Monday, July 6

Daily WHUFC News - 6th July 2015

Noble - Collins is a great servant

Mark Noble has nothing but praise for the impact that James Collins has had at West Ham United and joked that London has now changed him for all the right reasons. Collins is celebrating a memorable milestone after he first joined the Club ten-years ago to the day.
The Wales international has become a fans favourite and after being nicknamed the 'ginger Pele', Collins has become a crucial member of the West Ham defence. Noble will never forget the first day that Collins arrived at the Club's training ground and says he has become a changed man both on and off the pitch. Noble said: "I knew Ginge when he came here from Cardiff. He had a terrible big ginger barnet and wore horrendous clothes! But London changed him in a year. He had all the new gear on and a new haircut! "I can't speak highly enough of him. We get on so well and everyone knows he gives everything in training and in games. He has been a great servant to the club."

Noble and Collins are part of the squad that are currently out in Ireland and the West Ham United midfielder believes the whole squad will benefit from spending time together with new manager Slaven Bilic at the Club's training base in Cork. The first-team players who were not involved in Thursday's Europa League victory over FC Lusitans are currently being put through their paces as they build up their fitness ahead of the new season.

Noble says this is always a crucial period for the players as they get to know how the new manager works and the systems he wants to put in place. There have also been new additions to the backroom staff with Julian Dicks and Chris Woods joining Bilic during the summer and Noble can sense the excitement around the squad as they head into the new season. Noble added: "It is nice to be back training and out on the pitch. We are still getting used to how Slaven works but nothing has changed dramatically yet and I am just enjoying getting fit again. Everyone needs to get used to how each other works. "Everyone knows Julian and Woodsy and they are a great addition to the coaching staff. We are together for long periods and it is great to be back with the boys and back out on the pitch working again."

Important message for Band 1 Season Ticket Holders

West Ham United have an important message for all current Band 1 Season Ticket Holders still awaiting the opportunity to select their seats in the Club's magnificent new Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. By now, all supporters in that group should have received an email from the Club notifying them of the date and time of their appointment at the New Stadium Reservation Centre in Westfield Stratford City, and providing them with personal login details to manage their appointment. The appointments for Band 1 Season Ticket Holders are scheduled to run until Wednesday 15 July, after which there will be a short break before the first appointments begin the following week for Band 2 Season Ticket Holders.
It is therefore essential that any Band 1 Season Ticket Holder who has not so far received notice of their Reservation Centre appointment, or who cannot attend at the time scheduled for them, contacts the Club as a matter of urgency on 0808 110 2016 to ensure they do not miss their place in the seat selection process.

The Reservation Centre features state-of-the-art Virtual Venue technology so that - over the course of an hour-long appointment - Season Ticket Holders can experience the different views and surroundings that await them at the new Stadium, and decide on the seat that suits them best, with the assistance of one of our dedicated Club advisers.

In recognition of their status as Founders of our new Stadium, each Season Ticket Holder also has the opportunity to bring two friends and family with them to Stratford as new Season Ticket Holders, and choose their seats together at the Reservation Centre. The names of all Founders will be displayed, pride of place, at West Ham's new home.

Season Ticket Holders who have received an email scheduling their appointment should visit and use the personal login details contained in that email to add their two fellow Hammers fans to their appointment.

O'Brien focused on second leg

Joey O'Brien says West Ham United go into next week's Europa League first qualifying round second leg against FC Lusitans in Andorra with a strong 3-0 lead but will be looking to make sure the job is done. The Republic of Ireland defender said there are memories to be made, especially for the younger players in the squad, if they can progress further in the competition, but the team will be going over for the away leg to make sure they finish what they have started. "We wanted to go out there win the game which we did [on Thursday], see how many we could get. We could've scored more. It was such a great atmosphere, with our fans and a packed stadium, we wanted to do as best we could for them. "We will go over there now in similar fashion and make sure we finish what we have started here."

O'Brien said the fantastic atmosphere created by the West Ham fans on Thursday was something he feels will stay in the player's minds, especially younger players like Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen who were making their senior debuts. "I played for Bolton when they were in Europe and they were some of the top nights, games to play in. You could have been playing a pre-season friendly in front of just a few thousand but it was great to play in front of full house at the Boleyn Ground on Thursday, our fans were fantastic. "If you can get through the early rounds of the competition home and away, it stays with you forever."

