Thursday, May 28

Daily WHUFC News - 28th May 2015

From the Treatment Room

Hello everybody,

Although the season has come to an end in terms of playing matches, the work
at the training ground continues.

All the injured players will continue their rehabilitation programs during
the off-season at Chadwell Heath with the medical and sports science staff.

Unfortunately, Mark Noble and James Collins were both injured the last week
of the season.
James injured his calf in the first half of the match with Everton and will
rehab for 4-6 weeks. We hope that he will be fit in time to start the
pre-season with the squad.

Mark injured his big toe during the final training session of the season in
Chadwell Heath. He has had an injection and needs a few weeks of rest. He
too should be ready for the start of pre-season if everything goes to plan.

Diafra Sakho has almost completed his rehab following the quad injury he
suffered in the home match against Stoke City in April. He is continuing to
work on his fitness and will also be fit to start the pre-season.

Andy Carroll (knee) and Doneil Henry (hamstring) will continue to work with
the medical staff during the close-season and remain on schedule to return
in the pre-season.

West Ham United have qualified for the UEFA Europa League first qualifying
round and this makes next season – the last season at the Boleyn Ground –
one of the most exciting seasons in the Club's recent history.

I have worked previously at clubs participating in European competition and
it is a great experience for everyone involved – players, staff and

During a normal 'off-season' it's important for the players to relax and
give their bodies and minds time to recover and refuel for the following

Usually, the players have six weeks off, of which the first three weeks are
complete rest, followed by three weeks of individual fitness work. However,
this summer has been shortened to four weeks for two reasons – next year's
European Championship finals and our participation in the Europa League.

So, with a shorter off-season, the fit players need to rest for period but
always be mindful of leading a healthy, professional lifestyle, before
starting their individual programs ahead of their return for pre-season
training next month.

Have a fit and healthy summer!

Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of Medical and Sports Science

Hammers in Europe - the history

West Ham United will kick-off their seventh European campaign on 2 July when
they enter the UEFA Europa League at the first qualifying round stage.

A return to European action after a nine-year absence will be welcome news
to Hammers fans, whose opportunities to follow their team over land and sea
in competitive football have been limited in the last 15 years.

The last European adventure lasted only two games, as a 1-0 defeat to
Palermo at the Boleyn Ground, followed by a 3-0 loss away, ended our
participation in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup at the first round.

Qualification on that occasion came by virtue of reaching the FA Cup final
the previous season, with the victors Liverpool already qualified for the
UEFA Champions League.

Prior to that, West Ham had to come through a similar experience to this
season to reach the main stage of the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, starting the
campaign in July to win through three rounds of the Intertoto Cup.

Finnish side Jokerit and Dutch outfit Heerenveen were dismissed before the
Hammers faced FC Metz of France in a two-legged showdown to decide who would
make it through to the UEFA Cup.

Louis Saha gave Les Grenats a first leg advantage at the Boleyn Ground, but
West Ham came roaring back to win 3-1 in Alsace, with Trevor Sinclair, Frank
Lampard and Paulo Wanchope all on target to seal an aggregate victory.

The success continued in the competition proper, as West Ham eased past NK
Osijek in the first round, but Steaua Bucharest put paid to the Club's
European dreams a round later.

Our glory nights in UEFA competition, of course, have come in the Cup
Winners' Cup, with one title, a runners-up place and a semi-final appearance
to the Hammers' name.

West Ham's very first participation in continental competition ended with a
trophy as Ron Greenwood's team went all the way to Wembley in the 1964/65
European Cup Winners' Cup.

A 2-0 victory over TSV 1860 Munich, thanks to two Alan Sealey goals, in the
final gave England just its second European honour and set the seal on a
glorious run which saw the Hammers take out La Gantoise, Sparta Prague,
Lausanne and Real Zaragoza.

Victory in the 1965 edition meant the Hammers returned to the Cup Winners'
Cup the next season and again they progressed deep into the tournament,
reaching the semi-finals before Borussia Dortmund proved too strong.

It was in 1975/76 and following another FA Cup triumph that West Ham were
back in Europe again, and once more the Cup Winners' Cup was a fertile
hunting ground for the east Londoners.

One of the Boleyn Ground's most memorable nights saw the Hammers progress
past Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals to set up a meeting with
Anderlecht in the final. However, there the Belgians had too much for West
Ham, winning 4-2.

So to 1980/81 and West Ham's fourth and final Cup Winners' Cup campaign.
Spanish side Castilla were dismissed in round one, and Romanians Poli
Timisoara in round two, but that was as far as we would go.

Dinamo Tiblisi put on a masterclass in E13, winning 4-1 to set up a 4-2
aggregate win and banish West Ham from Europe up until that 1999 Intertoto
Cup campaign.

Now, with the Hammers set to return to continental action in a matter of 36
days, it could be time to write another chapter.

It's not over, says JC
Filed: Wednesday, 27th May 2015
By: David Blackmore

Jack Collison believes he can still play a vital role as part of Wales'
golden generation.

In an interview with West Ham magazine Blowing Bubbles Monthly, the
midfielder, who is currently without a club, said he is focusing on making
sure he is in the best possible shape to make a comeback next season.

If Collison needed any further incentive to get his career back on track, he
need only look at his Welsh international team-mates, who are currently in
with a fantastic chance of qualifying for the 2016 European Championships,
which would be their first major tournament appearance since 1958.

"It's a bit tough to watch at times, but it's great to see the lads I came
through the ranks with, like Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, doing
so well," said Collison, who left West Ham 12 months ago and won the last of
his 16 caps in March 2014.

