Pablo's patience rewarded
Pablo Armero showcased his talents on an impressive full debut for West Ham United
Pablo Armero's patience was rewarded as he produced a fine display on his full West Ham United debut.
The Colombian left-back was handed his first start in Sunday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League loss to Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground.
Despite feeling the disappointment of defeat, Armero was happy to be given his chance to start, having had to bide his time since his January loan switch from Italian club Napoli.
"It has been a while since I have played," admitted the No8, who caught the eye with his pace, tenacity and impressive distribution. "It is very important for me to play so I thank God, my colleagues and the technical team who gave me the opportunity. I think I fulfilled with them and I hope I can carry on enjoying these opportunities."
Armero was part of a determined defensive display that restricted title-chasing Liverpool to a handful of clear goalscoring chances, with the Reds' two goals both coming from the penalty spot.
While the headlines focused on those controversial Steven Gerrard penalties and Luis Suarez hitting the crossbar twice, the South American said Liverpool carried a threat from all over the pitch which West Ham did relatively well to contain.
"More than Suarez I think it was about the whole Liverpool team," he explained. "They are a great team and I think they did the things right but we also had opportunities. Unfortunately we did not win but we did a good job as a team."
For the speedy Armero, who has spent the past three-and-a-half seasons in Italian football with Udinese and Napoli, the pace of the Barclays Premier League is a feature he has relished.
With five matches still to play, the 27-year-old is hoping for more opportunities to shine between now and the season's end.
The first of those games is at Arsenal next Tuesday evening - a club Armero enjoyed victory over in the UEFA Champions League group stage with Napoli as recently as December 2013.
Does he believe West Ham can emulate that 2-0 victory at the Emirates next Tuesday evening?
"I believe in the teamwork and if we play as a team we can get a good result."
Looking further forward, should he continue to impress and settle, the Colombia international regular would love nothing more than to remain in English football with the Hammers.
"It is a new experience, and it is a very good one for me," he confirmed. "I like the Premier League, because it is very fast, it is very exciting and I like how the crowd enjoy the games. I think it is thrilling playing here and I enjoy it."
"I would like to have a good end with West Ham so in the future have a new contract with the team."
A second summer aim for Armero is the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Having played in 15 of Colombia's 16 South American qualifiers and been capped 50 times in total, the left-back will surely be involved on his home continent. However, he knows a series of strong displays over the closing weeks of the Barclays Premier League season would cement his place in Jose Pekerman's squad.
"Firstly, I am thinking of West Ham and getting the maximum result here," he revealed. "It is normal that, as we are getting close to the World Cup, I want to keep pace and be at full capacity [so that I can be picked for Brazil 2014]."
Reid ready for final push
Winston Reid is working hard to rediscover his very best form before the season's end
While Winston Reid produced a seemingly assured display against Liverpool on Sunday, the West Ham United defender reckons he still has more to give.
Reid, who missed three months of the campaign with an ankle injury, has started and finished the Hammers' last two Barclays Premier League outings, as the 25-year-old Kiwi settles back into the groove that saw him crowned Hammer of the Year last term.
Though Sunday's result was naturally a disappointing one, the performance was anything but, even if Reid believes that there remains room for improvement.
He told West Ham TV: "I think we played alright on Sunday, we could have kept the ball better but, at the end of the day, we're playing against the league leaders and unfortunately we lost. We came off a couple of good wins and wanted to continue but we just didn't have enough to get over the line and that's football.
"I think we could have done better, but in hindsight they kept the ball well and towards the end of the game we tired a little bit. We tried our best to create some chances and we had a couple of good ones. I thought we did well and the boys had a good crack at it."
As for his own display, Reid certainly rose to the challenge against Luis Suarez, an encounter that has cemented his admiration for the Premier League's top marksman. That said, New Zealand's skipper is still hopeful of further improvement before the summer is upon him.
He continued: "I mean he [Suarez] is a class player, so you can't really give him too much time on the ball. He had a couple of actions out there on Sunday and you could see he was a good player.
"I've been out for four months with my ankle and it's still getting better. I feel maybe that I still have another ten, 15 per cent to work on until I'm there 100 per cent. I'll work hard every day to make sure I'm there. This is how I feel personally. There's a little bit more sharpness to get out there and hopefully I can get that before the season ends."
Next up for Reid and co is Tuesday's trip to the Emirates Stadium, one that the centre-half admits is likely to be every bit as tough as Sunday's slender reverse.
