JC says fond farewell
Midfielder Jack Collison has penned an open letter to supporters on his
departure from West Ham United
The time has come for an end to my West Ham United career. What a
rollercoaster it has been - I have experienced plenty of ups and downs
during my nine-year spell at West Ham! Signing at 16, I wasn't sure if I was
ready for the challenge but with the love and care of Bob and Val, who run
the Academy digs, I soon settled and found the new challenge exciting. I had
to pinch myself at times, moving from a quiet village into a big house in
Essex under the guidance of the one and only Tony Carr - the man who brought
through the likes of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand.
I went from being star-struck by the first-team players at Cambridge United
to rubbing shoulders with the likes of Teddy Sheringham. I often doubted my
ability in my early days, but Teddy was one of the senior players who gave
me confidence to go out on the training pitch and express myself. I always
felt he believed in me and, with a man like that behind me, I felt there was
nothing I couldn't accomplish.
I made steady progress over the next couple of seasons and went on to
captain both the youth team and reserves, as well as be in and around the
first team. Alan Pardew allowed me to travel with the first team on a couple
of occasions while he was in charge and both trips will stay with me for
very different reasons.
On my first away trip to West Brom, I found out I had to sing In front of
the first team at dinner. Needless to say, I was an absolute wreck the whole
journey up. I spent my time watching the older pros, trying to learn the
words to Wonderwall and sweating at the thought of what the night may bring.
Dinner soon came around and the tapping on the glasses began, so I knew it
was time. I stood up shaking, sweating and nearly tumbled off my chair. I
closed my eyes and produced the worst ever rendition of Wonderwall!
To be fair to Christian Dailly, he tried his hardest to help me along in
between taking the mickey with the rest of lads. Once it was over, I felt
like my shoulders were lighter immediately - now I could concentrate on
Unfortunately I didn't make it onto the pitch the next day, but being in and
around it made me hungrier for more. Kyel Reid made his debut that night and
I remember how excited I was to see one of the young boys out on the pitch
playing and putting in a fantastic performance. After that experience, I had
a new belief that maybe I could make an impact on the first team.
The second time I travelled that season was with the squad for the FA Cup
final. I knew I wouldn't be involved, but it was great to be part of it and
to witness first-hand one of the greatest finals in history. The boys went
so close that day, I was devastated they didn't take the trophy home. I
remember Kevin Keen taking James Tomkins and myself onto the pitch before
the lads went out to warm-up and I couldn't believe the atmosphere.
It was also on this trip that Nobes and Chrissy Cohen trashed our room! It
was little things like this that made me feel part of it. I went home over
the summer and came back more motivated than ever before.
The next couple of seasons, I worked very closely with Kevin Keen and still,
to this day, I believe he is one of the best coaches in the game. I felt he
really developed my game and every session was a joy to be involved in. Alan
Curbishley was in charge now and I was close to the first team, but not
My debut finally came and it was Arsenal away at the Emirates. What a start!
I remember the whole day as if it was yesterday. Tonks and myself had been
travelling with the first team a lot that season but never made the bench -
we'd had lots of close calls that always ended in disappointment.
That morning, Curbs caught us both in the lift on the way to breakfast. It
was that awkward lift ride with the manager and two young lads who didn't
know what to say. It was at that point he turned to us and said 'Make sure
you're ready lads. You're both on the bench today'. Of course, we acted cool
until the Gaffer stepped out, then we couldn't contain the excitement any
longer. Left alone, we celebrated like we had won the World Cup, then off we
went to prepare. Curbs must have heard the celebrations and had a laugh to
himself but I'm not sure he will ever know how happy he made me at that
precise moment .
I'm not sure the Gaffer had any intention of playing me but Freddie
Ljungberg picked up a knock early on and before I knew it I was prepping
myself and getting ready to come on. I couldn't believe it - that feeling
from the lift was back, but even stronger this time. It was a mixture of
sheer joy and disbelief but I didn't have any time to worry about what could
go wrong, I was floating at that point.
The manager soon brought me back down to Earth when his last words were:
'Try and get close to Fabregas'. I tried my hardest, and covering 7.5 km in
the second half alone was some sort of record that season. I never did
manage to get close to Fabregas in that game, though. He didn't give me a
sniff and, in fact, I probably only had about ten touches in 60 minutes of
football. I didn't care, though, as I had made my debut, and where better
than Arsenal away. What an experience and a day I will never forget. I
remember leaving the game disappointed as I thought I had a bad game, but
Anton Ferdinand had some words of encouragement that picked me up again.
