Sunday, May 24

Daily WHUFC News - 24th May 2015

Preview - Newcastle United

In brief

West Ham United travel to the North East to play relegation-threatened Newcastle United in the final game of the 2014/15 season. John Carver's side have their fate in their hands, knowing that a win on Sunday will secure their Premier League status. So long as Hull City don't beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium, the Magpies will be safe whatever the result. As for the Hammers, despite slipping to eleventh following Romelu Lukaku's last minute winner for Everton, they still have a chance of finishing in the top ten. Sam Allardyce, on his return to his former employers, will need a win and hope other results go his way to give his side any chance. Should the Irons win it would take them to a respectable 50 points, their highest total since returning to the top flight. Another aspect for the travelling Hammers is the matter of qualification to the Europa League via the Fair Play League. West Ham, currently in pole position, will want to maintain their clean disciplinary record to ensure Euopean football returns to east London.

Who are they?

Newcastle United have a reputation as one of the biggest clubs in English football. Created in 1881 when local sides Stanley and Rosewood merged together, their first taste of glory came in 1898 when they won promotion to the First Division. They have been crowned First Division champions four times, way back in 1904/05, 1906/07, 1908/09 and 1926/27. Further glory has come in the form of the FA Cup which they have won six times, most recently in 1955. More recently, the Magpies have come close to ending their barren run, finishing second in 1996 and 1997 as well as being FA Cup runners up in 1998 and 1999.

Team news

Newcastle United

Newcastle's slide down the table has not been helped by a lengthy injury list. Adam Armstrong and Siem De Jong (both hip) could make a return to action tomorrow, however Carver will be without Rob Elliot (thigh), Jak Alnwick (wrist), Massadio Haidara and Cheik Tiote (both knee). Steven Taylor (calf) is a long-term absentee, who isn't expected back before October.

West Ham United

The Hammers will be without James Collins (calf) who came off early against Everton, however they are boosted by the return to fitness of James Tomkins. Sam Allardyce will have to choose between in-from Reece Burke or Tomkins to partner Winston Reid at the heart of defence.
The Hammers are still without Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Doneil Henry who will all hopefully be back in action in time for the start of next season.


Sunday's referee is West Riding registered Martin Atkinson. The highly rated official has been a Premier League referee since 2005, AND in a decade in the top flight he has taken charge of 264 matches, dishing out 892 yellow and 51 red cards. Atkinson's exploits as one of the best referees in the game has been recognised by taking charge of six Champions League games this season, most recently the semi-final first leg between Juventus and Real Madrid. In 45 games in 2014/15, he has given out a total of 174 yellow cards and ten reds. West Ham have a superb record when Atkinson is in charge. This term they are unbeaten in four games. Among them were the famous 2-1 win over Manchester City as well as the 2-0 and 3-0 wins over Leicester City and Hull City. Sunday's assistant referees are Mike Mullarkey and Stephen Child, Kevin Friend is the Fourth Official.

One to watch

Newcastle United

Spanish striker Ayoze Perez has impressed in his first year in the Premier League. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals in total, and after a relatively dry spell – he scored his first goal of 2015 on 25 April against Swansea City, he has now scored twice in the last four games. The former Tenerife player will want to cap off a promising season with a goal at home. Should he score the winner on Sunday he'll become an instant hero for Newcastle fans.

West Ham United

Kevin Nolan could feature after missing the Everton game. The Hammers' captain is a very popular figure on Tyneside having helped them back into the Premier League. The experienced midfielder is just one goal shy of his 100th league strike.


Tickets for this match have SOLD OUT.

For directions on how to get to the stadium, click here.

For all the information you need regarding train times, click here for National RaiL website.

Sunday is set to be a cloudy day with sunny intervals. Temperature at kick off is forecast to be a 13C (55F). It should be dry throughout the day, making the long journey slightly easier.
Last meeting

Newcastle United 0-0 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
24 August 2013

The last time the two sides played each other at St. James Park was near the beginning of the 2013/14 season.

In a drab game, neither side created much – the Hammers mustered up the single shot on target but it came to nothing.

