Gianfranco Zola was in reflective but positive mood when speaking before the
trip to Blackburn Rovers
Gianfranco Zola was in good spirits ahead of Saturday's trip to Blackburn
Rovers after a challenging week for the club off the field.
The manager was delighted to welcome Alessandro Diamanti after his transfer
from AS Livorno Calcio and the 26-year-old forward quickly settled into life
at Chadwell Heath. The manager's mood was also boosted by staging a training
session that featured a fully involved Luis Jimenez, Mark Noble, Kieron Dyer
and Valon Behrami - while Herita Ilunga was on the sidelines getting closer
to his return.
Zola said the week's events off the pitch would not get in the way of the
bid at Ewood Park to make it two wins out of two on the road. "The only
thing is that it was a very tiring game [in the 3-1 win after extra time
against Millwall on Tuesday] as we had to a play long game two days after
another tiring game against Tottenham Hotspur. We are going to be all right
Diamanti has not travelled to Blackburn, however, but like Behrami and
possibly Ilunga he could be involved next time around when the Hammers head
to Wigan Athletic on Saturday 12 September. Diamanti, Jimenez and Behrami
were already good friends and the trio promise to link up well and provide a
continental blend to the English spine coursing through Gianfranco Zola's
One of those English youngsters is Junior Stanislas, who scored twice
against Millwall in a match-winning display from the 19-year-old. "He is one
of the players I know I can rely on and whenever I play him he will give me
something important. He has done very well and I am sure he will be an
importat player for this club."
Zola was also upbeat because of the news on Calum Davenport, a week after he
was admitted to hospital following an incident that left him needing
critical care treatment for stab wounds. "He is out of intensive care, which
is very good news so his situation is improving very much," said the
"The next step is to assess what the damage is but the most important thing
is that he is in a normal general ward in hospital now. My main concern is
to see him in a normal situation and then over the next few days we will see
[about his future]. We are not talking about that yet. The most important
thing at the moment was to see him safe and stable."
The manager was also full square behind Carlton Cole after allegations he
was racially abused during the Carling Cup meeting with Millwall on Tuesday.
However, he said the issue was not just a problem for football or for
England alone. "I don't think it is a problem only in the English game as we
have seen things like that in other parts of the world. It's just down to
"People who are racist are not thinking clearly and not considering the
whole picture or maybe they have a narrow mind. Racist just means stupidity.
It is just not thinking. Everybody is the same really. Different colour or
different features does not mean you are different to others."
He also would not accept that the club's standing as a whole would suffer
long-term in the wake of the disturbances that have rightly received
condemnation. West Ham United have vowed to take the toughest action
possible to those found responsible, including life bans.
"We have a lot of wonderful supporters and I don't want to think the image
of our supporters is only that. There are lots of positive people around and
I am here representing those kind of people, not the ones that were causing
all of the problems.
"I want to close the argument with this. We have 35,000 supporters that come
every Saturday to watch us and I don't want to think that a few can
represent West Ham around the world. We are known for other good things like
producing seven players that play for the national team.
"We know that we have good supporters and they follow us week in, week out
and they have never caused problems … I take the liberty to say we represent
Zola added that he was concerned not to pre-judge whatever investigations
that will take place with the club, police and Football Association other
than to call for the authorities to consider the vast majority over the
minority. "We have a lot of wonderful supporters and I will be backing
them," he said.
Blackburn match preview
All of the early team news and background ahead of Saturday's match at Ewood
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 29 August 2009
Referee: Phil Dowd
• West Ham United will look to make it two away wins from two this season
with the trip to face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. The Hammers were 2-0
winners at Wolverhampton Wanderers a fortnight ago after Mark Noble and
Matthew Upson scored in each half.
• Since then, Gianfranco Zola's side lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur
last Sunday - with Carlton Cole putting the Hammers in front - before
needing extra time to see off Millwall 3-1 in the Carling Cup second round.
The Lions were defeated thanks to two goals from Junior Stanislas and a
decisive third from Zavon Hines.
• Blackburn Rovers have lost their first two league outings this season. On
the opening day they were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester City before
losing 2-1 at Sunderland last Saturday despite Gael Givet's early goal.
• Last Wednesday, Rovers won 3-1 at Gillingham in the Carling Cup second
round thanks to goals from David Hoiland, David Dunn and Morten Gamst
• Both teams will learn their Carling Cup third-round opponents in Saturday
lunchtime's draw, which will be televised on Sky Sports. The next round is
due to be played in the week commencing Monday 21 September.
• Before the 1-1 draw at Ewood Park on 21 March 2009, West Ham hade won
their previous six matches against Blackburn in all competitions, including
victories on each of their previous two visits to Ewood Park. Rovers have
not beaten the Hammers since 10 December 2005.
In that last meeting Mark Noble's 35th-minute opener was cancelled out by
Keith Andrews' equaliser six minutes half-time. The lineups on 21 March
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Ooijer (Andrews 46), Samba, Nelsen, Givet,
Diouf, Mokoena, Warnock, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts
Subs not used: Brown, Tugay, Dunn, Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Treacy
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Spector, Ilunga, Noble, Parker,
Kovac, Boa Morte (Lopez 79), Tristan (Payne 89), Di Michele (Dyer 82)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Sears, N'Gala, Stanislas
• This is the 93nd league meeting between the two sides. Blackburn have won
42, West Ham have won 38 and there have been 12 draws.
• Zola made his debut in English football at Ewood Park on 16 November 1996.
The Italian was part of the Chelsea team that drew 1-1 with Blackburn that
West Ham United
• West Ham United have started their Barclays Premier League season with a
win and a defeat. An impressive 2-0 win on the opening day of the campaign
was followed by a narrow 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.
• Three players, Mark Noble, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole have got on the
scoresheet for the Hammers so far this season.
• Gianfranco Zola said of new signing Allesandro Diamanti: "He is a very
talented player and he can play in the hole. He can play one side or the
other. He is an offensive player and very skilful. His speciality is
free-kicks and he has a very good left foot. He is a good player and where I
play him I don't know. I have some ideas but I am waiting to see how he will
fit in the team."
• The Hammers finished last season in ninth in the Barclays Premier League
with 51 points, a place and two points higher than they managed in the
• Carlton Cole was West Ham's leading scorer last season with ten Premier
League goals, one in the FA Cup and one in the League Cup.
• Robert Green topped the appearance charts for the last campaign, playing
every minute of every Premier League game. He has played 90 consecutive
• West Ham's biggest ever away win at Blackburn Rovers came in Division One
on 22 September 1962. Then, the Hammers won 4-0 at Ewood Park. Geoff Hurst
gave the visitors a 35th-minute lead before Malcolm Musgrove, Johnny Byrne
and Martin Peters added further goals in the second half in front of a crowd
• West Ham have scored in every league and cup meeting with Blackburn since
2000. The last time they failed to hit the back of the net was in October
1998, when they lost 3-0 at Ewood Park.
• The Hammers sit on 699 Premier League points, meaning at least a draw on
Saturday would see them leap over the 700 point mark.
• James Collins made his 50th league start for West Ham against Tottenham
Hotspur on his birthday last week. If the Wales international plays against
Blackburn it will be the 100th league start of his career.