I only featured once more that season, in a loss to Bolton, but the
following year was my breakthrough season. Gianfranco Zola was now in
charge. I couldn't believe it. One of my heroes was teaching me how to play
the beautiful game!
His first session I will never forget - we were playing a game of two-touch
and, of course, he wanted to play. The ball was fired into him and with his
first two touches, without thinking, he managed to swivel on a sixpence,
nutmeg one of the lads and then dink Robert Green from 20 yards. Silence
spread across the training pitch as the boys stood there in amazement,
mouths on the floor. I think at this point the manager realised what he had
done as the whole team gave our new Gaffer of 24 hours a round of applause.
Instead of lapping up the attention, the Gaffer seemed slightly embarrassed
and gave a genuine apology to the boys. This showed the character of the man
- an absolute wizard on the pitch and possibly the nicest man I have met to
this day in football. He was different to any manager I had worked with as
he seemed to care about everyone - even the young boys who were nowhere near
it like myself.
We spent hours on the training pitch after training, working on ball skills
and areas where I could improve. I finally made my breakthrough around
October time and came in at Manchester United, and this time I left feeling
pleased. I felt like I could make an impact and here I was playing for a
manager I would run through a brick wall for, as would the rest of the team.
I think this was the reason why we did so well that year.
We finished ninth but really should have got into Europe, along the way
playing some great football, and scoring some great goals. I also scored my
first goal for West Ham that season against Everton at home. Although we
ended up losing the match, it was a moment I will never forget. Scott Parker
made a great run and flicked the ball back for me and I managed to open my
body up and stick it in the top corner.
At that point as the ball struck the net, I felt a feeling I will maybe
never feel again - so much excitement, so much emotion and so much relief. I
had made history. I had scored in the Premier League. Not just for anyone,
but wearing the famous Claret and Blue.
It was at this point I felt the start of my special relationship with the
fans - one that has helped me through tough times and also many shared great
times. It was at this point I felt part of the West Ham family, a family I
was desperate to be part of I finally felt like I belonged.It was the
following season when tragedy struck and that I really realised what it was
to be part of that special family.
That night against Millwall in the Carling Cup will be remembered for many
reasons, but for me it showed me what the West Ham family is truly about -
real people, with real feelings who pulled me through the toughest time in
After playing Tottenham at home the previous weekend, my Dad unfortunately
died on the way to watch the game. At 20-years-old I was distraught to say
the least. I had lost not only my Dad but the man I had looked up to my
entire life. I made the decision to play in the Millwall game - something my
Dad would have wanted me to do. I was a mess, I remember walking onto the
team bus before the game and nearly bursting into tears. It was at that
point it began - team-mates picking me up, staff giving me words of
encouragement and then I walked out onto the pitch.
Wow! I was carried that night by every single person inside that stadium. My
legs were jelly, my head was all over the place and the lights were brighter
than ever before. I ran my socks off that night, so desperate to win and
when we went 1-0 down it was disaster. It was not looking like a memorable
way to give my Dad a proper send off, then Junior Stanislas scored and took
it to extra-time.
Then we won a penalty and I'm not a man of many regrets, but one of my
regrets is not stepping up and taking it. I knew Junior would score so I let
him take it and of course he did. I was so desperate to score and I even hit
As extra-time continued I slowly found myself looking round the stadium,
everywhere I looked I could feel people willing me to do well and showing me
support like you wouldn't believe. Zavon Hines nicked the next goal to make
it 3-1, and so much relief went through my body as I ran over to celebrate.
I remember thinking 'That's it, we've won' and it was at that point Zav
whispered to me, 'That's for your Dad'. At that moment I could feel the
tears starting to come.
What a gesture. Who better to score than someone I had shared digs with,
come through the youth team with and spent hours talking rubbish with. Zav
will never know how much that meant to me that evening and I'm not sure the
West Ham fans will either, but hopefully this will go some way towards that.
That game should be remembered for one thing - the West Ham family uniting
and all coming together for one of their own. The staff, the players and the
fans carried me that night and that will live with me for the rest of my
life. I tried my hardest to thank everyone after the game when I walked
around the pitch, and it was at that precise moment I was overcome with
emotion and tears started to flow as reality once again set in.
Football was my escape, and I wasn't playing for anyone, I was playing for
West Ham, I was playing for every fan who carried my night, every fan who
took the time to write to me. I was playing for the memory of my father and,
after that night in particular, I always felt a special bond with the fans.
