Sunday, May 11

Daily WHUFC News - 11th May 2014

Manchester City match preview
West Ham journey to Manchester City on Sunday for their final Barclays Premier League game of the season

SUNDAY 11 MAY 2014

• West Ham United face Manchester City for the fourth time this season when they play their final Barclays Premier League fixture of the campaign at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
• Sam Allardyce's side have lost all three meetings with the Citizens this season, including a 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture.
• The Hammers do however head into the season finale having produced a superb performance to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground last time out, securing their top flight status.
• West Ham can't finish any higher than their current placing of 12th, but could drop down to 15th if all results go against them on the final day.
• Exactly half of the Hammers 14 clean sheets this season have come away from home, a statistic they will be hoping to add to against the free-scoring hosts.
• Manuel Pellegrini's team will be crowned champions if they manage to beat West Ham on Sunday, with a draw also likely to be sufficient for the home side.
• The Sky Blues beat Aston Villa 4-0 at home on Wednesday night to rack up 100 goals for the league campaign and return to the summit of the Premier League.
• City have been formidable at the Etihad this season, winning 16 of their 18 league outings on home turf and losing just once, a 1-0 loss against Chelsea in February.
• Pellegrini's team have won four straight league matches and need only to deny West Ham a first away win over them since 2003 to secure the Premier League title.

Team news
West Ham United
• Marco Borriello is the Hammers only injury absentee, with the striker unavailable due to a calf injury.
• Fellow Italian Antonio Nocerino will play no part in the final match of the season after returning to AC Milan following a short loan spell.

Manchester City
• Sergio Aguero is a doubt for the season finale with a hamstring injury making him likely to miss the match.
• Jesus Navas and Matija Nastasic are both out of Sunday's match, with ankle and knee injuries respectively.

Last time out
West Ham United 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Barclays Premier League
3 May 2014
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, McCartney, Taylor, Noble, Nolan (Jarvis 88), Diame, Downing, Carroll (C Cole 84)
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Collins, Vaz Te, Armero, Nocerino
Goals: Kane og 27, Downing 44

Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
7 May 2014
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Kompany, Demichelis, Toure, Milner (Jovetic 60), Garcia, Silva (Fernandinho 76), Nasri, Dzeko (Negredo 86)
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Clichy
Goals: Dzeko 64, 72; Jovetic 89; Toure 90

Previous meeting
West Ham United 0-3 Manchester City
Capital One Cup semi-final second leg
21 January 2014
The last time West Ham met Manchester City, the game ended in a comprehensive victory which saw the Citizens reach the Capital One Cup final. Trailing 6-0 from the first leg it was always going to be an uphill task for the hosts who were powerless to prevent a further two goals from Alvaro Negredo and one from Sergio Aguero.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Taylor, Johnson, Tomkins, Rat, Diarra, Nolan, Diame (Collison 89), Morrison, J Cole (Downing 47), Carroll (C Cole 46)
Subs not used: Adrian, Noble, Jarvis, Chambers
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy, Navas (Kolarov 79), Garcia (Rodwell 63), Fernandinho, Lopes, Negredo, Aguero (Jovetic 65)
Subs not used: Hart, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Demichelis
Goals: Negredo 3, 59; Aguero 24

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)
21 January 2014 - West Ham United 0-3 Manchester City (Capital One Cup)
8 January 2014 - Manchester City 6-0 West Ham United (Capital One Cup)
19 October 2013 - West Ham United 1-3 Manchester City
27 April 2013 - Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
3 November 2012 - West Ham United 0-0 Manchester City
1 May 2011 - Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United
11 December 2010 - West Ham United 1-3 Manchester City

Overall record v Manchester City (all competitions) W 35 D 16 L 46

Ten-year records
West Ham United
2012/13 Premier League 10th (46 points)
2011/12 Championship 3rd (86 points - promoted to Premier League via Play-Offs)
2010/11 Premier League 20th (33 points - relegated to Championship)
2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted to Premier League via Play-Offs)
2003/04 Division One 4th (74 points)