O'Brien said despite an early return to the pitch for the Hammers, there has been a nice mix of new manager Slaven Bilic coming in to meet everyone and Academy manager Terry Westley taking training and the team for these games. "There has been a mix of senior lads and younger boys, it's been really good. We came back and went straight over to Ireland for a training camp. Terry took the team and has done a great job with the lads. "The manager has come in and spoken to all the lads. He came over to Ireland and saw us there, was here for the match and spoke to us all before and afterwards. He has also been over with the lads that are currently in Ireland. "It's a chance for him to have a look at everyone and everything, so it's been good. He can see the younger lads, the boys who haven't been playing as much and those who have. When a new manager comes in, there's a new start on everything."

O'Brien said that there is a lot to look forward at this early stage of the new season. "Expectations get higher every year, to finish higher each time and the new manager will have that. It's always been the same. We are going into the last season here [at the Boleyn Ground] and then into a new stadium, so there is a lot to go for."

By Iain Dale 5 Jul 2015 at 09:43
West Ham Till I Die

We may live to regret letting go of Sebastian Lletget. He's scored again for LA Galazy in a 4-0 victory over Toronto. Watch it HERE

James Tomkins talks about the special 'aura' around Slaven Bilic, as reportd by Claret & Hugh?

Will West Ham sign Angelo Ogbonna from Juventus or Aymen Abdennour from Monaco? We've apparently submitted £14 million bids. It seems we are definitely in the market for a central defender.

We are competing with Tottenham and WBA for Basel striker Breel Embolo according to Shoot. The 18 year old Cameroonian scored 17 goals in 42 games last season.

If Chelsea don't want him, West Ham top Charlie Austin's list of favoured destinations according to Claret & Hugh?

Glen Johnson is holding talks with West Ham according to various newspapers.

Claret N Blues? delve into the Kevin Nolan conundrum.

MK Dons starlet Daniel Agyei is currently training with West Ham according to HITC?, but Crystal Palace are on his trail too.

Darren Randolph raves about Reece Oxford on HITC?

West Ham hopeful transfer of Alex Song from Barcelona will be completed this week
21:39, 5 JULY 2015
Midfielder was one of the Hammers' key men last season while on a year-long loan and new boss Bilic wants him at Upton Park permanently
The Mirror

West Ham hope to confirm the capture of Alex Song this week. The east Londoners are understood to have reached an agreement with Spanish giants Barcelona to take the 27-year-old midfielder on a permanent basis after the Catalans initially demanded £6million. Cameroon international Song was in the stands at Upton Park last Thursday night as the Hammers beat FC Lusitans 3-0 in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie. The former Arsenal star, who is surplus to requirements at new European champions Barca, wants to remain in London. West Ham are aiming to seal his capture, along with that of right-back Carl Jenkinson on a second successive season-long loan from Arsenal.

Slav and Irons face king sized AC problem
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 5, 2015 in News, Whispers

Andy Carroll's relentless injury problems are set to become a major issue for Slaven Bilic as he plans West Ham's way towards the Olympic Stadium. Any new boss faced with a player who, at £17 million, has made 27 first team appearances and scored seven goals at £2,5 million each would be forgiven for wondering whether there is an answer anywhere to such a problem. Frankly, it doesn't look like it as all the talk about getting rid as quickly as possible doesn't really stack up given the stark financial realities of the situation.
I spent considerable time on the phone this afternoon to an agent very familiar with the problem that is AC and despite his years of experience in buying and selling players he sees only one flicker of hope – but more of that in a minute.

He explained: "How do you sell a player who is injured for such long periods. Even if a buyer came in the fee would be considerably lower than the £17 million West Ham paid and the wages on offer would be a fraction of the deal he has with the club. Why would he leave?
"Make no mistake West Ham – and therefore Slaven Bilic – has a problem which is seemingly insoluble and the added issue is that even were he fit, the new manager would prefer a front two of Sakho and Valencia with Payet playing behind them. "Nobody should try diminishing the problem because at this moment few inside the club have a clue on how this one is going to pan out. "And that's why the club and manager may decide to delay a decision on a long term replacement and instead bring in a player on loan for a season as cover for a Carroll who may or may not stay fit once he has returned."
AC will have three years left on his deal at the start of next season but my agent pal declared that the one hope comes in the fulsome shape of Sam Allardyce and his even more fulsome pal, Mr Carroll's agent, Mark Curtis. There's already a conspiracy theory doing the rounds that Sam may well be Leicester City's manager-in-waiting following the departure of his other big mate Nigel Pearson. He's an ideal candidate to keep a team that struggled last season in the Premier League. The theory was inspired by the move for Charlie Austin, an unlikely target for the club unless perhaps Sam – who does love a big man up front – is getting the gig.

If he does walk into the club at a time – hopefully when AC is fit – there's every chance the Foxes could put in a knockdown bd for him. It's a long shot shot but in the meantime the Irons and Slaven Bilic have a problem on their hands which may not be about to go away any time soon!

