Monday, May 4

Daily WHUFC News - May the 4th be with you

Manager on Monday

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce said his side are on course for their
best ever finish since returning to the top flight. Saturday's 1-0 win over
Burnley took the Hammers to 47 points with three games remaining, seven more
than last season's total.
Reflecting on the win, Allardyce said: "Our performances this season, on the
whole, have been the best we've ever had. "The points return in recent games
may have been disappointing but mainly, I can't fault the performances. "If
we can win two or even all three of our last games then we'll really finish
on a high. That for me would be a very good season because that would take
us past the 50 point mark. Reaching 50 points in year three is no mean feat
at this level of football. "We've got one more points than our best finish
which was 46. Now we're on 47 which is a positive. Tenth was our best finish
and now we're ninth. We've scored more goals than we've ever scored, even
with three more games to go."

Another positive from Saturday's victory, the Irons' ninth home win of the
campaign, was the performance of 18-year-old Reece Burke.
The Newham-born Academy product again put in an assured display, the Hammers
have now kept two clean sheets in both league games he's played in. "Reece
Burke has done very well for us. He's still a very young man and he'll only
get better. The harder he works, the better he'll get. It's great for him
and his family, they're all West Ham fans so they'll be delighted. "We're
all hoping he can maintain this level of performance, and even improve
because if he does he will have a very successful career here at West Ham."

Allardyce had further reason to be happy with the clean sheet, after the
Hammers had conceded a number of last minute goals. "It proved to be very
important because that was the only goal we scored. The win was the most
important thing because we haven't scored that many goals despite playing
well and the performances warranting three more points than we've got. "We
had 27 attempts on Saturday which shows we're a bit lacklustre in front of
goal. Getting clean sheets has been the key factor in the last two games."

Kouyate - 'It's important for the top ten'

Cheikhou Kouyate played a pivotal role in Saturday's 1-0 victory over
Burnley, winning the penalty which Mark Noble converted to seal the points.
Kouyate was sent sprawling in the box by a 24th minute tackle from Michael
Duff, who also saw red after referee Jonathan Moss deemed him to be denying
an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The Senegal international was delighted
to see Noble hit the back of the net and even happier to claim an overdue
three points. He said: "We needed the win on Saturday as the last three
games hadn't gone our way. It was a difficult game, but we got the points
and that's very important for the top ten. "It was a very good combination
for the penalty. Enner gave me a good ball, I went to the left side, the
defender came and touched me as I went inside. "It was a good feeling [to
help set up the goal] and it was an important victory for us."

After the game, Kouyate was presented with a Player of the Year award from
the Swedish Hammers and he is happy to have made an impact so quickly with
his new club. He added: "I want to say thank you to the Swedish fans who
gave me this award and I'm very happy to win it.
"My first season at West Ham for me has been a good season, and next year I
will work to be better."English football was always my dream and West Ham
have given me the chance to play in England so I am very happy. All the
players have helped me, the staff, everybody and the fans too. The
atmosphere here is fantastic."

Downing urges Hammers to pack shooting boots

Stewart Downing says West Ham United can upset former club Aston Villa's
Barclays Premier League survival hopes, provided they pack their shooting
boots for Saturday's trip to the Midlands. The Hammers created chance after
chance in their 1-0 home win over ten-man Burnley at the weekend, but the
margin of victory should have been far greater. Instead, Downing and his
teammates contrived to pass up a succession of opportunities, failing to
score from a staggering 22 attempts on goal in the second half – the highest
number of any top-flight club this season. "It was a difficult game
actually, until the sending-off, because I thought Burnley probably settled
the quicker and we didn't really get out of the blocks," the No11 told West
Ham TV. "After that, we created a lot of chances, I can't remember how many
it was. Their 'keeper has pulled off some unbelievable saves and with better
a little bit better finishing we could have put it out of sight."

West Ham did score once, from the penalty spot, after Michael Duff had
tripped Cheikhou Kouyate midway through the first half – an offence for
which referee Jonathan Moss controversially dismissed the centre-back.
"Cheik has done really well and the lad has got to make the tackle or else I
think he scores," Downing observed. "I think the red card is a bit harsh,
isn't it, and it changes the game because it gave us a lot more space to
play. "It was a great penalty. Tom their 'keeper is jumps around and makes
himself big but Nobes keeps his calm in those situations and it was a great
penalty and got us off and running. From then on, we played some really good
football and defended quite well. "It was wave of wave of attacks and
chances but we didn't kill it off. We've not won in a long time, though, so
we have got to take the win."

