Saturday, April 25

Daily WHUFC News - 25th April 2015

Preview - Queens Park Rangers

In brief

West Ham United travel across London to take on relegation embattled Queens Park Rangers in their final London derby of the season. The Hammers will want to register their double of the season, having beaten the R's 2-0 in October at the Boleyn Ground. The Irons are currently tenth, with 43 points from their 33 games. Saturday's visitors QPR fighting for their Premier League status. Currently 19th with 26 points, Chris Ramsey's men have improved of late with a 4-1 away at West Bromwich Albion and a 3-3 draw at Aston Villa.

Who are they?

Formed in 1882, Queens Park Rangers' early football was joined the Football League in 1920, three years after settling at Loftus Road.
Their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, being runners-up in the top flight in 1975/76 and reaching the FA Cup final in 1982, when they lost to Tottenham Hotspur after a replay. They won promotion back to the top flight via the play-offs last season, with former Hammer Bobby Zamora netting a dramatic late winner against Derby County.

Team news


Chris Ramsey has an extensive injury list. His absentees include Rio Ferdinand (muscular injury), Eduardo Vargas (Knee) and Leroy Fer (Knee) all out. However, Rangers could be boosted by the return of A Troare and Adel Taarabt.

West Ham United

Sam Allardyce will have to do make do without Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll, James Tomkins and Doneil henry who are all still injured.
Guy Demel may also miss out due to a calf problem.


Saturday's referee is Mike Jones. The Cheshire based referee took charge of his first Premier League game back in 2008 and has since officiated 143 matches. In total, he has given 455 yellow and 20 red cards out. Jones has refereed one West ham game this season, their last away in back in December – a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion. Taylor will be assisted by Mark Scholes and Ian Hussin, while the fourth official will be Lee Mason.

One to watch

West Ham United

Aaron Cresswell has enjoyed a fine start to life in a Hammers shirt, taking the step up from Championship football in his stride.
The 25-year-old left back has played every minute of the Hammers' Barclays Premier League campaign to date, capping recent good performances with a superb free kick against Stoke City.

Queens Park Rangers

Rangers striker Charlie Austin will need to be shackled on Saturday if the Hammers are to be successful. The former Swindon and Burnley man joined QPR in summer 2013 and notched 17 league goals to help his new club to promotion. This season, he has continued his prolific goalscoring form, netting 17 times so far, leading to some pundits calling for an international call up. The Hammers will have to be aware of the threat he possesses if they are to come with away from Loftus Road with the three points.


Standard tickets for this fixture have now SOLD OUT. However, a limited number of re-listed Season Ticket Holder seats may be available online through the Ticket Trader.


There are planned closures on Central and Bakerloo lines on Saturday. Click here for the latest transport news from Transport for London.

Click here for the latest travel news from National Rail.


A dry day with sunny spells is expected on Saturday, with a temperature of 17C (63F) at kick-off.

Last meeting

The Hammers secured a 2-1 away win the last time they visited Loftus Road.

Matt Jarvis put the Irons ahead after just three minutes before Vaz Te's goal doubled their advantage before half time.

The hosts rallied in the second half as Adel Taarabt scored a minute after coming on as a substitute.

However their efforts of a comeback were thwarted when Samba Diakite was sent off and the hammers held out for an important win.

Queens Park Rangers 1-2 West Ham United

Premier League
Monday 1 October 2012

QPR: Julio Cesar, Hill, Onuoha (hoilett 84), Nelsen, Park Ji-Sung (Diakite 56), Wright-Phillips (Taarabt 56), Granero, Faurlin, Mbia, Cisse, Zamora
Subs: Green, Ehmer, Ephraim, Mackie
Goal: Taarabt 57

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Reid (Tomkins 23), O'Brien (McCartney 35), Collins, Demel, Nolan, Jarvis, Noble, Diame, C Cole (Carroll 72), Vaz Te.
Subs: Henderson, Benayoun, O'Neil, Maiga
Goal: Jarvis 3, Vaz Te 35

Noble - 'We've got to make our own luck'

Mark Noble feels West Ham United have been the victim of ill fortune in recent weeks but says it is up to the players to make their own luck at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. The midfielder reckons the rub of the green has deserted the Hammers in 2015, with late goals and injuries the scourge of a troubled second half of the campaign. But Noble is not after pity, just results, and insists that only the players' sheer hard work can ensure that Lady Luck smiles upon the Hammers at Loftus Road this weekend. "From what I see in training every day and from what I see in the games, we've had a little bit of bad luck," Noble confirmed. "The luck that was going for us at the beginning of the season, with Manchester City at home – I think they hit the crossbar twice and Adrian made some great saves – it's not going for us at the minute. "You need to work harder to get that luck back. As they say, you make your own luck and we've got five games to go and we want to get some points on the board."

