Friday, February 21

Daily WHUFC News - 21st February 2014

Collins ready for Saints battle
James Collins is anticipating a stern examination when the Hammers take on

James Collins is ready for a battle with Southampton in the Barclays Premier
League on Saturday. The Hammers have enjoyed success against the Saints
since the pair returned to the Barclays Premier League in 2012, with Sam
Allardyce's side taking five points from three meetings with the South Coast
club. Mauricio Pochettino's men arrive in E13 sitting eighth in the table
and on a six-game unbeaten run. Central defender Collins is well aware of
Southampton's qualities, but having kept four clean sheets in a row, the
No19 is backing his team to produce again. He said: "It'll be a tough game.
We had a hell of a battle with them at St Mary's earlier in the season.
They're very good going forward and strong at the back as well - we're going
to have be on top form. "We are going into games with a lot of confidence,
and obviously with our fans behind us we'll be confident that we can get a
result. "We knew that if we could turn it around we'd move up the league
quite quickly. To get the points, and with the way we've been playing, it
has been even better. It's the first time we've had a proper fit squad and
the confidence is back, so it's looking up. "I don't think a lot has changed
defensively. We've kept 13 clean sheets in all, so we have been defending
well. There has been the odd game when we've let three in, but that's going
to happen with the quality of the Premier League. "We've defended reasonably
well all season, it was at the other end where we were struggling to score
goals. That's turned around now, Kev's bang in form, Andy's fit again and
Carlton's got five goals as well. There's competition for places and that's
why we've improved."

The Hammers have moved up to eleventh as a result of their recent
improvement, but Collins knows the job is not finished yet. He continued:
"it's the old cliche, we just have to get as many points as we can. We're
still not safe, so that's the main objective and then if we can finish there
or thereabouts where we were last year, that would be unbelievable after the
start. "You've got to get results against the teams in and around you - if
you start losing against them, that's when you're in trouble, but they're
all tough games now because every team you play against is either going for
Europe or fighting relegation. We're full of confidence, though, because of
the way we're playing and the results. "The spirit has always been the same.
Kev the captain is always promoting the team spirit, it's the best that I've
been around. When you're under pressure that's when team spirit comes to the
fore and that's shown. "It all started from that game at Stamford Bridge
when we got the 0-0 draw. That gave us massive confidence, and we've gone
from there."

AC nears return
Andy Carroll has been working hard in Dubai ahead of his return from

Andy Carroll is back at Chadwell Heath and raring to go after an extended
spell of warm-weather training in Dubai. The No9 misses out on Saturday's
Barclays Premier League visit of Southampton as he serves the third match of
his suspension, but will return to manager Sam Allardyce's squad for the
game at Everton on Saturday 1 March. To help his preparation for the final
eleven matches of the campaign, Carroll remained in Dubai with first team
rehab fitness coach Eduardo Parra - and teammate Joey O'Brien - after the
rest of the squad returned home last weekend to focus on Southampton.
Carroll and O'Brien, who is working his way back from a shoulder injury, put
in plenty of hard work during their extra time in the Middle East,
undergoing gym and football sessions at Dubai Sport City. Hammers assistant
manager Neil McDonald said: "Andy stayed in Dubai as a continuation of his
rehabilitation, really. He's worked very, very hard to get himself fit and
he's made an impact since coming back. "Unfortunately he got sent-off
against Swansea, and we still can't believe that happened. He's still got
one more game of his suspension against Southampton, so we decided to leave
him out there with the rehab fitness coach Eduardo. He was there with to do
some work in the sun, and Andy has come back ready and raring to go for

Big Sam on: Southampton
Big Sam met the press ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League match
against Southampton

Sam Allardyce met the assembled media on Thursday morning at Chadwell Heath
ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash against Southampton at the
Boleyn Ground. Big Sam was quizzed on the team's recent break to Dubai, his
side's excellent defensive record and the relegation battle.

Morning Sam, you're going for five clean sheets against Southampton, how
have you turned things around defensively?

