Thursday, June 4

Daily WHUFC News - 4th June 2015

2014/15 Season Review - September

West Ham United's rollercoaster season was seen in microcosm in September, when the Hammers took part in a thrilling draw, pulled off a stunning win and suffered a frustrating defeat.

The transfer window closed with the Hammers having enjoyed a productive summer in the market, bringing in no fewer than eight new players – Aaron Cresswell, Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate, Enner Valencia, Diego Poyet, loanees Alex Song and Carl Jenkinson and deadline day signing Morgan Amalfitano.

All eight would play their part over the coming months, but it was strike partners Valencia and Sakho who made their mark first, scoring in a 2-2 draw at Hull City. The Ecuador forward thumped in an unstoppable 25-yarder to announce his arrival in English football before Sakho scored a late equaliser.

Next up came Liverpool, with Winston Reid, Sakho and Amalfitano scoring in a 3-1 home win, before the Senegal striker netted for a fourth straight start in a narrow 2-1 defeat at Manchester United. Indeed, had Kevin Nolan's late strike not been controversially ruled out for offside, the Hammers could have celebrated a famous comeback at Old Trafford.

Pike's looking to maintain progress

West Ham United youngster Alex Pike is thrilled to have put pen-to-paper on his first professional contract with the Club. The 18-year-old defender joins Djair Parfitt-Williams and Kyle Knoyle in signing deals that will run from 1 July and he is looking forward to continuing his progress. 2014/15 brought 20 appearances at U18 level and a further 13 for the U21s, so Pike is looking to make the most of the opportunity given to him by the Hammers. "I'm just really pleased to have signed the contract and am ready to go again next year now," he said. "Since I was young this is what I've strived to do so I'm pleased to have finally done it. "It's one step of many more that you need to get all the way to the first team, but it is one more done. "I've been here since an Under-11, so when you're here that long you have a sense of belonging to the Club. "I've grown through the Club with the coaches so it's been a good journey, and I was happy with how it went this season. I really pushed on."

From a results point of view, the 2014/15 season did not go to plan for the Hammers' Development Squad, but Pike believes the experience will stand them in good stead for this year. He added: "We've had quite a young team with the Under-21s this year, so it has been a bit of a struggle at times, especially against the older teams. "But we've had a bit of progression now and hopefully we can come back next year, push on and be one of the better sides."

Having seen Reece Burke make the step-up to the first team in recent weeks, the right back says his progress offers an example to follow.
He explained: "Looking at Reece Burke, it gives inspiration to us all because it shows that it's possible and that it's there for any of us who are willing to work hard for it. "I'd describe myself as a hard-working, attacking full back. I look up to a lot of players so it's hard to select one, but anyone who's played at the top level I look up to because they've done what's so hard [to do]."

Ladies head for Hornchurch

West Ham United Ladies have announced that they will be moving their home fixtures for the 2015/16 season to AFC Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue Stadium in Upminster.

The move, which is the first of many exciting announcements coming before the new FA Women's Premier League South campaign kicks-off in August, means that the Hammers are moving away from Aveley FC's Mill Field Stadium after one season with the Isthmian League Division One club.

Stephen Hunt, Joint-Chairman of West Ham United Ladies alongside his father John, said: "A month into our new role and we are delighted to make this announcement. Colin McBride at AFC Hornchurch has made us very welcome and we look forward to playing here and taking the club forward towards the Women's Super League."

AFC Hornchurch Chairman McBride added his excitement that the deal between the two clubs had been done, adding: "Over the past few seasons, the Essex FA have asked us to hold Ladies County Cup final games at our ground and I remember when West Ham played Colchester and Barking here.

"We enjoyed watching the girls play and when the opportunity came round to host a league game [against Queens Park Rangers] last season, we happily agreed to it. Now the deal has taken place, we are excited and want to embrace this opportunity and show our support to West Ham United through the Ladies team.

"We are looking forward to welcoming the Ladies down on a regular basis and will do everything in our power to make it a memorable day for everyone coming to games."

Ladies manager and West Ham legend Julian Dicks was also delighted that the first step towards enjoying a successful season has been put in place. He said: "I'm pleased that we've sealed the move to Hornchurch because it's a step forward in terms of facilities for players, staff and fans.

"We are working hard this summer to prepare for next season and it was important for us to find a nice, local ground that we can now call our new home."

West Ham Ladies have been working hard to get all their plans in place for a successful 2015/16 season, including arranging trial dates, preparing pre-match entertainment and increasing media coverage of the club.

Further announcements about the matchday experience will be announced via the Ladies official website and social media channels over the summer. One development will be the possibility of live music before the matches with a couple of local bands already interested in performing.

For more information, please visit the Ladies website here or follow them on Twitter @westhamladies.

From the Newsroom

Jason Burt is the Sunday Telegraph's football correspondent and a columnist for The Daily Telegraph

As the Club continue their search for a new manager to replace Sam Allardyce, who left the Boleyn Ground last month, caught up with the Sunday Telegraph's Football Correspondent Jason Burt to get his thoughts on the leading candidates who are being tipped to take over the managerial hot-seat at Upton Park. With the process still ongoing, Burt gives his run-down on what the possible front-runners could bring to the job in east London.

