Wednesday, June 3

Daily WHUFC News - 3rd June 2015

2014/15 Season Review - August

After completing an action-packed pre-season schedule, West Ham United went into the 2014/15 season in confident mood and produced a fine opening-day Barclays Premier League display against Tottenham Hotspur at the Boleyn Ground, only for Mark Noble's missed penalty and Eric Dier's last-gasp goal to condemn the hosts to a harsh defeat.

The game also marked competitive debuts for summer signings Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate and substitute Enner Valencia.

West Ham bounced back to form with a fantastic 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace, with another new boy, Mauro Zarate, and Stewart Downing scoring beauties and Carlton Cole completing the Selhurst Park success with his first goal of the campaign.

Yet another new boy, Senegal striker Diafra Sakho, then marked his first start with a wonderful header against Sheffield United, only for the Blades to knock the home side out of the Capital One Cup on penalties following Winston Reid's unfortunate own-goal.

The opening month of the campaign ended with another disappointing defeat at the Boleyn Ground, this time in the Barclays Premier League at the hands of Ronald Koeman's high-flying Southampton.

Off the pitch, West Ham continued to bolster their ranks with the captures of Alex Song on a season-long loan from Barcelona and France international Morgan Amalfitano from Marseille on a permanent basis.

Knoyle delighted to sign professional contract

West Ham United are delighted to announce that England U18 international Kyle Knoyle has signed a new contract at the Club. The right-back, who joined the Academy as a 13-year-old, capped off an excellent season by putting pen to paper on a deal that keeps him in east London until June 2017. Describing the moment he turned professional, the talented defender said: "I'm delighted. It's something I've always dreamt of as a kid. It's an honour to get a contract at a Premier League club, I'm just looking to push on and make the next step to the first team. "I've been at the club for a while. Getting a professional contract was always the aim, ever since I arrived here. It's been a great five years so far and hopefully a good future too. "It's definitely one of my career highlights. I was delighted when I got my scholarship but this is a step up."

Knoyle has impressed for both the U18s and U21s, his pace and willingness to get forward proving a real asset, making a total of 18 appearances.

Midway through the season, Knoyle was side-lined through injury yet having overcome the setback, he made the step up from the Academy to the Development Squad: "I feel like I've coped with the step up from U18s to U21s very well. I did it the previous season which made the step up this season a lot easier.

"The injury was probably my lowest point in my career and I'm trying to get back to the level I was at before it. I've felt like I've put in a lot of good performances recently so hopefully I can keep that going into next season.

"I would describe myself as a quick right-back who likes to get up and down the pitch. I'd like to think I'm good at one-on-ones, overlapping and crossing. A modern day full-back really."

In a positive couple of weeks for the Academy, the 18-year-old was quick to cite the impact Reece Burke has made since his run in the first team as well as fellow Dev Squad teammate Djair Parfitt-Williams signing a new contract.

Knoyle, who has played alongside Burke for several years as part of a defensive back four said: "I'm very close to Reece. He lives nearby and to see a teammate do so well drives me to try and do well. I'm delighted for him while trying to get to his level.

"There's a good atmosphere around the Academy, 100%. It's nice to see young players getting opportunities and hopefully I'll get one soon."

Betway make DT38 Foundation donation

West Ham United are delighted to announce that principal sponsors, Betway will be making a donation to the DT38 Foundation.

Hammers fans will already be familiar with the DT38 Foundation in memory of Academy starlet Dylan Tombides. Dylan, whose prodigious talents saw him sign for West Ham in 2008, lost his brave three-year battle with testicular cancer in April 2014, at the age of just 20.

The donation comes after West Ham United players Joey O'Brien, James Collins and Kevin Nolan took to the stage at The O2 Arena in a unique darting challenge with Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall.

Unfortunately, the Hammers stars proved to be no match for Tindall in the first ever #RugbyvFootball head-to-head leg of 501, which took place ahead of the Betway Premier League finals.

Betway ambassador and former England captain Tindall lived up to his billing as Betway's 1/6 red hot favourite, sealing victory with a double 15, which he hit with his first attempt.

Underdog O'Brien, who was a 3/1 shot ahead of the match and nicknamed 'The Green Arrow 'Ammer' by fans ahead of the showdown, represented the football world alongside pals Nolan and Collins.