"It' [Arsenal] is going to be a difficult game as well, but hopefully we'll get a good rest now and get some good training in and prepare ourselves for that game.
"It's just Sunday's result really that's a little bit annoying, but we'll keep moving forward and onto the next one."
The Big Interview - Alvin Martin
Hammers legend Alvin Martin was back at the Boleyn Ground for Sunday's visit of Liverpool
For West Ham United legend and Liverpool-born defender Alvin Martin, there were no spilt loyalties on Sunday, as the three-time Hammer of the Year returned to his old stomping ground for the first time this season.
Though Martin, whose distinguished Hammers career spanned some 19 seasons, was not ultimately to witness the home win he craved, the 55-year-old had many an encouraging word for the current incumbents of the Claret and Blue.
Adamant that his old Club are already safe, the now radio and television pundit spoke of his admiration for Hammers frontman Andy Carroll, while paying tribute to West Ham's ever loyal supporters.
Welcome Alvin, good to be back?
AM: "I haven't been all season, obviously following everything on TV, but I go to watch my boys a lot and have other work commitments. But just walking down Green Street, I got the train down to Upton Park, and the buzz out there was fantastic.
You join us at a time when West Ham are more or less safe…
AM: "Safe! We are safe, not more or less. I think we are there and that's why we can relax. We've been under pressure for a lot of the season and the players have had to deal with that. They've dealt with it and got results under their belt.
We've been on an excellent run of late, how impressed have you been with the turnaround?
AM: "I think gradually you've got players back. Big Andy's back now. The bad run that they were on was mainly down to injuries. You could see that the line-ups were really devastated in terms of full-backs playing centre-half. So there were good reasons why it was going wrong.
"What you've got now is a side that believes in itself and that's got its big players back. When you've got people like Andy Carroll up there as a target and you see him sitting down in your dressing room - knowing he's 100 per cent fit, which has not always been the case here - then I think it fills the rest of the players with confidence. Because if big Andy plays well, the crowd react and the other players respond."
I should think Andy's a centre-half's nightmare, isn't he?
AM: "I think he's one of them I wouldn't like to play against. There were lots about when I was playing, there was always one big centre-forward in every team. But I think, when he's on form, you could say that he comes into the category of unplayable.
"If you get the right service to him, the diagonal ball, put the right flight on it, then he's going to be coming over the top of you as a centre-half and really you've just got to make it as difficult as possible for him. But the other players then will play off him, especially people like Kevin Nolan. When Andy Carroll's playing well and he's winning 70 or 80 per cent of his headers, he [Nolan] knows instinctively where it's going to drop and it's very hard to play against."
At the other end of the pitch, much of the success this season has been based on a solid back four and 13 clean sheets to date?
AM: "That's right and that, again, was with the disruption to the back four, so considering we've got that amount of clean sheets, I think it's testament to the rest of the players that have been able to come in. I think Winston Reid was a big loss for an integral part of the season and it's no coincidence, from my point of view, that the results did take a downturn when we lost him.
"But certainly, if you've got a defence that is solid, it helps the attackers, because they feel they can take a different view on the game, more chances, more risks and if it breaks down they feel confident that they're not going to concede a goal. Whereas when you're conceding lots of goals, you're scared to take chances further up the pitch."
The run-in is quite a tough one, but do you think Big Sam will still have an eye on the top ten?
AM: "I always feel that we're capable of beating anyone on any day and especially here. I know, from my experience after playing, people come up to me who played for big teams, the Liverpools, the Manchester Uniteds and I played against them on a regular basis. And maybe ten years after they'd finished their career, they'd come up and admitted that they hated playing here.
"That was down, not to the team they were playing against, but down to the crowd, down to the atmosphere and the passion that they faced. So the big teams that have to come here will certainly have a game in store for them. The pressure's off us now and I always feel that players play their best football when they can relax and we should be in that mode."
Hammers fans enjoy Open Training
Hammers fans turned out in numbers to watch the first team train on Tuesday
Hundreds of Hammers fans met their West Ham United heroes as the Club held an Open Training Day at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday.
Season Ticket Holders, Academy Members and Corporate Members made the most of the Spring sunshine to watch the first team train.
The crowd watched on as Sam Allardyce's squad undertook various drills before working on their match play to end the session.
Following training, the players took time to sign autographs and pose for photographs with supporters, while a number of young fans had the opportunity to take penalties against Adrian.
Supporter Nicola from Hadleigh said: "Days like this definitely encourage you to renew your ticket. You can bring all the kids along and it's really good. You get to see what they do behind the scenes and you don't normally get to see that.