Unai Emery – He is an intense and very organised coach. He has a good record of improving players and is obsessed with video planning. He is very similar to Andre Villas-Boas in that they both have very detailed analysis of the opposition and has a strict organisation.

A good example of his thorough organisation can be seen last season when Sevilla played Fiorentina in the Europa League and he put all his analysis on how they could stop Joaquin and it worked a treat. He even does his own editing and analysis himself.

The players will have a blood test every morning to check on their hydration and oxygen levels. He insists that the players all eat together as a group before they leave the training ground. The players are very loyal to him.

He has shown his ability by helping Sevilla win the Europa League two-years in a row and that is not an easy thing to do.

The only drawback could be the language barrier and his lack of English but if he works as hard as he does with the players, he will learn it very quickly.

West Ham are not going to get Pep Guardiola but they need someone who can make a difference. For me Emery is an interesting choice and is highly rated. He will be able to get the balance right of playing in the Europa League and then back to the Premier League.

Marcelo Bielsa – He is the godfather of modern football and plays amazing attacking football. He has never worked in England but is so highly rated. It would certainly be a rollercoaster ride if he came to England.

I can remember when his Athletic Bilbao side destroyed Manchester United back in 2012 and he demands such high fitness levels from his players.

It shows the ambition that West Ham have got that they want to go for someone who has such an attacking philosophy. It is a key element for the Club and they need to get back into that.

I would sum him up by saying he is so un-predictable as a coach and could even go in and win the league for West Ham.
Bielsa has never worked in England but is so highly rated. It would certainly be a rollercoaster ride if he came to England
Jason Burt


Slaven Bilic – He is an interesting character. He had a difficult time in Russia and it would be hard for any coach to go into Turkey and try and get the better of Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

He did very well against the Premier League teams last season knocking Liverpool out of the Europa League and doing very well against Arsenal in the Champions League qualifiers last summer.

He has a lot of charisma and did very well with Croatia. The drawback would be his lack of silverware and can he be a top coach but he would certainly be popular with the fans and knows the club well from his playing days.

Michael Laudrup – He wants to come back to England and it is an advantage for him that he has managed in the Premier League before.

West Ham will want to move up the table as quickly as possible and establish themselves in the top ten especially as they have the demands of playing in the Europa League and if he gets the right tools I'm sure he could do that.

He has certainly got the profile and is a big figure in European football. He won a trophy with Swansea and would be willing to work under the structure that West Ham have. It remains to be seen if he can the Club to the next level.

When it comes to English coaches if this had been two-years ago they could have taken a chance with Eddie Howe. I think Garry Monk falls into a similar category. Swansea had an amazing season last year but the question will be if he can sustain that.

He knows the environment well at Swansea but can he do that at another club?

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for any new manager coming into the club and I genuinely believe that West Ham can break into the top six. The Olympic Stadium will be a game changer for them and they will be knocking hard on the door behind Liverpool and Tottenham.

You cannot under-estimate the attraction of playing in London and you can draw in a lot of people.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United

Poyet's Uruguay slip to last minute defeat

Uruguay U20's conceded an injury-time goal as Diego Poyet's side lost 2-1 to their Mexican counterparts.

Mexico midfielder Kevin Gonzalez, who plies his trade for top flight outfit Queretaro, scored in the 93rd minute to seal a vital win for his country.

In a tense game, West Ham United's Diego Poyet came on in the 70th minute, replacing compatriot Alan Mendez.

Within seconds of taking to the field, Poyet's men found themselves a goal behind as Hirving Lozano's shot broke the deadlock.

Los Charruas looked to have rescued a point and maintain their unbeaten start to their campaign when Mathias Suarez equalised with seven minutes to go.

However, the South American's were put under pressure when defender Erick Cabaco received a second yellow card. The pressure soon took its toll as Gonzalez found the winner with seconds remaining.

The win for Mexico leaves Group D evenly poised as Serbia, Mali, Uruguay and Mexico are all on three points from the opening two games.

The third round of fixtures will be played on Saturday 6 June with Serbia playing Mexico and Mali facing Uruguay.

The Big Interview

Long-serving physiotherapist Rob Jenkins returned to the Club's Chadwell Heath training ground this week to take part in a documentary covering the legendary Bobby Moore. The documentary will be screened in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of England winning the World Cup.

Having worked at the Club from 1966 to 1990, Jenkins had plenty of stories of Moore and other players that he worked with through the years. On his return to Chadwell, he spoke to

Rob, welcome back to Chadwell Heath, what is it like to come back?

RJ: "It's wonderful, absolutely amazing. When I came through the gates I sort of felt disorientated because it felt so familiar yet a lot of it has changed. My medical room is where the Manager's office is now. There's a lot more buildings here now, it just shows how football has come on with the all the developments in sports science, the analysts and media side of things. I recognise a few things but it has certainly changed a lot since the early 60s, that's for sure. When my dad first started working here, it was a cricket pavilion with a pitch and that was about it really."

