Adrian calls for final push
Goalkeeper Adrian wants to end his first season in England on a high
As his first season in English football comes to a close, Adrian has cause
to look back on the year with fondness. The team may have found it tough to
hit form on a consistent basis, but the No13 has battled his way into Sam
Allardyce's eleven and stayed there with a string of strong performances.
Adrian played as the Hammers defeated Tottenham in the Capital One Cup and
now he wants another derby victory on Saturday. "I'm happy with how it's
gone," the 27-year-old explained. "I had a good season last year with Betis
and here game-by-game I've started to improve and help the team. "I knew I
wouldn't come here and walk into the team because there is a lot of
competition with the other players. "I managed to get a place in the
starting eleven and I gained confidence from the supporters, management,
staff and my teammates. "As a team we didn't start very well, but then we
got some wins and improved our position. It's true that we haven't been able
to get any points in the last few games, but it's been quite a steady season
and we have to finish strongly now."
Adrian may come up against a familiar face on Saturday in fellow Spaniard
Roberto Soldado, and despite his struggles at White Hart Lane, the Hammers
man is sure the striker will come good - but only after this weekend! He
added: "I played against Soldado back in Spain. He was was at Valencia when
I was playing for Betis, and I've always been lucky against him, even though
he's a great striker. "He's had a rough season but I'm sure he'll get over
it because he's a great professional."
Important message from West Ham Utd
A message from the Club ahead of Saturday's game against Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United would like to thank all supporters who have purchased a
ticket for Saturday's crucial London derby with Tottenham Hotspur. The
Hammers have already enjoyed two memorable wins against Spurs this season,
with the resultant press coverage of each game rightly focusing on the
action on the pitch following two outstanding away performances. Saturday's
game is likely to be an immensely passionate affair and, as ever, we know
both sets of fans will be providing plenty of vocal support for their team.
However, West Ham United seeks to remind all home fans attending the match
at the Boleyn Ground that they will be acting as ambassadors for West Ham
United and their behaviour should reflect the values and standards of our
Club. We are proud to support causes that promote tolerance and inclusion
and tackle discrimination in whatever form it takes. Therefore, any
inappropriate behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated
by the Club. Working with the Metropolitan Police, the Club will continue to
adopt a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discriminatory behaviour
and any fan found to be acting inappropriately - including racist,
anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour - will be punished to the full extent
of the law and banned from attending matches. In the rare case that you do
see or hear anything you think in unacceptable, there are a number of ways
you can report the matter. Two of the easiest ways are to speak to your
nearest steward or police officer at the stadium or use the Boleyn Ground's
anonymous fan phone number - 07860 404 069 - where all calls will be treated
in the strictest of confidence.
Everyone at West Ham United is looking forward to the final game of the
season at the Boleyn Ground, where the famous Claret and Blue Army can show
the world what being a Hammers fan is all about - supporting with pride,
passion and respect.
U18s book Play-Off spot
The Academy sealed their place in the end of season Play-Offs with a 1-1
draw against Arsenal
The Academy booked their place in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League
Play-Offs after a 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Friday afternoon. Former
Arsenal youth striker Jordan Brown earned the Hammers a sixth minute penalty
after being fouled by Stefan O'Connor, which was converted by captain Kieran
Bywater. The hosts were denied the full three points in the second half
however when Ainsley Maitland-Niles pounced onto a slip in the Hammers
defence to finish into the top corner. The Hammers needed a single point
going into this fixture to ensure that London rivals Fulham could not catch
them and U18 boss Steve Potts had an extended group of players to choose
from. Reece Burke returned to the centre of defence to partner Manny
Onariase, whilst Josh Cullen shrugged off a recent injury to take a place on
the bench. Ben Marlow's injury problems meant he had to sit out of another
fixture, whilst U16s defender Josh Pask took up a holding role in the middle
of the midfield. With the pressure on the Hammers to get a result, the hosts
couldn't have asked for a better start when Brown burst into the penalty
box, only to be dragged to the ground by O'Connor. It was down to Hammers
captain Kieran Bywater to step up and bury his 18th goal of the season. The
Hammers continued to dominate and should have been awarded another penalty
straight away when Brown again got goal side of O'Connor, forcing the
towering defender to apply heavy pressure on the Hammers forward, although
the referee did not agree.