Last time out
West Ham United
Carling Cup, Tuesday 25 August 2009
West Ham United 3-1 Millwall
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Spector, Collison,
Parker, Kovac (Nouble 62), Payne (Hines 46) , Cole (Upson 109), Stanislas
Subs not used: Kurucz, Collins, Daprela, Lee
Goals: Stanislas 87, 98 (pen), Hines 100
• Blackburn's biggest-ever home win over West Ham came on 14 October 2001.
Rovers secured a 7-1 victory that day, with Garry Flitcroft, David Dunn,
Damien Johnson, Tugay, Matt Jansen, Craig Hignett and a Chris McCann
own-goal all on target for Blackburn. Michael Carrick netted West Ham's
consolation goal. Former West Ham captain Lucas Neill was part of the
Blackburn team that day.
• Blackburn's last home win over West Ham came on 10 December 2005. Rovers
won 3-2 with goals from Paul Dickov (two) and Shefki Kuqi. West Ham scored
through Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood.
• Sam Allardyce said: "A few players are going to be missing. We have to try
and get through the West Ham game and try to win it. Then there's an
international break and obviously the people who are injured won't be
travelling with their international sides."
• Gael Givet's goal against Sunderland last week was the first Rovers have
scored in 392 Premier League minutes.
• Since Sam Allardyce took over at Ewood Park, Rovers have lost only two of
a dozen games at home.
• If selected El Hadji Diouf will be making his 200th Premier League
appearance, while Christopher Samba could make his 100th start in a
Last time out
Carling Cup, Tuesday 25 August 2009
Gillingham 1-3 Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers: Brown, Reid (Grella ,46), Khizanishvili, Givet, Olsson,
Dunn (Van Heerden 59), Andrews, Pedersen, N'Zonzi, Hoilett, Kalinic (Roberts
Subs not used: Fielding,Jacobsen,Warnock,Jones,
Goals: Dunn 5, Hoilett 47, Pedersen 74
• Saturday's referee is Phil Dowd.
• Dowd began refereeing in 1984 before graduating to the Staffordshire
Senior League and Midland Football Alliance.
• He joined the Football League list of assistant referees in 1992 before
joining the list of referees in 1997.
• Dowd was promoted to the Barclays Premier League list of referees in 2001.
This is his ninth season as a top-flight referee.
• He was the fourth official at the 2006 FA Cup final between West Ham
United and Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
• Dowd took charge of five West Ham matches last season, most notably the
3-1 home victory over Newcastle United on 20 September, Gianfranco Zola's
first match as Hammers manager. Dowd was also the man in the middle for West
Ham's home matches against Arsenal, Fulham and Manchester United and the
penultimate game of the season away at Everton.
• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Fred
Blackburn, Martin Britt, John Burton, Herman Conway, Christian Dailly, Tony
Gale, Tommy Hampson, Harry Hindle, Matty Holmes, Marc Keller, Bob Morris,
Lucas Neill, Ian Pearce, Bob Pride, Syd Puddefoot, John Radford, Robbie
Slater, Matthew Smailes, Percy Smith and Lionel Watson.
Last six meetings
21 March 2009 Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United
30 August 2008 West Ham United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers
15 March 2008 West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
9 December 2007 Blackburn Rovers 0-1 West Ham United
17 March 2007 Blackburn Rovers 1-2 West Ham United
29 October 2006 West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Overall record v Blackburn Rovers (all competitions) W 41 D 17 L 45
• Alessandro Diamanti will not figure as the club awaits international
clearance. Mark Noble, Kieron Dyer and Luis Jimenez are all in the manager's
thoughts though as only Dean Ashton (ankle), Luis Boa Morte (knee) and Savio
(virus) were not in training at Chadwell Heath on Friday. There is no return
date for Ashton, Boa Morte is recuperating after surgery in Portugal while
Savio is due back on Monday after two weeks out .
• Gianfranco Zola will be without Herita Ilunga because of a fractured jaw.
The left-back was initially thought to have escaped relatively unhurt from a
clash of heads at Wolves but subsequent examination by club doctors and
further tests revealed the extent of his problem. He has missed the last two
games but is working on his own at Chadwell Heath.
• Zola has several choices to replace him including Jonathan Spector who
filled in against Tottenham and Millwall. The 18-year-old Fabio Daprela, a
Swiss Under-19 international, is also standing by while Danny Gabbidon made
his first competitive club appearance for 18 months in midweek.
• Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is back in full training at Chadwell
Heath after the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered against Manchester
City on 1 March and has a chance of facing Wigan Athletic away in a
• Frank Nouble has appeared off the bench in the last two games and is
pushing for a start in attack alongside Zavon Hines, who scored after also
coming on in the Tuesday win against Millwall.
• James Tomkins, like Gabbidon, is also eager to dislodge either Matthew
Upson or James Collins in the centre of defence. He played alongside
Gabbidon at centre-back against the Lions.
• Terry Dixon is also progressing well and is in full training with the
• Blackburn could hand a full debut to striker Nikola Kalinic, who appeared
as a second-half substitute at Sunderland.
• It is not yet known if recent recruit Michel Salgado will figure at
right-back while left-back Stephen Warnock has left for Aston Villa. Fellow
new signing from Tottenham Hotspur, Pascal Chimbonda is poised to make his
first start at full-back if Salgado is not passed fit.
• Blackburn are set to be without Ryan Nelsen (knee), Franco Di Santo
(hamstring) and Steven Reid (hamstring). There are also doubts over knocks
to El Hadj Diouf (groin) and Brett Emerton (thigh), while Sam Allardyce will
also give Benni McCarthy a late fitness test on his ankle.
• For directions for Ewood Park, click here
• For ticket news, click here.
• Saturday afternoon's weather forecast is for light rain showers with a top
temperature of 17 degrees.
Zola delighted with Diamanti
Gianfranco Zola is pleased to have added Alessandro Diamanti in his squad
Gianfranco Zola has welcomed Alessandro Diamanti to West Ham United and is
looking forward to seeing him in action.
The manager put Diamanti through his paces for the first time at Chadwell
Heath on Friday morning and he looked to have quickly settled in to his new
surroundings. The new West Ham United No32 spent much of the session with
fellow former Serie A players Valon Behrami and Luis Jimenez, as Zola and
Steve Clarke readied their troops for Saturday's game at Blackburn Rovers.
"He is one of those players that is a classical No10," Zola said. "He is a
very talented player and he can play in the hole. He can play one side or
the other. "He is an offensive player and very skilful. His speciality is
free-kicks and he has a very good left foot. He is a good player, but where
I play him I don't yet know. I have some ideas but I am waiting to see how
he will fit in the team."
Diamanti himself is not likely to figure at Ewood Park as he awaits
international clearance, which means the first time Hammers' fans will see
the new recruit in action is at Wigan Athletic on 12 September. All being
well, Diamanti could be joined in the squad by Behrami, who will have had
over two weeks of full training under his belt after returning from a knee
injury. "Potentially he [Diamanti] can be a superstar but it depends on him.
I don't want to put pressure on him. He is now in a different environment
and championship at a higher level and it's up to him to adapt to a new
situation. "As far as I am concerned I will try and help him. I want him to
make an impact as soon as possible."