Your Dad worked here before you, then he brought you into the club, there's a few instances throughout the club's history of family members working here?

RJ: "Yes, I think that's one of the reasons that makes this club special. Other clubs may also have families working there too but I think it's important that the club has a connection to the people from the community. West Ham has always had that. My Dad loved working for the club, as did I. It was fantastic working for the club you support. I was here for 25 years, when I started the Manager's office was full of smoke but that's all changed now. 25 years is a long time, certainly long enough! But I loved it here, it was an exciting time to be involved, especially as a West Ham fan."

You were at Upton Park recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Club winning the 1965 European Cup Winners Cup, it must have been nice to see some old faces?

RJ: "Oh yes, it was fantastic. It was great to be pitch side and for that achievement to be recognised. I thought the current fans gave us a great reception even though it was a long time ago. It doesn't feel like it was 50 years ago, that's for sure! As you get older the times flies, I'm 77 now. It was really nice to see some of the players. Eddie Bovington is still a good friend of mine, Ken Brown, Martin Peters, Alan Sealey's wife and his son were there so it was a wonderful occasion."

How often do you get the opportunity to come to watch the Hammers these days?

RJ: "I come about three or four times a year. I always love coming to watch the games, it's a feeling that's never left me."

We're just about to enter the final season at the Boleyn Ground, the stadium must hold many great memories?

RJ: "Yes definitely, my clinic used to be just outside the ground as well. The whole thing is going to come down. It's sad but I will go to the new Stadium in Stratford, we've got a good team so hopefully the atmosphere will be just as good and we can create some new memories to celebrate."

Real quash Moyes link as another target falls
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Real Sociedad have confirmed West Ham managerial target David Moyes will remain at the club next season. Sociedad President Jokin Aperribay told a press conference this lunchtime (Wednesday) that Moyes, who was one of West Ham's top targets to replace the recently-departed Sam Allardyce, would be remaining at the Anoeta Stadium for the foreseeable future. "David Moyes has never spoken to us about this," he said. "If anything, we have heard these rumours from the media. He has never suggested the possibility to go back to England.
"We made an important decision last season in bringing in Moyes as coach of the first team. We don't see the need to make any drastic changes. "We don't think that the club needs to make any more changes within the technical department because in general, the results we have seen during the past six years have been positive."

West Ham have now seen their attempts to land a string of managers fall by the wayside, since parting company with Allardyce. In addition to Moyes, Frank De Boer, Jurgen Klopp, Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti have all rejected the opportunity to join West Ham.

New deals for Hammers duo
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Alex Pike and Kyle Knoyle have followed Academy team mate Djair Parfitt-Williams by signing their first professional contracts with the club. 18-year-old Pike and England Under 18 Knoyle, both defenders by trade, put pen to paper this week - and in doing so, joined the likes of fellow Academy star Reece Burke who signed his first pro deal last October. Pike, who has been with West Ham since the age of 10, told "I'm really pleased to have signed the contract and am ready to go again next year now. Since I was young this is what I've strived to do, so I'm pleased to have finally done it. "I'd describe myself as a hard-working, attacking full back. I look up to a lot of players so it's hard to select one, but anyone who's played at the top level I look up to because they've done what's so hard [to do]."

And Knoyle added: "I'm delighted, it's something I've always dreamt of. 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 [I have] a good future too."

Emery to stay in Spain with Seville, say reports
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd June 2015
By: Staff Writer

Reports emanating from Spain this lunchtime are suggesting that Seville coach Unai Emery has opted to stay with his current club next season.

According to Radio Seville this afternoon (Wednesday), the 43-year-old head coach has rejected offers from Napoli and West Ham in order to remain with Los Rojiblancos, whom he has led to back-to-back Europa League titles.

RS insist that Emery remains unconvinced by the Napoli and West Ham offers - despite the major financial incentives - and will instead return to Seville in order to see out the final year of his contract.

Emery was in London yesterday for talks with Hammers chiefs and was expected to leave the capital later today, following discussions with co-owner David Sullivan.

Should the reports prove correct, that would leave Marcelo Bielsa and Slaven Bilic as the two remaining front-runners for the job vacated by Sam Allardyce last month.

West Ham in talks with Unai Emery
Last Updated: 03/06/15 1:14pm

West Ham are to hold talks with Sevilla manager Unai Emery in the next 48 hours over their vacant manager's position, according to Sky sources. Emery has won plaudits and trophies in equal measure in recent seasons, his stock further enhanced after his side retained the Europa League with victory over Dnipro last week. The 43-year-old is also understood to be on Napoli's radar after the Serie A club lost Rafa Benitez to Real Madrid.

Last week, Hammers co-owner David Sullivan promised supporters there would be imminent signings and a 'big-name' manager. He said: "I am dedicating every waking minute to recruiting the best available manager to drive our club forwards. "It is a constantly changing landscape but we are being absolutely thorough in our search, by speaking to representatives of a number of managers and doing our own due diligence on each one. "Given that, I am not expecting us to make an appointment for at least a week as we must do everything we can to get this appointment right."

