Thursday, May 22

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd May 2014

Frank backs call for quality
Frank McAvennie has backed plans to bring more attacking flair into the West
Ham United side

West Ham United legend Frank McAvennie has backed the Club's ambition to
sign more exciting attacking players ahead of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier
League season. The Hammers and Scotland centre forward netted 60 goals
during his six seasons at the Boleyn Ground, benefitting greatly from the
creative talents of the likes of Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward and Alan
Dickens. Twenty-five years on and McAvennie agrees with the sentiments of
the Board and manager Sam Allardyce, who have stated that they want West Ham
to play with more verve and flair next term. "I think you know what you're
getting with Big Sam," confirmed the 54-year-old. "I would like personally
to see a bit more quality in the team - a few players who can get the ball
down. "I went to see Bolton when Sam was there and he had players like
Jay-Jay Okocha and all that and those boys could get the ball down play.
They also had other boys who could hit it direct and sometimes you have got
to do that and I like to see them mix and match a bit more. "I'd like to see
Sam bring in a bit of quality."

After three seasons as West Ham manager - and two back in the Barclays
Premier League - McAvennie believes Big Sam now has the opportunity to take
the Club forward and start challenging for a European place. Should that
happen, the Boys of '86 hero expects the Boleyn Ground to be rocking with
"If you put on a team on the park that excites the fans, then they will be
behind you," McAvennie confirmed. "The fans like seeing a bit of flair, but
they won't see it go back to the old days because football is different.
"They would like to see some quality in the West Ham team just to mix it up,
because Andy Carroll is a great player, not only heading the ball but with
his feet because he can play. He won't be scared to get it into feet, which
is what I'd like to see West Ham do."

Argy bargy
Filed: Wednesday, 21st May 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are close to sealing the capture of former Birmingham City forward
Mauro Zarate, according to reports from Argentina. Now 27, Zarate played 18
times for Birmingham City whilst on loan in 2008 when the club was still
owned by West Ham's current owners David Sullivan and David Gold. And
according to the player's bother and agent, the forward - who has also
represented Lazio and Inter in Serie A - is close to sealing a move to West
Ham. Rolando Zarate, who himself briefly represented Barcelona and Real
Madrid during his playing career told Argentinian radio show Velez Y Su
Mundo: "We have almost everything sorted out with West Ham. "Mauro Zarate
and his family's love for Velez is huge, but the club will receive good
financial compensation." Zarate's stock has fallen in recent years after his
loan spell at Milan failed to bear fruit with a proposed permanent move
cancelled. In July 2013 he returned to Vélez Sársfield, the Argentinian club
with whom he started his professional career back in 2004. Whilst at Lazio
he was involved in an unsavoury incident in which he was criticised for
making a fascist salute - before a spokesman later insisted Zarate had no
idea who Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini were. The last Argentinian to play
for West Ham was Carlos Tevez, who ended up costing the club some £50million
as a result of contractual irregularities.

Mauro Zarate closes on return to England
By Paulo Freitas & Graeme Bailey | Last Updated: 21/05/14 9:25am

Argentine striker Mauro Zarate is closing on a return to England with West
Ham United, according to his brother and agent. Rolando Zarate has revealed
that the striker played his final game for Velez Sarsfield on Tuesday when
he scored twice in their win at San Lorenzo to help them end the campaign in
The 27-year-old re-joined Velez - the club where he began his career - last
July from Italian side Lazio, and he has performed well with 18 goals in 28
starts to finish as top scorer in the Argentine top flight. Now former
Birmingham forward Zarate looks set to return to England with long-term
admirers West Ham hoping to clinch a deal. Zarate impressed at St Andrew's
during a loan spell at the end of the 2007/08 season, but he could not help
them stay in the Premier League. His brother Rolando now says a move to
Upton Park is close and told Velez y su mundo: "We have almost everything
sorted out with West Ham, they asked him not to play against San Lorenzo but
he wanted to play." Zarate's brother - himself a former Argentina
international - admitted he was sad to be leaving Velez again. "Mauro Zarate
and his family's love for Velez is huge, but the club receive a good
financial compensation." Sky Sports understands that Zarate is due to arrive
in England this week and, although there is rival interest both in the
Premier League and around Europe, West Ham are in pole position.

