Saturday, July 18

Daily WHUFC News - 18th July 2015

Match-winner Tomkins glad to chip in

James Tomkins was pleased to end a frustrating night on the winning side after his late goal gave West Ham United a first leg advantage over Birkirkara in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. Despite enjoying 74 percent possession and unleashing 14 attempts on goal to the visitors' one, it looked as though the Hammers would be heading the Malta with the tie in the balance as a mixture of goalkeeper Justin Haber and the woodwork kept them at bay. But just as the clock ticked towards 90, Mauro Zarate swung over a corner for Tomkins to knock home from close range, much to the relief of the majority of the 33,048 in attendance. "They frustrated us," he admitted. "They worked really hard and sat back deep. To be honest it was all us possession-wise and we knew the goal would come. We had a couple of chances early and played pretty well in the first half. The second half sort of died down a little bit, but we managed to get the goal at the end. "It was a long time coming, but we got there in the end. They made it hard for it and it's going to be hard over there as well."

Tomkins' goal was his second in three Europa League games and he hopes that is a sign of things to come. He explained: "I saw the flight of the ball all the way and I felt it was going over the keeper, so then it was a decision over whether to head it or chest it. "I thought I'd chest it just in case the header flies over, so I made it easy for myself. It was a great ball by Mauro. I don't think it was going in itself, but it was a great ball and the first one that really came in my area. I only had to touch it in - a proper centre forward's goal!
"It's nice to get a couple of goals already. I only had one last year, which is something I wanted to add to my game. "I've started to do that, and if I can do that for the team then all the better. We did need that goal tonight and luckily we got it."

Three competitive games into the campaign, the Hammers are all together as a squad for the first time following staggered training camps and Tomkins can see the cohesion coming already.
He added: "The Gaffer's impressing on us how he wants to play – pass and move, and press and defend. It's the whole rotating system that we need to get used to and it takes a bit of time.
"For a lot of the boys it was their first 90 minutes tonight so you can't be too harsh on us. I think we played really well – Adrian didn't have a shot to deal with, so that's another positive."

Zarate wants to show his best form

West Ham United forward Mauro Zarate says he is keen to show his best form for the Club this season and hopes his man of the match display will improve his chances of securing a first-team place. Zarate was outstanding against FC Lusitans in the first qualifying round of the Europa League and continued his impressive start to the pre-season campaign with another fine display as James Tomkins scored a 90th-minute winner against Birkirkara at the Boleyn Ground. The Argentine striker is keen to make an impact under new manager Slaven Bilic and hopes the European campaign will give him the ideal opportunity to show he should be a regular member in the squad. Zarate said: "Everyone has to do their best for the team and pre-season is very important for all the players. I hope to have a big season. "It was a hard game and it was difficult to play against them. We have to go there and get a good result. We are confident going into the second leg."

Samuelsen - Fans inspired me

Martin Samuelsen will never forget the experience of making his competitive debut at the Boleyn Ground and hopes this is the start of a memorable career for West Ham United. The Norwegian 18-year-old was introduced as a second half substitute during the 1-0 win over Birkirkara in the Europa League second qualifying round on Thursday night and received one of the biggest cheers of the night when he entered the action. Samuelsen arrived from Manchester City during the summer and has already caught the eye of new manager Slaven Bilic and showed his potential with an impressive display against Peterborough last Saturday. The talented forward is now hoping he can cement his place in the first-team squad and show he is good enough to compete at the highest level. Samuelsen said: "It felt amazing to play at the Boleyn Ground and it was a really good feeling. "I was very nervous when Slaven first called me to go on but I wanted to enjoy the moment. The fans are amazing and I heard them supporting me. They made it easy for me to go on. "It was important that we got the victory. We worked hard until the final minutes and thought we played well in the final stages of the game. Overall we had a good performance. I am confident we can make it through to the next round. "

Samuelsen had special praise for Mauro Zarate who produced another impressive display and was voted man of the match. Zarate certainly has a point to prove on his return to the Club and Samuelsen knew he was going to be one of the star performers on show. He added: "I told Mauro Zarate before the game that he was going to be man of the match. He is a fantastic player and can create stuff on his own and he is really important for us."

With the pre-season campaign continuing against Southend on Saturday and Colchester on Tuesday night, Samuelsen is relishing the chance to play in so many games ahead of the new season.
"It is good to have these amount of games to build up our fitness before the big games begin and I think we should do well in those games."

