Saturday, May 16

Daily WHUFC News - 16th May 2015

Preview - Everton

Everything you need to know about the Hammers' last home game of the season.
In brief

On the face of it, tenth versus eleventh may not be the most appetising of
games, yet there are more sub-plots to this game then you can shake a stick

For starters, the two sides have played each other three times this term,
with one win, draw and defeat apiece.

On Saturday, their fourth meeting this term, represents a comprehensive
showdown to determine who deserves bragging rights, at least until next

In the reverse fixture the Toffees edged a 2-1 win in November before the
two sides were drawn against each other in the FA Cup third round.

James Collins' bullet header looked to have sealed the win yet Romelu
Lukaku, a persistent thorn in the Hammers' side equalised with seconds to

Thankfully, the disappointment of a replay was short-lived as the encounter
proved to be an enthralling game.

A blood and thunder 120 minutes was eventually settled on penalties with
Adrian becoming hero of the hour, taking his gloves off in a statement of
intent mid run-up, before sending Joel Robles the wrong way.

The second strand to Saturday's game is the small matter of European
qualification via the Financial Fair Play system.

With Liverpool likely to qualify for the Europa League automatically, the
Irons are in pole position with Everton hot on the heels. What impact this
has on the players, if any, will be fascinating to watch.

Further, while West Ham are on course for a targeted top half finish,
Everton would leapfrog them with a win.

If that we're not enough, it's the Hammers' final home game of the 2014/15
Who are they?

Formed from St Domingo's FC, they played their first game on 1 January 1878
in Stanley Park. They changed their name to Everton Football Club in 1879,
winning their first game under the new name 6-0 against St Peter's. Five
years later, Everton won the Liverpool Cup, their first ever cup, with a 1-0
win over Earlestown.

Everton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888,
winning their first league title at the third attempt. The Toffees moved to
Goodison Park in 1892, winning their first game there 4-2 over Bolton

Since then, Everton have established themselves as one of the more
successful teams in England, winning the first division nine times as well
as an impressive five FA Cups.

More recently, trophies have been harder to come by - their last success
came in the FA Cup in the 1994/95 season. However ex-manager David Moyes
established them as one of the best teams in the Premier League, regularly
finishing in the top half and challenging for a European spot.
Team news

West Ham United

The Hammers are boosted by the possible return of Winston Reid who has been
out of action with a hamstring injury. It is not yet clear whether the New
Zealand international will make the bench or if he will replace eighteen
year old Reece Burke who has excelled during his run in the team.

Guy Demel is unavailable due to a calf strain while long term absentees
Diafra Sakho (thigh), James Tomkins (shoulder) and Andy Carroll (knee) are
still missing.

In his pre-match press conference Sam Allardyce suggested Tomkins had an
outside chance of playing against Newcastle having started light training
with the squad.


Everton have several injury concerns to worry about.

Livewire left-back Leighton Baines is the latest player that Roberto
Martinez will have to make do without as the England International underwent
surgery on an ankle problem.

Steven Pienaar (muscle injury), Brian Oviedo and Darron Gibson (both
metartarsal fractures) and Tony Hibbert (knee) are all unavailable.

Saturday's referee is Kevin Friend. The Leicestershire based referee has
been a Premier League referee for six seasons, dishing out 431 yellow and 18
red cards in 116 matches.

Friend has refereed just one West Ham match this season, the 3-1 away win
over Burnley in October.

In contrast, Friend has officiated four games involving Everton – a 2-2 draw
with Arsenal, a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, 0-0 draw with Swansea and
most recently a 2-0 defeat to Hull.

Saturday's Assistant Referees are Edward Smart and Richard West, the Fourth
Official is Andre Marriner.
One to watch

West Ham United

Having netted what was so nearly the winner in the FA Cup third round James
Collins will be hoping to ensure his side perform for the full 90 minutes.

He has done a masterful job of easing Reece Burke into Premier League life,
with the pair forging an effective partnership, keeping two clean sheets in
the last three games.

Collins may be reunited with more familiar partner Winston Reid if he starts
on Saturday afternoon.


Powerful Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has proved to be a thorn in the
Hammers side this season, scoring in all three games against the Hammers so

The threat the Belgian international poses is now well established, however
dealing with his pace and strength is another matter.