Manchester City
2012/13 Premier League 2nd (78 points)
2011/12 Premier League 1st (89 points - champions)
2010/11 Premier League 3rd (71 points)
2009/10 Premier League 5th (67 points)

2008/09 Premier League 10th (50 points)

2007/08 Premier League 9th (55 points)

2006/07 Premier League 14th (42 points)

2005/06 Premier League 15th (43 points)

2004/05 Premier League 8th (52 points)

2003/04 Premier League 16th (41 points)

Old boys
• Richard Wright signed for West Ham United in July 2007 following his release by Everton. The goalkeeper did not make a first-team appearance for the Hammers and, after being loaned to Southampton in March 2008, joined Ipswich Town in July of the same year. He is currently with Manchester City
• Other players to have turned out for both clubs include Tal Ben Haim, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Bridge, Ian Bishop, James Cumming, Justin Fashanu, Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, David James, Patrick Leonard, Steve Lomas, Trevor Morley, John Payne, Stuart Pearce, Trevor Sinclair, Carlos Tevez, Paulo Wanchope and Mark Ward.
• Former West Ham United centre-back Malcolm Allison joined Manchester City as assistant manager in 1965. Under the guidance of Allison and manager Joe Mercer, the club enjoyed a sustained period of success, winning the Division One title in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969 and both the League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970. After taking over from Mercer in 1971, Allison resigned in March 1973, later returning to Maine Road for a second spell in charge between 1979 and 1980.
• Allison's former West Ham United team-mate John Bond took charge of Manchester City following Allison's departure in October 1983, remaining in charge until February 1983.
• One-time West Ham United left-back Stuart Pearce took charge of Manchester City between March 2005 and May 2007.

• West Ham United have played Manchester City on 97 occasions with the Hammers winning 35, losing 46 and 16 meetings ending as draws.
• The first meeting between the two sides came back on 26 April 1924 when a William Moore goal wasn't enough to prevent the Hammers losing 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground.
• West Ham United's biggest home and away victories over Manchester City both came in the same season - 1962/63. A 6-1 away Division One success on 8 September 1962 was followed by victory by the same scoreline here on 18 May 1963 - a result that relegated the Citizens.
• West Ham United have not scored more than one goal in any of their last 15 matches against Manchester City and have only done so once in the previous 20 meetings - a 2-1 FA Cup sixth-round win at the City of Manchester Stadium on 20 March 2006, when Dean Ashton netted both. Yossi Benayoun also started the game.
• Tony Cottee is the only West Ham United player ever to score a hat-trick against Manchester City. His treble fired the Hammers to a 3-0 Premier League win at the Boleyn Ground on 17 December 1994.
• Peter Dobing scored hat-tricks for Manchester City in both Division One meetings with West Ham United in 1961/62.
• Manchester City have twice recorded 4-0 victories at the Boleyn Ground - both in the old Division One on 24 March 1962 and 6 December 1969.
• Sunday's match referee will be Martin Atkinson.
• A referee since the age of 16, Atkinson was promoted to the Football League list of assistant referees in 1998. In 2000, Atkinson was promoted to the Select Group of assistant referees, allowing him to run the line in Premier League matches.
• Atkinson joined the National List of referees for the Football League at the start of the 2003/04 season before taking charge of his first Premier League fixture on 20 April 2005 when Manchester City entertained Birmingham City.
• Atkinson was the man in the middle at the 2006 FA Community Shield between Chelsea and Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. He also took charge of the 2008 FA Trophy final between Ebbsfleet United and Torquay United at Wembley Stadium.
• Atkinson is refereeing West Ham for the fourth time this season after taking charge of the Hammers 3-0 win over Fulham in the Barclays Premier League in November, the 5-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup with Budweiser and a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at the Boleyn Ground.
• Atkinson's assistants on the weekend will be Harry Lennard and Peter Kirkup, while the fourth official will be Neil Swarbrick.

