Thursday, July 30

Daily WHUFC News - II 30th July 2015

Bilic: 'Payet has got everything'

West Ham Uited manager Slaven Bilic is relishing the chance to see new
signing Dimitri Payet make his European debut for the Club against Astra
Giurgiu and says he is the all-round player.
Payet has wasted no time settling into his new surroundings following his
big money move from Marseille earlier in the summer and made a dream debut
when he scored two goals against Southend. The French international has
followed that up with impressive displays against Charlton and Norwich and
is now set for his first appearance at the Boleyn Ground on Thursday night.

Bilic always felt that Payet could become a special player for the east
London Club and has nothing but praise for the way he conducts himself on
the field. Bilic said: "He's not only a great player, he's a professional
and is a good lad. He's the kind of player I thought we really needed. "He
is going to make every player better than they actually are. He's got
"He was my number one target and I am grateful to the chairman that we got
him. It was done just like that – not in four weeks. "He's doing really well
at the moment. It may go a bit up and down. But we're going to help him and
he's going to help us."

West Ham United defender James Collins has also been impressed with Payet in
the short time he has been at the Club and could see straight away that he
was going to be a top player. Collins said: "I played with him at Southend
and he was a million miles the best player on the pitch. He's a special
player. "He's a tremendous signing for the Club. He's going to create so
many chances and score goals as well. You can see it from the day he walked
in he's kept himself fit. "He's come in and speaks very good English and
gets on with the lads. It's an exciting time to have players like that in
the squad. You can see he's a top player - even in training."

Cresswell - We want to reach the group stages

West Ham United defender Aaron Cresswell says he would love to help the Club
reach the group stages of the Europa League and wants to compete against the
big teams in Europe. The Hammers are just four games away from reaching the
main stage of the competition, but face another tough test when they play
Romanian side FC Astra at the Boleyn Ground on Thursday night in the third
qualifying round. Cresswell, who was voted Hammer of the Year last season,
is excited by the prospect of playing against different European teams and
hopes it will improve everyone in the squad. The games are certainly coming
thick and fast for Slaven Bilic and his players and with just over a week to
go before the opening Premier League game against Arsenal, Cresswell says
they will be raring to go for the London derby at Emirates Stadium on August
9. Cresswell said: "I don't think many of us have had this amount of
pre-season games but we just need to relish it and look forward to the
opening Premier League game against Arsenal. "We want to be in the group
stages (of the Europa League) and there will be better teams as the
competition progresses. "It will be a test for us (against Astra) but one we
are looking forward to. The fans are turning out in their numbers again and
long may it continue. "It is a game we are looking forward to. We have seen
videos of the opposition. They are going to be tough and don't look a bad

Jack Sullivan Column

Jack Sullivan is the youngest son of West Ham United Joint-Chairman David
Sullivan and is a huge Hammers fan. Jack will be giving his exclusive views
to the official website in a regular column...

Hello everyone,

It has been another good week for the Club as we continue on this exciting
European adventure and we now look forward to another tough encounter
against Romanian side AFC Astra Giurgiu.
I have been away on holiday in Spain but I still made sure that I got to
travel to the game in Malta last week with my dad and brother. I'm sure like
all the fans who travelled there, they will say what a nice place Malta is
and their stadium was very impressive. They looked after us so well and we
obviously knew that we were going to be playing at the national stadium, but
it was amazing to see how passionate the home fans were and that they sold
out most of the tickets. It was a really big match for the people in Malta
and how much it meant to everyone.
All the substitutes were trying to get the fans going and there was a real
party atmosphere. Despite going a goal behind early on in the game and then
losing James Tomkins to a red card on the stroke of half-time, it was great
to see how the players kept battling and it shows the spirit in the squad
that we were still able to win the game. All five penalties were fantastic
and it was the same against Everton last season in the FA Cup. I know the
players would have learned a great deal from the opening two rounds and I
know Slaven Bilic has been saying that we need to keep our cool and not get
wound up by the opposition We obviously don't get the same tactics when we
play in the Premier League every week, but I'm sure the players will get
used to it now and hopefully we will not see any more dismissals. We are all
hoping to get a good advantage from the first leg.