SA: "I think that, without wanting to repeat myself consistently, from a
clean sheet point of view it's always been there until we had our real
injury problems in December and January. Prior to that, we started the
season with six clean sheets out of ten games. We had that spell where lots
of players were injured, in defence particularly and we lost that solid
base. Our problem prior to that was scoring goals to win matches, to get
more points and now the squad is bigger, better and fitter, we're putting
both ends together. We're keeping clean sheets, scoring goals and I think
that's been a huge turnaround for the whole squad, the team and the Club at
this stage. "We've got to really focus on trying to continue doing the
things we've been doing over the last few games and there's now quite a few
players in the squad that haven't started and want to start. It gives more
competition for places. We've got Winston Reid who can't get back in the
side at the moment. Our new signings can't get a game because since they've
been here we haven't lost a game. They're finding it hard to get in from a
starting basis because the players that are in at the moment are doing a
fantastic job. "They all need to be in it together because of what will
happen between now and the end of the season and they will all play a part.
We've got to try and maintain the run of results that we've had. We play
Southampton on Saturday and that will be a tough game and a big test for us.
We're looking forward to the game. We're a long way from being safe, a long
way. There's a long way to go in terms of trying to get safe so we must try
and maintain the good run of results we've had over the last few weeks."

How many points do you think will keep you safe this season?

SA: "It's been a strange season so it's difficult to estimate that. We've
put 13 points together in six games but we're only four points from the
third bottom scenario so it's going to be at least 38 points and based on
what's happening, it may be more than that. There hasn't been too many years
over the last ten years when you've had to have over 38 points but you
perhaps will this time."

You've been away in Dubai, how beneficial was that do you think?

SA: "Every year that I've been a manager over the course of the last 12
years or so a mid-winter break has always been the case. It always promotes
a better more energetic side when we arrive back and we hope that will
continue. The fact that we were going to Dubai in the first place spurred
the players on to continue to get the results that they got. Over the last
six games, Norwich City was our biggest physical output that we'd achieved
for the last two months and that always gives you a chance of getting a
result. The physical aspect of the game is so, so important today, it runs
alongside the technical and tactical aspects of the game."

You've mentioned the great run you're on since the Chelsea game. Have you
done anything differently since before that match?

SA: "I think that we've changed our approach slightly. The basics will
always stay the same but we've changed the training around a little bit. Try
not to put any extra pressure on the players, there's already enough
pressure on them. Try and keep a good mood around the training ground and
keep the players focused on what they need to do in both boxes. They need to
create opportunities and consistently hitting the target with chances
created will bring goals. At the other end you have to work hard to nullify
the opposition and try not to concede. Always try and score the first goal
and from our point of view our good run has happened because we've been able
to keep clean sheets and always score the first goal."

West Ham have kept faith with you whilst some clubs, to use Rene
Meulensteen's words, have hit the panic button and sacked their managers.
Does your
recent run vindicate the owner's decision?

SA: "We can only tell that at the end of the season when we've achieved what
we want to achieve and that's to finish as high up the table as we can.
We're not out of the woods yet but I think all of us have made great strides
and great efforts. Not just here at the training ground, but the
Joint-Chairmen and the Vice-Chairman Karren Brady on acquiring some new
players for us in January. Everybody's played their part to try and
alleviate the situation that we were in and it's my job to make sure that
pays off in the end. At the moment it's going well but Southampton, who are
back on a winning streak, will provide a very difficult game for us.
Hopefully in the form that we're in, we'll be big enough and strong enough
to conquer them."

It's quite remarkable that your side are top of the clean sheet league…

SA: "It's nice to be top of one league for a change! The basis of every
winning side is that you have to be good at defending. You have to be a
sound, solid defensive unit irrespective of how many talented players you
have and how many goals you're able to score. When you look across the
board, that is always the basis to start your success from."

And it's a battle of two sides that have a rich tradition of bringing
players through…

SA: "We would look at Southampton and say that they are the main club in the
country at the moment for producing their young players. They've got a lot
of success out of their academy. The change in focus in the academy
unfortunately is that quite often now, even at a very young age, you have to
buy them at some stage from somewhere else. They've been very successful in
both of those aspects and irrespective of the players that they've sold,
they've still got some outstanding young Premier League players. Probably
more than anyone else in the country at the moment."