However, that is exactly what the defence will have to do if they are to
claim maximum points. In total, the 22-year-old has netted 19 goals in 49

Tickets have all SOLD OUT.

There are planned part closures on the District, Jubilee, London Overground,
Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City lines. To see how they may affect
your journey, click here.

The temperature at kick off is forecast to be a sunny 17C (63F).
Last meeting

West Ham United 2-2 (9-8*) Everton
FA Cup
Tuesday 13 January 2015

The Hammers progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup in dramatic style
as Adrian netted the winning penalty following a nervy extra-time.

Enner Valencia scored his first goal at Upton Park with a neat finish from
Andy Carroll's flick on shortly before Aiden McGeady was sent off having
been booked twice.

The Hammers looked to have secure their passage into the next round however
Kevin Mirallas equalised with a terrific free-kick eight minutes from time.

Into extra time, Romelu Lukaku did what he does best – scoring against West
Ham – with a finish from close range however substitute Carlton Cole was on
hand to equalise with seven minutes to go.

The teams could not be separated during a tense and fraught penalty shootout
which was eventually settled by Adrian.

The Spaniard wheeled away in delight, in one of the most exciting moments in
West Ham's history of recent years.

West Ham United: Adrian, Cresswell, Tomkins, Jenkinson, Collins (C Cole
111), Song (Nolan 61), Jarvis (Amalfitano 69), Downing, Noble, Carroll,
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Burke, Vaz Te

Everton: Robles, Baines, Jagielka, Coleman, Stones, McGeady, Besic (Oviedo
67), Barry, Barkley (Mirallas 67), Lukaku, Naismith
Subs not used: Griffiths, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Kone, McAleny

John Lyall Gates will make Stratford move

West Ham United are delighted to announce that the John Lyall Gates that
currently adorn the entrance to the Boleyn Ground will be relocated to the
Club's magnificent new Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

West Ham have consulted closely with supporters' groups on the features of
the Boleyn Ground that they are most keen to see taken with us to the Club's
new home, and the relocation of the John Lyall Gates was among the most
popular requests.

Announcing the news, Vice-Chairman Karren Brady said:

"We have always said that the new Stadium should look and feel like the home
of West Ham United, both inside and out. We have listened to the feedback
from supporters that told us how important the John Lyall Gates were to
them, so I am delighted that we will now be taking one of the most striking
features of the Boleyn Ground with us."

"A number of other iconic features will also make the journey with us to
Stratford as we are committed to honouring our rich history and Club legends
at our new home."

The gates were originally constructed after West Ham used the £25,000 fee
from the 1956 transfer of free-scoring winger Harry Hooper to buy the land
that now makes up the main Boleyn Ground car park, with the new gates built
at its entrance.

In December 2009, the gates were renamed in honour of John Lyall, the
Hammers' legendary manager who had died three years previously at the age of

After a playing career cruelly cut short by injury, John Lyall joined the
Club's coaching ranks in the 1960s under Ron Greenwood. He would go on to
succeed his mentor as manager in 1974, leading the Hammers with distinction
for some 15 years, always insisting that his teams played football in the
'West Ham Way'.
His widow, Yvonne, son Murray and grandchildren were joined at the renaming
ceremony in 2009 by Tony Cottee, Tony Gale, Phil Parkes and Ray Stewart, who
had played under John Lyall as he led West Ham to their highest ever
top-flight finish in 1986.

Murray Lyall says he is delighted with the decision to relocate the gates
named in his father's honour to West Ham's new home:

"We're honoured that Karren Brady has delivered on her promise to take the
John Lyall Gates with us to the new Stadium," he said. "That means so much
to us as a family."

"Dad left a great legacy at Upton Park and the gates were a testimony to
that. I think he'd have been thrilled about the move.

"He'd have said the timing was right and obviously since the new owners have
come in, they've taken the Club forward on many, many fronts. The
culmination of it is the move to the new Stadium."

