Tony Carr believes his youngsters could easily have won their FA Youth Cup
Academy Director Tony Carr was left to lament what might have been as West
Ham United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the fourth-round stage by
Manchester United. The Red Devils capitalised on an uncharacteristic mistake
from goalkeeper Sam Cowler to take the lead through Will Keane's 35th-minute
header at the Boleyn Ground. However, a strong second-half performance saw
two convincing penalty claims turned down by referee Andy Crysell - the
second when Robert Hall's goal-bound 93rd-minute shot hit the outstretched
hand of a defender - while substitute Sebastian Lletget flashed a shot
inches wide of the goal from close-range. Carr and his players were clearly
gutted to lose a game they could easily have won had fortune favoured them.
"I thought we deserved to win the game on our second half performance," Carr
told WHUTV. "I thought in terms of territory, possession and chances and the
two penalty claims which were very legitimate - I've seen the second one on
the replay and it was blatant handball. "Regardless of whether he meant it
or not, it's hit his hand as it's going into the net so it's a penalty.
Obviously the referee didn't see it that way and I thought that was a poor
decision from the referee. "If it's handball, it's handball. It's stopping a
certain goal and we should have been playing extra time. We should have had
another penalty when Robert Hall was pulled down. He's played on when Dylan
[Tombides] was scythed down on the edge of the box. Robert's picked it up
and he's wiggled into the box and just as he's about pull his leg back to
shoot, he was pulled back and for that's another penalty. "Sebby has come on
and he might have done better and we've also had another two or three good
opportunities flash across the goal. "They were obviously going to be
dangerous on the break because we were taking the game to them a little bit
more in the second half. We played a lot better in the second half "I was
disappointed that we gifted them the goal. It was a goalkeeping mistake and
uncharacteristic of Sam because he's been very solid for us this season. He
made a mistake and they capitalised on it and then sat back and basically
said 'Break us down' and their game was counter-attack from that point. "I
was disappointed with the result but very pleased with the second-half
performance. We deserved something from it and, if it wasn't for the
referee, we might even have won the game."
West Ham's youngsters return to action this Saturday morning when they face
struggling Portsmouth in the FA Premier Academy League.
The Hammers sit seventh in Group A, but are just six points behind leaders
Crystal Palace with a game in-hand. Pompey are bottom of the table, having
won just one of their 14 league matches played so far.
Forest prices chopped
The club are delighted to confirm ticket prices have been slashed again for
the FA Cup fourth round
West Ham United are delighted to confirm that ticket prices have been
slashed for the FA Cup fourth-round fixture with Nottingham Forest. As a
reward for their continued loyal support, season ticket holders will once
again be able to make a great saving on their usual seat, with the Board
reducing prices to just £15 for adults and £5 for Under-16s - the lowest
price that could be agreed with the visitors.
All other adult supporters will pay only £2 more with general adult tickets
costing £17 and Under-16s £5 - meaning the match could be the perfect family
football day-out. The tie has now been confirmed as a 2pm kick-off on Sunday
30 January, due to police request.
Tickets are now on general sale, but season ticket holders can still take
advantage of the discounted prices on offer. The club have continued to
offer great ticket savings for the cup competitions this season, with some
of the lowest prices seen at the Boleyn Ground in more than a decade. As
such, demand is expected to be high as this season's FA Cup adventure
continues, so move fast to avoid disappointment.
Athletics boss slams Olympic stadium conversion plans
The head of world athletics says London will have told a "big lie" to get
the 2012 Olympics if the Olympic stadium is converted into a football
ground. West Ham and Tottenham both want to move to the venue after 2012 but
under Tottenham's plans, the track will go. "They'll have made a big lie
during their presentation," International Athletics Association Federation
chief Lamine Diack told BBC Sport. "There will be no credibility... of a
great country like Britain."
Olympic stadium loan to West Ham 'at risk of abuse'
By Ed Davey
BBC News, London
A £40m loan being arranged by a local council to help West Ham United move
into the Olympic Stadium has come under fire after a BBC London
investigation raised questions over how the decision is being reached.
Newham Council hopes to secure a Treasury loan at favourable rates, allowing
the club to finance a move to the stadium after the 2012 Games. The Olympic
Park Legacy Company is due to name either Tottenham Hotspur or West Ham as
preferred bidder on or shortly after 28 January. The winner gets £35m of
state money for refurbishment. Councillors at the Labour-run east London
borough will vote on the loan at 1930 GMT.
