Barclays Premier League
Referee: Phil Dowd
West Ham United: Green, Behrami, Upson, Neill, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble, Parker (Mullins 72), Etherington (Boa Morte 73), Di Michele, Cole (Sears 87)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Reid
Newcastle United: Given, Edgar (Bassong 59), Taylor, Coloccini, N'Zogbia, Geremi, Cacapa (Gonzalez 81), Butt, Duff, Owen, Xisco.
Sub not used: Harper, Ameobi, Tozer, Doninger, Donaldson
Gianfranco Zola got off to a dream start as David Di Michele scored two to help West Ham United move up to fourth after a comprehensive win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
Di Michele put his new side a goal up inside ten minutes of his home debut with a fine solo effort. His second came eight minutes before half-time when he showed good composure to finish after his initial shot was saved. Eight minutes after the interval the Italian turned provider to set up Matthew Etherington for a simple finish. Michael Owen pulled on back for Newcastle on 67 minutes but the home side held on.
Zola named an attacking looking side that included Carlton Cole, Etherington and Di Michele in a new-look three man forward line. Julien Faubert switched to right-back while Herita Ilunga, also in his first match at the Boleyn, was at left-back. Lucas Neill partnered Matthew Upson in central defence with Calum Davenport dropping to the bench. Craig Bellamy and Dean Ashton missed out with hamstring and ankle injuries respectively while the visitors had Damien Duff back after a groin injury.
United were looking to continue the best home form in the Barclays Premier League but the visitors arrived boasting a nine-game unbeaten run against their hosts. The new manager could have been forgiven for thinking he was still in his homeland as the Boleyn Ground basked in glorious sunshine before kick-off. Unsurprisingly, there were several bare-chested supporters visible amongst the away support.
Zola had promised attacking football and his team quickly set about demonstrating that the message had got through. Di Michele and Faubert both found themselves in promising positions in the Newcastle area in the opening few minutes but neither could quite capitalise.
Di Michele did not have to wait long to make his mark at the Boleyn though. In the eighth minute he collected the ball on the right side before beating both Newcastle centre-halves and firing in a left-footed shot which deflected off Steven Taylor and over the hapless Shay Given.
Mark Noble then fired two free-kicks over the bar soon after as United looked to build on their early goal. Newcastle tried to get themselves back in the match but the several crosses they offered in dangerous positions were expertly dealt with by Neill and Upson.
Zola's men played some short, crisp passing and were getting plenty of joy down the left as first Di Michlele and then Etherington crossed dangerously. Owen headed wide from a corner in his side's first real chance of the match.
Di Michele then got his second after some perserverance. Noble split the defence with a smart through-ball which the Italian tried to flick over Given. The Irishman saved well but the new No32 reacted quickest pick up the rebound, lob it back over Taylor and smash in at the near post with his left-foot. It was a goal taken in a manner not to dissimilar to that of another Italian forward that used to ply his trade in the east end.
The second half began as the first ended with Faubert crossing for Cole, who glanced his header over. Neill, who had been so dominant in the opening 45 minutes, then went into Phil Dowd's notebook a few minutes later for a late tackle on Owen.
The home side then got the third goal their offensive attitude had deserverd. Di Michele broke the visitors offside trap and raced into the area. The striker could have shot for his hat-trick but unselfishly cut it back for Etherington, who was left with a simple tap-in.
The home support amongst the 34,743 inside the Boleyn were willing their new striking hero to get his third. He had a chance just a few minutes later but he sent his shot high into the Bobby Moore stand.
The visitors got on the scoresheet midway through the second half when Owen curled in a shot from the edge of the area that left Green with no chance. The goal seemed to give them a lift and Green had to get down well to save from N Zogbia and then Duff soon after.
Zola changed it round in the 72 minutes by bringing on Hayden Mullins and Luis Boa Morte for Scott Parker and Etherington. Newcastle kept pushing but a late booking for Charles N'Zogbia summed up the visitor's frustration. The outstanding Cole made way to a standing ovation just before full time when Freddie Sears entered the fray to sum up the attacking intent until the end. Boa Morte could have added a fourth in the last minute when he raced clean through but he dragged his shot wide.
Zola praise for strikers - WHUFC
Gianfranco Zola was proud of his players after the impressive 3-1 win over Newcastle United
Gianfranco Zola simply could not stop smiling as his first game in charge ended in a fantastic 3-1 win over Newcastle United.
David Di Michele scored two and then set up Matthew Etherington for a third before Michael Owen bagged a consolation for the visitors. The result left West Ham United fourth in the Premier League table on Saturday evening and Zola was understandably delighted. He said: "A victory and some good football as well so I'm very proud of the players, they did fantastically well. For 70 minutes it was very good but we had to concede something because we tried to play an offensive game and the players had run a lot. In the last minutes they went down physically a bit but I'm very pleased."
Zola's fellow Italian Di Michele also enjoyed his first taste of action at the Boleyn Ground and the manager was delighted by his, and his fellow strike partners' efforts. Zola said. "He played very well but from my point of view he should share the fame with the other two strikers, Matthew Etherington and Carlton Cole, who have been unbelievable. Sometimes Cole was playing against two or three defenders but he was keeping them busy so he's played a brilliant game too."
Zola played with Cole at Chelsea and remembers enough from those days to clearly have a lot of confidence in his No12 and even had a word for the watching Fabio Capello. "He started playing with me and I think he can become much better than he is. He has to improve a few things but he's got all the qualities to be playing for the national team so it's all down to him."
The visitors scored midway through the second half to give themselves hope, but the new manager was sure that his team were always going to prevail. "I was confident because the players were well organised and they were not conceding too much to Newcastle and after that we had a couple of great chances to score. I was confident we were going to win today," he said.
Zola experimented with a new-look 4-3-3 formation that saw Julien Faubert at right-back and Lucas Neill at centre-half and the manager was more than pleased with the Australian's commanding performance in the new role. He said: "I know that he plays there for the national team so it's nothing new for him. We'll see how he progresses but at the moment I'm happy.
"I like this system [4-3-3], it's a system that allows nice football and it can be very effective. For the moment we will carry on playing this way but when we have [Dean] Ashton and [Craig] Bellamy back we will see, but for today I am very happy," Zola added. "It is a new adventure for me ... you don't know how the players are going to react to what you're telling them so you are aware of many things. To be honest they made it very comfortable for me."
Zola, who was determined before kick-off to focus on the game, received a "fantastic" east-end welcome when he first came to the touchline, but had an apology to those fans asking for a wave. He said: "The reception has been fantastic. I do apologise to them as they told me they were shouting my name asking for a wave but I couldn't hear anything! ... They've been very supportive to me but also to the players."
The result leaves the Hammers in fourth, but Zola is not getting carried away just yet. "We know that it is going to be very tough ... For us it is important to improve the position we had last year. To be honest if the players work like they did last week we can get a lot of satisfaction - that's the way you can improve. It's all down to them, to their attitudes and the way they carry on working. If we do that we've got a a chance to improve the situation.
Youths lose at Birmingham - WHUFC
Two set-piece goals were enough to send the Under-18s to their first loss of the 2008/09 season
Birmingham City Under-18s 2-0 West Ham United Under-18s
Tony Carr's side suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost out to Birmingham City.
In a hard-fought encounter, the visitors conceded a goal in each half with both coming after free-kicks were played into the box and not cleared. Half-time substitute Balint Bajner made an instant impression and was unlucky to see an effort hit the woodwork which would have levelled matters. Next up is a home match against last year's champions Arsenal at Little Heath on Saturday.
BM6 range hits the stores - WHUFC
Fans buying the new Bobby Moore-inspired merchandise will raise money for the charity in his name
A new range of merchandise inspired by Bobby Moore hits club stores this weekend with ten per cent of the retail sale of each item going direct to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research.
Among the BM6 range to be found at both the Stadium and Lakeside Stores are fleeces, polo shirts, T-shirts, jackets. There are also three limited edition ranges, numbered 1-544, including a 1958 shirt collector's box set evoking memories of the legendary No6's West Ham United debut half-a-century ago.
Commissioned as part of this summer's partnership agreement with the charity, the BM6 range evokes memories of Bobby's heyday and will help keep his name at the forefront of people's minds. In addition, the swing tickets attached carry important information about bowel cancer awareness.
It is not just this new range that is helping to raise money and awareness. The club has also helped increase the profile by devoting significant editorial coverage in matchday programmes and the club website.
For more information about the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK (Registered Charity No. 1089464), please visit www.bobbymoorefund.org
Plus, with the termination of the relationship with XL Holidays, more space is being devoted on key club platforms to the Bobby Moore Fund. This includes the logo being added to the club's TV interview backdrops and through the LED perimeter advertising and 'big screen' video walls for Saturday's game.