Over the last six decades, the gates have witnessed many scenes of
jubilation among Hammers fans after West Ham's home victories, but also
moments of great sadness. After the passing of Bobby Moore in February 1993,
they were decked in flowers and shirts left in tribute to West Ham's
favourite son and similar scenes followed the death of Dylan Tombides last

The John Lyall Gates are now set to take pride of place inside the dedicated
Club Store at the south entrance to the new Stadium. They will stand as a
lasting tribute to one of the Club's greatest servants and most successful
managers, who twice brought the FA Cup to West Ham in 1975 and 1980 and took
us to our last European final in the 1976 Cup Winners' Cup.

For Hammers fans, the opportunity to visit the John Lyall Gates before every
home game will act both as a reminder of those glory days, and of the
heritage that the Club is bringing from the Boleyn Ground to our new

The Club also has plans in place to relocate the Champions Statue, the West
Ham Pals Battalion Memorial Plaque, and the other commemorative bricks and
plaques located outside our current home.

Potts hails 'Performance of the season'

Potts hails 'Performance of the season'
U21s coach Steve Potts praised his side's performance as the young Hammers
beat London rivals Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Dev Squad shook off any nerves to put in a tireless performance in the
iconic stadium. From the first to the last minute, the Hammers, to a man,
were superb.

Speaking after the game, a clearly delighted Potts beamed: "I'd say it's our
best performance of the season.

"I'm very pleased. Obviously the result was very important but I'm even
happier with the performance."

In an end-to-end game, the Hammers had the better chances in the first
period. Nathan Mavila and Djair Parfitt-Williams both went close before
Jordan Brown went through one-on-one yet Chelsea goalkeeper Bradley Collins
made a great save.

The Hammers' best chance to break the deadlock came through skipper Josh
Cullen from the penalty spot after Moses Makasi was felled in the box.

Up-stepped Cullen, looking for his second goal of the campaign. He sent
Collins the wrong way yet he smashed his effort inches wide of the
right-hand post.

Potts continued to highlight his side's monumental defensive effort,
particularly against a team of Chelsea's quality.

"Our first half was excellent and we probably should've had the game out of
sight. The penalty miss, the one-on-one and a few other good chances. We
went in 0-0 at half time disappointed.

"In the second half it was a different type of game, they went a bit more
direct and pinned us back. There were a lot of positives for us to take,
particularly how we defended. We were well organised mixed with some last
ditch defending."

Friday night's win saw the Dev Squad record their first away win of the
season, as well as their third clean sheet.

In total, of the Hammers' five league wins, three have come at games played
in Premier League stadia, a factor that Potts believes is not entirely

"I think playing in a stadium like Stamford Bridge helps. Against a team
like Chelsea, if you're not on the top of your game you are going to get
punished. I think every single one of our players did their job tonight.
They played well but they had to, Chelsea are a good team.

"We deserved our clean sheet. I think if you look back at the last half
dozen games, we've given cheap goals away and that's left us with mountains
to climb. We've had chances tonight, but we only needed one in the end
because of the clean sheet.

"I said to the boys that over the last five games I think we've done well
enough to get more from the games. I think a lot of people really grew up
tonight. Against Man City a couple of weeks ago we did very well, likewise
against Everton we had chances to win the game."

The Hammers' winner came in the 90th minute, and it was certainly worth the

Cullen, who was desperately trying to atone for his earlier penalty miss,
got his reward as he bent a wonderful shot, first time, from the edge of the
area. It rocketed off the underside of the crossbar and he and his teammates
wheeled away in delight to celebrate in front of the travelling away fans.

Summarisng his thoughts on the goal, Potts praised his captain's mental
strength: "Josh missing the penalty is just one of those things. He kept
going and put that disappointment behind him. He was just as good in the
second half as the first, lots of energy and a fantastic finish."

On Monday 18 May, the Hammers travel to play Leicester City in their final
game of the season and while Potts is looking forward to the challenge, he
warned his players that playing two games in four days would be a hard task.

"Playing again so soon, away at Leicester on Monday is the tough bit. They
have to go again. Leicester will be a different type of game, I think
they'll be a lot more physical. We've got three days to get over our

West Ham v Everton
KO 15:00
15 May 2015
Last updated at 11:57 GMT
By Martin Fisher
Match of the Day commentator
Venue: Upton Park Date: Saturday, 16 May


West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is likely to give Alex Song a start after he
came off the bench last weekend following his return from a back injury.
Strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have already been ruled out until
next season.
Everton defender Leighton Baines underwent ankle surgery this week and will
not feature again this campaign.
Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert, Bryan Oviedo and Steven Pienaar remain absent
because of injuries.

