The manager has spoken to the media ahead of Saturday's npower Championship
visit of the Tykes
Sam Allardyce has held his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's
npower Championship visit of Barnsley to the Boleyn Ground. The manager said
the Hammers were determined to bounce back to winning ways after
disappointing defeats at the hands of Burnley and Reading in their previous
two fixtures. However, Big Sam admitted his team selection for this weekend
would be limited by injuries and suspensions. The boss also discussed his
plans for the January transfer window and the benefits of fielding a fit and
settled side. Here is what Big Sam had to say:
What sort of week has it been for you, Sam?
"Not a great one. We're all disappointed that we've gone from our highest
point of the season to the lowest point in two games. That's football for
you and what everybody turns up to see. When it happens, it's great but
sometimes it goes the other way and two defeats on the trot not what we
foresaw. "Certainly a draw at Reading was the least I expected. If we'd have
lost, it's fine to lose a game of football. But to have lost a game by
losing our discipline and having two players sent-off, it has had
consequences in losing points we might have got. The follow-on is that we
haven't got Joey O'Brien for the Barnsley game and we haven't got Jack
Collison for three games. "With our squad, as bare as it was at the time, is
now even barer. We go into the Barnsley game with less players than we had
last week and that's a dangerous situation for anybody, whatever league they
are playing in. We cannot select the best team we have from the squad we
Was Reading a case of the players not being able to handle having their
feathers ruffled by the opposition?
"In the end it got too much for two players who got sent off. The
disappointing thing for me was that I didn't expect them to score
immediately after we had a player sent off. "If the free-kick had occurred
in front of our goal and the lad had bent it in the top corner, you hold
your hands up and say there was little or nothing you could do about it.
When they put, at the very best, a half-decent ball into our box and we
couldn't deal with it and they score, it compounds our man getting sent off.
"Instead of being in a position where you have got a point that you want to
keep, you've got nothing and you have to come out and score a goal to get a
point. Then you get what we got jn the end and that was nothing. "On top of
that, we got another player sent off and as he walked off the pitch, he took
the free-kick and scored again. That's the real disappointment for me - that
the players left on the field didn't take the responsibility to protect what
we had already got."
What state is the squad in ahead of Saturday's visit of Barnsley?
"In terms of numbers, we've still got very few available for selection
against Barnsley on Saturday. It's difficult for me because I'm going to
have to try to fit a system around what is available, rather than dropping
players into a system which has been very good for us this season and got us
to where we are. "It's about what players I have available for this week and
playing a system for this week that will suit the players available. Then,
we'll talk about Barnsley's strenghths and weaknesses after that and go out
there and try to get a victory. "We've still got David Bentley out for the
whole season, Winston Reid, Sam Baldock, Matt Taylor and Guy Demel injured
and Joey O'Brien and Jack Collison unavailable. That's 50 per cent of a team
and that's very difficult to cope with, but we'll have to. If we want to get
to where we want to get to, we'll have to dig a result out."
Will anybody be back this weekend?
"No, not really. Everybody is making progress and getting a bit closer.
"Ruud Boffin has started training after dislocating his finger. Winston Reid
is close to starting training and Sam Baldock has started running. Gary
O'Neil has started to play games but David Bentley's is a long-term injury.
"We've just got to get through the next game or two before we start to get
You will have to rise to the occasion against Barnsley, though, whoever is
"Nobody will give us any leeway - certainly not a full house of home fans -
if we don't win, irrespective of how many injuries we have got. They won't
see that come Saturday if we don't perform how we can and get the result.