Dev Squad head for Chelmsford

West Ham United's busy pre-season continues as the Development Squad pay a visit to Chelmsford City on Friday evening. Fresh from leading the first team through the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round, Academy Director Terry Westley will take a squad of young professionals and scholars to Essex's county town for a 7.30pm kick-off. A number of the players who featured against FC Lusitans – Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen, Lewis Page and Djair Parfitt-Williams – are in the squad, alongside a host of other promising Academy prospects. "We're looking to the game because some of them have been back in since 22 June and the training and the camp with the first-team players was very encouraging, so now to see them perform on their own will be of big interest to us," Westley began. "The likes of Kyle Knoyle, Sam Westley, Josh Pask, Amos Nasha and Jordan Brown need a game so we're looking forward to getting that group all together to play that game. "It's a chance to impress the new staff and to push for places against Colchester, Charlton and Norwich. The players who have played in the Europa League have laid down the gauntlet and said 'We are good enough to do that'. All of our questions, we hope, will be answered."

Westley believes Chelmsford will provide his young squad with a test they need to rise to if they are going to make their mark in senior football. "We had a bit of a link with Chelmsford last year as we sent Jaanai Gordon there on loan and took one of their youngsters, Joe Ward, on trial," Westley confirmed. "At that age, our players have got to be able to play at that level so it's a test for them and a case of finding out if we can go there and play at that level. "What has encouraged me in pre-season with the Cork trip and integration with our senior players is that they have really shown what they are capable of. Now it's about producing that on the pitch and the first opportunity to do that is against Chelmsford, who are a decent side. "Our players have got to be able to handle that level and playing against men."

Admission prices are £10 Adults, £7 Concessions and £3 U16s. Please note that Chelmsford City can only accept cash on the turnstiles. Cards cannot be accepted.

Following Friday's game, the Academy host Dagenham & Redbridge at Rush Green on Saturday morning, when Westley and his coaching staff will give the younger scholars and older schoolboys their first pre-season experience. "We're playing against Dagenham and we took the fixture knowing it would be an Under-16 and 17 game for us," Westley continued. "In the last 12 months we have encouraged that by boys playing up age-groups and that is the start of their journey for this season."

One player who could feature against the Daggers is defender Tunji Akinola, who has signed his scholarship this week after completing no fewer than 12 GCSE examinations. Akinola becomes the seventh schoolboy to commit his future to the Club, much to the delight of Westley and his staff. "To get 100 per cent retention from that group was a challenge in the first 12 months, but we are delighted that Oxford, Scully, Neufville, Hector-Ingram, Rice, Powell and now Akinola have committed their future to the Club," Westley enthused. "To be fair, it was never really a doubt with Tunji, but he was concentrating on doing 12 GCSEs as he is an A-grade student, so we left him to do his school work and take time off from football, because we knew how important it was to him. "We're delighted to get all of those on board and now the next step is 18s, 21s and first-team football."

Celtic, West Ham, Aberdeen & Inverness learn Euro draws

Celtic will play Qarabag or Rudar Pljevlja in Champions League qualifying if they progress past Stjarnan. The winner of the second qualifying round tie which Celtic lead 2-0 will be at home against Azerbaijan's Qarabag or Montenegro's Rudar Pljevlja.

West Ham could face Inverness CT or Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League third qualifying round. And, in the same competition, Aberdeen or HNK Rijeka will take on Alashkert of Armenia or FC Kairat from Kazakhstan.

West Ham and Aberdeen lead their respective ties against Malta's Birkirkara (1-0) and Croatia's Rijeka (3-0). The Hammers are away for Thursday's return leg while the Dons will be at home and look well placed to progress. Inverness, who are playing in Europe for the first time, trail 1-0 to Romania's Astra, who have an away goal as well as a lead to protect on Thursday.

Europa League third qualifying round first and second qualifying dates are 30 July and 6 August, respectively.

Europa League third round draw
Filed: Friday, 17th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United will face Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League's third qualifying round - IF they overcome Maltese side Birkirkara in the second round return leg next week.

The Hammers' reward for beating the Maltese outsiders will be a tie against either the Scots or Romanians, with the first leg being played at the Boleyn Ground on 30 July.

West Ham and 32 other clubs were joined in the draw by 25 seeded clubs, who were given a bye in the previous two qualifying rounds. The only other English club in the draw, Southampton, drew a tricky tie against Dutch side Vitesse.

The full draw was as follows:

Zürich (SUI) v Cherno More Varna (BUL) or Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
Kairat Almaty (KAZ) or Alashkert (ARM) v HNK Rijeka (CRO) or Aberdeen (SCO)
Dacia Chisinau (MDA) or MŠK Žilina (SVK) v Vorksla Poltava (UKR)
AZ Alkmaar (NED) v İstanbul Başakşehir (TUR)

Bordeaux (FRA) v AEK Larnaca (CYP)
Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO) or PAOK (GRE) v Spartak Trnava (SVK) or Linfield (NIR)
UC Sampdoria (ITA) v FK Vojvodina (SRB) or FK Spartaks Jūrmala (LVA)
Slovan Liberec (CZE) v Hapoel Kiryat Shmona (ISR)