This could be one of the strangest matches that I've commentated on. The
goalposts have moved. For once, you could argue that winning the game is not
the sole objective. For a change, maybe goals aren't the most precious
commodity - instead avoiding yellow cards is of huge importance. Confused?
Well, it's all to do with the Europa League.

Lawro's prediction
"Both of these teams are in contention for a Europa League place via the
Fair Play table. I don't think either of them really wants that - so it
might end up being eight versus eight by the end of the game." UEFA have
awarded England an additional slot in next season's competition after
finishing in the top three of the governing body's Respect Fair Play
Currently West Ham and Everton are best placed to profit from this wild
card. So the team with the fewest names in the notebook of referee Kevin
Friend will have taken a huge step towards qualifying even if they've lost
the game 5-0!
Instead of goal celebrations maybe the players have spent the week
rehearsing elaborate choreographed moves to be unveiled on the avoidance of
a yellow?!
Mind you, that's assuming that the clubs WANT to be in the Europa League.
Everton had a taste this season of it's punishing schedule and played 10
games but still exited three rounds short of the final.
There are plenty on Merseyside who believe Roberto Martinez's men would be
much higher in the Premier League table but for their European commitments.
And, lest we forget, a year from now West Ham will be preparing to bid
farewell to the Boleyn Ground.
They simply must be a Premier League club when they move to the Olympic
Stadium in August 2016. Might that be jeopardised by a Europa League
campaign that would see the Hammers start next season on 2 July?
So, bearing all that in mind, perhaps the team with the most yellow cards
after 90 minutes will be the real winners in this one - or am I being a
little too mischievous?

This is their fourth meeting of the season. Everton won the reverse fixture
2-1 while West Ham advanced from an FA Cup third-round replay that ended 9-8
on penalties, with goalkeeper Adrian scoring the decisive spot-kick.
Everton are unbeaten in 16 matches against West Ham in all competitions.
The Hammers' last victory against Everton came at Upton Park in April 2007,
when Bobby Zamora scored the only goal.
West Ham United
They have won just two of their last 14 league matches and have failed to
score in half of those games.
In their first 18 matches of the season they picked up 31 points. In the
subsequent 18 games they have collected just 16 points.
West Ham and Burnley have scored a league-low 13 goals in 2015.
Enner Valencia has scored just one goal in his last 21 appearances and has
gone 534 minutes since his last goal (v Crystal Palace).
Aaron Cresswell is the only Hammer to have played every minute of their
Premier League fixtures this season.
Everton have suffered consecutive defeats, conceding five goals, having
previously gone six games without defeat and only let in two goals.
They have won just four matches away from home this season - they won eight
last campaign.
The Toffees have dropped 19 points from winning positions, more than any
other team in the top flight this season.
Everton have made a league-high 15 errors directly leading to goals in
Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his five appearances in all competitions
for Everton against West Ham.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce targets 50-point finish
Last Updated: 15/05/15 2:14pm

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce says his side are still on track to
reach their pre-season target of 50 points. The Hammers looked to be pushing
for a European place earlier in the season but are currently 10th in the
Premier League on 47 points ahead of their penultimate game. Allardyce is
set for talks over his future at the season's conclusion, with his contract
set to expire in the summer.

And he said: "We want to get over the 50-point mark. We're all hugely
disappointed that we haven't managed it yet and we should have done it by
now. "We could easily be in the mid 50s but due to a few lapses in
concentration we're not quite there. Hopefully on Saturday the boys will go
out and put away the chances that we will create. We want to win our last
home game and try and to enjoy the game. "We've been able to enjoy the
majority of the season. We haven't brushed with relegation this season at
all, not for a minute. We've scored more goals and got more points."

Allardyce's side face Everton at Upton Park on Saturday and he admits his
team need to concentrate on containing visiting striker Romelu Lukaku. The
Belgium international has scored twice against West Ham this season and
Allardyce fears his threat. "We have to make sure we stop Lukaku because he
always scores against us, that's something we have to do. He scores every
time we play them," he said.

