Sunday, March 9

Daily WHUFC News - 9th March 2014

Joey on the mend
Joey O'Brien is working hard to come back from the shoulder injury he
suffered in January

West Ham United defender Joey O'Brien is on the comeback trail after
stepping up his recovery from the dislocated shoulder he suffered against
Chelsea in January. The Republic of Ireland international sustained the
injury in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on 29 January after falling
awkwardly in the second half of the stalemate. O'Brien underwent shoulder
surgery shortly after the incident and has been on a light training regime
since, but he now hopes to step-up the intensity of his training with the
blessing of the surgeon. He told West Ham TV: "It's four weeks now since I
had the operation. I'm heading back to the surgeon soon and hopefully he
will give me the all-clear to step-up my training a little bit and do a
little bit more. "I've been doing really basic stuff since the operation
like getting it out of the sling and trying to get the movement back. I've
mainly just been doing really low-level strengthening exercises. Hopefully
I'll get the all-clear and then I can step it up. "I don't really know when
I'll be back yet to be honest with you. I have to wait and see what the
surgeon says and then we'll go from there."

The performance of O'Brien and the rest of the team against the Blues
inspired a run of five matches unbeaten, with four of those wins, lifting
the Hammers out of the relegation zone and into the top ten. Even after
being substituted against Chelsea, the defender insisted on watching the
final minutes of the game from the side of the pitch and he says the
disappointment of getting injured has been cushioned by the team's fine
form. "I said after I had done my shoulder that I wanted to come back out of
the doctor's room and watch the last couple of minutes, watch us hang on.
"After that game I was asked and I said that if we go on and win the next
three games then I'd have taken this injury and do the nine weeks out or
whatever it's going to be. "It's worked out nicely, so hopefully we can get
another couple of wins on the board and we can relax."

Seven points now separate Sam Allardyce's side from the relegation zone,
compared to the two points they were adrift of safety when bad luck struck
for O'Brien, but the Irishman doesn't believe the Hammers can rest on their
laurels just yet. "We're not safe yet and we still need a few more wins. The
lads know that the quicker you get them, the better. "When you get the
points on the board you can relax and when that little bit of pressure is
off you it seems easier to play and enjoy your football. "The wins can come
easier when you're relaxed and playing a bit more care-free. Hopefully we
can get the points early and enjoy the rest of the season."

New date needed for Arsenal
West Ham United's trip to Arsenal on 13 April has been postponed due to the
Gunners' FA Cup progress

A new date will need to be found for West Ham United's Barclays Premier
League trip to Arsenal after the Gunners saw off Everton 4-1 in the FA Cup
with Budweiser on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers were due to travel to the
Emirates Stadium on Sunday 13 April, but that date now clashes with
Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final commitments. will announce the new
date as soon as it is confirmed.

Nick rues 'nearly night'
Nick Haycock felt his side weren't far away from earning an impressive
result against Liverpool

Nick Haycock felt that small margins determined the outcome of the
Development Squad's 2-0 Barclays Under-21 Premier League defeat to Liverpool
at Rush Green on Friday night. The Hammers were the dominant force for the
most part of the first half and were unlucky not to be ahead when Elliot
Lee's acrobatic effort rebounded off the post before rolling clear of
danger. As the first period drew to a close, Liverpool went ahead when
Kristoff Peterson's shot struck Jack Dunn and the goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel
failed to deal with his effort which snuck past him into the corner. Dunn
wrapped the game up for the away side with 13 minutes left when he put the
finishing touches to a flowing Liverpool move, leaving Haycock ruing the
fine margins which cost his side. He told West Ham TV: "I enjoyed the game,
I've just said to the boys in there that it was a nearly night. "The game
itself, we were unlucky not to go 1-0 up with Elliot's chance and Sebby
follows up but it just shaves the post. When Elliot hit the post they're the
ones that can hit the post and go in or hit the post and come out for
someone else to tap in, on this occasion it went clear of danger. "The goal
before half-time was a mistake, it's a deflection, but it's a mistake. We
had to live with that and try to raise ourselves at half-time because we
felt that the minimum we deserved at half-time was to be level. "On chances
I thought we deserved to be in front, in terms of possession you expect a
Liverpool team to have a lot, but again I thought we had some good passing
moments ourselves at times. We're working on building a new team, with young
players in there, and they'll only learn from playing in games like that."

