Fans' favourite Jimmy Walker has spoken of his old mate Robert Green and
Jimmy Walker has pledged his support for former team-mate Robert Green and
given his own view on penalties before England's big Sunday showdown with
Germany. The 36-year-old caught up with whufc.com this week and was keen to
back his old mate from his playing days at the Boleyn Ground - especially
for the attention he got following his uncharacteristic slip in the 1-1 draw
with the United States. "I was made up for Greeny to be part of the World
Cup, he works so hard and deserves this chance," said Walker, who
represented West Ham between 2004 and 2009. "It was brilliant he was chosen
to play in the first game. To play in the World Cup is a reward for all the
hard work. "It was devastating for him to have what happened to him in the
game. But you know, he recovered well, made a great save in the match
afterwards and had a strong rest of the match - he made a mistake but who
doesn't make a mistake? "It is just that it led to a goal and was in front
of millions of people. He didn't let his country down, it just happened. "I
would have liked to have seen him play again in the next match, get it out
of his system. Don't get me wrong, Jamo [David James] has come in and done
well and so deserves his chance as well - but it would have been good for
Greeny to play again. "Hopefully England will continue to progress in the
tournament and you never know when his chance will come up again."
Having worked closely alongside Green in his time at West Ham, Walker
remembers the steely determination of the Hammers No1 to push himself and do
that bit more all the time to be at the top of his game. "The other lads
will tell you, I was never the best for being in the gym for instance," he
said with a smile. "Yet, Greeny would be in there, doing extra stuff. I
remember one time, a couple of days before we played Arsenal at the Emirates
in the 2006/07 season, when we were fighting relegation. "Me and Roy
[Carroll] were ready to go home after training that day, we had worked hard,
but we're in the car park and we looks over, there is Greeny back out on the
pitch with Ludo [Miklosko], doing kicks and other work. "We gave him a bit
of banter as you do about it, but it paid off. While Bobby Zamora scored the
only goal in a 1-0 win couple of days later, Greeny played out of his skin
that day and stopped about 50 shots from the Gunners ensuring we won the
The goalkeepers union is often spoken about, with many saying the man in
between the sticks is a "different breed of footballer". Walker said that
applies to Green but added that he is also more of "a thinker" than most.
"He is a top lad, probably not like a typical goalkeeper. He thinks a lot,
is conscientious. I knew of him before he came to West Ham, but since coming
to West Ham, he has just got better and better. He is consistent. "As I
said, he is a strong character and will come out OK from all of this. He's
too good a goalkeeper and person to let it affect him and what he does for
Penalties are being spoken about ahead of the big last-16 date with Germany
this weekend. It was a spot-kick and resulting save that stands out as one
of Walker's most memorable times in the claret and blue. Six years ago, the
Hammers were at Stamford Bridge for a League Cup tie that Chelsea went on to
win 1-0, thanks to a Mateja Kezman strike, despite a spirited display from
Alan Pardew's side. Yet the moment of the match saw Walker forever endear
himself to the Hammers faithful. For Frank Lampard, former Hammers
midfielder and Academy graduate who is doing his bit as well for the
national side out in South Africa, the match saw him face the ire of the
massed ranks of West Ham fans behind Walker's goal. Just last month, Lampard
returned to the Boleyn Ground to pay tribute to Academy director Tony Carr
and was delighted to be given a positive reception by the Hammers fans.
But back in October 2004, in that capital cup tie, the mood was less
charitable from the travelling support, especially when it was Lampard who
stepped up to take a disputed penalty. Walker, who had enjoyed a solid game
until that point, takes up the rest of the story. "All our fans were behind
me and my goal - the support throughout had been fantastic - but as the
penalty was awarded, after I think Arjen Robben was pulled down in box, the
atmosphere stepped up a gear.