I know all the fans are excited to see our new summer signing Dimitri Payet
make his European debut for the Club at the Boleyn Ground. Payet is a
fantastic signing and we have already seen the skills and talent he is going
to bring to the first-team this season. I know he was Slaven's first choice
and we are delighted that we were able to clinch his signature. It shows the
ambition we have got as a Club now that we are able to attract these big
names to come and play for West Ham United. There is no doubt that Payet is
going to scare opponents and he has settled in extremely fast. You only have
to look at Alexis Sanchez and how quickly he settled into Arsenal last
season. Hopefully Payet can do the same.

It is fantastic that we are close to selling out for the Europa League game
on Thursday night and it shows once again how amazing our support is. We
have affordable family pricing and the fans are determined to be part of
this European journey. I cannot believe that the new Premier League season
gets underway in just over a week's time, but Slaven has worked the players
really hard over the last few weeks and I am confident the players are going
to be really sharp for the start of pre-season. This has certainly been a
meaningful pre-season with all the competitive games we have had to face and
the players have been able to build their fitness up. I know a lot of fans
are asking about the possibility of any more new signings coming into the
Club. I know my dad is continuing to work hard behind the scenes, but we are
determined to spend the money wisely and get the best value we can for a
player. We still have time to get the right deal.

I look forward to speaking with you all again soon.

Hernandez Latest
Posted by on July 30, 2015 in News, Transfer Rumours

Portuguese giants Benfica have joined the race to sign Manchester United
forward Javier Hernandez, according to Mirror Football. The 27 year-old is
wanted by a host of clubs this summer, including London rivals Spurs and
West Ham. However, for the time-being, the Mexican has been told that he is
a part of Louis Van Gaal's plans for the upcoming season. It is believed
that this situation may change, if Manchester United manage to snap up a
forward before the close of the transfer window. But in the meantime, Slaven
Bilic is looking elsewhere for a new striker, and could turn his attention
to Fenerbahce striker Moussa Sow.

OS seats moved forward for first time
Posted by Hammers Newshound on July 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

The Olympic Stadium Seats are on the move for the first time. Following the
completion of the athletics event over the weekend, work has started moving
the retractable seats forward to be closer to the pitch.

This image posted online by Matthew Wheele on Tuesday shows the first middle
section behind the goal moved forward leaving a permanent section in
concrete which will not be used in football mode. The black seats in this
photo will screened off when football is played.

Retractable seating will be used for the first time for Rugby and the first
event scheduled for 29th AUgust when Barbarians take on Samoa.

Irons surprise at bookies Hernandez odds
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

West Ham have slipped to 5/1 second favourites in the race to sign Javier
Hernandez. Sky Bet have installed Spurs as 2/1 best bets to grab the
Manchester Unietd striker with nobody seemingly accepting that he will be
staying at Old Trafford. As reported here, the Irons have already had one
bid of £9 million turned down and that was immediately followed by OT boss
Luis van Gaal claiming the Mexican was not for sale. Since then however,
Portuguese side Benfica have entered the fray and according to the Mirror
want the player on loan next season. The Hammers, however, don't see any
reason for the bookies to be lengthening their odds to three points beyond
Spurs. A source told us: "We have made a bid and are continuing to monitor
things very carefully. He remains very high on our target list. These odds
surprise us."
Latest odds for Hernandez's next club: Spurs 2/1 West Ham 4/1 Aston Villa
12/1 Sevilla 12/1 To stay at United 11/10.
Odds vary at various betting outlets

Slav "It's a risk be I want a couple more"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Slaven Bilic has made it clear he wants one or two more signings. The club
has already spent around £24m on seven summer signings but the new boss
wants a couple more in through the doors.
He said: "You have to be clever (in the transfer market) of course, but even
Einstein would have to spend money." And he accepts the club will have to
splash the cash without knowing whether West Ham have made the Europa League
group stages or not. He said: "That is very tricky because you can't wait
that long. So we will have to risk one way or another."