Ajax boss Frank de Boer, former Hammers stalwart Slaven Bilic and Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa are others to have been linked with the vacancy created by Sam Allardyce's departure after four years at the Boleyn Ground.

By Sean Whetstone 3 Jun 2015 at 08:00
West Ham Till I Die

The amount available prize money in the UEFA Europa League is forecasted to be €381m in the 2015-2016 season up from €233m in the 2014-15 season. This represents increase of around 65%.

Last week Hammers Co-Chairman David Gold said "There is no money to be made from the Europa Cup unless you reach the 1/4 finals. PS. making money is not a sin. dg"

Well I beg to differ Mr Chairman, there has never been time to play in the Europa League from a financial point of view.

This amount will be distributed to participating clubs on a 60:40 basis between fixed amounts and market pool. Each of the 48 clubs that reach the group stage will receive a group stage basic fee of €2.4m (£1.72m).

On top of this, there will be performance bonuses: €360,000 every win and €120,000 every draw in the group stage. The winners of the groups will receive a qualification bonus of €500,000 the runners-up of €250,000.

The teams playing in the round of 32 will receive €500,000 each, the teams playing in the round of 16 will receive €750,000 each, the quarter-finalists €1m each and the semi-finalists €1.5m each. The UEFA Europa League winners will receive €6.5m and the runners-up €3.5m, inclusive of their ticketing revenue share.

There is a further €152.4m (£109.7m) in variable amounts called a (market pool) which is distributed according to the proportional value of each domestic television market represented by the teams taking part in the UEFA Europa League from the group stage onwards.

UEFA Europa League Prize Fund

Group Stage fee €2.4m (£1.72m)

Group Stage performance €360k (£259k) win / €120k (£86.4k) draw

Knock Out Qualification bonus €500k (£360k) winners/€250k (£180k) runners-up

Round of 32 €500k (£360k)

Round of 16 €750k (£540k)

Quarter-Finals €1m (£720k)

Semi-Finals €1.5m (£1.08m)

Final €6.5m (£4.68m) winners / €3.5m (£2.52m) runners-up

In the UEFA Europa League payments will be paid in the qualifying and play off rounds. These amount to: €200,000 (£144,000) in the first qualifying round, €210,000 (£151,200) in the second qualifying round, €220,00 (£158,400) in the third qualifying round and €230,000 (£165,600) in the play-offs (this latter, if not qualified to the UEFA Europa League group stage).

Add to this West Ham will take 100% of the gate money at all Home games in the Europa league while only having to give 5% in away allocation to visiting fans. Assuming West Ham manage to sellout all Europa home games at £20 per ticket that would add £700,000 per game in Ticket revenue. If by miracle we made it to the Europa league semi finals that would be an extra £7.7m in ticket sales at the Boleyn ground on it's own.

The biggest financial prize is winning the Europa League, in addition to 6.5 million Euros prize you also get a Champions League place. If you went on and managed to win the Champions League as well you can bag another £74m! Well we can all dream can't we!

Ravel return rubbished
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

Speculation that Ravel Morrison may be on his way to West Ham has been rubbished by the club. The story started circulating on the internet last night and immediately started gaining credibility on Twitter and elsewhere. Sam Allardyce's departure appears to have sparked the 'story' with the suggestion being that the Irons were exploring ways of perhaps getting him out of his Lazio contract now the 60 year old has gone. But ClaretandHugh was told today: "It's a watertight deal withLazio and there's no going back. Why would we? The decision was made and that's that. "It's a fun story because we all now Ravel had his problems with Sam but he's a Lazio player and as far as we are concerned will remain so."

Sevilla chief: "Emery is meeting other clubs"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

Sevilla president Jose Castro (right) has confirmed boss Unai Emery is considering his future amid keen interest from the Irons and Napoli. It's the first time there has been a formal announcement and Castro's words will acalm the nerves of Hammers supporters who believe the managerial position is becoming a serious problem. ClaretandHugh was told earlier today that the Irons board members have cleared their diaries to attend 'manager interviews' through until Monday with one source declaring: "This has to be brought to a head by next Friday."

Castro admitted on Sevilla TV: "I spoke to Emery on Sunday and he informed us of meetings with other clubs to evaluate all the options
He admitted there was an offer from Napoli. The manager is now in London where the Hammers will offer a highly lucrative deal and with the OS being dangled in front of him are hoping they have an edge. Castro is refusing to give up hope of keeping him saying: "I hope and believe Unai will stay with us, but he will do what he sees fit," he said. "I repeat, I hope he will stay with us and have faith that he will."

Report: Emery on his way to Sullivan's mansion
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham are to hold talks with Sevilla manager Unai Emery in the next 48 hours over their vacant manager's position, according to Sky sources. Sky reported the story almost at the same time as ClaretandHugh had revealed the board had cleared their diaries to interview several candidates between now and Monday and that Emery was among those likely to arrive at David Sullivan's Essex mansion. Were the Hammers to get their man it would be a major coup followng his talks in Napoli simed at making him Rafa Benitez's successor following his appointment as Real Madrid boss. Emery has won plaudits and trophies in equal measure in recent seasons, his stock further enhanced after his side retained the Europa League with victory over Dnipro last week.