Into the second half and the Hammers kept their foot on the accelerator as
they searched for a second goal, which they almost got when Brown again
found a route into the penalty box, although he slipped when trying to find
a team mate in the middle to finish. It was a fiery game that both sides
desperately wanted to win, which led to a heated moment between captain
Bywater and Arsenal skipper Glenn Kamara when the former reacted badly to a
needless challenge off the pitch, although both players shook hands after
receiving yellow cards. West Ham had a golden opportunity to wrap the game
up in the 71st minute when substitute Jaanai Gordon used his pace and power
to run through on goal, but Gunners keeper Josh Vickers pulled off a
brilliant save. Just a minute later and the visitors were level when a
crossfield ball towards Maitland-Niles caught the Hammers unaware and he
held his nerve to smash the ball into the top left hand corner of the net.
The goal gave Arsenal confidence as the Hammers started to tire, but the
hosts continued to push for a winner and almost got it when Gordon again
found a way through the Arsenal defence, although his shot only made it into
the side netting. Speaking after the game, U18 boss Steve Potts and
assistant manager Mark Phillips were both delighted to see the Hammers earn
their place in the Barclays U18 Premier League Play-Offs, where they will
travel to Manchester City. "We said before the game that if we got through
this game against Arsenal with a result then we would be there against
Manchester City next week, which will be a tough test for the lads," said
Potts. "That's what we want from the boys though, we want them to be tested
and come through games getting results. "Today was a hard test for us but I
said after the game that Arsenal today would be a good test for us ahead of
Manchester City next week," added Phillips." That will be another tough game
next week and if we play well enough and make the final, it will be a third
tough match that we will have to be up for."
The match details for the semi-final match against Manchester City are yet
to be confirmed, but will be announced on whufc.com in due course.
Should the Hammers make the final, they will be up against either Southern
group winners Tottenham Hotspur or Northern group runners-up Everton.
West Ham United U18: Howes, Knoyle, Burke, Onariase, Mavila, Pask, Nasha
(Cullen), Makasi, Bywater, J Brown (Amoo), Parfitt-Williams (Gordon).
Subs not used: T Brown, Martins, Pike.
On this day - 3 May
Jack Collison comes to the fore with a crucial double in 2012's Play-Off
Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United
Championship Play-Off semi-final
3 May 2012
West Ham United took a giant stride back towards the top table of English
football with this Jack Collison-inspired 2-0 win at Cardiff City. Unbeaten
in six headed into the first leg, they were in front inside just nine
minutes courtesy of the Wales international. Ricardo Vaz Te chased a
seemingly lost cause and was suitably rewarded as his cross picked out
Collison, who headed home after his volley had been kept out by David
Marshall. It was that man Collison who doubled the Hammers' advantage four
minutes before the interval. Ben Turner was only able to clear a corner as
far as the Watford-born midfielder, who controlled on his chest before
blasting goalward. With Marshall already committed to his right, Collison's
strike took a wicked deflection off Liam Lawrence before nestling in the
opposite corner. Though Cardiff rallied after the break, Kenny Miller was
unable to convert a series of half chances, as the Hammers took a commanding
lead back to the Boleyn Ground. In the end it proved plenty, with a 3-0 win
in the second leg propelling Sam Allardyce's men to an ultimately triumphant
Complete record - 3 May
2012 Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham United (Championship Play-Off semi-final)
2008 Manchester United 4-1 West Ham United (Premier League)
2003 West Ham United 1-0 Chelsea (Premier League)
1997 West Ham United 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Premier League)
1995 West Ham United 0-0 Queens Park Rangers (Premier League)
1994 Queens Park Rangers 0-0 West Ham United (Premier League)
1989 Newcastle United 1-2 West Ham United (Division One)
1986 West Bromwich Albion 2-3 West Ham United (Division One)
1983 Ipswich Town 1-2 West Ham United (Division One)
1980 Bristol Rovers 0-2 West Ham United (Division Two)
1947 West Ham United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Division Two)
1930 Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1924 Manchester City 2-1 West Ham United (Division One)
Played 13, Won 8, Drawn 2, Lost 3, Scored 21, Conceded 13
Tonks targets Spurs hat-trick
James Tomkins knows how important Saturday's game is to West Ham United
James Tomkins knows how important Saturday's game with Tottenham Hotspur is
to West Ham United supporters. The Hammers welcome Spurs knowing victory
would complete a single-season hat-trick of victories over their north
London rivals for the first time in the Club's history. Tomkins, who played
in the 3-0 Barclays Premier League success at White Hart Lane in October, is
relishing the opportunity to end the 2013/14 campaign on a high at the
Boleyn Ground - putting smiles on the faces of fans in the process. "It's a
big game for all of us, really," said the No5. "We need to win to get
ourselves out of trouble and, with it being Tottenham, we know what it means
to the fans and everyone. It's a massive game. "The game in October is one I
certainly won't forget. We set up well and kept them quiet in the first
half, which is always important, and we got our goals. To win there 3-0 in
front of the thousands of our fans who turned up on the day, and the
celebrations after, were really good. It was an important win with the
situation we were in, as well."
