Friday, August 12

Daily WHUFC News - 12th August

Kouyate welcomes Dimi return - WHUFC Official Site

Cheikhou Kouyate delighted to welcome Dimitri Payet back to pre-season training
Senegal star scored West Ham United's first-ever goal at London Stadium
No8 is targeting another strong season in Claret and Blue - his third as a Hammer

Cheikhou Kouyate has welcomed Dimitri Payet back to the West Ham United squad after a deserved summer break.

The Hammer of the Year returned for pre-season training on Friday – the morning after Kouyate had bagged the historic first goal at the Club's new London Stadium home – after a storybook Euro 2016 with France.

The outstanding playmaker and Senegal midfielder dovetailed superbly during their first season as teammates, and Kouyate cannot wait to have Payet back on the pitch with him again when the Premier League season kicks-off at Chelsea on Monday evening.

"He is the best player at West Ham so all eyes will be focused on him now," said Kouyate. "We will need him to play well for West Ham this season. Yes, Manchester City and Manchester United have nice teams but we are looking forward to playing them."

While the presence of Payet and a host of other top-class players will give West Ham plenty of reasons for optimism for 2016/17, the No8 knows West Ham can take nothing for granted.

With Monday's hosts, Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton and Southampton all bringing in new managers and players galore, Kouyate says Slaven Bilic's squad need to hit top form as quickly as possible if they are to improve on last season's seventh-place finish.

That said, he is not ruling anything out!
He is the best player at West Ham so all eyes will be focused on him now Cheikhou Kouyate on Dimitri Payet

"We must stay humble, keep our feet on the ground," said Kouyate. "All the games will be very difficult, we know that.

"But nothing is impossible in football now. If we keep together, anything is possible. Yes, it is possible for us to get to the Champions League. Why not?

"We all get on very well and we have a captain in Mark Noble who is fantastic and so good for the team. He motivates all the players. If you play as a team and work hard you can achieve a lot."

Finally, Kouyate found time to reflect on his historic goal, which he netted just eight minutes into West Ham's life at their new home.

The African's flicked finish set his team on their way to a 3-0 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round win over NK Domzale, setting up a play-off round rematch with Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu for a place in the group stage.

"I am so proud to have scored the first goal," he smiled. "The game was very important for the Club.

"This is a very big memory for me, a big moment. Historic. I don't think the people who came to watch expected me to score the first goal!"

Loan deal agreed for Calleri - WHUFC Official Site

West Ham United are delighted to confirm a deal has been agreed to sign Argentinean striker Jonathan Calleri on a season-long loan, subject to international clearance.

A loan fee and personal terms have been agreed with Calleri and his club Deportivo Maldonado and the 22-year-old is expected to arrive in London next week.

The exciting frontman will link up with the Hammers after appearing and scoring for his country at the Rio Olympic Games, and on the back of a prolific 18 months at club level.

Manager Slaven Bilic says the capture of Calleri, who finished as leading scorer at the 2016 Copa Libertadores, will add balance to the Hammers' attacking options.

"We have agreed to sign Calleri," he said "Unfortunately for him, but good for us, Argentina were knocked out of the Olympics this week, so he should be here with us pretty soon, depending on the work permit.

"We did the deal a little while ago, and he is a top striker. You need a squad, of course, but it is all about the balance. I think we have a good balance."

Born in Buenos Aires, Calleri started his career with Primera Division side All Boys, making his senior debut at the age of 19 in August 2013.

The young forward's ability and promise attracted the attention of Argentina's biggest clubs and it was no surprise when legendary South American coach Carlos Bianchi took him to Boca Juniors in July 2014.

There, Calleri netted his first goal on his second start at Estudiantes before celebrating his 20th birthday with the winner against local rivals Racing Club.

The busy South American fixture list saw Calleri amass an impressive 53 appearances, 21 goals and eleven assists in a successful 18-month spell with Boca that saw him win the Primera Division and Copa Argentina double in late 2015.

The exciting youngster joined Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonado in January 2016 and was soon loaned to Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

Calleri spent six months in southern Brazil, scoring 16 goals in 30 appearances, including an impressive nine in 12 Copa Libertadores ties – the South American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – as Sao Paulo reached the semi-finals.

After the deal is complete, he will become the sixth Argentine to play for West Ham after Lionel Scaloni, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tevez, Mauro Zarate and current star Manuel Lanzini.