General information
• The weather forecast for Sunday's game is cloudy with showers and temperatures around 11C (52F).
• The Club's allocation of tickets for Sunday's match are SOLD OUT.
• If travelling to the game via train from London, click here for travel updates.

Visiting Supporters Access to the Etihad Campus & Etihad Stadium
In order to ensure that service diversion works can be carried out safely, hoardings have been erected at the South end (away end) of the Etihad Stadium.
This impacts the amount of space immediately outside the visiting supporters entrances and may impact queuing and access through these entrances. To assist fans arriving at the stadium, both additional signage and staff will be in place.
To ensure that supporters enter the stadium via the correct entrances, we have implemented an additional soft ticket check upon arrival. We therefore advise all visiting supporters to arrive early to avoid any delays when entering the stadium.
You can find the Manchester City Visiting Supporter Guide here.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and Manchester City look forward to welcoming you to the Etihad Stadium.
Etihad Stadium Tour
Manchester City invite West Ham fans to complete their matchday experience and take a peek behind the scenes on a professionally guided tour around the Etihad Stadium just hours before the big game.

Take in the full view of the stadium from the Directors seating area before making your way down to pitch-side to feel the pre-match buzz. From there immerse yourself further using a self-guided interactive exhibition area.

To book, please contact the Stadium & Club Tour Office on +44 (0) 161 444 1894 (Option 4 Option 2) quoting Match Day Experience. This exclusive one-hour tour is priced £10 per person. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour's departure time in the Colin Bell Stand.

Guests also receive a souvenir club lanyard and tickets include membership of the MCFC supporters' club and a 10% discount in the club shop and hospitality.
To get to the Etihad Stadium, take the Metrolink to Etihad Campus, bus 216 from Piccadilly Gardens, or a taxi from the City Centre to Gate 11 Etihad Campus M11 3FF.

Kit man Pete hits the road in style
West Ham United kit manager Pete Williams has taken possession of a new van courtesy of Vauxhall

If you are on the road to Manchester City this weekend and pass a smart, new Vauxhall van, it may well be driven by West Ham United kit manager Pete Williams. The van was recently delivered to Chadwell Heath after the Hammers and Wales national team goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson brokered a deal with Welsh FA sponsor Vauxhall. The smart Movano van will enable Williams and his assistant James Saban to carry the first-team playing kit, gym and medical equipment and other accessories to the Etihad Stadium in style and comfort. "This is massive for us, really," said a grateful Williams, who began his kit management career at Billericay Town many years ago. "Also, in pre-season when we go all over Europe it will be important because we take all the kit with us. It's just magnificent really. "I just want to thank Marge for pushing this forward and getting us the van. This will be a big help for me and the lads. "We never had a kit van at Billericay. I used to put it in the boot of my car when I first started! We've moved a long way forward since then, but I'll never forget my roots and I'll always love Billericay Town."

Margetson said he was just happy to be able to secure a vehicle that will travel thousands of miles over the coming seasons, ensuring the Hammers are always immaculately turned out when they take to the pitch. "Vauxhall sponsor the Welsh FA and Pete needed a new van to get the skips and things to and from the games," said the former Wales international. "There is so much involved now at Premier League level that it doesn't all fit on the team bus. "Pete has a lot of travelling to do up and down the country taking the kit, so with the connection through the Welsh FA and Vauxhall's sponsorship, I started the ball rolling and looked into how we could possibly get a van. To be fair to Vauxhall, they've been brilliant."

While he is not often seen in front of the camera, Williams is one of the most hard-working and dilligent members of staff at the whole Club, and Margetson believes he deserves this important new tool of his trade. "Pete is massive to the Club. We're at Premier League level so players don't have just one pair of boots. Each player individually needs four or five pairs of different boots and shin pads and different pieces of kit. "Week-in, week-out, he ensures all the kit is there and ready and that's why he needs such a big van."