While it certainly has not gone the Hammers' way since the turn of the year, the 27-year-old says supporters can rest assured that the players are doing everything in their power to turn it around. With five games still to play, the Club's longest servant has called on the fans to keep the faith as they bid to record their highest points tally since returning to the top flight in 2012. He continued: "Stick by us, we've had a good season, it could have been a really good season, but it wasn't meant to be. "The league has levelled itself out now, the top six or seven are always there, that's the way it is. We've had a good go this season and we need to finish the season on a high. "I obviously know who I train with every day and the boys that I play with and they are giving 100 per cent, coming off a bad run, admittedly. I say a bad run, well not the results that we wanted. "Going away to Man City when they need a result is a tough place to play and we need to go to QPR away on Saturday and get a result."

Speaking of supporters, there was good news for the fans this week in the shape of 2016/17 Season Ticket prices. Noble himself popped into the New Stadium Reservation Centre and applauded the Club's decision to slash prices, not least for the youngsters. "I think what the Club has done is fantastic. Season Tickets for Under-16s are £99, which is great, affordable for everyone. To get over there now, it's one more season at Upton Park, which has been a fantastic home for us and then to a new chapter for the Club. "A lot of the newer players haven't even been into the Stadium yet, so once they stand in there and realise how big it is, what a place it's going to be to play at, I think it'll be even more exciting. And when we do obviously finally make the move, it's going to be some football arena to play in."

Allardyce and Carroll in community Q&A

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce and striker Andy Carroll met young people looking to make the most of life at a Barclays Premier League event. Keeping Kids Company and the Bromley By Bow Centre are two local organisations that focus on giving youngsters opportunities to achieve their goals and transform their lives through education, sport and general support, the groups are just two of the community groups supported nationally by Barclays. Through their sponsor of the Premier League, Barclays host a number of events and initiatives in conjunction with all 20 PL clubs every season, where charities and communities can come together with football and meet their heroes.

The Hammers boss along with No9 Carroll took part in a Q&A, before chatting with the groups about their experiences and how schemes such as these supported by Barclays, have given them a chance that they might not have had otherwise. A lively question and answer session had Big Sam and Carroll answering questions on what motivates them to do what they do, on the current season and general questions on the world of football. The pair then posed for photographs and signed autographs. The West Ham manager said he was very impressed with the groups and the event as a whole. "It is very good for Barclays and the Premier League to bring these events to our clubs, so that football can mix with the community in such a way with these partnerships," he said. "It was clear to see that these young people have been given a chance with these groups and the dedicated people who run them and as a result, have positive targets to aim for in life now."

Carroll who is currently working his way back to fitness following knee surgery in February added: "They were a good group and it was great to meet them. They had some good questions. Our club does a lot in the local community and this is another way of bringing football and everyone together for a good cause."

Following the Q&A with Big Sam and Carroll, the youngsters then took part in a football skills session outside at the club's Chadwell heath training coached by the West Ham United Foundation, with players Guy Demel, Morgan Amalfitano and Nene joining them.

Potts: 'We deserved the win'

U21s coach Steve Potts said his side deserved the victory 2-1 over Manchester City on Friday 24 April after recent good performances had gone unrewarded. Potts' son Dan opened the scoring in the eleventh minute heading in Djair Parfitt-Williams' cross after an exquisite bit of skill from the young forward. The Hammers doubled their lead early in the second half when Adam Drury stabbed Jordan Brown's drilled cross into his own net. City rallied and looked increasingly dangerous before Olivier Ntcham scored late on to half the Irons' advantage but it proved too little too late. Speaking after the game, Potts said: "I'm delighted. I thought the lads did very well. The effort they put in was fantastic, they got what we deserved really after a couple of games where I thought we did some good stuff but lost by the odd goal. "Last week against Norwich City we were 1-0 up with a few minutes to go but then we threw it away. But tonight we did the job. "I've been happy with the last two games and tonight, in most aspects, we saw the game through. I think that's the stage that the players are at, at the moment. They're young boys but they need to manage games and get over the line as much as they can. We need to build on this toughness about them."

In a fantastic performance, the Development Squad had chances either side of half time to extent their lead. Dan Potts hit the top of the cross bar from a corner while Jordan Brown and Joe Ward forced good saves out of Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn. "We could have had a few more, we had some good chances," continued Potts. "They had a lot of possession and I think you have to respect when you're playing good teams. We had some opportunities to finish the game off, but didn't. At 2-1 you do wonder whether it'll be your night and thankfully it was. The boys stuck to their jobs and they were in the right place at the right time."

Recently, the young Hammers have found points hard to come by, making Friday's win over prospective title challengers City even more impressive. The Dev Squad's last win came over Fulham in February when they won 2-1 and Potts continued to stress how pleased he was how his side rose to the occasion. "We knew they were a good side. When they were playing the ball about it was a case of not getting drawn out of position. They had good movement and they passes the ball around well, in a second they can cut you apart. Luckily it was just the once they did that. "Djair did very well for the first goal. He got one-on-one with his man and beat him, put a good ball in the box and Dan was there to finish it. He's been unlucky this season, he broke a bone in his foot and then had an operation on his knee which kept him out for a while. "That's how football is sometimes, you have to get on with it and bounce back when injuries happen. He's been training for a few weeks now and played two games."

Up next for the Dev Squad, they host Everton at Rush Green on Friday 8 May, where they will be looking to avenge a 2-0 defeat by the Toffees earlier in the season. "The win is great for our confidence because we haven't won in a while. Everton will be a tough game. We'll need to rise to it, but we know that we're capable of winning and we're looking forward to it."