The starting point for all of this was the prestigious pre-season friendly; the Bobby Moore Cup when £2 from each ticket sold was donated to the Bobby Moore Fund. The game marked 50 years since the legendary No6's debut and the decision was taken to retire Bobby's number 6 shirt in tribute. A stadium billboard featuring a solitary No6 also stands as a reminder of his lasting legacy while there are Bobby Moore Fund logos across two levels along the full run of the Dr Martens Stand.
Captain's Blog - 'A new challenge' - WHUFC
The skipper is in good spirits for the visit of Newcastle United this Saturday afternoon
Everyone at the club is very excited at the appointment of our new manager, Gianfranco Zola.
As a player we all admired him and what he brought to the game in England. His mission statement as a manager is to try and bring that excitement to us just like he did as a player for Chelsea. We also welcome Steve Clarke and Antonio Pintus and have already enjoyed working with them both this week.
As with any change in management at a club, it gives the players a shake-up with new ideas and new people coming in as well as a new challenge. It is a clean slate for everyone as the competition for places intensifies.
This week's training saw us take part in intense sessions that saw the boys really push themselves to be in the manager's thoughts for this weekend's game.
From the terrace point of view, the noise levels will be raised in what is the manager's first match in charge and this in turn raises the tempo and the performance of the players on the pitch for all the right reasons.
We welcome Newcastle United, their players, staff and supporters. It will be a tough match, but we are at home, there is a good buzz around the place and with all that is going on with Newcastle, we must take advantage of it on the pitch.
I would like to welcome our new signings, two of whom played last weekend. Herita Ilunga who looks like he has been playing in the Premier League for years, and David Di Michele, who is a very intelligent player whom I predict will be a fan's favourite.
On the other side of that, I would like to say thank you and goodbye to George McCartney who has left us to return to Sunderland. We wish him well, but not too well especially when he plays against us.
Just as important, as captain and on behalf of the players and the club, I would like to wish Alan Curbishley all the very best. He, Mervyn Day and Glynn Snodin have made a valuable contribution to West Ham United which will go down in history.
Alan led us through the 'great escape' two seasons ago and helped to keep the club stable in what were testing times last season. I would also like to say thank you to Alan for bringing me to West Ham United and making me captain, which is something I am extremely proud of every day and will continue to be.
Following the game on Saturday, we will be in action in the Carling Cup on Tuesday, a short journey away to Watford. We are all excited by the prospect of a good cup run which we hope will end in glory. It will be another tough game but if you want to achieve this glory you have to go and beat teams at their grounds in these games.
In advance, I would like to thank all the fans who will be travelling to that match to support us. Back to today's game - I would also like to thank all our supporters ahead of the match, I am sure there will be a great atmosphere, it is then over to us to perform and send every West Ham fan home happy.
Shirt update for Saturday - WHUFC
West Ham United's first team will wear squad numbers in place of a sponsor's logo against Newcastle United
West Ham United can confirm that the first-team players will wear squad numbers on the front of their shirts for Saturday's home game against Newcastle United.
The decision follows consultation with the Premier League with regard to the various options open to the club following the termination of the relationship with XL Holidays last week. This decision still allows future dispensation from the Premier League to change player and replica kits to a new commercial sponsor once an agreement is in place.
Although aware and respectful of the supporter-backed campaign to replace XL Holidays with the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK, the commercial reality is the club has a financial duty to secure the best possible sponsorship package to help with the continued development of the first-team squad.
Extensive talks have taken place with several parties and the club is actively looking to secure a long-term deal, although this will not be signed before tomorrow's game. In the meantime, the club continues to support the Bobby Moore Fund, having agreed a three-year partnership back in July, and has further increased its exposure on key club platforms.
Stephanie Moore MBE, Founder of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK, said: "Our new partner, West Ham United has done so much to ensure that Bobby's name, and the charity founded in his memory, is at the forefront of people's minds. This is helping us fund invaluable scientific research into the disease which claimed Bobby's life, while also raising vital awareness.
"I am looking forward to this partnership continuing to grow over the next three years and am grateful to all of the supporters for their ongoing fundraising efforts. They really are incredible. I am also touched by the thousands of fans that have asked for the Fund's logo to be used on the players' shirts, but fully understand the club's position and the complexities involved."
Maradona's mark on Zola - WHUFC
Gianfranco Zola has been speaking about the impact that Diego Maradona had on his career
Diego Maradona is not expected to be at the Boleyn Ground for the match against Newcastle United on Saturday, but he could still have an influence on what happens on the pitch.
The Argentina legend was a team-mate of a youthful Gianfranco Zola at Napoli when the pair won trophies including the 1989/90 Serie A title. This could perhaps explain where Zola's love of attacking football has come from. "Maradona has been a great influence. When I first met him I was only 23 and I was a young player trying to get better and I had in front of me the best player in the world," said Zola.
"I was a striker. I liked to play the ball, to enjoy myself, so attacking is obviously my mentality. Plus when I came to Naples we had a team that had not only Maradona but also Careca and Alemão. We had a lot of quality players and used to play some good looking football."
One might think that with all of these great players around, Zola would have been put off by the challenge of getting in the team, but for the young forward it was just an incentive to work harder. "When you had somebody great like him in front of you it inspires you to do better. So then it was a challenge for me to get to his level of football. They were so good and always playing the ball but I never gave up. I always said to myself if I want to get in this team I must improve and get better than them. It was a good mentality," he said.
Speaking ahead of his managerial bow, Zola certainly has visions of the way he believes the game should be played, with the emphasis being firmly on enjoyment. "I want the football to be enjoyable - firstly for the players. If the players enjoy it then the results you get are much better," he said.
"I also know that there are moments that you have to work hard and make sacrifices, but you don't feel them as you are enjoying what you are doing. It happened to me that I was working maybe seven or eight hours a day on my game but I didn't feel the stress or the fatigue. I want to get to that point so the players here feel it."
Zola's playing time with Maradona taught him that keeping the ball was key. "What I would like to say to the players is that when they get the ball they have to be totally comfortable with it. Tthe problem is not when we have the ball but when we don't have it. So when we are in possession we have to look after it and play it in the best way possible."
As well as the footballing legacy, the Neapolitan way has also left its culinary mark on Zola. That said, he is more than impressed with what he has encountered since arriving at Chadwell Heath. "I went to the [training ground] canteen and I very much enjoyed the food so I don't want to change that part ... They are very professional in that way here," he said.
It may not be on the menu at the training ground, but he is also still hoping to sample one special east end dish before too long. "Pie and mash?," he queried when asked if he had tried one particular local favourite. "No not yet. I hope I can have a very big pie and mash dish after the match against Newcastle." One thing is sure, a Maradona-inspired Zola certainly seems a recipe for success.
West Ham 3-1 Newcastle - BBC
By Julian Shea
Gianfranco Zola's reign as West Ham manager got off to a good start thanks to two goals from David di Michele. His first was deflected off Steven Taylor and the second was a follow-up after Shay Given blocked his shot. West Ham eased off after di Michele set up a third for Matthew Etherington and they were soon made to pay for it. Robert Green was beaten by Michael Owen and then had to make two point-blank saves as Newcastle rallied but West Ham held on to keep their 100% home record. The Hammers went into the match on a run of nine games against Newcastle without a win, but began confidently and took the lead on eight minutes.
Home debutant Di Michele cut in from the right wing and skipped through two challenges before his shot looped into the back of the net off Taylor. Mark Noble almost made it two with a free-kick which flashed just over the bar, but after that Newcastle settled and came more into the match. With Julien Faubert playing out of position at right-back, Newcastle's left winger Damien Duff looked particularly threatening, and he could well have had a penalty when his cross seemed to hit midfielder Scott Parker's arm. Geremi and Charles Nzogbia also looked promising for Newcastle, but Green's goal rarely came under serious threat, and when the next breakthrough came, it was another for Di Michele. Noble's finely judged pass put the Italian through on goal and although Given blocked his initial effort with his head, he showed wonderful composure to juggle the ball and drill a low shot into the bottom corner. Newcastle had to wait until the second half for their first effort on target, but Xisco got in Owen's way and he could only produce a weak header. Instantly they were made to pay for it as West Ham extended their lead, di Michele unselfishly setting up Etherington to roll the ball into the net. Owen gave his side hope when he caught Lucas Neill off-balance and found the net with a low curling shot in the 67th minute, and this seemed to revive the visitors. Green did well to deny Nzogbia as West Ham's energy level and concentration seemed to dip, but they held on and in the closing stages substitute Luis Boa Morte wasted two great chances to make the win even more convincing.
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola: "In one week I'd like to say we did something to these guys but to be fair to them it's down to them and what Alan Curbishley did so far. The attitude has been incredible. "We knew already that in the last 20 minutes our condition had gone a bit down, but even in those moments, we kept the shape and tried to maintain good position - I'm very proud of them. "My duty is to make things work on the pitch, me and all my staff will be working on that, then we need support from (technical director) Gianluca Nani and the board, who will need to do their part - I trust them, they trust me."