By Tony McDonald 21 May 2014 at 15:53
West Ham Till I Die

At the risk of adding to a "cesspit of negativity", as Iain Dale refers to
those of us who don't much want to "suck it up and just get on with it" and
depressed though I am, I couldn't let the latest debacle in the club's
recent history pass without comment and some tongue-in-cheek analysis.

For me, the board's decision to start next season with Big Sham still in
charge is one we will all live to regret and is another opportunity to
revamp the club missed. This stay of execution is merely delaying the
inevitable and the problem will be so much harder to address when, as I
suspect, he is finally shown the door before the end of 2014.

In short, what Tuesday's official statement from the club basically
translates to is: 'While we were in the Championship and then trying to get
past the first season back in the Premier League, we couldn't give a
monkey's how the manager did it or what the fans thought about it. Now we've
realised that at this rate, we'll be taking only around 4,000 season ticket
holders to the Olympic Stadium. But we'll wait until he's actually into the
final year of his contract, so we can get rid of him on the cheap'.

For those of you out there who like pictures and few words, perhaps you
might want to leave this page now and react disparagingly without bothering
to read on. For those who want to hang around a while longer, let's attempt
to cut through the crap, delve a bit deeper into the co-owners' statement
and try and read between blurry lines with – yes, OK – a degree of justified
cynicism . . .

(Words which appear below in the lighter font are reproduced from the
statement. Those in bold are my personal interpretation, mere speculation
and have no basis in fact):

West Ham United can confirm that manager Sam Allardyce will lead the Club
into the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season after constructive talks
with the Club's Board. The Board and Allardyce have held lengthy and
detailed discussions on the Club's direction, values and philosophy and a
positive way forward for next season has been agreed.

Our lawyers have looked very closely at the small print of Sam's fat, juicy
contract – after all, let's not forget, we did make him the 13th highest
paid manager in world football this year – and, much as it pains us to admit
this, we can't quite find a way to sack him and his staff without having to
cough up £5m, which we are naturally very loathe to do. So we're afraid
you'll have to be put up with this rubbish for a bit longer. You see, we
have foolishly allowed our manager and his agent friend to become so
influential over the players we sign and release that we cannot extricate
ourselves from this mess as easily as you may think without causing a
massive upheaval. But don't worry, we've come up with a cunning plan that
will hopefully force him to walk away at relatively little cost to the club.
Oh, and we're praying that there will again be three teams even worse than
us next season.

After listening to feedback from supporters, the Board have insisted on
improvements to the set-up of the playing and backroom staff to ensure the
team provides more entertainment next season.

We know full well that almost 78 per cent of 12,000-plus supporters recently
voted for us to get rid of Sam. Of course we are aware of these facts. But
we're going to totally ignore them and hope that you'll soon forget the
absolute garbage you have been overcharged for this past season (and beyond,
if any of you can remember back that far and put aside for a minute that we
beat Spurs three times last season) and renew your season tickets all the
same. Come on, you suckers are claret and blue through and through, right?
'West Ham Till I Die' and 'Moore Than A Football Club' and all that? Anyway,
we are not totally ignoring the opinions and wishes of you, our loyal
supporters. We always carefully consider all views expressed through the SAB
and you may be surprised to know, we agreed wholeheartedly with their
independent findings, which – surprise, surprise – very much coincide with
our own. Fear not. Although we know absolutely nothing about the actual
playing side of a football club, please believe us when we say we are
totally on Sam's case from now on. We're definitely turning the screws and
calling the shots here. You'll absolutely love what we've got lined up for
your joyous entertainment next season, so be sure to get those season ticket
renewals in quickly and remember that we are all in this together. In the
meantime, we'll continue to encourage our good friends in the media to link
us with a preposterously ludicrous string of world class names who would
never be seen dead at Upton Park. There's nothing quite like a few 'West Ham
are chasing (insert name of any World Cup 2014 player)' tabloid reports to
boost ST sales and loosen the pockets of those gullible fans.

The manager has agreed to recruit a new attacking coach to complement the
existing coaching set-up as well as an overhaul of the Club's scouting and
recruitment operation that will see the Board have a greater involvement in
the players who are signed, as the Board will once again be investing
considerable funds into the Club this summer.

