Hammers forward Sam Baldock is raring to go, if selected, for the big Monday
Sam Baldock is banking on Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday night to add to
his impressive goal haul this season. The West Ham United striker has eight
goals in eleven matches this season, including six in his first seven for MK
Dons. Baldock had a rare barren night away to Southampton last Tuesday,
although had to sacrifice his main striker's role when moved out wide, as
injuries took their toll on the manager's original tactics. Speaking
exclusively to West Ham TV, he said: "I am fit and ready to go. Obviously I
don't select the team but I am hoping to get on the pitch."
The striker is keen, like his team-mates, to make amends for the setback at
Southampton last week. "I don't think anyone can say that they individually
performed to their best. It was a disappointing performance from all of us.
It is one we are looking to learn from, put past us and improve on."
Baldock scored two goals in the emphatic 4-0 defeat of Blackpool in his
previous outing but was unable to continue his front-two partnership with
John Carew for too long against the Saints after injury forced a reshuffle.
Not that you will find the 23-year-old complaining. "Unfortunately the
manager did have to change it due to Matt's injury, I think I can adapt
quite well and play in other positions. I will play anywhere for the team."
Wherever he lines up, Baldock knows he has to keep on performing for fans
and team-mates alike. "A lot of them wouldn't have watched the Football
League, They wouldn't know an awful lot about me. It is good to show them
that I can score at this level and hopefully show that I can potentially
score more as well."
He played against the Seagulls twice last season on their march to
promotion, with Baldock winning one and losing one. He knows what to expect
on Monday night.
"They are a good side, they play a good brand of football as well. The
manager has got them playing well. They are on the back of a real high from
last season. I played against them a couple of times. They are tough to beat
and it will be a good test for us."
As ever, the away support will be key and the forward is relishing running
out in front of the claret and blue army once again. "The support will be
tremendous, there is nothing like going away from home and hearing the away
fans. They are unbelievable here. It is like nothing I've seen before, and
like the home fans are the same to be fair. The atmosphere the West Ham fans
can generate is special."
Brighton v West Ham
Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:27 UK
Venue: AMEX Stadium Date: Monday, 24 October Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage:
Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC
Gonzalo Jara Reyes is expected to make his Brighton debut following his loan
move from West Brom. Winger Will Buckley (hamstring) is back in the squad
but Spanish midfielder Vicente (thigh) is a doubt.
West Ham's injury problems have worsened, with Henri Lansbury (knee) and
Matt Taylor (calf) now sidelined. James Tomkins (groin), Carlton Cole
(knee), Guy Demel (hamstring), Gary O'Neil (ankle) and goalkeeper Robert
Green (knee) are also out.
• This is the 20th competitive meeting. Brighton have won five of the
previous 19, West Ham nine, with five drawn.
• Their most recent meeting was in the third round of the FA Cup in
January 2007, when West Ham won 3-0 at Upton Park. But in the league,
Brighton are unbeaten in three against them (W2, D1).
• The Hammers' only away league win over Brighton was their first
visit in October 1978, when they prevailed 2-1 in the old Second Division.
Brighton & Hove Albion
• Having completed their first six Championship matches without a
defeat, Brighton have now played six without a win.
• They have picked up three points out of 18, since a 1-0 triumph away
to lowly Bristol City on 10 September.
• Should Gus Poyet's side lose, it would be their second home defeat,
and equal the number they suffered in the whole of last season's
title-winning campaign in
West Ham United
• West Ham have won one of their last four league games, after
completing a seven match unbeaten sequence.
• They are the only club not to have lost a Championship match this
season when two or more goals were conceded, although they have lost three
by a 1-0 margin, including Tuesday's trip to leaders Southampton.
• If Sam Allardyce's side can add four goals to the 11 netted on the
road already this season, it will take their all-time total of league goals
scored away from home to 2,000.
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United - Match Preview
Filed: Sunday, 23rd October 2011
By: Preview Percy
Preview Percy is fed up with the change of date for this one. The new date
clashes with the night the girl comes round to do his bunions apparently.