"I'm not saying it is their responsibility to take that into consideration,
but it is my responsibility to point out where we are at the minute. "That's
why we'll be going all guns blazing to try to relieve the situation in
January, but it won't be easy to find the right sort of player in that
month. "We're not feeling as well as we should be feeling at this stage of
the season. We could be waking up in the morning saying 'It's not that bad
lads because we're still second in the division and two points ahead' but
that's not the case for me. "The case is that we haven't done our job
correctly in the last two games. It's not been bad luck. In the main, it's
been our own fault why we've lost two games. It's a great shame to go from
the top end of our game to be kicked right where it hurts and we need to
respond quickly. "Sir Alex Ferguson says a good team, when things go wrong,
responds immediately. Man United responded by winning 4-1. We've got to try
to respond. I'm not saying we'll win 4-0 against Barnsley but if we win then
it puts the doubts in everybody's minds to rest and we can move forward. "If
we don't win, the pressure gets even greater."
Presumably you have been identifying targets to try to sign when the
transfer window opens in January?
"I've got about 25 names on my pad already, so they're all flooding in from
the agents about what is available. What is important is to sift through the
information that we have and try to make the right choices as soon as we
possibly can and bring the right players in in January. "We're still
obviously light in the central defensive position and we're very fortunate
that James Tomkins and Abdoulaye Faye have been able to play the last six
games with no cover and get through it. "Had we not had those two, it might
have been worse, because if you lose key players the results get worse. Look
at what has happened to Newcastle all of a sudden - they were top of the
league because their back five was the same every single game. Now all of a
sudden it's not and they can't win a game. That's the difference it makes
for you. "What we've done is been very good at covering up injuries with
players who have stepped in and kept the team as strong as it was. That's
getting towards the end of its life now. We need as many players back, fit
and raring to go as we can."
Youth Cup draw on Friday
Tony Carr and the Academy are looking forward to learning their next
opponents in the competition
West Ham United are awaiting the FA Youth Cup fourth-round draw this Friday.
The Hammers won through with a thrilling 3-2 defeat of Wolverhampton
Wanderers last week, a notable achievement given their hosts had been on a
seven-match unbeaten run before the Molineux tie. Tony Carr's team lost in
the fourth-round stage last season at home to Manchester United, who would
go on to lift the trophy. The Red Devils are again in the hat for the next
stage, but the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool have already been eliminated.
Speaking in his column for this Saturday's match against Barnsley,
Joint-Chairman David Gold has hailed the young Hammers. He said: "I saw a
few of the lads at the training ground after watching the highlights in the
analysis room and it was clear they were excited at their deserved victory
and full of confidence for the fourth round. "We would all of course be
disappointed as fans if at least a couple of these talented youngsters don't
emerge as stars at West Ham United."
To whet your appetite for the fourth round, you can watch all the best
action from the Wolves match exclusively on West Ham TV. whufc.com will then
have the draw
news as soon as it is made on Friday, along with instant reaction from Tony
McNaughton goes for treatment
Last Updated: December 15, 2011 5:27pm
AFC Wimbledon's on-loan defender Callum McNaughton has returned to West Ham
for treatment on a knee injury. The 20-year-old suffered the injury in
training this week and has been ruled out of Saturday's trip to Rotherham,
although the Dons are hopeful he will be back to continue his loan spell
over Christmas. McNaughton has 15 made appearances for the Dons since he
initially joined in September and last week extended his stint at
Kingsmeadow until January 4. His absence on Saturday is likely to mean a
long-awaited debut for fit-again Mat Mitchell-King, the summer signing from
Allardyce - Injuries no excuse
West Ham manager wary of expectation level
Last Updated: December 15, 2011 8:39pm
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce knows a full house at Upton Park against
Barnsley on Saturday will demand victory, despite the club's injury
problems. The Hammers are missing a host of players including Winston Reid,
Matt Taylor and Sam Baldock through injury, while Jack Collison and Joey
O'Brien are suspended. But they desperately need to bounce back from defeats
by Burnley and Reading if they are to keep the pressure on leaders
Southampton. Nobody will give us any leeway - certainly not a full house of
home fans - if we don't win, irrespective of how many injuries we have got,"
said Allardyce. "They won't see that come Saturday if we don't perform how
we can and get the result. "I'm not saying it is their responsibilty to take
that into consideration, but it is my responsibility to point out where we
are at the minute. "We'll be going all guns blazing to relieve the situation
West Ham Sam's in a state about losing number eight
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, December 15, 2011
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his team can only afford to lose three
more games this season if they want to secure automatic promotion back to
the Premier League. The Hammers manager was left stunned by his side's 3-0
capitulation at Reading on Saturday - their fifth of the campaign - and he
believes that they cannot allow themselves to lose many more. "We are second
at the moment, but at this stage of the season to stay there and to keep
going where you want to go, you don't want to lose two games on the trot,"
said Allardyce as the Hammers defeat on Saturday followed on from a 2-1 loss
at home to Burnley. "We have lost five now and this is closer and closer
towards the eight for the season. "If we get past eight, it is more and more
difficult to get automatic promotion."