Chadwell Chatter - James Collins

Hello everyone.

Saturday's game against Queens Park Rangers is must-win for us after the disappointment of last week. They're fighting against relegation and we need to be beating them, we know that. We need a clean sheet to give us the base to go on and win and that's the same in any game. Last week we were disappointed with the goals, and me personally too. Clean sheets are vital in any game and we haven't had one for a while, so to get back on track with five games to go would be nice on Saturday. The next three we play are against teams in the relegation scrap - QPR, Burnley and Aston Villa. I've been in that position and it's tough. They're fighting for their lives and have everything to play for. We're not expecting an easy game, that's for sure. The crowd will get behind them and they've got some good players there so we'll have to be on our toes. If a team scores against you early doors when you're in that situation, you wonder how you're going to get back in the game. We'll be looking to get off to a good start, score an early goal and go on to win the game.

They've got a couple of dangerous frontmen in Austin and Zamora and you've just got to defend well against them. Bobby is a big, strong lad who holds the ball up well and can obviously score a goal. Charlie Austin has scored God knows how many goals this year, so we're going to have to be on our toes and defend as well as we can. It's strange for someone to score that number of goals and for a team to still be in a relegation battle, you don't see that too often. Credit to himself, he's scored a different variety of goals too.

It's a massive focus for us to make this the best season since we've been back in the Premier League. The last 12 or 13 games have been bitterly disappointing and we haven't got as many points as we wanted, especially after the start we had. To finish the last five games with as many wins as possible to move into next season would be great. We know we've got to up our performances to do that - that's what we've been working on in training looking ahead to the weekend.

See you on Saturday!


QPR v West Ham
KO 15:00
24 April 2015
Last updated at 11:33
By Steve Wilson
BBC Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Loftus Road Date: Saturday, 25 April


QPR will assess midfielder Leroy Fer, who is close to a comeback from a knee injury that has sidelined him since February. Full-back Yun Suk-Young is in contention after recovering from concussion.
West Ham are without defender Guy Demel, who is ruled out with a calf problem. He joins an injury list which also includes James Tomkins, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.


Mathematicians will say otherwise, but if QPR don't win this game it seems almost inconceivable that they could avoid relegation - especially as their next two games are at Liverpool and Manchester City. Despite only two league wins in 16 games, Rangers can point to small margins. Six of their last seven defeats have been by a single goal, they've scored more goals than any side in the bottom six and have scored only two fewer away goals than Manchester United. Rangers aren't bad at all - but maybe they're just not quite good enough?
Chris Ramsey was certainly dealt a tough hand when he took over and has coped with the stresses of the dogfight admirably well. It'll be interesting to see how two weeks without a game has impacted on his squad - a break from the claustrophobic pressure may have done them the world of good.
Luckily for Rangers, this weekend's opponents are arguably in worse form than they are. Like the Christmas decorations in Mr Scrooge's house, West Ham started coming down on Boxing Day. Sam Allardyce's team have slipped from fourth to 10th, taking only 12 points in their last 16 games.
Lawro's prediction : "Like Newcastle, West Ham are another team who everyone wants to play right now. I watched their defeat by Manchester City on Sunday and it was not the kind of performance you expect from a Sam Allardyce side." I've heard many a manager bemoan the perils of over-achieving and it seems that Sam Allardyce's season is likely to be judged on his team's second-half slump rather than their first-half heroics. The fact is that West Ham are still six points better off than at this stage of last season, and if Messrs Gold and Sullivan have decided to replace Allardyce, they may yet be casting him aside just as the club achieves its highest league finish since 2002. If he wants work elsewhere, you can be sure that Big Sam will find it.


West Ham have lost just one of their last six Premier League games against QPR (W3, D2).
The Hammers won on their last visit to Loftus Road, on 1 October 2012, but that is their only victory in their last nine games away to the Hoops in all competitions.
Queens Park Rangers
Rangers have allowed their opponents 181 shots on target this season - more than any other Premier League team.
Charlie Austin has either scored or assisted 55% of his side's goals this season - the highest proportion of any Premier League player.
The Hoops are winless in their last 13 Premier League London derbies (D3, L10), with their last victory coming away to Chelsea on 2 January 2013.
West Ham United
The Hammers are winless in their last six games against London sides, losing five of those matches. Their last victory against a side from the capital was against QPR in October.
Sam Allardyce's side are without a win in their last nine away league games (D4, L5), with their last victory coming at West Brom on 2 December.
They have lost a league-high seven points following goals scored in or after the 90th minute this season.
West Ham are the only Premier League side yet to score a penalty - with Mark Noble missing their only spot-kick against Tottenham on the opening day.

Brady still calling the tune
Filed: Friday, 24th April 2015
By: Paul Walker

At last, someone from our beloved leadership has said something, anything, to ease some of the troubled waters.

And it was Lady B, a woman whose politics I dislike but who always impresses me, grudgingly I must say, when we are talking business. Now I know I should not find myself praising the Lady--you wouldn't want a fans' website to be in the back-pocket of someone on the board, for heavens sake, would you?--but she seems to be the only person on that board with any balls!