"This was always Wales's golden generation, John Toshack blooded them young
and now Chris Coleman is reaping the rewards. I'm confident in my ability,
so if I can get a decent run of games, I don't see any reason why I can't
get back into the squad."

There is also a Cup Winners Cup Final special where Blowing Bubbles caught
up with Ronnie Boyce, Brian Dear and Jack Burkett to relive the magical
night the Hammers conquered Europe.

Elsewhere in the May issue of the magazine, Julian Dicks uses his regular
column to talk about his highs and lows during his first year as manager of
the West Ham Ladies team but will he remain manager for the Ladies' next
campaign? "Whether I will be manager next season remains to be seen," he
wrote this month.

Sky Sports' Bianca Westwood writes in her column that Aaron Cresswell has
been fabulous this season and fully deserved Hammer of the Year. She
believes England manager Roy Hodgson must consider taking him to the next
England squad.

She also criticises manager Sam Allardyce for not doing more to adhere
himself to the fans.

"He could've spoken about our great fans or our wonderful history and all
the other great things about West Ham, but his comments about 'what's the
point playing the West Ham way if you get beat every week' might have been
part of his downfall," she wrote. "It's all well not playing the West Ham
way if you are winning matches but we haven't been."

Filed: Monday, 25th May 2015
By: Raedwulf

Let the speculation commence! It's that time of year - who should we ship
out? Where do we need to strengthen?

This is, of course, a premature article. The most important decision of the
close season won't be about players, it'll be: "Who is our manager next

Sam has gone. It was much talked about and much predicted, but until the
club announces it, you cannot know for sure. So goodbye, Sam, and thank you
for all your efforts. I never wanted you here, you never converted me into a
fan (though if the early season form and style could have been maintainted,
who knows?), but you have done an important job.

We played too much horrible football, you were always too ready to revert to
a dull one-up style, and you never have been the most fan-friendly manager
in the world. Nevertheless, you got us up and you kept us up.

That was the brief, presumably, and you certainly did the job. Whoever has
been responsible for which signings, we also have a squad that is probably
as strong as anything we've ever had. And whatever was going on behind the
scenes, from August to December you showed that you can play a style of
football that is not merely attractive but also, at times, simply glorious.

Memories of you will always be mixed, and you're never going to be rated the
most popular ever Hammers' manager. But let's remember you as the first
manager ever to "triple" our Dearly Beloathed neighbours, Spurs. And a few
other victories along the way; Man City and Liverpool at the Boleyn this
season, anyone?

Still, as a fan, what can you do except speculate! THE single biggest
decision of the close season is the appointment of our next manager.
Regardless of that, fans are fans, so we can start kibbitzing about who
should stay, who should go, where should we strengthen. As noted, it has
already begun.

Adrian has undoubtedly established himself now as our Number One keeper,
barring some sudden catastrophic loss of form or injury. For so long as he
wants to stay at West Ham (and there are no rumours of interest in him so
far, happily), it's his jersey. Back-up? Well, Jussi is 40 now, but if he is
content to be No.2 and whatever management we have still have faith in him,
I'm perfectly content to go into 15-16 with him.

Where the defence is concerned; in fact, where the club is concerned; the
key signing of the next transfer window has to be making Jenkinson a
full-blown Hammer, if we can. There are other players we need to bring in,
yes; players we could do with shipping out, yes; but right back is our
weakest position, in terms of numbers, and Jenks has had an excellent

Since they're there as a matter of record, I'm sure James Walker won't mind
me quoting from his comments on the Burnley report. He said there that he
felt that Demel and O'Brien (amongst others) were only making up the
numbers. That, I think, is a bit unfair on both. Jenks and Cressie have
pretty much had the full back berths nailed down this season, so where/when
were they supposed to have featured?

Having said that, I've never been a fan of O'Brien. He's rash, comes off his
feet too easily, never mind being injury prone. He's not even our second
best full back on either side, so yes I'd let him go.

I like Demel. He may not be the greatest going forward, but he's not awful,
and a good full back, which is rather more to the point. He has also done
well for us in his time here. The argument against him would more be that
he's getting long in the tooth (34 in June). But then if we sign Jenks, who
is going to want to sign only to play second fiddle?

It wouldn't bother me if we kept Guy as a squad player next season - he
seems to me to be a good "guy" to have around.

James also suggested we might need another full back (to replace O'Brien,
presumably). But we've already got three specialist left backs - Cresswell,
Potts, and Stephen Hendrie. Well, OK, Hendrie isn't with us yet, but joins
on 1 July.

Potts did well enough when he had a chance before being flattened and
concussed against Arsenal. Hendrie already has a century of first team games
under his belt north of the border. If the club thinks he is a better
prospect than Potts Jnr, then presumably he is good enough for the Prem

Of course, there is a question mark over whether we can hang on to
Cresswell. He has had an excellent season. Not only has he stepped up from
Championship level brilliantly, he has just been awarded Hammer of the Year,
and a couple of other club gongs as well.

The downside of that is that the likes of Man City are rumoured to be
sniffing around. I'm sure every West Ham fan would agree that we want to
keep him, regardless. The Davids are more pragmatic. If someone comes in
offering silly money, they may well decide that the money is worth taking.
Only if we should sell him could I agree with James' suggestion that we
might need someone capable of covering both left and right backs.

I'm happy with the centre of defence. Collins can be somewhat agricultural
at times, Tomkins has made a prat of himself a couple of times this year
with his play-acting, Reid kept us all on tenterhooks before finally signing
a new contract. Yes, all have had injury problems, and for the second season
running we've had to employ an emergency DC.

But it would be fair to argue that that last was a product of Allardyce's
pig-headedness about playing young and inexperienced players. Now that he
has finally seen fit to use Burke, we're all wondering why he pulled Kouyate
out of the midfield for a couple of games, no?