"Usually you turn up, watch a match and then go home. It's nice to see them and get to know them a bit better off the pitch."
Forward Ricardo Vaz Te added: "For me personally it's fun because you see the kids and it makes their day to get a signature or a picture.
"We've had two of these days this season now and obviously they're over the moon because they don't get many chances to meet the players.
"For the whole squad to be here together at one time is great for them. It makes my day too to see that they're happy."
Why aye man! Geordies set to join Hammers down under
Filed: Wednesday, 9th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United could be joined by Newcastle United on their proposed pre-season trip to New Zealand.
KUMB.com revealed back in February that the Hammers were close to striking a deal that would see them make the 12,000-mile trip in order to feature in two friendlies a month ahead of the start of the 2014/14 campaign.
However it is now thought that fellow Premier League side Newcastle could join West Ham, with the two English clubs set to partake in a four-team round-robin tournament involving two local teams - Hyundai A-League side Wellington Phoenix plus one other, yet to be confirmed.
Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown told the Star-Times: "There's a whole lot of contracts both between ourselves and the Phoenix and two Premier League clubs, but they have not been finalised.
"I'm not in a position to confirm anything as we have yet to finalise our agreement, but Wellington City is excited about the prospect of English Premier League action.
"All I can say is I'm positive about the prospect of good football being played in the capital, but we haven't confirmed any contract yet."
KUMB understands that West Ham are also investigating the possibility of adding trips to Australia and/or Chine as part of the summer tour, which will take place in the latter half of July.
Should the trip go ahead as planned, it will be the first time West Ham have ever made an official trip to New Zealand, the home of current first team central defender Winston Reid.
Dyer: Carroll for England
Filed: Wednesday, 9th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
Actor Danny Dyer has added his name to the lengthy list of those who believe Hammers striker Andy Carroll should be part of the England squad that takes part in this summer's World Cup Finals in Brazil.
The 36-year-old, a lifelong West Ham supporter was speaking to Sky Sports as part of their 'Me & My Club' series.
And like many pundits, Dyer firmly believes that the big man should be part of Roy Hodgson's final 23-man squad for the tournament, which is being staged in South America for the first time since the 1978 Argentina tournament.
"We've got two great wingers in Downing and Jarvis and a big nut in Carroll, who's a throwback," said Dyer. "There's not many players like him and he should be on the plane to Brazil."
During the five-and-a-half minute interview, which you can see below, the Eastenders actor also revelaed that he bcaks current manager Sam Allardyce, who continues to split the fanbase. I'm happy with Sam, although I know there's a lot of people who aren't," he added.
"We have to accept the times we're going through and at the moment Big Sam can only do what he can do with the player's he got."
Pants on fire, Stevie G?
Filed: Tuesday, 8th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
Steven Gerrard's insistence that Liverpool's team coach had to park "a mile away" from the Boleyn Ground prior to Sunday afternoon's match has been called into question after pictures emerged of the bus parked in Green Street.
An image posted by Twitter user @JackLebeau66 shortly before midday on Sunday lunchtime clearly shows the coach parked outside the Our Lady Of Compassion Catholic Church, which is situated immediately next to the main car park as used by away teams.
And in stark contrast to Gerrard's calculations, the distance from the Church to the main entrance of the Boleyn Ground is no more than 50 yards - considerably less than the 1,760 yards that constitute a mile.
Gerrard, who scored two controversial penalties as Liverpool later won 2-1 to keep their chances of winning the Premier League alive was also pictured leaving the coach alongside West Ham United Security Manager Simon Sutton, who is charged with ensuring safety at the stadium.
The image, which appears to show a reflection of the Boleyn Ground in the coach windows features several members of the public who had congregated outside the car park entrance in order to get a snap or two of players arriving at the ground.
The 33-year-old England international, who has also been charged with hypocrisy over comments he has made in relation to diving, had accused West Ham of dirty tricks prior to the game. "We knew what to expect and we got a bit more than we expected - a hot dressing room, a dry pitch and the bus had to park a mile away,’ he said. "I think they tried everything to upset us."
West Ham co-owner David Gold has his say on Twitter:
Mr Gerrard nobody force your bus driver to park a mile away from the ground, it was his choice. If the heating is too warm, turn it down. Dg
Pablo seeking permanent deal
Filed: Tuesday, 8th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United's on-loan defender Pablo Armero has revealed that he'd like to secure a permanent contract with the Club.
The 27-year-old Colombian is on loan with the Hammers for the remainder of the current season, having agreed a move to London on transfer deadline day (January 31).
