Saturday, February 22

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd February 2014

Southampton match preview
All the need-to-know information ahead of Saturday's match against


Match Sponsor

• West Ham United take to the Boleyn Ground pitch on Saturday afternoon
looking to record their fourth consecutive win in the Barclays Premier
• An unbeaten run spanning the last four matches has included a draw at
Chelsea, home wins against Norwich City and Swansea City and a success on
the road against Aston Villa.
• The three wins have all come courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline and have taken
the Hammers up to eleventh place in the league with 28 points from their 26
• If West Ham keep Southampton out on Saturday it will be their fifth clean
sheet in a row, equalling a club record which has stood since 1985.
• A home win would take Sam Allardyce's side to just eight points behind the
Saints, who could open up 14-point gap between the sides with three points
in east London.
• The visitors currently occupy eighth place in the Premier League and can
move level on points with Manchester United if they win on Saturday, if only
for a few hours with the Red Devils playing in the late kick-off.
• Mauricio Pochettino's side are currently on a run of six games without
defeat in the league, although they exited the FA Cup with Budweiser last
time out, losing 1-0 away to Sunderland in the fifth round.
• The Saints are three games unbeaten away from home in the league, with a
draw against Sunderland and wins against Fulham and Hull City contributing
to the run.
• Last time out in the league the south coast outfit earned a 1-0 win over
the Tigers at the KC Stadium.
• A period of applause will be held prior to the match to honour the memory
of England legend Sir Tom Finney, who died last Friday at the age of 91.

Team news
West Ham United
• Andy Carroll completes the final game of his three-match suspension
against the Saints following his red card against Swansea City.
• Joey O'Brien also misses out as he continues his recovery from a
dislocated shoulder sustained against Chelsea.

• Saints defender Jos Hooiveld misses the match at the Boleyn Ground with an
eye injury.
• Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez may return to the squad after they both
suffered injuries in their league fixture with Sunderland.

Last time out
West Ham United 2-0 Norwich City
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday 11 February 2014
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, McCartney, Collins, Tomkins, Taylor
(Nocerino 77), Noble, Nolan, Jarvis (Diame 61), Downing, C.Cole (Boriello
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Reid, Collison
Goals: Collins 84, Diame 90

Sunderland 1-0 Southampton
FA Cup with Budweiser fifth round
Saturday 15 February 2014
Southampton: Davis, Clyne, Shaw, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse
(Schneiderlin 62), Davis, Lambert, Lallana (McQueen 82), Do Prado (Rodriguez
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Chambers, Cork, Fonte

Previous meeting
Jussi Jaaskelainen was the hero as the West Ham 'keeper made a string of
fine saves to deny Southampton at St Mary's. The flying Finn kept out
efforts from Dani Osvaldo, Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert before
James Collins ballooned the Hammers' best chance of the game over the bar in
the closing minutes as the game ended in a stalemate.
Southampton 0-0 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
15 September 2013
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw (Chambers 77), Wanyama,
Schneiderlin, Lallana (Ward-Prowse 72), Rodriguez, Osvaldo, Lambert
Subs not used: K.Davis, S.Davis, Ramírez, Guly, Hooiveld
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Rat 61), O'Brien, Collins, Reid,
Noble, Nolan, Diame, Morrison (Taylor 77), Jarvis, Maiga (Vaz Te 68)
Subs not used: Adrian, Tomkins, Collison, Lee

Last six meetings
(Barclays Premier League unless stated)
15 September 2013 - Southampton 0-0 West Ham United
13 April 2013 - Southampton 1-1 West Ham United
20 October 2012 - West Ham United 4-1 Southampton
14 February 2012 - West Ham United 1-1 Southampton (Championship)
18 October 2011 - Southampton 1-0 West Ham United (Championship)
5 April 2003 - Southampton 1-1 West Ham United