After this I experienced a nasty injury and witnessed the boys going through
relegation, helpless until the very last games, pulling my hair out, feeling
how every fan felt, kicking every ball from the stand.
I was chucked in for the Wigan game, and as hard as I tried I was helpless
to stop the end result and it was that day we were relegated. It was a
serious low in my career but it's after that game I promised myself I would
do everything in my power to help get West Ham back where they belong - the
The following season was possibly one of my most enjoyable in a West Ham
shirt. I made my biggest contribution towards the team in terms of goals and
games and was thoroughly enjoying my football under Sam Allardyce. Kevin
Nolan was a fantastic captain and we built an amazing team spirit that year.
Although we didn't get automatic promotion, the Play-Offs were one of the
best experiences of my life. I hope those two goals in the Play-Off
semi-final will go some way to paying the people back who stuck by me and
Of course we won the final and celebrating on the pitch afterwards was an
amazing experience. Not just winning promotion, but winning promotion with
some of my best friends, was really fantastic.
I got another injury at the beginning of our first season back in the
Premier League and struggled after that to make enough of an impact. I hope
I'm remembered as someone who gave his all in every game. Even when things
weren't going well, I always tried my best to have a positive impact, not
just on pitch, but also off the pitch and around the training ground.
It's at this point I must thank the medical staff at West Ham. They have
stuck with me through everything and have been fantastic throughout. The
moody days, the down days, the rainy days, I have experienced every moment
alongside some of the best medical guys I have ever had the privilege of
working with. Through my darkest days, they keeping me going, but we also
experienced some great moments and my goal at Arsenal in January 2013 was
dedicated to the medical team for getting me back fit time and time again.
That moment has a special place and although we lost the game I had been
through an awful lot the previous seasons and felt we deserved to enjoy that
moment together, where it all began.
I must also thank all the other staff members who work day after day behind
the scenes making West Ham what it truly is. There are lots of unsung
heroes, too many to mention. They know who they are and I hope they know I
have fond memories with every single one of them.
And lastly, as I move forward with my own career, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank the fans once more. You have a fantastic set up, great
staff and some wonderful players. As you move closer to the Olympic Stadium
I wish you lots of luck.
I'm looking forward to coming back to the Boleyn before then, of course. You
deserve good times and I'm sure they are on the horizon. I'm sorry I didn't
get chance to say goodbye but I hope I will in the near future.
Not many can say they have had the honour of wearing the famous Claret and
Blue but I hope they know I truly feel blessed for the opportunity. I have
been lucky enough to work with some great people and during my time and have
played alongside some truly inspirational and talented players. As we part
ways I have many fond memories of West Ham as a Club and would like to once
more thank you for letting me be part of a very special family, one that you
will never truly understand until your part of it, one that I have
experienced every emotion known to man with - the West Ham family.
'West Ham are my team'
West Ham United fan Lee Bowyer says Sam Allardyce knows the Barclays Premier
League inside out
Lee Bowyer has played for England, in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup
semi-finals and made nearly 400 Premier League appearances during a
successful career. The midfielder is also a lifelong West Ham United
supporter, played 71 games for the Club during two spells and keeps close
tabs on how his old side are progressing by chatting to former Hammers
team-mates Mark Noble and James Collins. Now 37, Bowyer believes West Ham
have a bright future to look forward to, both on and off the pitch, with a
third season back in the Barclays Premier League starting in August and a
move to the 54,000-capacity Olympic Stadium to follow in summer 2016. "I
always keep an eye out on how West Ham are doing," said Bowyer, who recently
pulled on a claret and blue shirt again to take part in a charity match at
the Boleyn Ground for Great Ormond Children's Hospital. "They're my team,
always will be. I still speak to some of the lads there like Nobes and
"I think they have done really well. They are still in the Premier League
again for another season. Some of it was tough during the last season but
when you look at what has gone on over the year, with the injuries to big
players, it's been a decent year considering all of that. "The team got
those players back and were able to push on a bit and get safe, which is
what they said they would do. I believe as long as Sam is there, West Ham
will remain in the Premier League."
Bowyer might have never played under Sam Allardyce himself, but he locked
horns with Big Sam's sides regularly during spells with Leeds United, West
Ham, Newcastle United and Birmingham City. During those duels, the Canning
Town-born player developed a great respect for the manager who he now
believes will steer West Ham safely towards the Club's move to Stratford.
