Tuesday, June 10

Daily WHUFC News - 10th June 2014

Crest consultation update
whufc.com provides a further update on the plans to consult supporters on
the Club's crest

As West Ham United's move to the Olympic Stadium edges ever closer, the Club
is paying close attention to how it can better reflect and celebrate the
things that make West Ham so special, particularly its rich history, in the
lead up to the move to its stunning new home. As part of this process, the
Club have been looking at its values and how they can be expressed in a more
effective way in the lead up to 2016. That has led to a discussion about
whether it might be the right time to evolve the Club's crest, but for
clarity not the Club name, a topic which has been discussed in detail with
the Supporter Advisory Board (SAB) at two recent meetings. The Club was keen
to receive genuine and honest feedback and the SAB members have duly
obliged, providing extremely valuable opinion both at the meetings and via
email. While the Club understand that only the upcoming full supporter
consultation will give a true picture of fan feeling, the feedback received
so far has suggested that evolving the Club's crest is something that should
be explored further with the wider fanbase. There are clearly some areas
that the SAB members are more widely supportive of and other areas they
would like the Club to look at in more detail. The feedback so far suggests
there is broad support for a more traditional crest as used during the 50s,
with the crossed hammers given more prominence. There were also discussions
at the meeting about potentially adding a representation of the Club's new
home (the Olympic Stadium) to the crest, during which the Club explained its
preference for no graphical representation of any Hammers stadium, either
past or present, to allow the strong symbol of the crossed hammers to shine
through. That view appears to have been generally supported by the SAB.

The possibility of further highlighting the Club's standing in London by
reflecting that in some way on the Club's crest was also debated. This
element led to the liveliest debate and the widest variety of views and,
therefore, it will be a key area of focus during the consultation process.
Some fed back that it was an appropriate reflection of the Club's direction,
while others felt that 1895 should be added to better demonstrate West Ham's
standing and history. Others said they favoured a return to a more
traditional, retro crest only. The Board want to reiterate that any
evolution of the badge will only proceed with the full support of the fans
and a subsequent ballot and that there will be no change to the Club name.
As stated clearly in the SAB meeting, the intention was always to provide
the presentation to the wider supporter base as soon as possible and this
will be made available on whufc.com on Friday to allow some time for the
creative direction that is being explored to be revisited in response to the
SAB feedback. Supporters will then have the ability to submit feedback, both
online and in person, with open days for fans to view and discuss plans at
the Boleyn Ground scheduled for Saturday 14, Thursday 19 and Tuesday 24

Further details will be announced this week, but the Club can confirm the
consultation will be open to all Season Ticket Holders and Members (Academy,
Corporate and Official Supporters' Clubs) aged 16 and over.

World Cup Countdown - Adrian
West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian assesses his country's chances of success
in Brazil

Spanish domination of international tournaments has been a feature of the
last six years, since La Roja lifted the European Championship in 2008.
Since then a World Cup and another Euro title have followed as the Iberian
nation put their stamp on the world game. West Ham United's own Spanish
import, Adrian, will be watching his nation's fortunes with interest this
summer, although he expects the competition to be fierce. He said: "Of
course I am looking forward to the World Cup. It's the best tournament in
the world with the best players and best national teams. "I'll be enjoying a
holiday with my family but I'll certainly be watching! It'll be difficult
for Spain, because every other team respects them for winning the Euro Cup,
the World Cup and the Euros again. "It's hard because everyone wants to win
this year, but Spain do have a really good team. "I know Pepe Reina and I
speak with him sometimes, and I've played against a lot of the players, but
I don't have many relationships with them. "At the moment Spain have really
good goalkeepers. Victor Valdes is injured, but David de Gea will go there
with Pepe Reina and Iker Casillas. "Playing for Spain is the next step in my
ambitions. I need to keep going with West Ham, keep improving and why not?"

Following the family tradition
Academy schoolboy Louis Yuill has emulated grandfather William by being
called-up by Scotland

West Ham United schoolboy Louis Yuill will be following the family tradition
after being called-up by Scotland U16s for the first time. The Academy
youngster's grandfather William played age-group football for Scotland
himself, turning out against England at Villa Park in 1948. Now, 66 years
later, the 15-year-old midfielder has been included in the Scotland U16
squad for an International Development Tournament, which kicks-off in
Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.
There, Yuill and his Scottish team-mates will take on the host nation,
Azerbaijan and Montenegro in a four-team tournament spanning four days.
Scotland will play Azerbaijan on 11 June and finally Montenegro two days
later. Yuill's father Ian, who spent time with West Ham himself before being
released at the age of 18, was himself a semi-professional with a number of
Essex-based clubs and is now a technical coach working with Academy
prospects of all ages. Ian is naturally proud to see his son following in
his own father's footsteps, saying: "My dad William was a footballer himself
who played for Scotland against England at Villa Park. He is 86 now and is
delighted for Louis. "Personally, I'm over the moon. Louis has been going up
to Scotland for the last year or so for training camps and, following the
most recent one, we had a call from the coach Scot Gemmill saying he had
done really and might be picked in the next U16 squad and now he has been.
"Unlike many of the Academy schoolboys of his age, who are taught at the
Academy, Louis still attends his old school, St John's in Billericay. He
puts in ever so much effort with his school work and travelling to and from
Rush Green for training, so we are delighted that his hard work has paid
off. "I, my wife Janice and his school sportsmaster Ian Barnard are all
immensely proud of his call-up."