As we readily admit, we have never coached nor managed a football club at
any level, let alone in the Premier League, but you will appreciate that we
are very successful business people in our own right and have the club very
much at heart. We seriously believe that we are expertly qualified to give
our manager, who has 25 years of experience at his job, the best possible
advice when it comes to identifying problems on the field and appointing
important assistant coaching staff. In this respect, we are delighted to say
that our trusted adviser Barry Silkman tells us that we shall shortly expect
to be interviewing Kevin Davies, John Fashanu and Mick Harford for the new
role, with Iain Dowie and John Radford also shortlisted, while Savio and
Maiga insist they still have something to bring to the party on the
attacking front, too. As regards player recruitment and scouting policy, the
manager has kindly agreed to at least consider some players who are not
currently under the Mark Curtis banner. The way we see it, we're in a
win-win situation: by undermining Sam in such an obvious way, we're banking
on him throwing in the towel and walking away. And if our leopard really
does change his spots and starts to produce the kind of scintillating
football we all hope for next season . . . OK, we admit, even we don't
really believe this can or will happen.

The Club have made clear that they want to see progression on the pitch and
at least a top-ten finish as a result. West Ham United Joint-Chairmen David
Sullivan and David Gold said: 'We have a very clear vision of how we want
West Ham United to operate under our joint ownership. Although not everybody
understands the West Ham Way, we do and we respect it as we have been
supporters all our lives. We believe this is about a philosophy that is not
just about the style of play, but the whole ethos that surrounds the Club'.

To be honest, as you already know, we don't really have much of a clue what
the 'West Ham Way' is either – and the man we appointed certainly doesn't.
Sure, we know all about the visionary manager John Greenwood, the White
Horse Whisky Final and didn't we win some old tin trophy about 50 years ago?
(Note: We really must remember to invite those old dinosaurs to a game some
day and show them just how well we like to look after our
never-to-be-forgotten heroes.). With the benefit of hindsight, it probably
would have been a good idea to have made our 'clear vision' and the 'ethos'
of the club crystal clear to the manager before we actually gave him the
job. But, to be honest, we assumed – rightly, as it's turned out – that you
would all keep coming along and paying your hard-earned money anyway,
regardless of how poor the entertainment value has been. You certainly seem
to have fallen for it so far, although one or two of you have been getting a
bit pesky lately, hence this appeasing statement. (By the way, please note
the new signage above the turnstiles at the Boleyn Ground next season. The
entrances for home fans will be clearly marked 'Cattle', 'Sheep' and 'Mugs'.
We continue to welcome you all.) Rest assured, we have now read up on the
club's history and traditions and we have passed this enlightened
information on to our man Sam, too. We're talking ethos, philosophy and
style here. We get it. Allardyce is being ordered to completely change a
playing style that he has stuck to rigidly for his entire managerial career.
Not only that, but we expect him to do it in the space of six weeks when the
squad returns for pre-season, add backroom staff that he doesn't want, and
most probably some players that he hasn't even signed. In other words, we've
set him a near-impossible task.

Sam was asked to give us a detailed presentation on his vision for next
season and during this he assured us that he can deliver that ethos to West
Ham United and we have agreed to support him with the resources that he
needs. We have mapped out a way forward with him that will ensure our
much-deserving fans have more to cheer about next season.

Actually, we all fell asleep during the presentation and the screen we
watched it on wasn't really as tall as it could have been, because the ball
kept disappearing from view. But hey, Sam has promised us he will be working
very closely with the players to ensure even more clean sheets. A ball will
be introduced to coaching sessions on Wednesdays, too, so that should really
help the players to get a feel for things ahead of the weekend's action.
They have also pledged to spend at least 10 minutes per week practicing
set-pieces from now on, although Mark Noble has questioned the whole concept
of the little known term 'practice'. The most positive thing to come out of
our last meeting with Sam was his Wenger-esque vision for achieving an
ambitious target of 35 per cent possession in at least a quarter of our
games next season, which we hope you'll agree is a considerable improvement.

We should also stress, though, that while improvements do need to be made,
Sam deserves credit for the job he has done thus far after securing
promotion in his first year and two respectable Premier League finishes in
the two years thereafter.

We really had to slot this in somewhere, just to keep Sam's legal people
happy, you understand? Didn't want them possibly counter-attacking (probably
not the appropriate phrase where Sam's concerned) with a constructive
dismissal claim, did we? After all, you can only go so far in undermining a

We have also seen the likes of Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Winston Reid
all make huge progress under his management, which in turn contributed to
our impressive record of 14 clean sheets last season.