"He is a manager that knows the league inside out and he gets results. He
can grind a result out and sometimes that is what you have to do, grind
results out. West Ham beat Spurs three times in one season. I don't think it
has been a bad season, ometimes you can't win pretty, you have to grind it
out and we did what we had to do at times when it was needed. "The Club,
although it is sad to leave the Boleyn Ground, are moving in the right
direction with the move to the Olympic Stadium."
Strong squad to visit New Zealand
Manager Sam Allardyce is looking forward to taking his West Ham United squad
to New Zealand this summer
Sam Allardyce has confirmed that he will be taking a strong West Ham United
squad to New Zealand this summer. The manager also revealed that he is
personally relishing the Hammers' Football United Tour, which will see his
players take on A-League sides Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC during a
week-long visit to the country. With tickets selling fast for the matches in
Auckland and Wellington on 23 and 26 July respectively, Big Sam is looking
forward to leading West Ham to a country that the Club has never visited
previously. "Myself, my staff and my players are all hugely looking forward
to visiting New Zealand in July," said the manager, whose squad includes New
Zealand national team captain Winston Reid. "Aside from taking West Ham
United to a part of the world where football and interest in the Club and
the Barclays Premier League continue to grow rapidly, the Football United
Tour will also form a central and important part of our pre-season schedule.
"We will be bringing a strong first-team squad to New Zealand, will be
training every day and playing two fixtures against quality opposition in
Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC."
More than 20,000 tickets have already been sold for the 26 July
double-header at Wellington's Westpac Stadium which also includes Newcastle
United's meeting with the Phoenix. With interest in the Football United Tour
high across New Zealand and Australia and only set to intensify as the
Hammers' visit approaches, Big Sam said everyone associated with the Club is
excited by the prospect of playing in front of large crowds. At the same
time, the matches will provide the manager with two opportunities to run the
rule over his squad ahead of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season. "I
understand that tickets are selling very well and for West Ham to play in
front of a sell-out crowd would be something special," he enthused. "There
will be less than a month to go until the start of the 2014/15 Barclays
Premier League season when we visit and I am sure fans are excited about the
prospect of seeing the likes of Winston Reid, Andy Carroll and Mark Noble in
action alongside the exciting new signings we hope to have made by then. "I
have heard so many fantastic things about New Zealand from Winston, the
former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen, who I worked with at Blackburn
Rovers, and my assistant Neil McDonald, who visited the country as a player.
I am sure we will enjoy a productive trip, on and off the pitch. "The
Football United Tour is an event everybody associated with West Ham is
relishing and I, for one, cannot wait!"
Football United Tour
Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 7.30pm (local time)
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney FC v West Ham United
Saturday 26 July 2014, 2pm (local time)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
WEST HAM LINKED WITH THE OTHER VIDAL
By Sean Whetstone 1 Jun 2014 at 08:58
West Ham Till I Die
Not to be confused with Arturo Vidal who Manchester United are thought to
tempting Serie A champions Juventus with 50 million euro bid.
West Ham are rumoured to be tracking Spanish striker/winger Aleix Vidal. The
24-year-old scored six goals and assisted five other in 38 games as he
helped Almeria remain in the top-flight by the skin of their teeth and his
performances have alerted several Premier League clubs including Aston
Villa, Everton and Newcastle.
Vidal is valued around £4-million and widely recognised as talented but
unproven outside of La Liga, He has scored 17 goals from 120 first team
appearances fro Almeria.
THE UNLIKELY TRANSFER
By Sean Whetstone 31 May 2014 at 16:21
West Ham Till I Die
My favourite transfer rumour this summer has got to be free agent Ashley
Cole being linked to a move to West Ham.
The 33 year old Left back who was born in East London was released by
Chelsea last week after his £200,000 per week contract came to an end. The
far fetched rumour suggests an un-named West Ham player spoke to Ashley in
attempt to lure him to East London at £100,000 per week. Carlton Cole is
known to be good friends with Ashley and he is reported to have met him
several times after training at Chadwell Heath.
Last January rumours also surfaced after Ashley Cole was pictured at West
Ham training ground on transfer deadline day with some Academy graduates. He
that occasion he transpired that Ashley had innocently gone to watch his
mates son play for the West Ham Under 16's.
With Ashley reportedly wanted Liverpool, Man City, Real Madrid, Arsenal.
Monaco and AC Milan I am not going to get my hopes up too high on this daft
rumour but it did make me smile. However the rumour was enough for Sky Bet
and Bet Victor to slash their odds on him joining West Ham to 14/1 from 25/1
before the rumour surfaced.