Liverpool who sat second in the table at the start of the night, fielded a
strong line-up including regular first team duo Lucas Leiva and Mamadou
Sakho amongst their starting XI. Despite the visitors' strong line-up, the
home side had them on the back foot for the majority of the first half and
Haycock admitted his disappointment at conceding just before the interval.
"I think they started the game better, we obviously had the first chance and
I thought we got to grips with how we were going to get after the ball which
I was pleased with because we've done a lot of work on that. "I thought we
grew into the game and you're thinking that you're going to go in 0-0 and
then the deflection doesn't kill you, but deflates you a little bit and you
have to raise them again. I've seen games where Liverpool will go and get
two, three, four because of that and I never felt that would happen because
of the sheer endeavour that the boys show most weeks. "At times, if the
final pass, cross or set-piece would have been a little bit better then I
thought there were goals there for us tonight. It was a nearly night against
a good Liverpool team."

Despite the loss, the Development Squad boss felt his players could only
learn from the match, particularly young midfielder Josh Cullen. "You've got
Josh Cullen who's only 17 years old still, playing against a Brazilian
international. People will say it's about winning, yes, but I've gone in
there and said 'don't be happy that you've lost the game, but put the
experience in your pocket'. "It was a great experience for him in particular
because it's in the middle of the park and the heat of the battle where he
wants to be and it was a great night for him."

Ravel Morrison 'the best since Paul Gascoigne', says Lee Clark

Ravel Morrison is the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne, according to
Birmingham manager Lee Clark. Morrison, on loan at QPR from West Ham, scored
both goals to secure his team's 2-0 win at Birmingham. The 21-year-old spent
last season on loan at St Andrew's under Clark, who is disappointed that
Morrison looks unlikely to make Roy Hodgson's England's World Cup squad. "He
is the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne," Clark said.

Ravel Morrison's career
Born: 2 February 1993, Wythenshawe, south Manchester
Manchester Utd: Comes through the academy to make his debut on 26 October
2010 but only makes three first-team appearances
West Ham: Joins Hammers in January 2012 on a three-and-a-half year deal
after Sir Alex Ferguson says his wage demands are "unrealistic"
Goes on loan to Birmingham City in 2012-13 season, scoring three goals in 30
Scores five goals in 21 appearances on his return to West Ham in 2013-14
Joins QPR for the rest of the season in February after falling out of favour
at West Ham

Former Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough and Everton
midfielder Gascoigne, who won 57 England caps and retired in 2004, is
renowned as one of his country's best ever players. Clark added: "If Paul
Gascoigne had not done his knee he would have become the best player in the
world. "I played with Paul. I grew up with Paul. The only thing is that
Ravel doesn't know who Paul Gascoigne is! "[Morrison] has the pace of a
wide-man. He has the balance but plays in the middle of the pitch because he
can manoeuvre the ball."

Clark feels that it is only England U21 international Morrison's attitude
that is holding him back. The Birmingham manager thinks that working with
Harry Redknapp will help bring the best out of Morrison, who joined QPR on
loan for the rest of the season in February. He said: "Ravel can score
goals, as we have seen. It is what is between the ears with him and he knows
about this problem. "He now has a perfect manager because Harry Redknapp
loves those type of players. Ravel can change games and I thought he was a
class act against Birmingham. "I was hoping that he would continue doing it
for West Ham because I would love to see him on that plane to Brazil. "He
would certainly be capable of doing something for England coming off the
bench for 10 minutes in any environment."