Blackburn v West Ham
Live text and stats
Content will update automatically
Saturday, 29 August 2009
Blackburn v West Ham 1500
Venue: Ewood Park Date: Saturday, 29 August 2009 Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 Live, local radio & highlights on
Match of the Day
Pascal Chimbonda is poised to make his Blackburn debut but fellow new
signing Michel Salgado is still not match fit. Benni McCarthy should return
after an ankle knock, though Franco Di Santo, Brett Emerton, Ryan Nelsen and
Steven Reid are all ruled out through injury.
West Ham's new recruit Alessandro Diamanti did not sign in time to make his
debut. Dean Ashton, Valon Behrami and Luis Boa Morte remain long-term
absentees, while Herita Ilunga again misses out.
Suspended: None Doubtful: Samba (heel)
Injured/unavailable: Nelsen (knee), Reid & Di Santo (both hamstring),
Emerton (thigh), Salgado (not match fit)
West Ham United
Suspended: None Doubtful: None
Injured/unavailable: Ashton (ankle), Behrami & Boa Morte (both knee),
Diamanti (international clearance), (Ilunga (fractured cheekbone), Savio
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is eager for his players to put in a
performance that will make the headlines for the right reasons against
Blackburn. He admitted to being "completely shocked" following the crowd
trouble that marred the Hammers' League Cup win against local rivals
Millwall on Tuesday. On a more positive note for Zola, his West Ham side
have now won two of their opening three games in all competitions and are
boosted by the arrival of Alessandro Diamanti from Livorno.
Blackburn are in danger of losing their opening three top-flight matches for
the first time since the 1947/48 campaign, which ultimately resulted in
relegation. But a 3-1 League Cup win at Gillingham on Tuesday has left Sam
Allardyce confident that league points will swiftly follow. Rovers have
reaped the benefits of reduced season ticket prices, with nearly 30,000
people turning up against Manchester City. Blackburn are the cheapest side
to watch in the Premier League and the third cheapest in the entire Football
League, behind Huddersfield and nearby neighbours Accrington Stanley.
• West Ham are unbeaten in their last three matches at Ewood Park since a
3-2 defeat in December 2005.
• West Ham have scored in all league and cup meetings against Blackburn this
decade. The last time they failed to find the back of the net was in a 3-0
defeat at Ewood Park in October 1998, some 15 matches ago.
• Blackburn have won nearly two thirds of all-time league meetings at Ewood
Park; emerging victorious in 28 of 46 matches.
• Gael Givet's strike against Sunderland last week is the only goal scored
by Rovers in 392 Premier League minutes.
• Rovers have lost only two of 12 league games at Ewood Park since Sam
Allardyce took charge nine months ago.
• If selected, El Hadji Diouf will be making his 200th Premier League
appearance, while Christopher Samba could make his 100th start in a
• West Ham have lost five of their last nine Premier League games.
• The Hammers have won 699 Premier League points to date.
• Defender James Collins could make the 100th league start of his career.
Givet: 1 goal (1 league); Pedersen, Hoilett & Dunn: 1 goal (0 league)
Stanislas: 2 goals (0 league); Cole, Noble & Upson: 1 goal (1 league);
Hines: 1 goal (0 league)
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistant referees: Bob Pollock & Rob Lewis
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Blackburn (L1-2 v Sunderland, a): Robinson, Jacobsen, Samba, Nelsen (Olsson
46), Givet, Diouf (McCarthy 71), Andrews, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Roberts, Di
Santo (Kalinic 14). Subs not used: Brown, Emerton, Grella, Hoilett.
West Ham (L1-2 v Tottenham, h): Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Spector,
Noble, Parker (Hines 85), Collison (Nouble 89), Jimenez (Kovac 78), Cole,
Stanislas. Subs not used: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Payne.
MOST RECENT MEETING
Blackburn 1-1 West Ham (21 March 2009)
Blackburn scorer: Andrews 51
West Ham scorer: Noble 35
More changes afoot
Filed: Friday, 28th August 2009
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United could still make further changes to its squad ahead of
Tuesday's 5pm transfer window deadline. Despite confirming the signing of
Alessandro Diamanti from Livorno this morning for an undisclosed fee
(rumoured to be around £5million) the Hammers are still trying to expand the
squad ahead of next week's deadline. However it is thought that the sale of
at least one player is necessary in order to facilitate any potential
arrivals. Gianfranco Zola, who was present as Diamanti was unveiled as a
Hammer earlier today, remains keen to expand his attacking options further
and despite comments from Bordeaux suggesting last week that the deal is
dead a last minute move for Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh is not beyond
the realms of possibility. Should that fall through the Hammers are likely
to switch attention to a contingency target. Whilst Matthew Upson's
immediate future appears to have been resolved by Manchester City's purchase
of Joleon Lescott, Everton's signing of Sylvain Distin and Aston Villa's
imminent purchase of Richard Dunne, James Collins' future remains very much
in the balance. The 26-year-old Welsh centre-half - who has averaged just 16
games per season in his four years at West Ham - remains strongly linked
with both Stoke and Aston Villa. A move to the former is unlikely with
Collins having already rejected an offer from the Potters, although Villa -
who themselves lost Curtis Davies to injury last night - are thought to
remain in the hunt for the Welsh international. The Hammers - who could also
bring in another full-back before next Tuesday's deadline - will also listen
to offers for a number of squad players deemed surplus to requirements,
although there has been little interest in those up to now.
The shirt off your back...
Filed: Friday, 28th August 2009
By: Gordon Thrower
Supporters' side West Ham United iFC are after your help...
The supporters side, which was named the Internet Football Association's
Team of the Year for 2009, is after new(ish) shirts for the coming season as
the current set have seen better days. Team supremo Vinnie White said: "As a
team, we are in the best shape we have been for years, recently reaching the
semi-finals of the annual Worldnet tournament in Leeds, losing out narrowly
to eventual winners West Brom. Injuries really prevented us from going any
further. We were dead on our feet. Off the pitch, we are suffering
somewhat. We are potless and with no support from West Ham since the
donation of our kit 6 years ago, we are looking ragged to say the least. We
are currently trying to update the kit and have settled on last season's
XL-sponsored home shirt as a realistic target. We will keep the shorts and
socks we currently play in as they are still in decent shape. The request
is a simple one. If you have last seasons shirt in good adult sizes (M, L,
XL or +) and don't see yourself wearing it again, we would appreciate it if
you could donate it to us. I realise this is a lot to ask from people who
don't know us, but with no club funds we can't afford to purchase a new kit
in the normal way.
I have been in contact with some guys at the club about this as well, but
the club itself, while supportive, obviously have more pressing concerns.
So, if you can help, your support would be greatly appreciated. Anyone who
donates a shirt, will get a pint. Thats about all I can offer. Please
message me if you have any other ideas about how we can do this, or if you
would like to donate. Ideally, we need about 18 shirts to cover us".
If you are able to help with the team's Claret and Blue Peter appeal please
send a private message through the forum to Chin from ITBS or contact the
editors through the contact emails found elsewhere on the site.