Jarvis eyes top ten
Matt Jarvis believes the Hammers can still achieve a top ten finish in the
Barclays Premier League

Matt Jarvis believes that West Ham United can still match last season's
achievement of a top ten finish in the Barclays Premier League. The Hammers
have won their last three league matches and are only two points behind the
total they accumulated at this stage last season. A win against Southampton
on Saturday will take Sam Allardyce's side to 31 points from 27 games, a
point more than at the same milestone last season, and Jarvis believes the
team have come good over recent weeks. He told West Ham TV: "I think we're
on almost the same points as we were at this stage last season so it's a
turnaround. "We had such a good start last season that it really helped keep
us up in the top half and when we had a little dip it didn't matter as much
because we were still high up in the table. "This season we've been a little
up and down in the table but it's nice that we're on a high at the moment
and hopefully we can continue that."

Against the Saints the Hammers will be looking for a third straight home win
following 2-0 successes against both Swansea City and Norwich City at the
Boleyn Ground. Mauricio Pochettino's team are currently eighth in the table
and will provide tough opposition for Jarvis and co, but the winger believes
that West Ham can triumph with the backing of the fans behind them. "When
the atmosphere here is electric it's a really tough place to come and
hopefully we can carry on our good form with the fans backing us as they
have done all season. "We just need to keep the morale up and keep the
confidence levels high to continue this form and hopefully we can enjoy
another win on Saturday. "They're a very good side. A good passing team with
a lot of energy and it will be a tough game but as I said, we're on a roll
and I'm sure it will be a very good game."

The winger was speaking after the Hammers held an Open Training session for
Season Ticket Holders at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday, a day which provided
the chance for fans and players alike to show their appreciation for one
another. Jarvis felt the day was a great opportunity to interact with the
Club's fans and was more than happy to meet and sign autographs for those
fans present. "It's nice to have everyone come down and actually see us
train, have some interaction with the fans, have a little chat, a few photos
and autographs, it's a great day for everyone. "You always hear the crowd
from the sidelines during games and it's nice to come down and have a little
chat with them whilst they're in this more relaxed environment."

Allardyce targets 38 points
Filed: Thursday, 20th February 2014
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce believes that 38 points should be enough to guarantee Premier
League survival this season. With West Ham on a fantastic recent run of
form, Southampton are next to visit the Boleyn Ground for what should be a
fascinating test against Allardyce's rejuvenated squad this weekend. Having
picked up ten points from their last four outings without conceding a single
goal, West Ham are understandably in confident mood - which should stand
them in good stead against a Saints side who have exceeded all expectations
in the Premier League this season and currently reside three places above
United in eighth position.

Big Sam, who spent last weekend in Dubai wiith his squad at a 'warm-weather'
training camp believes that a win this weekend against Mauricio Pochettino's
side could leave West Ham requiring two or three victories to seal another
season in the Premier League. "We've put 13 points together in six games
but we're only four points from third bottom, so it's going to be at least
38 points based on what's happening," he told the press this morning. "There
hasn't been too many years over the last ten years when you've had to have
over 38 points, but perhaps you will this time. "We've got to really focus
on trying to continue doing the things we've been doing over the last few
games. There's now quite a few players in the squad that haven't started and
want to start - like Winston Reid, who can't get back in the side at the
moment. "We're not out of the woods yet, but I think all of us have made
great strides and great efforts. Everybody's played their part to try and
alleviate the situation that we were in and it's my job to make sure that
pays off in the end."

And on the challenge offered by this weekend's opponents, Allardyce added:
"That will be a tough game and a big test for us, so we must try and
maintain the good run of results we've had over the last few weeks. "At the
moment it's going well but Southampton, who are back on a winning streak,
will provide a very difficult game for us. Hopefully in the form that we're
in, we'll be big enough and strong enough to conquer them."