Newcastle United: Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy, Sissoko, Anita, Ben Arfa, Marveaux (Ameobi 66), Cisse (Gouffran 72), Ameobi
Subs not used: Elliot, Dummett, Gosling, Bigirimana, Vuckic

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Reid, O'Brien, Collins, Demel, Nolan, Jarvis, Noble, Diame (Morrison 75), Downing (J Cole 64), Maiga
Subs not used: Adrian, Tomkins, Rat, Diarra, Vaz Te

Kouyate urges Hammers to dream big

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate insists his beloved Hammers have every right to have high hopes as the Club enters arguably one of the most important eras of its history. Despite an illustrious history, silverware has proved to be illusive for the Irons of late, save for several promotions. However, with the Club's move to the new Stadium just a little over 12 months away, the 25-year-old midfielder believes the Hammers are not far from emulating past glories. "The club is very ambitious. We want to secure European football for our first year in the new Stadium. Anything can happen in football, you just need to believe. "We want to have a good season next year and leave Upton Park in as higher position as possible. We want to make the people happy. The new Stadium is an immense arena, it is perfect for big matches so we need a big season to set ourselves up for that."

Since joining the Hammers from Belgian outfit Anderlecht FC last summer, Kouyate has adapted to life in the Premier League remarkably well. His all-action performances as well as never-say-die attitude have helped him to win over fans and players alike. Further encouragement, if it were needed, is the fact that the Senegalese international has improved as the season has developed. Kouyate capped off an encouraging debut season in east London by winning the Performance of the Season award for his dominating display against Manchester United in February. However, while the larger-than-life character has impressed in his 34 appearances, he is quick to put the collective good of the team over any personal accolades. "It's not very important to be Man of the Match against Everton because we lost the game. I would prefer to have won the match because it was an important game to try and achieve our goal of finishing in the top half. But we lost the game so winning Man of the Match isn't important to me on this occasion."

Talking ahead of the Hammers' final game of the season with an away trip to relegation-threatened Newcastle, Kouyate continued to explain that his teammates are fully focused on trying to finish the season as strongly as possible. Sunday's match will also have a crucial baring on whether the Hammers qualify for the Europa League via the Fair Play League. "Our aim is to finish in the top half so we will go to Newcastle, play hard and try to win. We're not thinking about Hull, Newcastle or anyone else but ourselves. "Of course, if we are in the Europa League that will change our holiday plans but in football you need to make sacrifices and I'm willing to sacrifice everything. "I have experience of playing European football when I was at Anderlecht so I know what it's like to play in the biggest competition, it gives you goosebumps. Holidays can wait. I know I'll always pick playing European football over a holiday. Playing in top competitions are what our dreams are made of."

While Kouyate is convinced that the Hammers are on course for a bright future, he was keen to stress how much he has enjoyed his debut season while praising the key role manager Sam Allardyce had in persuading him to choose the Hammers over several European heavyweights.
"I can't speak for the other players, but the reason I am at West Ham is because of the manager. We don't know what will happen in the future, but yes, I would like the manager to stay. "He gave me the chance to fulfil my dream of playing in the Premier League. If it hadn't been for him, I would probably be playing in Spain for Valencia. Sam did everything he could to persuade me to come here. He took time out from his holiday and made sacrifices to call me so I am very thankful for that. "That personal touch was very important for me. It's been a dream come true for me and my family. The day I told my father I was coming to West Ham, he cried. It was a defining moment in my career and my life. "I love England, I love London, and it's an amazing City. I really love the atmosphere at the Club. I felt very welcome when I arrived here, it feels like home. That's thanks to the staff, the fans and the Chairmen. Also the players of course, especially Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Guy Demel, they helped me to settle in a lot."

On this day - 24 May

Name: Keith Coleman
Born: Washington, County Durham, 24 May 1951
Clubs: Sunderland, West Ham United, KV Mechelen, Darlington, Hendon

Keith Coleman, who collected an European Cup Winners' Cup runners-up medal whilst with the Hammers in 1976, celebrates his 63rd birthday today. Born in the North East, he began his career with Sunderland and made his debut in 1971. Two years later he moved on to West Ham United for a £20,000 transfer fee. The full-back played 118 games for the Hammers in all competitions and although he did not play in the 1975 FA Cup win, he was involved throughout the next season's European adventure, which ended in a final defeat by Anderlecht in Brussels.
After his time at the Hammers, he returned to Belgium for two years with KV Mechelen, before ending his playing career with non-league side Hendon.

Classic match

West Ham United 2-1 Middlesbrough
Premier League
24 May 2009

West Ham United kept hold of their top-half position with a final-day victory over Middlesbrough on this day four years ago. Middlesbrough were in the relegation zone, and needed to win to give themselves hope of avoiding the drop to the second tier, but despite Gary O'Neil's second-half equaliser, they were unable to claim the result they required and went down to the Championship. The Hammers established a 33rd-minute lead through Carlton Cole, and recovered from that second half blow from O'Neil - a future West Ham player - to take all three points thanks to Junior Stanislas. It meant that Gianfranco Zola's men ended with 51 points from their 38 games, enough to secure ninth position in the Premier League table.