Aston Villa: Joe Cole set to join on free transfer

Aston Villa are set to sign former England midfielder Joe Cole pending the
results of a medical. The 32-year-old, who won 56 caps for England, is
available on a free transfer after being released by West Ham last month.

Joe Cole to remain in claret and blue
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

Aston Villa are on the verge of signing Joe Cole, who was released by West
Ham at the end of last season. The 31-year-old was handed a free transfer at
the end of last season after a second spell at West Ham lasted just 18
months. However it has emerged this evening that Villa are preparing to give
the former England international one final chance in the top flight.
According to Lee Clayton of the Mail, Cole is reported to be undergoing a
medical this evening ahead of a move to Villa Park. Should the move go
ahead, Villa will be Cole's fourth Premier League club following spells with
West Ham (twice), Chelsea and Liverpool.

Big Sam beaten as Jose has the last laugh
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce was on the losing side as his England side were beaten by Jose
Mourinho's Rest of the World team in last night's Soccer Aid event at Old
Trafford. A strong RotW team - featuring, amongst others, former Dutch
interenationals Edgar Davids, Edwin Van Der Saar, Jaap Stam and Clarence
Seedorf - threw away a 2-0 lead before recovering as the game entered its
final stages to record a 4-2 win. Seedorf - one of the four former Dutch
masters to play most of the game - scored a hat-trick on the night with the
RotW's final goal coming from Westlife singer Nicky Byrne. England's goals
came from Jamie Redknapp and via the penalty from Kevin Phillips, who was a
late inclusion as replacement for Teddy Sheringham (currently studying for
his coaching badges). Allardyce, who recently fought off attempts to have
him removed from his position at West Ham was a good sport throughout the
event and even performed a perfect handstand during one notable training
session, to the delight of his squad. Almost 70,000 attended the game at Old
Trafford on Sunday night with more than £2million raised for UNICEF - a
figure that will be doubled by the Government, taking the total to

Club promise consultation over crest change
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have confirmed that any changes to the club's crest will
only proceed with the backing of supporters. In order to answer a number of
concerns that have emerged since it was leaked that West Ham United's crest
was subject to change as part of the move to the Olympic Stadium two years
from now, the club have released a statement clarifying the situation. In
the statement, which you may read in full on whufc.com, the club confirmed
that any changes would require the backing of the entire fanbase whilst
expressing their thanks to the Supporter Advisory Board (SAB) for their
assistance in preliminary discussions. "The Club have been looking at its
values and how they can be expressed in a more effective way in the lead up
to 2016," read the statement. "That has led to a discussion about whether it
might be the right time to evolve the Club's crest, a topic which has been
discussed in detail with the SAB at two recent meetings. "The Club was keen
to receive genuine and honest feedback and the SAB members have duly
obliged, providing extremely valuable opinion both at the meetings and via
email. "While the Club understand that only the upcoming full supporter
consultation will give a true picture of fan feeling, the feedback received
so far has suggested that evolving the Club's crest is something that should
be explored further with the wider fanbase.
"Feedback so far suggests there is broad support for a more traditional
crest as used during the 1950s, with the crossed hammers given more
"There were also discussions at the meeting about potentially adding a
representation of the Olympic Stadium to the crest, during which the Club
explained its preference for no graphical representation of any Hammers
stadium, either past or present, to allow the strong symbol of the crossed
hammers to shine through. "That view appears to have been generally
supported by the SAB. The possibility of further highlighting the Club's
standing in London by reflecting that in some way on the Club's crest was
also debated."

The statement also confirmed that all supporters aged 16 and over will be
able to take part in the consultation process. Two open days - during which
fans may visit the Boleyn Ground in order to discuss the club's plans for
Stratford - were also announced; these are set for June 19th and 24th.

Taylor rejects contract offer
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

Further to our story this morning regarding Matt Taylor's contractual
situation, it has been confirmed that the club's offer has been rejected.
The 32-year-old midfielder was offered a new deal by West Ham United, but
that has been rejected - meaning Taylor is now a free agent. The news was
confirmed by Jack Sullivan, son of co-owner David this lunchtime. "Matt
Taylor has turned down our improved offer and is now a free agent," he
wrote. "We genuinely wish him all the best wherever he goes, a very nice
guy." The former Luton and Portsmouth player became Sam Allardyce's third
signing when he joined West Ham from Bolton in a £2.2million deal three
years ago as part of the Championship squad. He went on to make 90
appearances for West Ham during the following three seasons, scoring just
three goals against former club Portsmouth (Championship, 2011/12), Fulham
(Premier League, 2012/13) and Burnley (Capital One Cup, 2013/14). KUMB.com
would like to wish Matt all the very best for the future.