"The noise level went up three fold, but in between the cauldron of noise, I
could hear 'You had better save this Jimmy' and 'Come on Jimmy, you can't
let Frank score against us'. "I knew at the time, he received a lot of stick
from our fans, but I was like, I am going to get it in the neck big time, if
I don't save it or put him off to miss in some way! The pressure was
enormous on me! "I just kept thinking I have to save this, I have to save
this. Frank stepped up and I managed to go the right away and push it to
safety. "The roar of our fans behind me certainly told me I had done the
right thing and for weeks after that game, I had loads of letters thanking
me. "Even now, if I speak to a West Ham fan, they will mention 'that penalty
save'. "Obviously I was pleased to have saved that penalty from Frank that
night and from the reaction that followed was one of my best memories in a
West Ham shirt, but if he scores one for England on Sunday, we will all be
cheering him on."
Peters relishing Germany tie
1966 FIFA World Cup hero Martin Peters cannot wait to see England lock horns
with their greatest rivals
With England facing their toughest test so far at the FIFA World Cup when
they take on Germany on Sunday, many fans will have their minds cast back to
past encounters between the two great rivals. Casting aside painful memories
of Italia 90 and Euro 96, England supporters have their own scorelines to
savour, most notable the 5-1 thrashing in Munich in qualifying for the 2002
World Cup and, of course, the 1966 World Cup final. One man who remembers
that day at Wembley 44 years ago is West Ham United great Martin Peters, who
scored England's opening goal that dramatic afternoon. Peters told whufc.com
that Sunday's meeting in Bloemfontein will be yet another titanic struggle.
"Its a situation thats quite difficult. We are starting to play better but
the Germans have been OK and they will also have Miroslav Klose back after
his red card."
Both sides were forecast to win their respective groups prior to the
tournament, though England found it harder than their next opponents to
progress to the last 16. Despite their travails in the group stage, the man
described by Sir Alf Ramsey as 'Ten years ahead of his time' is optimistic
the nation will have something to smile about on Monday morning. "They're a
younger side and so less experienced," said Peters, who knows a thing or two
about experience, having earned 67 caps during his distinguished eight-year
international career. "We have players who have been there before and I
think our experience will hold us in better stead. It will be tough, but
we'll win 2-1."
Though the occasion is slightly less important than it was in 1966, Peters
believes manager Fabio Capello will be offering the same words of wisdom as
Ramsey did all those years before. "He'll want them to work with each other,
to help each other out. Sir Alf just wanted us to play the same as we had
against Portugal in the semi-final, as we had played so well."
Capello's method of withholding the names of his starting eleven is
something that Ramsey wouldn't have believed in, however. "Before the
tournament, at least eight players knew they were in the side, especially
the goalkeeper and back four, it helped create solidarity." One player
Peters believes should be assured of his place against Germany is West Ham
captain Matthew Upson, who played a key role in the closing Group C victory
over Slovenia that ensured progression into the knockout stage. His
last-ditch tackle saved the nation's blushes and many, including the 1964/65
Hammer of the Year, feel he has done more than enough to retain his place.
"I believe he will play. Jamie Carragher is short on pace and Upson isn't,
so he will retain his place."
Brown backs Matt
Matthew Upson has been wished well by Ken Brown for Sunday's titanic tie
Ken Brown is confident Matthew Upson will rise to the occasion once again
when England take on Germany this weekend. The club legend, who played 386
league games at the back for the Hammers between 1953 and 1967, will be
keeping a particularly close eye on the Hammers captain when he lines up for
the FIFA World Cup last-16 tie on Sunday. Brown said Upson's display in the
1-0 win last Wednesday against Slovenia took him back to his own playing
days, and he is expecting another fine performance. "It was a bit 'backs to
the wall' which all centre-halves love," Brown told whufc.com. "I remember I
just seemed to revel in those games. The more they attack, the more you
destroy and get the ball away to safety. It is very satisfying. You feel
better and better as time goes on and you settle into it. "I bet he was
nervous as hell. It was his first game at the World Cup. I only got the one
England cap and that took me aback at the honour of it. You think 'Wow, I am
playing for my country' and I expect he was delighted to get the chance to
play in the tournament. "It was nice to see a player coming from West Ham
getting such recognition."