Complete record

1947 Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
2009 West Ham United 2-1 Middlesbrough (Premier League)

Played 2, Won 1, Drawn 0, Lost 1, Scored 2, Conceded 3

Sam Allardyce not on revenge mission against Newcastle
Last Updated: 23/05/15 2:32pm

Sam Allardyce says he will not be on a revenge mission when his West Ham team face his old club Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday.
Allardyce's reign on Tyneside ended in disappointment in 2008 when he parted company with the club after just eight months at the helm, a decision that he described as a "shock". West Ham face Newcastle on Sunday knowing that if they win or draw, and Hull beat Manchester United, the Magpies will drop into the Sky Bet Championship. But, Hammers manager Allardyce claims he is not motivated by revenge and is only interested in his own team's fortunes. "It's not about what happens to Newcastle for me. Some have suggested that I'm all up for us winning to send them down, but it's far too far down the road for any of that stuff," he said. "It's been a long time since we parted company and looking back to the past is never what I've been about because you can't affect what happens in the past. You learn from it and move on to the future. "Since Newcastle I've had a fantastic time at Blackburn and then here, at West Ham. It's nearly seven years since I left Newcastle. "I'm up for winning on Sunday for West Ham because that's where I work and we want to finish with the 50 points we targeted at the start of the season. Hopefully we can achieve that goal."

Sunday could be Allardyce's final match as Hammers boss with his contract set to expire this summer, and he admits it has been a frustrating end to the season. "We're all disappointed that we haven't achieved more than we have done," said Allardyce. "We could have had a great season and matched, with a bit more luck, the best season West Ham have had.

Kevin Nolan ready for 'emotional' day which may relegate Newcastle

Kevin Nolan admits it will be tough to face former club Newcastle this weekend knowing a West Ham win could relegate the Magpies. Kevin Nolan has already lost once on the Premier League stage this week, and would rather not make it two on Sunday even if it causes pain for a former team. The West Ham captain joined team-mates Joey O'Brien and James Collins at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday, on the final night of the Premier League Darts season, to take on rugby legend Mike Tindall in an exhibition darts match. The Hammers trio were soundly defeated by Tindall's impressive performance on the oche, but Nolan is determined he won't be beaten on the football pitch when he returns to the North East to take on Newcastle on Sunday. The 32-year-old spent two-and-a-half seasons at Newcastle and was part of the team that was relegated from the Premier League under Alan Shearer in 2009. A draw or defeat on Sunday could see John Carver's side go down if Hull beat Manchester United, but Nolan is adamant he will be trying to win the match, even though it will be "strange" to be part of the occasion. "It will be emotional going back up there again," he told Sky Sports at the O2 Arena. "I have such a good rapport with all the fans. It's going to be a bit of a strange one. We have got to do it properly and try and go for the win because we want to finish as high as possible. "But it's such a shame, seeing it from the outside, seeing where they are again after what happened not so long ago. It just shows how easy it is and how tough this league is that you can never ever rest on your laurels and you have to keep plugging away.
"I am hoping for the best for them, I must admit, for all of the great friends and family I have got up there. My little boy's a Geordie, so I am hoping that's going to be OK, but we've just got to go there and be as professional as possible."

Nolan signed for West Ham in 2011 when they had just been relegated to the Championship themselves and says he is proud to have helped the team secure their Premier League status in the past few seasons. The team has lost seven of its last 11 Premier League games, but victory on Sunday could see them secure a top-half finish once again. "We have had such a fantastic three years back in the Premier League," he added. "To not be in and around the relegation scrap, it's been a long time. "First year we bounced right back up, finished 10th, 12th last year and we've got an opportunity to finish 10th again. "That's three solid seasons which have had their ups and downs, but overall since I have come to the club and Sam [Allardyce] has come to the club, we have a lot to be proud of."

Nolan was speaking on stage following an exhibition darts match organised by shirt sponsors Betway ahead of Gary Anderson's victory in the Premier League Darts final. The West Ham players were treated to walk-on-girls, top darts referee Russ Bray and Sky Sports cameras capturing their every move.