Meanwhile he's taken time out from laughing at pictures of Ferguson and
Terry to have a look at Monday night's visit to Falmer. As usual,John
Northcutt takes a a less jaundiced look at the history between the clubs at
Next up we have a quick trip down the M23 to Falmer where our hosts will be
Brighton and Hove Albion in a match that, annoyingly for most, has been
shifted from a supporter friendly Saturday to an irritating Monday night
kick-off as Rupert Murdoch tries to recoup some of the damages that he's had
to fork out over the phone hacking scandal. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Like us, our hosts are spending their first season at this level for a
while, having entered the division from the opposite direction to us as
champions of the third division last term. That trophy came as they saw out
their final days at the Withdean Stadium, a stadium so unsuited to
association football that I actually played there a few times during my
playing days in the amateur game. Of course leather footballs were proper
leather footballs back then. None of your plastic coated stuff, when it was
damp they soaked up the water and took on the weight of ten Benni McCarthys,
making headers a dangerous proposition. In fact .........(at this point
Percy rambled on for ages about the carpet slippers they play in these days
rather than proper boots, A-Z half time scoreboards and playing football on
mudheaps before we prodded him with a stick to get him back on track).
After planning issues of Olympic proportions – including someone patiently
explaining them to John Prescott – they finally moved into the "Amex" (as it
is colloquially known) this season having left the Goldstone Ground 14 years
ago. It's a salutary thought that a child born in Liverpool on the day
Brighton played their last game at the Goldstone Ground was probably a
parent themselves by the time Brighton finally got a proper home of their
own. In one of those nice coincidences that sometimes occur in the football
world, Brighton's first competitive opponents at Falmer were Doncaster
Rovers, the team who supplied the opposition for their last match at the
Goldstone before they departed for Gillingham (did Ryanair have anything to
do with that one?). The new stadium holds 22,374 which prompts the question
"why?" I mean could they really not have squeezed one more seat in there to
make it a round number?
The manager who guided them to promotion last year is the former Chelsea and
Spurs midfielder Gus Poyet, who is one of the better regarded young managers
in the Football League. Brighton is Poyet's first full managerial role,
though he had a spell at Spurs as assistant to Juande Ramos under whom Spurs
won the League Cup in 2008. A poor start to 2008/09 saw Ramos sacked and
with him went Poyet. Poyet resurfaced a year later at Brighton, appointing
Mauricio Taricco, of 27 minute Hammers career fame, as his assistant.
Taricco's act in tearing up both his contract at the same time as tearing up
his hamstring was described by Alan Pardew as one of the most honest acts
he'd ever encountered in football, and, of course, he'd know a thing or two
Brighton started their season like a train – one of those high speed ones
rather than the usual commuter cattle trucks. For a while they were neck and
neck with fellow promotees Southampton at the top. However, they have gone a
bit off the boil in recent weeks and currently sit in 12th place which,
although it sounds a low place to occupy, still sees them only two points
shy of ourselves.
Their overall record is won 5, drawn 4 and lost 3, whilst at home they've
beaten Doncaster (2-1) and Peterborough (2-0), drawn with Blackpool (2-2),
Leeds (3-3) and 'Ull (0-0) and lost (annoyingly for them) to Crystal Palace
(1-3). Their last outing saw them draw 1-1 at relegation-bound Millwall
where they missed an early penalty before Noone (that's pronounced to rhyme
with the word for midday as with the lead singer of Herman's Hermits, rather
than "no one") gave them the lead. Millwall's equaliser came late on with a
shot from distance that some suggested the 'keeper might have done a bit
The first choice 'keeper is Casper Ankergren, who arrived in May 2010 as a
free agent having spent a couple of years with Leeds. The 31 year-old has
been capped at age level by Denmark but despite an appearance in the full
squad about 5 years ago he never made the step up to full international
Their first choice right-back is the Spaniard (or, if you prefer, Basque)
Inigo Calderon. Calderon arrived Alaves on a short term deal in the January
2010 transfer window. There was some confusion at the end of 2009/10 as the
short term deal expired. The player kept his options open and, with
Southampton making a financial offer that trumped that offered by the
Seagulls, it looked like a trip along the A27 was on the cards. However,
after some give and take, the player ended up signing a 3 year deal to stay
with Brighton, the deal reportedly containing a clause allowing the club to
cancel after 6 months should a hip injury sustained towards the end of last
term not heal up to the club's satisfaction.
Calderon has a compatriot in the squad (if you ignore that whole Basque
Country/Spain thing, which, for the sake of the link, we will) in the form
of Vicente Rodriguez. The 30 year-old midfielder/winger came in this
September having been released by Valencia with whom he had spent eleven
years, gaining some 38 full Spanish caps along the way. His later years with
Valencia were marred by injury – something that often brought him into
conflict with the club management and medical team who apparently suggested
that the player's problems might be more mental than physical in nature. The
whole affair culminated in the player being fined over comments made
regarding the standard of his medical care. Tellingly, perhaps, the player
was neither starter nor sub for the Millwall match.