While Tomkins and Winston Reid had to shackle Jermain Defoe, the diminutive
striker has now departed for the MLS, with the larger and more physical
Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane now leading the line for Spurs. With a new
manager also in the dugout in Tim Sherwood, Tomkins knows Tottenham will
present a different proposition this time around - one Sam Allardyce will
ensure the Hammers are ready for. "They will both pose a big threat and we
know about the qualities they have got, but we're not going to worry too
much about them. "The young lad Kane has obviously come in and done well and
Adebayor is an experienced player, so we'll have to play well to keep them
quiet. Hopefully we can get a win in front of a good crowd. "The Gaffer's
attention to detail has always been good and he always makes sure we're on
it leading up to games. There will be no change here and we'll be aware of
what they do well and where we can pose a threat to them. "We'll be
well-prepared going in and we know we need to win because we haven't won
many games lately."
Basildon-born Tomkins has been with West Ham since the age of seven and
knows just how passionate the Club's supporters are. With that in mind, the
25-year-old is determined to give them all a performance and result to be
proud of on Saturday. "I know what the fans here demand because it's a big
Club and we all expect more of ourselves. This season, we expected more than
we have produced on the pitch. When you go four games without winning, fans
are going to be annoyed, like we all are. "As players and staff, we want to
win games, so we understand that it hasn't been good for us of late. We want
to turn that around and there is no better team to do that against than
Spurs. "It's important that the fans can see what position we were in before
Christmas, when we were near rock-bottom, and we got out of it with a great
run of games and four or five wins. "It's important that everyone gets
behind us and shows their support because we're playing Spurs and it's a big
Winston Reid blogs for whufc.com on success against Tottenham this season
and a return to home shores
We've got Tottenham on Saturday and we'd all love to end at home with our
third win over them of the season. It's a local derby and I'm sure the fans
will be up for it. We have to go out and make things right after we lost our
last couple of home games, so we'll be looking to improve on that. I've
scored a couple of goals against the Club's close rivals. Maybe that's more
coincidence than skill, but I've been fortunate enough to score a couple of
goals in derbies, so hopefully I can get another on Saturday. The two wins
over them have been two of the highlights of the season. We know it'll be
another tough game on Saturday, but we'll relish the challenge.
Adebayor is doing well since he's come into the side under the new manager
and he's a very good player so that will be an interesting battle. We'll
expect him to be on his game and we'll have to be at our best to stop him,
We haven't been winning lately, but but we've got two games left and we'll
do our best to pick up as many points as possible. Personally, I thought I
started off the year well to continue where I left off. I then got injured
and missed the majority of the season. It takes a bit of time to come back
from those sort of things, and hopefully next year I'll be improved and
raring to go again. We've also announced that we'll be off to my home
country in pre-season and the plane will be a little more crowded that it
usually is! First and foremost it'll be good for the public down there to
see a couple of good quality teams
It'll be good for the team as well to get out of the normal environment. The
lads will see a country that maybe they'd never have gone to. It's a long
way on the plane, but I'm sue the players will enjoy themselves when they
get there. It's a sporting nation - they love their sport down there - and
I'm sure we'll get a good crowd. Hopefully we'll put on a show, and we know
we'll be working hard down there to get fit for the new season. If you're
travelling that far you'll see some different things. The nature is very
nice and there are a lot of outdoor activities. The public are very
friendly, so if you're going out there, bring a smile I guess!
