Wednesday, April 23

Daily WHUFC News - 23rd April 2014

On this day - 23 April
A famous win in the FA Cup was secured on this day eight years ago

Classic match
Middlesbrough 0-1 West Ham United
FA Cup semi-final
23 April 2006
It was on this day eight years ago that West Ham United sealed their place
in the FA Cup final. Villa Park was the venue for their last-four showdown
with fellow top-flight side Middlesbrough, following wins over Norwich,
Blackburn, Bolton and Manchester City in the previous rounds. The two teams
had met in the league just a week earlier at the Riverside Stadium, with
Boro coming out on top by a 2-0 scoreline, but Alan Pardew's men ensured
there would be no repeat when it mattered. Marlon Harewood struck in the
78th minute, holding off Gareth Southgate after gathering Dean Ashton's
knockdown and powering an angled drive into the roof of the net.
Middlesbrough were unable to respond as the Hammers made it to the final,
where Liverpool eventually prevailed on penalties following a dramatic 3-3

Complete record - 23 April

2012 Leicester City 1-2 West Ham United (Championship)
2011 Chelsea 3-0 West Ham United (Premier League)
2006 Middlesbrough 0-1 West Ham United (FA Cup semi-final)
2005 Brighton and Hove Albion 2-2 West Ham United (Championship)
1997 Leicester City 0-1 West Ham United (Premier League)
1994 West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool (Premier League)
1988 West Ham United 1-1 Coventry City (Division One)
1983 West Ham United 2-0 Aston Villa (Division One)
1973 Birmingham City 0-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1965 West Ham United 2-1 Blackpool (Division One)
1962 Cardiff City 3-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1960 Luton Town 3-1 West Ham United (Division One)
1955 Bury 4-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1949 Grimsby Town 3-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
1938 Sheffield United 3-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
1932 Birmingham City 4-2 West Ham United (Division One)
1927 West Ham United 1-1 Newcastle United (Division One)
1921 West Ham United 1-1 Port Vale (Division Two)

Played 18, Won 5, Drawn 5, Lost 8, Scored 19, Conceded 32

Tombides front runner for Player of the Year
Filed: Tuesday, 22nd April 2014
By: Staff Writer

Dylan Tombides has emerged as one of the favourites to win this year's KUMB
Player of the Year award. The young striker, who passed away last week
following a lengthy battle against testicular cancer is the number one
choice of many Hammers fans to win this year's Readers' Award, as voted for
by visitors/members. With no clear front runner materialising from
the current first team squad, Tombides has been hailed as the first choice
of a number of fans due to his determination and persistence in battling the
disease that ultimately cost him his life. Voting in this year's KUMB Awards
begins next Monday, following this weekend's trip to West Bromwich Albion.
Readers will once be asked to vote in a number of categories (12 this year),
the full list of which are as follows:

Player of the Year
Young Player of the Year
Goal of the Season
Best Signing
Most Memorable Match
Most Improved Player
Most Missed
KUMB Podcast Poster of the Year

Worst Player of the Year
Worst Signing
Greatest Disappointment
Hackett of the Year

The winners of all 12 categories will be revealed live at the KUMB Readers'
Awards evening, which takes place at East Ham Working Men's Club on Tuesday,
13th May in front of a live audience.

Tickets for the event are priced at just £10 each, with all profits going to
Cancer Research UK.

Star guests on the night are Hammers legends Frank McAvennie and Martin 'Mad
Dog' Allen plus former stadium announcer Jeremy Nicholas, all of whom will
be available for questions and autographs. You may purchase tickets for the
event here.

* The KUMB Awards began in 1997, when John Hartson was our very first Player
of the Year. A full list of last season's winners - and all previous winners
dating back to 1997 - may be found on the KUMB Awards home page.

A real high, followed by a new low
Filed: Monday, 21st April 2014
By: Gary Portugal

It was quite stirring to see the response of supporters in the 38th minute
of Saturday's game vs. Palace. The response of BOTH sets of supporters.