Stewart Downing insists West Ham will not let Newcastle off the hook
Last Updated: 23/05/15 7:49am

Stewart Downing insisted West Ham United will not take it easy at Newcastle United on Survival Sunday as they bid to end the season on a high. In an interview with Sunday's Soccer Special, the former Liverpool winger reflected on the Hammers' season, which started promisingly but faded as the campaign wore on. West Ham looked to be on course for a top-seven finish after an impressive first half of the season, but a run of just two wins in 15 league games ended such hopes. European qualification is still possible via the Fair Play Table, but Downing is not focusing on anything other than possibly earning the win that relegates Newcastle on Sunday, should Hull beat Manchester United. "We need to get a good result against Newcastle", Downing said. "Obviously, they're fighting for their lives and it'll be a tough game for us, but as the manager stresses, we need to finish well and let everyone know that we're still fighting to get in the top ten, which was the aim at the start of the season. "I still think we should have got into Europe [via the league] and that's disappointing but obviously we can still get in through the Fair Play League. "We need to finish strong, get a good result and I'm confident we'll get a win at Newcastle."

It has been a difficult season for Newcastle fans on and off the pitch, and should West Ham take the lead at St James' Park, Downing is fully aware of how the terraces will react. "It will be difficult for the new players," he added. "Obviously, I've played there before and if we score first, the fans will get on their backs. We have to capitalise on that and I think we'll get the result. "I am surprised; it's a massive club, isn't it? It's been disappointing for them. The run where they lost a lot of games has obviously affected them. Carver has gone in there trying to do a good job, but it's been difficult for him. "But we have to think about ourselves and win the game."

Newcastle will have to fight for survival against West Ham, warns Stewart Downing
18:08, 23 MAY 2015
The Hammers are hoping to end their season on a high by defeating the troubled Toon and possibly condemning them to relegation to the Championship
The Mirror

West Ham will not roll over to allow Newcastle their Premier League safety, according to Stewart Downing. Newcastle have to match or better the result of Hull on the final day of the league season to secure their place in the top flight. The Magpies ave only picked up one point out of their last possible 30, which has sent them tumbling down the Premier League table at a rapid rate. West Ham, however, have not been in prolific form themselves having only picked up two league wins since the end of January. But versatile midfielder Downing has warned Newcastle that the Hammers are not going to give them an easy route to safety - as they intend to end their topsy-turvy campaign on a high. Speaking to Sky Sports, Downing said: "Obviously, they're fighting for their lives and it'll be a tough game for us, but as the manager stresses, we need to finish well and let everyone know that we're still fighting to get in the top ten, which was the aim at the start of the season. "I still think we should have got into Europe [via the league] and that's disappointing but obviously we can still get in through the Fair Play League." Downing says that he is fully prepared for the hostile environment at St. James' Park should West Ham take the lead on Sunday. And he believes that if the Newcastle fans do start turning on their own players, it will only serve to aid the Hammers. He said: "Obviously, I've played there before and if we score first, the fans will get on their backs. We have to capitalise on that and I think we'll get the result." In the other relegation showdown, Hull have to beat Manchester United otherwise they will be relegated to the Championship.

Newcastle to gamble on half-fit Papiss Cisse against West Ham in desperate bid for survival
22:30, 23 MAY 2015
The Senegal striker hasn't started since early March and John Carver has admitted he shouldn't even be in contention following a knee operation last month
The Mirror

John Carver is ready to gamble on the fitness of top scorer Papiss Cisse in a desperate bid to avoid relegation on Sunday. The stand-in Newcastle boss has admitted the Senegal striker shouldn't even be in consideration for a start in the final day clash with West Ham after a knee operation last month and is clearly not fully fit. But Carver, who insists he has "no regrets" over his reign, and still wants the St James' hot-seat full-time, knows Cisse is his best chance of goals. A win for Newcastle over West Ham will guarantee Premier League football on Tyneside next season. But, if they fail to win, they need Hull City not to beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium to be safe. Cisse's fitness will be vital for Newcastle and Carver said: "Truthfully, we had written him off for the season after what he went through, but he has put himself up for the fight so great, brilliant. "He has come back quicker than expected, but we saw at QPR he wasn't right. But sometimes that happens when you come off the bench. "When you start a game, because your preparation is different and your start is different, you feed into a game better. Gary Speed used to be a dreadful sub. "He was a nightmare. He used to say, 'I'm useless coming in off the bench', so it does vary on individuals. "The fact is Papiss has had another full week's training, going into the game and, if we start him, he will be in a better frame of mind. But he deserves so much credit that he actually wants to be selected and he was so disappointed he didn't start last week, which is testament to him."