The painful, long, silence from the Davids over big Sam's future, and the constant attacks on him, daily if not hourly from across the net, has led us to a position where we are becoming a laughing stock. Our shocking run of two wins in 16 league games, I feel, has been partly caused by the way the board have handled this situation.

All we have had is a long line of unattributed quotes from sources that seem intent on rubbishing Sam and undermining the team on a daily basis. It has worked. They may be right, but I do wonder where and from whom they are coming!

Now Karren did not actually say anything new about Sam's future when she was holding court for the media this week when the new season ticket price cuts were being launched--seemingly for the benefit of the BBC and Sky first--but what she said showed authority.

And Sam at his press conference this week has said that nothing she says makes any difference because he is in constant contact with her and Sullivan anyway, despite the image being touted to the contrary.

But as I have said many times before, when Karren Brady speaks, nobody should take her words lightly, regardless if it is not what you want to hear.

She said the board had held talks about talks at the end of the season, she gave no hint whether there would be a new contract, but she at least said something on the record.

She has been the only person for months now from within Boleyn towers to say Sam has done everything the club has asked of him, that the relationship between board and manager is ok, and that they would want to sit down and hear about his plans for the future--and their cost--when the time comes. And that he may well have future plans of his own. As I said, nothing new there.

But she did say that talk about needing a top manager to lead us into her new stadium (because that is what it is) was disrespectful.

Now you don't have to believe any of that, and most of you won't, but the underlying feeling from the good lady was that she will have a very significant say in what happens next. And I doubt it will have much to do with the past few months of nonsense on the field.

This is a woman, as I keep saying, who knows the price of everything and is only concerned with the financial implications.

You can tell that the behaviour of our manager at Manchester City last weekend, does not come into it. She is not too bothered about the lousy tactics of just sitting back and letting City's world class stars attack us, she was not too concerned about the gum chewing, coffee swilling, slumping manager who gave every indication that he couldn't care less.

I didn't get much of a view of that with my lad in the away section at the Etihad, more of that later, but the image Allardyce sent out across the world on TV was a disgrace. I have seen comments from as far away as Mexico and the US from people who were underwhelmed by the image Sam portrayed of our club. And that cannot be right.

We had pundits like Kevin Kilbane (who we have had previous with this season) laughing at us on a foreign TV feed, plus Alan Smith on BBC also taking the piss. Well I thought that was what it was, because you can't tell whether he is laughing or crying from that bland, unsmiling exterior and the deadpan Brummie accent.

Sam never helps himself, does he? The tactics were a mess, the effort and involvement from him and the players severely wanting. My lad has never been pro or anti-Sam, he only wants to see his club progress and have stability, something he has rarely seen in his 30 plus years . But it was an embarrassment for all.

As he said, the teams who had been beating City of late--Crystal Palace and Burnley for a start--have done so by high-tempo pressing from the first seconds. That's how it's done, when you have inferior players, so what on earth was going on in the preparation. Had anyone actually been to see a disheartened City side play recently? Obviously not.

But Lady Brady has only the long-term project of the Olympic stadium on her mind. And if that means Sam gets a new deal, you can bet on who will win the boardroom debate. There has been media talk that unlike last summer when Brady and David Gold differed with David Sullivan over the manager' future, everybody was on a like mind now. Well Brady certainly didn't give that impression, or maybe she is a good liar.

You can bet she is saying that unless we can get someone better, by that I mean with European experience and flair, why should we change. Now I know that is going to release the hounds of Hell on me, but I can assure you all that I feel the time may have come for a change if only to unite the fan base, something sadly so badly fractured at the moment.

I am not trying to put points for or against the sour-faced old fella, I am trying to judge what is going on at Boleyn towers. And there is a growing fear that for all the genuine and creditably concern about the bad ways of Sam, plus the campaigning, abuse and hatred being shown by a sizeable percentage of our support, Brady may well still want stability.

You can almost say that if the Davids and Karren could be offered the season to end now and then a total freeze on everything until next summer, with Premier League safety being assured, they would grab that now. Nothing too messy like having to play matches and entertain the punters, I sense that doesn't come into the hard-nosed thinking at the moment.

As for Sam's future, there has been a long list of people from inside the game, and our own playing staff, saying the manager should stay. Graeme Souness, Phil Brown (well he would, wouldn't he?), Chris Ramsey plus Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Cheikhou Kouyate (and they would also toe the party line) have all leapt into print to defend Sam.

From inside the game, nobody is bothered about his arrogance, and dour persona. They only look at the bottom line, the same line that Karren works from.

However, Martin Samuel in the Mail made a telling point this week. He said that Sam has always said he can handle big clubs and successful players, but that his general tactics and attitude have shown he is not the man to lead a club to a different level. Sam, reckons Martin, is too tentative, too set in his defensive ways, to change and be positive by instinct.

Those instincts were on show at the Etihad, where we were dreadful. And our away lot had to contend with the general behaviour of the Manchester police and the club's security people which left a lot to be desired. I am never one to want to see loud mouthed, foul mouthed yobs allowed to flourish.