But the BBC has uncovered aspects of the council's approach that led one
financial auditor to warn of a "danger of abuse" of the system.
Crucial documents explaining the bid in detail being withheld from
councillors until shortly before the vote.
No explanation as to whether the council would be liable for the debt if
relegation-threatened West Ham defaulted.
A "significant number" of councillors holding reservations - but refusing to
speak openly because they are allegedly "afraid" of missing out on lucrative
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales declaring dozens of gifts from West Ham,
with critics saying his impartiality has been compromised.
All 60 councillors in Newham are Labour Party representatives.
One serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "A
significant number of councillors have reservations. "There are massive
doubts over supposed community benefits." The councillor continued: "Why are
we arranging a loan for a private company? West Ham should go to a bank like
everybody else. "The financial football model is hardly blessed by success."
But not one serving politician will go on the record. The councillor said:
"The problem is the mayoral system. "People are frightened to go against the
mayor. They are frightened of a lack of patronage. "He's had almost the same
executive since 2000 - on £40,000 each. People want a bit of the action."
Anita Shields, an auditor who works with other local authorities to ensure
financial transparency, said: "Councillors are afraid to speak out. You have
people pushing to get something through quickly. "This rings alarm bells."
The BBC has also learned that the mayor has declared 35 gifts from the club
in the last three years. By contrast, the leader of Islington Council
declares an average of three gifts a year from Arsenal.
'Drinks and hospitality'
The leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council - home to Chelsea, QPR and
Fulham - declared four such gifts since 2008. In both 2008 and 2009, almost
half of the total gifts Sir Robin declared were from West Ham. They mostly
consisted of "hospitality in the chairman' s suite" and "lunch and drinks".
The mayor is a season ticket-holder at Upton Park. The BBC understands 13
councillors left the last debate because of declared gifts. Neither they nor
Sir Robin are able to vote. Newham Council says the mayor has been open
about hospitality and has nothing to hide. Ms Shields said: "If you enjoy
hospitality, you are not impartial. "You become familiar. When you have
familiarity you have the danger of abuse of the system."
And Mike Law, a former Labour councillor who defected to the Conservatives,
said: "Elected members taking gifts from local companies then lending them
money is just wrong." He continued: "No-one speaking out is par for the
course. "These councillors don't understand why they were elected. "They are
frightened because there is always the perk of being a mayor's special
adviser on the horizon." Mayor's special advisers are paid up to £31,000.
The council has not commented on the posts. But Mr Law said: "Local
democracy is not working. "Councillors are supposed to represent the
electorate - yet we have the poorest in the country bailing out
multi-millionaires. "The vote is window dressing - it allows them to share
blame with elected members if something goes wrong."
Newham councillors usually receive full details of voting issues a week in
advance. But they only received the documents 48 hours in advance. And 10
"weighty" background papers were withheld. Councillors were allowed to come
into Newham's headquarters to inspect them on Wednesday.
But the BBC understands they could not because the person holding the
documents was "not at work". Councillors can view them immediately before
the meeting. They are thought to detail whether Newham Council would have to
repay the £40m if West Ham defaulted. The council has refused to confirm if
it will be liable. Ms Shields said: "You need complete transparency, I
cannot stress that enough. Otherwise this does not have the proper agreement
of the people. "To go ahead on this basis is suicidal. Nobody is
scrutinising it." The council says it cannot disclose the information for
"commercial reasons". Press and public will be barred from the vote and were
also banned from a previous meeting. The councillor who spoke to the BBC
said: "You couldn't take a £2,000 car loan with the information we were
given. "We are making a £40m decision with no time to scrutinise facts.
"Councillors will have minutes to read complicated documents. They'll be
unable to discuss them privately."
The councillor added: "I can't say who's liable if West Ham default - the
answer is sitting in Newham's office." Sir Robin declined to be interviewed,
but a Newham Council spokesman said: "The fact all gifts are declared and
recorded shows the mayor has nothing to hide and is being totally
"The mayor paid for a season ticket and the offer of hospitality was
accepted on that basis. "West Ham United is a major employer within the
borough. It is only right he be involved with them." He continued: "[The
loan] would be based on scrutiny of a full business case on terms that
ensures the council makes money that will be invested in the community and
secures legacy benefits. "Any loan would be made to a stadium company not
West Ham. It is not funding that the council could use on other services.
"We want an occupant for the stadium that will provide jobs for local
people." The spokesman added: "The reports to council contain information
relating to business of the council and West Ham United. "If this
information was public it could prejudice the commercial position. "A
confidentiality agreement has been signed with the Olympic Park Legacy
Company. Councillors will have an opportunity to see information before the
West Ham declined to comment.