For more information on the Geeks: http://www.freewebs.com/westhamifc/
Filed: Friday, 28th August 2009
By: A Different Staff Writer
The club has announced the signing of Livorno striker Alessandro Diamanti
from Serie A side Livorno. The 26 year-old striker has signed a five-year
deal having helped his former club to promotion last season via the play-off
system. The fee has not been disclosed, although Livorno Director Of Sport
Nelso Ricci was quoted earlier this week as saying that the club would be
paying £5.5m over three years. Hammers' Chief Executive Scott Duxbury,
speaking on whufc.com publicly thanked Club sponsors SBOBet for their
assistance in securing the deal and, although details of the "assistance"
have not been released it has been suggested in the press that the online
betting company may have made an advance payment of sponsorship monies in
order to finance the deal. Diamanti is described as a "free-kick
specialist" and he scored 16 times in Serie B, including 6 in the last 10
games as Livorno pipped Brescia 5-2 on aggregate to clinch a spot in the top
flight and may go into the squad for tomorrow's visit to Blackburn.
Diamanti, who has been given the no. 32 shirt, boosts Gianfranco Zola's
options up front where, up to now, Carlton Cole has been the only senior
Blackburn Rovers Preview
Filed: Thursday, 27th August 2009
By: Preview Percy
After a week of playing in other clubs' cup finals we schlep up the Ms 1 & 6
to Ewood Park for a 3.00pm kick-off against Blackburn Rovers.
Last term Rovers finished in 15th place on 41 points, 5 points clear of
Sunderland in 16th and 7 points ahead of the Geordies who occupied the final
relegation spot. This season they haven't had the most inspiring of starts
as yet, though of course the table is still in its foetal stage. They
currently lie in 18th spot ahead of Pompey and bottom-placed Everton on goal
difference. Like ourselves, they have only played twice in the league due to
the demands of the Europa League. They went down 2-0 at home to Manchester
City on the opening day and, despite taking the lead at the Stadium of Light
last weekend, a Kenwyne Jones double saw them go down 2-1 to Sunderland.
They did get a win in midweek, proving to be too strong at Gillingham where
they came away with a 3-1 win to send them into the next round of the League
There's been a bit of transfer activity during the window. They've
signed/are signing no fewer than two right backs. Michel Salgado has come in
on a free from Real Madrid, no doubt finally fulfilling a life-long ambition
to play his home matches at Ewood Park having spent so many years having to
put up with the Bernebau. The move marks a return to Allardyce's old
transfer policy of bringing in veterans from abroad, something that was a
bit of a trademark of his at Bolton. In competition for the right-back spot
will be Pascal Chimbonda who is reported at the time of writing to be "close
to signing" a deal for a reported fee of £2m. Chimbonda spent a while at
Sunderland where he announced on arrival that he hoped to help the Mackems
mount a challenge for the title within five years, only to return to
Tottenham once it started to look like that title was more likely to be the
Championship than the Premiership.
Chimbonda has been known to play on the left in the past and it may be this
role that Allardyce has in mind for him in view of the impending departure
of Stephen Warnock. Warnock was left out of the matches at Sunderland and
Gillingham (though he was on the bench at The Priestfield) and he seems set
to fulfil a life-long ambition to get the hell out of Ewood Park with Villa
seeming to be the most likely destination.
Roque Santa Cruz departed to join Manchester City where he is, no doubt,
looking to fulfil a life-long ambition to play in the FA Premier Reserve
League (North). Rovers raided Hajduk Split to sign 21 year-old striker
Nikola Kalinic for a reported £6m and plundered Stamford Bridge for Franco
Di Santo who is on loan until January, though there is an option to extend
the loan until the end of the season. The first two games have seen them
tinkering up front with Roberts and McCarthy getting the nod in the first
match. Di Santo got a start at Sunderland, though his participation lasted
barely a quarter of an hour through injury. Kalinic did start against
Gillingham where he picked up a yellow before being subbed at the interval.
He started alongside Canadian David Hoilett who at least contributed a goal.
Ourselves? Well it's been a hell of a week even by our soap opera standards.
The horrific events at the Davenport household and the tragic death of Ian
Collison should put some things into perspective for a lot of people and the
Percy family would like to add its sincerest best wishes to Calum for a
speedy recovery and to the Collison family. The mayhem on Tuesday night
overshadowed a brave and mature performance from young Jack and the sight of
him in tears as he came off the pitch at the end of the match is an image
that will stick in my mind forever. Whether Collison feels up to playing
this weekend only he will know but nobody would begrudge him a bit of a
break under the circumstances and one hopes he will get the best of advice
from those around him.
On the football front, rumours abound that we are close to signing the
elusive striker to support Carlton Cole, with one piece of gossip suggesting
that we may even have a player arrive in time for inclusion in the squad for
Ewood. Should that occur I'd expect to see the new arrival on the bench
rather than starting. Of course, the other side of the rumour equation
suggests that the arrival of a new striker will depend on the departure of
someone else, with James Collins' name firmly in the frame. It would be a
bit of a shame if Ginge were to depart before this one as Rovers' style of
football means that this is a match that should be right up his street. Last
season's match saw aerial ball after aerial ball launched into the box where
injuries meant that we had to go with Neill and Tomkins in the middle. Most
of us who attended the match were grateful that we didn't have to endure
that sort of thing every week. Rovers came in for a lot of stick in the
papers for the nature of their performance that day. So much so that
Allardyce (or one of his minions) saw fit to use the club's official website
to publish a load of statistics designed to convince the reader that what
they had been watching had, in fact, been an exhibition of passing from the
home side on a par with that seen from Cruyff-era Holland. However the
statistics were less total football than total rubbish – I'd back the
evidence of my aching neck muscles against Allardyce's computer printouts
any day and midfielder David Dunn's comments that their tactic against
Manchester City would be to "knock them about" suggests that we may have to
wait a wee while longer for any Damascene conversion to the passing game in
this part of the North West.
The injury to Ilunga will keep him out of this one and Spector's performance
against Millwall was one that gave cause for concern. I thought he did ok
against the overrated Lennon last weekend – but for that slip Lennon would
have finished the match in anonymity. However, against Millwall he was
targeted as a weak link and he struggled. Hopefully Ilunga's jaw will heal
quickly enough to ensure the current state of affairs will be only
Assuming that there are no further ins and outs, and depending on how
Collison is feeling, I'd probably expect us to remain unchanged from the
side that started against Spurs. As for a prediction, well as long as the
defence can cope with the aerial onslaught and the rest of the team can keep
their composure should the home side continue with the tactic of "knocking
them about" I can see us getting a win out of this so I'll opt for a 2-1
victory to make Mr Allardyce look miserable. Just for a change.
Enjoy the game!
Last season: 1-1 Boa-Morte's marginal offside in the build-up was missed as
Mark Noble's superb finish gave us the lead only for Andrews to level in the
Danger man: Christopher Samba they send him forward at every set piece and
his somewhat dubious style causes havoc in the box. The battle with Carlton
Cole will be fun to watch. Also El HajDiouf – bring a brolly if you're
within spitting distance.
Referee: Phil Dowd his last match for us saw him fall for an Everton dive
and send Tomkins off.