West Ham v Everton preview: Fair Play contenders face off
Last Updated: 15/05/15 2:11pm

West Ham and Everton could both enhance their hopes of qualifying for Europe
via the Fair Play standings when they meet at Upton Park.

The Hammers and Toffees are vying for a spot in the Europa League after the
Premier League was awarded an additional place for next season.

Whoever finishes highest in the Fair Play table will secure the position,
with current leaders Liverpool already assured of their place in the
competition through league position.

West Ham are second in the table and hold a narrow lead over Everton heading
into the final two games.

Ed Chamberlin previews the Premier League game between West Ham and Everton
Teams are assessed in six categories for the Fair Play table: red and yellow
cards, positive play, respect towards opponents, respect towards the
referee, behaviour of team officials and behaviour of the public.

West Ham can also secure a top-half finish if they end a run of 13 Premier
League games without a win against Everton.

But the Toffees, who have suffered back-to-back defeats to Aston Villa and
Sunderland, could leapfrog their opponents with a win at Upton Park.

Team news

West Ham are likely to start Alex Song after he made his return from a back
injury as a substitute against Aston Villa.

Strikers Diafra Sakho (thigh) and Andy Carroll (knee) are out for the rest
of the season.

Left-back Leighton Baines has been ruled out of Everton's final two matches
after undergoing ankle surgery, so Luke Garbutt is likely to deputise.

Midfielder Steven Pienaar is still not ready to return from a muscle injury
so misses a fifth successive match, meaning manager Roberto Martinez will
select from the same players - minus Baines - who lost at home to Sunderland
last weekend.

Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson (both broken metatarsals) and defender Tony
Hibbert are the other long-term absentees.

Opta stats

Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his five appearances in all competitions
for Everton against West Ham.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has revealed that his future has yet to be
No Premier League side has scored more goals via defenders this term than
Everton (10); more than twice as many as West Ham (4).

The Toffees have dropped more points from leading positions than any other
team this season (19).

Enner Valencia has scored just one goal in his last 21 appearances and has
gone 534 minutes since his last strike (v Crystal Palace).

Everton have won only one of their last six away games in the top-flight,
losing four (D1).

Roberto Martinez hopes to have Leighton Baines fully fit for the start of
next season
Everton (15) have made more errors directly leading to goals than any other
Premier League team in 2014/15.

Merson's prediction

I think this is a big game for West Ham, their last home game of the season
in front of fans who will want to go away a bit more happy than they have
been recently.

And so I am going to go for them to beat Everton here 2-1 as Roberto
Martinez's side have had an absolute nightmare in the last two games.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)


Everton are Sky Bet's marginal favourites at 6/4 to West Ham's odds of 9/5,
with the draw priced at 23/10. The battle for a top-half finish is at stake,
with the 10th-placed Hammers currently favoured at 2/7 over 5/2 for Roberto
Martinez's men, who will leapfrog their hosts on goal difference if they

Romelu Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 5/1 while Diafra Sakho
is considered the hosts' biggest threat at 11/2.

MK dons eye former Hammers
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 15, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

MK Dons are considering a move to sign former Hammer Jack Collison this

Collison, 26, who now lives in the Bedfordshire area was released by Ipswich
in December after struggling with a knee injury, but manager Dons Karl
Robinson needs to find somebody with experience after their promotion to the

Collison made 121 appearances for West Ham over eight years, before being
released last season but he still has hopes of rebuilding his football
career. He vowed to return to football and has not given up on his
international career with Wales. His career has been hampered by a
persistent knee problem, which restricts the amount of training he can do
between games

A few months ago, Collison told Sky Sports "The rumour of MK Dons is quite a
nice one because they are right on my doorstep and hopefully they will be
playing Championship football next year"

Fellow Former Hammer Rob Hall is also on loan from Bolton with MK Dons at
the moment.

He is claimed they may be about to convert his loan into a permanent
arrangement, after claims they tabled a £400,000 offer for the midfielder.
Following his contract at West Ham expiring, Hall signed for Bolton
permanently in July 2013, signing a three-year contract. In August 2013, the
Professional Football Compensation Committee set Hall's transfer fee as an
initial £450,000 with an additional£87,500 based on his 35 appearances so
far for Bolton. West Ham would also be due 20% of any profit made by Bolton
should Hall be transferred.