Also in midfield they have Matt Sparrow who, after a lifetime with
Scunthorpe involving over 300 matches and a testimonial at Glanford Park,
arrived on the South coast a couple of years ago. Sparrow seems to have
recovered from a spell in prison in 2001 for some unspecified "youthful
misdemeanours" and his term inside is mentioned here only because it tickles
this old man's sense of humour to make mention of Sparrow doing bird.
The big signing of recent times was, of course, Craig Mackail-Smith or CMS
as we will refer to him to save my arthritic wrists from further punishment.
Like that other chap that moved to Reading – La Fondre – his name always
seemed to crop up as having scored every week on the highlights programmes.
Although the recognition on my part may have been due at least in part to
his double-barrelled surname sticking in the mind, his record with
Peterborough was indeed genuinely prolific, something that led us to bid for
the player during the last window. That we didn't sign the player is put
down to the fact that we dithered about over the fee for a while, something
that the player took (rightly or wrongly) as a sign of doubt on our part. He
made his full Scotland debut back in March and scored the only goal in their
historic win against Liechtenstein. More impressively the player had a
decent game in the sweaties' recent 3-1 defeat by Spain, winning the penalty
that led to the Scottish goal. Bizarrely, he also represented the England
"C" team whilst playing in the Conference for Dagenham & Redbridge,
prompting the questions a) who knew we had a "C" team and b) why on earth
did we put out the "D" team against Montenegro the other week? CMS has
netted 5 times in 12 league appearances for the Seagulls this term so the
step up a division is not one that seems to have bothered him any.
CMS was partnered in midweek by Will Hoskins. Hoskins was another summer
arrival, coming in for an undisclosed fee from Bristol Rovers. Hoskins was
preferred to Ashley Barnes for the Millwall game. If Mackail-Smith's England
C cap is a weird one, the fact that Barnes has an Austrian U20 appearance
under his belt is stranger still. Barnes owes his cap to a grandmother from
that part of the world, though the fact that the cap awarded three years ago
has never been followed up may indicate that this is not going to be one of
the more long-lived international careers.
Talking of relations, there are two more players in the squad with familiar
family names. Roland Bergkamp was another striker arrival in the summer. The
20 year-old is nephew of serial elbower and planephobe Dennis. He has yet to
feature in the league this season. Kazenga Lua Lua who is either the brother
or cousin of the Blackpool forward Lomana Tresor depending on who you
believe, is in his third loan spell at the club, despite coming with a
recommendation to Poyet from Dennis Wise.
Us, well we had chances down at Southampton by all accounts. However, most
reports suggest that that the performance was a bit lacking throughout. How
much of that was down to the enforced changed caused by Taylor's injury
early on is debatable, though it obviously didn't help any to make forced
changes to a side that showed signs of gelling in the previous match. Taylor
is a major doubt once more as is James Tomkins who is still struggling with
the groin problem that saw him miss Southampton. Lansbury will be out for a
few weeks yet with another knee injury, presumably having caught it from
Green. Demel? Hamstring still, but Carlton Cole may have recovered from the
foot injury that has kept him from involvement in recent weeks.
As for our new potential signing, I have this to say: No.
As mentioned in the lines drafted for Southampton, consistency has been an
issue for us this season. It was interesting to note that, notwithstanding
the manager's comments to the effect that the team is likely to change week
by week depending on the opposition, in midweek Mr Allardyce initially kept
faith with the 4-4-2 that did so well against Blackpool. The injuries we
have are such that a 4-4-2 would not be out of the question should the
manager desire it and if that's the case and if Cole is available for
selection expect him to be on the bench. However, I do think that if we go
for one up front (or three if you subscribe to the manager's theory) Cole is
Mr Allardyce's striker of choice for that role, in which case messrs Carew
and Baldock might expect some bench time. That would be a bit of a shame (in
my opinion). We've been short of a decent striking partnership for years and
there have been signs that this could be a prolific pairing should it be
given time to develop. This would mean picking a formation and sticking with
it at the start of matches at least, something that the manager's comments
suggest isn't going to be an option.
Prediction? Well despite the setback last week I think we'll get the full
three out of this one – especially if we can pick up an early goal to settle
things, 2-1 to us then and back to second spot.
Enjoy the game!
When Last We MetThe last time we met on their turf we drew 2-2 at the
Withdean. Goals from Reo-Coker and Harewood were cancelled out by a pair
from Hammond – the equaliser coming in stoppage time (ho hum). There were
unedifying scenes as the players came off as Repka and some supporters
exchanged views. More recently we beat them 3-0 in a third round cup tie in
2007 with goals from Noble (his first for the club), Cole and Mullins. There
were more unedifying scenes as Alan Curbishley walked out of a press
conference in protest at some poor journalism.