Look out for: A home pass played along the ground. Statistics prove that
they do it all the time. Apparently.
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United: match preview
Read a full preview of the Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers v
West Ham United at Ewood Park on Sat 29 2009, kick-off 3.00pm BST.
Published: 6:00AM BST 28 Aug 2009
Saturday Aug 29th, 2009
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
TV: Highlights, BBC One MotD.
They have failed to defeat West Ham on the past six occasions, with their
last triumph coming in 2005. The Hammers are looking for a second
consecutive away victory following an opening day win at Wolves. There are
bound to be goals at Ewood Park with the two teams having failed to manage a
goalless draw since the inception of the Premier League.
Blackburn Rovers: (probable, 4-4-2): Robinson, Jacobsen, Nelsen, Samba,
Givet; Diouf, Nzonzi, Andrews, Pedersen; Roberts, Di Santo
West Ham United: (probable, 4-5-1): Green, Faubert, Upson, Collins, Spector,
Stanislas, Noble, Parker, Collison, Jimenez; Cole.
Referee: Phil Dowd 12 yellow, 0 red.
Last season: West Ham 4-1 Blackburn, Blackburn 1-1 West Ham
Stat of the game: The last player to score a hat-trick in a game between
these two teams was Alan Shearer in January 1995.
Betting odds: Home win 6/5 Away win 12/5 Draw 11/5
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United: Hammers tipped to hammer Rovers
Blackburn Rovers are just one of four teams yet to get off the mark in the
Premier League this season and a number of pundits believe that will remain
the case following this weekend's visit of West Ham United. Sam Allardyce's
men have taken just one point off the Hammers in their past seven league and
cup meetings, but Big Sam will be looking to get his first points of the
season against Zola's men. Blackburn were denied a share of the spoils at
the Stadium of Light last weekend following contentious refereeing decisions
against Jason Roberts and Steven Nzonzi but they will be looking to build on
their midweek Carling Cup win over Gillingham. West Ham United have made
more front pages than back pages this week following the trouble with
Millwall, but Zola will be hoping that his men can get back to what they do
best, play football. Blackburn Rovers haven't beaten West Ham United since
December 2005 and most of the panel here are plumping with a West Ham win.
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United; Kick Off 3pm 29 Aug 2009
Our panel contains both Squarefootball writers and readers, the writers are
Dave Blackburn: 1 – 0
Chris Cox: 1 – 1
Graham Enwright: 1 - 2
Sue Gardener: 2 – 1
Chris Goodwin: 1 - 1
Paul Grech (sqf): TBC
Colin Illingworth (sqf): 1 – 2
Hugh Larkin (sqf): TBC
Peter Lee: 1 - 1
Don McMahon: 1 – 2
David Nash: 0 - 1
Paul O'Meara (sqf): 1 – 2
Antony Melvin (sqf): 3 - 1
Stephen Orford (sqf): TBC
Tony Ratton: 1 – 0
Peter Rendle: 1 – 1
Dan Taylor: 0 – 1
Nick Tomkins: 0 – 1
Andy Wakeman: 1 – 2
Isaac Williams: TBC
Mark Williams: TBC
The panel believes West Ham may just edge it.
Home: 4; Draw: 4; Away: 8; TBC: 5.
Zola wants another striker
Hammers boss keen to have cover for Cole
Last updated: 28th August 2009
Gianfranco Zola is hoping to add another striker to his West Ham squad
before the transfer window closes next week. The Italian tactician swooped
for compatriot Alessandro Diamanti on Friday for Livorno. However, Zola does
not feel he has enough cover for Carlton Cole and remains in the market for
reinforcements. The Hammers have been linked with Bordeaux's Marouane
Chamakh and Zola says the club are doing all they can to land the Moroccan
ace. "We're still looking for another striker," confirmed Zola. "We need to
have cover for Carlton Cole, or someone to play alongside him. "We're still
looking. We'll see what happens in the last three days. "(Chamakh's) a
player we're interested in. We're trying everything we can."
Diamanti has signed a five-year deal at Upton Park, although Zola does not
yet know what role he will have in his side. Zola knows the 26-year-old is a
good player who brings with him a great desire to succeed. "He's got a very
good left foot," he continued. "He's certainly a good player. "Where I'm
going to play him I don't know yet. I've got some ideas, but I'm waiting to
see how he fits into the team and then we'll decide. "I'll do my best to
make sure he can fit in the team and adapt to the Premier League, but the
rest is down to him obviously. "It's a big opportunity for him. He's got
the desire to succeed and that's all that matter to me."
Blackburn v West Ham preview
Chimbonda set for debut; Hammers search for second away win
Last updated: 28th August 2009
Skysports.com prediction: Blackburn 1 West Ham 1
SkyBet odds: Blackburn 5/4, West Ham 9/4, Draw 9/4
Blackburn will be looking for their first points of the season when they
face off against West Ham at Ewood Park on Saturday. Sam Allardyce's side
claimed a confidence-boosting Carling Cup win over Gillingham in midweek but
are yet to get off the mark in the Premier League. An opening-day defeat by
Manchester City was followed a week later by a disappointing loss to
Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, where Rovers squandered many chances to
take something from the game. Meanwhile, the Hammers will be looking for a
quick return to winning ways in the league after coming unstuck against
high-flying Spurs last time out. Although West Ham made a promising start
and took the lead through Carlton Cole, goals from Jermain Defoe and Aaron
Lennon turned the match around. But they will take heart from their win
against a tough Wolves side two weeks ago and hope they can put in a similar
performance at Ewood Park. Another victory came on Tuesday night, although
Gianfranco Zola's side needed extra-time to see off Millwall in a clash
marred by crowd trouble.
Blackburn will have to overcome a deficiency at the back if they are to
emerge from the contest with a result. Stephen Warnock completed a move to
Aston Villa during the week while New Zealand centre-back Ryan Nelsen has
been ruled out with a knee injury. However, new signing Pascal Chimbonda
could make an immediate debut and step into the hole left by Nelsen in the
heart of the defence. There is more injury worry for Allardyce as
midfielders Brett Emerton and Steven Reid have not managed to shake off
respective thigh injuries.
Former Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado has reached match fitness after
signing as a free agent while a hamstring injury has sidelined on-loan
striker Franco Di Santo. More positive news comes in the form of Benni
McCarthy, who should be fully recovered from an ankle knock, while David
Dunn is likely to be named on the bench after his goalscoring return against
Dean Ashton is still ruled out for the visitors with a recurring ankle
injury and will not be available for the Hammers, while Luis Boa Morte
(knee) and Valon Behrami (ankle) are also long-term absentees. James Tomkins
made his return from a foot injury against Millwall but Herta Ilunga is
still doubtful with a jaw problem.
Possible Starting XIs
Blackburn: Robinson, Jacobsen, Samba, Chimbonda, Givet, Diouf, Andrews,
N'Zonzi, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Spector, Noble, Parker, Collison,
Stanislas, Cole, Jimenez
Positive news for Davenport
Hammers defender out of intensive care
Last updated: 28th August 2009
West Ham defender Calum Davenport is on the road to recovery after being
released from intensive care. The Hammers centre-half has spent the last
week in hospital after being stabbed at his Bedford home. The 26-year-old
and his mother were attacked last Friday and required urgent medical
attention. Davenport was stabbed in both legs, with the severity of his
injuries requiring him to undergo surgery. He is, however, making steady
progress in his rehabilitation from the incident and is no longer deemed to
be in a serious condition. While Davenport has been given positive news,
with amputation fears allayed, it remains to be seen whether he will be able
to revive his career as a professional footballer.
