All the early team news and background for Sunday afternoon's big game at
the City of Manchester Stadium
MANCHESTER CITY v WEST HAM UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 1 MAY 2011
CITY OF MANCHESTERSTADIUM
• West Ham United travel to Manchester CIty knowing they face a battle to
ensure Barclays Premier League survival come the season end on 22 May. The
Hammers went into the weekend two points adrift of safety and will take on a
resurgent home side eager to add UEFA Champions League qualification to an
FA Cup final place.
• Sunday's fixture will be noticeable for the likely absence through injury
of FWA Footballer of the Year winner Scott Parker - the first Hammer to
claim the coveted prize since Bobby Moore in the 1963/64 season. Parker gets
his award on 12 May.
• West Ham are seeking to end a run of four straight defeats - a 4-2 home
loss to Manchester United on 2 April was followed by a 3-0 defeat at Bolton
Wanderers last Saturday. A fortnight ago there was a 2-1 home reverse
against Aston Villa and then a 3-0 defeat by Chelsea last Saturday.
• Manchester City are fourth in the standings, four points ahead of
Tottenham Hotspur and five adrift of Arsenal in third - although City have a
game in hand on the Gunners.
• City have not lost in 13 home matches in all competitions since a 2-1
defeat by Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Monday 20 December.
• West Ham United's biggest victories over Manchester City both came in the
same season - 1962/63. A 6-1 home Division One success on 18 May 1963 was
preceded by victory by the same margin in the away fixture on 8 September
• City's biggest home win against the Hammers was a 4-0 triumph on 17 August
• This is the 91st meeting between the two sides. West Ham have come out on
top on 35 occasions with 15 draws.
• West Ham's last league win at Manchester City came with Frederic Kanoute's
81st-minute goal on Sunday 27 April 2003 - although the Hammers were
relegated at the end of the season. There was also a 2-1 away win in the FA
Cup sixth round on 20 March 2006 on route to the final, thanks to Dean
Last time out
Saturday 23 April 2011
Barclays Premier League
Chelsea 3-0 West Ham United
West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Bridge, Noble (Keane
59), Spector, Hitzlsperger, Sears (Obinna 81), Cole (Piquionne 78)
Subs not used: Boffin, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Kovac
Monday 25 April 2011
Barclays Premier League
Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Manchester City
Manchester City: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Lescott, A Johnson (Dzeko
72), Barry, Silva (Boyata 90), De Jong, Y Toure, Balotelli (Vieira 83)
Subs not used: Taylor, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Jo
Goal: Dzeko 75
Last-placed West Ham United welcomed Manchester City to east London on 11
December 2010. A goal in each half from Yaya Toure, on 30 and 73 minutes,
put City in control before Adam Johnson wrapped up the win with nine minutes
to play. James Tomkins forced a consolation in the 89th minute via Yaya
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ben Haim, Barrera (Cole
72), Parker, Spector, Stanislas (Dyer 64), Obinna, Piquionne (Hines 80)
Subs: Stech, Reid, Kovac, Boa Morte
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Kolo Toure, Boateng, Yaya Toure,
De Jong, Barry, Silva (Milner 86), Balotelli (A.Johnson 61), Jo
Subs: Given, Richards, Lescott, Vieira, Santa Cruz
This fixture last season
The most recent meeting between the two sides at the City of Manchester
Stadium saw City win 3-1 on 29 September 2009.
Former Hammer of the Year Carlos Tevez scored twice, with a goal in each
half. Carlton Cole had equalised the first goal but Martin Petrov then
struck to give the home side a 2-1 half-time lead. The teams were:
Manchester City: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips
(Santa Cruz 80), De Jong, Barry (Johnson 89), Petrov, Tevez, Bellamy
Subs: Taylor, Richards, Garrido, Sylvinho, Weiss
Goals: Tevez 5, 61, Petrov 32
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Tomkins, Ilunga, Diamanti, Kovac
(Stanislas 71), Parker, Noble, Jimenez (Hines 71), Cole
Subs: Kurucz, Spector, Nouble, Payne, N'Gala
Goal: Cole 24
Last six meetings
11 December 2010 - West Ham United 1-3 Manchester City
9 May 2010 - West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City
29 Sept 2009 - Manchester City 3-1 West Ham United
1 March 2009 - West Ham United 1-0 Manchester City
24 August 2008 - Manchester City 3-0 West Ham United
20 January 2008 - Manchester City 1-1 West Ham United
Overall record v Manchester City (all competitions) W 35 D 15 L 41
• Carlos Tevez is City's top league scorer with 19 goals, two behind the
overall leader Dimitar Berbatov. Frederic Piquionne is the Hammers leading
marksman in the top-flight with six. Carlton Cole has five but eleven in all
• Joe Hart has kept more clean sheets (15) than any other player in the
league this season.
• Victor Obinna and Mario Balotelli are former team-mates at Internazionale,
before both headed to England last summer. Obinna scored twice on a 31 July
2010 friendly win for Inter against City in Baltimore, Maryland. The first
goal came against Joe Hart, the second after the interval went in past
substitute keeper Shay Given.
• Fit-again Jack Collison scored the only goal at the Boleyn Ground on the
last occasion West Ham beat City on 1 March 2009.
• West Ham United have the most offsides of any team in the top flight this
• Manchester City have been awarded nine penalties this season, more than
any other top-flight side, and scored eight of them.