Acting Newcastle coach Chris Hughton: "I thought we came out very well in the second half and once Michael Owen got the goal I genuinely thought we had a chance of getting back in. If we were going to get something it was from wide, Geremi and Damien Duff. You can't afford to concede so early on, we got back in and played some good stuff but they were soft goals. "I was very pleased that we had a real go in the second half, it was a spirited performance, we could have got something out of the game. "The situation's no different to how it was a week or so ago. It'll be best for all when a manager comes in but that's not the situation at the moment but I can't fault the application of the players."
West Ham: Green, Behrami, Upson, Neill, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble, Parker (Mullins 72), Etherington (Boa Morte 73), Di Michele, Cole (Sears 87). Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Reid.
Goals: Di Michele 8, 37, Etherington 53.
Newcastle: Given, Edgar (Bassong 59), Taylor, Coloccini, N'Zogbia, Geremi, Cacapa (Gonzalez 81), Butt, Duff, Owen, Xisco. Subs Not Used: Harper, Ameobi, Tozer, Doninger, Donaldson.
Booked: Taylor, N'Zogbia.
Goals: Owen 67.
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: West Ham's David di Michele 8.68 (on 90 minutes).
Zola's pride - KUMB
Filed: Saturday, 20th September 2008
By: Staff Writer
Gianfranco Zola has hailed his team's performance after they comfortably beat Newcastle 3-1 at the Boleyn this afternoon. The new manager, talking to the BBC after the win praised his side's effort - and his predecessor, Alan Curbishley - after watching his managerial reign get off to the perfect start. "I'm very happy with the performance," he said. "I'm a little bit drained to be honest - it was very tiring! "I'd like to say we done something to these guys in one week. But to be fair to them it's all down to them and to what Alan Curbishley has done so far. The attitude of the players has been incredible and everything is down to them, so it was very good.
"We knew already that in the last twenty, twenty five minutes our condition had gone a little bit down. But what was important was that even in those moments we kept our shape and maintaned good positions on the pitch. I'm very proud of them."
Zola also had special praise for forwards Carlton Cole and David Di Michele, who marked his home debut with a brace and an assist. "Di Michele has got really good qualities," added Zola. "He needs to be a little bit focused on the finishing but he can do unbelievable things - and today he scored two killer goals. "I will forgive Carlton if he doesn't score many goals if he plays the way he played today. He was unbelievable. Today it was sometimes him against two or three defenders and he was causing problems all the time; he was probably my man of the match. "I am a great fan of his. I said to him that if he improves a few things - his finishing maybe, or getting a few goals, being in the right position at the right time - he can really achieve great results. He has all the qualities there to play for England."
Zola also dismissed reports that he would be little more than a 'puppet' for the Board, adding that all at the club will need to pull their weight if United are to push on this season. "My duty is to make things work properly on the pitch - and me and all my staff will be working on that, " he said. "Then I need the support and help from Gianluca Nani and the Board, because they will need to play their part. "I trust them, they trust me and if we can work together we can do a good job over here."
Club dismiss Moore petition - KUMB
Filed: Saturday, 20th September 2008
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United have put an end to the campaign to have the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK's logo added to the club's shirts. In a statement released last night the Board dismissed the wishes of more than 10,000 supporters who signed the online petition, claiming that 'the commercial reality is the club has a financial duty to secure the best possible sponsorship package'. Meanwhile it was also confirmed that United will feature squad numbers on the front of their shirts for this afternoon's game against Newcastle; that decision coming after 'consultation with the Premier League with regard to the various options open to the club following the termination of the relationship with XL Holidays last week'.
In reference to the possible replacements for XL, the statement added: "Extensive talks have taken place with several parties and the club is actively looking to secure a long-term deal, although this will not be signed before tomorrow's game."
The club have previously been accused of 'cashing in' on Moore's name since just £1 of the price of each ticket for the pre-season friendly against Villarreal was handed to the charity, whilst the cost of programmes for the match was hiked to £5. A new range of merchandise under the 'BM6' banner is also due to be released soon, although the club intend to send just 10% of sales the way of the charity.
One disappointed supporter emailed KUMB.com last night to say: "It is typical of the club that was once seen as a family establishment to once again brush aside the wishes of the supporters. I truly hope no-one spends another penny on match day trinkets but instead seeks out a local charity like the Bobby Moore Fund and puts their cash in their fundraising buckets."
* Despite having contacted West Ham United's marketing department ealier in the week asking for their thoughts on the possibility of implementing a BMF logo onto the shirts we are yet to receive a reply.
Brum deal for Quashie? - KUMB
Filed: Saturday, 20th September 2008
By: Staff Writer
United outcast Nigel Quashie is on the verge of completing a season-long loan move to Birmingham City. The former West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth midfielder has failed to feature for the Hammers since March 2007 following a mystery 'foot injury' that has plagued him ever since. However he has spent this week trianing with the Championship club, and City boss Alex McLeigh has confirmed that a deal to take the ex-Scottish international to the City Ground should be tied up sometime next week. "Nigel is training with us although he went back to London earlier in the week for personal reasons," said McLeish. "But we're hoping to get him back in.
"He's looking very good and he's definitely got a lot of quality but it's just a question of his fitness levels. I would like something to happen there and that will be up to Nigel." Quashie was signed by Alan Curbishley in January 2007 but made just eight appearances for the club before sustaining the injury.
McLeish keen on Quashie - SSN
Blues boss wants to bring in midfielder
By James Pearson Last updated: 20th September 2008
Alex McLeish has confirmed he is keen to bring Nigel Quashie to Birmingham, although he still has concerns over his fitness. Blues have had a look at Quashie, who is currently well down West Ham's pecking order, in training in a bid to assess his current level of fitness. While McLeish has conceded the experienced midfielder's fitness is a little below par, he still feels the 30-year-old could do a job for the Midlands outfit. "He's still training with us although he went back to London earlier in the week for personal reasons, but we're hoping to get him back in," McLeish told the club's official website. "He's looking very good and he's definitely got a lot of quality but it's just about his fitness levels. "We've assessed him so far and he's just got a wee bit of fitness to find. "I would like something to happen there and that will be up to Nigel and to see if there's been any reaction to the tough training that he's been doing. "He's been out for a long time and picked up a couple of small niggles which stopped him playing in the recent Manchester United reserve game."
Meanwhile, McLeish has stated Kevin-Prince Boateng needs to be a bit more vocal if he wants to join the St Andrews outfit. Blues have made no secret of their interest in Tottenham's out-of-favour midfielder, but, as yet, Boateng remains at White Hart Lane. "If he's umming and aahing about it we'll just leave it because he's got to tell me he wants to come," he continued. "I'd like to know if he really has the application to come and get his career going again. "I don't want players to feel like they're forced to come. I want players to come and say 'I'm going to come and resurrect my career under you big man and Birmingham is a big club and I'd like to help them get back to the Premier League'."
Hammers give Zola dream start - SSN
Di Michele brace and Etherington goal earn points
By Steve Pass Last updated: 20th September 2008
Man of Match: David Di Michele. Scored a brace on his home debut and set up Matthew Etherington's third for the Hammers. He should have had a hat-trick but blasted over with the goal gaping.
Moment of the match: Di Michele's second before half-time. Newcastle had been pressing to get back into the game and the goal came at a good time to knock the wind from their sails.
Attempt of the match: Di Michele's point-blank effort which was going in but hit Given and rebounded away before Di Michele then scored.
Save of the match: As above - Given's save from Di Michele at point-blank range after spreading himself big.
Talking point: Can things get any worse for sorry Newcastle? Up for sale, without a manager, they are in free-fall and the sooner Ashley sells up and the club gets some stability, the better.
Goal of the game: Owen's consolation for Newcastle. He received the ball from Claudio Cacapa on the edge of the box and wrong-footed Lucas Neill before before hitting a shot inside the far post.
Gianfranco Zola's West Ham reign got off to a winning start with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over crisis club Newcastle at Upton Park. David Di Michele opened the scoring in the eighth minute of his home debut after beating Fabricio Coloccini and unleashing a left-footed shot which took a wicked deflection off Steven Taylor over Shay Given's head. He then doubled the advantage on 37 minutes after his shot hit Given and he got onto the rebound and drilled home at the near post. Di Michele then turned provider for the third goal on 53 minutes when he crossed from the right for Matthew Etherington to tap in at the far post. Newcastle got one back on 67 minutes when Michael Owen received the ball from Claudio Cacapa on the edge of the box and wrong-footed Lucas Neill before hitting a shot inside the far post. It was a positive start by the hosts, who had won both of their opening home games under Alan Curbishley - the former boss quitting after a row with the board over player transfers. Di Michele, on a season loan from Torino, skipped clear of the offside trap and into the left side of the penalty area. However, Shay Given stood up at his near post to make the save.