Hammers seal Diamanti deal
Italian striker delighted with West Ham move
Last updated: 28th August 2009
West Ham have completed the signing of Alessandro Diamanti from Livorno for
an undisclosed fee. Diamanti has inked a five-year deal at Upton Park after
agreeing personal terms and passing a medical. Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola
has been chasing striker Diamanti for some time and he has finally landed
his man. Diamanti is delighted with the opportunity to join West Ham and
play under fellow Italian Zola "I am very happy to be at West Ham United and
to get the chance to play for Gianfranco Zola," Diamanti told the club's
official website. "This is a big club and I want to give everything for the
supporters. "I chose West Ham because the club has the tradition of playing
great football. "Also because the West Ham fans are really passionate and
that is the way I am."
West Ham v Millwall: a history of how the rivalry started
On a torrid night for the Metropolitan Police it was striking to hear them
describe the chaos instigated by marauding hordes of West Ham and Millwall
hooligans as "pre-planned". Too right. It had been pre-planned for over 100
By Oliver Brown
Published: 2:59PM BST 28 Aug 2009
It is difficult to imagine two sets of supporters predisposed to go at each
other with a more elemental fury than these two. As rivalries go, Arsenal
versus Tottenham does not enter the equation; nor, even, do some of the more
notorious enmities in the world game - Galatasaray versus Fenerbahce, for
instance. Violence at Upton Park deeply disturbing and upsetting Indeed, a
walk along the approaches to the Ali Sami Yen in Istanbul seems almost a
pleasant stroll, compared to running the gauntlet down Green Street.
Tuesday's aberration of a football match was scarcely 10 minutes old by the
time West Ham fans struck up a refrain of, "If you hate Millwall, stand up."
Conventionally this is a mindless rallying call for the hardcore elements,
but at Upton Park it was heeded by 20,000 people. The sad irony was that
most were too one-eyed in their aggression to know what they were doing,
still less to appreciate how or why such an animus originated. At one level,
this is a rivalry that revels in its illogicality. For a start, West Ham and
Millwall are not especially close geographically, and on opposite sides of
the Thames. Surely if Millwall are to loathe anyone, they would be better
off picking on Crystal Palace, their only South London adversaries of note?
But no, such are the quirks of English tribalism that Palace resort to an
age-old feud with Brighton, while Millwall store up all their hostile
energies for a trip across the river. The feeling is mutual: West Ham fans
regard Millwall's territory of south Bermondsey as a wasteland; Indian
country, if you like. Seldom can Tower Bridge have formed so stark a
demarcation. The roots of such sentiment reside in events of 83 years ago,
when an antipathy developed between two shipyards on either side of the
To the north you had the workforce of the Royal docks (drenched in the
claret-and-blue of West Ham) and to the south, the Millwall, London and
Surrey docks (Millwall 'til they died). When the Millwall shipyard broke the
1926 dockers' strike, the outrage over the water raised tensions to tipping
point. The significance of the strike, while often invoked, can be
overstated. The decline of the docks, coupled with the divergence in league
positions of West Ham and Millwall, meant that the two clubs hardly bothered
one another in the Thirties and Forties. Of more recent relevance was the
glorification in London of gang warfare, between the Krays in the East End
and the Richardsons in the south-east.
Lurid tales abounded of what Reggie Kray did with a carving knife, or what
Charlie Richardson was capable of with a bolt cutter. Inevitably, one
offshoot of this was a Sixties culture of bragadoccio on the terraces of the
Den and Upton Park, a competition to see who was the better fighter.
Fighting proved to be the order of the day. At the 1972 testimonial in
honour of Harry Cripps - renowned Millwall hard man, with a name straight
out of a crime novel - there were police horses on the pitch. An even
bleaker turn came in 1976, when Millwall fan Ian Pratt died in a skirmish
with West Ham fans at New Cross station that led to his fall under a train.
Leaflets were later handed out in the Den's Cold Blow Lane end with a grainy
picture of Pratt and a declaration in capital letters: "A West Ham fan must
die next week to avenge him."
And yet to establish a historical rationale for this rivalry seems to confer
a dignity upon it that it does not deserve. If the mayhem of Tuesday night
proved anything it was that the fixture has now become a straightforward
demolition derby, a mass brawl for those who like nothing better.
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
Updated: August 28, 2009, 5:08 PM UK
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has told his players Saturday's home match
against West Ham is one they cannot afford to lose. Defeats in their opening
two Barclays Premier League matches, against Manchester City and Sunderland,
have already put pressure on the squad. Allardyce cannot contemplate a third
successive reverse, and that means tightening up at the back. "We must get a
clean sheet against West Ham to give us the basis to build our first league
victory on,'' he said. "The pressure starts mounting from the moment you
start losing matches, whether it is the beginning, middle or end of the
season. "When you lose two on the trot the pressure builds and you can't let
it get to three.
"We have to do our very best to win the game and if we can't we have to make
sure we don't lose it.'' New signing Pascal Chimbonda is in Allardyce's
squad for the game after he completed his switch from Tottenham. Midfielder
David Dunn is likely to be on the bench having made a goalscoring comeback
from injury in the midweek Carling Cup victory over Gillingham. However,
fellow midfielder Steven Reid will not be considered because of a hamstring
injury, Brett Emerton has a thigh niggle which rules him out while former
Real Madrid full-back Michel Salgado is not yet match fit after signing as a
free agent. Striker Benni McCarthy should be fit after a slight ankle injury
but defender Ryan Nelsen (knee) and on-loan striker Franco Di Santo
(hamstring) are out.
Striker Alessandro Diamanti, the £6million new recruit from Livorno, has not
signed in time for West Ham's trip north. Savio is out with a virus but
fellow forwards Carlton Cole and Luis Jimenez have recovered from muscle
strains and will play. Midfielder Valon Behrami is back in training
following injury but will not travel and longer-term absentees Dean Ashton,
Luis Boa Morte and Herita Ilunga are still unavailable. Gianfranco Zola
insists it would be unfair to West Ham's genuine supporters if the club were
to be punished heavily for Carling Cup trouble in midweek. Footage of
violence in and outside the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday during the Hammers'
victory over London rivals Millwall was beamed into the homes of millions
across the globe. It was a throwback to the 1970s and 1980s when English
football became synonymous with hooliganism in many people's eyes. Calls
have been made to expel the club from the competition, or force them to play
the next tie behind closed doors, and a Football Association probe could
also see them heavily fined. But Zola insisted the match, which also saw
repeated pitch invasions, had to be put into context. He said: "You have to
be very balanced because if the punishment is very hard you will penalise
all the genuine supporters. It would be unfair to those who support football
in the right way. "A good way would be to punish those who did cause
problems. They should be hard on them but not the club. "If people judge
West Ham only for that then they are wrong because the club is well known
for many other reasons.