Cullen's final goal
Josh Cullen's aspiration is to help West Ham United reach the Barclays U18 Premier League Play-Off final

Josh Cullen would love to complete a fine personal week by helping West Ham United reach the Barclays U18 Premier League Play-Off final. The Hammers reached the Play-Offs after finishing second in the Southern Division and travel to Northern Division champions Manchester City for a one-legged semi-final on Saturday morning. While West Ham will be the outsiders in the 11am kick-off at Platt Lane, Republic of Ireland U18 international Cullen is determined to end a memorable week on a high, having secured the Dylan Tombides Award for the Academy's best player of the season on Tuesday evening. "We're in the Play-Offs and have a big match at Manchester City on Saturday and hopefully we can get the result there and finish the season well by ultimately winning the league," said the midfielder. "That's our aim as a team."

For Cullen, victory at Manchester City would give him the chance to lift a second piece of silverware after he was picked to win the Dylan Tombides Award ahead of 19-goal captain Kieran Bywater and full-back Lewis Page by Academy Director Tony Carr MBE. "It's credit to all the other lads, as well, because they've been excellent this season. I don't think you could pick too many players and say they haven't had a good season, so I was pleased I managed to get the award. It's a great achievement for me and also for the other two nominees, who have also had very good seasons."

A central midfield player who joined West Ham from junior club Rayleigh Boys as a nine-year-old, Cullen has long been considered one of the brightest prospects within the Academy. Having turned 18 just last month, he is already targeting a place in the first-team squad after making nine Barclays U21 Premier League appearances in 2013/14. "It's about trying to push for the first team now. It's been good stepping up to the Development Squad this season, but it's about taking it to the next level and hopefully I've settled in quite well. Hopefully I can push on next season and get in and around the first team and get that experience, because that's what it's all about. "I try to work on all the aspects of my game. Being a modern midfielder is not easy because you've got to be able to do a lot of different things. I'm constantly working on my game, training hard and hoping to improve and become an all-round midfielder."

While a first-team squad place at West Ham is Cullen's long-term aim, he also holds international ambitions. After helping England U16s to win the Victory Shield in 2011, the teenager has switched allegiance to Republic of Ireland, where his family hail from. Having featured twice for the Irish U18s in friendly matches with Czech Republic in April this year, the Westcliff-on-Sea born player is hoping to pull on the green shirt again in the near future. "It's a great privilege to play international football. I played for England which was a nice touch, but now I've moved to play for Ireland as I have family who are fully Irish. It's representing a country I care about and it's another chance to show what I can do at a another level. "We have got the UEFA European U19 Championship qualifiers next season, so that's another aim, to keep pushing on there and see what comes of it."

Matty wants to win at City
In-form midfielder Matt Taylor wants to end the 2013/14 season on a high at Manchester City

West Ham United head for the Etihad Stadium on Sunday knowing only a win will realistically deny hosts Manchester City the Barclays Premier League title.
While the bookmakers, pundits and fans of title rivals Liverpool likely consider the Hammers to be massive outsiders to score a victory, midfielder Matt Taylor would love nothing more than to do just that. Having started all eight of West Ham's wins since the turn of the year, the No14 is aiming to end a fantastic 2014 on a high by making that nine this weekend. "I am delighted with the way things have gone, of course, because at the beginning of the season I struggled to get into the team and, at times, struggled to get into the 18-man matchday squad," said Taylor. "I was given the opportunity and I took it. "Obviously it's about the team, though. We have been very resilient and have kept a lot of clean sheets and we are looking forward to ending the season on a high now [at Manchester City]. Had we scored a few more goals, we'd probably be sitting prettier in the league. "Personally, I've enjoyed it. You do get disappointed when you're not playing, which is a natural human reaction, but I was given the opportunity to come into the team and asked to do a specific job and I felt I did that. For a little bit, the pressure was off because nobody expected me to come in and play well, but I obviously backed myself in terms of performing and I felt I did well, so I can't really complain. "The older you get, you sometimes start to think everything is behind you, but the important thing for me now is that I think things are still in front of me after this season."