How ironic if the man so many Hammers fans love to hate turned out to be their salvation!

The Terminator plays it cool on Slav attacks
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 5, 2015 in News, Whispers

Julian Dicks has shrugged off criticism of his big pal Slaven Bilic. The new manager has been attacked by some fans for not being in the dug-out for the Europa Cup qualifier against Lusines. But Dicks is clearly mellowing with the years and made his position clear when a follower on Twitter had called some of the fans morons for their comments against the new boss. 'The Terminator' merely commented: "Mate, whatever we do in life we can't keep everyone happy."

'Fantastic offer' piles pressure on Irons
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 5, 2015 in News, Whispers

Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson is ready to break the bank in the club's recent history to land Stewart Downing in time for the new season.

ClaretandHugh has been told this afternoon that an "entirely fantastic offer" is being made to West Ham for a player that Gibson admires as a man and a player above all others.

And one source close to the club said: "On the face of it this seems like madness – nobody knows how they make such an offer – but the thinking is that Gibson wants Stewart at the club in order to tie up his long term future as a coach and future manager.

"Downing is a hero figure to the Riverside fans and after the club failed to make the Premier League via the play-offs, landing him would also help dispel the bitter taste left in the fans' mouths. But there has to be a long term plan in place based on these figures"

Whilst West Ham have consistently said the player will not be allowed to leave, the latest offer is seeing them rethink their position and with the terms set to be offered to the player the pressure could well come on them from the £6m signing himself.

Were Downing to remain at Upton Park his starting position in the team would be under serious scrutiny with the likes of Chiek Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet certain to fill three of the midfield slots with Alex Song employed as the defensive midfielder should terms be agreed with Barcelona.

"Irons board move quickly to get Bilic targets"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 5, 2015 in News, Whispers

New reports that the Hammers are ready to hold talks with Dynamo Kiev central defender Alexsander Dragovic this week have been described as "highly unlikely." The 24 year old was named as a Hammers target a couple of weeks back before Kiev went public with a £20 million plus valuation However, a source close to the Hammers board claimed that he was one of a number of names that had been discussed "and no more than that."

This morning however, one national paper said that the player was set for talks with the player which were again knocked back by the same source who is also privvy to Slaven Bilic's thoughts on players. But he said: "The board are moving quickly in their efforts to fulfil the brief given to them by Slav. He said: "We expect a deal for the central defender within seven days- a player to join Winston Reid has always been the manager's priori ty. "The two major signings so far – Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet had been identified before his arrival but the new manager made it clear at the interview stage he would need the top defender plus another attacking and holding midfielder and right back."

The current thinking is that Juventus' Angelo Ogbonna is seen as the Reid partner whilst a loan deal will be organised for the fourth striker. The next attacking midfielder through the dressing room doors is still being kept a well guarded secret.

Hendrie gets Hammers all-clear
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 5, 2015 in News, Whispers

West Ham signing Stephen Hendrie has finally been given international clearance by the Scottish FA to play for the club. The Assoiation tweeted the news earlier this morning and wished the young left back all the best with his new club. The signing from Hamilton, who spent the rest of last season with the Scottish Premier League side, has been training with his new team-mates in Ireland. Having missed out on the Europa League squad due to ineligibility, Hendrie will stay with the first team group and could feature in upcoming pre-season friendlies. Fellow left back Lewis Page will continue to be in the Europa League squad and Aaron Cresswell is with Hendrie in the main squad.

ExWHUemployee Column: Olympic Stadium season tickets set to sell-out
by @ExWHUemployee on July 5th, 2015Comments0 Comments Share to Facebook 12 Share to Twitter 13 Share to Google Plus 0 More...

​It has been a week since my last column and there hasn't been much movement in any of our transfer deals at the moment
​In the last week we played our first Europa League Qualifier match and won by three goals, a margin that could have been even more if superb efforts from Amalfitano and Cullen had not hit the bar and gone in. It is very hard to judge players from that game due to fitness levels and the quality of the opposition. I thought Matt Jarvis played well (something I haven't felt for a while) as did Zarate who could be about to start a new leash of life at the club. Sakho obviously got his two goals and I felt all the youngsters looked solid too. It is impossible to judge individual performances on that game but one thing that is for certain is how great our support his. Selling out that match was a brilliant effort and to hear that we have already sold out our away allocation for the second leg is equally as impressive. The TV rights for the fixture are with the home side so we are yet to know whether it will be shown on the website again but I think to show the home leg for free on there was a grand gesture.

​There hasn't been any further additions to the squad since my last column despite the Boleyn Insider's inaccurate claims. I am not sure why he, or other figures in the club always put short time scales on things because anything can happen. They are best off doing what some "fake ITKs" do and put 2-3 weeks and cover all basis.

