Ricardo Vaz Te pens the latest blog for whufc.com on the recent Open Training day at the Boleyn Ground
It was great to meet the fans at our Open Training day earlier this week.
For me, personally, these days are always fun and to see the kids enjoy themselves is great. For us players, to make their day by signing autographs or having our pictures taken with them is a chance for the football club to give something back as thanks for their loyal support.
It's great that the fans get the opportunity to come to the Boleyn Ground and watch us train. Last season we did it once, but this season we've done it twice now so for the fans, they are over the moon as they don't get to meet the whole squad in that way all the time.
I personally really enjoy these open training days, and to see that the fans are happy makes me happy too!
It's great that we get to interact with our loyal fans and the atmosphere was fantastic, even if I was concentrating on training! When I am training, I'm concentrating on training, but after training I listened to the music and it was lovely.
The Season Ticket Holders are the backbone of the Club. Season upon season they have seen all the ups and all the lows of the football club, but they stick by us and they are very important for that reason.
I think the open day is a chance for the club to show some appreciation for the fans' terrific support, and when we get to interact with them I take great joy. It's a great way to give something back. It shows that we really do appreciate their input.
I think that at this football club, fans will come anyway as West Ham fans are West Ham all the way through! I remember when I first came here when we were in the Championship and it was a full crowd every game. Even when we played away, sometimes we had more supporters there than the home team! That shows how key the supporters are for our success.
I believe West Ham fans are very loyal and they definitely have one of the most passionate sets of supporters that I've played in front of. They are very loud and aggressive but all good! They are not shy about their emotions; if they are angry they will show it, and if they are happy they will show it!
As a player you want a reaction from the fans and for their passion to come out, and for example, when we were winning at Sunderland with 15-20 minutes remaining of the match, their fans went home. West Ham fans might have a go at you, but they certainly back us all the way. They will stick by the team; they will cheer and support you. They will believe all the way to the end and stick with the club. I do not think anyone can say otherwise.
Thanks as ever for your support!
Come on you Irons!
On this day - 11 April
David Cross scored four in a resounding win against Grimsby Town on this day in 1981
Grimsby Town 1-5 West Ham United
11 April 1981
David Cross enjoyed an afternoon to remember at Blundell Park on this day in 1981, as the Lancashire-born forward bagged himself four goals in a 5-1 win.
John Lyall's Hammers were, by this time, well on course for the Division Two title and victory here saw them extend their lead to eleven points at the top with just five games to play.
Cross, meanwhile, was in the midst of his most prolific campaign, finishing the season with 33 goals to show for his 60 appearances in all competitions. Incidentally, he would repeat the four-goal feat just five months later, in a 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Cross' impressive haul and a Geoff Pike strike helped the Hammers prolong an unbeaten run dating back to 27 December 1980, one that stood at a formidable 18 games come the season's end.
West Ham went on to win the league at a canter, finishing top by some 13 points and in doing so ending a three-year stay in the second tier.
Complete record - 11 April
2009 Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 West Ham United (Premier League)
1998 West Ham United 0-0 Derby County (Premier League)
1993 West Ham United 3-0 Leicester City (Division One)
1992 West Ham United 4-0 Norwich City (Division One)
1990 West Ham United 4-1 Bournemouth (Division Two)
1989 West Ham United 1-2 Middlesbrough (Division One)
1987 Everton 4-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1981 Grimsby Town 1-5 West Ham United (Division Two)
1977 West Ham United 1-0 Norwich City (Division One)
1964 Fulham 2-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1960 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1959 Leicester City 1-1 West Ham United (Division One)
1955 Fulham 0-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
1953 West Ham United 0-1 Huddersfield Town (Division Two)
1952 West Ham United 2-1 Notts County (Division Two)
1950 Coventry City 5-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1939 Bradford Park Avenue 1-2 West Ham United (Division Two)
1936 Bradford City 3-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1931 West Ham United 3-2 Blackpool (Division One)
1925 Notts. County 4-1 West Ham United (Division One)
Played 20, Won 8, Drawn 3, Lost 9, Scored 29, Conceded 34
'We need to win this game'
Nick Haycock says the Development Squad will be aiming to secure a top-half finish with victory over Blackburn
West Ham United will seek to improve their chances of a top-half Barclays U21 Premier League finish when they host Blackburn Rovers on Friday.
The Hammers welcome Blackburn to Rush Green for a 2pm kick-off on Friday knowing that three points will all but ensure they end the regular season in the top eleven - meaning they will be in the top division when the league splits in two for the 2014/15 campaign.