Come on you Irons
Allardyce: fans' support is vital
Filed: Friday, 2nd May 2014
By: Staff Writer
Sam Allardyce admits that West Ham have underperformed this season - but is
determined to right the wrongs of the 2013/14 campaign next year.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Allardyce revealed that he had some
sympathy for those disappointed by the quality of football this season - but
that he hopes to get the fans back onside with the kind of football that
resulted in a play-off final in 2011/12 and a top half Premier League finish
"I saw the banner at West Brom last weekend and I understand the fans'
frustrations," he said. "My first responsibility has to be to the people who
employ me but I also have a commitment to the supporters of West Ham United.
"I don't take on the fans; there is no future in picking an argument with
them. I understand their frustration, I really do. There is no hiding the
fact that we expected to do better this season.
"But it's not what some of them say about me which really matters - it's
that it can affect the players. If we're not doing as well as they would
like - and we're not at the moment - their response can help turn that
around, or it can make it worse.
"I know how difficult it is because they want to come to the Boleyn Ground,
see their team do well and be excited by the football. This season we
haven't done that enough and when that happens you can't expect your fans
just to go home satisfied."
Tomorrow afternoon West Ham take on Tottenham in their final home league
game of the season. "It would be absolutely fantastic to beat them at home,
having beaten them in the Capital One Cup and in the league," mused
Allardyce in his pre-match press conference.
However the 59-year-old is already looking beyond this season to a busy
summer of activity and recruitment as he enters the final year of his latest
contract, which he signed last May having steered the Hammers to a tenth
place finish in the club's first season back in the Premier League.
"You've got to remember that we're all in this together," he said. "I
wouldn't see it any other way, until either David Sullivan, David Gold or
Karren Brady ring me and tell me otherwise. We're trying to progress the
football club so I'm delivering what the owners want - and at the moment
we've nearly got what we want.
"We're very, very close to being in the Premier League for a third season
and trying to become a club that has the capability of sustaining its
Premier League status, growing slowly but surely and making sure it stays in
the Premier League for a long period of time."
West Ham's Sam Allardyce says Tottenham counterpart Tim Sherwood has proved
Last Updated: 02/05/14 2:51pm
Sam Allardyce says Tim Sherwood has proved he can handle managing a big club
but admitted no one could be sure of their positions in the high-pressure
environment of the Premier League. Sherwood takes his Tottenham side to face
Allardyce's West Ham at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday looking to avoid a
third defeat of the season at the hands of the Hammers. The 45-year-old
replaced Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane in December but has constantly
had his position undermined as other names are linked with the job.
Allardyce has also come under pressure recently as a number of West Ham fans
have started calling for his head after a run of four straight defeats. "In
our field you never know what's going to happen," he said. "You're never
comfortable, wherever you are, and in Tim's position I think he's proven
that he can handle the job and he's proven that he's learned as he's gone
on. You're bound to slip up when you're doing it for the first time, I still
slip up after 20-odd years. We all make mistakes, but you learn from them
and I think he's learned very quickly. "I think Tottenham have done very,
very well under him and what they decide at the end of the day is up to the
owners and board at Tottenham."
Having already beaten Spurs twice at White Hart Lane this season, once in
the league and then in a Capital One Cup quarter-final, West Ham defender
Winston Reid is keen to complete a memorable hat-trick against their local
rivals. "We've got Tottenham on Saturday and we'd all love to end at home
with our third win over them of the season," he told the club's official
website. "It's a local derby and I'm sure the fans will be up for it. We
have to go out and make things right after we lost our last couple of home
games, so we'll be looking to improve on that. "The two wins over them have
been two of the highlights of the season. We know it'll be another tough
game on Saturday, but we'll relish the challenge. "We haven't been winning
lately, but but we've got two games left and we'll do our best to pick up as
many points as possible."