Hammers set for Scottish trip?
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

West Ham could in line for a short trip to Scotland as part of their
pre-season summer activities. According to the Evening Telegraph, Dundee
United are hoping to lure the Hammers to Tannadice Park this summer for a
friendly ahead of the 2014/15 campaign after their previously-booked clash
with Bristol City was cancelled. Talks with view to a potential friendly
between West Ham and Jackie McNamara's side are understood to have already
taken place although no firm decision has been made of yet. West Ham have a
long history of touring Scotland in pre-season although it has been several
years since the Hammers last went north of the border.

2014/15 pre-season programme

12th July: Stevenage FC (a)
16th July: Ipswich Town (a)
23rd July: Wellington Phoenix (Football United Tour) (a)
26th July: Sydney FC (Football United Tour) (n)
2nd August: Schalke (Schalke 04 Cup) (a)
3rd August: Malaga (Schalke 04 Cup) (n)

To be confirmed

Date unknown: Dundee United (a)
9th August: Sampdoria (h)

By Sean Whetstone 9 Jun 2014 at 19:19
West Ham Till I Die

Former Fulham loanee Urby Emanuelson has emerged as the third transfer
target for the left back position joining Martin Olssen and Timothee
Kolodziejczak as potential transfers.

The 27 year old AC Milan left back who can also play as a winger or
midfielder is said to be keen for a return to the Premier League. In January
2013 he joined Fulham until the end of the season playing 14 times and
scoring one goal. He is a product of Ajax's youth system, joining them from
Voorland SC. He made 173 appearances for Ajax scoring 17 goals before
joining AC Milan in 2011 for around 2.5m euros. He has made 74 appearances
for AC Milan scoring 3 times. Last season he made 32 appearances, 23 in the
league, 8 in Europe and 1 in the Coppa cup. He was also a member of the
Dutch national team up until 2012 earning 16 caps.

AC Milan are on the look out for a new left back and Erby is deemed surplus
to requirements.

By Sean Whetstone 9 Jun 2014 at 13:19
West Ham Till I Die

Matthew Taylor has been released from the club following a break down on a
new deal. The 32 year old midfielder had been offered a short term deal on
reduced terms but Taylor and his agents turned it down. Matt Taylor joined
West Ham United from Bolton Wanderers in July 2011. He made 76 appearances
for the hammers finding the net two times. He previously played for Luton
Town, Portsmouth and the England Under-21 side. Last season he scored with a
trademark long-range effort in West Ham United's 6-2 win at Cork City in
their opening pre-season fixture. After featuring in the Capital One Cup,
made his first Barclays Premier League appearance of the campaign from the
bench in the 0-0 draw at Southampton on 15 September 2013 and scored from
the spot to help the Hammers defeat Burnley 2-0 in the Capital One Cup
fourth round on 29 October 2013. He was an important element of the team
that helped preserve the Hammers' clean sheet in their 0-0 draw at Chelsea
on 29 January 2014 and became a crucial part of the Hammers' revival in the
second half of the campaign in a defensive midfield role.

Earlier this year Taylor reflected at his time at West Ham : "The older you
get, to be running out at Old Trafford, Chelsea or Upton Park, to be in that
position as a professional footballer, you appreciate it. The older you get,
you realise it's not around for ever. When you're younger you don't think
that far ahead, because you're trying to get to the next stage of your
career. The older you get, you appreciate everything you have and everything
still to come."

'New man' keeps Hammers waiting
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 9, 2014 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham's bid to land Everton's scout Tony Henry as head of the player
recruitment remains on hold. The board agreed to make the new appointment at
the same time as they announced that a new attacking coach would be brought
in. However, whilst Teddy Sheringham has since arrived to take up the
attacking duties, all had gone silent on progress in bringing Henry to the
club. However, a senior source at the club revealed exclusively to
ClaretandHugh tonight that there was still optimism the deal to bring Henry
in would be done . He explained: "He's a top quality person and we are
waiting for him to get back to us – we're hopeful. "If we don't get him it's
not a certainty we will fill the position as he really is the person we

Reid's shock wage demands
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 9, 2014 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham are delaying talks with Winston Reid's agents on a new deal after
discovering the defender is looking for a "top six" wage deal. With a year
to go on his current contract, the board have learned that the player will
want around £75,000 a week to stay at the club beyond next summer. And with
other options available to them, the club is in no rush to pursue such a
deal. Were they to agree to the terms being sought it would represent a near
100 per cent pay increase. And this morning ClaretandHugh was told: "Talks
will be held in due course but they want £75k which is crazy money." The
club are ready to play a waiting game knowing that for the Kiwi to get what
he wants it would need a top six club to come in. That hasn't happened for
a player who found it tougher to hold his place in the team after injury
last term yet has been regularly linked with Arsenal and Liverpool. Reid has
a year left on his deal and may choose, anyway, to let the deal run down and
leave on a Bosman next summer.