• Wayne Bridge is ineligible for this fixture as he is on loan from
• Scott Parker (achilles) is a major doubt with the Footballer of the Year
having also missed out last weekend against Chelsea. Mark Noble is also set
to be absent for at least a fortnight after a hernia operation while Kieron
Dyer has a hamstring injury.
• Gary O'Neil is out for the season at least with a serious ankle injury
suffered after an hour of the match against Aston Villa a fortnight ago.
• Junior Stanislas has returned to light training after his own hernia
• Central defenders Matthew Upson and Winston Reid have both been in full
training this week. Upson missed out against Chelsea after a chest
• Jack Collison has played four times for the reserves - including two full
90 minutes - after recovering from his knee injury and is back in the
• Grant is still without long-term absentee Peter Kurucz (knee) and Junior
Stanislas (hernia) while Jordan Spence (Bristol City), Frank Nouble
(Charlton Athletic) and Olly Lee (Dagenham and Redbridge) are out on loan.
Herita Ilunga is not in the 25-man squad.
• City will be without former Hammer of the Year winner Carlos Tevez because
of a torn hamstring. Micah Richards is also out with a similar problem.
• Jerome Boateng is set to be another absentee with a knee problem while
Shay Given will not figure again this season with a shoulder injury.
West Ham United
2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted via play-offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)
2002/03 Premier League 18th (42 points - relegated to Championship)
2001/02 Premier League 7th (53 points)
2000/01 Premier League 15th (42 points)
2009/10 Premier League 5th (67 points)
2008/09 Premier League 10th (50 points)
2007/08 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2006/07 Premier League 14th (42 points)
2005/06 Premier League 15th (43 points)
2004/05 Premier League 8th (52 points)
2003/04 Premier League 16th (41 points)
2002/03 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2001/02 Championship 1st (99 points - promoted to Premier League)
2000/01 Premier League 18th (34 points - relegated to Championship)
• Sunday's referee will be Howard Webb, who last took charge of a Hammers
game with the 3-1 aet defeat by Birmingham City in the Carling Cup
semi-final second-leg game on 26 January. His last City fixture was their
5-0 home win against Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League on 3 April.
• He took charge of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between Spain and
Netherlands in South Africa.
• Webb began officiating in Yorkshire in 1989. He took charge of his first
Barclays Premier League match as a referee in October 2003 and has since
been the man-in-the-middle for a host of high-profile fixtures.
• Webb also refereed the 2005 FA Community Shield, 2006 FA Trophy final and
2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, as well as taking charge of his
first UEFA Champions League match in 2006. The former police officer was
referee for the 2007 Carling Cup final and was selected as England's
representative at Euro 2008, taking charge of the first match of the
tournament between Austria and Poland and the Group D fixture between Greece
and eventual champions Spain.
• Former Hammer of the Year Carlos Tevez, who left the Boleyn Ground to join
City's great cross-town rivals Manchester United at the end of the 2006/07
season, is out with an injury, having been suspended for the Boleyn Ground
fixture in December. He joined the blue half of the city for an undisclosed
fee in June 2009.
• Other famous faces to have played for both clubs are Craig Bellamy - on
loan at Cardiff City - Ian Bishop, James Cumming, Justin Fashanu, Kevin
Horlock, David James, Patrick Leonard, Steve Lomas, Trevor Morley, John
Payne, Stuart Pearce, Trevor Sinclair, Paulo Wanchope and Mark Ward.
• For ticket information, click here.
• Sunday afternoon's forecast in Manchester is for a sunny day with a
maximum temperature of 17 degrees although it could turn overcast by the
Waiting game for Grant
The manager is mindful that his team will take on Manchester City at the end
of a busy weekend
Avram Grant will travel to Manchester City on Sunday afternoon with the
knowledge of how all the club's relegation rivals have fared. The
last-placed Hammers (32 points) are two points adrift of safety but will
have to watch on as Blackburn Rovers (35), Blackpool (34) and Wigan Athletic
(34) - the teams in 16th, 17th and 18th - all play home matches on Saturday.
That trio of games will be followed by 19th-ranked Wolverhampton Wanderers
(33), the team just one point and one place above West Ham, travelling to
Birmingham City on Sunday lunchtime. All five sides - including the Hammers
- have just four fixtures left this campaign and, for the bottom four, have
a virtually identical goal difference. Come the 4.10pm kick-off on Sunday,
all of that will be out of the manager's mind as he looks to plot a way past
high-flying City. "I've been some many years in football and I have faced
that so many times that I can't say if it's a good or bad thing [to play
last]," he told West Ham TV. "First we are worried about what we need to do.
This is the most important thing because we know that if we do our job and
we take points, we will stay in the league but of course there's one eye
open to see what the other teams are doing."
The manager should welcome Matthew Upson back into the fold after his
absence last weekend against Chelsea with a chest infection although Wayne
Bridge is ineligible because of the terms of his loan from City. It will
mean a new left-back with Upson or Danny Gabbidon both possible candidates
for the wide position.
A resilient rearguard action as seen in the goalless draw at Tottenham
Hotspur in March will certainly be the order of the day. "We need to do
everything we can to not concede because we always create our chances. When
we keep clean sheets or even if the opponent scores one goal, which of
course we don't want, we always have an opportunity [to take points]. "This
was the case last week against Chelsea. Manchester City are another really
good team with a lot of quality players but we showed last week that we can
compete with these teams. "It was a strange game against Chelsea, I don't
remember any team that have created so many chances against them but at the
end of the day we didn't take the points. There were some positives things
but now we need to take points."