Allardyce is aware of the threat that will be posed by sixth-placed
Tottenham but is hopeful his side can pick up a result and begin to turn the
tide of fan discomfort. "They come and play and try and open up because of
the quality of players that they have," he said. "They will think their
eleven is better than yours, but on the day if your players hit top form
we're more than capable of beating them. "We have to be very wary of what
their strengths are and make sure their strengths are nullified. Then we
have to make sure we use our strengths to try and break their defensive unit
down and take our chances when we get them."
West Ham under pressure as Tottenham visit Upton Park
Last Updated: 02/05/14 10:52am
West Ham United will be looking to end any lingering fears about relegation
when they welcome London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to Upton Park for their
final home game of the season. The Hammers currently occupy 14th place and,
with a five-point cushion over the bottom three, safety is nearly assured
If Norwich City and Fuham fail to win this weekend, they will definitely
stay up regardless of what happens against Spurs, but West Ham will be
desperate to get the job done without help from elsewhere and avoid a nervy
trip to title contenders Manchester City on the final day. Sam Allardyce
will also hope that a good performance at home will earn a positive
reception from fans, having admitted it is frustrating to be criticised when
he is setting the team up to get the best result possible. Negative tactics
have been cited as the primary reason for supporters' unrest and a four-game
losing run has added to the pressure on Allardyce, but the Hammers will take
confidence from the fact they have beaten Spurs twice already this season.
Having been defeated at White Hart Lane in both the Premier League and
Capital One Cup, Tottenham will hope to gain some revenge and stay on course
for European qualification. Arsenal's victory over Newcastle United
extinguished Spurs' faint chances of finishing in the top four but they are
just three points behind fifth-placed Everton and six clear of Manchester
United in seventh, albeit having played a game more than United. Tim
Sherwood is another manager whose position continues to come under scrutiny
and he has admitted to being annoyed by the speculation, following fresh
reports this week that Frank de Boer has been contacted about taking charge
in the summer. Spurs are in decent form, though, having won 1-0 at Stoke
City last weekend to extend their unbeaten run to four matches, and will be
aiming to finish the season with a flourish.
Paul Merson's prediction
Big Sam seems to be under pressure at West Ham. The crowd have been on his
back and had the banners out the other day, so this is a big game for him.
Tim Sherwood, who hasn't done anything wrong in his time in charge of
Tottenham, will also want to win and I think he's been a bit unlucky. I'm
going to go for a 1-1 draw, which won't exactly send the West Ham fans home
happy, but it's better than losing to a team they don't like.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1
West Brom (a)1-0
C Palace (h)0-1
Marco Borriello is the only absentee for West Ham as they lock horns with
Tottenham. The on-loan striker is struggling with a calf injury which has
limited the 31-year-old to just two appearances for the Hammers since he
joined in January. With the rest of his squad fit and in contention,
Allardyce will be tasked with picking the right team to end a run of four
Stoke City (a)0-1
West Brom (a)3-3
Andros Townsend is out for Tottenham after suffering an ankle injury against
Stoke which means that he will miss the World Cup. Kyle Walker (pelvis) also
remains sidelined, along with fellow long-term absentee Erik Lamela (back),
who has not played in 2014. Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Etienne Capoue
will be assessed ahead of kick-off following recent lay-offs, while Sandro
will also hope to feature after returning to the substitutes' bench last
Andy Carroll has scored in both previous meetings with Tottenham as a West
Ham player, but has ended up on the losing side both times.
Roberto Soldado has not scored a Premier League away goal since October 20.
If West Ham lose this match it will be the first time since May 2011 that
they've lost five top-flight games in a row.
IS SAM ALLARDYCE MISUNDERSTOOD?
By Sean Whetstone 2 May 2014 at 17:20
West Ham Till I Die
There are some who claim Sam Allardyce should be cherished as one of the
most progressive, inspirational figures that English football has ever
produced. Instead, he is seen as a Luddite, a dinosaur, an embodiment of
everything that is wrong with the game these shores. He is nothing more than
a self-promoting reactionary. He is an unpleasant reminder of a
But there is more to Allardyce than he is given credit for, that much is
certain. He is not the one-dimensional anachronism he is often cast as.
Indeed, though he does his best to hide it, it is possible to describe
Allardyce as one of the most fascinating dichotomies in football.