"We are known for good things, like producing seven players that played for
the national team the other day and supporters who follow us week in, week
out and never cause problems. "West Ham is not just the people who did that,
we have a lot of wonderful supporters and I'm here representing those
people. "We have other supporters who are good ones and we are going to give
them the satisfaction they deserve.''
The Millwall game was the third in a series of misfortunes to befall the
Hammers in the space of a few days. First defender Calum Davenport's career
was put in jeopardy when he was the victim of a knife attack and midfielder
Jack Collison's father was killed in a road accident on the way to watch him
play. At least there was some good news as far as Davenport was concerned,
Zola was able to report. He said: "He is out of intensive care now so his
situation is improving very much. Now the next step is to assess the damage
but the most important thing is that he is now in a general ward.''
Zola still keen on Chamakh
442 Staff - Yesterday, 19:43
West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola has revealed he is still hoping to
sign Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh before the summer transfer window
slams shut next Tuesday evening. The Moroccan international, who has netted
15 times for his country, has been linked with a move to the Premier League
throughout the close-season. His 13 goals last term helped secure a first
league title in 10 years for the club, but Chamakh made no secret of his
desire to leave the Stade Chaban Delmas. He previously claimed to have
agreed terms with Sunderland, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham
Hotspur, while Arsenal withdrew their interest in the striker after refusing
to up their first offer of £5 million. West Ham were the last English club
to be linked with Chamakh's services, with Hammers' boss Zola also linked
with several other high-profile forwards, including Barcelona's Eidur
Gudjohnsen, Inter Milan's Mario Balotelli and Bayern Munich talisman Luca
Toni. Zola did finally sign a striker on Friday to provide much needed
support to Carlton Cole at Upton Park,in the form of Livorno goal-getter
Alessandro Diamanti for a fee in the region of £6 million. However, the
Italian has revealed that he is still keen to add to his forward line with
both Luis Boa Morte and Dean Ashton nursing injuries, and still harbours
hopes of signing Chamakh. "We are still looking for another striker. We know
that we need to cover Carlton Cole, or to have somebody to play alongside
him," he said. "We are still looking. We will see what will happen in the
last three days. "Chamakh, as I've said, is one of the players that we are
very much interested in. We will see what happens."
West Ham new boy Alessandro Diamanti was recommended to Gianfranco Zola by
Published 00:16 29/08/09 By Darren Lewis
Fabio Capello is the man who recommended new West Ham signing Alessandro
Diamanti to Gianfranco Zola it has emerged. The east Londoners were last
night delighted to have landed the Livorno marksman on a five-year deal for
around £4million including add-ons. But the man tipped Diamanti up to Zola
was the England boss and his no.2 Franco Baldini, after the striker filled
his boots to help his club gain promotion. Diamanti scored 18 goals in 37
league and cup matches last season as Livorno went up to Serie A. He is set
to form a mouthwatering partnership alongside a reborn Carlton Cole, after
being described to many at Upton Park as 'the new Paolo Di Canio'. Diamanti
is said to possess the ability to run at players and has also impressed in
dead ball situations. But Capello could yet court controversy by
recommending a non-English player to a Premier League club after himself in
the past remarking on the small pool of players available for England squad.
Diamanti, meanwhile, has insisted he is desperate to start working with
He said: "I am very happy to be at West Ham. This is a big club and I want
to give everything for the supporters. "I chose West Ham because the club
have the tradition of playing great football. Also, because the West Ham
fans are really passionate and that is the way I am."
Hooliganism is not dead - it moved to places that get less attention
What happens now will demonstrate the extent to which the football
authorities are prepared to act to quell the canker
In England football hooliganism occupied centre stage for roughly the same
part of the 20th century, namely the late 60s to the late 80s, that the
American Wild West did in the 19th. Now the old rootin' tootin' towns like
Tombstone and Dodge City are happy to re-enact the great gunfights to
entertain tourists, and it would appear that the habit has caught on over
here, to judge from the scenes inside and outside Upton Park on Tuesday
night when West Ham played Millwall in the Carling Cup.
It was all impressively authentic. There were fights in the streets and
pitch invasions during the game. A man was stabbed and there were several
arrests as the police went in with heavy hands and helicopters. This was
Skinhead Revisited, history in the remaking, and clearly the participants
had done their homework.
So much for wishful thinking. The reality was just that. Some of Tuesday's
offenders could have been the grandsons of those founding fathers of
football hooliganism 40-odd years ago – who started with the odd
encroachment on to the playing area to celebrate a goal, followed it up with
an occasional assault on a referee then started attacking one another.
Football blamed society, politicians blamed football, fans were caged in and
it all led to Hillsborough where 96 people died because the cops mistook a
safety problem for a security problem.
It is only four months since the 20th anniversary of that tragedy recalled
dreadful images accompanied by the comforting thought that it could never
happen again, that everybody – fans, clubs, police and politicians – knew
better. For the most part they do know better but if the scenes in and
around Upton Park this week serve some purpose it will surely be to remind
the game that hooliganism, while it may have been priced and policed out of
the Premier League, has not ceased to exist. Instead it has been dispersed
to areas which get less attention, such as pub car parks on a Saturday
The reactions to Tuesday's violent scenes have been wearily predictable.
"Anyone who thinks that thuggery has any place in modern-day football is
living in the dark ages," declared the home secretary, Alan Johnson. Trouble
is, more than a few fans would not mind harking back to darker times,
particularly if they have read some of the literary works of those hooligans
of the 70s and 80s who lovingly recall their exploits like retired generals
remembering their battles.
Evidence suggesting that the violence had been organised in advance on
online forums – "Make sure you bring your bats and don't bring your kids" –
is disturbing but the idea is hardly new. In March 1985, when Luton and
Millwall met in an FA Cup quarter-final at Kenilworth Road, play was halted
for 25 minutes while police and visiting fans fought on the pitch, and there
was more trouble outside after the game. It transpired that Millwall hoolies
had planned the whole thing with the precision of a military operation.
What happens now will demonstrate the extent to which the football
authorities are prepared to act to prevent the canker of hooliganism
breaking out anew. In the past the Football Association has been quick to
condemn but slower to act. In this case the FA expects the offenders to be
banned from football for life but that is easier said than done. Identifying
and apprehending every troublemaker could take months and prosecutions for
pitch invasions and racist chanting longer still.
As hosts, West Ham were responsible for crowd control and face a hefty fine
at a time when the club are strapped for cash. For some this would not go
far enough. The FA can close grounds or make teams play behind closed doors,
which was West Ham's fate in 1980 when Uefa ordered them to play the second
leg of a Cup Winners' Cup tie against Castilla at an empty Upton Park after
crowd trouble at the Bernabéu, when a visiting fan was crushed to death by a
Maybe Tuesday will turn out to be a one-off, an isolated trip down a lane of
bad memories. After all, nothing similar was reported 48 hours earlier when
West Ham and Tottenham, whose followers are hardly blood brothers, met at
Upton Park. Nevertheless, sod's law being what it is, football will breathe
easier should Millwall fail to reach the third round of the FA Cup this
West Ham will accept the FA's punishment, says Gianfranco Zola
Zola hopes only those involved will be punished
West Ham manager expresses disgust at racist abuse
Paul Doyle guardian.co.uk, Saturday 29 August 2009 00.10 BST
Gianfranco Zola says West Ham will accept whatever punishment the Football
Association decides to impose on them following the violence that marred
Tuesday's Carling Cup tie against Millwall, though he appealed for the
authorities not to be too harsh.
