The Big Interview - George McCartney
West Ham United left-back George McCartney on his own individual form and
that of the Hammers as a team
George McCartney has returned from a long-term knee injury to enjoy yet
another consistent season for West Ham United. The left-back has helped the
Hammers to keep 13 clean sheets in 28 Barclays Premier League matches played
so far, as well as a recent run of four victories in February. The
32-year-old has enjoyed his return to action and is looking forward to
making a further impression between now and the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
George, you must be pleased with the way things are going at the moment?
GM: "Yeah, I was out for ten or eleven months, then I got back in the side
at left-back for a couple of games. Then, I went to centre-half and it was
all going well, then we played Manchester City in the League Cup semi-finals
and it wasn't so good! "I think I had two or three games out of the team
then, but since I got back in seven or eight games ago, we have won a few
matches and moved up the league table. "I'm happy to be part of the team
again and hopefully I'm over my injury problems and can have a good end to
the season and be here a bit longer."
You must be even happier considering your career was under threat due to the
knee problems you suffered last season?
GM: "I think, as you get older, it can become tougher to come back from
long-term injuries, but as long as you stay positive and have confidence in
your ability and work hard, you can obviously get back to somewhere near
what you think you are capable of. "I've been more than pleased to have got
over my injuries and back to somewhere near my best.. I do think I can
improve on one or two things, but the more matches I play the better my
match-fitness will be. "Everyone knows themselves when they're out there and
what they need to improve on and I'm no different."
As a team, what are our targets for the remainder of the season?
GM: "Of course, we want to finish as strongly as possible. I don't think our
run-in is that easy, but then there are no easy games in this league.
"We know we've been on a terrific run that came to an end at Everton, where
it was a bit disappointing to lose a goal late on and not get a draw out of
the game. "We're looking to Stoke now and we know, with the confidence in
the squad and the team spirit we have, we're always capable of picking up a
decent result. "We've got ten games left and we're in tenth place. It's
tight and there are a few teams around us, but if we can continue the good
form we're showing then I'm sure we'll probably finish in tenth or eleventh
place. "I think the teams above us are a bit too far in front now, but
hopefully we can continue our good form and stay where we are in the table."
Finally, Stoke will be without Charlie Adam on Saturday. He has been their
main man, so does that have a bearing on the game?
GM: "I think he probably is their most important player. He plays in central
midfield and takes their set pieces and he's scored and created some goals
over the last few weeks. "Obviously his absence is a bonus for us and a big
miss for them, but no matter what, you know Stoke is a tough place to go and
you expect a tough game. "They have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester
United at home and you know when they're beating so many big teams at home
that it's no fluke. "They are a good team at their place, but we're playing
with confidence and, no matter if we're home or away, I think we will give
anyone a game on the day and hopefully we can get a result and stay in tenth
in the table."
Hammers mark pensions milestone
Pensions Minister Steve Webb MP visited the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday
Pensions Minister Steve Webb MP paid a visit to West Ham United on Wednesday
to celebrate the Club enrolling the country's three-millionth employee into
the Government's workplace pensions scheme. The scheme, which saw Hammers
Vice-Chairman Karren Brady appear in its roll-out publicity, has been up and
running since 2012, when the UK's largest employers began enrolling its
workers into pension schemes. It is extending to the smallest firms and new
employers by 2018, addressing chronic under-saving with millions not putting
aside enough for retirement, and only one-in-three private sector employees
paying into a workplace pension. This month's automatic enrolment
registration report shows that more than 10,000 employers of all types from
charities to supermarkets, hospitals to football clubs have now
automatically enrolled their workers. Mr Webb, Liberal Democrat Member of
Parliament for Thornbury & Yate, met Hammers employees Dougie Robertson, the
Club's Head Groundsman, Sponsorship & Events Executive Julie O'Leary and
Marketing & Media Executive Esha Chopra during his visit to the Boleyn
Ground, He said: "West Ham have put the three millionth worker into a
workplace pension scheme, so we're delighted to be here. "The idea is that
lots of people have a job, but don't have a pension, so when they retire and
they don't have a wage coming in, they don't have much to live on bar the
state pension. "So the Government said to firms, 'Will you put your workers
into a pension?' The firm puts some money in, the worker puts some money in
and the Government puts some tax relief in. If people don't want that
they're free to opt out, but most people say 'Thanks very much and we're
pleased to be in'. "We're really grateful to Karren Brady, who was one of
the publically-known faces [of the scheme]. People know Karren, they know
Theo Paphitis, Nick Hewer and so on, and I think that reassured people that
names they trust, business leaders, were saying I'm in, this is a good
scheme, be part of it. The public have responded to it. "I'm a West Bromwich
Albion fan myself, and I know the pain of watching a team struggle in the
Premier League! We've been Boing-Boinged a few times. It's a difficult
season but I hope we'll just cling on."
