Tuesday, April 22

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd April 2014

'We're itching to get to 40 points'
Downing targets win at West Brom on Saturday to guarantee safety

Stewart Downing has his eyes on the points that would guarantee Barclays
Premier League safety when the Hammers travel to West Bromwich Albion on
Saturday. With 37 points on the board, West Ham are not quite over the line
yet, but would take a step closer with a positive result at the Hawthorns -
and Downing does not want to leave the West Midlands with anything less.
"We've been itching to get to the 40-point mark the last few weeks, and I
think we still need to get points on the board to be safe," he said. "West
Brom is a big game on Saturday and we'd love to get three points, but even
if we take a point i think it would be a big result. "They are in and around
us, so if we can keep them below us that would be important."

The Hammers fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday,
when Mile Jedinak's second half penalty proved enough to earn the south
Londoners the points. Big Sam's men were made to pay for not making the most
of a bright opening period, as Palace stifled their hosts after the break.
Downing felt the first goal scored was always going to be crucial and was
frustrated that his side were not able to force the breakthrough. "It was a
frustrating afternoon for us, especially in the second half," he explained.
"First half I thought we played some decent stuff towards the end, created a
few chances and the keeper's really kept them in it. "They are a hard team
to break down. They make it difficult for you and I think it proved that way
on Saturday. "The first goal meant so much and we stressed during the week
that if we could ge the first goal the gaps might appear, then we could
create more space. "It wasn't to be and they've done that to many teams this
season. Credit to them, Tony Pulis has got them organised and they've got
results. "They got every man behind the ball [once they went in front]. We
had some good combinations and put some good crosses in during the first
half, but we didn't do that enough after half time."

Nolan bemoans poor finishing
Filed: Monday, 21st April 2014
By: Staff Writer

Kevin Nolan believes that West Ham need to improve in front of goal if they
are to win any of their remaining three matches this season.

West Ham, beaten 1-0 at home by newly-promoted Crystal Palace at the weekend
end a frustrating 2013/14 campaign with trips to West Bromwich Albion and
Manchester City and a home encounter with Tottenham.

Meanwhile the club captain, who has scored seven goals in his 32 appearances
this season insists that the Hammers need to sharpen up in front of goal if
they are to avoid extending their run of three successive defeats.

"We had six [shots against Palace] in the first half and six in the second,"
he told whufc.tv. "When you get a chance you have to get it on target,
because that's what the fans remember and that's what puts the opposition
under pressure. That's what we've got to be better at as a whole squad, not
just as individuals.

"When we get those chances, even if they're half chances, you've got to be
able to take them and put them on target. We'll go away, we'll study the
videos and we'll try to put it right next week at West Brom."

Nolan, whose inconsistent form since August has been reflected by the team
as a whole this season needs a further three goals to match his tally of ten
from 2012/13 - which in itself was three fewer than the 13 he scored during
the Championship season, his first at the club.

Yet he firmly believes that the team will be looking up next season - as
opposed to downwards, as has been the case for much of the current campaign.
"Building for next season is a massive priority," he added, "and I'm sure
this time next year we won't be talking about relegation, we'll be talking
about trying to push for Europe."

Downes blasts Neville for encouraging cheating
Filed: Monday, 21st April 2014
By: Staff Writer

Former West Ham United coach Wally Downes has criticised England coach and
Sky TV pundit Gary Neville after the former Manchester United defender urged
players to dive in order to win penalties.

Downes, who now works alongside former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp at
Championship Quens Park Rangers hit out at Neville after the 39-year-old
insisted that Matt Jarvis should have gone to ground when fouled by
Arsenal's Bacary Sagna in the 3-1 derby defeat at the Emirates last week in
order to win a penalty.

"I've been mulling over the Matt Jarvis incident," said Downes, speaking via
Twitter. "The referee didn't give it and Jarvis played on as there was no
whistle. With visual aid the referee got It wrong. So what? live with it!

"It's a game strewn with mistakes by all concerned. Jarvis did what is
expected of a high-profile sportsman. Pundits/England coaches encouraging
players to dive or go down are doing the game a disservice and send out the
wrong message to youngsters watching the game."

Downes, who KUMB readers voted as winner of our Most Missed category in the
2012/13 KUMB Awards also called upon the game's governing body to take
Neville to task for the comments - comments that he believes condone

"The FA should make Gary Neville justify his comments, as a coach he is
encouraging cheating," added Downes. "As a pundit there is a conflict of
interest; he may think that as a Sky pundit but if these are the views of a
national coach, then it is the wrong message.