That Was The Season That Was 2013-14 - Part One
Filed: Monday, 9th June 2014
By: Gordon Thrower

It's the time of year when we traditionally look back and utter those famous
words "where the hell did those last 12 months go?" In part one of our
annual trawl through the archives Gordon Thrower looks at all the happenings
in pre-season. Expect to see stuff about Andy Carroll, transfer rumours and
the strange bizarre world of Joe Kinnear.....

June 2013

The month started with us looking on in pity at the victims of cruel medical
experiments that makes up a significant proportion of the support at
Millwall. They were complaining, as usual, at the club's attempts to improve
itself by appointing ex-Hammer Steve Lomas as manager. Like the stuff they
use in nuclear power stations to slow down the rate of the reaction, Glenn
Roeder comes in as no.2 to Lomas to ensure that the rate of any progress is
not too quick.

Winston Reid adds the kumb.com player of the year award to all the other
ones he won in 2012/13. Barry Hearn is "Hackett of the Year" for the second
year running for services against West Ham United. Hearn seeks a judicial
review over the result.

The "will he-won't he" saga over Andy Carroll's transfer continues. The
clubs having agreed a fee for the player, he jets off to the States where
photos show him bumping into Ashley Cole. The player's increasing maturity
is highlighted by the fact that none of the photos show him decking the
obnoxious Cole.

We make another signing in the goalkeeping dept. Adrian's full name is
Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, which translates into English as Adrian
Carling Black Label Castle. Or something. The 'keeper comes in from Real
Betis on a free transfer, landing a three year contract with a club option
to extend for another two years.

Also in is Stockport youngster Danny Whitehead. Signed for a nominal fee,
the player is described as "a bit slight – but we'll work on that". Down to
Nathan's with you then son.

Someone who could never be described as being "a bit slight" is Benni
McCarthy who has just announced his retirement from football having spent
the last couple of years with Orlando Pirates. A word of advice Benni – try
and do a bit of training. Once you retire the pounds just pile on otherwise.

In Israel, the England U21 team are playing in the U21 Euro tournament. Well
some of them are. Some players who qualify for the tournament are deemed too
big for such events, in contrast to other countries who send their best
players within the age group to form their squads. England lose all three
group matches to Italy, Norway and Israel. Stuart Pearce's contract as U21
boss is not renewed as a result.

Amongst the speculation involving Carroll is a recurring but unfounded
rumour that Newcastle will try to re-sign the player. However, they seem to
have their own problems as the amazing news that Joe Kinnear is to return to
the club is announced. By Joe Kinnear.

Kinnear gives what is, even by his standards, a bizarre interview to
Talksport. During the interview Kinnear bigs up his career to date by making
all sorts of claims as to his achievements. Such as having played over 400
times for Spurs (he didn't), having won the Manager Of The Year award three
times (he didn't), having made a big profit on John Hartson who he had
signed on a free (er,signed for £7,5m), having signed current Magpies
'keeper Tim Krul for the club (Krul arrived two years before Kinnear) etc
etc. Kinnear then claims that he is more intelligent than the Geordie fans.
Just the memory is going a bit then Joe.

The announcement of Kinnear's arrival by the club itself is delayed while
they await an "I'm looking forward to working with Joe" statement from Alan
Pardew. None is forthcoming and the announcement, when it finally appears,
tellingly lacks any input from the manager. Whilst we're all still killing
ourselves laughing at Kinnear's claim to have discovered the source of the
Nile during the half-time interval of a Tyne-Wear derby, Managing Director
Derek Llambias announces his resignation, citing no reason whatsoever for
his departure on the same day as Kinnear's arrival. Just coincidence we

Kinnear, in a rare lucid moment, states that his first priority will be to
find another striker, prompting further speculation that Carroll will turn
up on his radar. The announcement that Carroll is due to have a medical at
the Shaun Wright-Phillips Memorial Medical centre prior to signing for us is
most welcome then. Even if, as the announcement does, the proclamation comes
from the twitter account of young Jack Sullivan. "I could whack him
sometimes" claims co-chairman David Gold, though for the benefit of any
employees of Newham Social Services dept. who may be reading this, the
comment was made with tongue firmly in cheek.

Having successfully completed his medical (despite a heel injury that
threatens to keep the player out for the start of the season) the signing of
Carroll is finally confirmed, and there is much speculation in the papers as
to the size of the deal. Most estimates are so wide of the mark it is
believed that Joe Kinnear wrote them.

