Wednesday, April 29

Daily WHUFC News - 29th April 2015

From the Newsroom - David Croft

Sky Sports F1 commentator and Hammers fan David Croft pens his latest blog for the Official Site...

I'd like to declare that the General Election, for me at least, is now over ladies and gentlemen. Any would be MPs reading this column please take note that my vote is now cast and anything you say to try and entice my vote will make absolutely no difference whatsoever. With the Spanish Grand Prix taking place in the second week of May, I've been forced once again to apply for a postal vote and that vote was cast last week with my son Daniel acting as witness.

Daniel's nearly eight years old and I'm trying to get him a little bit interested in what the election is all about. Not the easiest of tasks of course until David Cameron let it slip that he was a West Ham fan.

"What? The Prime Minister supports West Ham?" he asked with more than a hint of surprise in his voice.

"Seems so", I replied "Apparently he was a Villa fan but he hasn't watched them in years and he's getting a bit confused, what with all the pressure of running the country and all that".

"Maybe Barack Obama told him to support West Ham?"


"Well they're mates, so maybe Barack Obama thought he should support a decent team, not Villa, and that's why he's now one of us?"

Which is a brilliant theory and the fact is that my boy, amidst a fair amount of pressure from his Chelsea and Arsenal supporting friends at school, can now claim that for all their Eden Hazards and Aaron Ramseys, West Ham have got the two most powerful men in the free world on their side. I have to admit, that does put a smile on my face.

So as a reward for his political patience and putting up with my attempts to get him to take an interest in the election - we even watched a repeat of the leaders debate, before I lost interest and switched back to SpongeBob Square Pants - I booked a couple of tickets for the Burnley game, which sadly will be my last live match of the season.

By the way, and a complete aside this, have you watched the latest SpongeBob movie? Loved it, always love SpongeBob. But if you have of course, you'll know that at one stage in the film the absorbent, yellow and porous superhero if seen flying through the air catching cannonballs and as he does so 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' is playing in the background.

Which other club can claim to have had their song in a Hollywood movie? Even cooler than having the President of the United States as a celebrity fan, we're in a SpongeBob film now and what made it even better is that Daniel and I watched the film en route to the Sunderland match, so we were wearing our West Ham shirts at the time. And as you'd expect, we were both singing along. Two West Ham fans at the back of the cinema, belting out 'Bubbles', much to the bemusement of those unfortunate kids whose parents haven't introduced them to The Hammers just yet.

But I digress, back to the tickets for the Burnley game. Kids For A Quid once more, a brilliant initiative from the club for those who want to bring their family to Upton Park and the reason I brought Daniel and his younger brother James to a match at the tender age of just three years old. What have you got to lose? They might not appreciate the significance of their first match at such a young age, but you've only spent a quid on the ticket so all is not lost.

All of us football supporting parents want to bring our kids as much as possible I'm sure, which is why 'Kids For A Quid' is a real help. But of course it's expensive to go week in week out, especially as a family, which is why I've now put my name down on the season ticket waiting list for the season after next.

The club announced, to a decent fanfare and well deserved approval, last week, that season tickets for the new stadium for Under 16s would be capped at £99. Brilliant news, just £99 to bring along the fans of the future. Meanwhile, the Mums and Dads bringing them along, can take advantage of reduced season ticket prices too. £289 for the cheapest Adult season ticket, £776 for a family of four to come along for the whole season. For me personally, it means that even if I can only make it to say ten games a year because of my work commitments it still makes total sense to buy a season ticket, and I'm sure that I can persuade Daniel's Grandads to take him if I can't.

If I'm being honest, there's a massive part of me that hates the fact that we're moving away from Upton Park. So many memories from the first time I handed over my £5 to stand on the North Bank. But the move to the new Stadium has so many benefits for all West Ham fans, and for the families, well this week, the club have given maximum encouragement, to bring along the fans of the future, week in, week out.

That gets my vote, without a doubt. Maybe the Obamas and the Camerons have put their names on the waiting list too. In this age of austerity, it's one luxury they can still afford.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United FC.

Brown signs new contract

West Ham United are delighted to announce that 18-year-old striker Jordan Brown has signed a new contract with the Club. The powerful forward, who has scored three goals in seven starts for the Development Squad this season has put pen paper on a new deal, keeping him at the Club until June 2016. Speaking to after signing his contract, the England U16 international who arrived from Arsenal in 2013 said: "I'm delighted to have signed a new contract. I'm happy the club has faith in me to give me another year to push on and try and prove myself. "I heard I was going to get a new contract in about January or February and I was very happy. I've known about it for a while but it's good to actually sign it."