Founders feedback update - WHUFC Official Site

Two games into life at London Stadium and West Ham United continue to receive hundreds of emails from supporters each day sharing their feedback of the Hammers' new home. It is a vital way to communicate with the Club's loyal supporters and we promise we read each and every one. They help to shape the action taken to improve your experiences at the Stadium, so please keep emailing us your thoughts, good and bad!

Happily, supporters have informed us that the return journey to Stratford Station following the Betway Cup was a significant improvement on Thursday night. On a similar note, fans remarked that they were pleased to see concessions remaining open after the final whistle, so that they could enjoy refreshments on the concourse while waiting for the crowds to disperse. We will ensure the caterers continue to do this.

On the flip side, supporters have commented on the length of queues and the time it is taking to be served at half time. The Club met with the Stadium's caterers Delaware North on Wednesday and asked them to address this issue as a matter of urgency and to continue to optimise the offers and availability based on the learnings of these first two fixtures. They have given us their assurances that they will do this.

Additionally, lots of you have asked whether some sort of shelving could be installed on the concourse, to make it easier to juggle food and drink. The Club have spoken to the Stadium operators LS185 and will report back on when this will be installed.

With regard to transport, many supporters have written to inform us of some failures in the service on Abellio Greater Anglia services. While this is obviously beyond the Club's jurisdiction, our Vice-Chairman Karren Brady has written to the UK Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia to share your feedback. We know they want to provide a good service so we are very hopeful that they will make some significant improvements and we will of course keep you informed as to the response we get.

Inside the Stadium, supporters continue to raise the topic of standing during the game. We are pleased to note that some Season Ticket Holders in the East Stand confirmed that the situation had improved since Thursday's Europa League opener, but it remains an issue elsewhere in the ground, particularly where the views of disabled supporters are being impeded.

We implore supporters to be respectful and considerate of their fellow Hammers and fans should note that Stadium stewards are acting on the Club's authority. The Vice-Chairman has since written to supporters on this very subject.

It has also been brought to the Club's attention that supporters are taking alcoholic drinks into the Stadium bowl. While we appreciate that supporters will have enjoyed doing so during the Olympic Games and at more recent athletics meets, we must remind supporters that the legislation in the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 dictates that supporters cannot consume alcohol in view of the pitch and it is against the law to do so.

Finally, supporters should rest assured that the current covering between the pitch and stands is merely a temporary measure and will be replaced, in its entirety, with Astroturf ahead of the Premier League curtain-raiser against Bournemouth. Likewise, the installation of bold West Ham branding has begun to be installed at the back of the relocatable seating in the West Stand and is expected to be in situ for Sunday 21 August, while the world-class Stadium wrap will also be complete.

Thank you for all of your emails to and do keep them coming. Together, we will continue to improve the matchday experience at London Stadium.
Slaven Speaks - Chelsea - WHUFC Official Site

Slaven Bilic relishing Premier League curtain raiser against Chelsea on Monday
Manager looking forward to duel with new Blues boss Antonio Conte
Gaffer gives update on squad ahead of big kick-off

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic cannot wait for his team's new Premier League season to get underway at Chelsea on Monday night.

The Hammers head across London to face Antonio Conte's team as the Italian takes to the dugout for the first time as Blues boss.

Bilic says West Ham have prepared well for the new campaign and are ready to mix it once again with the league's biggest teams.

Slaven, how excited and how ready are you for the new Premier League season?

SB: "We're excited, of course. It starts for us on Monday, we did a good pre-season and we are ready for the start. We have a good squad – we've kept most of the players and we've added some players too. We are expecting them to improve us – we'd expect that even without them because we have been together for a year now and had a good last season.

"We are expecting a good season, of course."

What are you expecting from Chelsea?

SB: "A tough game, a good game against a big club with a new manager. He is a great manager – he did a terrific job with Juventus and with Italy. He is one of those who wants to put his stamp on the team, not just continue what the previous managers have done, but to change the way they approach the game. Change the principles and nature of the game.

"He's one of them, that's why I rate him so highly. Is he going to do it straight away? It is more difficult of course to change the long-term habits that players have had, especially when they are big players at a big club. But, I'm sure he is going to do a good job there."
You and your team had a lot of good results against top teams in the league early last season. Is that something that will give this squad confidence going into this season?

SB: "In one way yes, in the other way it's very dangerous. If we think we've got good results against most of them last season and we're going to do it now by default, it doesn't happen by default.