OK, so anyone who knows even the slightest thing about the game knows that
Mark is really no more than a journeyman midfielder who passes the ball
sideways and backwards five yards, creates very few chances and scores even
fewer goals (other than penalties). But who else can we crow about? You all
love him because he's 'one of our own' and will always be quick to overlook
his obvious deficiencies. And the way young James performed in extra-time in
Brentwood High Street last season . . . well, if Roy Hodgson won't take him
to Brazil, then it's his and the nation's loss. If we could cash in by
selling both our young English stars and Winston to one of the top six
clubs, we would – but no top Premier League clubs want them anyway.

The truly historic opportunity of a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016
forms a major part of our five-year strategy to take this Club forward and,
while we have a duty to make sure we stay in the Premier League, we also
want to make sure the performances on the pitch will befit a team playing in
such a world-renowned stadium.

One way or the other, we confidently expect Sam to be gone six or eight
games into next season. Realistically, there's no way he'll put up with his
revised terms of reference or be capable of abandoning his ultra-cautious,
negative, route one approach in favour of the new swashbuckling style we are
demanding from him. Who knows, he may even beat Glenn Roeder's record of
being sacked three games into the new season if our new attacking coach
doesn't produce a few 5-4 cliffhangers for us all to enthral over. Who will
we get in as Sam's replacement? We clearly haven't thought that far ahead
but, obviously, he will be a limited, cheap option, someone no other Premier
League club wanted, and we'll entrust him with the basic brief of keeping us
in the Premier League at all costs. Besides, it won't matter much who we get
in as his replacement or how the team plays – we'll have banked all the
season ticket money by then, whether you turn up or not.

We are absolutely committed to taking West Ham United to new heights and we
want to see the Club continue on an upward trajectory next season.

As Sam constantly reassured us in his detailed presentation, not every ball
aimed at Andy Carroll next season will be 'on an upward trajectory'.

The 2014/15 campaign is crucial to our future and we are confident that Sam
has the passion, experience and determination to make sure it is a success.

'Passion, experience and determination', we said. Did we say he had vision,
tactical nous and flexibility, makes astute use of substitutions or is
clever transfer market operator who never pays over the top for a player,
too? No, we most certainly did not mention those elusive qualities. See,
we're learning.

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce said: "I look forward to taking the
Club forward and improving the squad for next season to try and achieve the
plans we have set out in our very productive meeting last week."

Sam's legal advisers insisted on us inserting this final paragraph into our
new bullish statement of intent. He was so delighted that we brought the
club's attacking, entertaining ethos to his attention after three years here
at the helm that, as he says, it's like a new awakening for him. Let's face
it, if we do try and exert more influence over player recruitment and poke
our noses in by telling him how to manage and set up his team tactically, he
is bound to throw his toys out of the pram and walk away eventually. If he
and the new attacking coach fail miserably after all our shrewd advice, he
can always blame us and walk away with his proud record as the supreme
advocate of 19th century 'football' in tact. See you soon and don't forget
to renew those season tickets . . .


Some weeks ago, while still counting the days to Big Sham's departure, some
posters on here threw back at me the wearisome and predictable "well, who
else can we get? Who's out there?' line, as if decent football coaches don't
exist beyond Dover. One of the names I put forward as possessing the kind of
calibre and pedigree our board should be looking at was Celta Vigo's Luis
Enrique . . . the same man Barcelona appointed as their new coach just two
days ago. Of course, we couldn't possibly have competed with Barca for
Enrique but you get my drift? I bet the denizens of Camp Nou are looking
forward to the start of the new season a whole lot more than most West Ham
fans are.

Now that all the speculation surrounding BS has subsided, at least
temporarily until our tactical genius returns to the dug-out in August and
we are doomed to another period of torture, let's remember Iain Dale's words
and decide where we stand on the issue of Allardyce. To all of you who renew
season tickets or pay at the gate expecting to see a spectacle, don't come
on here or Twitter whinging and disappointed that nothing has changed.

*Tony McDonald is editor of the long-established retro EX magazine. To find
out more visit

By Tony Hanna 21 May 2014 at 13:38
West Ham Till I Die

According to reports from Argentina, the Hammers are close to signing Mauro
Zarate. The forward played 18 times on loan for Birmingham City when David
Gold and David Sullivan were at the club. The Argentinian started his career
at Velez Sarsfield and after spells at Al-Sadd, Birmingham, Lazio and Inter
Milan, he is back at Velez Sarsfield again. The players agent is his
brother, Rolando Zarate, an ex Barcelona and Real Madrid player in his
playing days, and it is he who told an Argentinian radio show "We have
almost everything sorted with West Ham."