Development Squad manager Nick Haycock has challenged his squad - which will again include England midfielder Joe Cole - to rise to the occasion and chalk up their tenth win in 20 matches.
"We need to win at least one of our two remaining matches to get a top-eleven finish, because it would be disappointing to miss out on that having been up there near the top of the table for the majority of the season," Haycock confirmed.
"We will again have young players being given their opportunity on Friday, which can lead to more inconsistent performances, but they have shown that they have the talent and ability to win matches at this level.
"We will go into the game with a positive approach, as we always do, and if we can play the way we did in the first half at Bolton and take our chances, we can win the game. The lads are certainly upbeat about their chances.
"They have the chance on Friday to get the three points and to establish themselves in the top half of the table - a position their performances throughout the season have warranted."
Haycock says the presence of Cole in the starting XI will again serve to inspire the young professionals and scholars involved against Blackburn.
"We will have a similar squad to Monday, which means Joe will again be involved to get him some more valuable minutes on the pitch. He will give us the experience that is needed to help the younger players to achieve the victory that we need."
Kick-off at Rush Green is at 2pm on Friday, with admission priced at £3 Adults and £1 Concessions. Parking is free of charge.
The Development Squad complete their 2013/14 season slate of Barclays U21 Premier League fixtures when they travel to Sunderland on Thursday 17 April.
ABDUL RAZAK LEAVES WEST HAM AFTER UNSUCCESSFUL LOAN
By Sean Whetstone
11 Apr 2014 at 08:05
West Ham till I die
Ivory Coast international Abdul Razak has left West Ham United after an unsuccessful loan from Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala.
The 21-year-old midfielder began his career with Manchester City and has been capped five times by Ivory Coast but he has failed to make anny impact at Chadwell heath. In 2011 age 17 Razak was given a surprise debut for Man City first team coming on as a substitute for David Silva in the final minutes of the Premier League game against West Bromwich Albion on 5 February. His second game for the Manchester City first team was against Wigan Athletic on 10 September 2011 after he was substituted on for Yaya Touré in the 80th minute of the match.Razak has also spent time on loan at Portsmouth, Brighton and Charlton while with Manchester City and was previously part of the Crystal Palace youth setup.
I hear unsubstantiated claims that Razak was regularly late for training and lacked good discipline. Razak was Sam Allardyce’s fourth signing in the January transfer window.
Since joining West Ham at the end of January Razak has managed just one appearance in the development squad. He played in the development match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 10th February which we lost 2-1. He managed just 58 minutes on the pitch that day before being substituted. He was also an un-used substitute for the West Ham Development squad v Southampton on 14th February but after that failed to make the development squad. It appears his 15 minutes of fame achieved in 2011 is long gone,
It is unknown what loan fee or wages we paid Anzhi Makhachkala.and/or Razak during his short stay with us.
NOSTALGIA SERIES; ALVIN MARTIN
By Tony Hanna
10 Apr 2014 at 16:16
West Ham till I die
Born in Lancashire on the 29th July in 1958, Alvin Martin was to become one of the finest defenders in the clubs history. In his early years he was a schoolboy at Everton and he went on to trial for two weeks at QPR. Rangers were undecided at the end of the fortnight and wanted Alvin to trial for a further week but he told them he was going on holiday. In reality, Alvin was off to West Ham for a two week trial and his determination paid off when Ron Greenwood duly offered him an apprentice contract. He played in the FA Youth cup final in 1975 and then signed as a professional on the 29th July 1976. Alvin had to patient again as his first team debut was nearly two years later as a sub away to Villa in 1978. The centre half was to go on and make the position his for many years and he played his last game for West Ham some 18 years later in May 1996. During his career he won the Hammer of the Year in 1980 and again two years later in 1982.
Alvin played 593 games for West Ham and experienced many highs and lows during this time. His first season, where he only made five appearances, was the 1977/78 relegation season. His next four seasons at the club were spent in Division two. However, as we all know it was during this period that the club won the 1980 FA Cup final and the following season played in the League Cup finals and the ECWC run. He was also a stalwart in defence when the Hammers won the second division title in 1981. His form was outstanding and Ron Greenwood selected him for England in May 1981 in a match against Brazil despite Alvin playing in the second division at the time. Agonisingly, an injury ruled him out of the World Cup in Spain the following year and he would be sorely missed by England.