This season, Brown has been in impressive goal scoring form, first for the U18s netting seven goals in 15 appearances before forging his way into the Development Squad. The highly rated striker has been in a rich vein of form recently, netting in two of his last three games, including a 25-yard effort against Norwich City. My last goal against Norwich City is definitely my best this season, I picked it up from outside the area and caught it nicely. Hopefully I'll add a few more goals to my tally before the end of the season. "The contract is another opportunity to prove myself. I got a look in for the U21s last season with five games in total. Then I started this season in the U18s. Since the turn of the year I've pushed up more regularly for the U21s and I'm just happy to be starting. "For those fans that haven't seen me play, I would describe myself as a strong, powerful striker. I like to run in behind strikers and finish the chances I get."

Hartson's Blowing Bubbles
Filed: Tuesday, 28th April 2015
By: Staff Writer

John Hartson believes he played the best football of his career at West Ham but still feels guilty about his training ground spat with Eyal Berkovic that led to his departure from the Hammers.

In an honest interview with West Ham magazine Blowing Bubbles Monthly, the striker said he was "absolutely unplayable" in the 1997-98 season, in which he scored 24 goals.

"I've got friends from back home who've been at every single match of my career, from my debut for Luton to playing for Celtic at Barcelona – these guys have known me since I was a kid, so I can trust them more than anyone else, and they say that without a doubt, the 1997-98 season at West Ham was the best football I've ever played," said Hartson.

But it was the following season that saw Hartson's footwork gain international attention after he kicked his Israeli teammate and the Welsh strikers' descent from such giddy heights to rock bottom and the exit door was as shocking as it was unpredictable.

"What I did [to Berkovic] was terrible – it's undoubtedly the biggest regret of my career, and it soured everything that I'd been building up at West Ham. Why I reacted as I did, I really don't know – it wasn't anything personal, we got on perfectly well, he set up loads of my goals and he certainly didn't deserve anything like that."

Elsewhere in the April issue of the magazine, Julian Dicks hits out at the West Ham players who, he believes, are playing as if they are already on the beach enjoying their summer holidays but urges fans to remember that overall the season has been a success.

Sky Sports' Bianca Westwood writes in her column that the intense speculation surrounding Sam Allardyce's future is not helping the club at the moment and has urged the owners to either back or sack Sam now so the players and fans know what the future holds.

There is also an update on the magazine's Blowing Bubbles for Bobby campaign, which has attracted the support of internationally acclaimed writer Irvine Welsh, new Hollyoaks actress Danniella Westbrook and TV presenter Matthew Wright.

Meanwhile Blowing Bubbles also asks whether time has run out of Jarvis' West Ham career and whether Song is worth £15m. Other features include one on Robert Green ahead of QPR's game against West Ham and another on how West Ham can have a big say in who stays in the Premier League this season.

Howe an Irons target …..BUT!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Eddie Howe's brilliant Bournemouth are on the edge of the Premier League after thrilling their own fans and the neutrals with a scintillating display of football against Bolton. The televised match showed just why the Hammers board have installed the 37 year old among their targets when they change the manager in the summer. The thirty-seven year old is now the hottest managerial prospect around and a Hammers top source has made it clear to ClaretandHugh that he is very much in their minds. He said: "We have two lists of candidates – and he is top of List Two. It may just be too early but he is among the runners for certain." When we asked whether there was the remotest chance of the guy leaving Bournemouth at this magical moment in their history we were met with silence other than a tentative: "Wait and see!"

But that his team beat Bolton with an on-the-floor brand of football we are screaming out for escaped nobody and our forums were inundated with congratulations whilst pointing that out very loudly. What was equally impressive was that – unlike ourselves on important occasions this season – the team, under Howe's guidance, rose to their biggest moment in superb fashion with a thumping 3-0 win. For the Hammers purists who would love to see Howe installed NOW, the big worry is that neither he or will be ready to move this summer. And should he be in say a year's time, the big boys may well be circling!

Adrian voted best keeper in Europe
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Adrian has been named in the European team of the Year after a great performance against Queens Park Rangers at the weekend. The Spanish tabloid, Sport, names a team every week which excludes all La Liga players and with that exception, our top stopper has become the best in Europe. Adrian was joined by fellow Premier League stars Hector Bellerin of Arsenal and Chelsea's John Terry in the selected eleven. Both defenders had stand-out performances during the draw between Arsenal and Chelsea on Sunday. And it won't go unnoticed that Bellerin's form is such that Arsene Wenger will be certain to want to allow Carl Jenkinson the opportunity of moving on with the Irons favourites for his signature.