In general, I wouldn't class any of our three senior central defenders as
injury-prone. Many players spend some time each season on the treatment
table. It's been no more than an unfortunate coincidence that, for two
seasons running, all three of our senior central defenders have been
visiting at the same time.

But now we undoubtedly have four. Burke still only has a few games under his
belt, but he has looked very assured, and is only going to get better with
more experience. Then there's Oxford, even more highly-rated than Burke,
still to make his debut and Doneil Henry (who knows, he could be another
Winston Reid!) in the Development Squad.

I'd argue that the only position in defence that needs money spent on it is
at right back. Sign Jenks if we can. Then it's a question of whether Demel
remains as back-up, or another player is brought in (presuming none of the
Dev Squad, eg. Leo Chambers, are considered up to the job).

And if we can't get Jenks, one way or another, there are stories enough
about Glen Johnson. Obviously, he isn't my first choice signing, but he
isn't over the hill at 30, or below the standard we're aiming for. Johnson
on a free? I'd rather have Jenks on loan or permanent for £10million. But
Johnson on a free in place of or as well as? That wouldn't be a bad bit of

An honourable mention, too, to Kieran Trippier of Burnley, who has had a
good season and has also been attracting gossip.

Where the midfield is concerned, the fate of Nolan is inextricably entwined
with Allardyce's. With Sam now gone... Well, there are already rumours that
the club do want to move him out, and I can't imagine a new manager fighting
terribly hard to keep him.

If Sam and Kev are gone, does that bring Zarate in from the cold? He is only
one year into a three-year contract, but much depends on what a new manager
might make of him. He has inventiveness, but does he have enough discipline
and work ethic? What formation might a new manager favour? He hasn't covered
himself in glory in his loan spell at QPR.

Noble, of course, stays, as does Kouyate. There have been one or two rumours
about the latter as well, but nothing on the scale as those concerning
Cresswell or Valencia. I'm not too concerned that we will lose him, or that
he will suddenly develop Diame-syndrome and decide he should be at a bigger
club (like Hull!).

Had Song maintained his late '14 form, we'd have been clamouring for him to
be signed permanently. I was one, at the time, who said he should be.
Strangely enough, clamour seems to be absent now. From me too.

If we assume that neither Nolan nor Song will feature next season, we will
need at least one other central midfielder, regardless of the status of
Zarate or Poyet. Should that be someone creative, as Song is usually
reckoned to be? Should it be someone defensive (we've been linked with
Stefan Reinartz, amongst others) to release Noble and Kouyate to get forward

I wouldn't care to judge, but certainly central midfield will need a new
recruit. Looking at the flanks, Amalfitano has had a fitful season. After
his most recent moment of abject stupidity (not his first) against Villa, I
am not a fan. If he is here next year, so be it, but however talented he
might be, I don't want players like that at my club. And he isn't
sufficiently talented to override my objections to his temperament.

I do expect him to still be here, but it wouldn't bother me at all if he was

It's moot as to whether Downing is properly still a winger. Early in the
season he showed just how good he can be with licence to roam at the point
of a diamond. In this calendar year, his form has fallen away. He must be
held to account for some of that, but the falling away of form and
changeable tactics are also accountable. For me, he remains an essential
part of the squad.

Our other out-and-out winger is Jarvis. He has never lived up to his "record
signing" tag (signed by Allardyce, lest anyone forget). On his day, he's
dangerous, but he's far too erratic. I think I said at the end of last
season that I wouldn't be sorry to see him depart.

I still think James Walker's "making up the numbers" tag is a bit harsh, but
I'd otherwise have to agree that shifting out Jarvis would free up salary
and space for new faces. We need at least two new faces in midfield. One of
those should be a central player; what else depends on who else goes and
upon what manager we have next year.

Up front, I still think Carroll is a class act. The problem is keeping him
fit. Or stopping him from injuring himself. Take your pick! Sam always
seemed to want to revert to one up front when he was available, but I
believe he is a better and more intelligent player than that.

I can readily see a manager with more tactical imagination than Sam playing
someone alongside Carroll, or someone other than Nolan playing off him, with
the play not consisting of whacking long balls at the big man. And, unless
you're willing to write off that £15million+ investment (I'll bet the Davids
aren't), we better had find a way to keep him fit and make use of him.

I do think Andy is both a better footballer and has a better football brain
than many are willing to give him credit for. Not only would I love to see a
fit Andy terrorising defences, I would love to see what a more imaginative
manager can make of him. But keeping him fit seems to be the difficult bit.

Alongside him, of course, we have Sakho and Valencia. There has been talk
about Valencia moving on. I'm not surprised. We haven't seen his best yet,
by any means. I think he is one of those players who needs a season to bed
in. If my untutored eye can see his ability, I've no doubt others can also.

But let's assume we keep both of them and Carroll gets fit over the summer.
We still need a fourth striker. Again, I think Mr Walker is being more than
a little unfair in classing Carlton as merely "making up the numbers", but
there is some truth there. However much respect I have for him, however much
he has a been a wonderful, genuine, and enthusiastic servant of West Ham.

Sorry, time's up, Carlton. We remain one short up front. Carlton is a trier,
and Upton Park has always loved a trier, but CC only gets sporadic game
time, and isn't in the same bracket as any of the three in front of him. He
can still do a job for a Premier League team, but he is very firmly fourth
choice now.

Our fourth choice should either be pushing the three in front, or he should
have the potential to do so. Carlton can't do the former and is at the wrong
end of his career to qualify under the latter.