It's not often I have anything positive to say about opposition support at
Upton Park, but the acknowledgement of Tombides' passing by Palace
supporters was superb. The irony is that this joint show of support by home
and away fans was the highlight of our season at Upton Park for me.

I've gotten not an ounce of joy at Upton Park this season apart from the 3-0
win vs Fulham. That is how dire this season has been, especially at Upton
Park - an unmitigated disaster, even if we are likely to avoid relegation.

It is simply unacceptable to lose twice in a season to a newly-promoted side
- especially one that looked dead and buried last autumn. It shows how far
backwards we have moved this season.

This time, nobody can blame injuries. We have close to a fully-fit side.
Something most teams don't have at this stage of the season. What we DON'T
have is any creativity at all. We have become not only the most boring side
in the Premier League but the side with the most predictable "attack" and
the side that is easiest to defend against.

What we DON'T have is determination. I see few players giving 100 per cent,
such as Matt Jarvis, Mark Noble and Adrian. But I see too many loafing or
sulking, like Andy Carroll and Mo Diame. It is appalling to watch.

People will point to Palace's run of form and of them being hard to break
down. That is no excuse. It was OUR home game. And we needed something from
the game, even a point, to ensure our survival. Now, we are left dependent
on other teams' results , which is a horrible way to end a season. And no
platform to build on.

We face the very real prospect of ending the season with six straight
defeats, even if I'd like to think that we could scrape a point vs WBA and
Spurs. In truth, we were very fortunate to come away with three points
against Hull and Sunderland.

If you look at it player by player, it's depressing. Ravel Morrison, a
player of such promise languishing - though in truth Sam Allardyce probably
can't be blamed for that. Jack Collison is now a shadow of what he was
whilst James Tomkins looks bereft of confidence.

Pablo Almero is making schoolboy errors. Adrian is playing well but is
unwilling to come off his line for corners. Stewart Downing, having had a
good season overall, is now struggling. Ricardo Vaz Te, having been due back
months ago, is still seemingly not fit. Joe Cole looks utterly past it.

Diame looks as lazy as ever, whether he plays centrally or out wide. Kevin
Nolan, after a brief revival has reverted back to anonymity and,
diabolically, Carroll looks like he just couldn't give a funk. Sulking,
arguing with referees, moaning at a lack of service and playing the absolute
worst football of his career. This, in a World Cup year.

You couldn't make it up. We are being outfought week in and week out by
teams with worse squads and poorer finances than ours. It is embarrassing.
Some will say that it's too easy and too convenient to point the finger at
the manager; I disagree.

Some will say that Allardyce has performed a miracle in keeping us up,
especially with our long injury list. Again, I disagree. We are extremely
fortunate to be on 37 points. To me, the buck stops with the manager, and I
do not see how this club can move forward under the stewardship of

Sam appears to have gotten away with it this season, just. But he has been
found out. If he remains manager after this season, we are going to be
continuously involved in a relegation scrap. For which there is no excuse,
given the amount of money invested in this club by the current owners.

Let's start with the issue of injuries. ALL clubs have them, no exceptions.
Yes, our injury list was worse than most. But that it was what you assemble
a SQUAD for. Allardyce did no such thing last summer. We were left absurdly
short of striker cover as has been repeatedly documented. And also short of
cover at centre back.

And, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, short in central midfield as
well. All of which was Allardyce's choice. He chose how to spend our
transfer money and who to spend it on. And he did so very irresponsibly. So
I have limited sympathy regarding the injuries. You make your bed and lie in
it, especially if you are someone as arrogant as Allardyce who antagonises
his own fans.

Typically, critics of Allardyce will focus on his tactics and the boring
nature of our football. That actually doesn't tell the full story. I have no
issue with tactics that WORK. If the tactics WORK, and win us matches, or at
least avoid us LOSING matches , I will accept and even support such
tactics,no matter how dreary they are.

We are in a weak financial position and hence must focus on what gets us
points , not what looks pretty. But the problem is that Sam's tactics AREN'T
working. Which makes watching such dross intolerable. We have lost six of
the last eight matches ,including matches where we were in a position to get
something from the game at half time.