In the clubs most successful league season ever, 1985/86, Alvin played in 40 of the 42 matches and the Hammers went on to finish 3rd in the top flight. He even notched a hat trick in the 8-1 romp against Newcastle. This was a rare enough feat in itself, but because of a string of injuries to the goalkeepers in that game, he actually scored each goal against a different custodian. The England manager in 1986 was Bobby Robson and he included Alvin for the World Cup squad in Mexico. He played in the 3-0 win against Paraguay in the group stages but was dropped for the “Hand of God” game against Argentina which saw the side eliminated. Alvin won 17 full England caps and can consider himself hard done by not to have won many more. Tough in the tackle, good in the air, Alvin was strong tactically too and could play the ball on the floor. He had the all round game.
During his prime years, Spurs made three attempts to sign him and Arsenal also had an offer rejected. Alvin was aware of the approaches but was to say “it didn’t matter anyway as long as John Lyall was my manager. He had known me since I was sixteen and taken me under his wing. He wasn’t just a manager figure to me, he was more like a father figure”
Alvin again remained loyal to West Ham when we were relegated in 1989 and he helped the club bounce back in 1991. His 21 years of service to the club was rewarded by the awarding of two testimonials for his benefit, against Spurs in 1988 and against Chelsea in 1995. Only the player who spent much of his career next to Alvin in the centre of defence, Billy Bonds, has achieved the same recognition. Alvin, or “Stretch” as he was known, played three seasons in the newly formed Premier League and finally played his last game for West Ham in a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday on the 5th May 1996 aged 37. After leaving West Ham he played 17 games for Leyton Orient before going on to manage Southend for two seasons.
IS PHIL BARDSLEY TO SIGN ON A BOSMAN DEAL?
By S J Chandos
10 Apr 2014 at 08:00
West Ham till I die
It has been reported that West ham are interested in signing Sunderland right-back Phil Bardsley this summer. Bardsley is a strong running full-back, who is strong in the tackle and has a powerful shot. He is in the final year of his current contract and will shortly to be available on a Bosman deal. It is known that Bardsley has previously rejected the offer of a contract extension at the Stadium of Light and, with a strong probability of Sunderland being relegated in May, it is unlikely that he will change his mind. So, his agent will currently be casting his net around for a suitable move.
Can Sam Allardyce tempt Bardsley with a bumper wage and signing-on fee package? We shall see. It is, however, interesting that he is the third right-back linked with a move to the club in the last week. Firstly, there was Spurs’ promising Kyle Naughton; then Man City’s Micah Richards; and now Phil Bardsley. Does this indicate that the ‘writing is on the wall’ for either Demel or O’Brien and what could it mean for the future of Leo Chambers? Assuming that these three are genuine right-back targets for the club, which is one is preferable? The jury is still out on Naughton, but I think that both Richards and Bardsley are an improvement on Demel and O’Brien. So, I would be happy acquiring either player, but I still hope that young Leo Chambers will challenge for a regular starting spot next season. Let’s strengthen the position and invite young Chambers to rise to the challenge. If he is good enough, he will push on and make the position his own.
Talking of potential Bosman deals at Sunderland. It also appears that both Craig Gardner and Seb Larsson could also be available on free transfers this summer. WBA are said to be interested in both players and will make a move when and if they achieve PL safety. One wonders if Sam Allardyce will also show an interest, considering how well they both performed in playing a direct style of football at Alex McLeish’s at Birmingham City. Craig Gardner, in particular, was very good at getting on the end of knock downs from Zigic and finishing the 2nd phase ball. Its not the style of play that I want to see predominate next season, but as we all know Allardyce seems to like playing that way. And in Gardner and Larrson he would have two midfielders who would fit well in to that type of system.
A final word on last Sunday’s Liverpool match. It seems that Liverpool are quickly re-acquiring their former position as the darlings of the nation’s football media. Certainly, that seems to be the case, if Sunday and Monday’s match reports are anything to go by! It was disappointing that West Ham did not get the credit that their good football deserved. It was without doubt our best footballing display of the season. We really pushed Liverpool all the way. Unfortunately, the lack of that crucial extra bit of invention/ruthlessness, in the final third, undermined the quality of our approach play. If we could have been more inventive/ruthless in front of goal then the result would have been different. Unfortunately, this has been consistently re-occurring feature of West Ham’s play this season, which must be addressed, as a priority, in the summer.