But the police's heavy-handed behaviour was out of order. And it's always the same at City, where the demilitarised zone between home and away fans is minimal, with just a line of dumb and deaf security staff separate the fans.

They stand backing the home support, who hurl all measure of abuse at the away lot, and when a visitor responds, the private security firm spotters descend, guided by the police in the CCTV booth, and the lad is hooked out. It's such sport for the home fans.

One quiet middle-aged lady in front of me--unfortunately our seats were on the edge of our support--decided to take a photo of a copper who dragged out one lad by his neck over two rows of seats, very over-the-top.

The copper then launched himself at the poor woman, verbally and physically intimidating to demand in her face why she had taken the picture. Someone should tell the police that it is perfectly legal to photograph anyone in a public place.

He was shouting that he was protecting women and children and that the lad had been making 'come and fight me' hand gestures. Is he serious? The kid was clearly not a threat to public safety throughout east Manchester.

This sort of over-reaction from the police continued throughout, but absolutely nothing was being done about the City louts--one of which ran in front of two sections of seating to throw himself into the baying mob. As I said, it is always like that at City from lengthy past experience, and it does the image of their club no good whatsoever.

Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to finish season on a high
Last Updated: 24/04/15 2:50pm

Sam Allardyce has warned his players they are not on holiday yet and has challenged them to match the fight shown by the clubs threatened with relegation. West Ham were flying high early in the season but a dismal run of results has seen them win just one of their last 12 matches. It's a run of form which leaves them needing to win their five remaining matches if they are to eclipse their highest ever Premier league points tally, set in the 1998/99 season. "The players have to realise they are not on the beach yet - far from it," said the West Ham manager. "The focus should be that we want to finish on a high. People think we're having a bad season because our bad run is coming at the end of the season. Finishing the season well gives everyone a high going into the summer. "We wanted to finish with more points than we've ever managed and we should have achieved that a long time ago. "After Christmas we were in a good position and we thought we might be able achieve a bit more than that. But we've made life difficult for ourselves."

With a visit to QPR on Saurday and Burnley coming up for West Ham next weekend, Allardyce's side could yet have a big say on which teams fall into the Sky Bet Championship at the end of the season. And Allardyce pointed the recent defeat to a battle-hardened Leicester side as an example of what can happen if his players do not stand up and fight against the Premier league's lower-ranked sides. "They are fighting for their lives and we experienced that at Leicester," Allardyce said. "We played extremely well at Leicester and shouldn't have lost the game but Leicester are fighting for their lives so we have to match the fight that QPR have and Burnley will have here."

QPR v West Ham preview: Chris Ramsey's side's fight for survival continues
Last Updated: 24/04/15 4:55pm

Queens Park Rangers' fight against Premier League relegation continues when they host West Ham at Loftus Road. Chris Ramsey's side are two points adrift of safety but have the opportunity to close that gap against a West Ham side without a win in nine away league games. It was QPR's home form which kept them in touch at the start of the season but since the turn of the year they have failed to pick up a win in front of their home fans. They will hope to change that against an out-of-form West Ham, however, they have struggled against all their London rivals this season, winning just one point in nine Premier League London derbies. Ed Chamberlin looks ahead to the Premier League game between QPR and West Ham.

Team news

Ramsey will make a late decision on whether to risk Leroy Fer for the visit of West Ham. Fer is close to overcoming a knee injury that has kept him out since February, while Yun Suk-young is also available having recovered from concussion. Richard Dunne is fit again after returning from a knee injury but Rio Ferdinand (knock), Eduardo Vargas and Alejandro Faurlin (both knee) remain sidelined.

West Ham will be unable to welcome back any of their injured players for the trip across London to relegation-threatened QPR. Sam Allardyce's Hammers have won just once in their last 12 games and are still without James Tomkins (shoulder), Andy Carroll (knee) and Diafra Sakho (thigh). Meanwhile, a calf injury picked up by full-back Guy Demel has also left Allardyce short of options in defence.

Opta facts

Queens Park Rangers have allowed more shots on target against them than any other team in the Premier League (181). West Ham have lost a league-high seven points with goals conceded in the 90th minute or later. QPR have conceded the first goal on 24 occasions in the Premier League this season; more often than any other side. 27 Players have started a Premier League game for QPR this season; more than at any other club. Charlie Austin has had a hand in the highest proportion of his sides' goals in the Premier League this season (55%). The Hammers have scored just nine goals in nine Premier League London derbies in 2014-15. Matt Phillips has been involved in nine goals (two goals & seven assists) in his last nine PL appearances.

Merson's prediction

I think it's a must-win game for QPR. You can turn the floodlights off if they don't win this game. It's their cup final. You can't keep on going 'oh, next week, next week' – it has to be this week. You look at West Ham and think 'when are they ever going to win another football match?' QPR were unlucky against Chelsea in their last game, so I'm going for a narrow home victory here.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (Sky Bet odds 8/1)


Sky Bet make QPR 13/10 to boost their waning survival hopes with a victory on Saturday, as Aston Villa are priced up as 2/1 outsiders with the draw 12/5. The Hoops head into the clash as 1/7 favourites for relegation, with Saturday's clash rated one of their most winnable remaining fixtures. Charlie Austin is deemed their most likely hope of salvation as 11/2 favourite in the first goalscorer betting and 21/10 to net in a home win, while Diafra Sakho is considered the visitors' biggest threat at 6/1 to break the deadlock.