Allardyce is certainly right in what he is saying if you look at the last
two seasons. QPR and Norwich City lost six and eight respectively, while in
2009/10 Newcastle were beaten just four times on the way to the title, with
West Brom suffering seven defeats as they finished as runners-up. However,
if you look further back it does not back up his claim, with all bar one of
the promoted clubs from the previous three seasons losing more than eight -
2007 champions Sunderland actually lost 12!
Allardyce is a worried man at the moment though with injuries and now
suspensions hitting his Championship campaign. Guy Demel was the latest
injury victim as he was stretchered off after just four minutes at the
Madejski Stadium. "It is a thigh injury," confirmed the manager. "We are in
serious trouble player-wise unfortunately at this stage, when there is
nothing we can do until January. "Obviously Joey O'Brien and Jack Collison
will be missing; Guy Demel will be out; Matt Taylor and Winston Reid are
missing; David Bentley's missing as well. "So we are struggling to get 11
out, but we will just have to try and cope as best we can until we get one
or two back."
Allardyce will look for a reaction from his team against Barnsley on
Saturday, especially after the side missed the chance to go to the top of
the table last weekend.
"We tossed it away against Reading and we tossed last week's away as well,"
said the manager. "We are good at not taking the opportunity when it
arises." The West Ham boss will hope they are more successful this Saturday.
With Southampton playing 24 hours later, a win for the Hammers will thrust
them to the Championship summit.
West Ham make move to sign Barcelona striker
Thursday, December 15
West Ham are locked in a battle with Borussia Monchengladbach as they look
to sign Barcelona striker Jonathan Soriano. Soriano, 26, was the top scorer
for Barcelona B in the second tier last season, scoring an incredible 32
goals in 37 games. West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is keen to bolster his
forward line and reports in Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo suggest the
east London club are leading the chase for his signature. Allardyce has
already missed out on a deal for Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and wants to
bring a forward to the club as they look to secure promotion straight back
into the Premier League. But he will have to act fast as Borussia
Monchengladbach have also expressed an interest in the Spanish forward and
will make moves to sign him in January. Despite his amazing goalscoring
record for the second string team he is unlikely to make a breakthrough into
the Barcelona first-team and is keen to get showcase his talents at the
Reading manager rages after Collison 'horror' tackle
Anthony Smith . Published 15 Dec 2011 14:30 10 Comments
READING manager Brian McDermott has blasted Jack Collison for nearly ending
Jimmy Kebe's career. Collison was red carded for steaming into the Royals
winger during West Ham's 3-0 defeat at Madejski Stadium last weekend. Kebe,
27, was seen pulling up his socks while in possession of the ball, sparking
a furious reaction from 23-year-old Collison. McDermott initially played the
incident down and denied Kebe was showboating with Royals already 2-0 up and
Hammers down to 10 men.
But yesterday (Wednesday) he lambasted Collison's actions after reviewing
the video again. He told the Chronicle: "No way would we take the mickey out
of another player. Jimmy Kebe does that to his socks from time to time, I
have video evidence to prove it. "He did it with the ball at his feet at the
weekend which some may have construed as taking the mickey. "But he hasn't
meant it that way, it was just something he does." And he fumed: "I saw the
tackle and that could have ended Jimmy's career. How anybody can justify
that is beyond me. "Credit to Sam Allardyce because he didn't defend it and
said it came out of frustration. But that doesn't hide the fact one of my
players could have suffered serious injury."