Into the second half and Downing felt West Ham should have been awarded
another spot-kick when the winger went down as he passed Ben Mee. Instead,
Moss booked the Hammers player, much to his obvious anger and frustration.
"The referee made some decisions – he gave the red card and I thought mine
was a penalty – and he had a mixed day, but even then we had a lot of
chances. I had a couple of volleys blocked, Kev had one saved and so did
Enner."It was wave after wave of chances and that's the only disappointing
thing because I thought we defended very well. Reece had another good game
at the back and has slotted in really well – he's been a big plus over the
last two games. "We had been conceding late in games and losing points, so
that's two clean sheets and back to winning ways, so hopefully we can finish
strong. We're ninth in the table and it's in our hands to have a really good
finish, get over the 50-point mark and that's a really good season for us."

So, while West Ham may have not boosted their goals-for tally as they should
have done against the Clarets, Downing is hopeful that they will hit the net
with more regularity when they travel to Villa Park. There, Tim Sherwood's
side beat Everton 3-2 at the weekend to rise to 14th, albeit just two points
above the relegation zone with three games remaining. "It'll be tough at
Villa as they have done ever so well since Tim Sherwood came in. They had a
big result against Liverpool in the FA Cup and it's helped us in the league.
"Going to Villa Park is a difficult game and they'll probably target us as a
winnable game, but if we create our chances like we do and take them better
than we have done, I think we can go there and beat them."

Mark Noble targets strong finish for happy West Ham
Last Updated: 03/05/15 3:31pm

Midfielder Mark Noble has set West Ham a target to finish the campaign in
the manner in which they started it after scoring their first penalty of the
Premier League this season. Noble converted the penalty at Upton Park that
gave them a 1-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday after the Clarets' Michael
Duff had been sent off for upending Cheikhou Kouyate. "Fifty points is in
our sights and one more win will get us there," Noble said. "Who's to say we
can't go and beat that 50-point barrier and finish as high up as we can.
It's two clean sheets in a row, which is massive. "It's much better for us,
because if you keep clean sheets you can't lose games and that's what we
haven't been doing up until recently. "The last couple of games have been
against teams fighting for their lives and I've been in that position so I
know how much you have a go. "We're expected to win against Burnley here,
even if they've got 11 men, so there's pressure anyway. As soon as they went
down to 10 men, I scored the penalty and that eased it a little bit. We
could enjoy ourselves a little bit after that."
Having already faced Leicester, QPR and Burnley in recent weeks, Sam
Allardyce's Hammers will still have a big say on the relegation fight as
they come up against Aston Villa and Newcastle in the closing fixtures to
the season.

Noble in Cantona class
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Mark Noble has joined a seriously elite group as far as taking penalties are
concerned ! The Hammers midfielder took his spot kick conversion rate to a
highly impressive 87.5 per cent when he beat Burnley keeper Tom Heaton
yesterday afternoon It was his his 16th Premier League penalty yesterday and
he made no mistake to ensure that he has now scored 14 , missed one and seen
one saved. And according to Match of the Day Noble has now scored the same
amount of Premier League penalties as Michael Owen, Eric Cantona and Jimmy
Floyd Hasselbaink.

Former Hammer saves Colchester
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

Former Hammers Academy graduate George Moncur has saved Colchester United
from relegation from League One this afternoon by scoring the only goal in
the 82nd minute against Preston North End. In order to avoid relegation into
League Two, Colchester needed to better the results of both Notts County and
Crawley Town, both a point ahead of them. Son of former Hammer John Moncur,
George signed for the U's for an undisclosed fee in November last
year.Colchester converted the 21-year-old's loan deal into a permanent move,
and he signed a contract with them until 2017. A youth team player with West
Ham, Moncur signed his first professional contract with the Hammers in
September 2010. He played youth and reserve team football and made his first
team debut for West Ham on 28 August 2012 against Crewe in the League Cup
coming on as an 84th minute substitute for Kevin Nolan.