Athletico (ESP) v Hafnarfjördur (ISL) or İnter Bakı PİK (AZE)
Târgu Mureş (ROU) v Saint-Étienne (FRA)
Kukësi (ALB) or Mladost Podgorica (MNE) v Legia Warszawa (POL) or Botoşani (ROU)
Čukarički (SRB) or Qäbälä (AZE) v Apollon Limassol (CYP) or Trakai (LTU)

Jelgava (LVA) or Rabotnicki (MKD) v Trabzonspor (TUR) or Differdange 03 (LUX)
Skonto (LVA) or Debreceni VSC (HUN) v Reykjavík (ISL) or Rosenborg (NOR)
Charleroi (BEL) or Beitar Jerusalem (ISL) v Zorya Luhansk (UKR)
Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR) or Wolfsberger (AUT) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Beroe Stara Zagora (BUL) or Brøndby (DEN) v Jagiellonia Białystok (POL) or Omonia (CYP)
Jablonec (CZE) v København (DEN) or Newtown (WAL)
Sturm Graz (AUT) v Rubin Kazan (RUS)
AIK Solna (SWE) or Shirak (ARM) v Atromitos (GRE)

Altach (AUT) v Vitória (POR)
Hapoel Beer Sheva (ISR) or Thun (SUI) v Vaduz (LIE) or Nõmme Kalju (EST)
Randers (DEN) or Elfsborg (SWE) v Shamrock Rovers (IRL) or Odds (NOR)
Standard Liège (BEL) v Ferencvárosi (HUN) or Željezničar (BIH)

Koper (SVN) or Hajduk Split (CRO) v Mladá Boleslav (CZE) or Strømsgodset (NOR)
Belenenses (POR) v Śląsk Wrocław (POL) or Göteborg (SWE)
Southampton (ENG) v Vitesse (NED)
West Ham Utd (ENG) or Birkirkara (MLT) v Inverness Caledonian Thistle (SCO) or Astra Giurgiu (ROU)
Krasnodar (RUS) v Slovan Bratislava (SVK) or University College Dublin (IRL)

The Bilic interview exclusive...
Filed: Thursday, 16th July 2015
By: Craig Climpson

Ever wondered what Slaven Bilic said to convince the West Ham owners he was the right man for the job?

Well luckily for you (debatably enough), I have obtained the transcript of the original meeting between the parties at MDF towers on that sunny May Day in 2015...

Slaven Bilic is played by Javier Bardem
Ian McDiarmid (in Sith mode) is David Sullivan
Alan Sugar is David Gold
Jessica Rabbit is Baroness Brady
And Paul Peschisolido plays himself, albeit dressed like Roger Rabbit.


SULLIVAN: I feel a great disturbance in The Force, Mr.Bilic. Explain to me how you would deal with this should we employ you.

BILIC: I deal with these things no problems. I hunt enemies, I catch enemies, I kill enemies and I DRINK WINE FROM THEIR SKULLS!!!


Gold: Bloody hell! Ee's a fruitcake, this one!

BILIC: You call me cake? YOU CALL ME CAKE? I will kill you and DRINK WINE FROM YOUR SKULL!


BRADY AND PESCHI: (IN THE BACKGROUND) Patter –cake, patter-cake, patter-cake.....

SULLIVAN: The Force is strong with him, Gold.

GOLD: Well all I've heard from him is a lot of hot air, so in the interests of climate change, YOU'RE FIR....

SULLIVAN: (INTERRUPTS) Let's not be hasty my Apprentice friend....

GOLD: I'm The Apprentice? I thought you were The Apprentice?

SULLIVAN: No, I'm the Sith.

GOLD: Can't we both be a Sith?

SULLIVAN: NO, GOLD! I've told you before! There's only ever one Sith at a time. Never two! I don't know why because they never explained it properly in the films, but it's still Sith law, ok?

BILIC: (TO SULLIVAN) You want me to kill him?

BRADY AND PESCHI: (IN BACKGROUND) Patter-cake, patter-cake, patter-cake.....

SULLIVAN: No, no. I do like the way the anger flows through you, but for now just tell us how you'd beat the other teams – how you'd deal with the rebellion that is the other managers?

BILIC: I deal with other manager no problems. I hunt, I catch, I kill. Take Wenger: I put child under big net, when Wenger tries to take child, net fall on him, I kill with gas bolt and I DRINK WINE FROM HIS SKULL! Brendan Rodgers: I dress in Southampton FC kit – when Brendan Rodgers chase me I hide round corner until Brendan Rodgers arrive and I kill with gas bolt before DRINKING WINE FROM HIS SKULL! Then if Big Sam get new job I trap him by putting Manager of the Month trophy under big box held up by stick. I tie rope to stick and when Big Sam is drawn to trophy I pull rope, containing him in box to kill with gas bolt and DRINK WI......