Overall record v Southampton (all competitions) W 37 D 29 L 30
Ten-year records
West Ham United
2012/13 Premier League 10th
2011/12 Championship 3rd (promoted to Premier League via Play-Offs)
2010/11 Premier League 20th (relegated to Championship)
2009/10 Premier League 17th
2008/09 Premier League 9th
2007/08 Premier League 10th
2006/07 Premier League 15th
2005/06 Premier League 9th
2004/05 Championship 6th (promoted to Premier League via Play-Offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th
2012/13 Premier League 14th
2011/12 Championship 2nd (promoted to Premier League)
2010/11 League One 2nd (promoted to Championship)
2009/10 League One 7th
2008/09 Championship 23rd (relegated to League One)
2007/08 Championship 20th
2006/07 Championship 6th
2005/06 Championship 12th
2004/05 Premier League 20th (relegated to Championship)
2003/04 Premier League 12th

Old Boys
• Former Scotland international Christian Dailly spent two months on loan at
Southampton from West Ham United during the 2007/08 season, making eleven
appearances for the Saints.
• One-time Israel midfielder Eyal Berkovic spent two seasons with West Ham
United between 1997 and 1999. Prior to that, Berkovic spent the 1996/97
season on loan at Southampton from Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, scoring twice
in a famous 6-3 Premier League victory over Manchester United at The Dell.
• Forward David Connolly joined West Ham United from Wimbledon for £285,000
in August 2003. The Republic of Ireland striker scored 14 goals in 48 games
for the club, making his final Hammers appearance in the 2004 Championship
Play-Off final defeat by Crystal Palace. Connolly left St Mary's in summer
2012 after three seasons with Southampton, during which time he won two
• West Ham United's all-time leading goalscorer Vic Watson moved to
Southampton after 15 seasons as a Hammer in 1935. Watson would spend the
1935/36 season at The Dell, scoring 14 goals in 36 appearances to finish as
the Saints' leading goalscorer in Division Two before retiring in the summer
of 1936 at the age of 38.
• The following players also wore the colours of both West Ham United and
Southampton: William Adams, Wayne Bridge, Alistair Campbell, Frank Costello,
Iain Dowie, Jack Foster, Horace Glover, Richard Hall, Jimmy Harris, Fred
Harrison, George Kay (manager), Joe Kirkup, George Kitchen, Alex McDonald,
Alan Pardew (manager) Walter Pollard, Albert Roles, Robbie Slater, David
Speedie and Arthur Wilson.
• Thames Ironworks travelled to The Dell to face Southampton in the
first-ever meeting between the two clubs on 16 December 1899. The Southern
League First Division fixture ended in a Saints 3-1 victory.
• The two clubs met 32 times in the Southern League between 1899 and 1915
and on four more occasions in the First World War London Combination and ten
times in the Second World War League South and League South Cup.
• West Ham United were a Football League Division Two club when they
travelled to non-league Southampton for an FA Cup third-round tie on 10
January 1920. The game finished goalless, with the Hammers winning the
replay 3-1 five days later.
• The first league meeting came in Division Two at the Boleyn Ground on 7
October 1922 and ended 1-1. Southampton won the reverse fixture 2-0 at The
Dell a week later. Later the same season, the two clubs met in the FA Cup
fourth round, with West Ham won through 1-0 in a second replay.
• The largest win by either side in professional football came on 4 February
1967 at The Dell, when the Saints secured a 6-2 Division One victory.
• West Ham have recorded three 4-0 victories over Southampton at the Boleyn
Ground - all in Division Two. They occurred on 27 March 1937, 12 April 1947
and 19 April 1952.
• Southampton have twice won 4-2 at the Boleyn Ground. The first instance
occurred on 7 December 1946 in Division Two. The second took place in the
Premier League on 25 April 1998.
• The largest crowd to witness a West Ham versus Southampton fixture was the
35,000 who turned out to watch the clubs score a 1-1 Division Two draw on 13
November 1948.
• The smallest crowd to turn out at the Boleyn Ground for a Football League
fixture between the Hammers and the Saints was the 14,221 who attended
Southampton's 3-2 Division One win here on 22 December 1984.
• Bryan 'Pop' Robson (April 1973) and Paul Goddard (September 1981) are the
only two Hammers to have scored senior hat-tricks against Southampton.
• West Ham and Southampton met 23 times in the Premier League between 1993
and 2003. The Hammers won nine times, Southampton six and there were been
eight draws.
• in the three Premier League meetings since the pair were promoted together
in 2012, West Ham have won once and there have been two draws.
• In total the clubs have met 96 times in the Premier League, Football
League, FA Cup and League Cup. West Ham United have won 37, Southampton 30
and there have been 29 draws.
• James Tomkins and Jack Cork were Team GB squad-mates at the London 2012
Olympuic Games and England team-mates at the 2008 UEFA European Under-19
Championship finals and 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.
• Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis spent a short period on trial at West Ham United
during the summer of 2009, but opted to sign a new contract with