Top Irons starlet pens pro deal
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

Highly rated Academy prospect Djair Parfitt-Williams has signed a professional contract. The forward has put pen to paper on a two-year deal, keeping him at West Ham until June 2017. Speaking on the official site after committing his immediate future to the Hammers, Parfitt-Williams, who was the U18's top goal scorer this season with nine strikes, said: "Ever since I was young I've always wanted to be a professional footballer, so it feels really good. "It's nice to see my hard work recognised. I do a lot of extra training and I'm always watching football. For my hard work to come out on the pitch is excellent. "I've known the contract was coming for a while, so it's nice to finally sign it. It felt kind of weird." Parfitt-Williams' impressive performances culminated in his nomination for the prestigious Dylan Tombides Award at this year's Player Awards.

Manager interviews sees Irons board clear diaries
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham's board has cancelled all appointments and cleared their diaries of of everything other than manager interviews through to next Monday! None of the three will be attending the important Premier League meeting over the next three days as they bid to bring the managerial chase to an end. The top three candidates – Rafa Benitez, David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti – have now been firmly ruled out but a number of meetings are set up from now and into next week as the hunt goes on. And a top insider made it clear: "There is absolutely no anxiety or panic among anybody that we won't get a quality boss. "The board members have put themselves on 24 hour standby as they are dealing through agents, obviously, and things can happen at any moment."
Seville boss Unai Emery is among those who are expected to be involved in talks over the next few days but as reported on this site over recent days such as Frank de Boer and Michael Laudrup are all but out of the running.

ClaretandHugh has discovered that even ahead of the Real Madrid intervention, Benitez was looking for a larger budget than the Hammers had available and both Moyes and Ancelotti were looking for in excess of £50 million. And suggestions that as the 'big names' fell, Slaven Bilic would become the obvious choice, have also been knocked back with the news that several names are now waiting for their appointments in front of the board at David Sullivan's Essex mansion.

West Ham Ladies move to Upminster
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

2West Ham United Ladies Football Club announced today that they will be moving their home fixtures for the 2015/16 season to AFC Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue Stadium in Upminster.

The ladies are moving away from Aveley FC's Mill Field Stadium after one season with the Isthmian League Division One club.

Stephen Hunt, Joint Chairman of West Ham United Ladies FC said: "A month into our new role and we are delighted to make this announcement. Colin McBride at AFC Hornchurch has made us very welcome and we look forward to playing here and taking the club forward entertainment and squad improvements, will draw a crowd towards the Women's Super League."

Ladies first team manager and former Hammer Julian Dicks said: "I'm pleased that we've sealed the move to Hornchurch because it's a step forward in terms of facilities for players, staff and fans. We are working hard this summer to prepare for next season and it was important for us to find a nice, local ground that we can now call our new home."

Odds crash on Emery
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 3, 2015 in Whispers

Bookmakers have been quick to shorten the odds on Unai Emery becoming the fifteen manager of West Ham. Two book makers are now offering odds as short as Evens as speculation spreads that Emery will fly into London today. Not all bookmakers see it the same way and it still possible to get 3/1 on Emery with book maker Coral. However, the Daily Star today claims Slaven Bilic is set for the West Ham job after all other targets have snubbed the club. Bilic remains the favourite but you can now get odds of Evens or better with Betfair offering the best price of 6/4 on the former Hammer becoming the next West Ham manager.

West Ham United, a season in review: August
Filed: Monday, 1st June 2015
By: Graeme Howlett

Throughout the football season, KUMB Editor Graeme Howlett pens a weekly column for Echo Newspapers. Join us as we take a look back at the highs and lows of the 2014/15 season, beginning with his August musings...

Column #1: 17 August 2014

The Premier League returned with a bang on Saturday and for West Ham, everything was going swimmingly for 92 minutes or so.

That was until Eric Dier's injury time winner for visitors Tottenham provided a thoroughly disappointing conclusion to an enthralling London derby, one in which both teams had fought hard for all three points. I would say this I guess, but neither side really deserved to lose.

Mark Noble, peerless from 12 yards hadn't missed a penalty for five years but chose this of all games to drag a spot kick wide. Tottenham, reduced to ten men having lost Kyle Naughton for the hand ball that led to Noble's penalty were only numerically disadvantaged for half-an-hour as James Collins' second yellow card for a clumsy challenge saw him take an early bath too.

West Ham had late chances to win it, yet neither Mark Noble nor a lively Stewart Downing could outwit Hugo Lloris when facing him one-one-one. Sam Allardyce's charges ultimately paid for their profligacy when Dier rounded goalkeeper Adrian deep into injury time to win the game for Spurs, whose fans celebrated as if they'd won the Cup Final; not unreasonably perhaps, given that they'd conceded bragging rights in all three meetings last season.

The home fans' response to Tottenham's winning goal - a magnificent, defiant chorus of 'Bubbles' that broke out simultaneously at both ends of the Boleyn Ground - alluded to endorsement of the team's overall performance. Social media told a different story later, but Allardyce's critics remain numerous and defeat in a London derby is unlikely to quell their dissatisfaction.