West Ham defender Alex Song hopes for Premier League stay
Last Updated: 24/04/15 8:48pm

On-loan West Ham midfielder Alex Song says he is keen to stay in England, despite failing to make an impact at Upton Park. The defender, who is owned by Barcelona, enjoyed a good start to life at Upton Park but his performances have dipped since the turn of the year. Song told The Fantasy Football Club that he is ready to wait until the end of the season to make a decision on his future, but is keen to remain in England. Alex Song talks of how important the belief of Arsene Wenger was when he first joined Arsenal. "Yeah, I definitely want to stay here," said the 27-year-old Cameroon international. "I don't know (if I can sign a permanent deal at West Ham). "I can't say anything now because I want to focus on the rest of the season and then we will see." The Hammers have slipped from a top-four position to mid-table since Christmas and Song admits the squad is not strong enough to compete with the bigger clubs. West Ham's Alex Song thinks former club Arsenal only need a few more players to make a serious challenge for the Premier League title. "I think we have to target an eighth-placed finish this season," he said. "The problem with West Ham is that we don't have a very big squad. I was saying to people it was too early to say that we will finish fourth or fifth. "I always said if we finish tenth it would be perfect because we don't have a squad like an Arsenal or Chelsea. When we have one or two players injured, we don't have a big player to come on."

West Ham 'approach David Moyes' as potential replacement for Sam Allardyce
13:49, 24 April 2015 By Liam Corless
The former Manchester United boss has reportedly emerged as the number one target for Hammers co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold
The Mirror

West Ham have reportedly approached David Moyes over the possibility of replacing Sam Allardyce as the club's manager. The Hammers made Moyes their number one target earlier in the year and have now made a more concrete approach to the former Manchester United chief.
The Telegraph claim West Ham have assured Moyes they want him to be their manager when they move into the Olympic Stadium. Rafael Benitez and Slaven Bilic are also being considered but trail Moyes in the running for the role. Moyes ended a spell of seven months out of the game following his Old Trafford dismissal by taking charge of Real Sociedad in November. Current Upton Park boss Allardyce has come under increasing pressure in recent months due to his side's poor form. West Ham have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games and now sit in 10th in the table having occupied a top four spot for much of the first half of the season. Despite the club's interest in Moyes, club co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold could still hand Allardyce a new contract.

Robert Green can keep QPR in Premier League AND return to England team says Sam Allardyce
22:30, 24 April 2015 By Neil McLeman
Green moved across London from West Ham to QPR after in 2012 and his former boss at Upton Park has no hard feelings and is glad to see he has recovered his form
The Mirror

Sam Allardyce reckons his former keeper Robert Green has refound the form to keep QPR up – and challenge Joe Hart as England No 1.
Green moved across London from West Ham to QPR after in 2012 on a lucrative Bosman, before Rangers bought Brazilian Julio Cesar and then suffered relegation. Now Green, 35, is a vital member of a QPR team again fighting the drop and back in the England squad. Despite some recent wobbles behind the creaky Hoops defence, Allardyce said: "I think he could rival Joe Hart. "Robert has had an unfortunate England career by the fact that, when called upon, he made a mistake that has probably haunted him for a while. ReutersSam Allardyce before the matchPriced out: Sam Allardyce says he didn't want West Ham to lose Rob Green but couldn't match QPR's offer "If he has has overcome that then the experience he has gained since then should make him a better goalkeeper now."

Green, who will always be known for his error for England against the USA at the 2010 World Cup, helped the Hammers to promotion via the play-offs three years ago. Yet his subsequent signing by QPR was symbolic of the West London club's financial folly. Allardyce recalled: "Financially we couldn't get there – that was the key element. "It wasn't that Robert didn't want to stay – he did. But we couldn't match, at that time, coming back into the Premier League, his financial demands and obviously QPR did. "And after a difficult time at QPR, he has shone through again because of his dedication. "Robert works tirelessly on his game and has got a huge amount of experience now which hopefully – not on Saturday – help QPR stay up ."

West Ham travel to Loftus Road on a run of only two wins in 16 Premier League games since Boxing Day. Top scorer Diafra Sakho is set to miss the rest of an injury-hit season with a thigh problem. And back home in Senegal, he has claimed he could have played in the African Nations Cup if he had been supported by the Senegal FA. The striker's withdrawal because of a back injury caused a complaint to FIFA from his country. Sakho said: "I didn't put any pressure on after the decision made by the club. But I could have if I had been supported the (Senegal) directors. I cannot start a row with my club in these conditions."