Brown, now 76 and still a regular visitor to the Boleyn, was particularly
praiseworthy for Upson's late tackle that made certain of the victory,
describing it "as good as scoring a goal". He added: "It was the icing on
the cake after a good performance. I believe you get your reward when you
keep working and training hard. You wait for your chance. If he had started
badly his confidence would have gone but that tackle showed that he was on
top of his game throughout."
Brown is looking forward to seeing the Germany encounter and turned his
thoughts back to when West Ham took on TSV 1860 Munich in the 1965 European
Cup Winners' Cup final. "We beat 1860 in the final a year before the 1966
World Cup and it was a very good game to play in. We got the better of it
that day but it was a tough game. "Germany will be very difficult. Everyone
is reliving the old days. They have always been a very disciplined side,
including their club teams, but they have flair as well. You always take
extra pleasure from a win against a German side because there have been so
many great matches between the two countries over the years. "You can never
underestimate them because they are always so well balanced. Nothing is
impossible in football. This team could go far. We have started badly and
gradually improved. We can't get too excited but if we make progress and get
a bit of luck, we can hope."
When it comes to memories of the greatest England defender of them all in
Bobby Moore, Brown is better placed to look back than anyone. It is Moore's
example that Brown suggested would be ideal for Upson and his team-mates to
consider when they take to the field in Bloemfontein. "Bobby's anticipation
of where the ball would be was terrific. I had the pleasure of playing
alongside him more than anyone else. I used to be nervous for him at times
when balls were coming down and would always cover round the back for him
thinking he is going to miss it. He never did. "The whole time he never
seemed to make a mistake and he always kept his composure in difficult
moments. He was unbelievably good. I hope this team can emulate him and that
side in 1966 but there is a long way to go. They all did well against
Slovenia and that will do them good on Sunday."
Hammers suffer double transfer blow
Published 23:00 26/06/10 By MirrorFootball
West Ham have suffered a blow after moves to sign Argentine legend Juan
Roman Riquelme and Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim fell through. Avram Grant
starts work with his new players on July 5 and is determined to bring in
some fresh faces. But West Ham are unwilling to meet both players' wage
FULHAM LINE UP ROB GREEN
News Of The World
By DAN KING, 26/06/2010
ROBERT GREEN is lined up to replace Mark Schwarzer at Fulham. With Schwarzer
poised to complete a move to Arsenal, England's blunder keeper is now the
Cottagers' prime target. West Ham No 1 Green, 30, had been reported to be on
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's shortlist. But Wenger has opted for Schwarzer,
37, as a short-term solution to his problem between the sicks. And with
Australia out of the World Cup, a £3.5million transfer is expected to be
completed in the next two weeks. Wenger is also said to be close to sealing
deals for a centre back and midfielder. Schwarzer's departure will leave a
vacancy at Europa League finalists Fulham, which Green is expected to fill.
Green has just one year left on his deal and has made it clear he wants to
leave Upton Park. And despite the gaffe which allowed Fulham's Clint Dempsey
to equalise for the USA in England's opening World Cup game, there will be
no shortage of potential new employers. Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was among
those to urge England boss Fabio Capello to keep faith with Green after the
mistake. Hodgson himself is also on the verge of leaving Craven Cottage to
take up the reins at Liverpool, but his exit will not affect Fulham's plans
to sign Green. The player was Fabio Capello's first-choice keeper while
David James was injured - but got replaced by James in South Africa after
Losing Green will leave West Ham with a big hole to fill, after they missed
out on Ben Foster, who chose to join Birmingham from Manchester United. New
Hammers boss Avram Grant took Portsmouth keeping coach David Coles to Upton
Park with him and both are fans of Asmir Begovic, who left Fratton Park for
Stoke in January. But Stoke boss Tony Pulis will resist any attempt to
snatch Begovic and West Ham are likely to have to look elsewhere. Sunderland
keeper Marton Fulop, who spent the end of the season on emergency loan at
Manchester City, is one option. Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama, linked with
the Hammers, insists his future will be sorted this week. The Hapoel Tel
Aviv keeper, 28, is set to leave Israel before the start of the new season.