Looking back on the past season, one might expect Taylor's block-laden performance in the pivotal goalless draw at Chelsea in January to be his personal highlight, but you would be wrong. Instead, the 32-year-old picked out the 2-1 Capital One Cup fifth-round win at Tottenham Hotspur in December as his favourite moment of 2013/14. "I enjoyed the win away in the cup against Tottenham, purely and simply because the manager named a lot of the boys who were in a similar situation to me. We weren't playing, but we went out and stayed in the game at vital times when we had to. "When they scored, we could have gone under because it was Tim Sherwood's first home game in charge, but we came back and were fantastic. We got a well-deserved result and we progressed in the competition - it's just a shame how it went after that!"

Taylor joined West Ham following the Club's relegation in 2011 and has enjoyed many other memorable moments over the past three seasons - most notably setting up Carlton Cole's opener in the 2012 Championship Play-Off final win over Blackpool at Wembley. The midfielder's contract expires in June and, whatever happens this summer, he has thoroughly enjoyed his time in east London. "I've been very fortunate to play here. It's arguably the biggest club I have played for in terms of fans and structure, so I've enjoyed my time here. Whether or not that time is up, I don't know. I haven't had that conversation with the manager yet. Hopefully, playing the way I have done in the last three or four months will give me some options, but we'll have to wait and see. "As a footballer and football supporter, all I want to see is players giving 100 per cent and that's what I do week-in, week-out. I have been moved into a slightly different position now, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it. "We have a great group of lads here as well, so it's been good for us to try and achieve things together."

Phil Parkes battling cancer
Filed: Saturday, 10th May 2014
By: Staff Writer

The man who may just be West Ham United's greatest goalkeeper of all time has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Phil Parkes, who played for the Hammers (primarily under John Lyall) between 1979 and 1990 is to undergo surgery shortly having been diagnosed with the disease, which is the third most-commonly diagnosed variant of cancer worldwide. When Phil, now 63, moved from QPR to West Ham in 1979 for £565,000 he became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world - a title currently held by Gianluigi Buffon who cost Juventus £32.6m in 2001. Parkes went on to make 344 appearances for West Ham including appearances in the 1980 FA Cup Final and the 1981 League Cup Final. He was also key to the Hammers' highest ever top flight finish, third place in the 1985/86 season. Everyone at would like to wish Phil the very best of luck.

West Ham's Adrian out to spoil Manchester City title party
Last Updated: 10/05/14 2:53pm

Goalkeeper Adrian insists West Ham United travel to the Etihad Stadium determined to upset Manchester City's Premier League title bid. Manuel Pellegrini's side enter the final day of the season knowing victory over West Ham would seal them a second championship in three years. However Adrian, who has overlooked six of West Ham's 14 clean sheets this season, claims his side travel to Manchester with nothing but victory on their minds. Sam Allardyce's side retained a clean sheet against Europa League chasing Tottenham last weekend and Adrian believes there is no reason they cannot replicate that against the Premier League leaders. "We're going to City only thinking about victory," the Spaniard told The Sun. "Although we're safe, we have pride. We're professionals and go into this game looking to finish the season with a win. "No doubt it's going to be a very tough match. But this game is very different to the defeat in the Capital One Cup because City have that pressure of needing a result to win the title. "And we're now safe - we want to sign off with a result for our loyal fans and ourselves."