BRADY: You can't do that to Our Sam! That's just not on. Tell him, David. Tell him he can't do that to Our Sam...

BILIC: (INTERRUPTS) Mr. Sullivan, I have special death for her with tub of green acid Dip! Shall I?


BRADY: Oh my God IT'S DIP!!!


GOLD: Ee's gone too far! That's bang out of order that, Dave!!

SULLIVAN: She knew too much, Gold. You know this to be true.


BILIC: It is fair I now have job.

GOLD: Fair? The only fair you're gonna get sunshine is your bus fare home. YOU'RE FIR.....


BILIC: He was getting on my tits.

SULLIVAN: Mine too. Congratulations, you're my new Apprentice.

BILIC: Thank you. Before I leave, how much wine I need to fit in Wenger's skull?

SULLIVAN: He has got quite a big head. I'd get a large bottle for him.


SULLIVAN: Slaven? Best make it a case for Mourinho.


SULLIVAN: We shall watch his career with great interest.

Slaven Bilic did not want Stewart Downing to leave West Ham
Last Updated: 17/07/15 8:01am

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has insisted he did not want Stewart Downing to leave the club. Downing completed his move back to his hometown club Middlesbrough from the Hammers after signing a four-year contract on Thursday. The 30-year-old winger, capped 35 times by England, will cost Boro £5.5m, although that could rise to £7m if they are promoted from the Championship. Bilic says he would rather have kept Downing in his squad, but did not want to prevent him from returning home. "I didn't want him to go, he's a quality English player and I know how hard it is to get the quality ones," said former Croatia boss Bilic. "Of course I rate him, I tried to persuade him to stay with us. "I know him from the national team when we played England, and he was brilliant in the first half of last season. I was counting on him big time, but he told me that he wanted to go home. "He said, 'I like you and everything, but I want to go home. If it was any other club, I would stay here'. "Maybe I could have stopped him, and all that, however it is not what we wanted to do, but he wanted to leave."

Slaven Bilic wary of West Ham's Europa League campaign
Last Updated: 17/07/15 3:44pm

Slaven Bilic believes West Ham's Europa League adventure would be exciting but draining, were they to progress through qualifying and reach the group stages. The Hammers beat Maltese club Birkirkara 1-0 with a scrappy 90th-minute goal from defender James Tomkins at Upton Park on Thursday night.
If the Irons secure an aggregate victory after the second leg next week at the Ta'Qali National Stadium, they will play either Inverness Caledonian Thistle or FC Astra of Romania in the third qualifying round. Having managed Turkish side Besiktas in the competition last season, Bilic understands all too well the demands which will be placed on West Ham's squad should they progress. He said: "The Europa League is great for the club, you could see with the spectators, they are enjoying it, against people from Andorra and Malta, they all love to come for a European night. "It is great for a team, it gains not only confidence, but they are different types of games, so it is good for us and for me - but on the other hand, it drains you. "I did it a few times last season, when it was great for Besiktas, but it was also very difficult to play on Thursday in Liverpool, then on the Sunday you have an away game in Turkey. "It was the same for Tottenham to come to Istanbul, to play on a Thursday night following a three-and-a-half hour flight. They lost the game, and then on Sunday they had to play at Swansea. "That is shocking, for clubs like Borussia Dortmund, they had six games in the group stages of the Champions League, and afterwards they lost nearly all of their league games, and they were down (the table)."

Despite the demanding schedule European football can provide, Bilic insists he enjoys competing in continental competitions. He said: "It has got a lot of positive things, but also a lot of negative things. "But if you ask me, 'do I like to play in Europe?' Yes, I like it, it is good for the guys, but still we have to do a lot to qualify."

By Iain Dale 17 Jul 2015 at 15:39
West Ham Till I Die

So, we're drawn against Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Romanian side Astra Giorgio.

*West Ham Ladies have announced Dagenham & Redbridge Academy coach Marc Nurse as their new manager, after Julian Dicks joined the Upton Park first team coaching setup.

Mattia Destro is likely to join Fiorentina.

West Ham will need to bide their time and wait for Javier Hernandez, who will only be allowed to leave Man U if they sign a replacement.

Newcastle United are said to have made a renewed bid for Charlie Austin.

Stewart Downing has completed his move to Middlesbrough. The fee could amount to £7 million with addons.

Nene says he won't be returning to West Ham. Strange. I didn't realise he was wanted back!

Player exchange hinted to land striker
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

The club's own ITK has all but confirmed the club's interest in Javier Hernandez this afternoon despite Slaven Bilic willing to be drawn into speculation. The Boleyn Insider told the club website: "My understanding is that the Club are looking to make a move for one of the top strikers at a big club in England and hope a move can be finalised in the near future."