If you strip out the excellent February that we had, which included some
good fortune, the tactics clearly aren't working. Yet, in the wake of such
poor results, Allardyce has shown limited or no appetite to change either
personnel or tactics.

If Carroll is an isolated figure at the moment then Allardyce should be
willing to bench Nolan or to play two up front with Carlton Cole, or both.
Instead, Allardyce changes nothing and we remain incredibly easy to defend
against. Compounded by the fact that we do not have a single reliable
midfield goal scorer. Clearly something that the manager failed to consider
in the close season.

Which leads to the next issue - that being the inability of Allardyce to
attract good players. Why would any quality forward want to come here when
all you get is scraps unless Carroll is injured? Why would any small, quick
forward want to join us when Nolan, despite having no pace, occupies that

West Ham under Allardyce is a team that is perpetually papering over the
cracks, to basically just "survive" from one season to the next. Yes, that
is partly due to our finances. But it is also due to a manager with a very
limited, narrow, inflexible approach to the game.

Being hard to beat is important. And yes, we have kept 13 clean
sheets,though none recently. But to be hard to beat, you must offer
SOMETHING in attack. And we simply don't. Which again makes it hard to
attract players who can turn games or win matches. Allardyce's ethos simply
doesn't attract players with that sort of match-winning quality or

How many of our players ever look like they really WANT the ball, apart from
Noble? The best players don't want to be perpetually having to win or draw
ugly. If you listen to his media chats, they're always about exposing the
opposition's weaknesses, rarely about maximising our strengths.

In other words, it's an approach based on capitalising on others' mistakes.
Not on creating our own opportunities through quality. The truth is that you
cannot survive too long with only the former.

In the end, West Ham fans deserve more than just Premier League football. We
deserve being able to attend matches without the constant fear of relegation
year in and year out. It's not too much to ask for, really, for a club of
this size and history.

No West Ham supporter expects European football or to win cups. But we do,
rightfully at this stage, expect to be well clear of relegation scraps. Do
we even realistically expect to ever finish above tenth in our current
financial state? No. But we do have a right to not be put through this
relegation scrap year in and year out . We do have a right to expect lessons
to be learned from mistakes.

Inevitably, the next question is who I would propose to replace Allardyce at
the end of the season? My answer is that there has got to be SOMEONE more
capable of moving this club forward than him. Is it McKay, Laudrup or
someone else? Who knows? But our owners need to give it a long, hard think
at the end of this season, assuming we stay up.

Limping our way to the Olympic Stadium is not a business plan. The owners
are doing all they can, in my view. But they need a manager who is up to the

The real West Ham way - if you can remember
Filed: Tuesday, 22nd April 2014
By: Paul Walker

It's becoming something of a cliché now - the West Ham way - as if it
doesn't, or didn't exist. As if it is some dream from our past.

We have had big Sam being patronising and claiming he's asked around, and
nobody knows what it is. Now we have Alan Shearer slagging us off. And the
search and the polls continue. Just what is the West Ham way?

Well, I have tried to keep out of all this nonsense, as if we have set
ourselves up as something special, something that others cannot and have not

Ok, so I can keep quite for only so long. Those of us, admittedly a
dwindling band of 50-somethings who were around at the time it all started
to evolve, know the score. And it's not rocket science.

It's the sort of passing , attacking football that Southampton use. It's the
way Arsenal play (when they feel like it). It's how Liverpool at their best
in the '60s and '80s played. Even Spurs managed it.

The key is defending well, attacking well and producing pace, understanding
and passing that opens up opponents. Like Liverpool are using and are about
to win the Premier League.

We didn't invent it. Ron Greenwood didn't conjure it up out of thin air like
Moses returning from the mountains with tablets of stone. Hungary played
that way in the '50s. They inspired the great Wolves teams, Spurs double
winners, Chelsea's great attacking sides with Peter Osgood and Charlie

The key is to pass the ball to a colleague on the ground, to attack and to
entertain. I will pause there for a second so big Sam can catch-up.