Grant is relishing pitting his wits against an Italian manager for the
second successive week, but will put aside any pleasantries with Roberto
Mancini until the final whistle at least. "Roberto is a good manager. He is
a manager of a team with a lot of quality, he knows what to do but he needs
to do his job and I need to do mine."
Among Grant's duties will be to choose who to play in attack, with a
fully-fit complement of forwards eager to shine. He is also well aware that
the match could be decided by substitutions, and has several players
desperate to force their way into contention - especially with Scott Parker
and Mark Noble out. "Of course we have some injuries in the midfield which
are really difficult for us, but up front we have good players and good
players on the bench. Against Chelsea, when the players came from the bench
they created chances for us. So this is one of our strengths but we need to
deliver that strength."
West Ham's Avram Grant unfazed by David Sullivan fears
Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Friday, 29 April 2011 17:05 UK
West Ham boss Avram Grant says he is not concerned that co-chairman David
Sullivan believes the club have a "25% chance" of avoiding relegation. The
Hammers are bottom of the the Premier League, two points from safety. "Now
we have four games to the end of the season and I don't know how the chances
are by percent, I am not a businessman," said Grant. "What I can tell you,
though, is that we have a good chance to stay and we will do everything to
West Ham have lost their last four matches and travel to fourth-placed
Manchester City on Sunday, prompting Sullivan to tell the Daily Telegraph:
"Obviously we are facing the reality that 70-75% we are likely to be in the
Championship next year. "But there is still a 25-30% chance we won't be. We
have to be realistic. The bookmakers put our chances at 28% and you have to
However, Grant said he had not seen the interview with Sullivan but remained
bullish about his side's prospects. "I didn't read it so I can't tell you
but David is a businessman," he said. "I think we have a chance to stay up.
We are two points from the place that will keep us in the Premier League and
of course we can do it.
"We showed that even we had less chances before we played well and took
Grant added: "If I say to you now there is a 51% or 32.5% chance, it doesn't
matter. It only matters in money because if he wants to give 25% more to the
players if they stay in the league, it is OK. "If you put the chances of us
staying up four months ago the chances were 10%, so it always changes. "If
we take four points from the next two games the chances will be more than
[the current figure] and it will continue like this until the end of the
Sullivan also questioned the commitment of some of West Ham's players,
saying: "I'm sure a few of the players are already looking at where they
will be next season - their contracts are up, they'll be off." Grant
responded: "I can speak only about what I see. I could say yesterday [in
training], against Chelsea last weekend and the games before that the
players are giving everything. "Of course we can ask for more in quality but
they are giving everything and the spirit is good."
Man City v West Ham
Barclays Premier League
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Date: Sunday, 1 May Kick-off: 1610 BST
Coverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 1 and highlights on Match of the Day 2;
listen on BBC Radio 5 live and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport
website and mobiles
Manchester City could recall Edin Dzeko after his winner at Blackburn.
Captain Carlos Tevez is back in England after having treatment on a
hamstring injury in Milan, but the Argentine is not ready for a first-team
West Ham are without midfielder Mark Noble, who suffered a stomach injury at
Chelsea last weekend. Scott Parker is almost certain to miss out because of
an Achilles problem, while Wayne Bridge in ineligible, but Matthew Upson is
back after illness.
Injured/unavailable: Boateng & M Johnson (both knee), Given (shoulder),
Richards & Tevez (both hamstring), K Toure (club suspension)
Doubtful: Parker (Achilles)
Injured/unavailable: Bridge (ineligible to face parent club), Dyer
(hamstring), Kurucz (knee), Noble (stomach), O'Neil (ankle), Stanislas
Bottom of the table West Ham head to Eastlands, where they have never won a
Premier League match, hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat. The
Londoners desperately need someone to breathe life into their relegation
battle in the manner of Carlos Tevez, whose late flurry of goals helped the
club beat the drop in 2007.
Scott Parker looks their most likely saviour, but the Hammers captain is
unlikely to feature because of an Achilles problem. The only consolation is
that former Upton Park favourite Tevez, now Manchester City skipper, is also
sidelined by injury. West Ham co-owner David Sullivan said this week that
the club have only a "25-30%" chance of staying up, publically questioning
the commitment of some players. Only time will tell whether such outspoken
views fire up Avram Grant's side, or further undermine morale.
Manchester City boosted their Champions League hopes with victory at
Blackburn, where Edin Dzeko finally ended his goal drought after failing to
score in his first nine Premier League games. City look well set for a
top-four spot, but Roberto Mancini's men have not won back-to-back league
games since New Year's Day.
• Manchester City have lost just one of their last 11 league and cup games
against West Ham.
• The Hammers have never won a Premier League match at Eastlands.
• City have not won back-to-back league games since New Year's Day.
• They are unbeaten in seven league games at Eastlands since losing to
Everton in December.
• City's last six Premier League goals have been scored by six different
• The Hammers have won only one away league game in 2011 (at Blackpool).
• They have lost their last six Premier League matches in Manchester,
failing to score in four of them.
• West Ham have failed to win their last five games, losing the last four.