The fixtures are announced and for the second time in three years we are
given a home match against Cardiff City on the opening day of the season.
Although kick-off is slated for 3pm we await details of what hour the Met's
finest will allow us to play the match. Cardiff supporters, meanwhile, gird
themselves for an arduous journey to John O'Groats from whence the police
will insist they pick up their tickets, ten minutes before kick-off.

Over in Brazil the Confederations Cup is taking place. Whilst, admirably,
the BBC is covering the tournament, most of the English media are treating
the competition as some sort of sideshow. A sort of Intertoto for
Internationals if you will. This is partly prompted by the fact that, since
qualification depends on being either world or federation champions (or, as
in the case of Brazil, being the host nation), England's chances of ever
playing in the thing are rather slim.

Despite the stereotypical image of your average Brazilian being football
mad, the tournament is not meeting with universal approval from the
population. Riots and protests take place as a reaction to increasing
transport costs and public disquiet over the cost of hosting the 2014 World
Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, joins Newcastle's
Director Of Football on Planet Kinnear by announcing that FIFA's reputation
has been "enhanced" by the whole situation. It's a strange claim even by
Blatter's standards, though admittedly the corrupt FIFA is starting from a
pretty low base, reputationally speaking.

The tournament itself includes Brazil (hosts), Spain (World/Euro Champions),
Italy (Euro runners up), Uruguay (Copa America holders), Nigeria (African
Champions), Mexico (Concacacacacacaf), Japan (Asia) and Tahiti (Oceania).
Those locals who aren't actually rioting get fully behind the Tahiti side,
particularly in their match against Spain. The Spanish field the effective
equivalent of a Rugby tour midweek side and Fernando Torres pulls off the
neat trick of looking useless in a match that sees him score four. Spain
declare at ten.

The semi-finals pan out nicely so that the South Americans play each other
as do the Europeans, thus ensuring a South America v Europe final. Brazil
beat Uruguay 2-1 whilst Spain v Italy goes to penalties. Fourteen penalties
are taken. Thirteen are perfect, Bonucci's skied effort knocking Italy out
to set up a Brazil v Spain final.

The month ends with the host nation prevailing over an out of sorts Spain
who have a lousy evening, missing a penalty and having Iniesta sent off in a
3-0 defeat.


The transfer window officially opens as the players return to pre-season
training. Hammers' fans panic at the news that Titus Bramble, a free agent,
is training with the club. Thankfully the Jack Sullivan twitter feed puts
our minds at rest by confirming that the club is just doing the player a
favour, enabling him to keep fit while he looks for a new club. The
collective sigh of relief causes the Dartford Bridge to be closed to
high-sided vehicles.

Swansea seem to be closing in on Vitesse Arnhem striker William Bony.
Reports suggesting that we've put in a £10m bid of our own are apparently
wide of the mark, though we have apparently made an official enquiry with
talks stalling on the Dutch side's insistence that the fee be paid up front.

It's departure time for Robert Hall. Despite being offered a new deal by the
club, the promising youngster elects to pursue a better chance of a first
team place with Bolton Wanderers, with whom he spent part of 2012/13 on
loan. Shame that one – we thought he showed promise. Arriving at Bolton on
the same day is Blackpool's Alex Baptiste – whose torrent of sour grapes
after the play-off final was hilarious in the extreme. Bolton eh Alex? Not
quite made it into the Premier League then? Shame.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Kinnear, the Newcastle Director of Football is at
it again. "I'm head and shoulders above everyone else" he claims. As the
manufacturers of a well-known dandruff shampoo consider legal action, he
comes out with another baffling list of "facts". "Every club has a director
of football" he claims. Ours is probably hiding on an island somewhere with
Man Utd and Arsenal's then. "I've been a manager for 35 years he adds"
proving his grasp of maths is about as strong as his grasp on reality. "I've
won every award there is as a player" well, except the league Joe. And the
European Cup. And the (much missed) Cup-Winners Cup. And we must have missed
the Republic Of Ireland's Euro and World Cup triumphs. "I had two years at
Forest" (less than a year), "two years winning promotion at Luton" (one
relegation, one promotion), and almost two years at Newcastle (er, 8 months.
If you include three of sick leave). I was first man on the moon you know,
he continues…

At the Boleyn there are some changes in the club's ownership. David Sullivan
becomes the majority shareholder after picking up a further 25% from CB
Holdings (aka "The Icelandics"). One day these will belong to Jack you know.
If only there were some sort of social media outlet he could use to tell us
when that happens.

Henry Redknapp is given some help at QPR as it is announced that Steve
McLaren is to join the club as a coach, though it's not announced which
accent he'll be using.

An unexploded WWII bomb is found in Victoria Dock. Joe Kinnear volunteers to
act as Director Of Defusing Things – "I did dozens of these during the war.
Hundreds probably" he claims. After a nanosecond's consideration the army
decides to make do with one of the few bomb disposal experts that they
didn't make redundant in the latest round of cuts. Talking of which, the
Government announces that the Territorial Army is to be named the Army
Reserve. I give it a month before it becomes the Army Development Squad.