Grant is an admirer but Enyeama has also attracted attention from a host of
top clubs including Arsenal and Sevilla. Enyeama said: "I expect to hear
something new within the next week. It's natural. Everybody wants to get
ahead in life so, obviously, I want to move to a different place."
BELHADJ SNUBS HAMMERS
News of the World
By ALEX CROOK, 26/06/2010
PORTSMOUTH'S Algeria World Cup star Nadir Belhadj will snub the chance to
follow Avram Grant to West Ham and will join Italian giants Lazio. Left-back
Belhadj is to open talks about a £3.5million move to Rome following
Algeria's South Africa exit. Belhadj (right) said: "I heard from my agent
about Lazio's interest. The Italian league is one of the best and being
approached by Lazio is a great honour for me." Belhadj, who joined Pompey
from Lens for £4m in January 2008, is among Grant's top targets. But Lazio
boss Edy Reja said: "Belhadj is one of the players we are going to focus on
and he has expressed a desire to come. "He's a player who is more offensive
than defensive and that appeals to us very much. "He usually plays in
defence, but defence in the Premier League is very different to that in
Upson deserves to keep England role, says Derby County legend Roy McFarland
Saturday, June 26, 2010, 07:30
Matthew Upson DERBY County legend Roy McFarland believes defender Matthew
Upson should keep his place in the England team for tomorrow's World Cup
showdown against Germany. Upson replaced the suspended Jamie Carragher for
Wednesday's crucial final Group C match against Slovenia. The West Ham
United player partnered John Terry at centre-back and helped Fabio Capello's
men to a 1-0 win that saw them through to the knockout stages of the
tournament in South Africa. Having served his one-match ban for accumulating
two yellow cards, Carragher is available again for the last-16 clash against
the Germans in Bloemfontein (3pm). But former England and Rams defender
McFarland thinks Capello should stick with Upson. "Matthew Upson was solid
at the back against Slovenia and I would keep him in the side as I prefer
him to Jamie Carragher," he said. "He is a lot more mobile and quicker than
Carragher and seems to have a better understanding with John Terry.
"Carragher is a genuine, honest player but is a little bit suspect,
pace-wise, which could expose him against the better teams. "Upson looked
sharp and read the game well. He also made a super challenge near the end to
deny Slovenia the chance of an equaliser."
McFarland, who won 28 international caps and was part of both Derby's
Championship-winning sides during the 1970s, also feels that holding
midfielder Gareth Barry will be key to England's chances of success. "I
think Gareth Barry will be very important to the team if they are to
progress further in the competition," he said. "That holding midfield role
is a key position and, if he is solid and picks up the pieces well, that
releases the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and James Milner, who
played very well in the last match, and offers them protection. "Gareth got
caught out a couple of times against Slovenia and gave away possession too
easily, which is unlike him, but we have to remember he only recently came
back from injury and I think he will get stronger with each game.
"If your midfield is not settled and well balanced, you won't be successful
at this level."
England's star man, Wayne Rooney, has not yet hit the heights at this World
Cup – and was substituted in the second half of the win over Slovenia.
"Rooney still doesn't look at the top of his game," McFarland added.
"Whether he is carrying an injury or is just tired, I'm not sure. "It has
been a long, hard season for the players and it is all about getting your
mind and body right. "Hopefully, the training will be easing off a bit now.
The players are all fit – they just need to be kept ticking over."