The Italian then got lucky after eight minutes when he cut inside from the right and shot from 20 yards - then wheeled away in celebration as the ball ricocheted off Taylor and up over the keeper into the net. West Ham continued to press forward and in the 23rd minute, Etherington's surging run and cross down the left flank just failed to pick out Carlton Cole who was arriving at pace in the middle. Mark Noble shot wide again - this time driving an angled effort well wide from the left side of the penalty box. Di Michele showed him how it should be done with eight minutes left to half-time, although the chance looked to have been spurned after the Italian was played in by Noble and Given had come out to make a reaction save with his head. However, the ball dropped back to the striker and given far too much time and space, he simply turned inside Taylor before slamming home his second from six yards. Newcastle faced an uphill battle now to get anything out of the match. When the ball dropped to Charles N'Zogbia 25 yards from goal, he blazed it high into the stands - just about summing up the visitors' afternoon so far. However, the Magpies made a bright start to the second half, and Geremi's deep cross was just too far ahead of Spanish striker Xisco. Australian defender Lucas Neill, the Hammers captain, was cautioned in the 51st minute following a late challenge on Owen. Geremi's free-kick found its way through to the six-yard box, where Taylor flicked it goalwards, but Owen could not get any power on his close-range header.
It proved a costly miss as, after 53 minutes, the hosts went up the other end and scored. Cole played Di Michele away down the right channel, and he sprinted into the area. Unselfishly, the Italian laid the ball back across goal for Etherington to sweep it into the net. Di Michele was then teed up by Herita Ilunga's left-wing cross - but crashed a left-foot effort over the bar from 15 yards. Xisco, signed from Deportivo de La Coruna just before the transfer window closed, felt he should have had a penalty when Valon Behrami looked to deflect his chip into the box with a hand - but referee Phil Dowd was unimpressed. Newcastle, though, did get a lifeline after 67 minutes. Cacapa slipped in Owen at the edge of the penalty area and the England striker dropped his shoulder to pass Neill before bending a superb effort into the top right corner. The visitors' spirits were raised and Cacapa almost stabbed in another, but Robert Green was behind his close-range effort before then keeping out a low drive from Damien Duff. Newcastle continued to press and Cacapa was furious with himself after heading over from 10 yards. While West Ham looked far from comfortable during the closing stages - something which their new manager will undoubtedly work on - they managed to close the match out without any further scares. Indeed, they should have netted a fourth in stoppage time, but substitute Luis Boa Morte shot wide when clean through - with Di Michele screaming for a square pass and a certain hat-trick.
Zola - Win means a lot - SSN
New boss praises players
Last updated: 20th September 2008
Gianfranco Zola was delighted after his managerial career got off to a winning start with West Ham's 3-1 victory over Newcastle. David Di Michele scored a brace in the first half, Matthew Etherington added a third on 53 minutes before Michael Owen scored a consolation 14 minutes later for the Magpies. Zola officially took over the Hammers' hot-seat on Monday after Alan Curbishley's resignation and expressed himself pleased with the result. The Italian told Sky Sports: "It means a lot to me, also to the players because this week they worked very hard and they worked well so when you get the result on Saturday - the way they got it - it is a great satisfaction. "I am pleased, very pleased for them."
West Ham started with a 4-3-3 formation for the first time this season and asked if this worked for his team, he said: "Today it worked very well and I am pleased.
"I think it depends - it is all down to them, they know it is a system which can give satisfaction to them but they have to work hard for that. "But today, fair to them, they have been outstanding," he said, praising Di Michele, Carlton Cole and Etherington by name, as well as the supporters who gave him a great ovation as he came out for the first time. "Thank you to them because it was important for me and for the players to have their support. They have been fantastic - we will try to get better and better for them."
Newcastle caused the Hammers problems at times and Zola conceded "when you play a game there are moments in which you suffer." But he added: "The important thing is when those moments come, we have to keep the shape, we had to keep working as a team as we did." He said it was vital to have Steve Clarke's input at the club and agreed it did feel special to be there. "It is very special - it is the beginning of a new career for me and I started in a proper way thanks to the players, they have been fantastic. "They couldn't have been better."
Vinny's Newcastle Report - West Ham Online
Vinny - Sat Sep 20 2008
West Ham United 3 Newcastle United 1
A terrific display gave West Ham their third consecutive home victory as Newcastle were brushed aside with two goals coming from David De Michele and the other from Matthew Etherington.
This was Gianfranco Zola's first game as manager and he would have been very pleased with the way we took the game to Newcastle and the ease in which we were able to score our goals.
There is no denying that Newcastle were poor opposition and there is obviously a level of caution which should be taken before going crazy about the result but there were many positives to take.
Despite this being Zola's first game there were a number of personnel and tactical changes with some being a little experimental but it was these tactics which made us much harder to defend against.
In defence Callum Davenport was dropped to the bench with Julien Faubert coming in to the side. This saw Lucas Neill revert to center half alongside Upson with Ilunga at left back and Faubert as an attacking right back.
In midfield, Matthew Etherington returned to the side in place of Luis Boa Morte who dropped to the bench. Valon Behrami continued as the right sided midfielder.
Up front Dean Ashton was injured again and replaced by David De Michele who was partnered by Carlton Cole.
The formation was not as clear cut as it first looked on paper with Cole the furthest forward with Etherington and De Michele playing as attacking forwards on the flanks with both swapping over throughout the half.
Faubert was also instructed to get forward as he covered a lot of ground on that right hand side in the early stages.
It was noticeable in the opening moments that movement had been something they had worked on this week as the players were buzzing around giving Newcastle problems when trying to defend.
Like the previous two home games this season a goal within ten minutes was found as De Michele opened his West Ham account with a somewhat fortunate goal. He receive the ball on the right hand side and came inside beating two players and hit a shot which deflected off Steven Taylor and looped over Shay Given to make it 1-0.
Although a lucky goal in some respects, it was good work from De Michele who looked eager to get on the ball in the early stages and try to show his technique.
Two free kicks in quick succession were put over the bar by Mark Noble who seemed to be struggling with his set pieces as a couple of his corners were also poor.
Newcastle offered little as an attacking force with Neill and Upson easily dealing with anything thrown into the area.
Etherington was starting to get into the game and put in a couple of excellent crosses but there was little in the area to get on the end of it.
A second goal did come and it was that man De Michele yet again who found himself on the scoresheet.
Mark Noble split the Newcastle defence wide open and put the Italian through on goal. His shot was excellently saved by Shay Given as the ball looped into the air. At this point I thought the chance had gone and De Michele's reluctance to hit the ball first time only furthered this but he took the ball down, flicked it past the defender and hit a low shot into the back of the net.
It was a classy finish from a player who does seem to have something about him.
The Newcastle fans were silenced as a pleasant day at Upton Park was made even better by that second goal. The atmosphere was at a high and it made a change for everyone to be happy with a sense of optimism in the air.
With a two goal lead and Newcastle not having one shot on target you would say that the first half was just about perfect.
In recent times we have not dealt with a 2-0 lead well and often conceded that early goal which put the pressure back on and sends the crown into worry and anxiousness.
Newcastle came out in the second period exactly as you would have thought they would as they looked for some way back into a game which they had not competed in.
We had a decent half chance as Faubert put in a good cross for Cole to head wide.
Newcastle were getting forward and winning a number of free kicks which saw Lucas Neill go into the book for one of them with a late challenge on Owen.
It was Owen who really should have got one back for the visitors when a free kick into the area saw our defence push out but three Newcastle players were in the six yard box unmarked but the header from Owen was straight at Green as we were let off.
There have been many instances in football over the years that see a great chance go begging only for the other side to go forward and score a goal.
Di Michele was released down the right and the Italian burst into the area and hit a cross to the back post for Matthew Etherington to tap in for 3-0. Some not so generous people may suggest that Di Michele simply scuffed a poor attempt at a shot which conveniently found it's way to Etherington but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was an excellent assist.
De Michele should have had his hat trick only moments later when Etherington cut the ball back but the finish was over elaborate and the ball went just wide.
So three goals up, game over? I desperately wanted to think so, with us having a new manager and this being a new era and all. But this is West Ham, it doesn't matter what changes, who comes in or what type of football we play – we always try and make it a little difficult.
Newcastle were piling forward and we had taken our foot off the gas which lead to many misplaced passes and failure to relieve the pressure.
A fifty fifty challenge was weakly attempted by Di Michele and the ball was played into Owen who shaped himself well and hit a curling shot from inside the area past Green to give the Geordies some hope.
There was a bit of hush around the Boleyn as this goal seemed to bring out the uneasiness which is a feeling which seems to have set into the consciousness of everyone.