Although disappointment and frustration pervaded post-match discussion there were a number of positive signs for West Ham supporters to take heart from. The first competitive glimpse of a less-cautious tactical approach was evident and strong showings from debutants Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell and Enner Valencia bode well for the future.

With Mauro Zarate, Diego Poyet (both unused subs on Saturday) and striker Diafra Sakho having been added to the squad Allardyce now has an abundance of new options to choose from. Another, the injured Carl Jenkinson, will expand the pack further and West Ham should be pleased with their transfer business so far this summer.

However it's getting results that ultimately matters and Allardyce knows his team will have to improve - in the attacking third, at least - at managerless Crystal Palace next weekend.

Column #2: 24 August 2014

Despite falling to defeat against Tottenham at the Boleyn last weekend there were signs that Sam Allardyce's latest West Ham squad might just be able to achieve the change of style and philosophy his employers so publicly insisted upon during pre-season.

A greater willingness to get the ball on the deck and play through midfield - rather than mostly cutting out the middle man - was clearly evident as the Hammers racked up a total of 18 shots on goal (including Mark Noble's missed penalty) without managing to score.

As a result, hopes were high for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace - a club currently rudderless following the recent departure of Tony Pullis. But few - if any - Hammers fans would have been expecting to behold the Eagles being put to the sword in such a comprehensive manner.

West Ham, inspired by the movement and guile of debutant Mauro Zarate in the position vacated by the injured Kevin Nolan were rampant and the 3-1 win that gave them their first Premier League points of the season was fully merited. The Argentine's goal - a 20-yard volley executed with stunning precision - was a thing of beauty and gave United a deserved lead.

Even better from a team perspective was West Ham's second, that arrived minutes later. A wonderful team move culminated with Stewart Downing cutting inside from the right flank before unleashing a powerful, inch-perfect drive that left Palace's Julián Speroni clutching at air.

James Tomkins should have increased West Ham's lead after the restart but his header crashed off the underside of the crossbar. Former Hammer Marouane Chamakh scored with a rasping strike to reduce the deficit to one but Carlton Cole sealed the win on the hour mark with a close range effort.

Speaking to the press after the game, Big Sam denied - possibly disingenuously - having made any major alterations to his tactical approach. Regardless, the first two games of the season have produced a West Ham team looking more creative and forward-thinking than has been the case for some considerable time.

And whether it be the result of tactical fine-tuning, the introduction of Teddy Sheringham as (part time) attacking coach or simply that West Ham have better players - such as the outstanding Cheikou Kouyate - in their squad this season, few fans are complaining at the team's encouraging start.

Column #3: 31 August 2014

What a difference a week makes in football.

This time last week, Sam Allardyce and his players were basking in praise following a magnificent performance at Crystal Palace.

Yet within the space of only seven days, defeats to Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup and an insipid display against Southampton on Saturday - both at home - have Big Sam's detractors sharpening their knives once again.

It's little secret that Allardyce's relationship with a subset of the club's fanbase is irreparable - and has been since the big man cupped his ear in the direction of the stands after booing marred the 2-1 win against Hull last season.

However it was fairly contemptible that a few hundred fans decided to respond to yesterday's poor showing - the first of the new season - with an unrepeatable chorus suggesting the Board should replace the manager with immediate effect.

And it was all going so well, too...

Despite the final score, West Ham had a reasonably productive first half. Mark Noble's deflected effort gave United a deserved lead but Morgan Schneiderlin's equaliser on the stroke of half time proved to be the game's turning point. The second half was a different story entirely, with Saints enjoying near total control.

Schneiderlin's and Southampton's second, from a corner - incorrectly awarded by the consistently wayward Mike Dean - was the result of schoolboy defending from the Hammers who were more concerned with arguing the decision than defending the set-play.

The third, courtesy of man mountain Graziano Pelle, was inevitable and merely served to rub salt into West Ham's wounds.

Allardyce, speaking after the game cited a lack of leadership on the field as a major factor in defeat. It's difficult not to sympathise with that view, as it's unlikely West Ham would have been so badly organised for the first two goals - both from set-pieces - had the injured Kevin Nolan been present.

Still, it wasn't all bad. The club's eighth summer signing, Alex Song, was introduced to the Boleyn Ground ahead of the match and a season-long loan from Barcelona. Even though he failed to secure a first team spot at Nou Camp following his £15m move from Arsenal in 2012, much is expected of the Cameroon international.

And even though Monday night's transfer deadline is rapidly approaching, don't rule out West Ham doing further business - either in, out, or both!

West Ham United, a season in review: September
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd June 2015
By: Graeme Howlett

Throughout the football season, KUMB Editor Graeme Howlett pens a weekly column for Echo Newspapers. Join us as we take a look back at the highs and lows of the 2014/15 season, with our eyes today on September 2014...

Column #4: 14 September 2014

There are likely be a host of new faces on show at the KC Stadium tonight when West Ham tackle Hull City in their second away fixture of the new Premier League season.