That top striker is believed to be Javier Hernandez and that big club is Manchester United. He adds 'There have also been stories suggesting the Club could be considering other options as they look to land another target. I have been told that the Club would be open to a possible player-exchange deal if they could get the striker they wanted.' 'With six new arrivals already this summer, I believe the fans can look forward to more new signings before the new Premier League season gets underway"

Ladies announce new manager
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

West Ham Ladies have announced Dagenham & Redbridge Academy coach Marc Nurse as the club's new first team manager following the depature of Julian Dicks to Slaven Bilic's backroom team.

Marc holds a UEFA B licence & is currently working towards UEFA A license meaning Marc has the qualifications, experience and ambition that the ladies say they were after in a manager.

Marc takes the reigns after Julian Dicks left and will now help to finalise the rest of his coaching set-up.

Yesterday the Ladies officially launched their own Season Tickets for the 2015/16 FA Women's Premier League South season, which kicks off on Sunday 16th August.

Costing just £55, fans will be able to attend all of the Ladies home fixtures at AFC Hornchurch's Bridge Avenue next season, along with any home cup matches that the Hammers may be drawn in.

Let's take a step back…look at bigger picture
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

ClaretandHugh blogger Steve Knightley looks back at last night's game and pleads for patience saying: "The manager can only work with the players he has at hand right now"

Last night I was at Birkirkara game and at half time I was frustrated. I couldn't understand why Nolan had started, I didn't even notice Jarvis was playing and Maiga looked like he was a fan that accidentally walked on to the pitch and was now desperately trying to find his seat.

Come full time I was furious. I couldn't understand why Nolan lasted as long as he did and why Jarvis was playing in flip-flops. I was glad that Maiga found his seat though… on the bench!

The game of 'Pong' between left and right became incredibly tiresome and predictable, like listening to an annoying children's song at a party stuck on repeat. You could feel the tension building in the stands. I heard whispers of 'nothing has changed' or 'same old West Ham'. I must admit, I was drafting this blog in my head during the last 20 minutes and the title I was going to use was 'The Bubble Has Burst Already'.

It seemed that the excitement and passion felt only two weeks ago was long gone.

A game of football is only as good as what you can see from your seat. Even in the greatest state of the art stadia there will be times when what you see is not the same asothers the same arena. How many times do 35,000 plus people see a handball or a penalty claim the official doesn't because their view is different to ours?

In situations like this, I have had time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and think for a moment before airing a negative opinion.

We ALL have to remember we are going through an enormous change right now. A new manager is always a risk, no matter how much they love the club and want to be there. Passion does not guarantee success. A new manager also inherits a squad that they did not choose. This means the legacy of the previous dictatorship will be evident in the new regime. You can only work with the tools that at hand.

The club have already made finances available so Slaven can start to build his own squad as soon as possible. We have already seen more youth players in the past four games than we did all last season. Okay, some might argue that there was no choice but to use them. Fair point. That wasn't the case last night though, even if we had to wait until the final 30 minutes to see them.

So, let's go back and think about last night again, starting with Maiga. Of course he struggled. He had nobody there to provide for him. He watched the ball fly over his head from left to right all night long. I would like to see a heat map from last night. I am certain it would show that almost nothing came through the centre at all. Certainly not the worthwhile delivery that he was craving.

Jarvis too was also significantly better once Samuelson came on. Better, not great.

Zarate was a standout performer. He showed real passion and had moments of absolute brilliance. He has to be extremely careful though. Many times he spent too long trying to create or showboat when he had more than enough time to feed someone else.

Equally, Birkirkara's keeper, Justin Haber had a very good game. Their defender, Mauricio Mazzetti had an even better game. Without them we almost certainly would have scored more than one goal.

And then there is Nolan. Even now I can't find anything constructive to say. His touches and position was poor. His attitude and temper was even worse. I really hoped that by this morning I could find something good to say about a loyal servant to the club but I can't. I think the crowd reaction to him being substituted after 79 agonising minutes sums the feeling up better than I could ever put in words.

There are positives to take from last night but we do still have to be patient. The games we are playing before the season starts are the perfect opportunity to get the team right. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won't, and we have to be realistic. We also have to remember that our focus isn't European glory just yet. It is, ideally, at least a top ten finish in the Premier League.

As I said in my last blog, we have our club back. We got what we wanted. So now, more than ever, we need to get behind our club and support it like we are world famous for!


Irons keeping eye on Hernandez events
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

Manchester United are sticking to the 'not for sale' line on Javier Hernandez…for now! The Mexican striker has been a big target for West Ham over the past few days but manager Louis van Gaal is set to give the striker a chance – at least until he has brought in reinforcements. A West Ham source told ClaretandHugh: "We haven't entirely given up as it's pretty clear new strikers are likely to arrive at Old Trafford this summer. "And when they do Javier could well find himself back in a familiar position and with just a year left on his contract a deal could be on if United want to get a fee for him. "For now though we've been told he won't be sold and whilst there are other strikers on our list, we will be keeping a careful eye on events in Manchester!"