O'Brien assembled his team after beating his West Ham United teammates Carlton Cole, James Collins, Carl Jenkinson, Kevin Nolan, Diego Poyet, Winston Reid and Alex Song in Betway's #HammersAtTheArrers tungsten tournament at the club's training ground.

"It might not have been the result the football lads were after but it was a great experience to take on Mike Tindall alongside Kev and Ginge at the darts," said O'Brien. "I'll wait for the stick to die down first, but 'The Green Arrow 'Ammer' will live to fight another day."

Betway's Alan Alger said he hopes it will not be the last time West Ham's stars are seen on the oche.

He said: "Congratulations to Mike 'The Tornado' Tindall who affirmed his status as hot favourite. Who knows, perhaps Joey 'The Green Arrow 'Ammer' O'Brien and his teammates will be calling for a rematch? The whole event was great fun on a thrilling night of darts at the O2 and we were pleased that we could donate money to a worthy cause in the process."

You can watch full coverage of the #RugbyvFootball challenge here.

For more information on the DT38 Foundation, click here.

Betway will also make a donation to The Matthew Hampson Foundation, a charity close to Mike Tindall, provides support to young people seriously injured through sport.

From the Academy - Tony Carr

Former Director of the West Ham United Academy and current Club Ambassador Tony Carr pays tribute to one of the best Academy graduates of all time.


As I'm sure you will have noticed, Rio Ferdinand, one of the greatest defenders of the Premier League era and former West Ham United Academy graduate, recently decided to retire.

To get a mention in Rio's retirement statement was very humbling. In my opinion, he is without doubt, one of the best Premier League defenders and at his peak, arguably the best. Simply put, he's one of the best English defenders there's ever been.

He's been a great servant to the game, to all the clubs he's played for and of course his country.

For me to have been able to play small role in his journey is something I am immensely proud of. But Rio deserves full credit because he never once lost that desire to improve, to keep on learning and test himself week after week.

In a career spanning 20 years, he made over 700 club appearances as well as winning 81 caps for England. As for trophies, he won a staggering six Premier Leagues title not to mention the FA Cup, the Champions League and three League Cup finals among other accolades.

Having come through the West Ham United Academy he has long been a superb example to the young talented players we've got coming through now. Not only for our young defenders but for everyone dreaming of making their way in football because of the way he approached the game. He is a model example.

We ask all out young players 'Are you as good as Rio Ferdinand was when he was your age?' because that is the level of player we want to produce. If the answer is no, then we need to look at what areas need to be strengthened and make those improvements.

Looking back, Rio actually started out as an attacker before moving into midfield and finally back into defence. He was initially a bit reluctant to play at the back but he soon got used to the idea and adapted quickly.

He always had good technique and his ability to read the game was superb. He wasn't always the tallest player, he was quite gangly and he went through a big growth spurt at 14 or 15 and actually lost a bit of his coordination. I've read that he actually had doubts whether he would become a player at all.

Technically he was always good, even before he came here he had that ability that the best players have.

You would have to say, looking through West Ham's history, Rio is up there with the best defenders the club has ever produced. I would include Rio in the same bracket as Bobby Moore.

There was never a light bulb moment with Rio when I thought 'Yes, he's got what it takes make it to the top.' But you noticed when he was 16 playing for the U18s he was one of the best players, so then you knew he had got something special.

The then West Ham manager Harry Redknapp did not take much convincing. Once he'd seen him play in training aged seventeen or so, Harry was convinced from the word go that he would be a good player, and so it proved.

Since the tragic death of his wife Rebecca, I know he received thousands and thousands of messages of support from across the world of football. That alone goes some way to show how big a footballer he was and how well respected he is, not just as player but also as a man.

On another note, I recently took part in a documentary about the life of the late, great Bobby Moore which will be released next year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of England winning the World Cup and in particular looking at Bobby and his legacy.

It was great to be able to share those memories of a great, great man. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece and I'm sure it'll be a fitting tribute to him.

Best wishes,


Back to Black
Filed: Tuesday, 2nd June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Sam Allardyce's former assistant Neil McDonald has been confirmed as the new manager of League One club Blackpool.