Sam Allardyce silent on Ravel Morrison's West Ham future
Last Updated: 20/02/14 4:30pm

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has refused to comment on the future of Ravel
Morrison at the club following the midfielder's loan move to QPR. Morrison
joined Rangers on a 93-day emergency loan after failing to secure a
first-team place under Allardyce, who was critical of the player during his
time at Upton Park. The former Manchester United prospect has not played for
the Hammers since January amid talk of issues off the field, and this week
dropped down a division to move to Loftus Road. But Allardyce has refused to
elaborate on the reasons for farming out the England Under-21 star. "Our new
acquisitions have given us a bigger squad and Ravel found it a little bit
more difficult to get in." Allardyce said: "I'm not answering questions on
Ravel Morrison right now because he's not with us - he is on loan at QPR.
"We have done a deal with QPR and are playing football against Southampton
on Saturday. "My focus is the squad of players I've got here and the fact of
the matter is Ravel wanted to play some first-team football. He wasn't
getting it as much here as he wanted, so we have let him go on loan to QPR.
"Our consistent performances with our new acquisitions like Antonio
Nocerino, Marco Borriello, Roger Johnson and Pablo Armero have given us a
bigger squad and Ravel found it a little bit more difficult to get in. "So
we move on to Southampton, with the players we have got at the club and the
focus will be on continuing our fantastic form." When asked if he thought he
had played his last game for West Ham, Allardyce simply answered: "No!"

By Sean Whetstone 20 Feb 2014 at 09:00
West Ham Till I Die

The FA are set for a legal battle in the High Court in March with Andy's
Carroll's former agent Peter Harrison. Harrison maintains he was cut out of
Andy Carroll's £35m move to Liverpool. He claims that under FA rules the
agent who had the player under contract is entitled to a percentage of the

He is attempting to force the Football Association to release all documents
regarding the transfer of Andy Carroll to Liverpool.

Harrison retired as a football agent after an earlier FA arbitration panel
found against him in a legal battle over the £35million transfer. The FA
tribunal ruled in favour of Carroll's new agent, Mark Curtis. Harrison
claims Andy Carroll still had two months left on his contract with him when
Liverpool made their bid. Harrison remains convinced he should have been
involved in the Liverpool deal after investing so much time in the striker
and becoming a family friend. He was even named on the custody document with
Northumbria police when Carroll was arrested for alleged assault in 2009.
Carroll was fined after admitting assault.

Andy Carroll stated at the time he did not use an agent in the transfer to
Liverpool; a solicitor called Richard Green, said he had advised him in the
deal. Liverpool did use an agent. They employed David Bromley, whose name is
noted in the contract. Bromley is not a well-known agent but he did hold a
Fifa licence and was authorised by the Football Association, giving the name
of his company as Centurion Sports Management, registered in Maidstone,

Harrison himself found fame at the centre of BBC Panorama's controversial
"bungs probe" programme, he claimed he had relied upon a cut of Andy
Carroll's £35m move to Liverpool at the time to help him pay off a
long-standing debt to Sam Allardyce to avoid him becoming bankrupt.

In 2005 the then-Bolton boss Sam Allardyce loaned Peter Harrison and former
Hammer Lucas Neill – one of Harrison's clients – £300,000 to fund a property
development. The plan was to develop Laverick Hall Farm in Gateshead into 14
homes and the agreement was to repay Sam Allardyce £600,000 plus interest
however the development was never built. Allardyce took legal action against
Harrison and Neill to recoup his money through the High Court in 2007,
claiming some £650,000 plus interest and costs and the pair conceded and
agreed to repay it. In 2009 Harrison faced a bankruptcy hearing in which the
court made the order for £782,000 – it emerged Mr Harrison has already paid
back around £650,000.

In a 2011 Interview Peter Harrison admitted to the Daily Mail he freely took
advantage of the naivety of the then West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson to
pocket £900,000 in commission in the deal to sign Lucas Neill. He claimed
that when he took Lucas Neill to West Ham instead of Liverpool he earned
£900,000 and we put Neill on £72,000 a week. He said 'He was going to
Liverpool but West Ham wouldn't take no for an answer. It was incredible.
'At the time I thought it was just business – I had bills to pay, office,
telephone, travel – but when I look back on it now I'm embarrassed'

Harrison previously represented West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen who is
now also with Mark Curtis.

In 2012 Harrison took to twitter to make a number of accusations against
Mark Curtis, Sam Allardyce and Bolton Chairman/FA board member Phil
Gartside. This resulted in a threat of legal action from the FA to protect
Phil Gartside.

This new High Court case will be heard on 25th March


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