the analogy carried through there but you know what I mean ;) ). I have a strong belief that all four additions this Summer are going to be great. In contrast to 2016-17, come May, we're going to be gutted to see the end of the season.

Lastly a big thanks to Iain for the opportunity to contribute here. Looking forward to 'chatting' and exchanging views with some of the 'blast from the past' names I recognise and others I've yet to 'meet' on WHTID.

West Ham 4 The Cup – COYI!

Every single word of Bilic's press conference as West Ham boss offers update on Carvalho switch
If you missed anything from Bilic's press conference, you can recap it here
Football London
15:57, 17 AUG 2017

What's the latest injury news, Slaven?

Mikey [Antonio] is back, he is fit. He played last week for the U23s as part of the plan for his recovery. He has been training with us for two and a half weeks now.
He joined us back training and he looks good and he looks ready. Yesterday, Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll started to train with us. We are going to see with them, especially Andy, he had a long lay-off since March. Cheikhou has been out for a while too but it happened at the beginning of the pre-season for him.
Manuel Lanzini he is training separately, individually, and will be joining us on Monday so we should have a full squad back for Newcastle. For the Southampton game 100 per cent Mikey is back.

There was some harsh analysis after the United game, are you concerned?

I said after the game that, Ok, it's Man United and we should have done a bit better. Especially when it comes to the last few minutes. We didn't give up, we did our best but it wasn't very smart and we crumbled. I wanted to find the balance between criticising and talking about what wasn't good because some if it wasn't good enough but on the other hand, you don't want to lose the confidence because of one defeat. We found the balance, we have looked good this week in training and then we want to approach the game against Southampton in a very positive mood, knowing what we have to do to get anything out of that game.
We are playing against a team that is doing well, they are consistent, no matter that they are changing managers but they are not changing players, they are doing well.

What the latest on William Carvalho?

I don't know what is with the ins and outs. It is very busy at the other clubs as well but I have left it to the board, the chairman, and the people who are involved in the ins and outs. I am only concentrating on Southampton.

Karren Brady said 17 of 20 Premier League clubs are in favour of shortening the transfer window - are you?

Yes. It is mutal. Me and the club are on the same line and we would like it to happen. Ironically, it would put the clubs even in a worse situation that you would still lose some players if clubs from abroad want them and you want to be able to replace them. It would only protect us in terms that no other Premier League clubs can take your players. Like Coutinho, it can't stop Liverpool losing him but stop buying his replacment. For me it is a great idea, we are really starting the pre-season with one team and then when the season starts, some teams are losing like 30 per cent of the team and then its all new. For me, let's say before the first game of the season and definitely it should be across Europe. This is giving the people around Europe a lot of time to speculate, think, act and it definitely the hardest for managers.

Do you have sympathy with Klopp and Conte on Coutinho and Costa with your experience with Payet?

Of course I have. What you asked before, that would stop these kinds of moves. You want to have your team and be concentrate only on the game but you cant. Of course I have sympathy for them. Sometimes you are on the other side, a position where you get the player, but it definitely doesn't help.

Do players have too much power?

Yeah but what is very important and what gives you strength as a manager and as a club is the strength of the other side, you're on the same line as the board and chairman, that is important because you, the manager the chairman and the club first of all becomes really powerful.

Has the balance gone too far?

I don't know, you know better than me. As much as I know the power is too much on the side of the players and the agents. It's hard for the managers. I was a few times in that situation but I never recommend a player, I never suggest or ask from a player or advise them to stop training. No, that is low. And it shouldn't be like that.

One positive was Declan Rice, you must have been happy?

Although it is nice to have those situations, a bonus lets say, we are never trying to force it. I didn't go OK lets put him in to gain everything, but he is a boy. Very mature for his age, very good for his age he is thinking about the game plus the quality definitely he impressed everybody - players, staff, West Ham family and me of course. He wasn't in the plans from the beginning. He was there [pre-season] and it was still very important for him to play pre-season games and he did really well. It's too early for the kid but he is improving, he really is. Ok, we had some injuries and players are coming back soon or now in midfield - but he came on against Man Utd because I was confident that he can do it. Like I asked, and he did already previously. He came on against Burnley last season and it was an important game, Burnley tried to equalise and he came on as the best option so Rice still it can go either way. I don't want to praise him too much despite he and his family being totally down to earth, he will stay focused. He is still at the beginning, very low on the scale but he is doing well.