We were saddled with the 'West Ham way' tag way back in Ted Fenton's day
when journalists came up with the name to describe the way we were
introducing European-style tactics and a general approach that involved an
Academy-based production line of young talent.

Greenwood continued the inventive theme and John Lyall took it a stage
further, trying to add some steel while not losing the flair. It sometimes
worked. It worked also under Harry Redknapp, but not as effectively.

Now we have a manager who cannot even spell the word flair. Who has no
interest in entertainment, just an industrial approach to acquiring points
by not conceding goals. He is a deliberate anti-Christ to what West Ham fans

But if you go back to the '60s when I started watching West Ham on a weekly
basis, the style and flair of the Bobby Moore side was the closest to what
we are now all craving for. It had it's drawbacks, I used to beg to see a
Hammers side who could attack, but also defend with the spitefulness of
Leeds and the power and resolve of Liverpool.

If Sam wants to have an idea of what we are talking about, I suggest he
takes a look back and find some archive stuff around the seasons between
62-63 and 66-67. That's the best years of our club's life, and the football
has left a indelible mark on my brain ever since.

I give you Johnny Byrne and Geoff Hurst. Eat your hearts out Kevin Nolan and
Andy Carroll. Budgie and Hurst were the best double act I have ever seen.
West Ham's best-ever striking partnership.

They were the ones who benefited from an attacking philosophy. In the five
seasons I have mentioned, between them they scored 227 goals. I will again
pause for big Sam to catch up and wonder just what Nolan and Carroll are
doing wrong.

Hurst twice topped 40 goals in all competitions for a season. Byrne, a
deep-lying forward we would not call, playing in the hole, once managed 33
goals from that role, likened by Greenwood to an English version of Alfredo
Di Stefano. Now, what you do now Sam is Google that name so you have some
idea what I am talking about.

Byrne scored 86 goal in those five seasons for West Ham and Hurst - no
shrinking violet who could mix it with the thugs in the game around that
time - scored 141 goals in that same spell. Yes, I mean you Norman Hunter,
Ron Harris and Tommy Smith.

Big Sam is now going to trot out all the stuff about the game being
different now, played by super-fit athletes who have to play his way to
survive in the top flight, because survival is all that matters in this
cash-crazy football world. And yes, I do understand the need to stay in the
to flight, relegation now is a financial disaster that has no comparison in
the days of the 60s.

But it doesn't mean you don't try. Swansea have tried this style and they
have been in danger of going down, which no doubt Sam would use as
ammunition for his argument.

But what I want now is not to hear my son and his mates, who work hard
during the week and want some excitement, entertainment and enjoyment from
their football, saying how little they are enjoying what they are watching.

That sort of attitude eventually leads to people not renewing their season
tickets. I am told that this is the earliest anyone can recall season
tickets being on sale for next season. As if they are desperate for the
money or want to test the water to see what the uptake is.

If people do stop renewing their season tickets, our owners will have a
problem. And that problem is an inflexible Sam. I am not looking for the
moon, I just want to see something I enjoy watching, something that stirs
the spirit.

In the research into the '60s that provides the core of this piece, I
happened upon a spell of matches in the 66-67 season that sums it up
perfectly. And I saw most of these matches.

In a couple of months, November and December of that season, West Ham scored
32 goals in nine league games, including an amazing 5-5 draw at Chelsea
(yes, we were leading 5-3 with ten minutes left, some things never change).

There was also a run of four matches in eight days that saw us beat Fulham
6-1, Spurs - away - 4-3, Leeds in the League Cup 7-0 and Newcastle 3-0.

The Leeds game was the pinnacle, one of the best games I ever saw. John
Sissons scored a hat-trick in the first half hour and Hurst got a treble
later. I can still recall Billy Bremner in front of the Chicken Run with a
couple of minutes left, still screaming and berating his colleagues to get a

Good for him, I thought, this really is hurting. Don Revie is supposed to
have told his team that such a result against us would never happen again. I
recall them kicking us to bits every time we played them after that.