'Evolving West Ham are like no other Premier League team', says boss of
Europa League opponents
Damien Lucas

Marius Sumudica, the manager of West Ham United's Romanian Europa League
opponents FC Astra Giurgiu says the Hammers are a one-off in the Premier
League. Sumudica has seen a lot during his managerial career so far having
taken charge of no fewer than 16 clubs over nine years in three different
countries. So the former striker, who scored 100 goals in 350 games during
an equally nomadic playing career, is well qualified to talk about the
different challenges posed by teams his side come up against in the Europa
League. Having got a taste of British opposition when Astra saw off Scottish
Premier League side Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the last round, Sumudica
hopes his players can cause Slaven Bilic's Hammers problems in the first leg
at Upton Park tonight. But having watched the Irons in their pre-season
friendly at Norwich on Tuesday night, he has told West Ham's official
website he was left somewhat intimidated by what he saw. "They left a very
good impression, the team has changed under the new manager and I can say
they play a different type of football to the other English teams," Sumudica
told "They have a high pressing line and they try to play
football. "We will have to be very careful, (they) have a very high

Praise is far cry from '19th century football' accusations

Sumudica's words are a far cry from the kind of assessment opposition
managers have been making of Sam Allardyce's West Ham in recent years.
Managers have been quick to label the Hammers one-dimensional and a "long
ball team" in recent seasons. Most famously Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho
accused the Hammers of playing '19th century football' – as reported by the
BBC at the time – after their defensive display earned them an unlikely
point at Stamford Bridge two seasons ago. Allardyce was always quick to
refute any such claims, saying it was an unfair tag that has never left him
since his Bolton Wanderers days.

Are Hammers rediscovering their roots?

But West Ham and their fans have always prided themselves on playing
attractive, attacking football true to their Academy of Football roots.
However, under Sam Allardyce many supporters grew tired of what they saw as
negative tactics, particularly away from home. So they will find it
refreshing to hear a neutral such as Sumudica speak in such glowing terms
about what he described as Bilic's 'evolving' side especially given the fact
the Croatian is only a month into his Hammers tenure.

West Ham target Europa League win against Astra Giurgiu
Last Updated: 30/07/15 11:46am

West Ham take on Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League third qualifying round
at Upton Park on Thursday night. The Hammers have already beaten Andorran
side Lusitanos 4-0 over two legs in the first qualifying round, before just
edging past Birkirkara from Malta 5-3 on penalties in the following round.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, however, wants his team to try and kill the
tie off ahead of the return leg next Thursday, especially with a trip to
Arsenal to come on the opening weekend of the Premier League season three
days later. "They are a club that's investing money, has a lot of good
players," he said. "Last year they knocked out Lyon so it's going to be a
good test for us. "I'm hoping for that (a commanding victory) and it would
be nice, and we're going to try for that, but to be fair we're not expecting
an easy ride."

The first-leg tie against the Romanians will be West Ham's 10th game already
of preseason, but Bilic was adamant he would not let his side's busy summer
schedule to account for any fatigue.
"It's not ideal, but there's no point moaning or saying it again, we just
have to cope with the situation and that's it - no excuses," said the
Croatian. "I would have had to learn quickly here anyway, because I'm new
here. "I've done my homework but these European nights we've had so far,
they are not ideal, but at the same time they give you the best pictures
from your players. "The negative side of that was that we had so many games
because the club had to arrange friendly matches because we didn't know we'd
compete in European qualification." New signing from Marseille Dimitri Payet
is expected to make his full debut for the club, but centre-back James
Tomkins misses out through suspension after being sent off in the previous
round against Birkirkara

Chelsea backed to snap-up free agent midfielder as West Ham and Aston Villa
look elsewhere
14:13 30 July 2015 Brad Pinard