Whilst Steve Bruce's Tigers - who spent close to £40million in the summer - will be looking to give home debuts to the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Gaston Ramirez and Michael Dawson, West Ham could give first starts to Alex Song (on loan from Barcelona) and Morgan Amalfitano (£800,000 from Marseille) - both of whom signed in the final few days of the transfer window.

However the new signing likely to command most attention from pundits and fans alike will be Hull's Mo Diame, a £3.5million transfer deadline day mover - from West Ham United.

No sooner had Diame arrived on Humberside than the sideswipes at former manager Sam Allardyce began. "I was played out of position," moaned the central midfielder, whose four most significant goals for West Ham - against Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Sampdoria - came from a wide position.

Allardyce hit back at the Senegal international during his pre-match press conference, accusing Diame of failing to recreate the form he exhibited during his first season at the club. It's a view that many fans, frustrated by Diame's penchant for making mazy runs that came to nothing, will sympathise with.

Meanwhile, the recent international break has afforded Big Sam additional time in which to rehabilitate some previously unavailable or less-than-fully-fit players.

Although it's still too early for the likes of Carl Jenkinson and Matt Jarvis, others such as James Tomkins, Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia should all be available for selection - as is James Collins, back from suspension following his red card against Tottenham on the opening day of the season.

A win for West Ham at Hull would catapult the Hammers back into the upper half of the table, whilst defeat would leave them just a point above the bottom three - not exactly ideal preparation for the visit of Liverpool next week and trip to Manchester United seven days later.

Finally, whilst Allardyce has refused to either confirm or deny reports, record signing Andy Carroll (remember him!?) could be back in action as soon as next month - a major fillip for the manager, his squad and the team's Premier League prospects.

Column #5: 21 September 2014

A West Ham win against Liverpool is a rare and precious thing. Since the turn of the century, United have recorded just three victories from 24 meeting with their Merseyside rivals - which is what made Saturday's 3-1 success that little bit sweeter.

Sam Allardyce's new look West Ham found themselves two ahead before Liverpool had even mounted a notable attack, such was the Irons' dominance in the opening stages of the game. With Brendan Rodgers' team perhaps feeling the effects of having played in the Champions League just 72 hours earlier, Big Sam instructed his players to hold a high line and attack from the front.

It was a policy that paid off handsomely.

Winston Reid's first goal in a year - scored with precisely 69 seconds on the clock - got the Hammers off to a flyer. Diafra Sakho's seventh-minute lob over Simon Mignolet - his third goal since becoming a Hammer last month - was stunning in both execution and accuracy, and gave West Ham what ultimately proved to be an unassailable lead.

Although Raheem Sterling gave Liverpool hope when halving the deficit midway through the opening period it was another new signing, Morgan Amalfitano, who wrapped up all three points for the happy Hammers with a deft touch just two minutes from the end of normal time.

Key to the win was Allardyce's decision to play Stewart Downing in a more central role, a position in which he has excelled in recent weeks. It was the former England man's free kick which led to the opening goal and his slide-rule pass that put Amalfitano in for the third.

However his most important contribution was to nullify the threat of Steven Gerrard.

Sitting in front of the back four, as is his want in recent months, Liverpool's talisman and main creative force was effectively removed from the game by Downing, who harried and chased him down whenever in possession.

That ploy rendered Liverpool, sans the Sturridge and Suarez combination which terrorised Premier League defences last season, effectively impotent and led to a much-needed, first home win of the season - one which lifted West Ham into eighth spot.

A trip to Old Trafford beckons next weekend when the Hammers will face a less-than-fully-functional Manchester United. West Ham's record against the Mancunians is similar to that versus Liverpool; what odds Big Sam's boys upsetting the applecart once again?

Column #6: 28 September 2014

West Ham's unbeaten away record came to a somewhat controversial end at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon when Kevin Nolan was left furious after what would have been an 89th minute equaliser was ruled out for offside.

TV replays indicated that the Hammers captain was no more than a gnat's wing ahead of the last defender and 24 hours on, fans were still arguing whether it was or wasn't onside - which suggests that the assistant referee, who made the call, either possesses super-human eyesight or simply decided to rule in favour of the more high-profile club when it came to the crunch.

Of course, that's no surprise - there are a litany of examples where Hammers fans have been left feeling hard done by as the result of a referee's ruling whilst playing your Man Us and Liverpools over the years. However that West Ham are even in a position to cite a bad call as reason for defeat, at a venue they rarely fare well at, is testament to the rapid progress they have been making in recent weeks.

Let's not forget that the Hammers team that penned Man U into their own half for much of the second half of Saturday's 2-1 defeat was missing its entire engine room, namely Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble (both injured). Diego Poyet, 19, played with a maturity beyond his years as replacement but Kouyate has been immense and was missed.

Although things started badly when Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie scored inside the opening 25 minutes, Diafra Sakho's fourth goal in as many starts for West Ham gave Sam Allardyce's team renewed hope. But for the linesman, they would have been enjoying a well-earned point instead of the traditional defeat on Sir Matt Busby Way.

Still, most of the 2,000-odd Hammers fans who made the long and arduous journey back down the M6 on Saturday night were content with their team's performance. Rare indeed are the occasions when West Ham dominate Man Utd; rarer still, at Old Trafford.