A trip to Scotland or Romania in next round
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

West Ham drew Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC or FC Astra Giurgiu in the 12pm third round UEFA draw in Nyon, Switzerland assuming they succeed in progressing to the next round of the Europa League after Thursday night in Malta against Birkirkara FC following last night's narrow 1-0 win.

FC Astra Giurgiu is a Romanian team is from Giurgiu, Romania. They were founded in 1921, in Ploiesti and spent their vast majority in the lower leagues.

Caledonian Thistle F.C. were formed in August 1994 following the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle, The new club was formed with their target being an application for one of the two vacancies in the Scottish football league, created when the league restructured in 1994 to four divisions of ten teams each. They were successful and were elected to the Scottish third division. The club's name was amended to Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. in 1996 at the request of Inverness District Council.

Inverness are losing 1-0 to Astra after the first leg of the second round of the Europa League.

Dicks on Kouyate absence
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

Honest Julian Dicks has made it clear Cheik Kouyate was unfit to face Birkirkara last night. In a response to a Twitter follower, The Terminator used three words to answer a question on why the Senegalese midfielder was missing from last night's squad He declared:"Fitness reasons Jason." Kouyate made a big impression last season cementing a central midfield berth filling in at centre back on occasion but has failed to make an appearance this far. Meanwhile we have learned that Enner Valencia is back in "light training" and could be available for the secon leg of the match next week.

Zarate: "We are confident for Malta trip"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 17, 2015 in News, Whispers

Man of the match against Birkirkara Mauro Zarate is totally confident of the team getting a result in Malta. He admits that last night's match wasn't easy but is determined to show himself asworthy of a regular place which can lift the team over the forthcoming game given the player's skill levels. He said: "Everyone has to do their best for the team and pre-season is very important for all the players. I hope to have a big season. "It was a hard game and it was difficult to play against them. We have to go there and get a good result. We are confident going into the second leg."

Julian Dicks says Dimitri Payet looks 'very, very good' in training
Tim Poole

The West Ham coach also gave his verdict on Stewart Downing's departure. West Ham United coach Julian Dicks says Dimitri Payet looks 'very very good' in pre-season training. Indeed, Dicks, who has been appointed to Slaven Bilic's backroom staff, was full of praise for the Frenchman when asked how he is looking in training on Twitter. Payet arrived at Upton Park for a £10.7 million fee this summer, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, Dicks also gave his verdict on Stewart Downing's West Ham departure when asked by a follower. The winger has left West Ham for Middlesbrough, with the deal being confirmed on Thursday night, and Dicks feels the 30-year-old will be a loss due to his ability and work-rate. When a player wants to go, however, the Hammers coach feels there is little you can do.

As much as Downing's form had tailed halfway through last season, he was still West Ham's most creative player - and one of the Premier League's - but Payet's creativity in Ligue 1 has been well documented. For a fee as high as £10.7m, Hammers fans will no doubt hope the Frenchman can more than compensate for Downing's departure.

Allardyce explains what he always said to David Sullivan about Carl Jenkinson
Lewis Doe

Former West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce feels his old side have made a good signing in the form of Carl Jenkinson. Former West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast Show for talkSPORT, that he always told the club's co-owner, David Sullivan, that Carl Jenkinson would be a good buy for the club. Allardyce has backed the right-back to be a success in his second season on loan with the Hammers, after he signed a new long term deal to commit his future to parent club Arsenal. "It's a shame for West Ham really, certainly from my point of view, I said to David Sullivan from a permanent point of view, he'd be a great acquisition – Him and Aaron Cresswell both had fantastic seasons last year – He'll slot in there no problem and I hope he'll get even better than last season," he told talkSPORT.

Why weren't West Ham able to do a permanent deal?

West Ham's failure in signing Jenkinson permanently could be down to any number of factors. Any fee was always going to be an issue because West Ham aren't in a position where they can bargain with top level clubs, throwing their weight around in the transfer market. The fact Jenkinson has signed a new deal also suggests that he's harbouring a desire to progress at Arsenal, eventually featuring in their first team. Therefore, he may have been reluctant to consider the idea of a permanent move to the Hammers if that conversation has taken place since the end of last season.

Could the situation change?

It certainly could in the future. Jenkinson's immediate priority will be to play as positively as possible this season to improve his chances of playing for Arsenal over the next few years.
He needs to show Arsene Wenger something, which suggests he's a better long term option than the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers. If he can't do that then he'll be forced to reassess his position and West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium may give them a little extra weight in terms of finance.