What is the latest with Manuel Lanzini to Liverpool and does he have a price tag on his head?

"No, I am not worried [about Lanzini leaving]. I got it from the papers, the news. That's it. "But, I said it last week when we spoke about it before Man Utd game. I speak to Manu every day and he is very happy. He really feels at home here, he feels wanted. "You can see it, you don't have to talk to the player but you see he is smiling, he is happy. He broke into the Argentina team, he got a call-up for the September games so he knows that if he plays for West Ham I have a chance to improve, sign a better contract with West Ham and play for Argentina. He is very happy. "I don't want to set a price tag on him, I am sure he is going to stay with us. "He knows that he is wanted. As I said, the chairman and the board, when he was on loan we took the option even before we had to, we activated it. He was voted players player of the year which is a good thing and he feels wanted at the place. He likes it here."

Manuel Lanzini still injured, but Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate could return for West Ham against Southampton
ES Sport

Manuel Lanzini will again be missing for West Ham when they go to Southampton on Saturday. Slaven Bilic had hoped that Lanzini would recover from a leg injury in time to be involved but the playmaker is not now expected to return to full training until next week. Bilic will, however, be boosted by the return of Michail Antonio to his squad. The England international missed last weekend's 4-0 defeat at Manchester United as he recovers from a hamstring injury but has since played for the Under-23 team. Andy Carroll is also back in full training, as is midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, who has a chance of making the substitutes' bench.
Meanwhile, West Ham remain hopeful of adding Portuguese holding midfielder William Carvalho to their squad before the transfer window closes but are not prepared to match Sporting Lisbon's asking price of £40million. Speaking on Sky Sports, West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said chairman David Sullivan was working "20 hours a day" on possible deals while another club source revealed today the Carvalho deal "had always been 50-50" but they were "battling on" in an effort to sign the player.

Manuel Lanzini is happy at West Ham and won't go to Liverpool to replace Philippe Coutinho, says Slaven Bilic
ES Sport

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic insists he has no doubts whatsoever that Manuel Lanzini may be lured away to Liverpool this summer. Lanzini has been linked with a move to Anfield as a possible replacement for Philippe Coutinho should the Brazilian move to Barcelona, who have bid £90.9million for the playmaker. However West Ham have been insistent that the 24-year-old, arguably their outstanding player and certainly their most important playmaker since the departure of Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January. "I speak to Manu every day and he is very happy," Bilic said during his pre-Southampton press conference. "He feels at home here, he feels wanted. "You can feel it, you don't have to talk to the player but you see he is smiling, he is happy. He broke into the Argentina team, he got a call-up for the September games so he knows that if he plays for West Ham I have a chance to improve, sign a better contract with West Ham and play for Argentina. He is very happy." "I don't want to set a price tag on him, I am sure he is going to stay with us. "He knows that he is wanted. As I said, the chairman and the board, when he was on loan [from UAE side Al Jazira during the 2015-16 season] we took the option even before we had to, we activated it. He was voted player's player of the year which is a good thing and he feels wanted at the place. He likes it here."
West Ham are keen to improve the supporting cast around Lanzini and are attempting to secure the club record signing of Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho. Bilic is leaving responsibility for that deal to club chairman David Sullivan as he looks to prompt a revival from the West Ham side that were hammered 4-0 at Manchester United. "We're going to see what happens with ins and outs," he said. "It's becoming even more busy with other clubs but I've left it to the chairman. I'm concentrating only and totally on our game against Southampton."

A West Ham move for Man City defender Mangala would be pointless - think of Declan Rice's progress
West Ham transfer news has seen the Hammers linked with a move for Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala
Football London
12:45, 17 AUG 2017

There are many reasons why West Ham making a move for Eliaquim Mangala before the transfer window slams shut makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

1. He's badly out of form.
2. West Ham don't need him.
3. He'd command extortionate wages the club don't need to spend.
4. Declan Rice's progress would be stunted.
5. He's no upgrade on Winston Reid. It's debateable if he's an upgrade on James Collins.
6. William Carvalho would be a better signing.