Also present was Charles Counsell, executive director of automatic enrolment
at The Pensions Regulator, and as a Hammers fan, he was particularly happy
to be at the Boleyn Ground. He said: "We're all living longer and we all
need to save to put away a bit for our retirement, so to have three milion
people saving, who weren't saving before is just tremendous. "It has been
great to meet people who work here day in, day out. To meet Dougie, who is
the groundsman and hear how he keeps the pitch keeping so perfect was
fantastic. I'm really excited to be here and be this close to the pitch
because I have been a fan since I was five or six. That the three millionth
employee was at West Ham is such a great treat."
Hammers Sponsorship & Events Executive Julie O'Leary added "We met with the
Pensions Minister and he explained to us that West Ham registered the three
millionth employee into the scheme. "They came here to ask us a few
questions, talk through the scheme and do some media interviews to help
raise awareness of it. "It's excellent that it's automatic enrolment. I came
here from Ireland four years ago, so I had a pension there. When I moved
here I always planned to get a pension but put it off and always had
somewhere else to spend the money! "The fact that this scheme is automatic
enrolment means that it takes care of everything for you. It's a nice easy
way to settle yourself into pension contributions."
Vaz Te visits Eastbury champs
Ricardo Vaz Te paid a special visit to partner school Eastbury Comprehensive
Ricardo Vaz Te took a trip down memory lane on Tuesday, revisiting the
futsal of his youth with national champions and West Ham United partner
school Eastbury Comprehensive. Eastbury's year ten side are primed for the
ISF Futsal 2014 World Schools Championships in Sardinia next month and
Portuguese midfielder Vaz Te was on hand to offer his encouragement and
advice. The 27-year-old was shocked and delighted to see futsal thriving in
an inner city school, an altogether different setting to that which he
formerly graced in Guinea-Bissau as a youngster. "I was very surprised," he
confessed. "I loved that, it touched me, seeing the kids playing futsal.
They even have a girls' team, so it was fantastic to see. "I think they [the
year tens] have got a great opportunity. They've qualified, so they have to
be good, I guess, to do so. I wish them the very best and the teachers are
saying they're very good students, which is very important. Once you're
doing sport or you're good at sport, your family or the people around you
tend to forget that academically you have to be good as well."
Having spoken at length with the Italy-bound boys, Vaz Te was whisked off to
the sports hall, where he watched year seven girls participating in the FA's
Team Sixteen Project, before taking in a boy's futsal session led by the
Club's very own Community Sports Trust coaches.
Greeted with smiles at every turn, it was an experience that Vaz Te clearly
enjoyed, humbled by the very warmest of welcomes. He continued: "Everything
was so pleasant and it was kind of overwhelming the reception I got. It made
me very happy and made me feel like a celebrity! "I love it. I came from
humble beginnings so it's great for me, even for the students to pay
attention. I'm happy to share my experiences and hopefully it will help them
along the way. "I'll do it any time, I don't mind. It's great to give back
and to put smiles on people's faces, it's amazing. And I like kids. I love
them, because they're genuine."
Assistant head of year Wayne Baldacchino expects Vaz Te's visit to have an
enduring positive effect on the school, with students and staff alike
revelling in the presence of a Premier League footballer. "If we'd have
publicised it too soon, it would have been mass hysteria," he confirmed. "In
this environment, to have a Premier League footballer, to have a West Ham
player, to have Ricardo Vaz Te, who is a household name in this area, the
buzz was brilliant. "Everyone wanted to shake his hand, say hello and ask a
question. But there has been a mutual respect. Ricardo's respected those
kids that have waited around after school to meet him and the kids have
responded in a really positive way. It made a really nice feeling for the
whole event. "I think he's as inspired as the kids are. As I said, if the
kids are meeting a Premier League footballer in all of the Club kit and
they've seen the pictures around the school, they will definitely go away
happy. "The things that he said to them about injuries, trialling in all
different places and being given an opportunity, that story of his will link
with a lot of the stories that the kids are having here. So I think his
inspiration to the individuals and to the school as a whole will have a
great positive impact."