Referee: Kevin Friend – only had us once in my memory - the 0-0 draw at home
to Blackpool last term where he managed to mystify everyone with a string of
baffling decisions straight out of the twilight zone of refereeing.
Danger Man:Craig Mackail-Smith seems at home on the south coast and gave a
decent showing for Scotland v Spain recently. Will have a point to prove
over our transfer window "dithering"
Daft Fact of The Week: Had Sky not messed up the fixture date, those in
Brighton for Saturday evening would have been greeted by people wandering
round dressed as zombies. The gathering of people pretending to be brain
dead was part of the annual Beach Of The Dead celebration and not, as you
might have thought, a Mike Dean tribute act.
Stat man John: Northcutt's corner
Previous Away Friendlies v Southampton
Aug 1988 0-1
Aug 1979 1-3 Jennings (Tennant Caledonian Cup )
Nov 1962 5-0 Scott 2 Crawford Dear Sealey
Jan 1962 1-3 Woosnam
Jan 1959 3-3 Keeble 2 Dick
Matt Kingsley A 1904-05
Frank Lampard A 1982-83
Hayden Mullins H 2004-05
They Played For Both
Alan Curbishley, Sam Jennings, Paul Kitson, Bertie Lutton,Dave Sexton, Mike
Small, Sam Small, Bobby Zamora.
Roger Johnson Was Spot On
Filed: Sunday, 23rd October 2011
By: Gary Portugal
Generally speaking ,when a player takes on his own supporters he is on a
hiding to nothing . And certainly the case with managers. After all,to a
certain extent,the supporters pay the players' wages. But a situation at
Wolves recently proves to be the exception to the rule and hits on what has
become a real issue in the game.
After starting the season decently,Wolves have struggled lately, and in a
match at Molineux recently ,longstanding Wolves player Karl Henry was booed
off the pitch and subject to some pretty nasty abuse. Henry has been in the
headlines for all the wrong reasons of late,given his much publicized
Twitter spat with Joey Barton. But teammate Roger Johnson's response to the
abuse that Wolves fans meted out to Karl Henry was brave, and dare I say,
Given that Johnson has only been a Wolves player for a brief period of
time,having come from Birmingham, you could argue that he should just keep
quiet and not argue with his own fans. But Johnson was having none of it,
and publicly blasted Wolves supporters for the way in which they abused Karl
Henry, a player who arguably helped Wolves get promoted and has helped them
avoid relegation since. Roger Johnson is absolutely correct.
These days, supporters seem to think that because they pay their money for a
ticket,that they are entitled to abuse, swear at and boo their own players
whenever they fancy it. The attitude seems to be that professional
footballers are way overpaid, and that many of them are hardly behave in a
manner that befits role models, and as such deserve all the abuse that they
While it may be true that footballers receive a king's ransom for kicking a
ball, especially in a recession with rising unemployment, it is totally out
of order for supporters to abuse players in the way that some do.
Roger Johnson knew that he would come in for heavy criticism himself when he
blasted Wolves supporters but that didn't stop him. And I don't really blame
him. He may have felt that from a team spirit point of view, Henry needed to
be given some support, and that the rest of the Wolves' players needed to be
shown the importance of looking after their own. If Henry was going to come
in for criticism ,then they ALL were. It was a collective failure, not a
failure of Karl Henry in particular. Perhaps Johnson felt that it was
important to knock it on the head early in the season with supporters, to
get them to realize that the abuse is counter-productive - and it is
In any situation, be it football or any other sport, people are not going to
respond well to being sworn at,insulted and booed.Yet we at West Ham are no
strangers to abusing our own players. We've done it to Carlton Cole and Luis
Boa Morte for years. And did the abuse turn them into better players?
I am the first to admit that at times Coles' laziness or immobility is
annoying as hell-but there are ways of dealing with that - and effing and
blinding isn't one of them. Ever notice how many "big name" players arrive
at Upton Park and struggle? Countless names over the years ,and the newest
crop includes Bentley before he got injured and now Lansbury.
It's been many years since Upton Park was a fortress. Probably since the
2001-02 season when we finished seventh before sending David James, Joe Cole
and Trevor Sinclair off to the World Cup. One of the reasons for that is the
manner in which we abuse our players when they underperform. So we vent our
frustration, and what good comes of it? We have a really poor home record in
recent seasons, despite sitting second in the table at October 20th. Any
wonder why? It's not often that I will take the side of a professional
footballer, especially when he is criticizing supporters. But in this
instance Roger Johnson had it spot on ,and West Ham supporters would do well
to take note.