Noble's MASSIVE win – really?
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

It's my birthday today so I can say what I like! Oh and I get a wish! But
first, listen to the words of Mark Noble discussing the 1-0 win over
Burnley's ten men. He explained to the official site: "It's a massive result
for us. The last couple of games have been against teams fighting for their
lives and I've been in that position so I know how much you have a go. "We
knew it was going to be tough today, but once we got the penalty we found it
pretty comfortable from there on really."

Burnley had a go did they? It was comfortable was it? And the result was
"massive" eh? I thought it was 1-0 via a penalty which saw a bloke sent off
for a foul when he should have remained on the pitch.

Football people have a habit of often murdering the English language before
devaluing it. To describe a win over such a poor side as massive only
demonstrates how far West Ham have fallen this season.

Next comes his assertion that it was a comfortable win. I didn't think it
looked particularly comfortable for him or Nolan, Jenkinson and several
others. Sam Allardyce didn't look particularly comfortable either although
thankfully he didn't spend as much time as usual slumped in his seat!
Perhaps he's been reading a few comments on certain forums!!!! Massive
result! Yeah I remember the same being said after the Sunderland result.
That didn't go so well did it? So with the end of the season thankfully just
three games away and being bored rigid watching this stuff here's my
birthday wish.

McClaren for Newcastle – not Irons!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

I can hear the collective sigh of relief as most Irons read this! According
to various reports today, sometimes mentioned Hammers managerial target
Steve McClaren is bieng heavily linked with Newcastle this morning. one
report claims that he is to be approached by Mike Ashley boss within the
next 24 hours to take over from John Carver who has seen the team fail to
win in EIGHT. McClaren saw Derby County's Premier League bid end yesterday
and they are looking at another Championship campaign next term amid fears
in many quarters we were interested. ClaretandHugh reported last year that
McClaren had turned us down and was always a highly unlikely target this
Now it appears he is well and truly out of the frame….PHEW!

Moyes edging closer to Irons
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

David Moyes is this morning being strongly tipped as being ready to take
over at West Ham. Much of what is being written covers old ground but there
is a certainty from the Sunday Mirror that is worth reporting here. The new
element is that apparently the Scot has decided that he wants a Premier
League return as soon as possible after earlier reports that he was happy at
Real Sociedad. He has a year left on his deal and The Mirror claims the
Basque club won't stand in his way given he has allegedly made up his mind
for a quick PL return. The Scot insists publicly he is revelling in his time
in La Liga, and has stabilised a Sociedad side who looked bound for
relegation when he took over. However, that has been seen locally as little
more than the minimum requirement. And while he has created a decent
impression he is not seen as a long-term option at the Spanosh cub.. The
Irons have always had him as their number one choice to take over from Sam
Allardyce and David Sullivan has never been a man to give up easily on his
"chosen one." With Moyes' former chief scout Tony Henry advising the board
independently of the current Upton Park managerial regime, the appointment
is the perfect fit for the Hammers.
However, the club insisted to ClaretandHugh again this morning that no
announcements will be made until the end of season review meeting has been
held with Allardyce. However, it is known to us that at least two lists of
possible candidates have been drawn up and that Moyes is at the top of List

Burke has a bright Hammers future
Posted by Sean Whetstone on May 3, 2015 in Whispers
Claret & Hugh

18 year old Reece Burke made his Premier League home debut against Burnley
yesterday making it an impressive two clean sheets out of two after he also
featured alongside James Collins in defence, when the Hammers drew 0-0 at
QPR last weekend. Former West Ham Academy Director Tony Carr said before the
Burnley game "Reece would have come through his first game having survived
on adrenaline. Understandably he would have been very pumped up. But the
challenge is to do it week-in, week out, to perform on a consistent basis.
He's a level-headed kid and I feel he won't get carried away. He will apply
himself to be successful. Reece has always been naturally aggressive in his
play but the key is that he has to get stronger now. The challenge is to do
it week-in, week out, to perform on a consistent basis. He'll have to
develop his upper body into a man's body. Remember he is still developing."

The Hornchurch-raised lad joined the Hammers as a nine-year-old and looks
likely to be the latest graduate to follow in the foot steps of James
Tomkins and Mark Noble to become a regular first teamer in the coming years
and make a living in the Premier League. Last year Manchester United,
Chelsea and Arsenal were all claimed to have attempted to lure Burke away
from the Hammers but West Ham managed to get Burke to sign his first
professional contract worth £4,000 per week for three years.


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