• Saturday's referee is Mark Clattenburg, whose last West Ham United game
came in a 2-1 defeat at Fulham in January.
• Clattenburg was the man with the whistle for the stunning 4-0 win against
Manchester United in the League Cup fifth round back in November 2010
• The 38-year-old was the man in the middle for the Championship Play-Off
semi-final first leg in May 2004 when Ipswich Town won 1-0 against the
visiting West Ham.
• Clattenburg has been on the Select List since 2004, the same year he took
charge of the Division Three Play-Off final between Mansfield Town and
Huddersfield Town at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
• After becoming a FIFA official in 2006 at the age of 31, Clattenburg has
taken control of a number of international and UEFA Champions League
• Clattenburg will be assisted by Simon Beck and Adrian Holmes whilst the
fourth official will be Darren Deadman.
General information
• Tickets are still available for Saturday's clash, ticket details can be
found here.
• The weather forecast for Saturday afternoon is light cloud with
temperatures around 10C (50F).
• There is a good service to Upton Park via the District and Hammersmith and
City Lines this weekend

Chadwell Chatter
Tony Cottee blogs for the Official Website ahead of West Ham United's
Saturday meeting with Southampton

Hello everyone,

I was lucky enough to be invited down by the Club to be part of the Open
Training Day on Tuesday. It was fantastic and a bit of a throw-back to the
good old days at Chadwell Heath, when we'd open the gates and let the fans
in to watch us train. It was a little bit more chaotic when we did it, as it
was an open house and everybody turned up! In all seriousness, it's great
for the fans to come and be so close to their heroes, because most training
grounds are now closed shops and it's difficult to let the public or the
media in, for obvious reasons. So, when you hold an Open Training Day like
the Club did on Tuesday, it's great. I spoke to a lot of the parents and
kids and everyone was in such a good mood, bearing in mind how well we've
been doing recently. It might have been a bit different if we'd held the
event a month ago!

Credit to the players and the staff because everyone has worked hard. It's
not easy to get out of the bottom three as you need a lot of hard work, a
bit of luck and to play some good football - I think we've done that. We
have won three on the trot, having not won two on the trot since promotion,
so that's fantastic. Clean sheets are coming thick and fast as well and
we're very close to a record, so there is a lot for the players to play for
between now and the end of the season. The players have been away on their
warm-weather training trip in Dubai and I'm sure they now can't wait for the
Southampton game to come around. When you're on a winning run and confidence
is high, you just want the next game to start.

Talking of clean sheets, the lads will be trying to equal a record on
Saturday that we set back in 1985, when we kept five top-flight clean sheets
in a row.
I wasn't known for my work-rate and defensive awareness and, after we only
won one out of our first seven games that season, we called a players
meeting without the manager or coaching staff. We cleared the air, argued a
bit and we put it right. From then on, we always looked like we'd score and
win games, but defensively we kept five straight clean sheets too, which
doesn't come around too often.

For that reason, it's time to enjoy this team in terms of not conceding
goals because it's not easy to go four consecutive games without conceding.
Do I hope they make it five? Let's put it this way, if we win 2-1 I won't be
too disappointed!

Southampton will be trying to end our run and they have done fantastically
well. When they parted company with Nigel Adkins, everybody said what a good
he had done, then they brought in Mauricio Pochettino and everyone was
saying 'Who is this guy?'.