The most amazing thing was the lack of media recognition of the job that Reid and Tomkins did on the much exalted SAS attack of Liverpool. Apparently the deadly duo had an ‘off day’ on Sunday. Yes they did, but it was a ‘off day’ imposed on them by West Ham’s excellent defensive play. Reid was back to his best and Tomkins is showing signs of finally realising his potential. Tomkins did get ‘suckered in’ for the hand ball incident and that was unfortunate, but hopefully he will have learnt from it. Apart from that one incident he was pretty much faultless alongside Reid. The truth is that Liverpool had to pull out all the stops to secure the three points, and scraped a win with the aid of two Gerrard penalities. Of these penalty decisions, Its hard to argue against the Tomkins hand ball, but the second should never been penalised. Adrian got a hand to the ball first and the subsequent contact with the Liverpool player was minimal. The Demel equaliser probably should have been disallowed for a foul on the keeper, no arguments there. But overall, West Ham were very unfortunate not to emerge with point from the match. It would have been no more than they deserved on the day.
Post-match, some decidedly churlish comments were made by the Liverpool camp. Firstly, Brenden Rodgers failed to give his opponents the credit that they deserved, making a big issue of insisting that ‘Liverpool were clearly the better team.’ Who was he trying to convince? Us, himself or his players? Perhaps they were just about the better team over the 90 minutes, but if so, there is no denying that West Ham were not far behind. West Ham troubled them, not just physically, but also with their passing of the ball. Then we also had all that stuff from Steven Gerrard about coach parking, a over-heated dressing room and a dry pitch. I am glad that West Ham belatedly, and in no uncertain terms, put the record straight. One expects better of Liverpool, as prospective PL Champions.
As for West Ham, my hope is that with 37 points in the bag, we can relax and play well next Tuesday against Arsenal. No one is expecting us to to win, so we will have nothing to lose. It would be nice to see us build on the good performance against Liverpool and really take the game to the Gooners.They are having a bit of an ‘up and down’ season so maybe we might be fortunate enough to catch them on the right night? Especially if Carroll can use his strength and ability in the air to trouble their defence. If not, then let’s keep it competitive and look forward to the Easter fixture with Crystal Palace and, hopefully, reaching the magical 40 points mark.
West Ham United, Hull City interested in Emanuele Giaccherini?
By Callum Mulvihill
Friday, April 11, 2014 at 02:40 UK
West Ham United and Hull City have both reportedly identified Emanuele Giaccherini as a transfer target ahead of the summer window.
Giaccherini was brought to Sunderland from Juventus last summer by former manager Paolo Di Canio, but he has been in and out of the team during a difficult campaign for the Black Cats.
Sunderland could be forced to sell the Italian if they are relegated from the Premier League, and both West Ham and Hull would be keen to secure his services, according to talkSPORT.
However, the two clubs could face competition from Genoa, with reports in Italy suggesting that the Serie A outfit are also keen on signing the 27-year-old.
Sunderland are currently bottom of the table with seven games left in their campaign.
Arsenal and Hammers in transfer tussle
by Richard Flynn
10th April 2014 9:04pm BST
Football direct news
West Ham United are plotting an ambitious move for Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas after a recommendation from their ex-striker Paulo Wanchope, [football] direct news understands.
The highly-rated shot-stopper, who is also on Arsenal’s radar, will face represent Costa Rica at this summer’s World Cup, where he will come up against England in the group stages.
Wanchope is a coach with Navas’s national side and a source close to West Ham told FDN the 37-year-old visited Upton Park, where he delivered a glowing report on the Levante star.
The Hammers realise they will have a fight on their hands if Arsenal firm up their interest, as the Gunners will be able to offer European football next term.
However, if they force their way to the front of the queue West Ham hope to tempt the La Liga outfit with a bid of around £7million, in view of the fact that Navas has little more than 12 months remaining on his contract in Spain.
Veteran Jussi Jaaskelainen started the season as the Hammers’ first-choice goalkeeper but has lost his place in the side to Adrian.
Hammers players poke fun at Spurs for Bobby Moore Fund
April 11, 2014
Today is Football Shirt Friday, which is a special day when fans are asked to show their passion for their club or country in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund.
Just wear your favourite football shirt to work or school today and donate at least £2 to help beat Bowel Cancer for good. Details on how you can donate are below.
And the West Ham players are helping to raise awareness in a unique way by signing a shirt with the lettering ‘SPURS 0-3 WHU, COYI’ on the back ready for it to be auctioned, with all the money raised to go to the Bobby Moore Fund.
DJ Leon (@djleon1983) got the shirt printed shortly after our 3-0 victory at White Hart Lane in October and has now got it signed by the players. The auction date is still to be decided.
Here’s some brilliant photos of the players holding up the shirt…http://westhamworld.co.uk/hammers-players-poke-fun-at-spurs-for-bobby-moore-fund/?