By S J Chandos 8 Mar 2014 at 16:30
West Ham Till I Die

There was an interesting article in the 'get west london' local newspaper
conveying Harry Redknapp's preliminary verdict on Modibo Maiga's loan period
at Loftus Road. The QPR Manager frankly admits that Maiga has been
'underwhelming' since arriving on loan in January. And there is a
discernible aspect of genuine disappointment in Redknapp's comments, because
Maiga is a player that he has coveted since his more free scoring days in
French football with Sochaux. Yet, the reality of working with the Mali
international striker is apparently not in line with the anticipation, with
both fellow loanees, Will Keane (Manchester Utd) and Kevin Doyle (Wolves)
pushing Maiga down the first team selection pecking order.

And it all started so well, with Maiga appearing as a late substitute, on
his debut, and scoring the equaliser in a 3-3 home draw with Burnley.
However, the article makes the telling point that since making his dramatic
debut, Maiga has only played 65 minutes of first team football in two 1-0
defeats. Redknapp is quoted as admitting that he has found it hard to
include the 26 year old in his side, stating that:

'Yeah, he's got to make me want to pick him (Maiga). It's true that he's
from a Premier League club, but so is Will Keane, and Kevin Doyle was there
with Wolves two years ago'

So, it appears that Maiga's disappointing time at West Ham is being
replicated during his loan spell at QPR. It was widely anticipated that
Maiga would excel on dropping down a tier of football to the Championship.
Yet, the early indications are that it is just not happening. Why is that
the case? Is there a underlining problem relating to attitude or
application; is English football just too physically demanding for the
player; or is he not being properly utilised to maximise the positive
aspects of his strike play?

Maiga has generally blown 'cold' at West Ham, with the odd bit of 'hot' play
creating the impression that there was much more still to come from him. He
has tended to struggle in a lone striker role, but there were signs at times
that he was starting to adapt to it. Although one has tended to wonder if he
would have performed better playing as a second striker in a 4-4-2
formation? A proposition that has not been tested at West Ham. And amid a
number of non-discript performances, there were some tantalising glimpses of
ability and striking prowess to tempt us to urge the club to persevere with
the player. But, in view of the replication of this disappointing pattern at
QPR, would this summer be an opportune time to bid 'bon voyage' to Maiga and
sell him back to a French Club, and a national league, where his striking
skills are still highly rated?

We may not retrieve the original c.£5m fee, but perhaps he and Alou Diarra
could prove useful 'make weights' in striking a part-exchange deal(s) for
any summer transfer targets currently plying their trade in the French
League. That may be considered a disaapointing conclusion to both players
time at the club, but some times you just have sell because its in the
mutual interest of both the club and the players to do so. And so much the
better if, in the process, they can help us land any of our summer targets.

SJ. Chandos.

By Sean Whetstone 8 Mar 2014 at 09:21
West Ham Till I Die

Back in July last year I was asked to answer some questions by Colchester
United for their official programme when we played them in a pre-season

I recently came across my answers again on my computer and was amused about
what my expectations were pre season. Feel free to share how you would of
answered these questions without the benefit of hindsight.

I have included the full article below as it appeared in the Colchester v
West ham United programme.

1) What are the Hammers fans' expectations for the coming season?

Well it's that tricky second season back in the top flight. In many ways we
would love to replicate our first season back and achieve a top 10 placing
but honestly, most old school hammers fans will say as long as we don't get
relegated we will be more than happy surviving the second season syndrome.
Our primary goal is to stabilise the club from any yo-yo characteristics
between divisions.

2) What do you make of the transfer dealings so far this summer?