In summary then, and in my opinion, regardless of any outgoings, we need
three new players. We need a right back, we need a central midfielder, and
we need a striker capable of competing with Carroll, Song, and Valencia for
a starting berth.

Three players certainly won't be the extent of the squad changes this
summer, but other recruitment will depend on who is released or sold. I
expect Cole and Song to go, I hope that Nolan will, O'Brien too. I won't be
sorry if Jarvis and Amalfitano are also replaced.

I don't expect Nene to be signed (another one who is 34 this year), although
I think he has shown enough in his limited game time to be worth a one year
contract, possibly as a direct replacement for Amalfitano or Jarvis. Aside
from Johnson, we've also been heavily linked with both Javier Hernandez and
Pedro Obiang.

For my own part, my football viewing is largely confined to watching my
beloved 'Ammers! Therefore, even with those players I've mentioned, I have
no particular view on who might be a good signing for us (except Jenks! Sign
Jenks!! If we can...). Ignoring entirely the unanswerable question of who
our next manager will be, who do you think should go?

Where do we need to recruit, and who might fill that spot?

Jeux Sans Frontières
Filed: Tuesday, 26th May 2015
By: Graeme Howlett

So after months of speculation, it's finally in the bag. We may have not
followed the conventional path to qualification, but West Ham are in the
Europa League for the first time in the club's illustrious history

Or almost in the Europa League, I should say. That's because prior to the
first round proper commencing in mid-September, we'll have to navigate our
way through three tricky preliminary rounds and a play-off round - that's
eight matches before the Group phase even starts!

Still, those preliminary rounds - should we progress, as will be expected -
are likely to provide slightly more interesting fixtures than the standard
pre-season fayre which usually encapsulates trips to non-league venues in
Essex and other surrounding counties.

Looking closer, there's a good number of teams involved in the first
qualifying round that a great many of you (myself included) will almost
certainly be entirely unfamiliar with.

Of the 104 teams in the draw, West Ham could be paired with the likes of FK
Shkëndija (from Tetovo, Macedonia), FK Mladost Podgorica (whose home is a
2,000 capacity stadium in Montenegro's capital) or even FC Ordabasy, who
finished fourth in the Kazakhstan Premier League this term.

Fortunately, if you don't particularly fancy a trip to the former Iron
Curtain, there are one or two clubs somewhat closer to home such as the
gloriously-named Airbus UK Broughton of Wales - a few miles south of
Liverpool as the crow flies - or Ireland's Cork City (who as all keen
Hammers stattos will know was the only other club Trevor Brooking
represented during his professional career).

We'll know for sure who we're due to face on 22 June, when the draw for the
first and second qualifying rounds take place. That means it's going to be a
busy few weeks for the club, who are also hunting for a new manager and new
playing staff to supplement the existing squad.

Whilst there are justified concerns over the long-term effects of a
prolonged and sustained Europa League campaign, it was an offer the club
simply couldn't afford to turn down in what will be West Ham United's final
season at the Boleyn Ground.

Looking back over the years, some of our greatest nights under the Upton
Park floodlights have come in European competition - although our most
recent sojourn into European competition ended miserably and at the first

With Liverpool having qualified for Europe via the Champions League, being
runners-up in the 2006 FA Cup Final was enough to earn West Ham a spot in
the now-defunct UEFA Cup.
Sadly, the Hammers got a stinker of a draw against a solid Palermo side who
were flying high in Serie A at the time and even the inclusion of Argentine
internationals Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez failed to prevent a
thumping 4-0 aggregate defeat for Alan Pardew's side.

Rather fonder memories of the competition lie with the 1999/00 campaign
however, when Harry Redknapp's team qualified for the UEFA Cup proper
courtesy of winning the Intertoto Cup (the equivalent of the Europa League
qualifying round but with the added incentive of an egg-sized trophy at the
end of it).

West Ham saw off Helsinki's FC Jokerit (who were in business for just years
between 1999-2003) 2-1 on aggregate, Dutch side Heerenveen (2-0 courtesy of
two 1-0 wins) and then, most notably, Metz in the two-legged Intertoto

By the end of the first meeting at the Boleyn, West Ham's chances of
progressing to the first round of the UEFA Cup appeared slim, at best,
having succumbed to a disappointing 1-0 defeat courtesy of a young striker
called Louis Saha - who ended up playing at Everton and Manchester United.

But Hammers fans were in buoyant mood ahead of the second leg in France,
despite the slim chances of success and thousands crossed the channel to
watch West Ham secure an historic 3-1 victory through goals from Trevor
Sinclair, Frank Lampard Jnr and Paulo Wanchope.

Paired with little-known Croatian side FC Osijek in the first round proper,
the Hammers went into the first leg still unbeaten in the league. That form
helped the Irons secure a 3-0 win at the Boleyn to take to Croatia, where
the match was all but over by half time thanks to Paul Kitson's 27th-minute

Stanko Bubalo levelled the tie on 70 minutes, beating Shaka Hislop from
close range, but late strikes from Neil Ruddock and Marc-Vivien Foe were
enough to secure a 3-1 win on the night and an impressive 6-1 aggregate

Sadly West Ham's run was to end in the very next round at the hands of
Romanians Steaua Bucharest. A disappointing 2-0 defeat away from home in the
first leg left Redknapp's team with a mountain to climb in the return
fixture. Although the Hammers battered Steaua from start to finish, the game
ended goalless and West Ham were dumped out of the competition, despite
having survived four rounds previously.

That was the first time West Ham had qualified for European competition in
some 18 years. On the previous occasion, in 1980/81, a crack Russian side
called Dynamo Tbilisi did for United with what is generally viewed as the
most complete performance by an away team at the Boleyn ever. The Russians
triumphed 4-1 on the night and were clapped off by the home fans; in typical
West Ham fashion, we won the return tie 1-0 through Stuart Pearson's
88th-minute strike.