"But it's a good memory, it's a good experience, it's a good pattern that we know very recently we have done this, this, this and this. If we do those basic things again in terms of compactness, togetherness, team spirit and humility, then of course it's good to rely on the knowledge that you have done those things against those clubs in those circumstances."

Are you missing any players for Monday's game?

SB: "Usually we have a press conference a day or a couple of days before a game, but this week we are speaking four days before the match. We may say that's not a lot, but with the players that signed for us only a couple of days ago, plus the players who came back from a longer break because of the Euros, two days or four days matters a lot.

"We will see how we are going to start on Monday night. There are not many tactical differences, we have Plan A and Plan B. We have that already, but it is still very open on a couple of positions for who is going to start and which players are likely to finish the game.

"With some players you want to have them on the pitch for the last 15 minutes, so we are going to see."

What about Dimitri Payet?

SB: "He is one of them, yes. He came back in really good shape so he doesn't need a long pre-season individually. He's not fit for 90 minutes, so we will see, but he came back in really good shape, motivated and everything."

From the Treatment Room - WHUFC Official Site

The latest injury news with Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke - in association with Spire Roding Hospital...

Hello everyone,

We are in the final few days of preparations for the new Premier League season at our new Training Ground at Rush Green, and all of the players and staff are looking forward to an exciting trip to Chelsea on Monday evening.

I would like to start by welcoming Andre Ayew and Arthur Masuaku to West Ham United. Both are fit and ready to go.

They have been training with their previous clubs and joined us with similar levels of fitness as the rest of the squad which is good, but new players are always a little bit more at risk.

This week we have encouraging news regarding Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Cresswell and Gokhan Tore.
Manuel injured his knee while on Olympic Games duty with Argentina. He was wearing a knee brace for four weeks. Manuel is out of the brace and has entered a new phase in his rehab and started running on Wednesday.

Aaron injured his knee in the pre-season match with Karlsruher in Austria. He did not require an operation and is making very good progress. Aaron has been wearing a brace and using crutches for a few weeks.

He has now started walking with the brace, partially weight bearing. On Sunday we will take the brace off and progress to the next steps in his rehabilitation process.

Gokhan got injured in the final training session in Slovenia before our UEFA Europa League first leg with Domzale.

He had a significant trauma to his knee and rehabbed very well with our medical team and rehab fitness coach Eamon Swift, finishing those sessions on Wednesday. He will resume training with the squad today.

Diafra Sakho is undertaking an individual training programme and is working hard to attain the right level of fitness to join the squad as soon as he can.

Finally, Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and Darren Randolph picked up minor knocks in the Domzale home leg and we didn't want to take any chances, so they were not involved in the Juventus game. They all trained without any problems on Wednesday and are fit for selection against Chelsea.

Enjoy the weekend and the start of the new Premier League season!

Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of Medical and Sports Science

Noble - It's a competitive league - WHUFC Official Site

Mark Noble says the Hammers can lay down a marker ahead of what promises to be the most competitive of Premier League seasons when they travel to Chelsea on Monday evening.

With plenty of change in terms of personnel, both managerial and playing-wise at the teams chasing league glory – not to mention last year's top two Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur looking to mount challenges again – the level of intrigue has been ramped up to the max as the new season get underway.

The Hammers face one of those sides to change bosses, and with Antonio Conte in the dugout for the first time, Noble is looking forward to the challenge, both on Monday and all season long.

He said: "We've got seven or eight of the best ten or eleven managers in Europe in the Premier League now. We've got some of the best players too – Paul Pogba's just come here for £100m, Ibrahimovic, the players who Man City have signed and I'm pretty sure there'll be a lot more to come from the top clubs.

"Do I think this is going to be the toughest season I've played in? Probably yes. When people talk about the top teams, they talk about Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea. They don't even talk about Spurs, who are a top team.

"They were probably the toughest team we played last year. It's going to be a really tough league.

"We know we can compete with the big boys, we did that last year. We haven't got the same spending power or maybe as big a squad, but we have got a great bunch of lads who enjoy playing together.

"Of course it's important to get off to a good start and Chelsea will be saying the same thing, at home to West Ham. First game of the season, new manager, a lot of millions of pounds worth of new signings, and a lot of new hope at Chelsea.

"To be honest I'm looking forward to it, getting the pre-season games out of the way and getting back down to business with proper football matches."