All we knew was he played for Argentina against England in the World Cup,
but he's done fantastic. They have added to their squad, have got some
really good players, and what I like about Southampton is that they've got a
lot of English players.

They are encouraging the youngsters to come through while also bringing in
quality foreign players, so they have just about got the balance right.
They will come here on Saturday and give us a really tough game. As much as
we're on a good run, if we just turn up and expect to win, that's when we'll
have problems. We need the same focus and concentration we've shown in the
last few games and it appears to be there. Training has been sharp and there
is a good team spirit, so I think we'll give Southampton a good game at the

We will see Rickie Lambert at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, as well as Jay
Rodriguez and Adam Lallana, who have also played for England recently. They
could go to Brazil this summer and have done really well. Jack Cork and Luke
Shaw have also had great seasons, as well, so it's very exciting for
Southampton to think that they might have five or six players in the England
squad for the World Cup.

I'd like to see Rickie there, but at the same time I want to see Andy
Carroll back in the fold! Andy contributes great things, and once his
suspension is finished, I am looking forward to seeing him back for the
Everton game.

Enjoy the game on Saturday.
Come on you Irons!

Adrian aims to bat away Saints
Padel player Adrian is looking to keep a fifth straight clean sheet when
Southampton visit

While keeping clean sheets is Adrian's main aim, West Ham United's Spanish
goalkeeper has revealed that he has another sporting ambition - he would
like to be the world's best Padel player! Padel is a sport the vast majority
of fans will never have heard of, but in Adrian's home city of Seville it is
a popular pastime
Invented in Mexico in 1969, Padel is a racquet sport played on an enclosed
court about half the size of a tennis court. The scoring system and balls
used are the same as tennis, with the main differences that the ball can be
played off the walls in a similar way as in the game of squash and that
solid, stringless racquets are used. "I like Padel, which is a Spanish game
and similar to tennis but is played in a closed court with walls like a
box," the Hammers No13 explained. "I play Padel when I am back at home and
am good at it. If I didn't play football, I'd love to be the world's best
Padel player!"

While Padel is a hobby Adrian is passionate about, the goalkeeper is focused
on extending his run of four consecutive clean sheets by batting away
Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. If the 27-year-old
can blank the Saints, he will equal the Hammers' all-time top-flight record
of five set by Phil Parkes back in December 1985. So, can Adrian and his
team-mates stop Mauricio Pochettino's in-form side? "Yes, why not? It's
really difficult to keep this run going but if I can keep four, I can keep
five," he said with confidence. "The team is strong at home and away at
present, so why not? "In my mind, I'm imagining keeping a clean sheet on
Saturday. It is only in my mind to keep a clean sheet and to get the three
points, rather than equalling the record.
"Southampton will be a really difficult game, but we're playing at home and
we need to keep going, keep our strong home form and make other teams
respect us when they come to Upton Park."

Adrian's fourth clean sheet came against Norwich City on 11 February and was
very much his own work, with the former Real Betis man making a string of
saves to deny Gary Hooper, Robert Snodgrass and Alex Tettey. Having kept his
side in the game, two late goals from James Collins and Mohamed Diame saw
West Ham score a 2-0 win that lifted them four points clear of the
relegation zone. "Sometimes the team needs my help. In the last match, I was
able to help my team-mates with my saves and finally we scored two goals and
got the three points. "That was really important and at the moment I feel
really happy with form."

*One fortunate supporter will win Adrian's gloves and goalkeeper shirt
simply by purchasing Saturday's Official Programme v Southampton. A Lucky
Number will be printed on every issue, with the winner being picked at
random. Fans should keep an eye on and the Club's social media
platforms for the winning number over the weekend!