The 49-year-old was unveiled as the Tangerines' new boss tonight, a fortnight after exclusively revealed the two parties were in talks.

The Bloomfield Road position was previously held by Lee Clark, who resigned last month following Blackpool's relegation from the Championship with a record low tally of 26 points from 46 games.

McDonald, who was assistant to Allardyce at the Boleyn Ground for four years has been searching for a managerial position since last summer, although he rejected the opportunity to join League Two side Carlisle back in January.

Since Allardyce left the club, three of his key employees have now found positions in management elsewhere.

In addition to McDonald at Blackpool, Teddy Sheringham was recently confirmed as manager of League Two Stevenage whilst former Hammers first team coach Ian Hendon is the new number one at League One Leyton Orient.

Goalkeeper extends Boleyn stay
Filed: Tuesday, 2nd June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Raphael Spiegel has extended his stay at West Ham by a further 12 months.

The 22-year-old Swiss goalkeeper joined West Ham in July 2012 on a three-year contract with a further one-year option - which the club have confirmed has now been triggered, extending the youngster's stay at the Boleyn Ground until next summer.

The 6'5" stopper is yet to make a single first team appearance for the Hammers and finds himself third in the pecking order once again, following the arrival of Darren Randolph from Birmingham on a free transfer who replaces the outgoing Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Since joining West Ham from former Swiss giants Grasshoppers, Spiegel has spent time on loan with Crawley, Barnet and, most recently, Carlisle, for whom he made two appearances back in February.

Blackpool appoint Neil McDonald as their new manager
Last Updated: 02/06/15 8:42pm

Neil McDonald has been appointed as the new manager of Blackpool on a one-year rolling deal. McDonald has spent the last four years at West Ham working as assistant manager to Sam Allardyce. The 49-year-old succeeds Lee Clark who resigned in the wake of the club's relegation to League One earlier this month. Clark took charge of Blackpool on October 30 with the club bottom of the Championship table but managed to secure only three wins in 33 games. McDonald, who also worked with Allardyce at Blackburn and Bolton, previously spent a year as Carlisle manager and saved Ostersunds FK from relegation during the five weeks he was in charge of the Swedish club. "This is a great opportunity for me, it's a massive football club in my opinion and I'm really looking forward to the challenge," McDonald told the official website. "It's a challenge that's going to be difficult - wherever you go it's always difficult - but it's a challenge that I'm really up for and really excited about. "I've got to try and put my stamp on the football club and get it back to where it was. I've got to try and stabilise it first of all after what happened last year with relegation and change people's minds to try and get the confidence back and push the club on to pastures new."

Blackpool's head of youth coaching Richie Kyle has been promoted to the role of first-team coach, while Paul Stephenson and Paul Crichton have left the back-room team.

Irons fans get Europa Cup home tickets boost
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

The Irons will only have to give five per cent of their home seats to visiting fans in the Europa Cup tournament as opposed to the 15 per cent for domestic Cup clashes.

Uefa rules allow for five per cent of the tickets for visiting fans which equates to just 1,750 seats, leaving around 33,000 for Hammers fans wanting the experience European competition.

Europa league regulations say: 'All clubs in the competition must make at least 5% of the total capacity of their stadium available exclusively to visiting supporters, in a segregated, safe area. In addition, visiting clubs are entitled to purchase up to 200 top-category tickets for their VIP supporters'

In addition UEFA states "The official UEFA representatives and at least 20 representatives of the visiting club and its association must be provided with top-category seats (and associated hospitality) in the VIP sector."

Another difference between English Cup competitions and the Europa League is the home club gets to keep 100% of the ticket revenue unlike the FA Cup where the club keeps 45%.

If West Ham were to sell out 33,000 tickets at £20 each that would raise £660,000 per home game. We could well be involved in four home matches in the qualifying and play rounds before reaching the group stages bringing a potential and welcome £2.64m of ticket revenue in addition to any prize money we might earn from the TV rights distribution.

Unfortunately the away allocation rule works means of course that the top seeded West Ham – should they be drawn against a small team like Air UK Broughton FC in Wales – would see us receive a dismal ticket allocation.