"Matt Jarvis has played the game in the manner it should be played. It's
funny that we are at the stage when this isn't taken for granted. In
closing, well done Matt and reconsider your comments/position, Gary."

Jarvis, speaking after the incident admitted that having been denied a
penalty for what was a clear infringement may leave him thinking twice about
being so honest next time a similar situation arises.

"I don't know if I had gone down whether it would have been a penalty or if
I had whether I'd have been booked," he mused. "Maybe I should learn from
that and be a bit more clever."

Raising funds in memory of Dylan
Filed: Monday, 21st April 2014
By: Staff Writer

A JustGiving page has been created in memory of young Hammer Dylan Tombides,
who died last week. KUMB member west ham 15, aka Jamie Seagrave, has created
the page in honour of the young Hammer with all funds raised to go to Cancer
Research UK. "I've been meaning to do something for Cancer Research for a
long time as I lost my granddad to this horrible disease," he told KUMB.
"Hearing the news on Dylan touched me as I met him a couple times at the
training ground [in Chadwell Heath] and he came across as such a lovely lad.
So, I decided to setup the page to hopefully raise money for Cancer Research
in memory of Dylan."

So far, more than 150 people have donated to the appeal. You may make a
donation by visiting the RIP Dylan Tombides page at

Samuel Inkoom claims interest from West Ham and others
By Fotis Voinikas | Last Updated: 21/04/14 7:51pm

Ghana international Samuel Inkoom has claimed that West Ham United are one
of five clubs looking to sign him. Sky Sports revealed in February that The
Hammers were keen on the 24-year-old, who is currently on-loan at Greek
outfit Platanias. Inkoom's deal with his parent club Dnipro expires at the
end of the calendar year, meaning he can pen a pre-contract this summer.
Speaking to Greek newspaper Chaniotika Nea, Inkoom revealed that a number of
clubs were showing an interest in his services - including West Ham. "I
don't know where I will play football next season," he stated. "I am focused
right now on my national team and the World Cup in Brazil, but I have five
offers so far. Olympiakos, West Ham and Lyon are among them. "I do not want
to talk more now, my mind is now looking at the World Cup, who knows in
football no one knows. "Anything can happen in football and I'm ready to go

By Iain Dale 21 Apr 2014 at 19:47
West Ham Till I Die

Guest Post by Jack

I posted my article in the comments on SJ Chandos' post about MoTD pundits
dismissing the 'West Ham Way'. Some suggested I send it to you saying, 'Jack
send articles to Iain so that he can use them as threads so they generate
proper debate'. I'm 14 years old and love writing about football and West
Ham! The article I've written is 3,600 words and describes what I think
about each player, the style of play and what we should do tactically, and
money wise, in the summer. I have no intention of stopping writing at this
and will continue to write about West Ham for a long time.

Thanks and here's the article.

Hi, my name is Jack. I'm a 21st century kid, born in 2000. One thing in my
life has been consistent, West Ham United; not the form, the club, the
players, the manager or the league, my support. I've been watching West Ham
since the 2006 FA Cup final, West Ham vs Liverpool, we lost. Why do I
support West Ham then? 'West Ham needs me.' That was 6 year old me,
Liverpool didn't need my support, they won the final without it. West Ham
lost and they needed me behind them. That was the thought process in my 6
year old brain, subconsciously, or consciously. Here I am, eight years
later, writing my thoughts about the club I love, a lot of thoughts.

Where to start? Let's start with the league; we are a Barclays Premier
League club, sitting in 12th place, on 37 points after 35 games. We look
relatively safe, from relegation of course. Our manager is Sam Allardyce,
'Allardici' and David Gold and Sullivan own the club. We're moving stadiums
in two season's time, to the Olympic Stadium, leaving the Boleyn Ground and
all its history behind us. The owners want to move us forward, take us from
a mid table side, just about avoiding relegation, to a side that can
challenge for places in European cups and competitions. A lot is going to
need to be done to take us there and it will be a quite an achievement if we
make it to that calibre.

If we want to get there we're going to have to look at many things, staff,
manager and squad. Let's start by looking at the squad. I'm going to analyse
each player, subs, starting XI and some others, and give my view, from the
stands, on them.