Sullivan Jr is busy again on twitter, announcing that Gary O'Neil has
decided to leave the club, his contract having expired on 30 June. Although
offered a new deal by the club the thought of being understudy to Mark Noble
once more presumably doesn't appeal to the player. Sullivan Jr's choice of
words on twitter could have been better made: "we'll get better in".

A pretty decent weekend for British sport starts off with the Lions
clinching a 2-1 series win over the Aussies, the 41-16 win in the final test
marking a record points tally for the Lions. Always a hoot to see Aussies
thumped as well. On the same day Chris Froome takes over the yellow jersey
in the Tour De France. It's not recorded whether any Aussies were harmed in
the process.

The first of the pre-season matches takes place in Ireland where Cork City
are beaten 6-2. Diarra, Cole, Taylor, McCallum, Noble (pen) and Morrison are
on target, with Noble also missing a penalty. Most worrying aspect of the
day is the sight of Titus Bramble in a West Ham shirt.

More British sporting success as the 77 year wait for a Wimbledon men's
singles winner comes to an end when Andy Murray defeats Novak Djokovic in
straight sets. A number of records are set as, for the first time, a
Scotsman manages to survive four hours in the sun without burning, Also,
it's the first recorded time that a Scotsman has left a court with a
victory. The win marks the first win for a Briton in the Men's single since
Joe Kinnear's victory in 1961.

Also at Wimbledon, the Ladies' singles is won by Marion Bartoli. The BBC's
John Inverdale suggests that her success is down to the fact that she isn't
a "looker" and thus worked harder at her tennis. No, really he did.
Meanwhile Steve Coogan is seen frantically amending the script to the
forthcoming Alan Partridge movie.

In Nigeria, something smells a bit fishy as promotion rivals Plateau United
Feeders and Police Machine go into their final matches level on points
Feeders lead their match 5-0 at half time only to discover that Machine have
gone one better. We suspect that a quiet word is had at half time as Feeders
net 72 times in the second half to run our 79-0 winners. Obviously the same
conversation is had at the venue for the Police Machine's match as they net
61 times in their match to win 67-0. The Nigerian FA suspends all four teams
involved plus the match officials pending an enquiry. Meanwhile the Feeders'
coach is angry demanding to know who it was who had grassed on him.

As the window begins to get interesting it is reported that we are
interested in signing Stuart Downing from Liverpool. "We have no interest in
signing Stuart Downing from Liverpoool" confirms Neil McDonald who, because
he is not Harry Redknapp, is believed.

Pre-season continues with a visit to Boreham Wood where, as part of the
Ruddock (Pelly not Neil) deal, we play a friendly. Morrison and Vaz Te score
before the interval when the whole side is replaced. Kevin Nolan adds
another to see us run out 3-0 winners.

Promising Barcelona prospect Gerard Deulofeu signs a loan deal with Everton.
Not something we'd have picked up on but for Jack Sullivan's twitter
revelation that we had been tying to sign the player ourselves. We are also
linked with Zdravko Kuzmanovic, a Serbian midfielder currently playing with
Inter. Our spell-checking software will be pleased.

Up the road in Thurrock (or Purfleet as they were once known) relegation to
the Rymans League Southern Division is confirmed as the FA reject the club's
appeal against a 3 point deduction. Their crime was to field Joel Barnett.
Barnett had played for a team in Yorkshire that had folded owing a few bob
in unpaid fines, the cost of which had been split between the responsible
players and staff. Barnett's failure to pay his share – all of £16 from a
sending off – resulted in his suspension. Both Thurrock and the player claim
ignorance. "He didn't know because he was in prison". Sheffield United store
the information for future reference – "We'll be in that league soon enough
so it'll be handy to have some cash to line the Chairman's pockets with when
we get there" comments a spokesman, though possibly not an official one.

Transfer speculation continues with the news that the club has taken Dutch
midfielder Orlando Engelaar on trial, the player having been released by PSV
during the summer. Engelaar plays the second half of the next match, a 2-0
win at Bournemouth. Nolan and Collison are on target in the match that
doubles as a testimonial for Cherries' defender Stephen Purches.

It is revealed that we have put in for a work permit for Colombian forward
Duvan Zapata. The 22 year-old is uncapped, something that is usually a
problem for the authorities. Meanwhile we are highly concerned at our
headline writer's failure to use "Viva Zapata". Poor lad must be unwell.

As he weather heats up in what those of us with long memories used to call
"summer", those of us starved of football tune into the Women's European
Championships, which being held in Sweden.. The England team starts in a
manner that is depressingly familiar to those of us who have watched their
male counterparts over the years. England lose their first match 3-2 to
Spain, the winner coming in the last minute of stoppage time.