Former Hammer turns down MLS offers
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 15, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Former Hammer and fans favourite Jonathan Spector has extended his
Birmingham career after agreeing a new contract. The American has signed a
two-year deal that will see him spend a fifth and sixth season at St
Andrew's. He was though to have been offered lucrative deals from several
MLS US teams but he rejected them all in favor of staying with the club he
has made 127 appearances for. The 29 year old finished this season having
made 26 appearances for Birmingham City.

West Ham bought Spector from Manchester United for £500,000 in 2006 but
released him in August 2011 when his contract expired. He played 101 games
in a West Ham shirt and scored 3 goals. Spector is best remembered by
Hammers fans for scoring two goals in a magical 4-0 win over Manchester
United on a snowy night in December 2010.

Harry Houdini ? – nope, just old Mr Allardyce!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 15, 2015 in Whisper
Claret & Hugh

It really was comedy gold wasn't it?

Sam Allardyce is Houdini apparently which isn't a bad comparison given old
'H' built a successful carer out of illusion.

When Sam decided to declare yesterday: " I have done what I was asked to do
which was deliver a team that this time round has not only been most
successful but the most entertaining and thrilling" more than a few thoughts

My first was just wht he meant by the "most" successful entertaining and
thrilling? Compared to what – other teams, other West Ham sides, what? You
see what I mean – an illusion…a half completed thought.

But even were we to accept that argument as a serious suggestion it doesn't
stack up against what we've seen since Christmas and in fact was possibly
only on display until the return of Andy Carroll.

It was of course based on the Diafra Sakho/ Enner Valencia partnership which
was broken up almost as soon as AC was fit.

Since then, and notably since Christmas, despite Sam's "thriling"
suggestons,l comparisons with the bloke who spent his time escaping from
boxes and indeed the SACK you would have to be experiencing a pretty
average life to have found much to crow about.

For the most part it's been dire with the manager himself admitting last
week we spent most of our time passing the ball to the other side. He didn't
add that it wasn't for the first time this season.

That he should spend so much time on the subject is instructive and to do
so by using what can be kindly described as a "selective memory" to do so
suggests quite strongly there's no contract on the way.

He claims he has delivered a successful team. Well that's a matter for
personal judgement – 10th place? Not sure about that Sam – perhaps three
places better than last season is success in the manager's view! I'd always
believed success meant winning something!

Entertaining and thrilling? Sorry, pass other than on perhaps half a dozen

You see what I mean don't you. It's all an illusion built on that selective
memory which recalls certain games rather than takes a look at the overall

We once used to say that like the Christmas decorations, the Hammers come
down after Christimas. It was never more true than this year in terms of
form and the seemingly desperate cries fro "another contract please" sound
pretty pitiful.

As for old the old Houdini comparison, I think I'd have had a better time
trying to get out of a few padlocked chains myself than watching us against
Leicester City or Crystal Palace or….or…!

Gates to move to the OS
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 15, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

West Ham have confirmed that the John Lyall Gates that currently adorn the
entrance to the Boleyn Ground will be relocated to the new Stadium store in
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The gates were originally constructed after West Ham used the £25,000 fee
from the 1956 transfer of free-scoring winger Harry Hooper to buy the land
that now makes up the main Boleyn Ground car park, with the new gates built
at its entrance. In December 2009, the gates were renamed in honour of John
Lyall, the Hammers' legendary manager who had died three years previously at
the age of 66.
The John Lyall Gates are set to be installed inside the dedicated Club Store
at the south entrance to the new Stadium. The club have also confirmed they
have plans in place to relocate the 1966 Champions Statue, the West Ham Pals
Battalion Memorial Plaque, and the other commemorative bricks and plaques
located outside the current ground.

Rafa may decide before end of season
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 15, 2015 in Whispers
Claret 7 Hugh

Rafa Benitez may decide his future before the end of the season.

The Spanish boss is strongly fancied by the Irons but there is also interest
from Newcastle although we seem to be well forward with talks involving
middle men.