Prior to that, few who were there will forget the 1976 Cup Winners' Cup ties
against Den Haag and Eintracht Frankfurt, which a poll recently
adjudged to be the greatest ever game at the Boleyn Ground (a match in which
John Lyall's team overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit to win 4-3 on aggregate
and earn a place in the Final).

And 50 years ago this month, West Ham triumphed in their first ever European
adventure when beating TSV Munich 2-0 at Wembley to lift the Cup Winners'
Cup – a triumph they narrowly failed to emulate the following season
(1965/66) when losing to Borussia Dortmund in the semi finals.

Thanks Sam; it's not you, it's us
Filed: Wednesday, 27th May 2015
By: Matt Bell

I thank Sam Allardyce for turning us around and making us a solid Premier
League team after promotion. We have indeed made strides under his

Looking back, relegation from the top tier in 2003 with a team packed of
internationals was a nightmare. The only joy I took from that season was
seeing Sir Trevor in charge for the final three matches.

The most recent relegation was the after-effect of a change of owners, a bad
choice of manager (Avram) and a number of off-field incidents that served
only to destabilise the club.

Football experts who warn West Ham to be careful what they wish for when
replacing Big Sam have no idea other than to back a mate and fear potential
relegation. 2013/2014 was awful. We had no strikers and even signed Carlton
again after releasing him and our goal tally was dismal.

Yet we finished 13th and made the semi finals of Carling Cup.

Sam took us as far as he can go but if judged alone on 2015, he would have
been fired. During this time he can point to injuries but the fact is when
losing we have no plan B and his choice of subs is baffling.

We know that Sullivan signs players such as Nene because he can get him for
free, but it was apparent that Sam preferred Carlton Cole. Cole is a lovely
man and works his socks off but when up front, we lump it forward and expect
him to out-jump two defenders, hold it up and lay it off. Even on the rare
occasion he did so, there was no one to lay it off to.

It was Sam who decided on signing Andy Carroll and Matt Jarvis. Carroll may
be popular with some but he changes the way we play. Sakho and Valencia
defend so high with such vigour they cause mistakes, gain free kicks and
corners and unsettle defences. The second season for both should be more
productive (with Downing in his preferred playmaker position).

We only need a few players and the owners got it right when signing Hendrie
early. Now if a mega-money offer was accepted for Cresswell, we wouldn't be
quoted £10million for a replacement. If Valencia was sold for higher than
the £12million we paid then so be it – this is the way a club our size
should be operating. Find them, groom them, sell and replace.

Manager-wise I like Bilic as I think he is defensively sound and know what
we want, as he played in a good Redknapp team. I understand that Klopp and
Ancelotti are out of reach and laugh at such links. I don't want to see
Moyes in charge as six months in Spain is not enough time to expand his
style and his brand of football is not that far from Sams.

Have the owners got the balls to appoint Bielsa? A coach without Premier
League experience but at 60 has the personality and proven record to excite
and take West Ham forward? I hope so. Pep Guardiola thinks highly enough of
him and I would love to see his brand of relentless pressing and goals
galore light up the Boleyn.

Remember Koeman didn't have any Premier League experience, nor did
Pochettino. Gary Monk, neither.

In regards to the West Ham way that draws so much criticism, I think of the
teams Lyall built. A good goalkeeper (Adrian), solid centre backs (Reid,
Collins, Tomkins with support from Burke and Henry), a hHard working
midfield (Noble, Koyaute, possibly Obiang from Sampdoria) with flair, goals
and pace up front (Sakho, Valencia, Downing).

Add a couple and it's a strong 11 with benched options to maintain a style.

Excitement will sell season tickets and attract new fans, not a fluctuating
league position. It's the hope that blows the bubbles and it's hope we live
on. Finishing between 10th and 13th is achievable, but ultimately football
is supposed to be entertaining and watching West Ham for many seasons has
been dull and predictable.

Go for Bielsa and strap in for a crazy ride of goals and drama or appoint
Bilic and bring in Rio for coaching experience. Either way Moyes or McLaren
will not tempt me into shelling out nearly £1,000 to watch West Ham finish
mid table.

COYI, There is a bright future ahead of us!

Sam Allardyce, 2011-2015
Filed: Sunday, 24th May 2015
By: Graeme Howlett

Just three minutes had elapsed after the final whistle at Newcastle on
Sunday afternoon when West Ham announced that manager Sam Allardyce would be
leaving the club with immediate effect.

One of football's worst-kept secrets was finally revealed moments after the
Hammers had seen their season end in predictable defeat courtesy of goals
from Moussa Sissoko and Jonas Gutierrez, who was still undergoing
chemotherapy to treat testicular cancer as recently as last October.

Allardyce, perhaps in an effort to save face insisted that the decision to
part company with West Ham after four years at the helm had been mutual. "I
think it's right for both of us to move on at this moment in time", he told
the BBC diplomatically, adding that: "A new contract never really got
discussed. We both just said 'that's it'".

The club's fanbase would appear to agree on the whole, with many of those
who once backed Big Sam now agreeing that the time for change has arrived.
The toxic and divisive nature of his tenure caused many an argument (both
literal and sadly, sometimes physical) and it is hoped that the prospect of
a new arrival will help to restore peace amongst these quarrellsome

The question of where exactly it went wrong for Allardyce will be debated
long and hard over the next few days. However the seeds were well and truly
sown that fateful night against Hull when he responded to the jeers of
supporters by cupping his ear in their direction. (You will no doubt recall
that we won the game 2-1.)