Newcastle have won just two of Carver's 19 games in charge and slipped alarmingly down the Premier League table, against a backdrop of fans' protests over Mike Ashley's running of the club. After Sunderland's shock draw at Arsenal on Wednesday, Newcastle are now in an anxious last relegation place showdown with Hull, which seemed implausible when Carver took over from Alan Pardew in January. And he knows he will get updates from the KC Stadium. "I don't think we'll be able to escape from it," he said. "There is ­everybody in the crowd, you've got Sky there, telling everyone, and members of staff will be running round, but I just have to stay focused on us. "But, as the game develops after half-time, it does come into your way of thinking of certain situations for definite." Even though his job was offered to Steve McClaren after meltdown at Leicester earlier this month, Carver maintains he would do it all again – and still wants the role full-time. He said: "I've been in this job five months and I don't think any other manager would have to deal with the things I've had to deal with in their whole careers, never mind five months. "But, in a really strange way, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I got softened up a little bit when Alan was here and Alan was taking a bit of abuse and I think I got used to it. "It is not a nice thing to accept, but I am definitely a stronger person and, whatever happens on Sunday, I'll be better for it, one way or the other.
"And, if I had the chance again, I would do exactly the same, say yes I want this job and do it my way. I would just like to think I would have a bit more luck and fortune. "I'd still do it all again."

Carlo Ancelotti is surprise third favourite
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 24, 2015 in Whispers

Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti is a surprise joint third favourite this morning to become the next West Ham manager. Although two bookmakers have suspended taking any further money on the next West Ham manager, one of the remaining two bookies, Sky Bet has installed Ancelotti as an unlikely joint 16/1 chance along with Rafa Benitez and Steve McLaren. David Moyes is second favourite at 8/1 but Slaven Bilic remains the massive odds on favourite at 1/4. In his pre match conference Sam Allardyce earlier this week joked Ancelotti would be the next name linked: 'This time though it's more the speculation over the other managers that seem to be taking my position.Probably tomorrow it will be Carlo Ancelotti, he will be the next in line."

Four years ago Ancelotti said he would manage West Ham. 'I would coach West Ham – why not? It's a challenge to manage a team in the Championship. The atmosphere at West Ham is amazing. It doesn't matter if you manage a top team or a smaller team.It's more important to work. I was happy to train in the second division when I was learning.When you manage, you don't think about the money. It has never been a motivation for me.'

However it appears Ancelotti is planning a sabbatical if he gets the sack. Speaking after yesterday's game he said: "My future is clear in my head, either I stay here at Real Madrid, or I stop for one year."

Allardyce to leave West Ham on Sunday
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

Jason Burt writing for the Sunday Telegraph has suggested Sam Allardyce will leave West Ham immediately following Sunday's match against Newcastle. Burt writes: "Sam Allardyce will leave West Ham United by mutual agreement immediately after Sunday's final Premier League game of the season away to his former club, Newcastle United." He also suggests "West Ham had expected to announce this Tuesday that Rafael Benítez would then take over as their manager. But it is understood that deal has now broken down after a dramatic intervention by Real Madrid last week."

He says the soon to be former West Ham manager has received "an intriguing offer to move into international management and take over as the coach of Nigeria, even though the coach, Stephen Keshi, who has endured a tumultuous time, recently signed a new deal.There is also understood to be a Premier League club who are interested in Allardyce."

Finally Burt says "What is clear is that Allardyce is leaving West Ham, after four years in charge, and he is expected to confirm this himself in the media briefings after today's match at St James' Park."

Michael Owen predicts a West Ham win
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

Former Newcastle Striker Michael Owen predicts a West Ham away win tomorrow at St James Park "You can't just flick a switch and play well because you need to, and recent form tells you that Newcastle are the worst side in the league side at the moment. And by some distance, too." said Owen. "So I think if any side is going to take all three points here then it is West Ham, for all that they have only won away three times this season and are hardly finishing their campaign in blistering form either. I go 1-0 or 2-1 to West Ham"

Meanwhile so called pundit Mark Lawrenson predicts that Newcastle and West Ham will draw 1-1 on Sunday. However Paul Merson predicts a late goal and a West Ham defeat. The Sky pundit says 'if you had to pick one team at home to get a result against, it would be West Ham, without a doubt. I would be backing Newcastle to go down if it was any team but West Ham. The only thing is, Sam Allardyce is going back to Newcastle – he shouldn't have got sacked there. Would he love to send them down? I'm going to say yes. Would Kevin Nolan want to send Newcastle down? I don't think so.The thing is, it's OK Allardyce wanting to send them down but the players are the ones on the pitch. There will be drama. It will be tight all the way but Newcastle will nick it with a late goal. 2-1 to Newcastle.