Tevez: 22 goals (19 league); Balotelli: 10 goals (6 league)
Cole: 11 goals (5 league); Piquionne: 9 goals (6 league)
Referee: Howard Webb
Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Bob Pollock
Fourth official: Mike Jones
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Man City (W1-0 v Blackburn, a): Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov,
De Jong, Barry, Adam Johnson (Dzeko 72), Yaya Toure, Silva (Boyata 90),
Balotelli (Vieira 83). Subs not used: Taylor, Milner, Wright-Phillips, Jo.
West Ham (L0-3 v Chelsea, a): Green, Jacobsen, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Bridge,
Noble (Keane 59), Hitzlsperger, Sears (Obinna 81), Spector, Cole (Piquionne
78), Ba. Subs not used: Boffin, Tomkins, Kovac, Boa Morte.
Man City v West Ham preview
City pushing for top-four finish; Hammers desperate for points
Last updated: 29th April 2011
Man City: WLWLW
West Ham: LLLLD
Man City: Tevez, Richards, Boateng
West Ham: Noble, Parker, O'Neil
Sky Bet odds: Man City 2/5, Draw 7/2, West Ham 7/1
Opta stat: West Ham have only scored eight goals in the last 14 Premier
League meetings with Man City.
Manchester City will hope to strengthen their stake for a European spot when
they entertain rock-bottom West Ham on Sunday. Roberto Mancini's men
maintained their push for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League
when they triumphed 1-0 at Blackburn on Monday. That victory left City
fourth in the Premier League table with four games remaining and a crucial
four points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, whose own European bid is on
the wane. Success against the Hammers would lift Mancini's side within two
points of third-placed Arsenal, and give their top-four finish hopes a boost
as they gear up for next month's FA Cup final against Stoke. At the other
end of the table, West Ham are in desperate need of points as they bid to
escape bottom place and keep their survival hopes alive. Victory at City
could see the Hammers, currently one point adrift of 19th-placed Wolves,
break out of the relegation zone. However, the East Londoners' form is not
on their side, having suffered four successive league defeats to leave them
without a win in five games. A 3-0 loss at the hands of Chelsea last time
out will not have done West Ham's confidence any favours, and Avram Grant's
men will be keen to rectify that result when they visit Eastlands. City
emerged 3-1 victors in the return fixture at Upton Park back in December,
and a similar outcome on Sunday would leave the Hammers' hopes of securing a
seventh successive season in the top-flight hanging by a thread.
Mancini could be tempted to recall Edin Dzeko to the team after the Bosnia
and Herzegovina striker, a £27million signing from Wolfsburg, scored his
first Premier League goal for the club against Blackburn after stepping off
the bench. The manager will again be without star hitman Carlos Tevez as he
continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Micah Richards, who is also
out with a hamstring problem and Jerome Boateng (knee) remain unavailable.
West Ham midfielder Scott Parker is still struggling with an Achilles injury
and is almost certain to miss out. He is joined on the sidelines by fellow
midfielders Mark Noble and Gary O'Neil, who are out with hernia and ankle
injuries respectively. Wayne Bridge is ineligible to feature against his
parent club, but the Hammers' defence will be boosted by the return of
Matthew Upson from a chest infection.
Possible starting XIs:
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, De Jong, Barry, A
Johnson, Yaya Toure, Silva, Balotelli.
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson, Bridge, Spector, Boa Morte,
Hitzlsperger, Piquionne, Cole, Ba.
Sullivan admits Hammers fear
Co-owner rates survival chances at 25 per cent
Last Updated: April 29, 2011 4:18pm
David Sullivan believes West Ham only have a 25 per cent chance of staying
in the Premier League and has questioned the commitment of some of the
Sullivan and David Gold became owners at Upton Park a year ago and, despite
only just avoiding relegation last term, had high hopes for a successful
campaign this season. However, the Hammers have found themselves languishing
in the drop zone for long periods and are currently bottom of the table, two
points adrift of safety with just four games remaining. A number of players
are likely to consider their futures in the summer if the club does drop
down to the Championship, and Sullivan believes that leaves manager Avram
Grant with a major dilemma. Sullivan doubts whether everybody in the squad
will be fully motivated during the run-in if they are already thinking about
leaving, labelling many modern footballers as 'spoilt'. "I could go in there
and give them a Churchill speech but whether it's going to do any good, I
don't know," he told the Daily Telegraph. "I think some players are spoilt,
I don't say just with our players, I'm saying with all clubs. How do you
motivate millionaires? It's a problem all managers have. "Alex Ferguson has
got that fear factor and I do think that a manager needs that fear factor.
You look at Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The players are
a little bit frightened of them. "But I'm sure a few of the players are
already looking at where they will be next season - their contracts are up,
they'll be off. "It means the manager might have a hard decision to make if
we go into the last game of the season needing a win to stay up - do you
trust the fate of the club to them or do you make the decision that you will
not play those players?
"It's a very difficult decision. Do you go for players who are committed to
the club? If you look at that last game and someone is on a Bosman, will
that player risk injury? Some will, some won't. It depends on the mentality
of the player."
Sullivan feels West Ham will probably suffer relegation this season but,
regardless of the outcome of the next few weeks, he has demanded a response
He said: "Obviously we are facing the reality that 70-75 per cent we are
likely to be in the Championship next year. But there is still a 25-30 per
cent chance we won't be. "We have to be realistic. The bookmakers put our
chances at 28 per cent and you have to accept that. "I feel for the
supporters. We have fantastic supporters and I feel myself and David (Gold)
have let them down. We have failed to deliver and the bottom line in
football is that it's a delivery business. "Forget all the excuses - the bad
luck, the good luck, the injuries - because over a season it sort of
averages out. OK, it probably hasn't quite averaged out for us this year but
you can't blame that. "We didn't come here to be relegated, we didn't think
at the start of the season that we would be relegated and we have to put it
right next season.