He was one of the first to see that football's truth might be held in its
numbers. He assembled an army of analysts and technologists and whiz-kids to
help him establish what they might say. That was more than a decade ago. Now
every club has its own division, wielding statistics as weapons, each
seeking an advantage in the arms race.
He was an early adopter of conditioning and diet and nutrition, a pioneering
advocate of sports science and psychology. He bestowed upon English football
the chance to see some of the game's great mavericks, coaxing order and
orthodoxy from the wild men and the bad boys, and dredging the dried-out
husks of the old for the last few vestiges of youthful exuberance.
He is the man, after all, who found a way to incorporate and indulge the
likes of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff at Bolton, and yet managed to
render all of that good work irrelevant by simultaneously shoe-horning them
into a quite devastatingly unattractive long-ball side.
If it hadn't been Allardyce, or if he had been French, you would have been
half-tempted to think it was some sort of existential opus, a monument to
irony or clever subversion of the idea of beauty. But he is Allardyce, and
he is about as un-French as it is possible to be, so all you could do was
assume that he had decided Okocha might be good for winning second balls.
That is the primary reason Allardyce has been so scorned, of course: because
the upshot of all of his innovation, all of his originality, seems to be to
how best to launch long balls at a striker.
He is an intelligent, pioneering presence right up to the moment when his
teams take to the pitch, like a doctor who has spent two decades with the
most modern equipment available and then prescribes leeches to his patients,
or an army investing a fortune into weapons technology but going into battle
armed with massive clubs.
There are other causes for his, well, unpopularity. His demeanour — best
described as "recently neutered bulldog" — counts against him, as does his
over-eagerness to blame everything that goes against his sides on some sort
of cosmic conspiracy of referees.
Most damaging of all, of course, is his rampant self-promotion. His
declaration that he should be managing Real Madrid or Barcelona is the best
example, but do not forget his sincerely held belief that if he was called
Allardici, he would be worshipped in all four corners of the globe.
That, Sam, is called hubris; it means you will forever find your
shortcomings highlighted far more readily than your successes.
Allardyce, with his characteristic lack of self-awareness, will no doubt
mention this at some point. He will ask for praise, rather than waiting to
be given it. That is part of the problem, too, but it is not the primary
That is something far more subtle. Allardyce is frowned upon because is us.
He is English. He is English football's core values made flesh. He is
everything we are and because of that he is everything we hate. Forget the
numbers and the identities of the players and the pioneering off-pitch
approach. On the pitch, he reminds us not just of what we once were, but of
what we will always be.
Jose Mourinho — another manager not exactly afraid of a direct pass said "If
you try to play like another team, you are very stupid. You will only ever
be a pale imitation of your inspiration if you are not true to yourself "
Allardyce is pathologically true to what he is, to what we are. He makes no
attempt to be anything other than himself. There is no pretension, no talk
of philosophy, no high-faluting values. He is long balls and fight and
passion and hard-running. He is industry in a world of art and
And because of that, he is something of a throwback. He is us, reflected
back on ourselves. He is a pioneer and an innovator and an imagineer, but
none of that matters, because he is also everything we do not want to be.
*This is an abridged version of an article which appeared an EPSN blog by
Rory Smith last year
MAJORITY OR MINORITY? - REGARDLESS, FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED!
By S J Chandos 2 May 2014 at 08:30
West Ham Till I Die
Sam Allardyce has been quoted, in today's Daily Star, as continuing to
assert that only a minority of West Ham fans want him replaced. This is in
the face of a unpreccedented recent poll of over 12,000 fans, which
indicated that just under 78% of those surveyed felt that it was time for
change! Mr Allardyce has been quoted as stating that:
"Majority? Minority. Let me put it right – a minority. Because the majority
who are satisfied do not ring up, write in or come on the radio. They go
home and they wait and hopefully next week they find it better. You do
change the perception (of people) by winning football matches – no problem".
"That's what makes everything rosey and everyone happy. If you can't win
then don't lose. We can play extremely well at West Ham and if you get a
draw, especially against a team at the top end, then everyone is satisfied.