And in an interview with the Newham Recorder, Armero - whose parent club are Serie A side Napoli - admitted that he'd love to extend his stay in the UK.
"It is a new experience for me, but it is very good. I like it," he said. "It is very fast and exciting and I like how the crowd enjoy the games.
"I would like to have a good end [to the season] so in the future have a new contract with the team."
Armero, who is hoping to be part of the Colombian World Cup squad this summer played all of last weekend's 2-1 home defeat against Liverpool due to George McCartney's absence through injury.
It was his third appearance in claret and blue since movcing from Italy, but also his first start for the club.
"It has been a while without playing," he said. "It has been very important for me to play. I thank God, my colleagues and the technical team who gave me the opportunity.
"I think I fulfilled what I wanted to do against Liverpool. They are a great team and I think they did things right. I hope I can carry on enjoying the opportunities."
Premier League: West Ham's Adrian unhappy Jon Flanagan was awarded penalty
Last Updated: 08/04/14 2:56pm
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian still feels aggrieved that Jon Flanagan was awarded a penalty in Sunday's 2-1 defeat by Liverpool.
Referee Anthony Taylor adjudged Adrian fouled Liverpool left-back Flanagan for the match-deciding spot-kick, but the goalkeeper thought he got the ball.
"I thought it was the wrong decision because I touched the ball with my hand and I think Flanagan did not claim anything on the pitch," said Adrian on whufc.com.
"I think it was a bad decision from the referee.
"We didn't lose this match because of our performance, because it was a good performance. One point would have been good for us but finally we lost.
"Decisions are made in the moment and I think this decision was very bad for us."
West Ham next play Arsenal next Tuesday night, with the Hammers targeting victory.
"It's a good game for us," Adrian added. "We have to go to the Emirates with confidence and put in a good performance.
"We need more points because the Liverpool match was bad for us (in terms of the result)."
YOU ONLY SING WHEN YOU'RE COUGHING!
By Sean Whetstone 9 Apr 2014 at 14:16
West Ham till I Die
Sunday’s match against Liverpool saw the Boleyn’s ground third incident of smoke bombs being set off by visiting supporters this season. I am not being a kill joy but as an asthmatic sufferer the smoke blows downwind to those of us standing in the Sir Trevor Brooking lower which can affect our breathing.
The Everton and Manchester City matches have also seen smoke bombs being set off.
Being in possession of a pyrotechnic device at a football match, or attempting to bring a pyrotechnic device into a football stadium, is a criminal offence under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985. Any person committing such an offence faces arrest and can expect the Court to make a Football Banning Order
Recent research, which was conducted with 1,635 Premier League supporters, found that 87% of fans believe that pyrotechnics such as flares and smoke bombs are dangerous at matches, and that 86% were concerned for their safety. The same number (86%) think flares and smoke bombs are a fire risk and 79% consider them to be a health hazard.
After the match I asked the club what was being done to combat this menace so I was pleased to receive a call from the stadium manager on Tuesday who explained what West Ham were doing to stamp it out.
West Ham now deploy sniffer dogs from Top Dog Security who are also used at the Emirates stadium by Arsenal. These dogs mingle with the away supporter queues and are trained to sniff out pyrotechnics. West Ham is also working closely the police in securing arrests for anyone caught in possession of pyrotechnics in the ground. I understand there was one such arrest at the Manchester City game and that fan is being processed through the criminal justice system which could well results in a prison sentence and three year football banning order.
I did ask the question why away supporters are not searched as West Ham supporters are often subject to searches when we travel away.
On Sunday a number of red smoke bombs were set off after Liverpool’s first penalty was converted. These pyrotechnics were collected by West ham staff and passed on to the police for forensic DNA testing. If the police get a match then arrests will be made and both clubs will be informed. After the away club is informed that one of their fans has been arrested, that fan will be issued with a home club ban and a ban on buying an away ticket regardless of the bail conditions they get. This will last until the case is concluded. Regardless of the verdict and the punishment the courts hand down, they will face a long club ban.
The club are also supporting the Premier League educational campaign and I was told there are a number of posters in the visitors end. More info can be found here Face Pyro Facts www.facepyrofacts.co.uk
Liverpool recently warned their own fans on the official website but it seems to be falling on deaf ears
“Liverpool Football Club would like to remind fans that flares and pyrotechnics are illegal and should not be used in or around Anfield stadium. Merseyside Police has received complaints from fans who attended the Sunderland game on Wednesday night becoming distressed, suffering from respiratory problems and red dye staining their clothing when approaching the ground on Anfield Road. A small child also required first aid treatment, suffering from a scorch mark on their skin where a flare had been thrown.