Having taken a respectable haul of three points from six in the two games against Liverpool and the Red Devils, it's newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers who provide West Ham's next test this weekend at the Boleyn. It's one from which the fans will be expecting all three points - and perhaps rightly so, given the team's encouraging start to the campaign.

Liverpool legend: Why Bilic will get more leeway than Sam Allardyce
Lewis Doe

Liverpool legend Ray Houghton has suggested how Slaven Bilic's West Ham past will work in his favour. Liverpool legend Ray Houghton told talkSPORT why he feels Slaven Bilic will be treated differently by West Ham fans if he's confirmed as the manager of the East London club. Bilic is one of the candidates to replace old manager Sam Allardyce and Houghton has suggested it would be a popular move with West Ham's supporters. "It looks like it's going to be Slaven Bilic at the moment – As a former player coming in at West Ham he'll get a bit more leeway from the fans and they'll like what he did in Croatia and over in Turkey as well so he'll be a good addition to the club," said Houghton. Although Bilic would be a popular option, he's going to be under real pressure next season ahead of the club's move to the Olympic Stadium. The pressure which was placed on Sam Allardyce over the second half of last season showed him quickly opinions can change of a manager.

West Ham looked as though they would be competing for the top eight based on performances over the first half of the season, but frustrations mounted as the displays got more and more negative. Bilic does have a different style to Allardyce and he needs to try and whip up some excitement to get even more fans on his side if he is confirmed in the position. It will be interesting to see how he's perceived if West Ham don't register a win for a month and hopefully Houghton's prediction that fans will lay off of the criticism initially will ring true.

Why Unai Emery is a gamble West Ham must be willing to take
Julian Shea for
Wednesday 3 Jun 2015 3:04 pm

If first impressions count, then West Ham fans must hope Unai Emery is a man with a liking for lavish décor.

Reports that the coach who has just guided Sevilla to a second consecutive Europa League triumph is on his way to talk to the Irons – and that those discussions will take place in the understated grandeur of co-owner David Sullivan's Essex mansion – would suggest the search for Sam Allardyce's replacement is progressing at some pace.

Since taking over in January 2010, Sullivan and co-owner David Gold have a patchy record on managerial appointments. Replacing the likeable but ineffective Gianfranco Zola with the disastrous Avram Grant made an already bad situation worse, before the appointment of Allardyce – big on grit but low on finesse – dug the club out of a hole and restored stability, but at the cost of fan satisfaction.

So far, so meh. The prospect of removal vans outside the Boleyn in 12 months' time, packing things up for the move to the Olympic Stadium, means that the next appointment is the most crucial in the club's history. Get it right, and the team could fly into their new home sky-high on confidence and momentum; get it wrong, and the club's new era could get off to the most embarrassing of starts. So that is why the fact that a manager like Emery is even on their radar is a sign that they are raising the sights of everyone at the club.

The 43-year-old may not speak much English, but his track record does plenty of talking, and his age and the consistency of his performance suggests that the best may be yet to come. Like Bournemouth's Eddie Howe, an injury-curtailed playing career saw him move into management early, and he excelled on limited resources. Then, stepping up to Valencia, he got them back into the Champions League and steadied an uneven ship, before a short-lived and ill-fated sojourn in Russian football.

Back home in Spain at Sevilla, two consecutive fifth place La Liga finishes, each accompanied by the Europa League title added to his reputation. Clearly, this is someone destined for a bigger stage. But whose?

The fact the Irons appear have seen off interest from Napoli for Emery is another hint at his class. The Neapolitans wanted someone to replace Rafael Benitez – a man whose success include the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Italian Cup and La Liga twice – and Emery was on their shortlist. And for believers in the adage 'judge a man by the company he keeps', so was Jurgen Klopp.

Every appointment is a gamble, and with West Ham facing the biggest period of upheaval in club history, this one is even bigger than most. But the fact the Irons are even at the table for him is a sign of positive thinking – and if he's here to talk, he's keen too. In the absence of a stand-out, box-ticking alternative, West Ham should seize their chance – go for Emery.

West Ham prepared to offer Unai Emery more than Napoli as they hold talks with Sevilla boss
Evening Standard
Published: 03 June 2015 Updated: 12:09, 03 June 2015

West Ham were due to hold talks with Unai Emery today but Napoli remain the favourites to land the Sevilla manager. The 43-year-old Spaniard has become hot property after guiding Sevilla to successive Europa League triumphs and there were reports today that AC Milan are also interested in appointing him. West Ham, who expect to name their new manager in the next 10 days, are prepared to beat Napoli's financial offer for Emery if they make a firm bid. Sevilla president Jose Castro confirmed the Italian club's interest, saying: "Emery has an offer from Napoli. We hope he'll stay with us. I spoke to him on Sunday and he informed us of meetings with other clubs."
Slaven Bilic, however, remains the favourite ahead of Emery. Bilic has left Turkish club Besiktas and is keen to manage in the Premier League. He knows West Ham from his time as a player there and had success as manager of the Croatian national team. The other main option is Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa.


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