Chelsea have been backed from as big as 10/1 into joint favourites to sign
free agent Esteban Cambiasso this summer. The Argentinean left Leicester
earlier this month despite being offered a new contract and so is a free
agent. West Ham were immediately installed as the favourites to sign the
central midfielder who impressed for the Foxes last season and has left them
with a huge gap in their squad to fill. However, Slaven Bilic has confirmed
Alex Song is moving closer to a deal with the club and so the Hammers have
drifted in the betting market. Aston Villa and Tottenham were also shorter
prices earlier this week and have been pushed out to bigger odds. Chelsea
however have done the opposite and are now as short at 2/1 to be the next
club of Cambiasso's.

West Ham's Euro goal shortage to continue as the net bulges en masse at St

West Ham are joined by Southampton in the shallow waters of the Europa
League, which is now just two rounds away from starting in earnest. The
Hammers entertain Romania's Astra Giurgiu, while Southampton welcome Chelsea
reserves Vitesse Arnhem. Both Premier League outfits are heavily fancied to
win at 53/100 and 33/100 respectively, but we've sounded out two better
value wagers from each match just as likely to land.

West Ham v Astra Giurgiu Under 1.5 goals @ 9/4

West Ham have faced sides of minnow-to-a-stickleback stature in the previous
rounds of this competition, yet have only been able to prevent this bet
copping in one of their four matches.
Astra were just as prolific as far as landing unders punts is concerned in
both legs of their second preliminary round tie with Inverness Caledonian
Thistle, with just one goal scored across two legs. Furthermore, the
Romanians haven't scored more than one in any of their last nine matches in
this competition.

West Ham to win 1-0 @ 21/4

Three of the four prelim fixtures involving the Irons have finished 1-0,
while they've leaked just one goal across these games. Working on the
premise that the net will bulge once at most here and Slaven Bilic's side
are likely to keep a clean sheet, this is the most likely scoreline by some

Southampton v Vitesse
Both teams to score @ 11/10

While it's difficult to envisage anything but a Saints win here, the net
rippling courtesy of the men from Arnhem can't be discounted. They've done
so in ten of their last 11 sojourns, including their only away-day friendly
against Sparta Prague on their previous outing. Southampton notched 11 goals
across the final five home games of the previous season.

More goals to be scored in the first half @ 9/5

Of the 14 registered in total across the aforementioned five fixtures at St
Mary's, nine prior to the interval. Similarly, seven of the 12 bagged in
Vitesse's last three competitive away games came before the half-time

Slaven Bilic believes Dimitri Payet arrival will make entire West Ham squad
play above themselves
London Evening Standard
Published: 30 July 2015 Updated: 09:57, 30 July 2015

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic believes his entire squad will step up
following the arrival of Dimitri Payet from Marseille. The 28-year-old
joined for £10.7million earlier this month and scored on his debut for the
club in a pre-season friendly against Southend. And Bilic is expecting Payet
to shine for the Hammers next term as they target a top-eight finish in
their final season at the Boleyn Ground. Indeed, the West Ham boss will
receive no bonuses if the club fail to finish inside the Premier League top
eight but he is confident Payet's arrival will provide a timely boost across
the squad. "It's still early days but I know so far he's not only a great
player but he's professional and he's a good lad," the former Croatia boss
said. "He's the kind of player I thought we really needed. "He's going to
make every player better than they actually are - he's got everything and he
likes to take responsibility. "He was my number one target and I am
grateful to chairman that we got him and it was done like that – not in four

West Ham need to get 'streetwise' against Europa League's wind-up merchants,
says James Collins
22:30, 29 JULY 2015
The Mirror
The Wales international defender says his teammates must how to cope with
the underhand tactics being used by rivals ahead of their clash with Astra

James Collins admits West Ham need to get "streetwise" in the Europa League.
Collins has told his teammates they need to learn quickly how to cope with
the underhand tactics being used by their rivals in the competition. West
Ham , who qualified for the Europa League via the fair play league, have
already had two players sent off in the first two rounds following
Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins have seen red in the Hammers' two away legs
at Lusitans and Birkirkara after being suckered into violent reactions by
their opponents. Defender Collins said: "These teams are coming to play us,
looking at it as a cup final so will try anything they can to beat us. "We
have to be streetwise, deal with that and let our football do the talking.
Some of the stuff that was going on the pitch was unbelievable. "They spoke
about doing it before the game and from minute one they have tried
everything they could to get under our skin."