Benitez put no price on his head
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham insiders have rubbished speculation that Rafa Benitez priced himself out of a move to West Ham. The Daily Mail reported that representatives of Rafa Benitez initially asked for a staggering £6m for West Ham to talk to their client. The article claimed that West Ham top brass were staggered at the request and turned it down flat. A senior source at West Ham responded "NOT TRUE" however the source quipped to Claret and Hugh "He chose Real Madrid ahead of us, not surprising really. After all he is Spanish!"

Dicks backs Bilic
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham Legend Julian Dicks has backed Slaven Bilic to be the new West Ham manager. When asked whether Bilic would be a good choice for West Ham, Dicks replied "My opinion is that he's a good choice" asked whether he would be prepared to work along side Bilic in his coaching staff he replied "Yes definitely" but admitted he had lost touch adding "I haven't seen him for about 15 years"

When another West Ham fan questioned about Bilic's lack of Premier League management experience Dicks said "Why need premiership experience? Monk, Koeman didn't and there are managers with vast experience who don't do well" adding "All you want is 100% work rate and commitment."

Dicks speaking from his twitter account was further asked if Bilic was the best man for the job "From a personal point of view, yes as he knows what the fans expect and knows what the clubs about"

Last year Bilic was asked by ITV Sport about tough player image at West Ham and he answered: "I was in a team with Julian Dicks so I was not the hardest one in my team" Over a week ago another West Ham legend also backed Bilic, Alvin Martin told Alan Brazil on Talksport Radio "I wouldn't rule Slaven out. He's been round the game for a while now. He's proved he could do it at international level and club level in difficult circumstances.I know him. He's a highly intelligent and highly motivated individual. I think he would be absolutely perfect for us [West Ham]. Slaven is the outstanding candidate for me."

Irons squad haven't a clue how FPL works
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 23, 2015 in Whispers
C and h

Aaron Cresswell has admitted that neither he or the rest of the squad have a clue how the Fair Pay League works. The Hammers look all set to take their place in Europe this summer but how they have managed it is a mystery to everybody. Discussing the competition with FourFourTwo the left back and Hammer of the year said: "To be honest, I don't think anyone really understands it! We haven't been told to pull out of a tackle or anything like that, though. "It's not all down to yellow and red cards – it's also attacking play and stuff like that," he continued. "But we'll assess it at the end of the season and see if we're definitely in it, then we'll sit down and see if we need to plan our summer around it."

Sam: 'Speculation about me can breed complacency'
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 23, 2015 in Whispers
C and h

Sam Allardyce has come up with a new reason for the devastating loss of Hammers form since Christmas. According to the 60 year old it's to some extent due to his position as boss being under constant scrutiny. Ahead of the match at Newcastle he said: "The speculation can breed some complacency in the dressing room, there's no doubt about that.

"There was speculation like this after the season when we came up, but this time around it's more about all the other managers who seem to be taking my position. Probably the next one will be Carlo Ancelotti. He'll be the next in line. "I can't affect that and by early next week the situation will be sorted. "I've been comfortable with it [the speculation] and don't have a problem with it. As a manager distractions are something that you put aside all the time. "Being paid to do your job is what you're here for. I'm hopeful Newcastle won't be my final game, but we'll wait and see."

Karren Brady stays quiet
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham Vice Chairman Karren Brady has stayed remarkably quiet in her weekly football diary in the Saturday Sun newspaper. In her last column before the Premier League season finishes the Lady of Knightsbridge doesn't mention West Ham or manager Sam Allardyce once.

Brady was thought to be Sam's sole ally on the board in recent times but it now appears she has admitted defeat in her attempts to get Allardyce a contract renewal. It is believed she argued against dumping Allardyce as it would be a big business risk so close to moving into the Olympic Stadium but it is thought the shareholders were having none of it after a dismal second half to the season and West Ham fan division on the manager.

Even when Brady mentions Hammers managerial target Jurgen Klopp in her column, she just says he has been linked with the Premier League rather West Ham or 'My club' as she likes to call us. That's politics Karren, sometimes you get outvoted!

Sullivan and Gold's Spanish planning meeting
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 23, 2015 in Whispers

David Gold and David Sullivan will jet off to their annual Marbella retreat next week. The co-chairmen will be looking at their summer plans and fine tuning finances of the transfer market operation in what has become a critical seven days of the club's year. The pair will look at the progress madein the current campaign and at the immediate objectives for the new season -which remain very much under wraps. However, it is likely that once again the club will take advantage of the Vibrac loan arrangement which they have used for several years against Sky TV money to fund their plans and which last season saw them spend around £32 million.