With Newcastle with a spring in their step a second goal nearly came when the ball was cut back for Damien Duff to hit a tame shot at Green when it really should have been breaking the back of the net.
Zola knew that changes needed to be made and an important one was made with the tiring Scott Parker being replaced by Hayden Mullins.
Newcastle's problem throughout the game was their lack of bite and even with some decent wide players in Duff and Gerami they created little in the way of chances and it appeared as though their rally had fizzled out.
Luis Boa Morte replaced Matthew Etherington who was given a standing ovation by the crowd and Carlton Cole came off not long after and he also received a very good reception from the crowd after a very good display. Freddie Sears was his replacement.
There was one last chance for us to increase the score line and it fell to Luis Boa Morte who was put through one on one with the keeper with all the time in the world to pick his spot but his finish somehow went wide to a cry of abuse towards a player who just cannot win people over.
Nevertheless the job was done and another victory made this a very pleasing day.
There were not many saves that he was required to make and anything that did come towards him was very basic.
Like his debut at West Brom last week he was solid and didn't put a foot wrong. Got forward really well and this saw him putting in a few decent crosses.
An excellent display from the Captain which is something we have not been saying over the last few months. He looked committed and stronger in the tackle. Stood up well and over all his performance was excellent.
Like Neill his performance was excellent and much better than the poor showing last week at the Hawthorns. Made some crucial headers at points in the game and this is the type of performance we need from him.
I thought he was terrific and a good shout for man of the match. Player in a position which many do not associate him with he was excellent in tracking back and there was a moment in the first half when he came across to cover in the area and prevented Xisco from scoring a certain goal.
He is fearless and amongst our most commited players. He put himself in front of everything and at one point was knocked flat out by a shot from Owen. On the ball I still believe he is limited with little passing range or vision. But this was a solid performance.
Besides his poor set pieces I thought Noble was dominant in midfield again and I am very encouraged by his recent performances. Since that sending off against Manchester City he has been brilliant in every game he has played and his assist for the second goal is testament to the ability this boy has.
I'm still impressed by Behrami and believe we have a very clever player. When he is on the ball he rarely does the wrong thing and his simply passing help get attacks going. His main criticism is that when off the ball he does very little and it might be quite a while till you notice him again. I can only think this is due to the pace of the game which he will only get used to.
Playing further forward, Etherington put in a good display and got himself a goal. He divides opinion amongst West Ham fans and this performance will be dismissed of one of his few a season, but the role he was in seemed to bring out the best in him and long may that continue.
David De Michele
Making his home debut the Italian did exactly what we need strikers to do and that is score goals. He should have had his hat trick in the second half also. His finish for the second goal was wonderful and he does have something about him despite still being off the pace. His movement is what I thought was tremendous and the run to set up the third goal was down to that. With Ashton and Bellamy forever injured we will need this guy to step up and so far so good.
Zola praised him after the game, the fans gave him a great reception when he came off and it is not hard to see why. Cole was brilliant and was probably the man of the match. Last season we saw him up front on his own many times and although he did well he was often isolated but this formation played today allowed both De Michele and Etherington to support him.
Hayden Mullins (on for Parker 72 mins)
An important change by Zola and one which we were crying out for. Mullins has his haters but the role he does should not be underestimated. He came on and did what he does best which was breaking up the play and picking up the loose passes. His distribution was also very positive.
Luis Boa Morte (on for Etherington 74 mins)
Had one wild attempt on goal which went high into the Bobby Moore Stand and then had a one on one with the keeper which he made a hash of and the abuse continues.
Freddie Sears (on for Cole 87)
Not on long enough to have any impact.
Tactically we were spot on today and when people talk about attacking football this was the best we could do with the players at our disposal. We played with much more freedom and this brought out the best in players like Noble and Etherington.
There are still many things which Zola needs to sort out and we must start being tighter at the back and keeping clean sheets which is something we simply cannot do.
Our fitness has also been highlighted and this is something which obviously troubles us as we seem to be under the cosh in the final quarter of a lot of games.
These are things that Zola is aware of and I am confident that he will endeavour to sort out.
Next up is Watford in the League cup on Tuesday night in a competition which in my opinion is our only real chance of silverware. This is a game which we should be winning although it will be interesting to see what type of team Zola puts out.
"In one week I'd like to say we did something to these guys but to be fair to them it's down to them and what Alan Curbishley did so far. The attitude has been incredible.
"We knew already that in the last 20 minutes our condition had gone a bit down, but even in those moments, we kept the shape and tried to maintain good position - I'm very proud of them.
"My duty is to make things work on the pitch, me and all my staff will be working on that, then we need support from (technical director) Gianluca Nani and the board, who will need to do their part - I trust them, they trust me."
Gianfranco Zola has dream start at West Ham - Times
Brian Glanville at Upton Park
IN THE WORDS of the tough American baseball manager, Leo Durocher: "Nice guys finish last." There could scarcely be a nicer guy than Gianfranco Zola, who has been appointed by West Ham to his first job in club management, of a team suffering not only from injuries but from a procession of departing players.
Yet if West Ham have been in difficulties this season, parting company in bitter circumstances with one manager, Alan Curbishley, then Newcastle United are in chaos. West Ham supporters may wonder why, if they have a billionaire owner-chairman in Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, they should have been obliged to sell so many players, but Newcastle's besieged owner, Mike Ashley, is trying in vain to sell his whole club, demanding £481m, which would make even the richest Arab mogul balk.
Moreover, since ousting Kevin Keegan, Ashley can no longer attend the club's matches, flaunting the black and white stripes and sinking a pint of lager in a single draft, as he recently did at the Emirates stadium.
Though missing half a dozen senior players, including Lee Bowyer, Craig Bellamy, Kieron Dyer and Dean Ashton, injured yet again in training, Zola's initial team rose above themselves to brush a plainly demoralised Newcastle aside.
West Ham, lacking Ashton to lead their attack, were particularly happy with the home debut of the Italian striker David Di Michele, who has joined them on loan from Torino, his seventh Italian club, with whom he had been for just one season.
Previously, he had moved around the peninsular, the best known of his clubs being Udinese. On his 32nd birthday, he scored twice and set up the third West Ham goal.
Newcastle's managerial situation is deadlocked until Ashley manages to sell the club. Sympathy must go to Chris Hughton, formerly assistant manager at Tottenham, who has been put in charge. Newcastle themselves missed such players as the incisive Nigerian Obafemi Martins, but their feeble and disorganised defending made them vulnerable throughout.
True, Michael Owen eventually snapped up a goal to remind us what he can do at his best, but against that, in stoppage time the Londoners' substitute, Luis Boa Morte, missed rather carelessly when a through-ball from young Freddie Sears sent him clean through.
West Ham and Di Michele were encouraged by an eighth-minute goal. Cutting in from the right, the Italian evaded the Argentine centre-back, Fabrizio Coloccini, and his shot then cannoned off first David Edgar then Steven Taylor to curl tantalisingly over the head of the unfortunate Shay Given.
There would not be another Hammers goal for another half-hour, but during this time, only the elegant footwork and crisp crossing on the left of Damien Duff kept Newcastle, however tenuously, in the game.
On 37 minutes, Mark Noble's defence-splitting pass sent Di Michele through alone. He should have scored immediately, but his initial shot bounced off Given. The chance seemed to have gone, but instead Di Michele raced to his right, beat Taylor and shot home.
The third goal came in the 53rd minute, Di Michele racing up the right flank to cross for Matthew Everington to score at leisure. Newcastle's goal, for what it was worth, came on 67 minutes, when Claudio Cacapa found Owen, who neatly side-stepped defender Lucas Neill and scored.
"It was OK," said a predictably delighted Zola afterwards. "I have to say that's 70 minutes of being very good. We tried to play our very best team from the beginning, and the players had to run a lot. It's a new adventure for me. Especially at the beginning, you don't know how players will react to your telling them."
As for Hughton, he declared: "All we can do is the best that we can and get results." He insisted that morale was good, too.
The manager's job? "It's something I've not even thought about," he said. "All my thoughts are about preparing the team."
WEST HAM: Green 7, Neill 7, Ilunga 6, Parker 7 (Mullins 71min), Etherington 7 (Boa Morte 77min), Cole 7 (Sears 86min), Upson 6, Noble 7, Faubert 6, Behrami 6, Di Michele 8
NEWCASTLE: Given 6, Coloccini 6, Cacapa 6 (Gonzales 81min), Owen 6, Duff 7, N'Zogbia 5, Zisco 5, Geremi 6, Butt 7, Taylor 5, Edgar 5 (Bassong 59mins)
Zola all smiles as West Ham reign begins in style - Guardian
Gianfranco Zola was not the most eye-catching Italian on show as West Ham brushed aside Newcastle in his first game in charge
The much anticipated arrival ultimately went unnoticed. Blocked from view by a scrum of luminous-bib wearing photographers, Gianfranco Zola emerged from the dug-out minutes before kick-off and took his seat with the minimum of fuss.