A message to supporters from the Vice-Chairman - WHUFC Official Site

With the Hammers' Premier League curtain-raiser at London Stadium drawing ever nearer, Vice-Chairman Karren Brady has written to supporters…

West Ham United's opening games at London Stadium have been hugely successful in terms of record crowds, supporters' feedback on the Stadium, the atmosphere and the matchday experience.

However, the Club has also been alerted by a number of supporters to incidents where individual fans or small groups are standing up throughout, spoiling the views for other fans sitting behind them, and refusing to sit down even when asked by their fellow supporters to do so.

It is enormously disappointing that a large number of children, elderly supporters and, in particular, those with disabilities had their enjoyment of these opening games affected by the decision of individuals in the rows in front of them to stand throughout the games.

As a family Club, with in excess of 10,000 Under-16 Season Ticket Holders at our new home, we believe it is unacceptable that the experience of our youngest and oldest fans should be affected in this way.

We would therefore appeal to all fans to show due respect and consideration to those around and behind them, especially for children, the elderly and those with disabilities, and remain seated during future matches at London Stadium.

Supporters are reminded that the regulations which govern all Premier League clubs state:

"Persistent standing in seated areas whilst play is in progress is strictly forbidden, and may result in ejection from the ground."‎

Therefore, those who stand persistently are at risk of having their Season Tickets permanently revoked. We are obviously reluctant to take any such action against loyal fans, and we hope that we will not be put in that position.

Supporters should note that Stadium stewards have been strongly briefed on the matter and are acting on the Club's authority.

With sell-out crowds attending West Ham fixtures this season, we want them all to enjoy every second of the action in comfort and safety, especially that new generation of Hammers fans able to attend our matches for the first time.

We absolutely appreciate that this is a momentous time for the Club and supporters, naturally, are excited. This is a learning curve for us all but we must start the way we mean to go on.

So we urge all our supporters to play their part, stay seated so that everyone can see and enjoy the game, and join together in creating a new era in our Club's great history.

Baroness Brady CBE

Hammers launch Premier League season - WHUFC Official Site

Slaven Bilic, Mark Noble and representatives from the West Ham United Foundation were on hand early on Wednesday to mark the official launch of the new 2016/17 Premier League season.

Following the successful opening of the Club's fantastic new home last week, both Bilic and Noble were in good spirits as they prepare for the new campaign.

Starting with a mouth-watering London derby away at rivals Chelsea on Monday, the Hammers will then host AFC Bournemouth the following Sunday, in the very first Premier League fixture at London Stadium.

Looking ahead to the start of the new Premier League campaign, Bilic said: "We know it's a long season, so we want to start good. We've had a good pre-season, now we have five big games between now and the first international break.

"We are confident, we have some very good new players and we are definitely ready for the start of the new season."

Club captain Mark Noble was equally as excited, looking ahead to the season opener at Stamford Bridge, he said: "We've got three games coming up in a week, but at the moment the Chelsea game is the only one I'm thinking about.

"It's a great game for our fans, against our rivals, under the lights. It'll be tough, they've got some great players and a new manager. But saying that, we're confident, we've got a good squad and we've bonded well. It should be a great game, I can't wait really."

The launch event at Market Road, Islington was also a fantastic occasion for West Ham United Foundation youngsters to showcase their skills, with the added incentive of playing in front of the first team manager and club captain.

Having been invited to the launch as one of only four Premier League clubs, the Hammers were in good company alongside Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri and Wes Morgan, Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Jack Wilshere as well as Premier League new-boys Sean Dyche and Tom Heaton.

The tournament, a fitting curtain-raiser for what is expected to be one of the most thrilling seasons to date, was made up of participants from the four club's Foundations.

Each team was represented by a Premier League Kicks and School Sport side, which had the chance to showcase the incredible work that takes place in the community via football clubs and Premier League funding.

Skipper Noble watched on as West Ham's Premier League Kicks team beat both Arsenal and Leicester 3-0, before winning 4-1 against Premier League new boys Burnley.

Noble was not just a spectator though; the Canning Town born captain rallied the young Irons with an inspiring pre-match talk before taking part in a Q&A with the School Sport team.

The day, however, was less about winning football matches and more about celebrating the great work carried out by community schemes. Foundation participants flittered between football and multi-sports, testing themselves in handball and athletics, demonstrating the diverse programmes on offer from the Premier League.