If you don't play so well against a team you're expected to beat then they
show their dissatisfaction – that's no different to any football club in the
Belief in playing philosophy/traditions can almost be a material force
amongst supporters. Generations of West Ham fans have been taught key
principles and been entertained by a certain brand of football. The 'West
Ham Way' is built in to the collective consciousness and belief systems of
the club's supporters. For a newly appointed manager to come out and dismiss
that legacy is to create an instant schism with the fans and, unfortunately,
that is what occurred in the summer of 2011. That division was created, but
was largely suppressed during the promotion campaign of 2011-12 and the
initial return to the PL in 2012-13. There was some evidence that
Allardyce's West Ham could mix it up and entertain in both of those seasons.
But fan dissatisfaction remained, brewing away under the surface. It was the
largely poor football in the current season that has brought it to the fore
and gave it a new impetus/expression. Was it inevitable? Probably, but maybe
not if past lessons had been learnt and new approaches adopted. For me, an
ability to develop a new approach and confound the 'long ball merchant'
label, was always a pre-requisite of Mr Allardyce's longer term managerial
tenure at the club.
Mr Allardyce is correct on one indisputable level, football is a results
driven business. If you lose too many football matches then you struggle and
will be relegated. No Hammers fan is happy with that situation. However,
that is not the whole story. Down Upton Park way, it is not just about
winning, but also the quality and entertainment value of the performance.
Yes, the away draw with Chelsea was warmly appreciated by the fans. But that
is linked to the romanticism that has always been another enduring aspect of
the club's traditions. Usually expressed as pride at facing large odds and
overturning them, with a whole hearted and committed performance. That is
why brave and committed player performances are valued almost as highly as
skill and attacking innovation by the club's fans.The Chelsea result fell in
to that former category.
In comparison, it was also interesting to observe the fan discontent after
the Hull City victory and the sense of greater satissfaction after the
Liverpool defeat. Walking away from the ground after the match, it was
interesting to hear groups of Hammers fans openly expressing the view that –
at one important level – they gained greater enjoyment at the nature of the
West Ham performance, in the defeat to Liverpool, than the dour victory over
Hull City. Not all fans and clubs are the same. And arguably, the mistake
(in the above quotation) is to assume that universal principles apply; while
the factors of long established pride in club traditions/playing style are
apparently deemed irrelevant. Winning may be the ultimate 'bottom line' in
football, especially in the PL era, but there are still other crucial
factors at play.
Of course, the problem with a narrow 'results are everything' and 'ends
justify the means' position is that those principles will ultimately become
the success criteria by which you are assessed. Playing to win and saying
that you set up to achieve that one objective, divorced from other pertinent
factors (in what is after all still an entertainment industry), means that
you can fend off critics as long as you succeed by your own standards. But
what happens if you lose 7 out of the the last 9 matches? You then fail by
your own standards. That conclusion is unavoidable. A case of being hoisted
by your own petard I think. And, ultimately, it leaves you wide open to the
ultimate attack by your critics..
Regardless, a very significant percentage of fans have made their position
clear. And many have already stated that they will not renew their season
tickets unless they get greater entertainment for their hard earned money.
Whether they 'vote with their feet,' in the absence of change, remains to be
seen. But ultimately the managerial position will be addressed at the end of
the season, with the board's end of season review. And presumably a position
will be taken, one way or another, before the 2 June 2014 renewal deadline.
In the meantime, we need to beat Spurs at home to absolutely guarantee PL
safety and establish a unique triple victory over our north London rivals.
That should be enough to secure unity amongst club and supporters, at least
at kick off. But woe betide if the result goes the wrong way and there is
any element of relegation danger (no matter how remote) going in to the Man
City away match.
We should be safe this season, but that is just as much a product of the
limitations of other clubs as our own performance levels. There was always
the guarantee that there were three or more clubs poorer than us this
campaign, which would contrive to underwrite our safety. Next season that
may not necessarily be the case! Forewarned is forearmed as they say!