Adrian San Miguel - An outstanding purchase from Real Betis by Allardyce. He
has been a very good keeper since his arrival and has performed multiple
outstanding saves. He has good distribution and reflexes. A good shot
stopper, my only worries are sometimes his handling and command of the box.
On a side note, one of the things that is best about this goalkeeper is not
his performance on the pitch but his way of interacting with the crowd which
has quickly made him a fan favourite.

Jussi Jaaskelainen - Again a very good signing from Bolton by Allardyce.
Jaaskelainen is a fantastic keeper to have on the bench as he could make the
grade as a first team keeper at some other clubs in the league. Jussi is a
fantastic keeper but has arrived in the twilight of his career. Being 39
means that his level and performances are starting to worsen and his
handling has become a lot more of a problem this season.

Full backs:

Guy Demel - Yet again, I must mention that this was another good purchase by
Allardyce. Brought in from Hamburger SV he has been a very good right back
for us since he overcame his injury problems. Demel is very good at
attacking and providing an overlap for the right winger. He has good skill
going forward and enough to get past some left backs to get crosses into the
box. However, being a right back means he has to do a lot of defensive work
as well and he is not as solid in this area as I would like him to be. He
has good strength; no one in their right mind would doubt that. Although in
my opinion he doesn't stop crosses from the oppositions left winger coming
into the box enough. He doesn't shepherd players well enough and shield the
box from shots or crosses. He doesn't get tight enough to his man as well.
Demel is also 32 years old and for the reasons provided I think we need to
improve in this area.

Joey O'Brien - Brought in from Bolton by Allardyce, Joey has done well to
overcome his injury problems and feature multiple times in the starting line
up. For me, he is too inconsistent, when I see his name on the team sheet I
don't know what O'Brien I'm going to get. A solid full back that gets
forward well and shuts out wingers or a player who loses the ball and
doesn't deal well with attacking players. He doesn't cut it in the starting
XI but is good enough for the bench/reserves for now. Being 28 years old,
age is not too much of a worry just yet as well.

Pablo Armero - On loan from Napoli until the end of the season, Pablo has
only recently made a burst into the first team. From what I've seen so far,
I've been impressed other than his silly tackle on Cameron Jerome in Crystal
Palace's 1-0 win over us he has been good. Good enough, in fact, for me to
suggest that we should attempt to purchase him permanently. The 27 year old
has shown he is good enough for the side and my only problem with him is
that he seems afraid to cross the ball when supporting the winger. Whip it
in Pablo!

George McCartney - Another buy from Allardyce, McCartney has been a solid
player and is ever the consistent. Being 32 years old he is also in the
twilight of his career but considering his form I am happy to have him as a
substitute left back. Side note: Not to be played at right back on evidence
from West Ham 0-1 Crystal Palace, poor performance.

Centre backs:

Winston Reid - Probably the best player in our team. Brilliantly consistent,
barely every puts a foot wrong in defence and is only 25. Definitely not
someone we should look to replace and definitely not someone we should let
go to a bigger club. If we want to become one of those bigger clubs then we
can't let players like him go.

James Collins - 'The Ginger Pele'! What fantastic neck muscles this man has!
Brilliant in the air and uses this to his advantage in defence and attack.
Not always the same with his tackles. In some games he has been quite superb
and has put in a lot of great tackles however, in others he can be
inconsistent, applying pressure to far up the pitch and breaking the
defensive line, rushing into tackles and leaving gaps in behind. Good enough
to retain his place in the XI or to switch around with Tomkins although, I
really wouldn't mind another very solid, consistent centre back to partner
Reid. Furthermore, he is 30, meaning he will also come into the twilight of
his career fairly soon.

James Tomkins - Solid centre back and someone I'm happy to watch in the
side. Could give Collins a run for his money and make into the starting
line-up consistently. Further consider the fact that James is only 25
meaning he has quite a lot of time to grow and improve yet, only more reason
to keep hold of him and possibly play him more often. Despite all of this I
will say the same thing as I did with Collins; I wouldn't mind another
centre back to partner Reid who is better than both of the James'. Another
option to consider is bringing in another centre back simply for squad depth
because, as we have seen this season, we don't have enough depth in this
position and Roger Johnson is not good enough as a fourth centre back.

Roger Johnson - 'The Relegator'! On loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, Roger
is known as 'The Relegator' because he was involved in Wolves' double
relegation to League 1. He is not Premier League quality and needs to be
offloaded in my opinion as I am sure he will be. It was a panic loan from
Wolves due to our situation earlier in the season with injuries. He just
isn't of Premier League class in my opinion. He should be replaced with a
better centre back for stronger squad depth.