U18s look to maintain fine form
West Ham United U18 striker Jordan Brown is eyeing a fifth straight victory
this weekend

West Ham United U18s take on Barclays U18 Premier League South leaders
Fulham on Saturday with Steve Potts' side looking for a fifth straight
The Academy's remarkable run of form, which has seen them lose just once in
their last 15 league outings, has taken them to within touching distance of
the top of the table. Striker Jordan Brown is on the hunt for both goals and
points as the young Hammers look to maintain their title charge. "We're full
of confidence. I think we can go all the way, so let's go for it from here,"
he said. "We've only lost once in 15 games and it's a remarkable run really,
we just have to keep going. "Fulham are a very good team and they've just
beaten Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup. We beat them at Little Heath,
but this is a different game so we have to really dig deep and try to get a
result. "I scored last time against them, so hopefully I can do that again
and contribute to a win."

West Ham thumped Reading 4-0 last time out, and although Brown did not get
among the goals himself, he was delighted with the result. He added: "I
didn't get on the scoresheet against Reading, but it was a great team
performance and we scored three goals in the second half. It was a good
result. "Goals-wise it was one of the best halves we've had this season, but
I think we've played as well or even better than that before, when we had to
dig deep. "Moses Makasi scored his first of the season and Amos Nasha his
second and I was happy for them because they're holding midfielders."

West Ham take on Fulham tomorrow at The Cottagers' Motspur Park training
ground, with kick-off at 11am. Live updates will be published on the
Hammers' official twitter feed @whufc_official

West Ham v Southampton
KO 15:00
21 February 2014
Last updated at 13:55
By Martin Fisher
Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Upton Park Date: Saturday, 22 February


West Ham will be without striker Andy Carroll, who is serving the last game
of a three-match suspension following his sending off against Swansea.
Ricardo vaz Te and Joey O'Brien remain long-term absentees for the Hammers,
who have no fresh injury concerns.

Southampton could welcome back Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez, who have
both recovered from ankle injuries. However, Saints defender Jos Hooiveld
has been ruled out of the match with an eye problem.


Whisper it quietly but Sam Allardyce could be in line to pick up the Premier
League Manager of the Month award. No other side has won three out of three
in February. It represents quite a turnaround too. Cast your mind back to
mid-January when two points from seven games had plunged West Ham into the
relegation zone. "In contrast to Fulham and West Brom, the Hammers stuck
with their manager Sam Allardyce rather than sacking him when they were on a
bad run around the turn of the year. "They are reaping the benefits of
backing a manager who had a proven track record in the Premier League,
instead of changing things and making them worse.."

Then came two embarrassing thrashings in both cup competitions and the
knives were being sharpened for Big Sam. Significantly though, not in the
corridors of power at Upton Park. Bucking this season's trend to pull the
trigger at the first sign of trouble, owners David Sullivan and David Gold
backed their man. Their reward has been a points haul of 13 from a possible
18 to lift West Ham up to the dizzy heights of 11th place in the table. Of
course only a fool would suggest the club are now safe but the outlook
certainly looks a lot healthier. Four clean sheets in a row has been pivotal
to that run. Opponents Southampton drew a blank at Sunderland last weekend
in the FA Cup and their manager Mauricio Pochettino has come in for much
criticism for his team selection. Safe in eighth position in the Premier
League, the argument goes that Saints could and should have targeted the
competition as a realistic opportunity to grab some rare silverware.
Instead, Pochettino chose to leave out the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Jay
Rodriguez and Jack Cork, believing others could get them through to the
quarter-finals. For once, he was wrong and now he needs to get his critics
back onside. It should not be that difficult. He has done a remarkable job
at St Mary's. They could still make history by ending the season in seventh
spot which would be a Premier League high for the club. That could mean
finishing above Manchester United - something Southampton last achieved in
1990. True, not as exciting or as memorable as a glory day in the May
sunshine at Wembley, but as achievements go perhaps a more impressive one.