Andy Carroll backs Sam Allardyce to bring European football to West Ham
despite supporter discontent
May 02, 2014 22:30 By Marc Isaacs
Andy Carroll wants the West Ham board to stick with Sam Allardyce because he
can deliver European football to the club when they move into the Olympic
Stadium. Allardyce is under intense pressure following a run of four
defeats, which has seen sections of the West Ham support calling for him to
Fans unfurled a banner at West Brom last week that read "Fat Sam Out -
Killing WHU" and would like a new boss brought in this summer. Carroll is
well aware of the unrest, but the club's £15million record signing is
adamant that Allardyce can take the club on to the next level when they move
into their new home in two years. The striker said: "There is no better man
for the job. I don't know any other manager who could come in and do the job
he has done here. "What he has done for West Ham has been great. You also
see his record at Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn and he is a great manager.
That is why he has got the record he has. "He has faced pressure at other
clubs and he has been fine with it. He is a great person as well as a
manager. That is why we have such a good attitude around the camp. Sam will
push the players on and, moving into the new stadium, there is no doubt
European football is a possibility. "I think West Ham will become a massive
club – even bigger than it is now. We are moving into a great stadium and it
is going to be even better once it is developed. I don't see why we cannot
push for Europe." Carroll is angry when people talk about Allardyce being a
long-ball coach and feels it is unfair on his team as well. He added: "When
we need to play that way, we use it. But a number of teams play that way. We
watched the Chelsea game and they played long balls. Arsenal have done the
same, but they don't get tarnished with it. It's unfair on Sam." Carroll is
hoping to finish the season with a bang and prove to England manager Roy
Hodgson that he should be on the plane for Brazil in June . The 25-year-old
missed the first half of the season with a heel injury, but he has now made
a full recovery and hopes to earn a call-up. He said: "Playing at the World
Cup in Brazil is possibly the best thing you can do as a footballer and it
will be a shame if I miss out. "But I have done everything that I can. I
have been injured and I have worked hard to get back. Fingers crossed, I can
get into the squad." Carroll wants to put a smile back on the faces of the
West Ham fans when they face arch-rivals Tottenham at Upton Park. Having
beaten Spurs twice this season, Carroll knows what it would mean if they
could make it a hat-trick and take the pressure off their boss. "It will be
like a cup final. Hopefully, the fans will be behind us," he added.
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian says beers are on him if losing streak ends
By CRAIG HOPE
PUBLISHED: 07:52, 3 May 2014 | UPDATED: 07:52, 3 May 2014
Adrian San Miguel del Castillo says the drinks are on him if West Ham break
their four-match losing streak with victory against Spurs. And there are no
prizes for guessing the taste of the tipple which he'll be serving up. In
fact, the Spanish goalkeeper believes he may even be a descendent of the San
Miguel family who first brewed the nation's flagship beer. 'Some people in
my family might have owned San Miguel in the old days,' he laughs.
'Obviously, the players make jokes about it. But I promise that if we beat
Spurs then I will buy a round of San Miguel for the lads!' Amid the gloom of
a season which had seen the Hammers dice dangerously with relegation until a
late-winter revival, Adrian has been a welcome ray of light. The 27-year-old
– a free-transfer signing from Betis last summer - did not win a regular
starting jersey until Christmas but has remained between the posts since,
even emerging as a contender for Player of the Season. And he added: 'Of
course I am very pleased with my season (on a personal note). 'I came here
after I had a very good season with Betis in Spain but have improved and
helped the team and that is what I am here for. 'I knew it was going to be
difficult and I wasn't going to walk straight into the team, there is a lot
of competition and great players in the squad. 'I managed to get a place in
the starting XI and now I have got the confidence from all the supporters,
the management, staff and my team-mates which, for a goalkeeper, is
massive.' While Adrian has every confidence in his ability on the pitch –
and that has certainly showed – he is not so assured when it comes to his
English off it and uses an interpreter for interviews. Breaking from
Spanish, however, he reveals that phrases such as 'well done' and 'good
decision' have been learned in a bid to encourage the defenders in front of
him. The likes of Winston Reid and James Tomkins, then, are safe from an
ear-bashing, at least for now. 'My English is going well and I get help from
the club,' he explains. 'I always try in short interviews to manage myself
(to speak English). But if it is more extensive and I need more vocabulary
then I'm not quite confident. I will get there though.'
If Adrian is getting the beers in come Saturday afternoon then the language
barrier certainly won't be an issue.
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