Central Midfielders:

Mark Noble - Mark must have claret and blue blood! He grew up in Canning
Town and has come through the ranks to be a West Ham player and vice
captain. He is one of the most consistent players in the league and always
provides defensive solidity in front of the back four and is always ice cool
from the penalty spot. Mark is a shoe in for next season's side. The only
area where Noble can be unconvincing is when it comes to going forward. He
can sometimes look lost once he gets near the oppositions box and often
looks afraid to shoot. Furthermore, he is simply not very good at free
kicks, I don't know why he takes our free kicks and if he is the best we've
got, we either need to practice free kicks on the training ground or invest
in someone who can take them.

Kevin Nolan - Either played in an attacking midfield role or in behind the
striker Kevin Nolan is incredibly good at feeding off scraps or knock downs.
Nolan is our top scorer this season with seven goals. He has virtually saved
us from relegation when he had his run of sparkling form in our four wins in
a row. Kevin is 31 and is entering the twilight of his career, being the
captain he can't exactly be dropped to easily but in my opinion, his form
has been too inconsistent this season. Furthermore, his two red cards
highlight is inconsistency and volatility I would like to see Kevin played
at the start of next season but if he doesn't start it well, replaced in the
starting XI.

Antonio Nocerino - On loan from AC Milan, Antonio is a player who can thrive
in behind a big striker as he did with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan. He has
not quite reached those dizzy heights with us and Andy Carroll and I
wouldn't want him signed on a permanent basis at the end of the season from
what I've seen. He is too inconsistent, loses the ball too much and
Allardyce seems to agree with me considering the fact that Antonio is only
making appearances from the bench.

Mohamed Diame - Diame is the most inconsistent player at the club. You have
no clue what you're going to get from Mohamed! My problem with Diame is that
he is too much of a solo player and doesn't seem to hold the team in his
best interests. This shows in a lot of his laziness on the pitch. However,
Diame is a fantastic player when he wants to be and can make brilliant,
driving, skilful runs through the opposition on occasion. Personally, I
think Diame is too inconsistent to be in the starting XI and should be
dropped to the bench.

Ravel Morrison - Ravel is an attacking midfielder and is a very good one at
that. At the age of 21 there is a lot of time for Ravel to grow and improve.
My main issue with Ravel, as I am sure is everyone's, is that he is too full
of himself. His character and ego are a major problem and he needs to put
his past behind him and focus on the football. If he focuses on the football
and the team then he has a big chance of becoming a wonderful player and
England international. He has the skill but not the mindset, putting him out
on loan at Championship clubs is the right idea but I would like to see him
back at the club and on the bench next season. Side note: Very good at
coming on as an impact substitute, not sure if he is a 90 minute Premier
League player quite yet.

Matthew Taylor - Another good player for squad depth, Matthew is useful
because he can play in the centre of midfield, on the left wing and at left
back. He is not the classiest player and does not really have the skills for
Premier League football however; I like Taylor because he always puts 100%
effort in and gives his absolute all every game. Being 32 years old means he
is in the twilight of his career and should be kept for squad depth.

Alou Diarra - What a terrible signing! Wrong attitude, wrong fitness, wrong
work rate and he's 33. Needs to be sold in summer because of the money we're
wasting on his wages. Doesn't seem to want to be at the club and should be
sent on his way.

Jack Collison - His name is Jack and he's Welsh, keep him! I think he still
needs time to grow and should be given further loan opportunities in the
Championship after his loan at Wigan ends; he's only 25 after all.


Stewart Downing - Fantastic signing by Allardyce and he's blossomed well
under the system that Big Sam plays. Has a fantastic cross on him and he can
cut in and shoot. He's a very good winger and someone who should definitely
retain his place in the starting line-up. He is 29 so age isn't a problem
yet either.

Matt Jarvis - Jarvis has been rather inconsistent since his arrival and has
never really found himself among the goals like he did at Wolves. He doesn't
score enough for me or have consistent enough crossing. However, the
fantastic thing about Matt is his pace. He can outpace many of the Premier
League's full backs and then can crosses in from the by-line. He should
definitely be kept because he is only 27 but could possibly be replaced by a
summer signing.

Joe Cole - Joe is a good player but he's definitely lost the pace he needs
to play on the wing at the age of 32. His defensive work as a winger is not
good enough for me and I think he can either be kept for squad depth but I
would very much like to see him replaced in the summer.