Rooney's strike partner in the Slovenia game, Jermain Defoe, netted the
winner after being drafted into the starting line-up to replace Emile
Heskey. "Defoe scored the all-important goal and might easily have had
another," said McFarland. "He gets on the blindside of defenders and has got
the pace to get in behind opposition teams. "He was very effective in doing
that against Slovenia."
But there may be a late twist in the England line-up as Ledley King might be
in contention to make a dramatic returnfor tomorrow's clash with Germany.
Coach Fabio Capello has confirmed that all 23 members of his squad trained
yesterday and are in contention for the match in Bloemfontein. However, the
odds must still be heavily against the Tottenham Hotspur man making it
considering the FA claimed he did not do any contact work in training. "All
the players trained. Everyone is fit to play," said Capello. "It is a good
feeling because if they trained they are fit to play."
King was Capello's first choice to partner John Terry in central defence but
injured his groin in the first minutes of the opening game against the
United States a fortnight ago. It was anticipated the 29-year-old would be
out of action for at least three weeks and although there have been some
encouraging noises about his fitness, the latest bulletin is unexpected.
owever, considering the time he has been out, it would still seem more
likely that either Matthew Upson will keep his place or Jamie Carragher will
return from suspension. With Aaron Lennon, Michael Carrick and, most
importantly, Wayne Rooney all shaking off ankle knocks, it will leave
Capello to choose from strength, knowing he has plenty of options should he
need them against England's old rivals. "I have more options, so I have to
choose," he said. "When you can choose 23 players it is better for me."
Is Christian Benitez the Striker that We Need?
West Ham Till I Die
There are reports that the club may be interested in doing a deal to secure
the services of Christian Benitez. He spent last season on loan at
Birmingham City. Significantly, perhaps, a deal set up by Gold & Sullivan
during their last season in control of the West Midlands club.
However, the new regime at St Andrews did not subsequently take up an option
to sign Benitez permanently, when his loan period ended, and he has now
returned to his Mexican club, Santos Laguna. Alex McLeish, commenting on
the decision not to sign him was quoted as saying that:
"We did have an agreement that the previous board put in place. He did
very well for us and I'm sorry to lose him, but the deal was too rich for
There are two obvious questions here. Firstly, if the deal for Benitez is
too rich for Brum's blood, would West Ham go for it? Secondly, as a striker
did he actually do well enough last season? Benitez scored 4 goals in 36
matches for Brum in 2009-10. That is not exactly prolific, for instance,
Ilan's goal return was similar in far fewer matches.
His record at international level is more promising, with 10 goals in 30
matches, a ratio of 1 in 3. Apparently, Santos Laguna have quoted a £7m
transfer fee for his services. With Everton showing their usual reluctance
to sell us their players, the deal for Yakubu will probably not happen.
While the other much publicised potential deal for Henry appears to be a non
-starter, the riches of US football being a far greater attraction than
Upton Park and the PL.
West Ham need greater fire power next season, there is no doubt about that.
Ideally, we need a striker that can score 15-20 goals a season. However,
such players are at a premium and, if available, do not come cheap. So,
could Benitez do a job for us, or should the club be looking elsewhere?
There has also been a further report that a deal for Joe Cole remains a
possibility. We still have a offer on the table, along with Arsenal and
Spurs. Obviously, Cole will not make a decision on his future until after
the World Cup Finals. Financial details aside, both the gooners and Spurs
can offer Cole Champions League football next season. This probably means
that a return to the Hammers next season is unlikely, but you never know?
Finally, it has been reported that Matt Upson will keep his place for
England's last 16 match with old rivals Germany. Quite right! To drop him
for Ledley King or Jamie Carragher, after his performance against Slovenia,
would be totally unfair.
Good luck to Upson and the rest of the England team for Sunday's match. If
I remember correctly, Upson scored in the 1-2 friendly win over Germany, in
Berlin, a couple of years ago. A repeat Upson goal and England victory
would be most welcome.