Report: Hammers ready to go all in on Moyes
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 23, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham United have made a fresh move to try to secure an agreement from David Moyes to succeed Sam Allardyce as their next manager according to the Telegraph tonight (Thurs). The paper says it understands West Ham have now made a more direct approach to Moyes after an opening gambit and that he is first choice to lead the club into the Olympic Stadium
West Ham hope their determination will see the Scot trigger an agreement with Real Sociedad that he can speak to Premier League clubs about a return to England – as revealed by ClaretandHugh. The club has drawn up an ambitious list of summer transfer targets under the direction of recruitment director to the board Tony Henry, his former Everton scout and now the real power behind the Upton Park throne

As we explained in previous stories Henry, worked closely with Moyes at Goodison Park. And he has already registered an £8 million bid for Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang. The Hammers are also interested in Real Madrid's on-loan Champions League goalscoring hero Javier Hernández, Sion's Moussa Konaté and Basel defender Fabian Schär. Henry reports directly to Sullivan and Gold. and although sources insist that Allardyce's future will not be decided until Sullivan and Gold have carried out their annual end-of-season review. Allardyce remains in the frame only as a back stop appointment should the Irons fail elsewhere. But Allardyce's chances of keeping his job have become slimmer with each week as West Ham have slipped from fourth to 10th in the table.

Moyes bookies' favourite but race wide open
Posted by Sean Whetstone on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

David Moyes remains the bookie's favourite to succeed Sam Allardyce as the next West Ham manager with odds as short as 2/1.

Rafa Beneitez and Slaven Bilic are currently joint second favourites at 4/1 with Gus Poyet at 5/1. An unlikely return for Harry Redknapp still attracts short odds of 6/1 while Marcelo Bielsa is 8/1, Michael Laudrup odds have been reduced at 16/1 with outside chance Eddie Howe at 20/1.

Moyes has a 44.27% win average of the 829 games he has professionally managed, Beneitez manages the 50.88% over 912 games, Bilic weighs in with a 55.56% win ratio over 216 games, Poyet has a 40.52% win ratio over his 269 at Brighton and Sunderland. Redknapp manages just 40.29% win ratio during his 1380 games in charge.

Bielsa can claim a 49.08% win rate over 273 games as manager while Michael Laudrup has a 45.66% record over 357 games and Howe claims a 48.33% win rate at Bournemouth and Burnley. Sam Allardyce's win rate is 39.41% over 916 as a manager and 38.07% for his 176 games in charge of the Hammers.

Henry starts to call transfer target shots
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham's player target list has been finalised and director of recruitment to the board Tony Henry is the man calling the shots.

Henry's presence is being felt more and more inside the club and it's him who is believed to already be working on the deal to bring Sampdoria's Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang to the club.

And stories published in the national press a couple of weeks back that Sam Allardyce's uncertain position may scupper a deal for 23 year old Basle central defender Fabian Scher are also wide of the mark given that again as Henry is the man behind it.

The former Everton chief scout has also identified Javier Hernandez as a top target at around £7 million and he is – as reported elsewhere – very much on the radar.

It won't escape the attention of many that the 26 year old Mexican is not perhaps the usual Sam Allardyce target which may give an insight into current thinking in the club

The suggestion that we are also pursuing Senegal striker Moussa Konate was however knocked back by a Hammers source this morning.

He said: "That one is not a priority but the others are possibilities."

Allardyce: "Difficult for me to play kids!"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Sam Allardyce claimss the pressure of the current Upton Park situation will not allow him introduce young players. With just two wins since Christmas and looking for an away win (at QPR) as their first since beating West Brom at the Hawthorns in December, team and manager are under fierce pressure. It's been suggested here and elsewhere that with no relegation on the team, Allardyce may have had the opportunity to blood some kids or squad players a chance.

However we can forget that such as Diego Poyet, Reece Oxford or Reece Burke may get even a sniff.

Explaining his position @ the 60 year old manager said: "It is always difficult for me. If we were in a better position with our results it would have been a good thing to look at the odd player.

"But the pressure with us at the moment to get results means it would be difficult for me to do.

"If you put a youngster in and lose you get criticised, the youngster might get criticised, so it is difficult.

"Or play all your youngsters in the FA Cup and get slaughtered for it. You say 'we don't give youngsters a chance' but you give them a chance, lose, and get slaughtered for it.

"You can't have your cake and eat it."

West Ham are still without Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and James Tomkins for their trip to QPR and Guy Demel is also a doubt.

Surprise candidate as Irons step up boss hunt
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham have aggressively stepped up the hunt for their new boss and have a range of candidates in their sights. ClaretandHugh has discovered today that whilst David Moyes is a serious target he is only one of the club's top several and we were assured that Jurgen Klopp remains a serious target.

The former Everton and Manchester United manager was last night named by The Telegraph as being set for a straight approach from the club but we were told this afternoon that he was simply one of various candidates.

Among them – we were told- are Slaven Bilic and a surprise name Michael Laudrup who has suddenly catapaulted back into the frame.

Rafa Benitez is also in the Irons collective mind but so far has given little encouragement he's ready for an interview as he prepares for talks at Napoli.

Eddie Howe is liked and admired but as revealed in the past is considered high risk given his lack of top level experience.

However, he would be at – or close to the top – of the back-up list of candidates should the club fail in all its efforts to attract one of those they fancy.