The Injuries Mount Up, as Loan and Free Agent Options Are Assessed!
October 23rd, 2011 - 1:02 pm by S J Chandos
West Ham Till I Die
It has been confirmed by the club that Henri Lansbury has picked up a knee
injury and will be sidelined for at least two months. This is the latest of
a number of recent injury blows that have hit Sam Allardyce's squad.
Indeed, Lansbury joins Green, Demel, Tomkins, Bentley, Cole and Taylor on
the sidelines at the club. Thankfully, Sam Allardyce was largely successful
in the summer in bringing in the players to ensure that we possess adequate
cover across most positions. However, further injuries will undoubtedly
severely test the strength in depth of our playing resources.
In response, Sam Allardyce is currently looking at all possible available
options in terms of loan deals and free agent signings. The evidence of this
is the fact that El Hadj Diouf has been taken on trial, with view to
potentially signing him on a one year contract. That is a possible signing
that will not go down too well with many Hammers supporters, who well
remember the spitting incidents at Anfield nine years ago. Diouf is one
player under serious consideration, but there might be others?
There is little immediate prospect of Allardyce recalling some of our
youngsters currently out on loan to other clubs. He has confirmed that he
is not contemplating calling upon them just yet, because he feels that they
are better deployed playing and gaining experience out on loan. Indeed, it
must be said that most of these loan deals have, so far, proven successful.
With the likes of Hall, Montano and Lee performing very well and picking up
invaluable playing experience, it is hard, at this particular juncture, to
disagree with Allardyce's point of view.
However, there is possibily an exception to that general rule, young Jordan
Spence is currently with Bristol City, who are having a bad time with
results. The one thing that you do not want is for a loan to become
counter-productive and damage a youngsters confidence and development Is
there an inherent danger that Spence will suffer as a result of playing in
a poor Bristol City side? It does beg the question whether Jordan Spence
should be recalled from loan (if it is at all possible under the agreement
with Bristol City) and re-introduced to the Hammers squad? After all,
Tomkins injury absence means that we are down to our last two first choice
centre-halves, in Faye and Reid, and the return of Spence could bolster
central central defensive and right-back cover.
I am really looking forward to the Brighton match tomorrow night. I have
given myself a rare day off tomorrow and a group of us are going to enjoy a
day on the south coast before seeing the match. It will probably be
torrential rain knowing my luck, but I have not enjoyed a day in the pub
with mates for yonks, so that will not be so bad! We really do need a Notts
Forest away type, clinical performance and three points. We must shake off
the disappointment of the Southampton defeat and get firmly back on track.
With our injury absentees, there is going to be an emphasis upon the West
Ham produced lads like Noble, Sears and Collison to perform. It is a
challenge, but it is also a great opportunity for them. They are a cut
above the Championship and they need to start making their class tell.
I will stick myself my original prediction, Brighton 1 – West Ham 3. COYI!
Brighton-West Ham Preview: Seagulls looking to end poor run
Published 22:05 23/10/11 By Neil McLeman
Craig Mackail-Smith wants to be facing superstars every week in the Premier
League next season after bringing home Gerard Pique's shirt from Scotland
duty. The Brighton striker has established himself as an international
regular this year after making his debut against Brazil in March. He moved
to the Amex Stadium in a £3.25million deal in the summer and helped Brighton
to the top of the Championship. A run of six games without a win has seen
Gus Poyet's side slide down to 12th place before tonight's visit of West
Ham. But Mackail-Smith insists the Seagulls can still give him regular
top-flight football next year. "It was fantastic to play Spain and that is
what you aim to do – to play against the world's best, and to play the full
90 minutes there was superb," said the 27-year-old. "It was just nice to be
involved in the game. I got Pique's shirt at the end, which was nice. I want
more of that now. "At Brighton we have had a poor run, but we have improved
in the last two games. "The aim is still to get promoted, and we want to be
pushing to get into the Premier League."
Brighton boss Poyet wants Mackail-Smith to be selected by Stuart Pearce for
the Great Britain team in London 2012. "I would love 'Macca' to play in the
Olympic Games if he wants to," said the Uruguayan. "It is one of the biggest
stages in sport, so if he got the chance I think it would be great for him.
"It's a unique chance. It is good for once they are playing as a British
team." West Ham are likely to be without Carlton Cole, while Matt Taylor and
Henri Lansbury were injured in the defeat at Southampton. Jack Collison is
likely to figure.