Sources inside the club have told ClaretandHugh that long range discussion
have been held with intermediaries and that they intend to keep
communications open.

And after seeing his Napoli team beaten in the semi final of the Europa Cup
last night the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager said: " Right now we
have to concentrate on the game with Cesen

"I spoke to the president, I still have to talk to my family, but we have to
focus on the important matches we still have.

"Will my decision only be made at the end of the season? I don't know. We'll

Allardyce admits: "Perhaps no smoke without fire"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 15, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Slowly it seems the facts of the matter are dawning on manager Sam

He has used his London Evening Standard column today to make it clear that
maybe there is a threat to his job after all.

He declares after explaining there was a sizeable turnout for his press
conference yesterday: "It doesn't take too much working out, does it? Just
over a week before the end of the season and still no news on my future.

That doesn't stop the constant speculation and, from my point of view, when
I see name after name being mentioned as my possible successor, I think
perhaps there's no smoke without fire.

Maybe the owners are considering their options — maybe they're not. The fact
is, I'm not in a position of demanding when we sit down and talk about a new

That has been crystal clear for some time but the speculation continues and
I have to carry on answering the questions until we sit down and talk about

Rafa Benitez tops West Ham's wanted list as Napoli boss looks set to leave
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is out of contract at the end of the season
Hammers board have made Rafa Benitez their No 1 target
Benitez, who is set to leave Napoli, is likely to consider other options
Real Sociedad manager David Moyes has ruled himself out of the running
PUBLISHED: 21:33 GMT, 15 May 2015 | UPDATED: 22:24 GMT, 15 May 2015

West Ham are to step up their bid to land Rafa Benitez after deciding he is
their first choice to replace manager Sam Allardyce. Allardyce, who is out
of contract at the end of the season, will take charge for what is expected
to be his final home game, against Everton at Upton Park on Saturday. Former
Liverpool manager Benitez is seen by the West Ham board as the man to lead
the club into the Olympic Stadium in 2017.
West Ham are aware that Benitez, who is set to leave Napoli, is likely to
consider other options, and want to move quickly to try to convince the
Spaniard he should commit to their ambitious plans. They also believe that
cup specialist Benitez, who took Napoli to the semi-final of the Europa
League before being knocked out by Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on Thursday, can
help them challenge for honours. Allardyce has taken West Ham to mid-table
this season after they fell away following a promising start which took them
into the top four. When asked about his future, he told the Evening Standard
yesterday: 'From my point of view, when I see name after name being
mentioned as my possible successor, I think perhaps there's no smoke without
'Maybe the owners are considering their options, maybe they're not. The
fact is, I'm not in a position of demanding when we sit down and talk about
a new contract.'
West Ham are expected to hold talks with Benitez (right) before deciding
their next move. Any encouragement and they will open the coffers for
55-year-old Benitez, who has been on their wanted list for some time but
gave no sign last summer that he would join them.
David Moyes has ruled himself out of the running and West Ham believe Slaven
Bilic, their former defender, is too much of a risk as he has no experience
managing in the Premier League, even though he would be a popular choice
with the fans.
Allardyce has told his players not to tread softly against Everton,
regardless of the consequences in a fixture that has been called the 'fair
West Ham are second in the Fair Play table, a place beneath Liverpool who
are likely to qualify for Europe via their league placing, while Everton are
third. That means today's game will go a long way to deciding who lands the
Europa League spot.
But Allardyce is adamant his side will place greater emphasis on gaining the
win that would take West Ham to his target of 50 points.
He said: 'There is no intention by me to say, "Be careful what you are
doing", because it is winning that is critical to us. We have a goal to get
past 50 points and it is something we should have blown out of the water six
or seven games ago.'

Sam Allardyce: When I see managers linked to my job, I worry there's no
smoke without fire
Evening STandard
Published: 15 May 2015 Updated: 10:41, 15 May 2015

I had my usual pre-match press conference yesterday and, surprise, surprise,
there was a good turn-out.

It doesn't take too much working out, does it? Just over a week before the
end of the season and still no news on my future.

That doesn't stop the constant speculation and, from my point of view, when
I see name after name being mentioned as my possible successor, I think
perhaps there's no smoke without fire.