West Ham have won just one of the last eight league meetings (W1, D4, L3).
However, Southampton have won just one of the last seven league games
between the teams at Upton Park, losing five.
West Ham
West Ham have kept four clean sheets in a row for the first time in their
Premier League history - they have not kept five in a row in the top flight
since December 1985.
Sam Allardyce's team have not conceded a goal in half of their 26 league
matches this season, the best record in the division.
They have only lost once in their last six league matches, winning four of
them including the last three in a row. They last won four consecutive
top-flight matches between April and May 2007.
No side has lost more points from winning positions than West Ham (14) in
the Premier League this season.
Southampton are unbeaten in their last six league matches, winning three and
drawing three.
Out of their previous six league matches away from home, Mauricio
Pochettino's side have only lost once. That was a 2-1 defeat by Everton on
29 December.
Twenty five of the 37 goals they have scored in the Premier League this
season have come from English players. Only Liverpool have recorded more
Daniel Sturridge (16) is the only English player to have scored more goals
than Jay Rodriguez (10) in the league this season. Rodriguez is two away
from scoring his 50th English career league goal.

In-form West Ham welcome Southampton to Upton Park
Last Updated: 21/02/14 3:53pm

West Ham United will be hoping their recent revival continues when they
welcome another form side, Southampton, to Upton Park. The Hammers were
languishing in the drop zone a few weeks ago, but are now pushing for a
standing inside the top half. Three straight wins, and four successive clean
sheets, have fired them up the Premier League table, and another positive
result on Saturday will take them into the top 10. Sam Allardyce's patience
and persistence has been rewarded, with West Ham confident that things would
click once key men returned from injury and stability was returned to the
camp. Saints, though, will head to the capital buoyed by their own
top-flight progress. They may have come unstuck in FA Cup competition last
time out, but are unbeaten in the league since New Year's Day. Six games
without a stumble have cemented them in eighth place, and a late run for
Europe could still be on the cards.

Paul Merson's prediction

I don't know what Southampton were doing in the FA Cup last week, I really
don't. They are the only team in the country (apart from maybe Newcastle),
who aren't going to get into Europe or get relegated, so they could have
thrown everything at the FA Cup. So why did they rest players against
Sunderland? Is the manager on a bonus for finishing as high as possible up
the league? It's beyond me - and I bet the players are wondering what's
going on. However, I think they will win this game because they can beat
anyone on their day. West Ham are in form and have won some big games
lately, but I think they might just take their eye off the ball.

West Ham
Last 6
Norwich (h)2-0
A Villa (a)0-2
Swansea (h)2-0
Chelsea (a)0-0
Man City (h)0-3
Newcastle (h)1-3

West Ham are expected to be unchanged, as they stick with a winning formula.
Striker Andy Carroll completes his three-match suspension and full-back Joey
O'Brien remains sidelined by a shoulder injury. Ricardo Vaz Te is the only
other notable absentee for the Hammers, with his brief return to the first
team fold having been ended by a hamstring complaint.

Last 6
Hull City (a)0-1
Stoke City (h)2-2
Fulham (a)0-3
Arsenal (h)2-2
Yeovil (h)2-0
Southampton will be without defender Jos Hooiveld this weekend. The Dutchman
suffered an eye injury in training on Wednesday and has been ruled out for
the encounter at Upton Park. Croatian central defender Dejan Lovren and
Uruguay midfielder Gaston Ramirez are expected to see some action having
recovered from their respective ankle ligament injuries that kept them
sidelined for a month.

Opta stats

West Ham have won just one of their last eight league meetings with
Southampton (W1 D4 L3).
Southampton have won back-to-back away games in the Premier League - they
have never won three in a row in the competition.
No side has lost more points from winning positions than West Ham United
(14) in the Premier League this season.

Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to finish strongly
Last Updated: 21/02/14 2:37pm

Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to show that they are "big enough and strong
enough to conquer" Southampton on Saturday. West Ham have taken 10 points
from the last four games, lifting the Hammers out of the bottom three and up
to 11th, and they host Southampton on Saturday looking to make it four wins
on the trot. Allardyce said: "We'll only know that at the end of the season,
when we have achieved what we want to achieve and that is to finish as high
up the table as we can. "We are not out of the woods yet but we have made
great strides, all of us, including the co-chairmen and vice-chairman Karren
Brady for getting some new players in January. "We are not out of the woods
yet but we have made great strides, all of us." "Everyone has played a part
to alleviate the situation we were in and it's my job to make sure that pays
off. At the moment it's going well, but Southampton are back in good form
again so it will be a difficult game. "But hopefully with the form we are in
we will be big enough and strong enough to conquer them."