Over the next few months we are going to be linked with all and sundry.
Whether the Zarate deal is real or just another agent trying to advertise
his player is just for our speculation. This season's transfer window has
the World Cup to contend with and that will change the whole scenery and the
timing of deals. Despite now being a World game, the WC tournament with 32
Nations from around the globe offers the major domestic leagues a fantastic
opportunity to taste test an array of new and old talent. This is a shop
window of gigantic proportions. However, like any new signings, some will
bear fruit and for every one that succeeds there will be many more flops. In
particular, playing a slow tempo game in the heat of Brazil is a lot
different from playing away at Stoke on a cold and wet December evening.

The flip side is that whilst the tournament is in progress, most players are
not going to want the distraction of signing any new deals, and quite
rightly so. Whilst many will enjoy the opportunity of the "for sale" tag
being pinned on them, it will be somewhat of a waiting game until any
targeted players tournament is over. I see this transfer window as being a
very stop start affair with more stops than starts to be honest. A couple of
seasons ago a mate of man who supports Spurs, yes I know, am I really that
short of friends, but he made a list of all the players that they had been
"linked" with over the course of a transfer window. At the close the list
numbered 174 and not one of them signed for Spurs. Agents agendas, players
agendas, clubs and owners agendas will all be at the forefront and sorting
out what is real or isn't will be impossible.

Downing on the attack
Winger Stewart Downing is looking forward to playing in a more attacking
West Ham United side next season

Stewart Downing has welcomed the news that West Ham United will play a more
attacking game next season. The England winger, who delivered more accurate
crosses than any other Barclays Premier League player last term, has reacted
positively to a Club Statement outlining plans for a more offensive
approach. With a new attacking coach set to be appointed and the Board
making a commitment to strengthening Sam Allardyce's squad, the Hammers are
making provision for their third season back in the top flight. Downing, for
one, believes the Club can improve both their playing style and results in
"I thoroughly enjoyed my first season with West Ham, where I played
regularly and was made to feel like a valuable member of the team," said the
No23, who arrived from Liverpool in August 2013. "The Gaffer and the players
made me feel welcome and settled from my first day and I felt I played some
good football. Next season, I want to show the West Ham fans my very best.
"Personally, I am very happy that the manager is staying, because he's a big
part of the reason why I came to the Club. He also handled the difficult
challenges presented to him last season really well."

Downing put in 84 accurate crosses in 2013/14 - 18 more than Manchester
City's Samir Nasri, who ranked second - and recorded two assists alongside
his solitary goal against Tottenham Hotspur in the final home game of the
season. With more attacking players set to join the Club, the 29-year-old
hopes to improve all of those statistics next term, helping the team to
consistently play on the front foot and put their opponents under pressure.
"The stats showed that I put in loads of crosses last season and I hope,
with Andy Carroll fit and firing from the start, I can set up plenty of
goals for him and our other strikers next season," he stated. "I was also
delighted to score my first goal in our home win over Tottenham in May -
hopefully it will be the first of many! The way we played that day should be
the platform for us to build on next season, pressing high and forcing the
other team into making mistakes that we can capitalise on.
"As a winger, I am encouraged to hear that we will try to play with a more
attacking style, as that plays to my strengths. However, we must ensure that
this is not at the expense of the hard work and resilience we showed when it
really mattered last season. We need to get the balance right and, when we
do, I am sure we will cause problems for everyone we face. "I am sure Sam
and the owners will be looking at strengthening the squad this summer and
improving what is already a decent team. I am sure we can kick on next
season and, to be honest, I can't wait to get started again!"

Sam Allardyce should not change West Ham, says Gianfranco Zola
Last Updated: 21/05/14 10:03pm

Gianfranco Zola says Sam Allardyce should not be under pressure to change
his playing style - and is interested in the vacant Norwich job. Gianfranco
Zola believes West Ham boss Sam Allardyce should not be under pressure to
change his style, and has admitted his interest in the vacant post at
Norwich. Allardyce has been given backing by the West Ham board despite fan
unrest at Upton Park, citing poor performances and defensive football as
reasons to oust the 59-year-old. The board has, however, echoed the worries
of the supporters by demanding more attacking football at the club, as well
as a top-10 finish and a say in transfers. Former Hammers boss Zola
disagrees with the treatment of Allardyce, telling Sky Sports: "Every
manager has his own style, whether you like it or not. "You don't have to
put pressure on the manager to change the style. "It's something that tends
to come from the manager. I wouldn't ask somebody to do something that it
might be a problem for them to do. "It's a very strange request."