Prior to that, he had won over many of his critics by restoring West Ham's
place in the Premier League - at the first attempt, albeit via the play-offs
- before securing an impressive tenth-placed finish in the first season back
(2012/13). It earned him a new two-year contract - again, to much agreement.

However doubts regarding his perceived direct style (which was often
accurate, but not always) began to re-emerge last season (2013/14) and a
record three wins over Tottenham in one year plus a 13th-place spot failed
to paper over the cracks. Many fans wanted Allardyce gone last summer, but
the Board stood firm despite tremendous pressure to pull the trigger.

That decision appeared to be vindicated at Christmas 2014 when West Ham were
in a lofty fourth-position, but a dreadful run of form since has seen United
plummet down the table to end the campaign 12th and leave Allardyce

Big Sam knew his time was up

Whilst many Hammers fans will be happy to see the back of the enigma that
was 'Big Sam', the record books will reflect rather more happily on his
reign as West Ham United's 14th full-time manager. Its accounts will too,
with the club back on its feet financially following the near-devastating
effects of relegation in 2011.

Attention now turns to his replacement, who in Mourinho-speak we'll briefly
refer to as Manager 15. Rafa Benitez, a long-term target of co-owner David
Sullivan's remains a bookies' favourite although Slaven Bilic is favoured by
many, having been made surplus to requirements at Besiktas this week.

Whoever the new man is, he'll have little time to prepare his troops for the
Europa Cup qualifying campaign, which is scheduled to begin in the first
week of July. It certainly promises to be a busy few weeks at the Boleyn.

By Iain Dale 27 May 2015 at 08:00
West Ham Till I Die

This week I will be analysing the whole squad and asking you to give your
views as to whether each player should be retained or be sold. Let's start
off with the forwards…


Nene is 33 years old and was signed as backup in the transfer window. He was
a Sullivan signing and was never wanted by Sam Allardyce, and was never
really given a chance to show what he could do. He didn't start a single
game, yet has declared that he wants to stay. I fear he will be
disappointed. VERDICT: RELEASE

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll looked back to the player he once was and then he got injured
again. He scored 5 in 12, which is a good rate of return, but bearing in
mind he costs us £100k a week, that's a million pounds per goal and almost
half a million pounds per game. On is day he is a wordlbeater and gives the
team something unique, but can we really rely on a striker who plays so few
games? At the moment it's unlikely any other club would pay a huge amount
for him, certainly nowhere near the £20 million he cost. However, it's clear
that he can only ever be relied upon as one of three top class strikers.

Mauro Zarate

Although he was never given a real chance by Sam Allardyce his behaviour on
loan at QPR has been nothing short of a disgrace. VERDICT: SELL. QUICK

Carlton Cole

I imagine there's no way back for Carlton now, but at the age of 31 he still
has a lot to give. I wonder if Norwich might put in a bid. Personally, I'd
love it if he stayed as our fourth back-up striker, but to be fair to him he
wants regular first team football. VERDICT: HEAD SAYS RELEASE, HEART SAYS

Diafro Sakho*

Ten goals in 23 appearances says it all. Possibly the find of the season.
Allardyce would have preferred Connor Wickham, but David Sullivan got his
way, and thank God he did. Sakho, if he keeps fit, could be the 20 goal a
season striker we've been searching for for many years. VERDICT: KEEP

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee is not a Premier League class striker and never will be. Even on
loan to Luton he only scored three in eleven games. It would have been
lovely for him to break through, but it's not going to happen. VERDICT: SELL

Enner Valencia

When Enner Valencia scored that wonderful free kick against Hull we allowed
ourselves to believe we had got a pearl of a player, but sadly he's never
really lived up to the hype. He has flashes of brilliance, but they are few
and far between. Four goals in 30 games tells its own story, bearing in mind
he has scored 11 in 17 for Equador. Maybe our style of play wasn't to his
liking or he just found the physicality of the Premier League too much.
Chelsea are said to be willing to pay £21 million for him, although I doubt
we'll ever see the colour of their money. VERDICT: SELL IF WE CAN GET OUR

We should also remember that technically Modibo Maiga is still a West Ham
player, as he will return from his loan period with Metz, where he scored a
more than respectable 9 goals in 24 appearances. At least that puts him in
the shop window.


With Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, it seems to me we need to buy two
strikers before the start of next season – one small, nippy striker and
another who can replace Carroll or Sakho is they get injured.

former Hammers striker Demba Ba
22:30, 26 MAY 2015
Ba worked under Bilic, another West Ham old boy, at Besiktas this season and
says he has great qualities as a coach
The Mirror

Slaven Bilic has been backed to succeed Sam Allardyce as West Ham manager.
Former Hammers striker Demba Ba believes Bilic would be an ideal
replacement, having worked under him at Besiktas this season.

Ex-Irons defender Bilic is leaving Turks Besiktas at the end of this
campaign after two years and is the leading candidate to take over at Upton

And Ba believes Bilic has adopted attributes from a playing spell in Germany
earlier in his career that could help make him a success at West Ham – who
today got a Fair Play pass into the Europa League.

Dean MouhtaropoulosBest Ba none: Striker in action in this season's Europa
Senegalese striker Ba, 29, said: "He is full of motivation and very close to
the players and it helped, especially us in Besiktas.

"We have a young team and he helps a lot. He is a good guy. He would be a
good choice.

"He has that German mentality and in football that German mentality helps a
lot because they are very disciplined and do things right in football and I
think he does that.

"If he comes here I think and I hope he is going to be successful.

"He seems like he is rough and rude on the sidelines but he is actually very
soft and calm with the players.