Still at least one England side is doing ok, as the cricketers take a 1-0
lead in the Ashes series. It's a splendid game of cricket as a 98 from 19
year-old Ashton Agar, formerly a service area on the M40, batting at no.11
gives the Aussies a 1st innings lead. An incident-packed match sees the
Aussies fall 15 runs shy of the 311 that would have given them a remarkable

Every year about this time there's usually a bonkers story about our former
"saviour" Savio. 2013 is no exception. Last heard of plying his trade in the
German lower leagues whilst nicking stuff from his teammates' pockets in the
changing rooms (having been released from a prison for faking his own
kidnapping in Thailand), Savio has turned up in the Israeli Premier League.
Savio? In a country with lots of guns? With hostile neighbours? What could
possibly go wrong?

Talking of bonkers, the ever so barking Mohamad Fayed sells Fulham to
Jacksonville Cougars (apparently they do that rugby in motorcycle helmets
thing that passes for sport in the USA) owner Shahid Khan. Khan immediately
cancels plans to erect statues to Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall at Craven
Cottage, whilst an orderly queue starts amongst Fulham supporters eager to
request that the one Fayed put up of Michael Jackson be ditched. "I'll
listen to the fans" suggests Khan. "It's a listed monument – if he moves it
there'll be trouble" claims Fayed, taking a leaf out of the Joe Kinnear book
by ignoring the fact that a) the statue isn't a listed monument (as if), and
b) it's got nothing to do with him anymore anyway.

The England Women's team continues in a manner that is depressingly familiar
to those of us who have watched their male counterparts over the years. This
time they come within seconds of exiting Euro 2013 before a late, late
equaliser gives them a 1-1 draw against Russia, thus retaining a glimmer of
hope of progressing to the knockout stages.

"Sources close to" Wayne Rooney say that the player is "angry and confused".
Whilst most of us wonder where the news actually is in that statement, it
seems that spudface's anger and confusion results from Manchester United's
comments on the player's future with the club. Meanwhile David Moyes ensures
that Rooney will go nowhere by insisting that he places any transfer request
in writing.

We notch another win on the pre-season road as we run out 2-1 winners at
Colchester. Cole and Collins are on target. Best news of all is that Titus
Bramble is turning out for Ipswich on the same night. A major wind farm
capable of powering the whole of Essex is constructed to take advantage of
the resulting sigh of relief.

A wheelchair-bound Man Utd supporter appears on the box to campaign for
better facilities for the disabled. A laudable aim perhaps, but one that is
totally undermined by her complaint of having to sit near home supporters on
her visits to the Boleyn. Presumably, as a Man Utd supporter she is
frightened of learning something about football. For example, the name of
some other grounds at which disabled supporters are forced to sit with
opposition supporters. (Clue: Last time I was on crutches a certain ground
in Salford adopted that policy).

The England Women's team continues in a manner that is depressingly familiar
to those of us who have watched their male counterparts over the years. This
time they are outplayed by the French who are worthy 3-0 winners. The result
means that none of the England teams involved in tournaments (U20, U21 and
Women's) have actually won a match this summer. Food for thought.

Chelsea confirm they have had a bid for Wayne Rooney knocked back by Man
Utd, despite Coleen having agreed personal terms with John Terry.

Joe Kinnear is strangely silent for once as it is revealed that Newcastle's
Papisse Cisse has not travelled to Portugal for pre-season. The problem lies
with the Geordies' choice of shirt sponsors for 2013/14, a payday loan
company. This conflicts with the player's religious beliefs. The situation
calls for tact and diplomacy which is why, presumably, Kinnear is kept well
away from the press on this one. Meanwhile it is rumoured that Cisse's
failure to travel has cost him a £5,000 fine, a figure which will rise to
£2,165,043.60 if not paid within 3 weeks.

West Ham officially withdraw from the race to sign Zapata. The official
announcement comes, as ever, via Sullivan Jr who informs us that there is no
prospect of a work permit being granted due to the player's lack of full
international recognition.

Another player not coming is Sporting Gijon's Oscar Trejo. Spanish sources
suggest we had placed a bid for the Argentinian midfielder, though there's
nothing to suggest that this had been the case from this side of the
Channel. In the end the player goes to Tolouse.

We suffer our first pre-season defeat in Germany, Joe Cole netting our goal
in a 4-1 defeat to 1 FSV Mainz. Facebook is alive with the usual "Allardyce
Out" knee jerk reactions from those who fail to differentiate between
pre-season and, er, season.

Other sports news and the Aussies receive another Ashes thrashing, this time
by 367 runs. The result comes in on the same day as Chris Froome wins the
Tour De France, a second consecutive British win. So, we beat the Aussies at
cricket and the French at cycling. Still long odds on the hat-trick though,
as giving the Germans a thumping at football looms as far away as ever.