Zola, who was sacked by West Ham in May 2010, has been out of work since
resigning as Watford boss last December. Recent speculation has seen the
Italian linked with the vacant post at recently-relegated Norwich, who are
in the hunt for a manager after caretaker boss Neil Adams took over from
Chris Hughton for the last few games of their doomed season. Asked whether
he would like to return to management at Carrow Road, Zola said: "It's a
possibility. It's a very good club. "I like the way it's structured, so
we'll see how it goes. "I'm looking for a team, so hopefully it will come.
"It's been a few months out, and now I'm ready to start again."

By Sean Whetstone 21 May 2014 at 21:27
West Ham Till I Die

This afternoon I was asked by Daily Mail Sports to give my thoughts about
Sam Allardyce creating entertainment next season on a budget of £20m.

Sam Allardyce has been ordered to entertain the Hammers faithful next
season, and has reportedly been given a £20million budget, together with a
new attacking coach, to achieve this feat. I have great respect for
Allardyce, simply because of what he has done for West Ham; getting us
promoted at the first time of asking and avoiding relegation in our first
two seasons back in the Premier League. But demanding entertaining football
from him might just be a step too far.

Sam is an excellent survivalist who buys experienced survivalist players
based on statistics. The problem is the board and the fans now want more
than this.

We want to be entertained and push for a top eight league position. Some
people outside of West Ham will say we want our cake and to eat it too, but
the chairmen have invested huge personal sums in the signings of Matt
Jarvis, Modibo Maiga, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll to push the club on
with very little return.

As the impending move to the Olympic Stadium gets closer, we have to be more
ambitious and Premier League survival is no longer a suitable goal.
The suggestion that someone like Paolo Di Canio will join as an attacking
coach to revolutionise us is frankly comical. I couldn't imagine two people
more ill-fitted to work together.

Sam often complains he is stereotyped in the media and his '19th century'
playing style – as Jose Mourinho calls it – is completely misunderstood. I
agree football has moved on from the so called 'West Ham way' of the
sixties, but we want to enjoy watching our football and that rarely happened
for me last season.

When we look at the proposed £20million budget it appears woefully
inadequate to overhaul an entire first team squad, with our only player
under the age of 25 being Ravel Morrison, who was sent out on loan to QPR
last season.

David Sullivan has a reputation for loan deals and a keen eye for bargain.
He rarely pays inflated prices or competes for players other clubs want.
The massive challenge for the West Ham board, who want a tighter reign on
transfer policy, is how they attract quality, flair players to West Ham who
both want to play for the manager and yet still do so on a restricted

The objectives set out in Tuesday's statement seem difficult to achieve and
appear to be doomed for failure.

A better and more honest statement might have been: 'Sam is staying… just
get over it! Thank you for your support.'

West Ham target Jack Colback transfer as his Sunderland contract runs out
May 21, 2014 23:16 By James Nursey
The Mirror

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is close to clinching his first summer signing
by snapping up Jack Colback. The Sunderland midfielder,24, is
out-of-contract and has failed to agree terms with the Black Cats. And the
Hammers are now in pole position to beat Swansea to his signature. Colback
made 42 appearances for the Sunderland last season, scoring three goals. He
has been at the Stadium of Light all of his career, but had two spells on
loan with Championship side Ipswich Town early in his career. It will be
another boost to Allardyce after the Upton Park board opted to keep him this