"He would be like a confidant. He is very open and someone you can talk to.

"He gave me that confidence, always telling me I was the best and at the end
of the day I scored a lot of goals for him and Besiktas so that's something
I will take away from working with him."

Ba was speaking at the Human Appeal Celebrity Football Gala Dinner.

He was joined by stars including ex-Chelsea teammates Eden Hazard, John
Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Samuel Eto'o and Arsenal's Abou Diaby to help
raise over £300,000 for the Empire of the Children project, a centre for
street children in Senegal.

drian makes team of the season
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

Hammers keeper Adrian has been included in the EA Sports Premier League team
of the season announced this evening.

Speaking on his official twitter account Adrian said 'So Proud about this

Adrian made the third most saves this season at 129 while former Hammer
Robert Green in second place at 132 with relegated QPR. Swansea's Lukasz
Fabianski made the most saves of the 2014/2015 season with 137.

Emery doubts grow after Europa League double
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham's chances of landing Unai Emery as their 15th manager appear to be
fading after he led Sevilla to win the Europa League Final this evening
beating Dnipro 3-2. Sevilla becomes the fist team to win the Europa League
back to back since the competition was reformed. Sevilla have now won the
Europa League four times in the last decade.

Emery steered Sevilla to fifth place in La Liga and they become the first
club win a Champions League place which was introduced as a prize to the
winners of the Europa league final this season.

When asked yesterday about a move away from Sevilla he answered 'It's very
clear in my mind. My heart is 100 per cent Sevilla at the moment and I
cannot think beyond that by winning that match tomorrow.'

Klopp an Irons winner in a canter
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

Jurgen Klopp is the choice by 25 per cent of West Ham fan base to become the
club's new boss.

With just over two hours left to vote the 47 year old German heads the
ClaretandHugh poll in which fans were asked to vote for their replacement to
Sam Allardyce.

Klopp has just over 25 per cent of the vote but the shock is to see Slaven
Bilic (16.19) in second place ahead of top bosses Rafa Benitez (11.2) and
Carlo Ancelotti (13.66).

ClaretandHugh listed 17 candidates and gave fans the opportunity of voting
for three of them. With the poll closing at midnight, the top six is made up
of Unai Emery (7.48) whose Sevilla are involved in this evening's Europa Cup
Final and Marseilles boss Marcelo Bielsa 0n 5.36.

There is still time to vote at

ClaretandHug will be sending the poll result to David Sullivan and David

Bielsa is the latest second favourite
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

Marcelo Bielsa has become the latest second favourite with the bookies, the
third second favourite in as many days replacing Di Matteo yesterday and
Unai Emery two days before that.

You could get odds up to 40/1 on Bielsa becoming the 15th West Ham manager a
few days ago but his odds have since been cut to as short as 3/1 tonight
with Sky Bet. Slaven Bilic remains the odds on favourite with odds as short
as 1/2.

As we reported earlier this week we quoted a William Hill spokesman "These
manager markets are very volatile and can vary from day to day with every
new rumour."

According to reports in L'Equipe tonight Marseille have offered Bielsa a two
year contract extension despite making a farewell speech.

Fully fit squad by end of June
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham's Head of Medical and Sports Science, Stijn Vandenbroucke has told
the club's official website he expects a fully fit squad when the players
return for pre season training on 22nd June.

James Collins who injured his calf in the first half of the match with
Everton is expected to rehab for 4-6 weeks. West Ham hope he will be fit in
time to start the pre-season with the squad. Mark Noble injured his big toe
during the final training session of the season in Chadwell Heath. He has
had an injection and needs a few weeks of rest. He too should be ready for
the start of pre-season.

Diafra Sakho has almost completed his rehab following the quad injury he
suffered in the home match against Stoke City in April. He is continuing to
work on his fitness and will also be fit to start the pre-season.

Andy Carroll (knee) and Doneil Henry (hamstring) will continue to work with
the medical staff during the close-season and remain on schedule to return
in the pre-season.

Players holidays cut short
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham players have had their usual six week holiday cut short by two
weeks to prepare for their first Europa league game on 2nd July. Speaking on
the official club website Head of Medical and Sports Science
StijnVandenbroucke said:

"Usually, the players have six weeks off, of which the first three weeks are
complete rest, followed by three weeks of individual fitness work. However,
this summer has been shortened to four weeks for two reasons – next year's
European Championship finals and our participation in the Europa League. So,
with a shorter off-season, the fit players need to rest for period but
always be mindful of leading a healthy, professional lifestyle, before
starting their individual programs ahead of their return for pre-season
training next month."

This would suggest players will return to training on Monday 22nd June
which the same day of the Europa league draw to find out how we will face in
the first round.

Ilunga welcomes great West Ham news
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

Former Hammer Hertita Ilunga has welcomed the news of Sam Allardyce's
departure and West Ham's qualification into the Europa league. Speaking from
his official twitter account Ilunga wrote "New manager and UEFA Europa
League for next season !!!! Two (pieces of) great news #COYI" (Come On you

Ilunga signed on loan for West Ham in September 2008 for the 2008/2009
season. The following season Ilunga agreed to turn his loan move into a
permanent four-year contract with West Ham. He found limited opportunities
under Avram Grant until he was picked for the first five games of season
2011–12 by then new manager Sam Allardyce before farmed out to join
Doncaster Rovers on-loan. In January 2012 West Ham mutually agreed with
Ilunga to terminate his contract with immediate effect. He made 73
appearances for West Ham in all competitions scoring three goals.

Goodbye Captain Nolan…hello Mark Noble
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham looks set to take over the mantle of skipper next season as the
club look to offload Kevin Nolan among several others.