Maybe the owners are considering their options — maybe they're not. The fact
is, I'm not in a position of demanding when we sit down and talk about a new

That has been crystal clear for some time but the speculation continues and
I have to carry on answering the questions until we sit down and talk about

It might have had an effect on the players — not nearly as big as that
caused by the injuries we've suffered — but it has been there, all the same.
Take the example of Carl Jenkinson. We might want to talk about signing him
but he could ask: "Are you going to be here?"

I have plans to go away for the week after this season has ended. Football
is my life but that time away with the grandchildren is truly precious.

Incidentally, the way the Premier League chose to stretch the season to May
24 is beyond me.

Fair enough if there was a mid-season break but not to have a break and
still prolong the season is ridiculous.

It's about time they woke up and came and spoke to the managers, the people
on the front line, rather than sit in their offices and make bad decisions.
It's a complete joke.

It is a fact that, as we approach the end of another season at West Ham, the
future is clouded by uncertainty. There is the issue of my contract to be
resolved but — despite the growing speculation and the ever-increasing list
of possible successors — the situation hasn't substantially changed.

My own position remains unclear and another issue that is up in the air at
the moment is whether or not we will be involved in the qualifying rounds of
the Europa League next season after England were awarded an extra place.

As I understand it, Liverpool are top of England's Fair Play rankings but
they will qualify for Europe anyway so that opens up another spot which is
between ourselves and Everton, our opponents tomorrow in what is our final
game of the season at the Boleyn Ground.

Just to make things a little clearer, if we collect a few more yellow cards
than Everton tomorrow, that won't mean we've blown our opportunity. There's
a lot more to it than that — positive play, behaviour of fans and much more.

We'll finally be informed at the end of this month and then, if we are the
chosen ones, the planning will have to be meticulous.

I have to say the really disappointing thing for me this season is that we
should be in a position to qualify for Europe, not via the fair play league
but on our league position.

Sadly we've been handicapped by injuries but if we had been able to call on
Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, James Tomkins and Winston Reid consistently
throughout this season, I see no reason why we wouldn't now be competing
with Tottenham for sixth spot.

I'm still not complaining about our performances too much despite our poor
run in recent weeks but often in this game, people don't really realise how
important certain players are until they're not there.

We're really struggling to score at the moment and subconsciously that has
to affect players if, as happened at Aston Villa last weekend, we concede.

If we are involved in Europe next season, it really has to be managed

When I was at Bolton we did it so well that we still finished eighth in the
Premier League and reached the last 32 of the Europa League before Marseille
beat us with an own goal. Many other clubs since have found the juggling act
between the Premier League and Europa League really difficult.

We decided that year, after researching Middlesbrough's problems who had
been in Europe the previous season, to field two separate teams as far as
possible, once we had got through the qualifiers. For the earlier qualifiers
we played our full first team because those matches formed part of our

The other thing we decided to do was stay over after the away game. Most
clubs flew back straight after the match but we believed that, if you put a
player on a bus then on a plane straight after a game, it will only increase
the level of fatigue which you will then have to try to minimise by the next
Premier League game.

So we went back to the hotel after the match, fed and re-hydrated the
players, sent them off to bed, got them up early the next morning for a
warm-down session, had lunch and then came home.

It was tough going but we managed to cope.

The one thing you can never forget is that the priority is the Premier
League, never more so for West Ham than next season, the last at the Boleyn
Ground before the big move.

It's never totally the manager's decision. All owners will tell you they
want the team to do well in the cups but realistically they know where the
priorities lie.

As for the players, they will have to accept an earlier return to pre-season
training, just as our internationals have to accept carrying on training and
playing when the rest of their club-mates are on the beach.

Things change, though. I can remember, not too long ago, when all the
players and coaching staff went away at the end of the season. Not now. A
few clubs are even committed to play games abroad after the season has

I understand the financial necessities of the game these days but beware.
There is no doubt what caused Manchester United's early problems last season
— the World Cup followed by a pre-season tour of the United States. Result —
14 injuries. We played in New Zealand. Result – six or seven injuries.

There is no doubt that you will punch above your weight in the Premier
League, if you have your players available for selection consistently.


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