Obinna's West Ham return imminent

West Ham United look set to bring back Nigerian marksman Victor Obinna, who
is currently on loan at Serie A side Chievo. Victor Obinna spent the 2010-11
season with West Ham and latest reports suggest the East London side will
turn to the unsettled marksman again. The 27-year-old's big professional
break came at Serie A minnows Chievo where he played between 2005 and 2008
and scored 19 goals in 82 games, although his primary role was in providing
assists. Known for his acrobatic goal celebrations and his relentless
energy, Obinna caught the attention of Inter who signed him but never really
needed another striker. Inter loaned Obinna out to Malaga and then to West
Ham where he acquitted himself well, especially at the start of the season.
Obinna managed the unusual feat of providing four assists in a 4-0 League
Cup win over Manchester City and scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 FA Cup fourth
round win over Nottingham Forest. But the Hammers didn't exercise the option
to sign Obinna permanently in the summer of 2011 and he ended up signing for
Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. The talented forward has spent the second
half of the season at Chievo on loan and was greeted very warmly by fans at
the Stadio Bentegodi. But a longer term solution needs to be found and that
could be where West Ham step in. According to, West Ham are
preparing to launch a bid to sign Obinna, who is seen as surplus to
requirements in Moscow and a deal could happen very shortly. It is likely
that Obinna would welcome to chance to return to London and he seems to be
looking for a way to leave Lokomotiv this summer. West Ham often struggled
with a lack of striking options last season and Obinna could be an
affordable solution who is a known quantity.

Argentina striker agrees to West Ham move
Brad Pinard
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
9:45 AM

West Ham are on the verge of signing Argentine striker Mauro Zarate,
according to his agent. The 27-year-old has a good reputation in Europe,
although his record shows he isn't the lethal striker Hammers fans may have
been after. Zarate enjoyed a loan spell with Birmingham City back in 2008
and is now set to return to England having played for the likes of Lazio and
Inter since then. West Ham announced yesterday than Sam Allardyce will be
staying on at Upton Park as manager – although co-owners David Gold and
David Sullivan will now have a bigger say in transfers. The club have wasted
no time and Zarate's agent brother Rolando has admitted that a deal is
all-but done with compensation and contracts agreed. "We have almost
everything sorted out with West Ham, they asked him not to play against San
Lorenzo but he wanted to play." "Mauro Zarate and his family's love for
Velez is huge, but the club receive a good financial compensation." Zarate
is not in the Argentina squad for the World Cup this summer – although he
did notch 19 times last season for hometown club Velez.

West Ham fans voice disappointment at board's decision to retain Sam
Tom Allnutt
Published: 21 May 2014
Updated: 09:21, 21 May 2014

Sam Allardyce's brand of football will never be 'the West Ham Way' and fans
are "disappointed" he will be manager at the start of next season, says the
editor of a prominent Hammers fanzine. The club announced on Tuesday
Allardyce will remain as manager but that he must accept a handful of
"improvements", including a commitment to a more positive style of play. A
statement released by the club said: "After listening to feedback from
supporters, the board have insisted on improvements to the set-up of the
playing and backroom staff to ensure the team provides more entertainment
next season." Allardyce has agreed to hire a new attacking coach and has
been told by joint chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan to aim for "at
least a top-10 finish" - but sceptical supporters remain unconvinced. "Gold
and Sullivan are talking about 'the West Ham Way' but the more you look at
it the more it seems the Allardyce way is never going to be 'the West Ham
Way'," said David Blackmore, editor of The Blowing Bubbles Fanzine. "There
is certainly a lot of disappointment and a feeling the fans haven't been
listened to. "A lot of fans are absorbing it and making notes on what has
been promised so that when it doesn't materialise at the start of the season
they can call the board out on it." He added: "At the moment we don't have
the types of players to be entertaining so I don't see much changing.
"Having a squad that is going to be fit is going to make a difference but I
doubt it will be long past October or November before fans start voicing
their concerns again." West Ham's prospects last season were damaged by a
number of injuries to key players, including club-record signing Andy
Carroll. Allardyce will have "considerable funds" available to strengthen
his squad this summer but the board will have more influence over which
players are brought in. Sullivan and Gold said: "We have a very clear vision
of how we want West Ham United to operate under our joint ownership.
"Although not everybody understands the West Ham Way, we do and we respect
it as we have been supporters all our lives. We believe this is about a
philosophy that is not just about the style of play, but the whole ethos
that surrounds the club."

Allardyce guided the club to promotion from the Championship at the first
attempt in 2012 and secured a 10th-place finish in the team's first year
back in the Premier League. The Hammers failed to progress last season,
however, and spent the majority of the campaign fighting off the threat of
relegation. Three wins over rivals Tottenham and a 13th-place finish in the
table did little to appease disillusioned supporters, who complained about
the team's defensive style of play. In March, the home fans at Upton Park
booed at the final whistle even after the Hammers had beaten Hull 2-1, to
which Allardyce responded by cupping his ears in disbelief. Maintaining
status in the Premier League remains the club's priority, especially given
the significant financial implications of moving to the Olympic Stadium in


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