Air UK's Hollingsworth Group stadium in Broughton is famous for its retractable floodlights because it is built on an airfield. It has a stadium capacity of just 1,600. A five per cent allocation would allow just 80 Hammers fans to travel to Wales to watch the match. UEFA requires a category 2 stadium to host qualifying stages the minimum requirement of which is a 1,500 seater stadium.

A West Ham insider said: "I think we need to see the draw first. We'll look at each game on case by case basis"

Burke joins Allardyce's agent – Curtis!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

Controversial agent Mark Curtis has signed young Reece Burke to his stable of players. The 18 year old is understood to have agreed to join former manager Sam Allardyce's representative towards the end of last season.

Curtis last found himself in the news, when it was reported that attempts had been made failed attempts to woo Ravel Morrison into his stable which allegedly led to bust-up between the player and former boss Allardyce.

Curtis has now added Burke to a list of players which is currently understood to include James Tomkins, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien, Kevin Nolan and Adrian, although there are reports this morning that Andy Carroll has left him.

Various sources report the pair have parted company over an alleged disagreement and the striker is now looking for a new representative which would appear to kill all stories stone dead of a deal to take the striker back to Newcastle.

However, a club source confirmed to ClaretandHugh exclusively that Burke had joined Curtis saying: "Yes, that's the case."

The youngster was previously represented by Stuart Richardson of Skill Equal which also looks after Mark Noble and who signed Reece to his professional contract with the club in October 2014.

Song back at Barcelona
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

Alex Song posted a picture of himself with fellow Barcelona team mate Neymar on Monday proving he has been reunited with parent Spanish club after the end of a season long loan with West Ham. Neymar is currently preparing for Saturday's Champions League final against Juventus but took time out to hang out with Song.

The Barcelona squad will soon travel to Berlin for this Saturday's Champions League final against Juventus.

Barcelona lifted the Copa del Rey after Lionel Messi scored twice in a 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao following a 3-1 victory last Saturday.

Song has been recently linked with a return to the Premier League with Manchester City because he is classed as a home grown player. James Milner looks set to leave the Etihad after seeing his contract expire and he could be followed out of the club by fellow Englishmen Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards.

That leaves City needing homegrown reinforcements and Song qualifies having joined Arsenal from Bastia at 17 and played three seasons at the club before his 21st birthday.

The return of Alex Song to Barcelona frees up another £75,000 per week off the Hammers wage bill.

Genk deal on again
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham have signed Kara Mbodj from Genk, according to The Sun.

The tabloid claim the Hammers paid £4 million to the Belgian club for the services of the 25-year-old, who can play as a defender, defensive midfielder and central midfielder.

West Ham tried to sign the Senegal international in the January transfer window but failed, we reported then that the Irons would try again in the summer.

Until recently Genk was managed by Alex McLeish, who David Sullivan and David Gold used to employ at Birmingham City.

If the news is true, Mbodj will become West Ham's second signing of the summer following the acquisition of goalkeeper Darren Randolph on a free transfer from Birmingham City.

However, with the club manager-less at the moment, it remains to be seen whether our red top friends have got this one right.

Emery heads for UK with future on hold
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

Seville boss Unai Emery's has put his future on hold until after a reported trip to England this week where he is expected to meet David Sullivan and David Gold. The Europa League winning boss was yesterday involved in talks with Napoli and is now believed to be on his way for talks with the Irons co-owners. Madrid newspaper Deportivo El Decano reports that according to its sources a planned meeting is on hold at Seville with the manager due to visit the UK. The newspaper adds: "Clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham seek him along of course with the Naples club . "
ClaretandHugh reported on Sunday that the Irons were awaiting a response from the Seville boss when we were told there was a three way fight going on for his signature after reports that it was a tug of war between Napoli and ourselves. A top source told us: "It's more a case of us, Napoli or staying where he is, now Seville have qualified for the Champions League. We will have to be patient for a few more days."

The 43-year-old Europa League winning boss is reported as being impressed with our ambition and forthcoming move into the Olympic Stadium.