Ricardo Vaz Te - Ricardo was an amazing player for us in the Championship
and scored that famous 88th minute goal at Wembley to see us promoted back
to the Premier League. He hasn't really shown the same class in the Premier
League but has been injured for most of this season. I would like to see Vaz
Te kept and trialled at the start of next season.


Andy Carroll - Andy was brought in by Allardyce and the side has been built
around him. Some call him the most aerially talented striker in the world. I
would have to say he is a fantastic striker in the air and is often dominant
against Premier League centre backs. However, I think that we can't always
play it up to Andy because it's too predictable and other teams are dealing
with it. We need a variation on our style, a 'plan B'.

Marco Borriello - Marco has been injured for the most part since is loan
from Roma. He's 31 and I would be happy to see him sent back to Roma and not
bought on a permanent basis. However, he would need to be replaced with
another striker who would have to be signed on a permanent basis as a backup
for Andy Carroll.

Carlton Cole - Carlton is somewhat a West Ham fan favourite and has been
with the club a long time. He is not the most talented striker and is also
30. Should be kept because of his ties to the club and because he isn't an
easy player to sell. Could however, be replaced with a striker of better
calibre. He simply doesn't win enough in the air or put the ball in the back
of the net enough.

Modibo Maiga - Modibo should definitely be sold in the summer because he has
been somewhat of a flop in English football. Scoring only 3 goals in 31
appearances is certainly not good enough.

That's what I think of the squad! In summary, I think our goalkeepers are
good and we don't need any replacements in this department. I think our
defence is good but we need a new right back and a centre back to partner
Reid that is better than Collins or Tomkins or just another centre back for
squad depth. I think our midfield is good but needs some changes, we need a
new attacking midfielder, someone who can pass the ball with a bit of flair,
someone like Diame or Morrison but isn't so full of themselves. We either
need a replacement for Jarvis or another winger for squad depth to have on
the bench, preferably someone like Downing. Furthermore, I think Carroll is
good but we need another striker to back him up in case of injury or someone
to bring off of the bench. This all is if we keep the style, formation and
plan the same. This is what the team would look like:

Formation: 4-4-1-1

GK - Adrian
RB - New Player
CB - Reid
CB - Collins/New Player
LB - Armero
RM - Downing
CM - Noble
CM - New Player
LM - Jarvis/New Player
CAM - Nolan (Trial Run)
ST - Carroll


GK - Jaaskelainen
RB - Demel
CB - Tomkins/Collins
CM - Diame
CAM - Morrison
Winger - Jarvis/Vaz Te/New Player
ST - New Player

According to these plans we need five new players and I think the bulk of
the money should be invested in an attacking midfielder, striker and a right
back. Some ideas being, Micah Richards (RB), Samuel Inkoom (RB), Josip Drmic
(ST), Ross McCormack (ST), Jordan Rhodes (ST), Solomon Kalou (ST), Graziano
Pelle (ST), Loic Remy (Loan ST), Lewis Holtby (CAM), Jack Rodwell (CM),
Craig Bryson (CAM).

This is what I would do from Sam Allardyce's point of view, from my point of
view, I would change one thing. I would stick with the changes I said we
should make earlier and the replacements we should bring in. However, I
think we should devise a 'Plan B' for next season because we have become too
predictable. We should stick with the 4-4-1-1 formation or 4-3-3/4-5-1 that
we've been playing this season for the starting line-up. However, I think we
should give ourselves a better option of going 4-4-2 from the bench. This
would mean that we would need to buy another striker and this striker should
add a dimension of pace and we can begin to use a flick on. In games where
we are chasing the game or struggling to break down the opposition we would
be able to take our CAM off, most likely Nolan, in the 4-4-1-1 and switch to
a 4-4-2 by bringing a striker on. The striker we buy should be similar in
his style to Sam Baldock and this way, we would be able to vary our style
and make life more difficult for the oppositions defence instead of only
knowing one tactic. We would therefore, be able to change the tactic from
the knock down to the flick on. I believe this would be very useful if we
were struggling to break the opposition down in games like the 0-1 against
Crystal Palace.

The bench using this change would now look like this:

GK - Jaaskelainen
RB - Demel
CM - Diame
CAM - Morrison
Winger - Jarvis/Vaz Te/New Player
ST - New Player (Backup for Andy Carroll) ST - New Player (Quicker player to
vary the tactic)

I think that if we did this, it would greatly improve our chances of picking
up more wins from losing positions and also make us much less one
dimensional. This would mean that Big Sam still gets to use his long ball
style and we will still have fans, who I respect, moaning about the style
and wanting the 'West Ham Way'. However, we would be able to change our
tactic in games and make it a lot harder for opposition managers to prepare
for and a lot harder for opposition players to defend against.