Zarate wage shows things are changing
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 1, 2014 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh
Skipper Kevin Nolan is expected to come under serious pressure for his place
from new signing Mauro Zarate from the first kick of the new season. The 27
year old Argentine has arrived at Upton Park as a front line striker who has
everything in his locker. He is well known to the owners who took him to
Birmingham City on loan back in 2008 and although the team was relegated, he
showed enough for the pair to bring him back to West Ham six years later.
ClaretandHugh has learned that Zarate is a very serious arrival on wages
understood to be in the region of £40,000 a week over three years – an
outlay of just under £6 million plus bonuses. And although manager Sam
Allardyce has rarely been associated with a 'Little and Large' combination
upfront – more often than not relying on just a big target man – Zarate will
be expected to play from the start. A senior source explained exclusively to
ClaretandHugh: "Given their knowledge of the player this looks like a
signing driven by the co owners. "Zarate has lots of pace, movement and
trickery and on the wages that are being paid out he will be expected to
play. "And with a full pre-season ahead of him there can be no claims about
fitness issues so it seems that the style of play is definitely going to
change. "Obviously, someone is going to have to make way and there's a big
feeling around the place the main sufferer may be the captain but it's early
days. "However, Nolan has been Andy Carroll's main foil previously but it's
now Zarate who will be seen as the one to feed off those tasty knockdowns."
The cynical view that this may have been a buy to sweeten season ticket
sales is simply not true with Zarate's understood wages to be the giveaway.
This is a serious footballer who is here to help take West Ham back to their
entertaining roots. Without a doubt things are changing at the Boleyn!
Ross McCormack set to leave Leeds over treatment of Brian McDermott... with
West Ham, Celtic and Leicester interested
By DAVID KENT
PUBLISHED: 22:30, 31 May 2014 | UPDATED: 22:30, 31 May 2014
Ross McCormack is set to leave cash-strapped Leeds United after manager
Brian McDermott lost his job. McCormack, 27, was the Championship's top
scorer last season with 29 goals and the Scotland striker handed much of the
credit to McDermott, who spent less than 14 months in the job. McCormack,
rated by Leeds at about £8million, is wanted by a host of clubs headed by
Celtic, West Ham, Leicester and Malaga.
Irons plan heart to heart with Ravel as QPR wait
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 31, 2014 in Whispers
West Ham plan heart to heart talks with Ravel Morrison when he returns to
Chadwell Heath for pre-season training! The club will do everything in its
power to ensure that the England under 21 is as settled, happy and as "back
at home" as possible ahead of the new season. After a difficult 2013-14
which finally saw the player sent out on loan to Queens Park Rangers,
ClaretandHugh has learned there's "no way the club is giving up on Ravel and
a Boleyn future."
A trusted ClaretandHugh source was keen to point out that the controversies
surrounding Ravel and his contractual position have been "vastly blown out
of all proportion." That was a reference to allegations that efforts had
been made to woo him into agent Mark Curtis' stable. Our source said:
"Forget all that – it was never a serious issue. Rav is a man who knows his
own mind and has his own advisers – end of story. "The real problem was that
Sam Allardyce – as is his right – decided in the middle of a relegation
battle that Matt Taylor was a better for the circumstances and Ravel was
perhaps disappointed by that having been playing regularly." He added: "We
intend being there for Rav – we understand his personality and that he
needs to feel wanted, included and valued. "We shall be assuring him he has
the same chances as every other player and we will listen to everything he
has to say. "He has a year left on his contract at West Ham and we would
love to believe he can settle down to a long term future with us. "It's all
in his hands and we'll do all we can for him. We don't want unhappy players
in the squad."
Our source confirmed that there had been no contact from QPR whom it is
believed may be hoping to make Morrison's loan deal permanent. However,
having been ignored by manager Harry Redknapp for the Championship play-off
final amid fresh stories of a groin injury, interest may have waned.
David Gold criticises Glen Johnson performance
on March 5, 2014© Getty Images
By Sian Cowper, Reporter
Filed: Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 12:55 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 13:17 UK
David Gold has described Glen Johnson's performance as "poor" following
England's 3-0 win over Peru in their final home match before the World Cup.
The Liverpool defender was in Roy Hodgson's starting lineup for the
international friendly at Wembley Stadium. The West Ham United co-chairman
wrote on Twitter: "I thought Glen Johnson was poor tonight but I was really
impressed with Adam [Lallana]." The 29-year-old started his career at West
Ham before moving to Chelsea in 2003.
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