Perhaps that is how he wanted it. The Italian had spoken in the build-up to this match of the anxieties he felt at becoming West Ham manager having enjoyed such a rich playing career at city rivals Chelsea. Such worries seemed unnecessary prior to the start here considering the most successful man to have ever lead this club, Ron Greenwood, also played at Stamford Bridge and mattered even less after proceedings had begun. There were no boos or jeers from the home supporters after Zola's presence had finally become obvious.
He first stepped outside his dug-out six minutes into the match to glance upon a threatening charge by David Di Michele into the Newcastle area. His response to the Italian's blocked shot was telling; a wild throwing of the arms and the definite stamping of a foot. The crowd appreciated what they saw, stirring to collectively applaud a gesture which was rare during Alan Curbishley's time in charge.
Moments later, Zola, like the crowd, was in raptures. Di Michele again ran at the Newcastle defence with purpose, this time right to left, and was rewarded for his verve when a resulting shot deflected first off David Edgar and then Steven Taylor to loop over Shay Given in the visitor's goal.
West Ham's manager, dressed in a club tracksuit, saluted the breakthrough with a pump of his fist. His assistant, Steve Clarke, who was also on his feet, applauded.
The hosts continued to press and it would not have escaped Zola's notice that he was slowly becoming the second most eye-catching Italian on show. Di Michele, like he had been on his debut at West Bromwich Albion last week, was scampering around the pitch with abandonment and with every run raised the fervour on an already steamy day in east London. It soon became a case of "Where's David?" as the 32-year-old, who signed on loan from Torino on deadline day, popped up in every position on the pitch, even running from left-back at one stage.
But it is up front where the former Italy international is clearly at his most effective and he showed that once again on 37 minutes when he flicked the ball over Steven Taylor in a tight space inside Newcastle's area and, having taken a touch, drove a low shot past Given.
The crowd roared and any doubts Zola might have had about his acceptance among the home supporters was obliterated in that moment as a chant of "2-0 to the Mafia" spread from the Bobby Moore Stand.
Among the euphoria, it had perhaps been forgotten that another side was taking part in this match, one that like West Ham became manager-less earlier this month. Unlike the London club, however, Newcastle have shown little urgency in finding a long-term successor to the previous man in charge and looking on, one had to feel some sympathy for caretaker manager Chris Hughton. Arms folded as he stood on the edge of the visiting team's technical area, the former Upton Park player looked forlorn and fed-up. Any words of encouragement and orders of attrition he had given to his players in the past week were clearly abandoned once they took to the pitch.
Newcastle simply could not keep the ball and were hopeless at the back where Charles N'Zogbia continues to do a poor impression of a left-back and in the heart of the rearguard, Taylor and Fabrizio Coloccini operated like strangers.
And it was almost painful to glance at their attack and see Michael Owen toil with little reward. There were further frustrations for the former Liverpool forward when he finally had the chance to score seven minutes into the second half only for his close-range header from Taylor's flick-on to fall comfortably into Robert Green's arms.
That turned-out to be moment of aberration to the flow of this contest as moments later, West Ham made it 3-0. Di Michele was again involved, this time providing the low cross from which Matthew Etherington scored his first goal of the season.
The strike brought Zola back on to his feet and this time those in attendance were given the pleasure of seeing a double-fist pump from the one-time Parma forward. He stayed on his feet as play continued but, lost in focus, failed to respond to the cries of "Zola, Zola, give us a wave" that emanated from home supporters.
West Ham's third goal had come from a change in tactics which saw the home side switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with Di Michele and Etherington playing either side of Carlton Cole. That it paid off in such spectacular and immediate fashion shows that Zola may have the one quality all successful managers need; luck.
Any West Ham supporters who may by this stage have fallen in to a dreamy stupor, allowing thoughts of Champions League football and attacking play from the Gods to dominate their thoughts, were given a jolt on 67 minutes when Owen did eventually score with an excellent curling shot from just inside the host's area. Damien Duff almost made it 3-2 with a side-footed drive moments later and suddenly anxiety spread across Upton Park.
Zola tried to calm nerves among his players with the much seen press-down-on-an-invisible-space-hopper-with-outstretched-palms movement. It seemed to do the trick as the home-side slowly but surely stifled any hopes Newcastle may have entertained of a comeback thanks in a large part to the midfield duo of Mark Noble and Scott Parker who seized possession and with it, the impetus.
There were no further goals - there should have been but substitute Luis Boa Morte missed a stoppage-time sitter - and Zola had enjoyed a perfect day. A comfortable win allied with a fluent performance and no obvious, adverse response from the home supporters to his appointment. And to cap it off, it was a fellow Italian, Di Michele, who had been the star of the show.
To judge this win as the start of a bright new dawn would be unfair to Zola's predecessor who, it should not be forgotten, steered West Ham from relegation fear to mid-table calmness last season and, this year, helped achieve their best start to a Premier League campaign. But for a multitude of reasons Curbishley was never accepted at the stadium where he previously watched as a fan and strove as a player and so a parting was perhaps for the best. In his place has come a man who has much to prove and on darker, more difficult days, will no doubt be reminded of his inexperience and his "Chelsea legend" tag by what is arguably the most visceral support in England. But for the time being at least, all appears well for Zola and he was able to depart as he had arrived; with a smile.
David Di Michele stars in Gianfranco Zola's new system - Telegraph
West Ham (2) 3 v Newcastle (0) 1
By Duncan White at Upton Park
Last Updated: 10:49PM BST 20 Sep 2008
Mobbed: Matthew Etherington is surrounded by team-mates after scoring the third Photo: PA
Gianfranco Zola emerged from the tunnel to some 30 flashing bulbs for his first match as West Ham manager. His popularity and affability are beyond doubt, but would the exquisite game intelligence he possessed as a player translate into management? Under scrutiny for the first time, Zola breezed it. True, he will sit more challenging examinations than this. Newcastle are bereft of confidence and were at times comically inept.
Fittingly it was a clever, diminutive Italian who did the damage for West Ham. David di Michele, making his first start for the club, scored two and made one to give Zola's first victory a thoroughly Italian stamp.
"He played very well and could have had a hat-trick," Zola said. "But I think he should share the fame with Carlton Cole and Matthew Etherington. They were unbelievable. Cole started playing with me when we were at Chelsea and he can become much better than he is. He has all the qualities to be playing in the national team."
The first goal was prompted by the impressive Cole. The lanky striker turned smartly midway in the Newcastle half and passed to Di Michele. The former Italy international, a deadline day loan signing from Torino, cut inside first Fabricio Coloccini and then Steven Taylor before his shot was deflected off the latter and up, over the impotent Shay Given.
Di Michele's second had the impish imprint of Zola. His initial shot was blocked by Given's head as the Irish keeper came flying out. The ball looped into the air and bounced in the area. Di Michele got there first. Taylor stormed towards him in belated reaction only for Di Michele to pop it over him and shoot low inside the near post.
The third was again initiated by Cole, whose through ball into the right channel allowed Di Michele to stretch his legs. The Italian tried to shoot, mishit the ball straight to Etherington who side-footed in. Di Michele should have got a third: he lifted the ball over the bar from Herita Ilunga's pull-back and when Luis Boa Morte went clean through in the final moments he opted to shoot – and miss – rather than square the ball to the Italian.
By then, Newcastle had shown stirrings of belated professional pride. Michael Owen's clinical finish rescued some dignity from a dismal performance and Claudio Cacapa and Damien Duff had chances to pull a further goal back. It was a worrying wobble from
West Ham but it was not enough to take the gloss off Zola's day. "The reception has been fantastic," Zola said. "I want to apologise to the fans though. They told me they were shouting my name but I couldn't hear anything. My mind was completely closed. Anyway, it is a victory, we played some good football, we are on our way."
West Ham's new assistant coach Steve Clarke was good enough to manage Chelsea - Telegraph
West Ham have made a very strong appointment in Steve Clarke, who was my assistant coach at Chelsea.
By Jose Mourinho
Last Updated: 10:15AM BST 21 Sep 2008
Good blend: Steve Clarke (r) will provide Gianfranco Zola with experience the players Photo: Getty Images
Getting the coaching structure right is the most important thing if you want success on the field. Gianfranco Zola, the new manager, needed support from a man with experience and intelligence. Steve is that man.
I spoke to Steve after everything was done. I had one question for him: "Are you happy?" "Yes," he said. That was good enough for me. Don't look back, move on.
Steve and I worked very well together at Chelsea, won many trophies, and I think he is ready for more. In fact, this is what I think about Steve Clarke: if, at this moment, he had the chance to manage a club, even a big club like Chelsea, he would be ready for that. He is that good.