Currently, the way we play, teams can set up for the long ball and knock
down and know that that is all they'll have to defend against for 90
minutes. When you vary a tactic, that makes us more unpredictable, harder to
prepare for and I have evidence that varying a tactic can change the balance
of play. For example, look at the 0-3 victory away at Spurs. Spurs would
have prepared for the long ball and knock down all week, training with their
defenders how to deal with this. We came onto the pitch playing 4-6-0 or a
false nine formation which nobody expected. This is exactly why we won the
game by three goals and Spurs' defenders looked lost and powerless to deal
with what we threw at them. Another example this season would be Liverpool's
success. One of the major reasons as to why Liverpool have been so
successful this season is down to Brendan Rogers and the way he sets their
team up. They're hard to prepare for because you don't know what the tactic
will be. They could use the overlap constantly and use the width a lot,
whipping low balls into the box. They could flood the play through the
middle of the pitch and look to play through you using triangles e.g. Suarez
- Sturridge - Coutinho. They could mix it up and use a bit of both of these
styles or look to play from deep with a CDM in Gerrard pinging balls out to
the wings or through the middle. You simply don't know and that is why they
are going to win the title this season.

If we can bring this element of unpredictability to West Ham and become less
one dimensional we could have more success next season.

By ExWHUemployee 21 Apr 2014 at 14:00
West Ham Till I Die

I am going to comment purely on the Crystal Palace game and try to not get
into a debate of whether Big Sam should be sacked or not. This debate has
been something that has pretty much gone in all of Sam's seasons and one
where most people now appear to be sharing thoughts that are similar to our
own Iain Dale, amongst others, who expressed it this weekend.

I left the game, not for the first time this season, bored and completely
dejected about what I had seen. I just feel we are so one dimensional. We
continued to just hit the ball long to Carroll who, uncharacteristically,
barely won a header. On this occasion their centre-back clearly had the
better of him but rather than change our tactic to get round this we just
continued to pump the ball up to him.

The reliance of a target man in our system relies on the wingers getting
down the by line and putting in decent crosses. Continuously this season I
have stressed on my twitter account that I think we are much better off
having Jarvis on the right and Downing on the left. Both have pace but it is
rarely shown because even though they may beat their man they often have to
cut back on to their natural foot. This means that the defenders have time
to get back on the player with the ball and others get in the box. I
understand the reason for putting them on opposite wing, so that they can
cut in and get shots away but quite frankly they don't do this. Jarvis has
scored a couple in the league this season and Downing hasn't scored at all.
So clearly this doesn't happen, so to me, it is not rocket science to put
them on their natural wing. They seemed to switch over a lot during this
game (more than usual) but when they were on their natural side we played
better, so why don't they always play there?!

I thought Matt Jarvis was having a good game, one of his better ones this
season and then Sam took him off first. I personally thought that if you
were to take one of the wingers off it had to be Downing who has been off
the boil the last few games despite having a decent season. Taking Jarvis
off really baffled me and I am sure it did him. The best player to come on
from the bench to replace a winger, in my eyes, would be Vaz Te. Yet again
he wasn't on the bench and is clearly on his way out in the summer. Vaz Te,
before his injury, was one of our better performers and he offers more goal
threat than our current wingers.

I am a firm believer in the theory that you are as good as your last game.
This leads me on to the case of Antonio Nocerino. He was our best player in
the previous game against Arsenal and he should have remained in the team.
He had stated in the week he wanted to earn a permanent move to the club and
is clearly trying to prove this. Dropping him for Nolan who had missed the
previous game through a hamstring injury (one that he was clearly not
completely over) does not send out the right message to the squad.
Nocerino's energy would have been very useful against our opponents' box to
box running.

This week was a tragic one for all connected with the club after the very
sad passing of Dylan Tombides. I had met the man and shared the same
feelings of admiration of his positivity and courage. He was an extremely
popular member of the squad. I felt we would at least put a positive
performance in, in tribute to the player and his family. Of course it is
hard to predict how people respond to such sad events but I did really
expect the team at least to show passion, determination and fight in this
game like the fans had. Unfortunately it didn't come and this was a major

I hope we get a lot more from the last three games and if it is not points
at least some entertainment and fight but we shall see if this is possible
and then the board need to do some serious thinking.



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