Obinna agent rubbishes West Ham exit talk
Published 15:53 20/01/11 By MirrorFootball
The agent of Victor Obinna insists his client wants to remain at West Ham
despite speculation linking him with a move away from the London outfit.
The 23-year-old striker joined the Hammers on a season-long loan deal from
Inter Milan last summer but has been a reported target of several clubs this
month, including Birmingham. However, Obinna's agent Valentino Nerbini said
to Tuttomercatoweb.com: "I can exclude Birmingham. "There has been some talk
about the player but as it stands right now, he intends to stay put unless
we receive a tempting offer from Italy. "The player is happy at West Ham and
this is the reason why he is set to remain there until June 2011."
Nerbini revealed that three Serie A clubs have expressed an interest in the
Nigeria international. "I am in contact with Inter on a regular basis with
regards to Obinna," Nerbini said. "So far, three clubs - Fiorentina, Bologna
and Udinese - have come forward in this transfer market." Obinna has scored
three goals in 21 matches in all competitions in the current campaign.
Illunga, Behrami and McCarthy on their Way?
West Ham Till I Die
There were reports yesterday that three Hammers players were on the verge of
an exit from the club. Herita Illunga has been identified as a target for
Monaco in a £1.5m deal. Similarly, Valon Behrami might be joining
Fiorentina for a reported fee somewhere between £4.5-6m and Benni McCarthy
could join QPR on loan for the remainder of the season.
Illunga has been a massive disappointment. After a very good debut season,
he has failed to recapture anything like the same form. It is
understandable that the club are looking to move the player out. Under the
circumstances, a parting of the ways is probably the best option for both
I am less reconciled to Behrami's sale. We are apparently retaining Kovac
and selling Behrami, who is a vastly superior player. Yes, the player and
his family are unsettled in England, but surely the priority must be on West
Ham's PL survival. However, it looks like the club have decided that
Behrami is one of their major assets and they want to cash in to generate
much needed transfer funds. He is a good player, but it could be argued
that he has not actually featured that much for us this season, anyway.
Benni McCarthy was a panic buy in last season's relegation struggle. We
bought a player who was clearly not match fit, based on his prior
reputation. He subsequently picked up an injury in his debut match and
played only a marginal role in the remainder of the campaign. It was hoped
that McCarthy might achieve fitness and make some meaningful contribution
this season. Unfortunately, it was not to be. While McCarthy has, indeed,
looked fitter, as a striker he has also looked a pale shadow of his former
self. I guess, at the end of the day, we probably signed him too late in
his career. It's a pity that Alan Pardew did not sign him in 2006, when a
deal was pulled at the last minute by his then club, Oporto.
Recent reports have suggested that Avram Grant has been given a core £5m to
spend in the window and this will be supplemented by any revenue generated
by outgoing deals. We must try to get some extra quality in to the first
team, by hook or by crook, and that is inevitably going to mean paying over
the odds. The problem is what self-respecting player is going to join us in
the aftermath of all the negative consequences of the Grant/O'Neill debacle?
Finally, it has been reported in The Telegraph that Sullivan and Gold have
made a personal commitment to stump up the £25-30m shortfall in the club's
finances, next season, should we suffer relegation! Would not they have
been better off committing half of that figure to ensure that the squad was
properly strengthened in the summer? In that way, the current relegation
struggle could possibly have been avoided. Even now, would they not be well
advised to spend big in this January window to make some deals happen that
might just just save us? It will, admittedly, be hard to attract new
signings, but all you can do is offer the terms that might covince one or
two to join.
The atmosphere around the club is dire at the moment,. However, regardless
of what some would have us believe, relegation is not a racing certainty.
On the contrary, it is still all to play for! The club may be caught
between 'the devil and a hard place,' with a totally compromised manager,
who would have been replaced had O'Neill agreed to take the post. The best
hope that we have is that the manager, coaching staff and players develop a
seige mentality and start pulling together.
As for he West Ham board, they will be desperate for something to distract
attention from recent shambolic events. The best way would be to make at
least one really exciting signing, amidst the expected journeymen. They
might also consider returning to plan A, which was to bring in a new coach
to bolster Grant's management team. Perhaps it really is time for DiCanio
to return as the attacking coach or even assistant manager. His arrival is
one of the few things that might rally the troops and dispel the depression
hanging over Upton Park.