To be honest, there really shouldn't even have to be an article explaining why this is just a bad, bad move for the Hammers and a pointless one but I'll go ahead and explain it anyway. This is a player who signed for Man City for a frankly outrageous £31.8m at the time from Porto and that was before it was leaked the Frenchman could cost City more like £42m. He has spent the last season away from Manchester at Valencia and didn't pull up any trees in La Liga. It's easy to say "he will re-discover his form" but he's had two seasons to find it since coming to the Premier League and he hasn't.
Mangala just isn't the right fit for West Ham, nowhere near. The centre half is out of favour under Pep Guardiola as he is unlikely to be able to pass the ball out from the back like he would be required to do. West Ham do the same, finding Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Edimilson Fernandes, Cheikhou Kouyate or whoever it is out from defence and play the ball through midfield so Mangala wouldn't work out at all. It would also stunt the progress of Declan Rice, who is going great guns at the moment for the Hammers, with rumours he could be in line for a Premier League start at Southampton this weekend. The teenager is a precious talent the Hammers need to keep hold of right now and not send away on loan like they have done with Reece Oxford. Rice has been played in midfield but his future is at centre half, that's his favourite position, and bringing in Mangala would see Rice probably lose a his place in the first team squad. It would be a terrible waste.
Winston Reid is a good defender, we know that. Jose Fonte can improve and Angelo Ogbonna is still working his way back to full fitness after a knee injury - the Italian was sorely missed last season when he was absent. Is Mangala really any better than them? It would just be an all around mistake if the Hammers were to sign Mangala. With that in mind, it'll probably happen now.

West Ham chairman David Sullivan working 20 hour days during summer transfer window, reveals Karren Brady: 'It's an incredibly stressful situation'
West Ham have signed five players this summer including Marko Arnautovic
The Hammers continue to work behind the scenes to add new faces to squad
Karren Brady revealed chairman David Sullivan 'is working 20 hours a day'
Brady also explained how the window is an 'incredibly stressful situation'
By Matt Maltby For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 23:47, 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 23:57, 16 August 2017

Karren Brady has lifted the lid on the 'incredibly stressful' summer transfer window at West Ham — by revealing club chairman David Sullivan 'is working 20 hours a day'. The London Stadium outfit have had a busy summer, adding five players to Slaven Bilic's squad including the £24million club-record signing of Marko Arnautovic. But the Hammers are still working hard on deals, with Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho among the targets, before the window slams shut on Thursday, August 31. And Brady, the east London club's vice chairman, admits Sullivan is working through the hours to ensure the club have a squad capable of winning silverware this season. Speaking on Sky Sports' Debate show, Brady said: 'A lot of supporters don't understand how stressful that whole period [the transfer window] is. 'My chairman is working 20 hours a day getting very little sleep, taking phone calls, morning, noon and night. He's doing all of that to try and improve things for West Ham. It's an incredibly stressful situation. 'I don't deal with agents, my poor chairman has to deal with them — and I can tell you it's incredibly stressful. 'There are people who come into the market who purport to represent players but don't, that are working behind your backs, talking to players and turning their heads. 'They're talking them out of deals, talking them into deals, talking you into deals — it's stressful.'
Along with the signing of Arnautovic, who signed from Stoke City, Javier Hernandez, Sead Haksabanovic, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart have also arrived this summer. And Brady admitted the money is available for Bilic to improve his squad, with the club keen on bringing £37.5m-rated Carvalho to the Premier League.
She added: 'We are ambitious and want to win things. 'We realise we needed extra players in the team. The manager has identified who they are, the money is there and the chairman is working very hard to bring them in. 'All of our ambitions are for West Ham. But we can't put on the football boots, play the games and score the goals. 'We have to rely on other people to do that and that's where the money comes in, the negotiations and the tactics — and the way it all works is very important.'

West Ham vice-president Karen Brady gives update on William Carvalho transfer situation
The Hammers are still interested in a move for the Portugese international
Football London
07:00, 17 AUG 2017

West Ham vice-president Karen Brady has given some encouragement over the possible transfer of William Carvalho - saying that hard work is still being done to bring him to the club. The Hammers were recently believed to be frustrated at the lack of progress thanks to Sporting Lisbon's high demands, and were even said to be identifying possible alternatives to the Portugese international. However, speaking on new Sky Sports show "The Debate" - club vice-president Karen Brady has reassured fans that, whilst transfers are a difficult process, the club are working very hard to bring in the midfielder. "Well, my chairman handles all the transfer negotiations and he's working very closely," Karen Brady said. "It's all very complex signing players. You think you make a decision to buy them but there's so many various different layers and actually getting it done and doing it in the time-frame that you want isn't always possible. "But I know they're working very hard on it [Carvalho's transfer]."