And no, I am not expecting our players to run up such goal tallies. But I
want them to try, to look positive and interested and to show they care.

That team of the mid-'60s had its faults, bad ones, but that five-season
spell saw only one relegation fight and we always finished mid-table. So it
can be done. Pass the DVD, Sam. You know it makes sense.

A summer of change
Filed: Monday, 21st April 2014
By: Jack Coddyfriend

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 six-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 six-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 aka
'Allardici' and Davids Gold and Sullivan own the club.

We're moving 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

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 opposition's 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 shoo-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 practise 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 during February. 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 an 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
per cent effort in and gives his absolute all every game. Being 32 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 his 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 a West Ham fans' favourite and has been with the
club a long time. He is not the most talented striker and is also 30, but
should be kept because of his ties to the club and because he isn't an easy
player to sell. He 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 three 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 believe 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 who 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.

Subs: GK – Jaaskelainen, RB – Demel, CB – Tomkins/Collins, CM – Diame, CAM –
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 but from my point
of view, I would change one thing. I would stick with the changes I
suggested 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.

On occasions when 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 3-0 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 might win the

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

George McCartney wants new contract at West Ham
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo | Last Updated: 22/04/14

West Ham defender George McCartney is hoping to earn himself a new deal at
Upton Park. McCartney is out of contract this summer and talks over a new
deal have yet to take place. The 32-year-old, who has made 23 appearances
for the Hammers this term, is determined to prove he deserves a new deal to
extend his stay with Sam Allardyce's side. "Of course I want to stay here,"
McCartney told the Newham Recorder. "I am not getting any younger of course,
but it would be lovely to be here next season. "Talks haven't started yet.
The manager has already stated he will wait until we are mathematically safe
before he starts talking as I think there are a few players out of contract.
"We will wait until that day comes and see what happens."

By S J Chandos 22 Apr 2014 at 08:00
West Ham Till I Die

Following Man City's 3-1 defeat of WBA, yesterday, the Albion Manager, Pepe
Mel, has been talking up the importance of Saturday's match with the
Hammers. And with some justification considering the tight situation at the
bottom of the PL. Sunderland, Fulham and Cardiff City are refusing to 'lay
down' and are fighting for every point. This has left WBA looking nervously
over their shoulders, with just a three point advantage over 18th placed
Cardiff City.

Mel has stated: 'Now we have to look forward to Saturday's game, which is an
absolutely vital match. It really is the most important game. It can be the
game that can spur us on and give us that life. I hope the stadium will be
full and the fans will be with us, they can really help us in this game. The
most important thing is to have a positive attitude. This game really is a
cup final for us.'

In contrast, West Ham's seven point advantage is more comfortable, but we
can take nothing for granted. We need to win on Saturday and, in all
probability, clinch our safety. Everyone will feel more comfortable once we
have reached 40 points and this is the game to do it. That will take any
pressure off the Spurs match and, hopefully, ensure that there is nothing
major riding on the Man City game. The West Ham players have expressed their
determination to take the three points on Saturday. Kevin Nolan has
confirmed the side's determination to put the Crystal Palace defeat right
against WBA and Stewart Downing has stated that the squad are 'itching to
win and get to 40 points' on Saturday.

So, it seems that everything is set up for a memorable clash at the
Hawthorns. This West Ham team are more than capable of winning the match. If
they can handle the partisan atmosphere at the Hawthorns and impose their
game on WBA. Its a question of which West Ham will turn up, the one that
pulled off disciplined away wins at Cardiff City and Sunderland or the one
that fell apart at Norwich City? Will Sam Allardyce go for the win or set up
to win a point? His rationale may be that it is more important not to lose
on Saturday. However, we all know that is a risky approach and a overly
cautious West Ham could be undone by a pumped up WBA.