The majority of West Ham fans are pleased with our marquee signing of Andy
Carroll for a reported £15.5M plus add-ons. The minority may grumble it's a
lot of money to spend on one player or point to his injury record or the
media reports of high wages breaking the wage structure. However, the vast
majority are delighted the owners have invested in the club and we are
finally showing ambition.In other signings Sam Allardyce is a shrewd
operator in getting a good bargain often on a free transfer. His signings of
Jussi Jaaskelainen, James Collins and Momo Diame on next to nothing were a
great successes at West Ham.Let's hope Adrian, Razvan Rat & Danny Whitehead
live all up to that previous success rate. Also if Ravel Morrison, Modibo
Maiga and Alou Diarra hang around past the summer they will be like new
signings for West Ham. Manchester United reject Ravel Morrison has scored 2
in 2 for the first friendlies of the season and wants to prove Sir Alex
Ferguson wrong.

3) If you were Sam Allardyce, what areas of the team would you still be
looking to strengthen?

We need a plan B upfront when Andy Carroll isn't playing now that Carlton
Cole has left the club. We know Sam is unlikely to play two up front so we
need an Andy Carroll under study to fill the lone striker role when he can't
play. There is a chance Modibo Maiga can fulfil this role. He scored
brilliance with his goal against Chelsea when we beat the then European
champions 3-1.We also need a pacey winger with many names being linked with
us in the media.

4) Which emerging West Ham talents should fans be looking out for this

Many fans were disappointed when Rob Hall recently left the club for Bolton
after joining us just 9 years old, but there are plenty of talent in Tony
Carr's Academy of Football. I am going to pick out some names as the ones to
watch.Barring the obvious of Danny Potts who was loaned to Colchester United
and who broke through to the first team, my West Ham insider who used to
work for West Ham tells me these are the players to watch. Paul McCallum
appears to be another that is highly valued by West ham back room staff. He
turned down many clubs to join the hammers and has obviously scored against
Cork in our first friendly of the season. Sean Maguire, dubbed "the Irish
Messi" has looked good in academy games last season.Younger players who have
a bright future and could be future players for the West ham academy are:

• Sam Howes who is a 15 year old goalkeeper that has already played
for West Ham under 18s and England under 16s. Despite our great academy it
is very rare that top goalkeepers come along but in this case it is thought
he will make the grade.

• Matt Carter is another under 16s central midfield player who has
attracted interest from some top clubs such as Chelsea and Liverpool and is
regarded to possess a great engine and skill.

• Finally, Jordan Brown who recently signed from Arsenal, despite
being offered a new contract at Arsenal he chose to come here and has scored
3 goals for the England under 16s.

5) With a host of new managers in the division, how do you think the
Premier League will shape up in 2013/14?

What an exciting premier league season ahead. For me the manager changes
makes it interesting. West Ham Hero Paolo Di Canio in charge of the Black
cats for his first full season or as long as his roller coaster manager
journey lasts. The colourful Ian Holloway & play off final magician back
with Palace, the self styled special one at Chelsea, New managers at both
Manchester football teams both trying to win the title and out do the other
one and Everton without Moyes. Add a dash of Cardiff & Hull and you have a
recipe for a fantastic season both on the pitch and the managers post match

Birmingham 0 - QPR 2: Ravel Morrison masterclass takes all three points
Daily Express

RAVEL MORRISON showed the class that once made the likes of Sir Alex
Ferguson sing his praises with a two-goal display against the club where he
spent last season on loan. Ravel Morrison struck QPR 039 s first and second
in their comfortable 2 0 win Ravel Morrison struck QPR's first and second in
their comfortable 2-0 win. His first came after 14 minutes when he curled a
free-kick past Darren Randolph after Paul Robinson had brought down Kevin
Doyle. He made sure of the victory with a super finish after Gary O'Neil and
Jermaine Jenas had set him up for his second goal in three starts since
Harry Redknapp took him on loan from West Ham. Redknapp's assistant Kevin
Bond said: "He's one of the most talented individuals and he'd be a credit
to anybody if he can apply himself and do what he did today." Blues boss Lee
Clark said: "Ravel's the best player since Paul Gascoigne."


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