"If we are in the Premier League we have to make sure we are not fighting
relegation, if we are in the Championship we have to make sure we are in the
top two this time next year."
Sullivan also admits that West Ham will have to sell players if they slip
into the Championship and attract new faces that would be capable of
catapulting them straight back up. He said: "We will have to shed a few
players and a few players will not want to stay. We will have to bring in
new players to bring us back up. "I think a lot of the players at West Ham
will not want to play in that division [the Championship]. I don't think
it's going to be easy and you need players who are proven in that division
plus some young players who are fearless and who have the energy to play 46
games a season. "We have some players who find 38 games very difficult.
"I'm anticipating bringing in players who are £2 million, £3 million. I
can't name names but you are looking at players who might be, for example,
the leading goalscorers in the Championship. "If you buy two guys who can
get you 25 goals each, well that's 50 goals and gives you the basis for
going straight back up." Grant's position has been the subject of scrutiny
throughout the season and his future will also be discussed in the summer.
"We sit down at the end of every season, and whatever club we have been in,
with the manager and hear what his thoughts are, what our thoughts are and
we decide on the future at that point in time," Sullivan concluded.
Numbers game for Grant
Published: 29 Apr 2011
WEST HAM boss Avram Grant firmly believes the Premier League's bottom club
can avoid relegation — despite being labelled odds on certainties for the
drop by Iron's co-owner David Sullivan. Sullivan said this week that West
Ham only had a "25 per cent chance" of staying up and that the East End club
was "likely to be in the Championship next year". West Ham have four games
to save their season, beginning with Man City on Sunday. Grant believes that
his struggling side have more than a fighting chance of staying up, despite
Sullivan's concerns. Asked about the co-chairman's opinion, Grant said: "I
didn't read it so I can't tell you everything, but David is a businessman.
"I think we have a chance to stay up. We are two points from the place that
will keep us in the Premier League and of course we can do it.
"We showed that even we had less chances before we played well and took
points. "Now we have four games to the end of the season and I don't know
how the chances are by percent, I am not a businessman. "What I can tell
you, though, is that we have a good chance to stay and we will do everything
to do it. "If I say to you now there is a 51 per cent or 32.5 per cent
chance it doesn't matter," he said. "It only matters in money because if he
wants to give 25 per cent more to the players if they stay in the league, it
is okay. "If you put the chances of us staying up four months ago the
chances were 10 per cent, so it always changes. "If we take four points from
the next two games the chances will be more than the current figure and it
will continue like this until the end of the season."
Key players such as Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Gary O'Neil and Wayne Bridge
will be missing when the Hammers travel to Man City on Sunday. But Grant
mintains that the remaining players are just as committed to the cause,
despite some doubts expressed by Sullivan. "I didn't read the article so I
need to read it because sometimes it is translated not so good by the
media," said Grant. "But I can speak only about what I see. I could see
yesterday, against Chelsea last weekend and the games before that the
players are giving everything. "Of course we can ask for more in quality but
they are giving everything and the spirit is good. "West Ham is a massive
club and part of our vision is to stop fighting against relegation because
West Ham did it too much in the last years and also this season. "This
season we knew it would be difficult but of course we didn't want to be in
this place so we feel for the supporters. "We are doing everything for them
to feel good and I think even the supporters know the players give anything.
"They are behind us and if you saw the last game against Chelsea you heard
them more than we heard the Chelsea supporters."
Av some faith
By PAUL JIGGINS
AVRAM GRANT has hit back at David Sullivan in the latest war of words at
West Ham telling him: "I trust ALL of my players." Co-owner Sullivan caused
a new storm at Upton Park by admitting he does not know whether he can trust
the Hammers' out-of-contract stars to give their all in the club's battle
against relegation. But boss Grant said: "I did not read or hear what David
Sullivan said. But I can say this - every player at this club has done
everything they can to try and help the team stay in the league. I trust all
of them." Grant is set to include Matthew Upson, Jonathan Spector, Danny
Gabbidon and Lars Jacobson - whose current deals all expire at the end of
the season - in his starting line-up at Manchester City tomorrow. The
Israeli said: "If you are professional by condition, it doesn't matter if
you have a contract, don't have a contract, if your wife smiles at you, if
the owners say nice things about you... I don't believe in these things. "It
doesn't matter as long as a player is professional by heart. "Also, when a
player is in the last days of his contract he wants to prove himself because
he wants a new contract."
But Sullivan is not so sure and he said: "I'm sure a few of the players are
already looking at where they will be next season - their contracts are up,
they'll be off.
"It means the manager might have a hard decision to make. "Do you trust the
fate of the club to them or do you make the decision that you will not play
those players? "It's a very difficult decision. Do you go for players who
are committed to the club? "If you look at that last game and someone is on
a Bosman, will that player risk injury? Some will, some won't. It depends on
Sullivan also admitted he rates the Hammers' chances of staying up this
season at '25 per cent'. Grant, whose side are bottom of the table with just
four matches to go, insisted: "I am not a businessman like David. "What I
can tell you, though, is that we have a good chance to stay up and we will
do everything to do it. It doesn't matter what percentage I rate our
chances. "If I say to you now there is a 51 per cent or 32.5 per cent chance
it doesn't matter. "It only matters in money because if he wants to give 25
per cent more to the players if they stay in the league, it is OK. "If you
put the chances of us staying up four months ago the chances were 10 per
cent so it always changes. "If we take four points from the next two games
the percentage will be more than this but it will still continue until the
end of the season."