The use of flares and smoke bombs at any football stadium is a breach of regulations and anyone in possession of these could be subject to a banning order and police action.”
THE RISE OF THE WEST HAM ARMCHAIR FAN
By Sean Whetstone 8 Apr 2014 at 13:46
West Ham till I Die
A fellow season ticket holder challenged me on Sunday about the recent Sam Allardyce poll. He pointed out that the problem with the Internet poll on whether Sam should go or stay is it didn’t qualify whether the voters ever went to watch games. His argument was the poll should have been limited to match going fans who is his words ‘have to endure the football week in week out’. He couldn’t fathom how half of the voters want Sam Allardyce to stay as manager next season if they watched the matches.
His statement got me thinking about the modern status of fans and their power. The term ‘arm chair fan’ has often been used by match going fans as a put down to emphasise their own self importance and say within the club. The typical so called ‘Arm chair’ would only watch highlights on Match of the Day on Saturday but be very opinionated.
Today’s modern ‘Armchair fan’ has full access to all home and away games live in HD outside the UK and within the UK many fans now have access to internet streams many of which are becoming good quality and High Definition also. It could be argued the new breed of arm chair fan has more access and watches more of West Ham than the season ticket holder who goes to home games.
The money element is also starting to come into it. We currently have 21,000 season ticket holders leaving 14,000 tickets for away and West ham supporters each match. The combined revenue from ticket sales was £18m in 2013. By contrast we look likely to receive £77m from TV broadcast this season if we finish 11th. With an estimated turnover of around £115m this season that means match going fans provide just 16% of our income and season ticket holders less than 10%.
The new power is the billions of football fans around the world which make up the TV audience paying their TV subscriptions or watching adverts on Sky Sports, BT Sport, NBC or Fox Sports, and Al Jazeera Sports among other Premier League broadcasters. It is these TV companies and their customers who have the real power now. The TV companies want entertaining matches for their customers at time schedules to suit them. In years to come I can see all UK fans being able to legally watch pay per view matches in the same way those outside the UK already can. Whether this is a good thing or not I will leave to you to decide.
I don’t care where you were born, where you live now, what connection you have or had with West Ham or the East End. As long as you love West Ham and are passionate about the club then you are all part of the West Ham global family in my eyes and no West Ham fan should perceive any status over any other West Ham fan.
West Ham eye Phil Bardsley transfer as Sunderland head for relegation
Apr 08, 2014 19:45
By John Cross
The full-back is out of contract at the end of the season and could lead a post-drop exodus from the Stadium of Light
West Ham are trying to sign Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley.
Bardsley, 28, is out of contract this summer and could lead the exodus out of the Stadium of Light if the Black Cats are relegated from the Premier League.
Former Manchester United youngster Bardsley would have to take a 40 per cent pay cut to stay at Sunderland in the second tier, and has already stalled on signing a new deal.
But Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is hopeful of snapping him up on a free, with the offer of a lucrative contract and signing-on fee.
West Brom are favourites to land Craig Gardner, another free agent this summer, while his fellow midfielders Seb Larsson and Jack Colback could also leave on free transfers.
West Ham keen to keep Winston Reid
Last updated 18:31 10/04/2014
The Dominion Post
West Ham United are on the brink of offering Winston Reid a contract extension to keep the All Whites captain away from the clutches of top English premier league clubs.
English websites have been reporting that Reid could become one of the Hammers' top earners - alongside ex-England striker Andy Carroll.
The Gazette, which circulates in Essex, West Ham's catchment area, said the club had made extending Reid's contract "a priority".
"The New Zealand centre back has a year to run on his contract and is reportedly a target for Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.
"And despite having several players out of contract this summer, Reid will jump to the top of the contract renewal queue at the Boleyn Ground [West Ham's home ground]."
Arsenal's north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have also been reportedly interested in Reid.
The 25-year-old defender joined West Ham United on a $8.7 million transfer deal from Danish club FC Midtjylland in 2010 after starring for the All Whites at the World Cup finals in South Africa.
He signed a new two-year contract in January, 2013.
The www.transfermarkt.com website has listed his current market value at $9.5 million.
Reid has captained West Ham in regular skipper Kevin Nolan's absence. The team plummeted down the points table when he was out for three months after injuring an ankle, which forced him to miss the All Whites' World Cup playoff series with Mexico last November.