Sam Allardyce to quit West Ham on Sunday as Rafa Benitez turns club down
Exclusive: Allardyce will leave after final game of the season as Spaniard pulls out of deal following Real Madrid call
Jason Burt By Jason Burt10:00PM BST 23 May 2015

Sam Allardyce will leave West Ham United by mutual agreement immediately after Sunday's final Premier League game of the season away to his former club, Newcastle United. In a major twist, West Ham had expected to announce this Tuesday that Rafael Benítez would then take over as their manager. But it is understood that deal has now broken down after a dramatic intervention by Real Madrid last week.
Real called Benítez, the former Liverpool manager who is leaving Napoli, last Monday to offer him the opportunity to succeed Carlo Ancelotti, who is expected to be sacked after Saturday's final La Liga match against Getafe. The decision is a serious blow to West Ham, who are now considering their options and have yet to identify a No 1 candidate. But, despite Benitez's decision, there appears to be no chance that Allardyce will stay. Instead the 60-year-old will take a short holiday – he flies out to Spain – and has already received an intriguing offer to move into international management and take over as the coach of Nigeria, even though the coach, Stephen Keshi, who has endured a tumultuous time, recently signed a new deal. There is also understood to be a Premier League club who are interested in Allardyce. Although he would be keen to stay in London he does not want to return to the Championship, which rules out Fulham who have also shown an interest. What is clear is that Allardyce is leaving West Ham, after four years in charge, and he is expected to confirm this himself in the media briefings after today's match at St James' Park.

His contract expires this summer and although a meeting has been scheduled between his agent, Mark Curtis, and the club's hierarchy on Monday it is unclear as to whether that will now take place. It may be simply to tie up any loose ends. There is no animosity in Allardyce's departure, with West Ham believing they can move the club forward more effectively with a different manager. However it does represent a risk given his strong track record, gaining promotion and stabilising West Ham in the Premier League, and there will be sympathy towards him. Although Allardyce has not been universally popular with the supporters he is well-liked within the club and by the players.

Allardyce's future at West Ham has been in doubt for months – he almost left at the end of last season before agreeing a new 12-month deal – with the expectation that the highly-ambitious club did not want him to continue as it goes into its last season at Upton Park before it moves to the 54,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. West Ham have backed their manager financially. Having lined up a deal to bring in Benítez West Ham are now considering their options. On their list of candidates has been Real Sociedad coach David Moyes, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, former player Slaven Bilic, who is leaving Turkish club Besiktas and former Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup whose coaching contract in Qatar is also coming to an end.

Moyes would be a preferred choice but he has consistently stated he intends to stay in Spain – there have been a series of approaches – although a fresh move has not been ruled out, while it seems unlikely Howe will leave his newly-promoted club. The 37-year-old is also considered a risk given his lack of top-flight experience. Bilic has not coached in England but he is available and wants the job and has become an increasingly strong possibility. It is understood he has been sounded out.

David Sullivan told not to make Tony Pulis West Ham manager
Co-owner talked out of making Pulis a shock contender to replace Sam Allardyce as club's attempts to find right man become increasingly desperate
The Telegraph
By Matt Law6:13PM BST 22 May 2015

David Sullivan has been talked out of making Tony Pulis a shock contender to replace Sam Allardyce as West Ham United manager as the club's attempts to find the right man become increasingly desperate. Allardyce has confirmed that he will find out on Monday whether or not his contract is due to be extended, although the 60-year-old could make a statement of his own immediately after the final game of the season against Newcastle United. West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, together with vice-chairman Karren Brady, are due to meet on Monday to hold their annual review and discuss the managerial situation. While Allardyce is widely expected to leave, it is far from certain who will replace him with West Ham fearing they will miss out on their top targets. David Moyes has said he wants to stay in Spain and Rafa Benitez has been lined up by Real Madrid, while ambitious names such as Frank de Boer and Jurgen Klopp have not shown any interest in the post.

That has left Sullivan, Gold and Brady looking for alternative candidates and forced to seriously consider former West Ham player Slaven Bilic and ex-Swansea manager Michael Laudrup. Sullivan threw the name of Pulis into the hat this week, but did not receive encouragement from staff and confidents who do not believe the 57-year-old would offer a significant change from Allardyce. It is understood that Sullivan was also made aware that West Ham's fans would be unhappy with the club targeting West Bromwich Albion manager Pulis, having already voiced their frustrations against Allardyce. Pulis has done a superb job in keeping West Brom up this season and was similarly impressive at Crystal Palace last season. But the former Stoke City manager's style and approach is seen to be too similar to Allardyce at Upton Park.