'You have not been hoodwinked' Karren Brady makes promise to angry West Ham fans over stadium
Damien Lucas

West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady has made a pledge to angry fans over the London Stadium. The Hammers have had to request to play the first four games of the season away from their new home due to the World Athletic Championships taking place there. The IAAF competition and the much-criticised relocatable seating at the ground - which will cost an eye-watering £8 million each time it is done - will have to be reconfigured again for football mode, a process which takes around 15 days. When the club left their beloved Boleyn Ground home of 112 years supporters were worried about the fact West Ham did not own their new stadium and were only anchor tenants. General view inside the stadium during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium on May 14, 2017 in Stratford, England. But those fans were reassured West Ham fixtures would always take precedence over other events and sporting fixtures.
So when Karren Brady appeared as a guest on Sky Sports show The Debate Live, it was inevitably the resounding topic when fans were invited to send in their questions on Twitter. And Brady made an unequivocal pledge to the West Ham faithful after being quizzed on why athletics was taking priority and leaving Slaven Bilic with four away games to start the new campaign. "When we signed the contract in 2013 we were aware that the IAAF (World Championships) was going to happen this summer," Brady told The Debate Live. "I have to say what a fantastic event it was and I'm sure London and the whole country were very proud to be part of it and that's part of the (Olympic) legacy. "It's a once in a lifetime situation and it's the only time that our games won't take precedence. "We've reversed the middle fixture (vs Southampton) so we end up with three Premier League games away from home and obviously the (EFL) cup game we've reversed as well (vs Cheltenham) which obviously Sky is going to show on TV. "I think it would be an excuse to say that that's going to affect the team, I mean Slaven's said 'we have to play everyone anyway, which order we play them in doesn't matter' by the end of September we'll have had four away game and three home games and if you think about March we've got three home games in a row. "But we do understand the supporters are not happy about it but it was already in the diary for the stadium and we asked the Premier League's permission before we signed the contract to be able to have the fixtures reversed in 2013 but it is a one-off."

When asked if she felt comfortable that fans have not been 'hoodwinked and it was an anomaly', Brady responded "Yes" and cited the example of Liverpool last season while firmly reiterating her point. "This is a one-off, it's a once in a generation, once in a lifetime, it's part of the legacy of the stadium, I think it was a very good event, the manager says it's not going to affect his preparations and it's not going to effect the team, the away form was pretty good last season, so I think it's one of those things but it won't happen again," Brady added.

Chris Sutton claims Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is better than West Ham United's Javier Hernandez
John Verrall

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths and West Ham United forward Javier Hernandez both boast strong scoring records. Chris Sutton has suggested that Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is better than West Ham United new boy Javier Hernandez. Griffiths was in fine form for Celtic last night, which led to Sutton telling BT Sport that the Scottish international could tear apart the Premier League. The comment caused some debate on Twitter, with one West Ham fan suggesting that Griffiths would struggle in England's top tier. And Sutton claims that he would rather have Griffiths in his team over Hernandez, who moved to the London Stadium this summer for a fee valued at £16 million by the London Evening Standard.

Chris Sutton ✔ @chris_sutton73
Griffiths over Hernandez everyday of the week... and I like Hernandez
8:42 AM - Aug 17, 2017

West Ham's signing of Hernandez has caused great excitement, as the Mexican forward has scored goals at every club he has represented in his career to date.
Hernandez has played and proved to be a clinical option for the likes of Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen previously. Griffiths, meanwhile, has also been a frequent scorer for Celtic in recent times. Griffiths has netted 89 goals in 147 matches for the Bhoys, since moving to Glasgow back in 2013.

By S J Chandos 17 Aug 2017 at 08:00

The current squad boasts higher profile and arguably more skilful/celebrated players such as Lanzini and Hernandez, but in terms of sheer power, physical presence and functionality we literally only has one player like Kouyate. He is a powerful box-to-box midfielder, with the ability to add steel and coherence to the midfield unit and get forward to grab some important goals. He is also blessed (or some would say cursed!) with a wonderful adaptability, being able to play as a holding midfielder, a centre-back or even at right-back. But it is in this box-to-box role that he has the greatest impact. It was noticeable last season how crucial his midfield presence is to the team and how we suffered when he was absent or played out of position. That is a subjective observation on my part, but it would be interesting to see how many points we dropped in his absence last season (especially during the ACON campaign last winter). However, his importance is surely reflected in the fact that his pending surgery, at the end of last season, was delayed until after the home victory over Spurs that assured our PL status.