The incident dominated both local and national airwaves after the match and
was debated on television. And McDermott fumed: "I listened to what was said
on tv and radio and I couldn't get my head around it. People were justifying
a tackle like that when some hadn't even seen the incident. "It was
ridiculous, He could have put Jimmy in hospital."
REALLY!! ???? - PeterR
Alvin Martin: 'Scousers and cockneys get on. It's the mickey-taking'
The great West Ham defender on the Hammers who nearly won the title, Rob
Lee's costliest miss and making Paul Ince cry
guardian.co.uk, Friday 16 December 2011 00.02 GMT
Hello Alvin, how are you? Not bad, Small Talk, how are you?
Good thanks. So you were playing football this morning? How did that go?
Yeah, it was against a team that won a competition through Nivea and it was
actually in Brentwood and I'm based in Romford. They were all young,
enthusiastic footballers. We had Ian Walker in goal, Ray Parlour, Rob Lee,
Luther Blisset, Tony Woodcock, Viv Anderson, Nigel Winterburn and Rob Jones,
so we had a fairly strong side. Unfortunately we didn't have any legs, so
they had plenty of legs over us. We passed the ball for fun, but every time
they broke forward they were a threat with their pace.
Small Talk is slightly wary of asking what the final score was. We got beat
90 minutes? Yeah, 90 minutes. I came through unscathed. I should also make
the point that Rob Lee cost us the game because he missed a penalty.
Missed or saved? He put it wide. And he didn't just put it a little bit
wide, he put it two yards wide. So Rob Lee is our official scapegoat.
It's kind of fitting that an England legends team should lose because of a
penalty. [Sustained chuckling] Yeah!
Obviously a big point in your career at West Ham was the 1985-86 season .
Yeah, we had a really good season. I think that was the only West Ham team I
played in that had a chance of winning the title.
Do you think you should have? Well everyone has different opinions. We have
get-togethers now and again and a lot of the lads say, "Oh maybe we could
have," but I'm still a little sceptical about whether we could have. That
year Liverpool were unbelievable. I think they won the last 12 or 13 games.
They went on an unbelievable run and it was a team that had been there, seen
it and done it. Them and Everton had won titles before, they knew what it
was about and although we went on a decent run we had a fixture pile-up. But
you have to look back and say whoever wins it was the best team and
Liverpool were. Kenny Dalglish was player-manager and I remember one
particular goal he scored at Stamford Bridge. They were the best side.
Being from Liverpool, what was it like coming up against those two sides? A
lot of people ask me that. There are so many links and similarities between
where I was brought up on the Dock Road in Liverpool and when I came down to
London and West Ham. I spent the first few years all around Plaistow and
Canning Town, so I think it was very similar. There was a banter, a wit and
even to this day I think scousers and cockneys get on well because there's a
mickey-taking culture that everyone enjoys.
Why do you think West Ham couldn't push on? It's still the same now. If you
have a good team, we knew you needed maybe one or two players to strengthen
it the following season, but I don't really believe that John Lyall was
given the brief or the funds to say, "Right, OK, go and get us the title
next year." I think West Ham's mentality at that time was, "OK, we've had a
good season, let's settle for where we are, we'll more or less stay in the
top half of the table." I think that was the way the club was run, on a firm
financial footing where they didn't want to take any risks. There was money
spent the following year but I don't think they went out with a view that
said, "We have a title-winning side here, let's push it on." Maybe another
board would have done it. I think the board was financially astute and was
running a club that wasn't going to lose money. If they wanted to push on,
they'd have had to spent big on two or three positions.
Were there negative feelings among the players about it? Not really. I think
it was a generation of players who all totally trusted the manager, John
Lyall, who was a father figure. John's word was taken and never opposed
because we all had so much respect for him. We always just left all the
football stuff to John and then he'd deal with the board and do the
contracts and spend the money. But John spent money as if it was his own. He
felt a real responsibility to the club and to the fans, which is admirable.