We receive sad news from across the Atlantic as we hear of the sad passing
of Phil Woosnam. Woosnam joined us from Leyton Orient where he combined a
teaching career with playing as an amateur. He actually won his first cap
for Wales as an amateur and only turned professional on signing for Ted
Fenton's side in 1958. After over 150 games for us he moved on to Villa, but
it is his work in the USA for which the wider football world will remember
him. Starting out as a player with the Atlanta Chiefs he progressed to
coaching then moved onto the administration side of things. He was
commissioner of the NASL (the earlier version of the current MLS) during its
glory years and was also instrumental in securing the 1994 World Cup for the
States. RIP Woosie.

David Sullivan officially takes over Jack's twitter account for a Q&A
session. The responses are pretty much what one would expect and end up
being quoted left right and centre in the press, though for some reason the
Co-chairman's reply to the query "what do you want to be when you grow up"
(A: taller) seems strangely absent from the back pages.

David Cameron announces that future internet users will have to actively
opt-in should they wish to receive porn. On the same day the Duchess of
Cambridge finally drops a much-delayed male heir, prompting many of us to
ask if we can also have a button to opt in for news of the royal baby. The
media coverage is hilariously over the top with one BBC presenter actually
informing us that "it was always going to be a girl or a boy". Nation shall
speak crap unto nation then.

The Germans defeat the Norwegians 1-0 in the women's Euro 2013. John
Inverdale is kept well away from the commentary team. Some revenge is gained
on behalf of the late King Olaf as we return to winning ways with a 3-1 win
over Hamburger SV as our German tour continues. A seemingly rejuvenated and
rehabilitated Diarra is on the scoresheet along with Tomkins and Morrison

The tour concludes with a 3-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig. Maiga is the
man of the moment, scoring two and setting up another for Diame. Maiga's
appearance on the radar comes at a time when talks are continuing with
Saloman Kalou. Although a fee of a reported £3.5m has been agreed with Lille
the player appears to be reluctant to take up a supporting role alongside
Andy Carroll,

Papisse Cisse's reluctance to wear the logo of a payday lender on his
Newcastle shirt comes to an end. His religious objections to the logo have
been mysteriously resolved. In a completely unrelated news story Papisse
Cisse is plastered all over the national press playing blackjack in a
Newcastle casino.

Mo Diame turns down a reported approach from Everton "I looked it up and
it's in Liverpool" the player explains.

As the Kalou deal seems to stall attention turns to Malmo attacking
midfielder Jiloan Hamad. Liverpool's Raheem Stirling, who spent some time
working under Tony Carr as a kid, is also linked with a loan deal as Jack
Sullivan promises a new striker "within 48 hrs". August should be
interesting then.


The world of football is rocked to its foundations as Kieron Dyer announces
his retirement. Mainly because the world of football had thought that this
event had occurred several years previously. Possibly the unluckiest player
in history, Dyer's mood would have been improved by the arrival of the
cheque from the insurance company had he not sustained a really nasty paper
cut when opening the envelope it came in.

The team jet off once more to warmer climes to take part in a tournament in
Portugal involving Braga and Sporting Lisbon. Ravel Morrison shines again,
as we beat Sporting 3-2. Nolan gets the other. Things get a bit baffling at
the end as, despite the victory, the teams have a penalty shoot-out to help
decide tournament placings in the event of a tie. Things get even more
baffling as the shoot-out finishes 4-4. Answers on a postcard please.

There's a bit of a to do as it becomes apparent that Gent's Ilombo Pele
M'boyo is a potential target. Jack Sullivan's twitter account becomes the
thermometer through which the supporters' waters are tested and the general
consensus contains the words "barge" and "pole". The club's interest is
quietly dropped but not before some Belgian Equal Opps jobsworth mutters
something about discrimination. There are also concerns that a 12 year-old's
twitter account is being used to discuss the rehabilitation of sex

We go down 1-0 to Braga in the final game of the tournament, though we did
get some consolation from the bizarre and pointless penalty shoot-out which
we again draw – 3-3 this time. We still have no idea why.

One of the stronger rumours of the summer links us with raiding feeder club
Liverpool for Stewart Downing. And not a striker. Despite the likelihood
that Andy Carroll will be missing for the opening weeks of the season.

"Come and watch top class European football" scream the adverts, which, as
an afterthought, mention that our opponents are to be Portuguese outfit
Pacos De Ferreira, who, despite hardly being a household name, have
apparently qualified for the so-called Champions League. Unlike Spurs.
Morrison is on target after 16 seconds. Maiga doubles the lead. The "top
class European opponents" can only muster a second half consolation effort
as we win 2-1. Despite the Portuguese opponents, we don't bother with a
penalty shoot-out.

Stewart Downing's arrrival is confirmed for a fee of a reported £5m. That's
the Downing we have no interest in signing apparently. Still no striker
though as it is confirmed that Andy Carroll will definitely miss the
season-opener at home to Cardiff. It is announced that Billy Bonds MBE will
be given a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the club before the match.

So we go into the season a shade light in the striking department. Still
there's a few weeks to go in the window so we're bound to sign a striker or
two and, in any case, Andy Carroll will be back before you know it.

Won't he?



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