It was this observation that led me to suggest last season that we needed to recruit another player of similar qualities in the January window to provide cover/competition for the Senegalese international. And it seems that Bilic has reached a similar conclusion and is doing something about it with the pursuit of William Carvalho and, according to various social media sources, a number of alternative, midfield power houses targets (if the deal for the Sporting Lisbon man stalls). In truth, the insipid performance last Sunday was a typical 'in absentia of Kouyate' display, with the midfield losing possession far too easily and lacking the sheer power and drive to seriously trouble our opponents. It was more apparent due to the quality of the opposition, but in the PL we will continue to drop points to less accomplished teams if our midfield unit continues to play like that. Indeed, it speaks volumes that the introduction of 18 year old Declan Rice, as a substitute, only served to emphasise the palpable lack of confidence, technique and sheer application demonstrated by much more experienced team mates. There are a number of senior players who should be taking a long, hard look at themselves after Sunday's debacle. I can tolerate losing to the likes of Man Utd away, but for god's sake make a fight of it, if not for the players own professional pride then for the sake of the wonderful travelling claret and blue army!

I could not travel on Sunday, due to health reasons, but observing the match on Sky Sports, the experience was all too familiar from previous such bygone fixtures. It was observed during the Sky commentary that statistically it was a case of the PL club with the highest number of winning opening fixtures versus that with the least. I do not feel any pressing compulsion to clarify 'which club is which' in this particular case! Indeed, why is it that so many times over the years, and stretching back to the days of the football league, West Ham invariably look less fit and unprepared for a new season than their opponents? Certainly, that is how it appeared to me on Sunday. The team looked like a rapidly assembled collection of strangers (which I suppose they were to a certain extent, with four debutants), who are still half-way through pre-season. The Manchester United players looked far fitter and sharper, not to mention organised, more motivated and hungry for the ball. What happened to all the careful pre-season fitness work and the cohesion that should have accrued from the matches in Austria and Germany? It was called the ideal preparation, and probably it was in terms of avoiding injury, but was it actually a demanding enough programme and did we suffer on Sunday as a consequence?

The player I felt most sorry for was undoubtedly Hernandez, he really did apply himself up front and tried until the final whistle. However, ultimately you have to feed a goal poacher like the Mexican international and on Sunday the service was virtually zero. I also felt that Arnautovic grafted for the team and made some intelligent forward runs, but the crucial early balls forward were either not there or too easily intercepted. Zabaletta played like he still had the likes of Vincent Company to cover his adventurous and pulsating excursions down the right flank and duly got caught out of position on occasions (especially in the build up to Man Utd's first goal). Hopefully, the return of Antonio and the addition of the likes of Carvahlo will rectify that problem. Alternatively, especially away from home, we might look again at implementing three at the back and give Zabaletta and Cresswell the licence to go forward more readily. But at least in Zabaletta's case he did apply himself and make the necessary effort, even if he did not reap the rewards on this occasion. I would also give Sakho the benefit of the doubt, he only played two or three games last season and has endured a considerable injury lay off. I am not surprised that he is looking to ease his way back in to the action in those circumstances. By rights, he should be doing that with a run of U-23 appearances, but with Carroll still out and Bilic apparently choosing not to sign another striker, I suppose 'needs must'. It is better to judge him after a few more appearances, not at this early stage of the season. similarly, Reid looked unfit and decidedly out of sorts, I would not be surprised if he is struggling with a niggle or, alternatively, he has just come back too soon. Hart did fair to middling and, as stated, Rice was excellent, but rest of the line up really did not win any battle honours on the day.