Alex Song watched the game at Upton Park and has agreed to join us, we are still trying to negotiate the exact terms of his release from Barcelona before he can complete the move but it is very close. He also has a niggling injury at the moment which he is receiving treatment on. Carl Jenkinson should also be signing soon. The club had hoped that they could turn the deal into a permanent one and had tried to negotiate this with Arsenal. It appears this is not likely to happen as Arsenal are asking too much and still seem reluctant to let him go on a permanent deal. Whilst this is a positive reflection on how they value the player it seems a strange move considering they have three other right backs, two of which are also young talented players.

​Glen Johnson has been linked with a return to the club and this is easy media reporting. There hasn't been any talks with him as of yet because he doesn't fit the age of players we are looking for. If the deal with Jenkinson falls through for some reason then he may be considered but not at the moment and of course both parties are not going to want him signed as a squad player either.

​The club are exploring the option of getting a striker in on loan, with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini both linked with the club, but I do not expect either of these to join. Mattia Destro has been strongly linked with a loan move to West Ham. He is an Italian international forward currently playing for Roma. He is only 24 and apparently keen to move on from Roma. He is a likely option on loan for us. We were keen on both Remy and Austin, but Remy appears to be staying at Chelsea and we will not match Austin's transfer fee. QPR's financial situation means they will need to sell players this window. It is thought by us and many other clubs that if we hold off until the end of the window the players asking price will decrease and then we will make a move.

​As I have reported many times we had a list of about six centre-backs that Bilic would like to sign. He believes we need a top quality centre-back to play alongside Reid. I would argue that we don't with Tomkins, Collins, Henry, Burke and Oxford all available but being a centre-back by trade it seems Bilic thinks we must get this position right. The names on that list of centre-backs are Abdennour, who appears to be joining a top European team, Ogbonna (who some media outlets are reporting is on his way to London this weekend-I will find out tomorrow, Dragovic (who is Bilic's first choice) and Alderweireld are (who is joining Spurs) and two others who I will not reveal in this column as they are not as public.

​N'Zonzi is another player who we have been linked with and as I have said in the past I don't think there is much in this. He was a player that was regularly linked with us in the past and that was because Big Sam brought him to Blackburn and had maintained a good relationship with the player.

​The club feel we have a number of midfielders and that Diego Poyet will now be considered an important player too. I have regularly spoke of Cabaye and how there was interest and it keeps changing. He is highly rated by the establishment but it is felt we couldn't justify his price tag when we already have a number of players in that position. Middlesborough, Sunderland and Leicester all seem very keen on Stewart Downing. As I have reported before, he isn't for sale unless we receive a very big offer. These clubs appear to be willing to pay more than we expected so we may consider this given his age. This would then free up money to spend on Cabaye. We didn't want to get into a price war with Palace but he seems reluctant to go there and if we move quickly, we may well be able to change the deal. I have spoke to a number of people in the club about making a move for Cabaye and whilst it seems they were keen, not for the price or without selling someone, hopefully we will be able to do something as I believe we do not have a player like him.

​The club would like to move Nolan on if this is possible but talk of him going to Bolton is far off. They simply would not be able to afford his wages which are rumoured at 50K a week. We may accept to pay some of the wages as a loan agreement but Bolton would only be able to cover roughly 10k maximum so it wouldn't be worth it. Nolan has a year left of his contract so it maybe that he sees that out and is used regularly in Europe. Another attacking midfielder that we have been alerted to by our South American connections is Manuel Lanzini who is currently with Al Jazira club. He is a 22 year old highly rated Argentinian who has played for their under 21 team.

​Julian Dicks' appointment was great news for the club and seems to have really brought a much better team spirit to the squad. The only people to suffer are the ladies team who have lost their inspirational manager. The club are looking to appoint a new manager, two assistants, a goalkeeper coach and two physios to bring in a new backroom team. A couple of ex-players were interested in the post and the club have a number of strong candidates available for these positions. I hope that they find the right people to do the job and replace Julian well, as hard a task that is. The women's World Cup has been a real inspiration and I think it would be brilliant for the club if our ladies team continue to build on their successes. Stephen Hunt the current chairmen is doing a good job and there is no reason to suggest that it can't continue.

​I heard that the club are getting 1000 people viewing their new season tickets via the virtual programme at Stratford each week and that the waiting list is increasing every week as well. The club expect to sell all the allocated season tickets for the stadium which is brilliant news and dispels the myth that we wouldn't ever sell it out.

​Have a great start to the week and I will update you on any news that I hear, COYI.

Twitter - @ExWHUemployee


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