City became only the second side to score 100 goals in a Premier League season when they beat Aston Villa 4-0 and Adrian is wary of threat posed by the free-scoring attackers. "The biggest thing that has struck me is the respect English people have for one another. You can go out and dress in any way, sport whatever haircuts, be shaved or unshaven, and people will respect you for what you are, not for your appearance." "City have a great squad with good attacking players like [Edin] Dzeko, [Alvaro] Negredo, [Sergio] Aguero, [Samir] Nasri and [David] Silva," he acknowledged. "Yet we have proved this season that when we work very hard, which has happened on a number of occasions, we can keep clean sheets. "We train every day this style - to be strong and united in defence and then counter-attack and be good at set-plays." Adrian, who joined the capital club from Real Betis in the summer, was honoured with awards for signing, performance and save of the season at the club's annual celebration and revealed he has enjoyed his first year in England.


"It was an unbelievable evening for me to be given a hat-trick of awards, I must thank the fans so much," he added. "My first season here in England has been positive because I've found a good group of team-mates, who have helped me adapt to a new club, culture and a new style of playing. "Personally, I'm so happy to get the confidence of the manager and West Ham fans. The best moment for me was that match against Chelsea away - because it was very busy in the goal and I kept a clean sheet. "It was a perfect point earned for us that night. We will try to do this again at City." The 27-year-old revealed his love for the English capital and admits he has been amazed by the warmth of welcome he has received. "I've fallen in love with London and enjoyed going to the theatre or catching a movie with my girlfriend," he said. "The biggest thing that has struck me is the respect English people have for one another. You can go out and dress in any way, sport whatever haircuts, be shaved or unshaven, and people will respect you for what you are, not for your appearance. "And it doesn't matter if you are a banker, builder, professional footballer or cleaner. This is a fantastic country and I love being here."

Sam Allardyce has full backing of West Ham squad
Last Updated: 11/05/14 6:55am

Kevin Nolan has admitted he was shocked by reports West Ham were planning to remove manager Sam Allardyce. Allardyce guided the Hammers to Premier League safety but he has been the subject of criticism from supporters and reports on Thursday suggested he was facing the sack after Sunday's clash with Manchester City. But Nolan, who played under Allardyce at Bolton, says the squad is firmly behind their manager and issued a passionate plea to the Hammers board to stick by him. "It shocked a lot of the boys," he said. "We found it all quite surprising to be honest and we are still quite shocked that people can write that stuff. "If you ask anyone in that dressing room, the gaffer has got the full backing of every one of us. "It's a sad occasion when we are talking about him getting sacked after the magnificent job he has done over the last three seasons and I've been a part of that with him. "I've seen the difference he's made from when he first walked in - the state of the club from then to what it is now - I'm sure the owners would recognise the magnificent job he's done. "I firmly believe and the gaffer firmly believes we could have done a lot better, we know that, but there's been some massive obstacles. "So I'd tell the chairman you've got to stick with him because you've only got to look at what he built at Bolton. "He took us from a Championship side to Europe in five years and his record speaks for itself when he's given time to develop a club."

By Sean Whetstone 10 May 2014 at 22:23
West Ham Till I Die

Sad news has broken that two West Ham Legends Phil Parkes and Ray Stewart are seriously ill and both are soon to face major surgery.

Phil Parkes has been diagnosed with Bowell Cancer and faces surgery as part of his treatment in his battle with the illness that took the life of Bobby Moore.
Phil made over 400 appearances for West Ham after joining from QPR for a record transfer fee in 1979. If you are not so familiar with his hammers career you can find more out more from this article by Tony Hanna published late last year HERE

Ray Stewart faces open heart surgery, revealed by West Ham photographer Stevie Bacon on social media this evening. Ray made 432 appearances for West Ham and scored 84 goals from right back. All but eight of his goals were from the penalty spot. Tony Hanna also published an article earlier this year on his career with West Ham which can be read HERE

All of us here at WHTID wish them both a speedy and full recovery.