This is not the first time this season Grant has been involved in a war of
words with the club's high-profile hierarchy. And the boss added: "They want
us to stay in the league. "But the most important thing for the players,
even if the owner says they are the best players in the league, is to focus
on what we need to do on the pitch. "I am focused on these things and not
Karren Brady's football diary
KARREN BRADY - First lady of football
Email the author
Saturday, April 23
LOSING 3-0 at Chelsea and dropping to the bottom of the table is no way to
celebrate Scott Parker's election as the football writers' Player of the
Year. It must be a unique feat and I suppose it could be said he has unique
feet. Parker is a team man through and through and how we miss him at
Stamford Bridge, even though we play well without reward. Again. Already
unique in being the only female vice-chairman in football, I'm also the only
one, ever, to be married to a footballer and a football manager. As I've
said before my players are better than any others in the bottom half of the
league but I cannot prove it. Not yet anyway.
Sunday, April 24
EN route to the Dolce & Gabanna Lounge at Chelsea yesterday, I pass a young
lady who my host informs me is in the Champions League of WAGS. I can't
resist striking up a conversation. I ask her for the secret of her 'success'
my tongue firmly in my cheek. She replies "Boobs out, pelvic floor up and
away you go!" Classy.
Later today I have a few friends over for Easter lunch, a few PL faces among
them, and who should I see walking through my door, but the same young lady?
"Who are you here with?" I ask her. "Short man, enormous chest, always in a
bad mood. But extremely generous," she says with a wink. Oh Jesus. God save
Monday, April 25
BESIDES being one of the world's richest and most powerful men, and the fact
that his first wife of two goes by the name Sheikha Alia bint Mohammed bin
Butti Al Hamed - the bint with the Butti, possibly - there's not an awful
lot known about Man City owner Sheik Mansour. I don't know whether the oil
zillionaire concerns himself with the behaviour of his minions but possibly
he should in the case of striker Mario Ballotelli who is setting new records
in being a complete pest. Contrast the pair - one is reticent, secretive, a
lover of chauffeured Daimlers; the other a loud, arrogant driver of a
Maserati which averages three parking tickets a day.
Guess which is which.
Tuesday, April 26
THE Championship leaders have not even been promoted yet and already there
is talk today of selling QPR for £100million. Worse, at a club that has had
10 managers in 10 years, some chatterbox has let it be known boss Neil
Warnock could be replaced in preparation for the Premier League. His only
season there, with his beloved Sheffield United, ended in relegation and his
resignation - and then a right royal row over Carlos Tevez with costs West
Ham are still finding burdensome.
But, no, he isn't barking. My husband played for him and says he's a
Wednesday, April 27
IT may be the place here to repeat the words the Prime Minister uses to a
fretful MP in the Commons this afternoon and tell Jose Mourinho to "Calm
The Real Madrid manager's brilliance in bringing the best out of his teams
has long been admired. But it comes with a degree of paranoia that is
breathtaking. Some of the stories of his times at Chelsea would amaze even
the most tolerant of CEOs. Tonight after defeat in the bad-tempered
Champions League semi-final first leg he launches into Barcelona for somehow
persuading every referee to send off an opposing player. Maybe Pepe's red
card is a little unjust and certainly its effects are startling. Minus his
marker, Lionel Messi is free to employ his genius. Mourinho reminds me of
Mel Gibson with his bombastic mixture of fact and fiction to suit his cause.
Or, less spectacularly, Neil Warnock.
Thursday, April 28
IN Premier League dressing rooms there is a medal not quite as coveted as
for winning the title but which attracts large-scale envy because a player
who scores a super-injunction has to be particularly rich, famous and, if
only in his own eyes at least, appealing to women. So today I attend a
summit meeting of lawyers and a select few PL directors to discuss how the
seven or eight players who have managed to convince a judge that publicity
for adultery would have a seriously adverse affect on their families are
affecting the, ahem, reputation of football. I chatted to one of the
attendees who told me he'd been invited to a conference in Dubai but
couldn't make it because his wife didn't want to go. "I'd have taken my
girlfriend," he said, "but I couldn't get an injunction in time!"
Friday, April 29
IAN HOLLOWAY says he is already drawing up two sets of transfer plans - one
for if Blackpool stay up, the other for if they go down. I know the feeling.
Despite months of nervous tension among as many as 10 Premier League clubs,
there is little support for cutting the number of relegated teams - and that
Only West Brom of last season's promoted teams seem certain of remaining in
the top flight and I'm confident that the survival rate of the three who
eventually come up from the Championship will be one at the most.
Players Hammer Sullivan claims
By PAUL JIGGINS
WEST HAM stars have hit back angrily at claims by co-owner David Sullivan
that some might not be fighting hard enough to beat relegation. A source
close to one player said: "It's a strange way to motivate players by
basically slagging them off. "Sullivan should surely be conquering, not
dividing." Sullivan sparked an Upton Park storm yesterday by questioning
whether players out of contract in the summer might be more interested in
finding a new club than beating the drop. The source added: "It's a bizarre
statement at this time of the season. "And if West Ham stay up with a goal
in the last minute of the last game and it's scored by a player who is out
of contract, Sullivan is then going to look pretty stupid." Boss Avram Grant
shrugged off the crisis yesterday, insisting he has complete faith in his
rock-bottom squad. But the players, who travel to Manchester City tomorrow
two points from safety with only four games left, are furious.