Carroll dumps Curtis
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

According to Matt Law in the Telegraph, Andy Carroll 'has split from his agent Mark Curtis over a dispute between the pair'

Carroll owns a racing horse called Ninety Minutes in partnership with Mark Curtis as well as his pal Kevin Nolan. The horse finished in eighth place out of nine when it raced at Newmarket last Saturday.

Curtis remains the agent for Sam Allardyce, Kevin Nolan, James Tomkins, Joey O'Brien and Matt Jarvis as far as we are aware. He was also involved in the Adrian deal and recently added Reece Burke to his list of clients. Former Hammers Jussi Jaaskalainen, Jack Collins and Guy Demel were also in his stable.

Irons deny Genk midfielder signing
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

It seems morning reports in The Sun that the Irons have signed Genk midfielder Kara Mbodj are well wide of the mark – if indeed there is a mark at all.

The tabloid claim the Hammers paid £4 million to the Belgian club for the services of the 25-year-old, who can play as a defender, defensive midfielder and central midfielder.

When recording the story this afternoon we wrote: "With the Irons manager-less "it remains to be seen whether our red top friends have got this one right."

An Upton Park source source has told us within the last few minutes: "NOT TRUE! Where on earth does this stuff come from."

Sevilla expects Emery to respect contract
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

Sevilla president Jose Castro expects Unai Emery to honour his contract with the Spanish club despite interest from Napoli and West Ham.
Emery has led Sevilla to back-to-back Europa League titles since arriving at Spain's oldest sports club which resulted in a champions league place qualification. Castro says he optimistic about his chances of persuading the 43-year-old manager to extend his contract, which has just 12 months to run. "We have a project in mind to build around Emery," the Sevilla supremo told SFC Radio. "Our coach has a contract for another year and I think that he will respect it. "We're speaking of an intelligent, serious person who has always put into practice what he's said. "We hope to be able to sign a new contract with him."

Napoli are believed to have offered Emery a three-year contract worth €3.5 million per season while West Ham could offer him a similar wage to that of Sam Allardyce at £3m per year.

Blackpool appoint McDonald
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

Neil McDonald has been appointed as the new manager of Blackpool on a one-year rolling deal. On their official website the Tangerines say:

'Blackpool Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil McDonald as the club's new manager on a one-year rolling deal. McDonald, 49, joins the club from Premier League side West Ham United, where he has spent the past four years as assistant manager to Sam Allardyce. Prior to that he worked alongside Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers, as well as with Iain Dowie at Crystal Palace and Gary McAllister at Leeds United.'

'A highly-respected coach and the holder of a UEFA Pro Licence, McDonald managed Carlisle United to the club's highest placed finish for 20 years in 2007, before briefly heading to Sweden to save Östersunds FK from relegation.'

"This is a great opportunity for me, it's a massive football club in my opinion and I'm really looking forward to the challenge," McDonald told the official website. "It's a challenge that's going to be difficult – wherever you go it's always difficult – but it's a challenge that I'm really up for and really excited about.

"I've got to try and put my stamp on the football club and get it back to where it was. I've got to try and stabilise it first of all after what happened last year with relegation and change people's minds to try and get the confidence back and push the club on to pastures new."

Valencia sets record straight
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 2, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham Striker Enner Valencia has been forced to set the record straight to defend himself. Yesterday, a number of tabloids and websites reported the story that Valencia would welcome transfer bids.

"I have heard of the [interest from] Chelsea and other teams, but we are going to wait. You have to see what happens. If it is for my good and that of West Ham, then it is welcome.We are going to see what happens after the Copa America – a competition in which I think we are going to do good things." Claimed a facebook which purported to be setup by the striker.

This afternoon Enner called the facebook quotes fake, taking to social media to defend himself he said:

"Once again I only have one Facebook account and I don't used much" posted with a picture of his real facebook page. "I really enjoyed my 1st season with West Ham and I am already looking forward to next season" He added. His interpreter & P.A, Martin Tanco said "Some fake Enner Valencia profiles on the web, causing trouble! Enner is not responsible at all" "Valencia has only one FB account, the real one is this one: the rest are fake!" added Tanco on his twitter account. Just over a week ago another tabloid suggested Enner Valencia was open to leaving the Hammers this summer if another club came in for him. The paper reported translated quotes from a Spanish interview which were found to be taken out of context.


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