West Ham's recent run has been built around a rock-solid defence -dubbed
'Adrian's Wall' after their Spanish goalkeeper - who have conceded just one
goal in six league matches. In fact, their 13 clean sheets this season is
the best defensive record in the Premier League. "It's nice to be top of one
league for a change," added Allardyce. "But the basis for any winning side
is you have to be a sound, solid defensive unit no matter how many talented
players you have.
"That's the basis to start your success on, irrespective of what any other
manager might portray publicly, privately they will say the same. It's just
that I am brave enough to say it."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce denies trying to persuade Ravel Morrison to
switch agents
Last Updated: 21/02/14 7:47am

Sam Allardyce insists that allegations he advised West Ham's Ravel Morrison
to switch agents are "completely unfounded". It has been reported that
midfielder Morrison wanted to leave the Premier League club, having felt
pressured by Allardyce to become a client of his agent Mark Curtis - who
also represents a number of players at Upton Park. Morrison is currently on
loan with Championship promotion hopefuls QPR. But Allardyce strenuously
denies claims that he attempted to persuade the 21-year-old to switch
agents. "I think the world that revolves around Ravel is quite unique in
terms of the publicity he gets, but there we go."The Hammers boss said:
"It's completely unfounded. I think the rumours or allegations will be made
probably by Ravel's representatives. "But there is no truth in the fact I
have sat with Ravel Morrison and tried to press him into signing with any
agent, never mind mine. "It's his choice, his decision, not mine. I haven't
had a discussion on Ravel signing with Mark Curtis, no. "I think the world
that revolves around Ravel is quite unique in terms of the publicity he
gets, but there we go."

As for his loan deal at Loftus Road, Allardyce added: "The fact of the
matter is that Ravel wanted to play some first-team football. "He wasn't
getting it as much here as he wanted so we've let him go on loan. "Our
consistent performances and recent acquisitions have given us a bigger squad
and Ravel has found it a little more difficult to get in."

By S J Chandos 21 Feb 2014 at 08:49
West Ham Till I Die

No one can criticise the recent run of good results that have seen the club
suddenly shoot up to 11th in the Premier League. It was timely and shows
what can be done when your best players are available for selection. In
analysing the lessons of this current season, one of the key observations
must be that we possess a genuine PL quality core to our squad. However, it
is when you factor-in injuries and suspensions that our results and PL
position can be adversely affected, as was demonstrated in the period
November 2013-February 2014.

So, a major objective of the forthcoming summer transfer strategy must be to
move on players, who are surplus to requirements, and add more genuine
quality in depth to the squad. Nothing less than a radical squad over-haul
will suffice if we are to avoid a repeat of our not-too-recent struggles and
make a push to challenge for a top eight finish. Unfortunately, I doubt that
the West Ham board will commit the resources to finance that over-haul,
because our whole strategy seems focused upon the twin short-term objectives
of surviving and paying down the debt, ahead of the much heralded move to
the OS in 2016-17. All under-written by the experienced, robast and
pragmatic management of Sam Allardyce. i understand the financial
imperatives that led the club to adopt that position. But lets not delude
ourselves, even if we not only survive this season, but secure another top
10 finish, the fact is we are playing a potentially dangerous game. Until we
adqequately reinforce the squad, there is always the possibility/probability
that an adverse combination of form, injury and suspension could condemn us
to another struggle at the lower end of the table. And in another season it
may not be so open and possible to get out of trouble.There are two more
seasons before we make the switch to the OS and our playing ambitions need
to be about more than just survival; over that period we need to exhibit
progress in the PL and the cup competitions. Or is it really just about
battening the hatches until we reach the promise land of the OS?