I wish he was still around now because a lot of people think spending will
save their job, whereas John always made every decision in West Ham's
interest and in the fans' interest.
Was he a major factor in you never wanting to leave West Ham? I had
opportunities to leave and other clubs could have bought me. There were
times when I could have joined the top clubs. Tottenham approached West Ham
three times during my career. I could have gone to Arsenal. But once John
said, "No, we're building a team around you." I was happy because it was
where I wanted to be. Even now, I have no regrets. I thoroughly enjoyed my
time at West Ham. Twenty-two years on, I have links and have stayed around
the area and have a close bond with the supporters. These days, because
players sometimes only stay for a year or two they don't really gain a
position of trust with the supporters. I was with a group of players who -
seven or eight of them - stayed for 10 years or more. They're synonymous
with the name West Ham and some of the modern-day players don't get that.
They get better financial rewards, but they don't get the link with the
community or the supporters.
Did Trevor Brooking mean that header in the 1980 FA Cup final? Knowing
Trevor, I don't think he did, I think it more or less just hit him on the
head. A lot of people remember the header because it was the winning goal
but people forget how well Trevor played that day. I think I've only looked
at that game once, maybe twice, but when you're involved in the game you
don't get a clear perception of it. You have certain memories like the final
whistle, but I looked at the game and I've never seen him work so hard in
the middle. That was probably in part due to the criticism he got from Brian
Clough, who had a pop at him prior to the game. Trevor went out there on a
mission. He didn't just create, he worked as hard as any player I've seen on
That was the last team outside the top division to win the FA Cup. Do you
ever get protective of that record now? No, I think those sort of things go
by. We had our moment in the FA Cup. Records are broken, young players
experience it and I love to see sides outside the top division get some
recognition because that's what the FA Cup's all about. I've got two boys
who play football. One's at Gillingham, one's at MK Dons and they're
hopefully both going to experience decent results against Premier League
opposition in the next round.
What's surprising about the 1980 final is that West Ham had so many good
players despite being in the second division, so you must have been
confident of beating Arsenal? On our day, we knew we could beat anybody.
John Lyall was in the middle of a rebuilding programme. He'd brought Ray
Stewart in, Alan Devonshire and I had made an impact and it was a team that
was full of internationals. As far as I'm concerned, Billy Bonds should have
had 50 caps. He only got one and that was down to injury. Trevor Brooking
was a class performer. We had Frank Lampard. We just struggled for
consistency, but the FA Cup wasn't about consistency. But coming to the
final, you know you're up against it because that was a good Arsenal side.
Of course, you qualified for the European Cup Winners' Cup and then played
against Dinamo Tblisi. Was that the most difficult game you've ever had?
Yeah. I think we played them at a stage where we hadn't lost at Upton Park
for 10 months so we were pretty formidable at home. All of a sudden, we were
playing this Georgian side who had a mid-season break and hadn't played any
football for six weeks. I think we went in there thinking these are there
for the taking. They had players like David Kipiani in midfield and
Aleksandr Chivadze, who was the captain. Ramaz Shengelia was another one.
After about 20 minutes we thought, "Whoa, whoa, what's going on here?" They
just totally outplayed us and gave us a footballing lesson. We lost it 4-1.
We were sitting in the back afterwards. There were about eight or nine of us
in there and none of us really spoke. We just sat shocked and numb because
we couldn't believe what had happened to us. There was a degree of naivety
and complacency, which we proved when we won 1-0 in the return leg. We were
an emerging side but they were a completely different level to anyone we'd
How disappointing was it to get dropped for England's game against Argentina
in 1986? It was strange. I'd flown my brother and dad out to Mexico City and
they watched me play against Paraguay. We won the game 3-0, but I must admit
I felt pretty jaded when we went out to do the preparation before the
tournament, so it wasn't a real surprise when Bobby Robson went for Terry
Fenwick in the first game. But when we got to the knockout stages and
Fenwick was suspended, I played. I felt me and Terry Butcher were
particularly strong and were a natural partnership. I just expected to play
and it wasn't until 14 hours before the game that Bobby Robson uttered those
words: "It's the same team apart from one change." I didn't expect it.