He is an intelligent guy and always looking to improve. He is very open to co-operation and learning. He has a good relationship with the players, knows how to handle them. I think he is much, much better than many managers who are in charge of teams at the moment.
So, while he has the capability to be a manager in his own right, I think he is happy with his move to West Ham. Even though he is not the No 1 in the structure, he is working closely with a friend – not just a friend, but a brother, because that is how close his relationship is with Franco.
Franco needs Steve because he does not have his experience of being on the training pitch, working with the players, with the methodology of coaching, with training organisation. With them working together they can do good things.
Of course, I'm not a West Ham fan, but with Steve having this responsibility there, I want them to succeed. Steve is a really top coach and a really top man.
For me, my work with Chelsea was made fortunate by having a good relationship with coaches. I am like this at Inter too. I am very open. The door of my football thoughts and methodology is open to the coaches of the youth team, the scouts, my fitness coach.
As the manager of a big structure you are responsible for the formation of these younger coaches. For example, there is another coach at Chelsea, Brendan Rogers, who was coach of the reserves. He is also ready for the next step.
I think it is important for British clubs to keep developing British coaches. It helps the future of the national teams.
I see that Chelsea have appointed Ray Wilkins as a coach. I think it is good that they have kept a British influence at the club.
Steve and Franco started their partnership against Newcastle yesterday. It is hard to understand the difficulties of Newcastle because they are a very big club. But after Bobby Robson left they were no longer the same.
They have never achieved the success that their investment deserved. They have to ask themselves why because they cannot get a top manager now. If they find the answer to that, success is sure to follow.
Zola credits Curbishley for victory over Newcastle - viewlondon.co.uk
New West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola paid tribute to his predecessor Alan Curbishley after his side's 3-1 win over Newcastle today.
Italian striker David di Michele, who was making his home debut, immediately became a fans favourite with a brace and he created the other goal for Matthew Etherington. Michael Owen grabbed a consolation for Newcastle as they further spiralled into turmoil.
Despite the impressive display, Zola refused to take all the credit and insisted that the win was more down to the work Curbishley had done.
"In one week I'd like to say we did something to these guys but to be fair to them it's down to them and what Alan Curbishley did so far. The attitude has been incredible," said Zola.
"We knew already that in the last 20 minutes our condition had gone a bit down, but even in those moments, we kept the shape and tried to maintain good position - I'm very proud of them.
"My duty is to make things work on the pitch, me and all my staff will be working on that, then we need support from (technical director) Gianluca Nani and the board, who will need to do their part - I trust them, they trust me."
West Ham have had an excellent start to the season, even though they have had a change of manager so early on. The Hammers are now fourth in the table with nine points after claiming their third win of the season today.
Bring Back Jeremy Nicholas! - West Ham Till I Die
The only negative from today's game was yet again the awfulness of the pre match announcer. Can you believe that he actually forgot to welcome Gianfranco Zola to the club and allow us to applaud our new hero? Unbelievably crass.
And he keeps playing Bubbles at completely the wrong time. There is an art to whipping up an Upton Park crowd, and this guy, who ever he is, hasn't got a clue. Jeremy Nicholas lives and breathes West Ham. he is one of us. And he's an entertainer who can feel the pulse of the crowd.
Bring him back!
Two-goal Di Michele piles on the pain for caretaker boss Hughton - Daily Mail
by Daniel King
Last updated at 11:12 PM on 20th September 2008
West Ham 3 Newcastle 1
WEST HAM'S Italian job left Newcastle in the now familiar position of staring into the abyss. On-loan striker David Di Michele turned compatriot Gianfranco Zola's housewarming into a proper East End knees-up with two goals and an assist in a convincing victory for the home team. But they could hardly have had more compliant guests than a Newcastle team lacking belief and leadership, not to mention a manager and a new owner. Michael Owen's goal midway through the second half was far too little, far too late, from a player and a side who appear crushed by the series of calamities that has befallen them on and off the field in the last eight months.
While West Ham's fine first-half football spoke of a confidence and ability which bodes well for Zola as he tries to win over those at Upton Park who would hold his Chelsea past against him, the visitors could offer little more than huff and puff - and sometimes not even that. In the history of thankless tasks, Chris Hughton's job as caretaker manager must rank as one of the least appealing. And as Newcastle dropped into the relegation zone, he acknowledged that only a quick change of ownership and attitude will prevent an already disastrous season becoming even worse. 'I think that has been the case since day one,' said Hughton, who must now try to conjure a win against former club Tottenham in the Carling Cup-tie at St James' Park on Wednesday. 'Until that happens, all we can do is do the best we can. What the Newcastle supporters want to see is a manager in place and the team getting results.' Zola, whose first foray into the technical area was greeted enthusiastically by the home supporters, ticked both boxes for the West Ham fans yesterday. The welcome for his new assistant Steve Clarke, another alumnus of Stamford Bridge, was hardly effusive, a polite but no more than lukewarm ripple of applause. But if you need to make a good first impression, then Newcastle are just the team you want to play. Right from the kick-off, West Ham made it clear they intended to take advantage of the travails of a Newcastle club whose own managerial instability conveniently overshadowed the rather shoddy way Alan Curbishley was eased out of Upton Park. Zola sent out an attacking team true to the traditions of Upton Park and was rewarded with a performance from Di Michele which surely marks him out as a cult hero in waiting. The striker, on loan from Torino, is in many ways the archetypal West Ham player, capable of the sublime and the ridiculous, often in quick succession. Ably supported by the impressive Matthew Etherington and Carlton Cole, he had already wasted one chance when Newcastle suffered the sort of misfortune which clings to troubled teams like a burr on Velcro. Di Michele's eighth-minute shot took not one but two ricochets, first off David Edgar, then Steven Taylor, before the ball went arcing over Shay Given into the net. Unfortunate timing bedevilled Newcastle for the remainder of the game.
Just when they had enjoyed their best spell of the first half, Di Michele struck again. After his initial shot had cannoned off Given's head, no Newcastle defender reacted and when Taylor finally charged out, Di Michele dinked it past him and buried his shot inside the near post. Now Newcastle looked truly disconsolate and things only became worse early in the second half. This time the visitors did enjoy a break when Charles N'Zogbia's free-kick hit Taylor's back but Owen, all alone about six yards out, could only head the lucky ricochet straight at Rob Green, and within seconds the game was over. Di Michele broke down the right and although some believed he scuffed his shot when going for a hat-trick, more generous observers credited him with an unselfish cross for Etherington to score a classic breakaway goal. The Italian should have completed his treble just before the hour but shot over the bar. When Owen did score with a fine, curled finish from the edge of the box 23 minutes from time, there was a glimmer of hope for Newcastle. But the second goal would not come despite a spell of pressure on a now nervy West Ham defence and the frustration of another defeat at the end of another soul-destroying week was summed up by N'Zogbia earning a yellow card for throwing down the ball in a display of childish petulance. But he is far from the only one at Newcastle to have been guilty of letting himself down in the last few months.
West Ham United 3 Newcastle United 1: Zola's new-look Hammers show promise as Di Michele delivers
Striker fires double as Italian influence undermines value of Newcastle's 'Cockney Mafia'
By Steve Tongue at Upton Park
Sunday, 21 September 2008
As Newcastle's disenchanted supporters held aloft their "Cockney Mafia Out" banner, West Ham followers welcomed the Chelsea mafia of Gianfranco Zola and his coach Steve Clarke to Upton Park without rancour, and Zola's compatriot David di Michele won a game of the lively variety that the rookie manager has promised to bring back to the self-styled academy of football.
He would doubtless prefer a little more polish in future – Michael Owen's goal as Newcastle revived in the last half-hour offered food for thought about West Ham's defending – but this will certainly do for starters. So will fourth place in the table.
Di Michele, who had made a goal on his debut as a substitute last week, played from the start here and scored the first two goals before setting up the third for Matthew Etherington, all inside the first hour. It would be interesting to know if the 32-year-old, who has had seven Italian clubs to go with his six Italian caps, was one of the players signed over Alan Curbishley's head when recruited last month on a season's loan from Torino. Short and sharp, he linked well between midfield and the main striker Carlton Cole before tiring towards the end as Newcastle finally threatened to make a game of it.
But other than the odd flourish from Damien Duff, the visitors gave insufficient support to Owen, who registered his 11th goal in 13 games against West Ham. With only one win from their five League games they are doing nothing to justify Mike Ashley's absurd pretence that the club he is trying to sell is worth more than £450 million. They drop into the bottom three and could be bottom by tonight.