Talking of key lessons arising from 2013-14, the board may also wish to ask
serious questions about the club's youth academy and why players are no
longer making the transition to first team regulars. We are still producing
good quality youngsters, but the likes of Driver, Chambers and Lee are not
getting the opportunities that arguably their potential deserves. Good young
players need a phased introduction to first team football, with support and
instruction provided by their more experienced team mates. Too often now at
West Ham they seem to be set up to fail, there is no better example of this
than the recent Nottingham Forest debacle in the FA Cup. Some might well say
that the cut throat nature of the PL militates against the introduction of
youth these days. Its a creditable enough argument, but it ignores the fact,
that there has always an element of risk attached to introducing youngsters
at first team level. But in days gone by, West Ham United were willing to
take such risks in anticipation of the potential rewards. In earlier eras,
the club had a culture dedicated to utilising and developing the fruits of
the Academy. And we had management who knew how to gradually
integrate/acclimatise them in to the squad and first team. Sadly, the
overwhelming evidence suggests that is no longer the case. And it is all too
convenient to use the 'fear factor' of the modern PL as a ready excuse. If
clubs like Southampton can still do it, then so can we!

Of course, these two observations pertaining to adding quality in-depth to
the squad and the produce of the Academy intersect. Because one of the best
and cost-effective ways of achieving greater strength-in-depth is by
producing your own players. It has been observed that there are a number of
U-21s who have played consistently well for the Development Squad, but have
failed to make the transition to the first team. Could that not be because
of a lack of faith in these youngsters and a lack of courage to introduce
them in the right way. No one is going to tell me that Leo Chambers cannot
make the transition. He played at right-back in the early Capital One Cup
Rounds and looked very comfortable. Even amongst the debris of the
Nottingham Forrest defeat, Callum Driver gave a good account of himself at
full-back. And Elliott Lee is one of the best young goal scoring talents in
the country. If these players are to make the transition they must get
regular exposure to first team football, in a strong first XI. That is where
the final transition is made, not in the U-21s, who can only prepare them up
to the point of making the transition. If they do not receive that vital,
phased exposure than then their talent will likely stagnate amidst
continual, meaningless lower league loan deals. Which is exactly what is
currently happening to some of our best young talents.

Finally, in Matt Jarvis and Stuart Downing we have two of the best wide
players in the country. I say that without a shadow of a doubt. Yet, I
cannot deny that there is a element of disappointment in their overall
performance this season. Both have pace, skill and the ability to deliver
accurate crosses in to the opposition box. Both are also more than capable
of cutting inside and scoring their fair quota of goals. Indeed, their
ability to do this and support the centre forward is crucial in the 4-3-3
formation.They also have the pace to facilitate swift counter-attacks and
quickly put the opposition on the back foot. However, I just feel that
neither player has consistently played to the level that they are capable.
How much of this has to do with form and how much with their specific
allocated roles within our tactical system?

Regardless, Jarvis and Downing can be instrumental in improving the
attacking efficiency of the team. When will we get to see them actualise
their full ability?

SJ. Chandos.

Sam Allardyce admits West Ham tried to buy Southampton striker Rickie
Lambert in January
Feb 21, 2014 22:30 By Mirror Football
The Mirror

Sam Allardyce has admitted he tried to sign Rickie Lambert in January – as
Mirror Sport revealed . Now the West Ham manager is working on a plan to
stop the England striker when Southampton visit Upton Park today. Lambert
has 11 goals for club and country this term and has a great chance of making
Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad. Hammers boss Allardyce said: "We were (in for
Lambert). "There was some interest that the chairman expressed but it never
materialised in the end. "He is the master of his position at the minute
because he scores all different types of goals. He continues to get better
and better."
Allardyce has likened Lambert to Teddy Sheringham for his passing,
through-balls and ability to find space. He also admires the 32-year-old for
the way he has developed his game through the divisions. Allardyce added:
"He's had an outstanding career and is a good example to young lads of
starting at the bottom and saying never ever give up or stop trying to
achieve your dreams. He's a role model for any youngster . "Every question
put to him has been answered 10 fold in that every time he has gone up a
level, he has produced."


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