Valencia locked down!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham are not considering making an immediate new contract offer to Enner Valencia despite increasing speculation over his future.
The player is locked into his deal with no escape clauses anyway and despite alleged interest from Chelsea. Website Here Is the City claims it has learned from club sources that a new deal is in the pipeline although ClaretandHugh was told there has been no inquiry or offer. We were told: "Enner is locked down and there are no escape clauses so this isn't a major worry. We will be sorting out a new deal for Diafra Sakho as a reward for excellence and also Aaron Cresswell. "Enner is on a very good deal and we'll assess things as they may or may not develop. Anything is possible in the summer."

Allardyce may be getting contract "message"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

There's some interesting observations from West Ham correspondent and Sam Allardyce watcher, Dave Evans in today's
He has devoted his piece to the manager's possible change of mood as a new contract persistently fails to materialise. He claims that after the goalless draw at Queens Park Rangers, which saw the team fall out of the top 10, the guy appeared more animated than usual.
And when asked what he needed in the summer, Allardyce laughed: "A contract!." The manager added: "There's only one thing that needs to be sorted out and that's me to sit down with the owners when they're ready and talk about me being at West Ham and nowhere else. "Until that is resolved we won't know which way we're both going forward."

As Evans points out that's a "leap" from the usual "wait until the end of the season" routine and as a result he believes the boss "is getting nervous about his own future."

Evans declares: "Before, Allardyce seemed laid back and even amused by the constant 
questioning, but the never-ending links in the media to other managers and words from the chairmen as well as vice-chair Karren Brady about bad displays may have got him thinking that a new deal is not as assured as he once thought."

The 60-year-old was also asked about his health, especially following angry tirades against officials that he has exhibited over the last few weeks. Allardyce insists that he is well aware of the situation, adding: "The first thing I said to the specialist after I had a stent put in was 'Is it time to pack this job in?' "He said 'no, but make sure you don't stress yourself out as much as you do. I see you on the touchline jumping up and down like a lunatic. Stop that, control yourself more and you won't have a problem'. "You can't always do that, but I try and do it as much as I possibly can."

Dicks' Ladies in Cup Final
Posted by Sean Whetstone on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Julian Dicks' Ladies have reached the Final of the London FA Capital Women's Cup, where they will face FA Women's Premier League South rivals Charlton Athletic in a tough game at Harrow Borough.
The two sides have met three times already this season with both league fixtures ending in a draw and the Ryman Women's Cup early stages saw the Addicks knock West Ham out 3-1.

In the run up to the finals, West Ham Ladies beat Spurs Ladies away in the first round by winning on penalties after the scoreline being 4-4 after extra time, before the Hammers went away to Haringey and won 7-0 in the quarter final and beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 away in the semi finals.

Kick-off at Harrow Borough FC is Wednesday 6th May at 7:30pm with admission priced at £6 for adults or £3 for children. Alternatively, West Ham Ladies official twitter channel @westhamladies will have live content and coverage throughout the day, including interviews with Julian Dicks and some of the players LIVE on Periscope. Address of stadium:
Earlsmead Stadium,Earlsmead, Harrow, Middlesex, HA2 8SS

katie2Prior to kick-off, both clubs have agreed to remember former player Katie Sheppard once again with a minute's silence, with both captains laying down a shirt with Katie's name on it in the middle so she can still be a part of this big night.

The Hammers currently sit in sixth place in the FA Women's Premier League South with just one more league fixture left to play. After picking up two wins (Cardiff) and a draw (Brighton) against title-chasing Cardiff and Brighton, the Hammers could have another say in the title race when they travel to new league favourites Portsmouth on the final day of the season (10th May).

Hammers talk on Gignac
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Claims that West Ham are close to signing Marseilles striker Andre-Pierre Gignac are wide of the mark although the club admit "he's a nice player." It's no coincidence that at a time when Marcelo Bielsa is one of those that are on the managerial wanted list that the 29 year old should be linked with the club. He is a regular on the rumour grapevine but this morning although this morning a source opened up to some extent on the player. He has hit 20 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions this term and has also attracted the attention of some of Europe's top clubs. Our source told us: "We've had no contact with him, but hes a nice player. As we understand it there is a big chance he will stay there. We understand too that West Bromwich Albion are keen on him."

Adrian's Burke hopes
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on April 28, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Adrian has revealed how impressed he is with the irons' newest first team recruit – teneager Reece Burke. And the Spanish stopper explained how he encouraged his throughout the game against Queens Park Rangers. He said: "I kept on telling him he needed to concentrate for 90 minutes and also have confidence in himself. "He is a very quiet lad, but that is normal when you are young and go into the first team. He needs to keep going and fighting to stay in the team." Burke insists that the youngsters at the club are made to feel a part of things at first team level. He said: "It is not just the likes of me or Josh Cullen and Reece Oxford. There are a number of under-18s who train with the first team too. "We are altogether so I don't think they look at is in a different way at all." He admits wanting the youngster to get another chance but quickly added: "It would be nice, but that is not down to me."


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