Stewart Downing says midtable West Ham did not excite him anymore after Middlesbrough approach
Damien Lucas

Departed West Ham United midfield star Stewart Downing says he left for Middlesbrough because he needed something to aim for above finishing midtable. Downing was one of West Ham's best players last season and even earned an England recall after shining at the tip of a central midfield diamond. But he has made something of a shock drop down to the Championship to return to hometown club Boro in a deal worth around £5 million, as reported by the Mirror. The 30-year-old has been moved on after the Hammers signed Marseille star playmaker Dimitri Payet for more than £10 million.

Premier League bores Downing

And the former Aston Villa and Liverpool man says it was time for a fresh challenge as he returns to his first club six years after leaving. "If I stayed at West Ham, the aim would be to try and push into the top half of the table," Downing was reported as saying in the Mirror. "Last season went pretty well for the club and we finished 12th, next season the aim will be to improve on that. "Had I gone to another Premier League club from West Ham, the targets would be similar, but at Boro there's a chance to achieve something really special."

Midfielder would have faced challenge to keep his place at West Ham

In truth Downing would have been under pressure to keep his place in the West Ham side under Slaven Bilic next season because the Hammers have been one of the busiest Premier League clubs in the summer transfer market spending nearly £25 million so far. Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold have been true to their word by investing significant funds to strengthen new boss Bilic's squad. So far the East Londoners have brought in goalkeeper Darren Randolph on a free transfer, midfielders Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet for a combined total of around £15 million, defender Angelo Ogbonna for around £8 million and Carl Jenkinson in on loan again from Arsenal for a fee believed to be £2 million. The Irons had already signed left back Stephen Hendrie from Scottish side Hamilton back in January and he officially became a West Ham player on July 1st. Downing is the first player to be sold this summer by the Irons and represents a real coup for Boro who will be looking to challenge for promotion to the top flight again this season.

West Ham coach confirms missing midfield man struggling for fitness
London 24
07:57 17 July 2015 Brad Pinard

West Ham coach Julian Dicks has confirmed midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is not up to scratch fitness wise at present. The impressive Senegal man made a big impression in his first season in England last term and made one of the central midfield spots his own, along with filling in at centre back on occasion. After a short summer break, the Hammers squad have been back in training for around a month already but Kouyate is yet to make an impact. A strong Hammers side beat Birkirkara 1-0 thanks to a last gasp James Tomkins goal last night but Kouyate didn't even make the bench as Slaven Bilic enjoyed a first win in the dugout. Dicks confirmed Kouyate was not in the squad for fitness reasons and his place in the team is seemingly up for grabs.

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West Ham transfer news: Slaven Bilic tried to convince Stewart Downing to stay at Upton Park
Evening Standard
Published: 17 July 2015 Updated: 07:58, 17 July 2015

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has revealed he tried in vain to convince Stewart Downing to remain at the club. The 30-year-old completed a £5million move to former club Middlesbrough on a four-year deal on Thursday, marking the end of a two-year spell at Upton Park. Downing made 66 Premier League starts during his time with the Hammers, scoring seven league goals, and Bilic has revealed he was counting on the England international 'big time' ahead of next season. "I didn't want him to go, he's a quality English player and I know how hard it is to get the quality ones," said the West Ham boss, speaking after his side's 1-0 victory over Birkirkara. "Of course I rate him, I tried to persuade him to stay with us."
The midfielder told Bilic he would have happily remained in east London had Boro not shown an interest, but the draw to return home for Middlesbrough-born Downing proved too strong
"I know him from the national team when we played England, and he was brilliant in the first half of last season," added former Croatia manager Bilic. "I was counting on him big time, but he told me that he wanted to go home. "He said 'I like you and everything, but I want to go home. If it was any other club, I would stay here'. "Maybe I could have stopped him, and all that, however it is not what we wanted to do, but he wanted to leave."

West Ham fans react on Twitter to James Tomkins performance against Birkirkara
Lewis Doe

West Ham United grabbed a 1-0 lead in their Europa League qualifying tie against Birkirkara FC. West Ham United's Europa League journey continues to move along nicely following an important 1-0 win against Birkirkara FC. The Hammers needed a late goal from defender James Tomkins to get an advantage ahead of the second leg, as they continue to try and qualify for the group stage which increases the number of exciting possibilities facing the club this season. Tomkins is now one of the more experienced Premier League players in the team and someone who is going to be vital for the team over the next ten months, in Slaven Bilic's first season in charge at the club. The difficulty he's facing is that central defence is now one of the most competitive areas of the current squad. Bilic will have plenty of different central options to choose from with the likes of Reece Burke, James Collins and Winston Reid giving him options in the back four, along with new signing Angelo Ogbonna, who will be determined to make a positive impression. Tomkins does have a potential advantage in the respect that he's already up to match speed and also the fact that he's been handed a captaincy role, leading a young side through the club's early matches in the season. That shows a belief from Bilic in what Tomkins is capable of in terms of his mentality and responsibility. The defence was one area of the team which did cost West Ham some vital points last season and an area which must improve moving forward. Games against Tottenham and Manchester United in the last campaign, saw the club losing points from good position and that's something that Tomkins, Bilic and the rest of the Hammers defence can't allow to happen again. Here's what West Ham fans had to say about Tomkins' performance and goal on Twitter.