Ba backs West Ham to find the fighting spirit needed to survive
Senegalese striker with a passion for darts claims that Grant's side are
still on target to avoid relegation
By Simon Hart
Saturday, 30 April 2011
Demba Ba scored four goals in his first four games at West Ham
Had things worked out differently for Demba Ba, he might be preparing to
face Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley in a couple of weeks.
Instead, a failed medical at Stoke in January means the Senegal striker will
be acquainted with Roberto Mancini's men tomorrow in the colours of a West
Ham United side facing not just one but four "cup finals", to use the
language of teams mired in the battle for Premier League survival.
Fortunately, Ba is not a man to get down on his luck. "Stoke made a decision
and I respect it. West Ham made another decision and it was a good one for
them, I think, and a good one for me," says the 25-year-old, who grew up in
a family of 10 in the south-west suburbs of Paris.
Ba's philosophical stance befits an individual who survived a string of
rejections as a teenager seeking his way in the game – first by Lyons and
Auxerre in France, and then by Watford, Barnsley and Swansea City in this
country. "I didn't doubt myself or think about not making it in football, it
was more 'OK, this one is not the right one – let's take the next one'," he
His five months as an 18-year-old in Watford's academy help explain his
excellent English – the London accent may also have something to do with his
friendship with Carlton Cole – and it also taught him "about movement, about
fighting spirit and about the English mentality. It helped me when I came to
He certainly took little time in making an explosive impact there with four
goals in his first four games though that also had something to do with
lessons learned during the circuitous career path he took between leaving
Vicarage Road and his eventual return to England.
Ba's fortunes began to turn during a week's trial with French fourth-tier
side Rouen in 2005, when he was pushed up into attack. "I had been playing
more in midfield – on the right or in the centre. The manager said, 'Look I
think you have more quality to be a striker' and it worked."
After a year at Rouen, Ba, at 21, moved into the Belgian top flight with
Excelsior Mouscron. Although he suffered a fractured tibia there, he
recovered in time to hit seven goals in the final seven games of the
campaign – earning himself a transfer to Hoffenheim in Germany. "People were
thinking it wasn't the best move and on paper it might not have been, but
when you see what happened it was the best move I could have made," says Ba,
who played his part in the rags-to-riches rise of the expensively backed
village team from south-west Germany, scoring 14 league goals as they won an
historic first promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008-09.
At Hoffenheim he worked under Ralf Rangnick, now coach of Manchester
United's Champions League semi-final opponents, Schalke. "I had a really
good relationship with him; he's a good, honest person. What he did with
Hoffenheim and what he's doing with Schalke at the moment is absolutely
brilliant. I learned a lot about how to press. He had an unbelievable
pressing technique; tactically he was very good." He learned something else
in Germany – a Dutch friend passing on his love of darts. "I improved
slowly. I am not doing 180 in every shot, I just like to enjoy it."
Ba left Hoffenheim in the same month as Rangnick, the collapse of his
proposed £6m transfer to Stoke opening the door for West Ham to sign him in
a deal whose cost is largely dependent on appearances.
Not surprisingly Ba is eager to play down the severity of the much-reported
problem with his left knee – a problem, he says, which dates back to the
surgery he underwent in Belgium on his fractured tibia.
"That is when the problem started but I can handle it. I handled it the
whole time I was in Germany and here as well. Every player has some little
injury and keeps on playing with it their whole career and it is the same
for me. It is not really an injury because when you're injured you don't
play and if you look at the fixtures this year I've played 30 [club games]."
He may have lost his darts en route to London but he brought his scoring
touch. At 6ft 2in and with the strength to shield the ball and two good
feet, he appears well suited to English football. He struck twice on his
full debut to help West Ham claw back a three-goal half-time deficit in a
3-3 draw at West Bromwich.
The catalyst for that comeback was Scott Parker's stirring half-time speech.
"It was the speech of a captain," he says of the Football Writers' Player of
the Year. "He mobilised every player – 'wake up and go outside and play'. We
went out with another mentality that we needed."
They will need that mentality in their remaining four matches. Ba offers an
emphatic "yes" when asked if the bottom-placed Londoners have the belief to
stay up, despite a run of four straight losses. Looking ahead to tomorrow's
visit to Eastlands, he draws confidence from last week's performance at
Chelsea that did not warrant a 3-0 defeat. "We'll try to have the same
performance as against Chelsea – unfortunately for us against Chelsea we
weren't lucky with our last pass or shot but hopefully in Manchester it will
be different. Maybe we will have fewer chances and play badly and win the
game, who knows?"
West Ham have four games to save themselves from financial oblivion
Squad break-up inevitable if Premier League status is lost
'There would be a £40m hole in our cash flow,' says Sullivan
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 April 2011 22.30 BST
Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland are all
that now stand between West Ham United and oblivion. Six years after Alan
Pardew guided the East End club back into the Premier League, Avram Grant
has four games to prise his side off the bottom of the table, starting with
Sunday's Eastlands meeting with Roberto Mancini's fourth-placed team.