By Iain Dale 10 May 2014 at 10:
West Ham Till I Die

Perhaps Sam Allardyce sees what is coming. Perhaps he has a death wish, but if I were David Sullivan I'd be fuming over an interview Sam Allardyce has given to the Daily Mail. In the interview he questions whether West Ham match his own ambition. How arrogant can you get. This is the relevant part…

'I have more ambition than West Ham ever have. I have more ambition than them, or the same ambition as them. I want to get into Europe. I want to get into the new stadium. I want to win a cup. If I don't have ambition I don't do this job. If I don't have drive, or motivation, I don't do this job. I am ambitious. I have seen it all before and you use your experience to try to achieve that ambition. Can West Ham match my ambition? Eventually, yes. It is whether everyone is patient enough to wait to get there. That is the problem today: a lack of patience across the board.'
Self indulgent rubbish. Managers have been sacked for less. I detect no lack of ambition among either the fans or the owners. What I do detect is a lack of ambition among the management to play the kind of football that we're used to.

Of course there's always the possibility that his words have been twisted or selectively quoted, but it doesn't look like that to me.

Hubris the Wonderhorse
Nick Miller, Thursday 8 May 2014 16.23 BST


Sam Allardyce's reputation has taken something of a hit this season. When he hasn't been guzzling his third goose fat milkshake of the morning, Allardyce has been cupping his ears, counter-productively enhancing the sound of the boos ringing out from those West Ham fans impertinent enough to think the gruel with water that's been shoved into their faces isn't particularly satisfying, just because it's keeping them alive. In fact, so little does Manuel Pellegrini think of Sam and his Hammers that the Chilean, who has hitherto skilfully avoided saying anything at all of interest since arriving at Manchester City, has chosen this moment to clamber atop Hubris the Wonderhorse and load up a Noel's House Party-style gunge tank with egg, leaving it perilously close to his face.

City, of course, gave Aston Villa a not-entirely convincing 4-0 shoeing on Wednesday night, helped by two goals from Edin Dzeko (surely the best bad footballer the Premier League has to offer), and thus only realistically require a draw against Sam's West Ham to secure the Premier League title on Sunday. Which will definitely happen, because as this season has repeatedly demonstrated, when a good team plays a bad team, the good team always, always, always wins. Without exception. Every time.

More than that, Pellegrini is already looking beyond actually winning the thing, and towards the manner in which they will swat West Ham aside. "Now we can talk about the title because if we win the next game we are going to win it," Pellegrini mused, briefly looking up from ordering a job lot of blue and white ribbons and ticker tape. "We could not do the same before this game because we had to beat Aston Villa. I think it will be very important, not only the title but in the way we are going to win the title if finally we win it." He continued, not really giving the words coming out of his mouth his full attention because the website of this trophy polish company he's ordering an extra batch from is a bit tricky to navigate: "We have a style of play. I think we are an attractive team, we score many goals and we are always thinking to score more goals. That to me has the same importance as winning the title."

It does seem to be a curious time to tempt fate, not least because it isn't like the old boy doesn't have a pretty recent cautionary tale on which to call. The reason that City are in this enviable position is because Liverpool got ahead of themselves on Monday night against Crystal Palace, comically trying to wipe out the massive goal difference … erm … difference between them and City, absent-mindedly forgetting to make sure they actually won the bloody game first. Thus, instead of Liverpool taking a puncher's chance into the final day, they were left with grown men blubbing on national television and a final 10 minutes that resembled Sideshow Bob stepping on all the rakes.

No matter, for Pellegrini has saddled up Hubris the Wonderhorse, fed him a few cubes of pride sugar and is riding him straight towards Big Sam's lot, confident they will provide all the resistance of a bungee cord made of candy floss, and like good old sports simply step aside and allow City win the title with a flourish. Because that's how it's going to happen. The good team is going to beat the bad team. It always, always, always happens. Without exception. Every time. Full speed ahead Hubris! Fly like the wind!