The FA is reportedly contemplating the temporary closure of Upton Park, with
options such as a hefty fine also under consideration. The club, the FA and
the police are investigating the incidents that took place on the night, and
West Ham say they have already identified many of the people who invaded the
pitch. They will only pass on the names of those who they believe did so
with sinister motives, however, reasoning that some people may have entered
the fray to escape trouble in the stands.
"I am not the person to judge what happened because I am the West Ham
manager and have an emotional management," said Zola. "So we will accept
whatever the FA decides to do because they act in the interests of football.
I think the people who did it should be punished hard but I hope the
punishment is not so strong that it also punishes our very many wonderful
fans because that would be unfair."
Zola also expressed his disgust for the racist chants aimed at Carlton Cole
by some Millwall supporters, saying: "It's down to ignorance. Racism is
stupidity. If I got abuse on the pitch it would push me even more because
that is the only way to shut them up."
Happier news for the club was that Calum Davenport has been moved out of an
intensive care unit and into a general ward following the stabbings he
suffered last week, though Zola said it is still to early to ascertain
whether the player will be able to resume his career. "His situation is
improving," said Zola. "The next step is to assess the damage but the
important thing is that he's progressing well."
Meanwhile, Zola completed the signing of the striker Alessandro Diamanti
from the Italian side Livorno for a fee in the region of £5m.
"He could be a superstar," said Zola of the 26-year-old who scored 18 goals
in 37 games last season to help his club to promotion into Serie A. "He is a
classic No10, very skilful."
West Ham are still seeking another striker before the transfer window shuts,
and Zola admitted he is "very interested" in Bordeaux's Maraoune Chamakh.
Mike Walters meets... West Ham legend Steve Lomas
Published 00:44 29/08/09 By Mike Walters
Once upon a Kippax, Steve Lomas was Manchester City's captain before the
blue moon was powered by a sheikh's crude fortune.
Since Lomas left, City have been through two ex-England managers, fell
briefly under the ownership of celebrated humanitarian Thaksin Shinawatra
and have spent more money than a banana republic's trade deficit.
Anyone for Kaka? About £90 million will do nicely, even if Real Madrid beat
them to the cashier's cheque. They have proved an England captain's loyalty
cannot be bought at any price, except when £200,000-a-week turns his head.
And at £24 million, Joleon Lescott didn't even make a small dent in the
petty cash tin at Eastlands. Compare City's wealth now with the riches at
Lomas's disposal as manager of non-League St Neots Town, where his players
turn out basically for the love of the game plus their petrol money.
This weekend, while City's paupers will fancy their chances of extending
their 100 per cent record start in the Premier League, Lomas and his Saints
hit the road to Wembley in the FA Cup qualifying round with a
no-expense-spent trip to Mildenhall.
And the former Northern Ireland international midfielder is not envious of
his old club in the slightest.
"They have taken a lot of stick from people accusing them of trying to buy
the title, but it's just jealousy," says Lomas, now 35. "Any other club in
the Premier League would love the chance to do what they are doing now and
there's a lot of sour grapes.
"It can only be a good thing if the top division is more competitive, and
it's not just the usual big four qualifying for the Champions League. I can
see City breaking into that top four, and Tottenham will be involved in the
shake-up this season because they have pace to burn.
"I'm delighted for the City fans because they have stuck by the club through
thick and thin. Shortly after I left, they became the first club to drop
into the third tier of English football after winning a European trophy, yet
they were still getting 28,000 at home every week.
"Sure, St Neots is a different world, and it's hard to bring players in when
you can only offer them pocket money on top of a few bob for their petrol
costs to training every Tuesday and Thursday night.
"But this is a smashing little club with a fantastic set-up, and at our
level our stadium and facilities are regarded as a model for others to
"I make no secret of the fact that I'm ambitious, I'm doing my Pro Licence
coaching badge and I want to get a job with a League club willing to take a
chance on a young manager who has worked under the likes of Harry Redknapp
and Peter Reid, which can't be a bad start.
"Networking is the one thing I was never any good at as a player, but
football is like other businesses - finding the right opening is often a
question of who you know, not what you know."
Lomas has never gone further in the Cup than the last eight and, no
disrespect, Saints are not likely to take him any further down the road to
Wembley. The closest he came was in his first season at West Ham 11 years
"We got done on penalties in the quarter-finals against Arsenal in a replay
at Upton Park and all I had to show for it was four stitches in my lip,"
"Dennis Bergkamp got sent off for elbowing me and, in the shoot-out, Tony
Adams took the worst penalty in the world. We had Bernard Lama in goal for
us that night and, although he went the wrong way, he almost had enough time
to turn round and throw his cap on it.
"That was as close as I came to getting my hands on the Cup, and I always
promised myself I would never touch it until I climbed the steps at Wembley
to lift it.
"But when I was captain at Manchester City and West Ham, we only started on
the road to Wembley in January - now I'm at a club where the trail begins
virtually in pre-season."
*The FA Cup visited St Neots on the The Road to Wembley tour, sponsored by
ZOLA IN PLEA FOR FA TO PLAY FAIR
Saturday August 29,2009
By Jack Teague
WEST HAM manager Gianfranco Zola has pleaded with the FA not to throw the
book at West Ham for Tuesday night's Carling Cup violence believing that
would penalise those fans who had done nothing wrong. "A good way would be
to punish those who did invade, did cause problems and, yes, you should be
hard on them," said Zola. "But to punish the club and the good ones would be
unfair. "We have 35,000 supporters who turn up to watch us and don't want
the actions of a few thousand to represent West Ham." The club are facing
sanctions following large-scale disturbances which saw one fan stabbed
before the game and several pitch invasions during the match. "We are going
to stand by the FA investigation," added Zola. "But you have to be very
balanced. "If the punishment is too hard then you also penalise the genuine
supporters and hurt those who support football in the right way."
He also claimed the fixture should be viewed as a one-off. "It was a very
difficult game with a lot of history," said Zola. "Many people who came to
the match don't come normally. If people are there just to fight then it's
very difficult to stop." Zola is delighted to have landed Livorno forward
Alessandro Diamanti, 26, although the Italian will not be considered for the
trip to Blackburn today. "He's a classical No10," said Zola. "He plays in
the hole or on either side and is a free-kick specialist. How good he'll be
is up to him."
Zola claims he is also pursuing other forward targets. "We're still looking
for cover for Carlton Cole so we'll see what happens," he said.
By Mark Lawrenson
BBC Sport football expert
Blackburn v West Ham
Strange one for both teams. The Hammers were involved in that match against
Millwall which brought back many ugly memories of the 1980s.
Regarding team matters, manager Gianfranco Zola has said he only has one
centre forward, Carlton Cole, and that the next in line is himself.
Blackburn should have come away with a point from Sunderland at the very
least, so they'll be in 'angry bear' mode.