Sam Allardyce: My future will be sorted while I'm away - but I look back on four years at West Ham with pride
Evening Standard
Published: 22 May 2015 Updated: 14:37, 23 May 2015

I have a lot of time for John Carver, while Steve Bruce is one of my best mates in football. Sadly, one of them will be in charge of the team who will find themselves in the Championship late on Sunday afternoon — and we at West Ham have a big influence on how things pan out.

My responsibility is neither to Newcastle, who we play at St James' Park, nor Hull City but firmly to West Ham winning and finishing the season with 50 points.

My future at West Ham will be decided after this weekend. I will be on holiday with my grandchildren, something I'm looking forward to immensely, but my representatives will be talking to the club. There's nothing more I can say on that. I'm not in control of the situation so we'll just wait and see.

I would just like to take this opportunity, in this final column of the season, to look back on my four years at West Ham.

Progression is always the key word for any manager when he joins a new club. To do that, he must ask questions and find the answers. What are the difficulties? How do you overcome them? How do you achieve the targets set by the owners?

The ambition of the owners has to be balanced by financial availability. If they want to move forward quickly then you have to spend more money. If, however, you want to progress at a steadier pace, then you have to spend the money available more wisely. If you have little or no funds, then it's difficult to move forward at all.

There's always been investment since I've been here and that money has served the club very well in terms of bringing in players. Over the four years, the player turnover has been astronomical, particularly in that first season in the Championship.

That presents a huge task for the manager and you see many lose their jobs because, as their critics often say: "There was too much change, too quickly."

We made those wholesale changes and not only coped in that first season but built a better team, one good enough to go back up to the Premier League at the first attempt. I had signed a two-year contract and my task was to help win promotion in that time. One of the hardest things in football is to do that in the first year — very few achieve that — but we managed it.

You can't over-exaggerate the feeling of depression around a club when they are relegated and West Ham were no exception. There was desolation everywhere and you have to help rebuild the confidence, both of the club and the players — and do it quickly.

I remember sitting down at our pre-season camp, talking to the players individually, and 50 per cent wanted to leave.

We needed to work hard and quickly and the club sent out a big statement of intent when we signed Kevin Nolan. I thought the club's financial commitment there was fantastic, signing an experienced Premier League player — one who scores goals and is a great captain — and convincing him to come to a club in the Championship.

That gave us a rock-solid base on which to build and then, later, around Christmas when the goals dried up, we signed Nicky Maynard and Ricardo Vaz Te, with Ricardo in particular adding that scoring power.

I thought then we were headed for automatic promotion but no one expected the surge from Reading, who came up on the rails and pipped us.

The play-offs did, however, provide me with my greatest moments of my time here at West Ham. The pleasure and delight of that play-off final win over Blackpool is a memory I will never, ever forget.

Since then we have built and established this club in the Premier League from the first season, where we exceeded our expectations by a distance, through to the second season where we probably didn't bring in quite enough players. For six weeks around Christmas, we had to worry about relegation but we pulled back up a couple of months later and there were no more concerns.

Which brings me to this season. The summer recruitment was the best I've experienced as a manager. There is no doubt we could and should have finished higher this season. This squad, as a result of good investment, is the best since I've been at the club and there's never been a week where we've had to look over our shoulders.

It's a great shame we haven't finished the season stronger and last weekend's match against Everton was a perfect example. It's a terrible feeling deep in your gut when, as a manager, you lose a match like that, in the last minute yet again, particularly when you don't deserve to be beaten.

No, we won't finish seventh or eighth as we should have done after our terrific start but overall it's been good progress — better players playing better football, scoring more goals and even though it might only be one, although we hope it's four by the end of Sunday, finishing with more points.

The overall picture is very bright, we have a younger squad who will continue to improve. With similar investment this summer, targeting the right players at the right age, we should continue to make good progress although trying to break into the very top echelon will be extremely difficult given some clubs' financial resources.

As a manager, I'm in it to win it. You stretch yourself as much as you can so that everyone can share in the success. That brings its own rewards, in terms of pride and reputation, and in the knowledge that although you've cut it at previous clubs, you've done it at this club, too.

There's a different mentality at all clubs and I've always taken into account, no matter what anyone says, the type of football the club wants to play. It would be stupid of me to go against the tide of all that tradition and history. It can't be done overnight. Unless you spend £200 million, you have to wait to get what you want.

I enjoy living and working in London. So does Lynn, my wife. If she hadn't wanted to stay here I would have gone at the end of my last contract but we've both been happy to stay as long as we can.

The next big challenge is choosing the next crop of players and how much we spend on them. That's the hardest part of the job today, particularly if they're from abroad.

That's it then for another season. I hope you've enjoyed reading this column half as much as I have writing it.

Enjoy your summer.


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