Still, never mind, upwards and onwards. On the bright side, our next fixture is distinctly winnable (if we can sort ourselves out on the training ground this week); we have some key players coming back in the shape of Antonio, Lanzini Carroll and Kouyate, who will improve us significantly; the existing new signings should benefit from another week of training and better build understanding with their teammates; the caravahlo deal is hopefully still in the pipeline; and it is possible there could be further additions, especially if Snodgrass is sold/loaned out. Who is favourite to come in? Well, as I said, at the time of writing, the grape vine has it that Bilic does not want to sign another striker (lets hope that Sakho and Carroll's fitness justifies that decision). That is fine if it means that Martinez will be in the frame for a first team debut at some point. I suppose Bilic also reasons that Antonio and Ayew can both play as auxiliary central strikers if circumstances necessitate, which is a fair point. If Snodgrass does exit we will need another wide player. We have Antonio and Arnautovic and promising youngsters like Holland, Samuelsson and Quina as cover. I feel that those three should take a step nearer the first team this coming season (although most thought the same about Burke and Cullen) and they should be encouraged to do so.

So, I reckon one additional wide player is necessary and the favourite seems to be Jota of Brentford Town. A Spanish winger, who was their creative font last season and has the very handy tendency of weighing in with his fair share of goals. The player allegedly wants the move to the London Stadium and has resisted overtures from Newcastle Utd (The frozen north does not appeal apparently!). So, the scene looks set for a deal, possibly on deadline day? A new defensive/box-to-box midfielder is likely to be signed if recent reports are to be believed. Lets hope it is the option that we all prefer. Apart from Ogbonna, we lack pace in central defence and is that surprising with both Fonte and Collins still at the club. Rice can play at centre-back, but at this stage of his career is he ready for that position; or would he better deployed in midfield? I am still to make my mind up on that point. In my view Burke should have stayed and provided cover. Remember this is a young player with a number of competitive first team appearances under his belt and he looked the part in pre-season. Still it is notable that the Burke/Cullen loans to Bolton are only until January, so it could be that they will be recalled and figure in the New Year. We shall see? I suppose the safest option is to sell Collins and sign another centre-back, but they did seem reluctant to do that, presumably in the knowledge that they have three such outstanding prospects as Rice, Oxford and Burke emerging from the Academy. However, this evening the news story broke that we are interested in signing Man City centre-back, Mangala. I cannot say that I am very keen on that potential deal, but lets see what transpires.

So, we have hardly 'hit the ground running' but it is correct to preach patience and look at the bigger picture in terms of the new squad gelling in the coming weeks. Talking of poor starts to a season, I was reminded recently of the 1974-75 season. It was the early post-Moore/Hurst period and we were in a difficult transition to the succeeding Bonds/Brooking era. In addition, Lyall had just succeeded Greenwood as manager, with the latter becoming General Manager responsible for scouting/transfers amongst other wider club matters. In 1973-74 we just avoided relegation with a 18th place finish, accumulating 37 points from 42 matches, and we started the following season poorly with defeats versus Man City (A – 4-0), Everton (H – 2-3), Newcastle Utd (A – 2-0), Sheffield Utd (H – 1-2) and Spurs (A – 2-1). By mid-September 1974 we were languishing at the foot of the table with 3 points, gained from a 2-0 home victory over Luton Town and a 0-0 away draw with the same opponents. Believe me things looked very grim indeed at that point!

Yet, Greenwood worked his magic and regenerated our prospects with the acquisition of Billy Jennings, Keith Robson and Alan Taylor, as they quickly gelled with the likes of Gould, Paddon, Brooking and Bonds to create a new exciting unit. The change signalled itself as a single, advanced swallow in the form of the 6-0 home demolition of Tranmere Rovers in the League Cup. And summer quickly followed with goals and exciting displays in a run of league victories over Leicester City (H- 6-0), Birmingham City (A -1-3) and Burnley (A – 3-5), amongst some very memorable performances/results. In fact, up until 28 December 1974, we only lost another two matches. Admittedly, the 'wheels did come off' results wise in the New Year, but we finished in a relatively comfortable 13th place and by then the 1975 cup run had fully gripped our attentions.

1974-75 will always be one of my favourite seasons, primarily because of the way our season turned around, the quality of our football and that memorable Cup victory over Fulham. I know that performance/progress in the PL is crucial these day, but this example does serve to illustrate that it is not always wise to get too depressed based on initial results because the fortunes of clubs can and do change for the better. Some times beyond the scope of what fans imagine possible at the time of the opening defeat(s).

Lets hope for all our sakes that these prove 'wise' and not 'famous last words' on our prospects for the 2017-18 season.

SJ. Chandos.