Plunge into the Championship and a financial shadow will darken over the
club. West Ham have around £80m of debt and will become tenants of the
Olympic Stadium at Stratford for the start of the 2014-15 season, legal
challenges allowing. Balancing the books will be far trickier in the
proposed 60,000-seat stadium without the £45m a-year TV money from the
Premier League, despite what the club and the Olympic Park Legacy Company
may claim. Without Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City,
Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal as visitors, it seems unlikely that in the
Championship they could lift this season's average attendance of 33,000 to
Asked how nervous he is regarding the challenge of staying up Grant says:
"It's money time now. We need to be at our best. This is the money time."
David Sullivan, the co-owner, is clear about the financial consequences if
his club sink. He says: "There would be a £40m hole in our cash flow which
would have to be met by myself and [co-owner] David Gold."
If West Ham are relegated it will be the beginning of the end for an
underachieving squad. Sullivan again questioned the players' commitment this
week, rating their prospects of staying up at only "25%". Scott Parker, West
Ham's only star turn this campaign and duly recognised as the football
writers' player of the year, is exempted from this criticism. But he would
be sold to raise cash, though relegation would slice his value from around
£15m to £10m. The midfielder would certainly be followed by many more, among
them Carlton Cole, Robert Green, Mark Noble, Demba Ba, plus Thomas
Hitzlsperger, the out-of-contract Matthew Upson and the loan signings Victor
Obinna, Wayne Bridge and Robbie Keane.
These are all seasoned enough performers to suggest West Ham should not be
two points from safety, and Julian Dicks, the former West Ham left-back, is
clear where the blame lies. "It is down to the players," he says. "I have
seen an improvements for certain games but it's not been continuous."
This has been the tale since Gold and Sullivan bought the club last January.
After Gianfranco Zola managed to avoid the drop but was sacked last summer,
Grant took over, only to suffer a whispering campaign against him. "I blame
the manager because I've always said the most important person at a club is
him," Tony Cottee, the former West Ham striker, says. "I was extremely
disappointed with Avram Grant's appointment."
On the opening day West Ham left Villa Park having lost 3-0, and a turbulent
eight months began. Standing 18th then, Grant and his troops had to wait
nearly five more months for the table to show they were above the relegation
Ahead of the visit of Wigan Athletic on 27 November West Ham were bottom, so
the club designated the match a make-or-break "save our season" encounter. A
3-1 win followed but they remained 20th. When a Freddie Sears strike
confirmed a 2-0 win at Wolves on New Year's day, Grant's mantra that
fortunes would improve had a glimmer of credence.
Yet matters on and off the pitch were about to worsen for him. On 8 January
Karren Brady, the vice-chairman, used her Saturday newspaper column to
reveal that the deal to sign Steve Sidwell from Aston Villa was vetoed by
her, not the manager, who then had to deal with awkward questions regarding
this intervention. A week later West Ham were bottom, following a
soul-destroying 5-0 reverse at Newcastle United, and Arsenal were due in
That morning, reports claimed that Grant would be sacked whatever the
result, with Martin O'Neill lined up to replace him. The owners were forced
into denials and the sense of turbulence surrounding the club was heightened
by the rumours. Arsenal defeated West Ham 3-0 but somehow Grant clung on.
Cottee again: "The owners deserve credit for rescuing West Ham when they did
as the club would have gone bankrupt. But since then they've made mistakes
including the handling of the Martin O'Neill situation. If they'd sacked
Avram Grant first they'd have got Martin."
Since that farrago, West Ham have escaped the dreaded drop zone for only a
fortnight in March. Now, four defeats from their past four outings – West
Ham's poorest sequence since the campaign's opening – have them once more in
"The ramifications of relegation don't bear thinking about," Cottee says.
"They're £80m in debt [and] they pay a fortune to the players in wages. The
top ones would leave, the younger players would be vulnerable to the bigger
clubs: exactly what happened in 2003 when the club was relegated. And, they
move to the new stadium in 2014."
If West Ham overcome the legal challenges by Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton
Orient they will have to invest at least £95m in Stratford. This includes a
£40m loan from Newham council, extending the debt to £120m. The OPLC says it
has assurances that relegation would not affect the club's ability to take
over the stadium, and Ian Tomkins, the club's Olympic Stadium director,
says: "The business plan has been modelled on different scenarios. The
stadium is not only about West Ham United – concerts, potential naming
rights, there's a whole range of [financial] opportunities.
"It is about taking West Ham United to the next level, breaking out of what
can become an almost cyclical pattern of staying up and then the threat of
Grant is still hopeful he can arrest the pattern now, and start building a
firm base over the summer, with Premier League status intact. He says: "I
like this stage of the season because you see the real character, the real
Hammers won't let stars go cheaply
Harry Harris, ESPNsoccernet
April 29, 2011
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has told ESPNsoccernet that the club's top
stars won't be sold off on the cheap even if the east London club are
relegated. Football Writers' Player of the Year Scott Parker would almost
certainly be signed by a Premier League club, while Carlton Cole, Robert
Green and captain Matthew Upson, who is out of contract at the end of the
season, would also likely move on. But owners Sullivan and David Gold have
pledged to stick around should the worst case scenario occur, and the top
players will have to stay too, unless interested clubs pay the market value.
"Nobody will be sold cheap. If we do not get a genuine market price, they'll
all be playing in the Championship next year," Sullivan told ESPNsoccernet.
Sullivan has openly confessed there will be a £40 million "black hole" in
the club's finances if they go down, but the two owners will personally meet
the deficit and won't rely on player sales to cover it.