It begins to look bleaker and bleaker for Sam Allardyce with the only likelihood of a new deal being offered were every candidate fancied by the club were to not materialise.

And he scored a massive own goal earlier today in an interview with when explaining why he woas reluctant to play the younger players at the club .

Insiders were shocked at what the manager had to say with one saying: "To be honest it made little or no sense given the league position. Nobody could make head or tail of it."

Hammers choose OS seats
Posted by Sean Whetstone on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

The process to choose your seats in the Olympic Stadium has began with the 808 West Ham Bond Holders choosing their seats first. West Ham Band 1 season ticket holders will follow in May, followed by Band 2 in July, Band 3 in October and finally band 4 in December.

Season ticket holders choose their seats based on virtual technology software at the Stratford Reservation centre. West Ham have promised a comparable seat which they say will be one in an equivalent price band and similar location to the seat occupied for the final season at the Boleyn Ground.

However they add that given the obvious differences in the shape, seating layout and capacity of the two grounds, no two seats will be exactly comparable and the quality of each seat and sight line is subjective.

This virtual reality image is for a Band 1 season ticket holder in row 19 of the new East 'Kop style' Stand.

This season ticket holder reserved One Band 1 Adult ticket at £899 plus two Under 16's tickets at £99 each totaling £1,097 for the three season tickets. They would have paid the 25% deposit of around £275 at the time of reservation.

Allardyce's kids claims defy explanation!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Quite why Sam Allardyce would decide to discuss his policy – or non policy – towards using younger players at this stage of the season defies any serious explanation.

At a time when his chances of keeping his job appear to be zero he may just have hammered in the final nail to his coffin when decising to explain this to

He claims that were we in a better position with our results it would have been a good thing to look at the odd player and adds: "Were we to put a youngster in and the team lost you get criticised, the youngster might get criticised, so it is difficult.

But that he should raise the horrendous events at Nottingham Forest in last season's FA Cup and use it against his critics is utterly mind-blowing.

He said: Play all your youngsters in the FA Cup and get slaughtered for it. You say 'we don't give youngsters a chance' but you give them a chance, lose, and get slaughtered for it. You can't have your cake and eat it."

A furious insider said to ClaretandHugh earlier this afternoon: "There is a difference between sending out a team of youngsters (Forest last season) and blooding one or two here and there.

"That is just taking the wee wee in the biggest possible way. It was his horribly mistaken decision that left the club so embarrassed.

"As for results and 'being in a better position' things can hardly be worse than they have been and fresh blood could easily improve it – the regulars are hardly playing out of their skin are they? "

We have heard some stuff from our manager down the years but this outburst just astonishes. I keep checking to ensure he really said it – he did!

Charlton Trust seeks OS rental review
Posted by Sean Whetstone on April 24, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust (CAST) want a review of the terms of West Ham's rental agreement at the Olympic Stadium in response to the West Ham's decision to drastically cut season ticket prices when they move in 2016.

CAST say that lower league clubs in London, such as Charlton, Millwall and Leyton Orient will be affected by the price cuts which they claim are only made possible by the 'prejudicially favourable' terms the club has in its £2m rental of the stadium.

"We believe the current agreement is prejudicially favourable to West Ham," A CAST statement said

"This should be a matter of concern for all taxpayers; we are involved because of the specific commercial impact it will have on Charlton Athletic FC. CAST is not opposed to West Ham playing at the Olympic Stadium, and acknowledges the need for a viable legacy for the stadium."

"We believe that the terms of the agreement put far too much financial burden on the taxpayer; and that as a result West Ham will feel able to offer heavily discounted tickets south of the river in Charlton's catchment area, which is now well connected to the Olympic stadium thanks to the transport links built for the games."

"This presents a severe commercial threat to our club, whose long term future it is our mission to care for and seek to preserve. A re-negotiation of the contract which requires West Ham to pay more will oblige West Ham to focus more on filling the stadium with core West Ham support paying prices similar to those at other FAPL clubs in London."

"Regrettably the London Legacy Development Corporation have resisted all attempts by CAST to inspect the rental contract, even under Freedom of Information law. CAST has a complaint lodged with the Information Commissioner (since last October). The length of time this is taking indicates that the LLDC are determined to conceal from the public the extent of the support from public funds West Ham are getting. CAST feels that through the terms that West Ham have they will be able to 'flood' parts of London with cheap tickets which will ultimately effect clubs close by."

"The most important advantage though is that West Ham are allowed to keep 100% of "corporate" match-day revenue. The Olympic Stadium has a huge capacity for this type of customer. We believe that if West Ham sell this capacity, and achieve attendances of around 35,000, their revenue will be such that they can treat the 19,000 spare capacity as "promotional".

"They can afford to offer these seats at a discount in order to build their support in new areas, particularly in South-East London. This is the scenario that concerns CAST. Put simply, the taxpayer should pay far less of the capital costs than is currently planned, and West Ham should pay back far more in rent to the taxpayer. If this re-balancing were to take place, West Ham will still have excellent commercial prospects, but they will not be able to threaten the commercial health of other clubs (particularly Charlton) using taxpayers' money."


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