Allardyce braced for sacking by West Ham following season finale at Manchester City
May 10, 2014 23:00 By Steve Bates
The Mirror

Sam Allardyce is preparing for the bullet from Upton Park after admitting: "If Manchester United can sack David Moyes then West Ham can dump me", writes Steve Bates in the Sunday People. The Hammers' boss has been under fire from fans who don't like his style of football – despite guiding the east London club to promotion to the Premier League and keeping them there the last two seasons. West Ham are currently 12th as they prepare to face Champions elect Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium today. But some sources suggest Allardyce will be sacked by co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold next week.
Allardyce said: "If United can get rid of David Moyes 10 months into a six-year contract then West Ham can sack me. "I've heard the rumours but I've been in the game a long time, so I'll wait and see what happens."

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan won't say sorry to fans for their disappointing season
May 10, 2014 22:30 By Steve Stammers
The Mirror

Kevin Nolan has contradicted his West Ham boardroom boss by insisting NO apology is needed by the players at the end of a disappointing campaign. The Hammers' co-chairman David Sullivan said at the club's end-of-season awards dinner: "I want to apologise to the supporters for this season. "It has not been good enough. We will sit down next week and look at what we need to take things forward." But Nolan – whose team can have a major say in the destiny of the Premier League title when they take on Manchester City at the Etihad – declared: "Apologise? No I wouldn't go along with that. "I think this season has been a testing season for us all. It is the owner's prerogative to say what he wants, the way he sees it. "But I think if he looks back on this season, he will see how difficult it has been. It has been a tough old season, I am not going to deny that. But I don't think there is a need to apologise to the fans. "If you speak to the fans, I don't think they would want an apology. The minority might, the majority won't. "What they have seen this year is that they have a team who really want to play for this club and really want to do well for this club and I am sure, given time with this squad, and hopefully with a few new additions that the gaffer will be sorting out this summer, you will see a different us next season."

And he pointed to the manner of the 2-0 win over Tottenham eight days ago as proof that West Ham are not content to play percentage football geared just for survival. He said: "Anyone who was here for that game cannot say we are a long-ball team." Nolan then made an impassioned defence of manager Sam Allardyce, whose position has been open to question in recent weeks – including a banner calling for his dismissal during the 1-0 defeat at West Brom. "The talk about Sam shocked a lot of the boys," said Nolan, who played for Allardyce at Bolton. "All I would say is that the Gaffer has got us all behind him. From day one, when he walked in here, he has proved to everyone what he can do. "This year we have been blighted by injuries. I don't think any other team in the bottom 10 would have been able to stay in the Premier League if they had the injuries we had."

Allardyce will have an end-of-season de-brief later this week, and Nolan said: "I would tell the chairman you have to stick with him because you have to look at what he built at Bolton. He took them from the Championship into Europe within five years. "It is a sad occasion when we are talking about him getting sacked when you look at the magnificent job he has done for three seasons." Nolan – who was at Liverpool as a schoolboy before leaving to join Bolton – is a fan of the Anfield club and has been inundated with messages in the last week pleading for a West Ham win against the odds . "You have to go there and believe you can win," said Nolan, mindful of the 6-0 thrashing dished out by City to West Ham in the Capital One Cup. "If you lay down, another 6-0 can happen to you. It will be a different game this time. All the pressure is on them."

Sam Allardyce West Ham sacking IS under consideration by Hammers' top brass
May 08, 2014 18:45 By John Cross
The Mirror

The Upton Park club's hierarchy are considering axing Big Sam after the club's final game of the season, at champions-elect Manchester City on Sunday.
Manager Allardyce has upset the Hammers' fans this season with his style of play, defiant refusal to change his methods and open mocking of the supporters' grumblings. That has left West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold in a difficult position, and they believe the time may have come to make a change. Allardyce has been planning for the future, looking at new signings and budgets for next season, but time and patience is running out - and it is the backlash from supporters which has really put his job on the line. West Ham will consider their next move, and the emphasis will be to return to their footballing traditions. Allardyce made noises recently that he is reluctant to go in that direction and that safety from relegation comes first, and the club's hierarchy are concerned about the future.


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