Zarate sends message to West Ham fans, Obiang gets a bit carried away
Dan Coombs

West Ham stars commented after the club's slender Europa League win. West Ham made hard work of their latest Europa League game, needing a 90th minute goal to give them a 1-0 win over Maltese side Birkirkara. James Tomkins scored the winner, for an experimental Hammers side which included a recall for striker Modibo Maiga. The Frenchman struggled to make an impact, as did in fairness the rest of the attack, but Mauro Zarate was judged to be the best of a bad bunch, voted man of the match by fans. The attacker sent a message thanking supporters via Twitter, and promised a second leg victory.

Mauro Zarate ?@mau_zeta
Thanks to all the West Ham fans to choose me man of the match! It wasn't a great result,But we've won which is important.We'll win away too!
11:01 PM - 16 Jul 2015

Matt Jarvis ?@MrMattJarvis
Glad we got the win in the end! A hard fought game but a well deserved lead! #COYI
10:58 PM - 16 Jul 2015

Teammate Matt Jarvis also played all 90 minutes and also expressed similar sentiments on the result. New signing Pedro Obiang was rested, but got a little carried away, describing the slender win via his Instagram page: "A victory with the taste of glory." There was little for fans to really shout about during the win, and it even seemed false to celebrate the late winner after such a drab performance against the unfancied Maltese side who had given it their all. The leggy performance can be excused due to it being early season, but if West Ham are to progress in the competition they will have to begin hitting the back of the net more freely.

Report: West Ham's bid to sign playmaker Manuel Lanzini hits stumbling block
Olly Dawes

West Ham's bid to sign Manuel Lanzini has reportedly stalled. According to the Daily Mirror, West Ham's bid to sign Argentine playmaker Manuel Lanzini has hit a stumbling block due to paperwork issues. West Ham had a busy Thursday, beating Maltese side Birkirkara 1-0 in the Europa League, before confirming that midfielder Stewart Downing had been sold back to former club Middlesbrough. That leaves West Ham with a hole to fill in their squad, and it has become clear in recent weeks that Argentine Lanzini is their top target. The 22-year-old, formerly of River Plate, is currently playing in the United Arab Emirates with Al Jazira, where he has scored eight goals in 24 games. The Daily Mail suggested earlier this week that Lanzini was scheduled to have a medical with West Ham ahead of a loan move to Upton Park - but reports are now emerging that the deal has hit a stumbling block. The Mirror state that the deal is stalling due to a paperwork issue, with Lanzini waiting for clearance to join the Hammers as Downing's replacement - something that is expected to be rectified in the near future.

Where would Lanzini play for West Ham?

The Argentine is a technically gifted playmaker who thrives in the No. 10 role - suggesting that new manager Slaven Bilic will be going with one of two formations. He could stick with the 4-4-2 diamond played by former boss Sam Allardyce last season, or he could work with a 4-2-3-1 system - as he did with former club Besiktas. Either formation would allow Lanzini to play in his favoured central attacking midfield role, where has made his name in Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.

Pedro Obiang calls on Roma striker Mattia Destro to sign for West Ham
Dan Coombs

New West Ham signing Pedro Obiang wants Mattia Destro to join him. New West Ham signing Pedro Obiang has made a cheeky invitation for Mattia Destro to join him at the club. Obiang was speaking to Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb when he was quizzed about the Roma striker. Ex-Sampdoria star Obiang is keen on Destro coming aboard, and has made his pitch to convince him to sign. He said: "He would be welcome. He could help us. In fact, you know that I do?". "I give you the title for my interview: Destro invitation to come and play at West Ham. "Yes, at West Ham would find a better reality than he imagines." Obiang went onto talk up new signing Angelo Ogbonna, and describe the project at the Hammers as 'beautiful'.

Could Destro happen?

24-year-old Destro is believed to be available from Roma at the right price. Talksport reported three days ago that the Hammers have contacted sporting director Walter Sabatini over a potential move. Destro is an Italian international and is currently on tour with Roma for pre-season. Italian outlet Calciomercato reported 24 hours ago that the player's preference is to remain in Italy, but that withstanging, there is competition for his signature from Premier League rivals Aston Villa, who could have money to spend from a Christian Benteke sale.


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