Vaz Te's Barking outing is the latest in a long line of collaborations
between Eastbury and the Hammers, a partnership that has evolved and
continues to do so through the Club's Football for All scheme. "Our link
with West Ham United Football Club is great anyway, through the Community
Sports Trust, the Kids for a Quid scheme, the Inspire Learning Centre," Mr
Baldacchino explained. "We've got a few kids in lots of sports that are
part of academies and county level, so they're all aspiring to get to the
top level, which is Ricardo's forte, if you like. We tap into the Kids for a
Quid every time they advertise. We probably buy 100 tickets or more for
every fixture, because it's important for our students to go and watch their
stars. "For West Ham to promote Kids for a Quid, four, five, six times a
season is amazing. Because in real terms that's five or 600 students from
this school that get to go and watch that fixture. The opportunity to go to
the Boleyn Ground, 35,000 people, the whole environment, the brand and
obviously in two years' time being in the Olympic Stadium, it's just
brilliant for everybody involved."
That togetherness is a sentiment shared by Vaz Te, who continues to be
impressed by the Hammers' commitment to working alongside the local
"The Club does so much. Since I came to West Ham I noticed that, actually,
it is one of the things that made me want to stay longer and be here.
Because they do so much, they put smiles on so many faces, it's
unbelievable. Charity wise, everything really. I think it's pretty good,
it's pretty amazing, I don't think any other Premier League Club does it
like West Ham."
Sing when we're winning
Filed: Wednesday, 12th March 2014
By: Staff Writer
A terrace chant sung by Hammers fans has been nominated as the wittiest
terrace chant of the last decade. According to Fantasy Football site Oulala,
1,500 football supporters were polled recently to discover the funniest
chant sung at a football ground in the past ten years. And the accolade has
been awarded to West Ham's travelling fans for their ode to former Hammer
Rio Ferdinand, a song referring to his period of inactivity after he was
banned for eight months for missing a drugs test in 2004. To the tune of
Duran Duran's Rio, West Ham fans topped the poll with lyrics: "His name is
Rio and he watches from the stand" - beating into second place Manchester
United's ode to Korean star Park Ji-Sung Park. Third place in the poll was
the Bobby Zamora song ("That's Amore") which was accredited to Fulham
supporters despite being sung by Hamnmers fans several years earlier.
Oulala's Valéry Bollier said: "We know that British football fans are among
the most passionate in the world. We wanted to find out which team has come
up with the wittiest chant over the last 10 years. "Although West Ham isn't
the most successful football club, it seems their fans have made their club
proud by topping our poll of the wittiest football chants of the last 10
* Do you think you've heard funnier chants than this in the past ten years?
Let us know by reply below or via our forum thread.
Top ten terrace chants, according to Oulala
1. "His name is Rio and he watches from the stand" - West Ham to Rio
Ferdinand after he was banned for eight months.
2. "Park, Park, wherever you may be, you eat dogs in your home country, But
it could be worse, you could be a Scouse, eating rats in a council house" -
Man Utd fans serenade Ji-Sung Park.
3. "When you're sat in row Z, and the ball hits your head, that's Zamora,
that's Zamora" - Fulham supporters steal West Ham's 'That's Amore' (as sung
at the 2004/05 play-off final).
4. "You should have stayed on the telly" - Newcastle fans to former manager
5. "He's fast, he's red, he talks like Father Ted, Robbie Keane."
Liverpool's song for their former Irish striker.
6. "Your teeth are offside, your teeth are offside, Luis Suarez, your teeth
are offside" - Manchester United fans to Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
7. "Deep fry your pizzas, we're gonna deep fry your pizzas!" - Scotland fans
to Italian visitors in 2007.
8. "Chelsea, wherever you may be, keep your wife from John Terry" - Chelsea
fans after Terry's affair with Wayne Bridge's ex was revealed.
9. "John Carew, Carew, He likes a lap-dance or two, He might even pay for
you, John Carew, Carew" - Villa fans hailed the big striker after he was
caught in a lap dancing club.
10. "Fat Eddie Murphy, you're just a fat Eddie Murphy" - Newcastle fans are
credited for this pop at former Chelsea forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
A host of clubs eyeing moves for West Ham's Jordan Spence
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo | Last Updated: 12/03/14
A host of clubs are keeping tabs on West Ham defender Jordan Spence, Sky
Sports understands. Spence, who is currently on loan at MK Dons, is out of
contract at Upton Park at the end of the season. The news of Spence's
possible availability on a free transfer in the summer has alerted a number
The 23-year-old full-back, who can also play at centre-back, has impressed
during his two stints at MK Dons this season and he has also caught the eye
during a loan spell at at Sheffield Wednesday earlier this term. MK Dons
would like to sign Spence on a permanent basis, but the likes of Queens Park
Rangers, Leeds, Blackburn, Brighton and Wolves are all keeping tabs on the
defender and are weighing up moves for the former England Under-21
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