My view is that we need to take the game to WBA. And it seems that WBA
currently have a injury crisis at left-back, with both Ridgewell and McAuley
struggling to be fit in time for Saturday. If neither make it, then it could
well be that midfielder, Chris Brunt, will play as an auxilliary left-back.
That could be good news for Jarvis and Downing, who will surely fancy
attacking Brunt down that flank. Yes, we may well need to defend for
sustained periods, but we need to get a grip on midfield, attack WBA down
the flanks and get good quality balls in to Carroll and/or Carlton Cole.
This may also be a match where Joe Cole or Nocerino can play a key role,
whether starting or from the bench. Probably the latter if Allardyce pumps
for the extra defensive cover provided by Matt Taylor playing in central

The team owe the fans a winning performance after the abject display against
Crystal Palace. They say that they are determined to do it. Lets hope they
are as good as their word and the 'right West Ham' turn up at the Hawthorns!

SJ. Chandos.

West Ham News: Allardyce facing crisis
Action Images/Reuters
by Hugh Southon22nd April 2014 5:45pm BST

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is living on the edge and could be
sacked at the end of the season whether the club is relegated or not.
[football] direct news has learned that were he to lose the club's last
three games, he would be history even if the club managed to retain its
Premier League status.
We were told exclusively by a well placed source that the club's decision
makers were saying a couple of weeks ago that his position would come under
critical review if the club went on a six game losing run. And the
likelihood was that he would be sacked should that turn out to be the case
given the increasing fan pressure. All of that was ahead of the defeats by
Liverpool, Arsenal and Crystal Palace - a performance which has caused a
near unanimous fan revolt against the manager. There has even been talk of a
season ticket-non renewal campaign on Twitter and several fans website. One
- on - is being spearheaded by Rob Robinson, sopn of
the club's former striker and assistant Bill who was a coach at the club
during it's golden era! Our source said: "Sam is very much on thin ice now.
Should he fail to get a win from the games against West Brom on Saturday,
Spurs and Manchester City, it looks all over for him."

Cottee Column: West Ham need to have a Plan B
News 24
Tony Cottee , Hammers columnist
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
4:00 PM

I was at the Crystal Palace game on Saturday and I have to say that I was as
frustrated as many of the fans who vented their anger at the manager after
the game. We did have our chances in the first half with Andy Carroll and Mo
Diame both going close and if one of those had gone in it would have been a
very different game. But once we went behind there seemed little chance of
getting back into it and some of the decisions that Big Sam made were
questionable. I can't see the point in bringing on a second big centre
forward and then taking off the wingers who are likely to provide the
crosses for them. Matt Jarvis had been playing well, especially in the first
half and though Stewart Downing wasn't at his best, he may have put in a
centre that allowed one of them to score.
The problem as I can see it is that West Ham are just so one-dimensional. If
things don't go right then we tend to rely on lumping it up to Carroll when
he is completely isolated. You need to vary it up a bit, you can't just hoof
it and it is that which is frustrating the fans so much. That leaves us
looking over our shoulders again and though we should be okay, I want to see
us get at least a point from West Brom on Saturday to make sure.

I am confident we can do it and I'm going for a 1-1 draw. It has not been a
great season as we all know, and we all just want to see the back of it, but
we need one more effort to get us over the line before we can start to look
at what should be done next season. One of those things must be to look to
have a Plan B and to my mind that means bringing in a second striker to help
out Carroll.

Moyes sacking was a big surprise

West Ham stuck by Sam Allardyce when the going was getting tough for him at
the turn of the year and it has paid dividends with the team all but safe.
The same can't be said for Manchester United who have sacked David Moyes
just 11 months in the hot seat at Old Trafford. I have to say it was a big
surprise to me. I like David Moyes and I thought he was the right man for
the job, but money talks and as soon as they went out of the Champions
League, the writing seemed to be on the wall. I have seen United a few times
this season and I have to say they have been poor in just about all of them.
But all I can say is, be careful what you wish for. Louis van Gaal is
favourite to come in, but he may well want to bring in a host of new foreign
players, spend a lot more money and then try and ship out some of the
players already there. These things take time, new managers and new players
need time to gel and settle in, but it seems that was not afforded to David


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