Nolan is already being seen as part of the club's history and former boss
Sam Allardyce's departure appears to make that a certainty.

We were told: "Everything moves on and there will be several players moving
out – Kevin among them – if the right opportunity comes along."

We reported earlier today that Jussi Jaaskelainen,Carlton Cole and Guy
Demel were on their way this summer but a source spoke to us later and
said: "You can add Kevin to the list. He's in the last year of his deal here
and will be allowed to move on."

Mark Noble will immediately pick up the armband although Cheik Kouyate has
his admirers.

However,we were told: "Mark has always been the guy earmarked as the next
captain and that could be at the start of the new season.

"We need to make room in the wage budget for the next generation of players
as we head for the Olympic Stadium."

"Benitez was minutes away from signing"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham are still clinging to hopes that either Rafa Benitez or Carlo
Ancelloti can be brought into the club.

And they are so determined to get the highest quality boss possible that
until Benitez is officially confirmed into the Real Madrid job, they will
hold off holding talks with other candidates.

Ancelotti has ruled himself out of the job because he needs back surgery but
a top Hammers source said: "That can change as can every situation. He could
decide to delay the operation."

And he revealed that Benitez was within minutes of signing an Irons deal
when his representatives were contacted by Madrid and things collapsed.

He said: "It looked signed and sealed for us but then that happened. That's
why everybody is being so careful because things change so quickly."

Our source said: "Things really have changed. The board are determined to
get the highest possible quality candidate and although things look a bit
dim on the big two, they are giving themselves every chance.

"They don't want to find themselves appointing and alternative third or
fourth choice and suddenly one of their top choices 'unexpectedly' becomes
available – those would be Rafa and Carlo!"

Bielsea issues "farewell speech " to Marseilles
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 27, 2015 in Whispers

Marcelo Bielsa looks to have done his best to put himself very much in the
West Ham's frame after bidding what looked liked an emotional farewell
speech to Marselles.

After guiding the club to a fourth placed finish, the Argentinian said: "I
want to congratulate the French Ligue 1 for the league that they have here.

"I have managed some great players here. Some of them are some of the best
players I have had in my career. There is a very professional group at
Marseilles and some very unique facilities here.

"I have an enormous amount of emotions tonight. I will keep them for the
rest of my life. It is frustrating to finish fourth. I will be taking my
holidays like everyone else."

Bielsa is known to be keen to be given the Irons job but as we reported
earlier, the Hammers will do nothing until the hear officially that Rafa
Benitez has been officially confirmed as Real Madrid boss.

Arsenal will allow Carl Jenkinson to spend next season out on loan as Arsene
Wenger refuses to sell defender this summer
Carl Jenkinson will be made available for a season-long loan deal
PUBLISHED: 15:47 GMT, 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:27 GMT, 27 May 2015

Arsenal will make Carl Jenkinson available for loan next season following
talks with Arsene Wenger. Wenger revealed earlier this month that he and the
defender, who spent last season on loan at West Ham, would hold discussions
about the right-back's future. The Arsenal manager was torn between
including Jenkinson in his plans for next season or freeing him for another
season-long loan spell. And Sportsmail understands the Gunners have opted
for the latter. The news will spark a scramble for the defender's signature
ahead of the new season.
Jenkinson impressed for the Hammers last term, and his displays didn't go
unnoticed by Wenger and his staff.

The 23-year-old's future at the Emirates Stadium looked bleak following the
arrivals of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers, who both arrived as
right-backs in 2014. Likewise, the emergence of Hector Bellerin has caused
another obstacle for Jenkinson in his quest to secure a first-team place at
Arsenal. However, the Gunners are not prepared to let the former Charlton
man leave on a permanent deal ahead of next season and want to monitor his
progress at another Premier League club

Andy Carroll 'ready to accept transfer back to Newcastle United'
Lee Thomas-Mason for
Wednesday 27 May 2015 4:18 pm

West Ham striker Andy Carroll is apparently hoping for a transfer back to
his boyhood club Newcastle United.
Carroll, 26, who joined West Ham from Liverpool in deal worth a combined
£17million, has a had an injury ravaged two seasons with the Hammers having
only made 29 Premier League appearances. According to the Sun, Carroll is
hoping to rejoin former club Newcastle following the sacking of West Ham
manager Sam Allardyce following the 2-0 defeat at St James' Park on the
final day of the season. With Newcastle owner Mike Ashley expected to invest
in the transfer market after securing Premier League safety, Carroll would
be expected to have to take a pay-cut in have any chance of securing his
dream move back to the club in which he started his career.
Andy Carroll's £36million move from Newcastle to Liverpool still remains a
transfer fee record for a British player.

West Ham managerial candidate Marcelo Bielsa signs new deal at current club
Mathew Nash
8 hours ago

The former Chile and Bilbao coach has reportedly decided to stay just where
he is.

West Ham United are currently looking to replace their manager Sam
Allardyce, after his contract at the club was not renewed for next season.

Several names have been put forward as potential Big Sam replacements. The
likes of Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and Roberto Di Matteo have all reportedly
been sounded out.

Another name that is said to be in the running for the role is Marcelo
Bielsa's. The current Marseille boss truly caught the eye whilst manager of
the Chilean national team and has been in charge at Marseille this campaign.

But reports had claimed he fell out with the board at the club and wanted a

That now seems to be untrue.

It is reported today that Bielsa has in fact agreed to stay at the Stade

It has been reported by RMC, as relayed by beIN Sports, that Bielsa and
Marseille have put their differences to one side and have put pen to paper
on a deal that will last until the summer of 2017.

If it proves true then West Ham can scrub his name from the list of
potential candidates.


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