Zola, having sat in the stand at West Bromwich last week for a typical old-style West Ham game – an open-ended 3-2 defeat – made three changes, leaving out Calum Davenport and Luis Boa Morte as well as the injured Dean Ashton. The vigorous captain Lucas Neill was moved from right-back to beef up the centre of defence – he was duly booked for fouling Owen – and there was imagination at work in the formation, which in the absence of Ashton and Craig Bellamy was a 4-3-2-1 formation that featured Di Michele and Etherington behind Cole.
It was more than Newcastle could cope with, for all the dogged defending of Steven Taylor. The England Under-21 international had already produced one excellent block from Etherington before the visitors slipped behind after only eight minutes. Supplied by Cole, Di Michele moved inside on his favoured left foot and hit a shot that looped up off the right-back David Edgar and over the head of a stranded ShayGiven.
If there was a strong element of fortune to that goal, the second one combined class and improvisation. This time Mark Noble, one of the midfield trio, was the provider with a through pass that found Di Michele just onside. When his initial shot hit Given's shoulder, the chance appeared to have been wasted but the Italian gained possession again, calmly lobbing over Taylor's head before rounding him and beating the goalkeeper at his near post. "Two-nil to the mafia," chanted the jubilant home support.
Newcastle improved in the second half, which was not difficult, but immediately after Owen could do no more with an instinctive header than direct it straight at Robert Green, Di Michele pushed them all the way back down the mountain. He took Cole's clever pass towards the by-line and curled it perfectly across goal for Etherington to knock in.
Owen, taking Geremi's pass, turning his marker and rolling a shot inside the far post, then brought a modicum of respect to Newcastle's work and ensured that West Ham did not manage a first clean sheet since February – which illustrates where Zola and Clarke have work to do. They introduced Hayden Mullins, Freddie Sears and the unpopular Boa Morte, the last perpetrating an embarrassing miss when clean through to earn the only boos of the afternoon.
"For 70 minutes it was very, very good," Zola said. "We are on the way." It could be an exciting ride, which is all that the West Ham faithful ever ask.
Toon farce as eight bosses turn down the Newcastle manager's job and West Ham put the team to the sword - The Mirror
Exclusive by Paul Smith 21/09/2008
Eight managers have rejected the chance to become Newcastle's new boss. Owner Mike Ashley's (left) search to find a manager as well as a buyer for his club is turning into a farce. The bosses – from home and abroad – believe succeeding Kevin Keegan is mission impossible. They will be tainted in the eyes of Geordie fans as Ashley's stooge appointment. And it was another humiliating day for struggling Newcastle as they were thrashed 3-1 by West Ham at Upton Park. Newcastle ended a nightmare week with a sorry defeat that left them in the bottom three of the Premier League. Put up for sale by controversial owner Mike Ashley, the Toon subsided meekly to a West Ham side led into action for the first time by Gianfranco Zola.
And the travelling Toon Army had to endure home fans' chants of: "There's only one Mike Ashley." Caretaker Newcastle boss Chris Hughton could only hope for better in the midweek Carling Cup tie against Tottenham at St James' Park. Hughton said: "It was always a massive game because it is important for a big club like ours to stay in the cup competitions for as long as is possible. A win is the best way to lift morale."
Hughton insists the players prepare as they always do and that he has not considered the prospect of taking the job at the crisis-ridden club on a permanent basis.
"All my thoughts are getting the team ready and preparing them for the next game. All I think about after the game is whether there is anything I could have done better as a coach."
Hughton admitted that the sooner the uncertainty at Newcastle is resolved, the better. The furore surrounding the departure of Kevin Keegan and the decision by owner Ashley to sell up has clearly had an affect. "The sooner it all gets sorted out the better," said Hughton. "That has been the case from day one. All we can do in the meantime is our best." Hughton was at least heartened by the response of his team to going three goals down against a West Ham team rejuvenated by the arrival of Zola. "We were unlucky with the first goal because there were two deflections," he said. "The last thing you want to happen is to concede an early goal against what we knew would be an offensive side. "Then we let in a second and the third early in the second half. But we showed spirit to come back and now all we can do is prepare the players for the next game."
Zola basked in the delight of his first win as West Ham manager – then apologised to the fans for failing to acknowledge their welcome. "I am sorry," he said. "The reception was fantastic but I couldn't hear anything! My mind was completely closed." He declared his immense satisfaction at the manner of the victory. "The last 20 minutes we were a bit tired because we had put so much into the game in the first 70 minutes. "It was a hard week for me. Was I nervous? Every single moment! This is a new adventure for me. "You don't know how the players will react to what you are telling them but I have to say that the players made it comfortable for me.
"I was happy with two goals from David Di Michele and he could have had a hat-trick. But Carlton Cole was also excellent. He has all the qualities to be playing for the England team."
Zola backs Hammers striker for England role - Echo
8:13am Sunday 21st September 2008
WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola has backed Carlton Cole to play for England after the striker's latest impressive performance. The 24-year-old was the central point of an experimental three-man attacking line-up - alongside David Di Michele and Matthew Etherginton - and ran sorry Newcastle ragged at Upton Park. And, although it was new signing David Di Michele who grabbed the headlines on his full debut with two goals and an assist for Etherington's third, it was Cole's robust all-round display that came in for particular praise from his former Chelsea team mate and new boss. "Di Michele played very well but from my point of view he should share the fame with the other two strikers, Matthew Etherington and Carlton Cole, who have been unbelievable," said Zola. "Sometimes Cole was playing against two or three defenders but he was keeping them busy so he's played a brilliant game too. "He started playing with me (at Chelsea) and I think he can become much better than he is. "He has to improve a few things but he's got all the qualities to be playing for the national team. It's all down to him."
The reasons behind Zola's decision to adopt a 4-3-3 set-up looked to be dictated by the absences of Dean Ashton and Craig Bellamy, who are both sidelined with injury. However, the 42-year-old Italian hinted that it could be a system he uses often this season. "I like this system, it allows nice football and it can bey very effective," said Zola. "For the moment we will carry on playing this way but when we have Ashton and Bellamy back we will see. But I am very happy." He added: "It is a new adventure for me and you don't know how the players are going to react to what you're telling them, so you are aware of many things. "To be honest they made it very comfortable for me." The Hammers were well worth the win against the struggling Magpies, even before Michael Owen's consolation with 27 minutes still to play. And it was just the start that Zola wanted. "A victory and some good football as well so I'm very proud of the players, they did fantastically well," he said.
"For 70 minutes it was very good but we had to concede something because we tried to play an offensive game and the players had a run a lot. "In the last minute they went down physically a bit but I'm very pleased."
Could it be Financial disaster for West Ham next week, win or lose? - Cmon Yu Irons
21 September 2008
Next week is the week that the verdict over Sheffield United's compensation claim on the Carlos Tevez. If McCabe wins then West Ham could have to pay up to £50m in compensation to the Sheff Utd owner, but if we win again it will surely be the end of the whole fiasco. Sheffield United are claiming that due to Tevez playing in the final games for West Ham illegally of the season 2006/07 that it cost them relegation and a loss of £50m, and not the fact that they were not good enough to win or draw the very last game that could have saved them. West Ham were fined £5.5m by the Premier League for playing Tevez and Javier Mascherano when their registrations were held by a third party. A win for McCabe could be a financial disaster for West Ham unless the West Ham board are already prepared, but a win for BG could mean the new stadium plans will be back on the move and money for Nani and Zola to spend in January.
I'M ZO SORRY - The Mirror
ZOLA POWERED! Italian's winning start to new life at Upton Park New gaffer so focused he forgot to wave at fans
Scott Piecha Reports From Upton Park
Gianfranco Zola last night apologised to West Ham fans for failing to wave to them. The Hammers new boss felt embarrassed after ignoring the calls of the Upton Park crowd as they revelled in their side's 3-1 trouncing of Newcastle. "Zola, Zola Give us a wave" rang around the Boleyn Ground throughout the 90 minutes as the pint-sized Italian made a dream start to life. The only blot on his copybook was his shunning of the fans who seemed determined to give the former Chelsea star a warm welcome to the east end of London. But Zola says it was down to the fact that he was too focused on his big Premier League debut to hear the calls. He said: "I have to say sorry to the fans for not waving at them when they sang. "I did not hear it because I was so focused and my brain was all crossed thinking about what I needed to do. This whole week I have been nervous because obviously it is a new challenge and you don't know how people are going to react. "I must thank the fans for the way they gave me a great reception and next time I promise to wave!"
Zola has become an instant hit with the fans and players and he is determined to help his team add the quality they have been missing. Talking about Carlton Cole, Zola is convinced he can become an England star, saying: "During the game David Di Michele played well and scored two good goals. "But the other strikers also deserve credit. Cole is a good player and I played with him at Chelsea. "I think that if he improves like I believe he can then he could even play for the national team. It is all down to him. "As for the rest of the team, I think we can keep improving. I didn't know how the players were going to react to my decisions but now I am looking forward to the future."