While Sakho and Tomkins – both banned for Thursday night's third qualifying
round tie against Romanian's Astra Giurgiu – have taken the bait and paid
the price, Collins added: "It's niggly and verbal but it's quite enjoyable.
"You don't see it week-in, week out in the Premier League so it's a good
eye-opener. "I had that a lot when I was growing up and it made me a
stronger player so for some of the younger lads that are going to get a
chance it is going to be a great experience."

Slaven Bilic is set to hand £10.7m signing, attacking midfielder Dimitri
Payet, his competitive debut at Upton Park. Boss Bilic said: "He was my
number one target. He is going to make every player better than they
actually are. He's got everything." Collins added: "He's a special player. I
played with him (in the friendly) at Southend and he was a million miles the
best player on the pitch. "I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets on in
the Premier League and Europa League."

Bilic has spent around £24m on his seven summer signings and revealed he is
eyeing "one or two" more. He added: "You have to be clever (in the transfer
market) of course, but even Einstein would have to spend money." And he
admits he will have to spend again without knowing whether West Ham have
made the Europa League group stages or not. He said: "That is very tricky
because you can't wait that long. So we will have to risk one way or

West Ham expected team vs Astra Giurgiu
Adrian; Burke, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Oxford, Kouyate;
Valencia, Payet; Zarate.

Referee: Adrien Jaccottet (Switzerland)

James Collins heaps praise on owners and boss for building strongest squad
he's known at West Ham
Damien Lucas

West Ham United defender James Collins has praised the club's owners and new
manager Slaven Bilic for assembling the strongest squad he's seen at the
club. The 31-year-old Welshman was speaking at a pre-match press conference
– which was reported by the club's official website – ahead of West Ham's
Europa League third qualifying round clash against FC Astra on Thursday
night. The fans' favourite's words carry some weight too considering he has
played more than 130 games for the east Londoners during two spells spanning
seven years. Crucially he has also played under three different sets of
owners, firstly Terence Brown, then the Icelandics who sold him to Aston
Villa and in his second spell David Sullivan and David Gold - and it is the
latter two who have impressed him most. One of West Ham's best performers
last season, Collins has watched with delight as the Irons have been one of
the most active clubs in the summer transfer market bringing in nine players
so far with the promise of more to come. And in his opinion it has left new
manager Slaven Bilic with the best squad he has known during his time with
the club. "We've got a strong squad and all credit goes to the chairmen and
the gaffer for getting the squad how it is, we've got some top quality
players and I think that's deserved for a club like West Ham and the way
we're looking to go," he told the assembled media. "Yes, I'd say so (it's
the best squad of players in his time at the club). "Some of the signings
like the gaffer says, it's still early days, but the signings have been
quality, the additions to the squad have been tremendous."

Words carry weight

Collins is well qualified to talk about comings and goings at West Ham as he
has seen a fair few in his seven years at the club. The former Cardiff star
was part of Alan Pardew's squad which made it to that epic FA Cup final
against Liverpool in 2007. He also played in Europe for the Hammers against
Palermo the following season – the club's reward for having made the FA Cup
final – where he played alongside the likes of Carlos Tevez and Javier
Mascherano. So when Collins says this is the best squad he has seen at the
club, fans can start to believe it might truly be the start of something
memorable under Bilic in what is the last ever season at their Boleyn Ground
home of 112 years. Collins' remark "the way we're looking to go" also tells
you something about the ambitions of the club to really start challenging
the elite as they prepare for their big move to the 54,000 seater Olympic
Stadium next summer.


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