Would you have stopped Maradona? No. No, no, no, no! I looked at a man that
day that no one could have coped with. He was just head and shoulders above
Still, maybe England could have done with a defender who scored against
three different goalkeepers like you did for West Ham against Newcastle in
1986 ... [Chuckles] Well you select a defender to stop goals. Although if I
could have guaranteed him a hat-trick that day, Bobby Robson would have
said, "Play, we don't care about Maradona."
The Newcastle game must have been one of the more surreal moments of your
career? That was a special moment. You probably recognise the implication of
it later on. I remember scoring a goal and then the keeper going off, and
then I got another one, but I couldn't remember if I'd scored them against
different keepers. I didn't know that until the crowd started shouting my
name when we got a penalty at 7-1. Ray Stewart picked the ball up and the
crowd started shouting my name, so they were aware that I was on a hat-trick
against three different goalkeepers.
Peter Beardsley was in goal wasn't he? Peter was in goal. Not the tallest
goalkeeper I've ever scored against. Let's just say he didn't fill me with
fear when I was coming up to take the spot-kick.
He probably wouldn't fill Small Talk with fear either. Paul Ince is probably
scared of you though. Didn't you once make him cry during a game against
Luton? Incey was a young kid at the time and I was captain. Paul was still
finding his personality and he could be hard to deal with. He had a lot of
ability but that was matched by his arrogance. It wasn't easy. I possibly
wasn't as easy to deal with as I could have been. When a captain tells a
young player to do something and he doesn't do it on several occasions, it
comes to a stage where there's going to be fireworks so, erm . there was.
I'm not proud of it. But I helped Paul off the floor and to the dressing
room and I think he knew where I was coming from.
What did the players make of the way Ince left West Ham? I think the players
were pretty amiable about it. Incey was always destined to be a great player
and they don't come any bigger than Man United. Whether he could have done
it in a better way ... we have a difference of opinion on that, because I
think he could have. We all knew after playing 20 games that he was going to
be a big player.
But now you're mates? Oh yeah! Paul signed one of my lads from Liverpool to
play in goal for MK Dons. I have nothing but respect for him. You'd have to
ask Incey whether he has any respect for me!
Would you have a glass of beer or wine with him? A glass of wine. Usually
white. A bit of red in the winter. I think all my disciplined years are out
of the window now. I never used to drink as a player, apart from a couple of
pints on a Saturday night. But now if there's a glass of wine there, I'm
going to drink it.
Cheese or chocolate? I'm lucky like that, I can eat what I want. A lot of
cheese, a lot of chocolate.
What was the last film you saw? I love my films. I have stacks and stacks of
DVDs. I put Last of the Mohicans on the other day with Daniel Day-Lewis. It
hurts me to say it because he's a Millwall fan, but I think he's fantastic.
What would you put in Room 101? What's that?
[Small Talk embarks on a long and detailed explanation of what Room 101 is]
I wish I could get all the discourteous drivers on a ship and sail them away
and make sure it's a really horrible, wavy journey and when they get to
where they're going, keep them there.
It seems like you've thought about that a lot. Well I probably moan about it
Finally can you tell us a joke? It's got to be a one-liner really. I do a
lot of after-dinner stuff. But there's nothing I can tell you that's not
quite dirty. My favourite joke at the moment is one with a sound effect. But
you can't put that in print. [An extended silence] I remember driving
through Dagenham and my friend said "Miss Dagenham" and I thought he meant a
beauty contest, but it turned out he was just giving me advice! The only
reason I tell you that is because my wife's from Dagenham.
Thanks for that Alvin! Bye! Bye Small Talk!