Speaking after a successful morning's work, Foundation Development Officer George Chukwuma, who coincidentally went to the same primary school as Noble, beamed: "It's great to be able to showcase what our Foundation is all about, and to celebrate the good work Foundations do across the country.

"The support and funding the Premier League give us is massive. To be part of the official launch of the new Premier League season is very special. We're delighted to be part of today's launch, and delighted with how well we did because a lot of hard work has gone into it!"

To find out more about how to get involved in our Premier League funded projects, contact WHU Foundation Community Manager Shamajul Motin at

Jonathan Calleri: Argentina striker joins West Ham on season-long loan - BBC Sport

West Ham have signed Argentina striker Jonathan Calleri on a season-long loan from Uruguay's Deportivo Maldonado.

The 22-year-old represented his country, who were eliminated in the group stage, at Rio 2016 and will arrive in London next week.

Calleri spent the first six months of the year on loan with Brazilian side Sao Paulo and was top scorer in the Copa Libertadores.

"He is a top striker," West Ham manager Slaven Bilic told the club's website.

"Unfortunately for him, but good for us, Argentina were knocked out of the Olympics this week, so he should be here with us pretty soon, depending on the work permit."

West Ham open their Premier League campaign away at Chelsea on Monday and Bilic says he is unlikely to add to his squad.

The Croatian added that reports he was in the market for "five more players" following West Ham's Europa League win over NK Domzale last week were incorrect.

"No, no, we were expecting some to come back and some who were injured. We signed what we have signed and we are happy with that," said Bilic.
Back in time: Making sense of Macari - thewesthamway
by ExWHUEmployee on 11 August 2016 at 5:24pm
Lou Macari

West Ham Way columnist Sid Lambert (@sid_lambert) goes back to 1989 and a controversial period in West Ham's history.

He was gone. We had a feeling it was coming but now, flicking routinely through page 302 on Ceefax, the news was there to see in that flickering blue BBC font. John Lyall had been sacked as manager of West Ham United. Lyall had been the constant through my early years of supporting the claret and blue. A throwback to yesteryear when West Ham managers, coaches and senior players would huddle around tables in greasy spoons and pontificate on the beautiful game.

In these times of Moneyball and in-play Opta stats, it's hard to believe Ron Greenwood would explain his football philosophy with little more than salt, pepper and a bottle of ketchup at his disposal. Lyall served his apprenticeship under Greenwood and took over the hotseat when the latter departed for national service. He had been at the club for thirty-four years as player, coach and manager.

He'd guided us to within a whisker of the title in 1986. With the likes of Frank McAvennie, Tony Cottee, and Alvin Martin approaching their peak years, the prospect of silverware returning to East London seemed very real. The decline had been as stark as it was unexpected.

The game was changing. Under the tutelage of FA supremo Charles Hughes, English football was becoming a low-risk, percentage game with an emphasis on direct play. It was boring, repetitive stuff, the very anti-thesis of Lyall's expansive philosophy.

Unfortunately, it was was also very effective. West Ham were being out-fought on the Saturday afternoon battlefields of the First Division. The team had developed a soft centre and Lyall, despite the protestations of senior players, had been unable to bring in suitable reinforcements. Far from strengthening the squad of 86, the club had slowly begun to cash in on their prize assets. McAvennie and Cottee departed for pastures new. Cut-price alternatives such as David Kelly and Leroy Rosenior were poor substitutes.

In the space of just three years, the team had gone from front-runners to relegation fodder.

Something had to change. Like many, I assumed that loyal servant Billy Bonds would be the man to rebuild the ailing club. The board disagreed. The club didn't need rebuilding. It needed a short, sharp shock to reboot the system entirely. That shock came in the shape of Lou Macari.

The Scot was unmistakeably one of the new breed. A strict disciplinarian, he'd turned Swindon into a robotic outfit that had achieved two promotions. There was no questioning the efficacy of his approach. However, some twenty years before Sam Allardyce found himself in a similar predicament, West Ham fans wondered whether that ethos was the right fit for a club that believed in attractive football.

The answer became clear the moment Macari set foot on the training ground. Like many managers following a legacy, Macari made the mistake of changing too much too soon. There would be no patient build-up. It was all about percentages. Get the ball forward early and fight for the scraps.

For artisans like Liam Brady, Mark Ward and Alan Devonshire, it was their worst nightmare. And before long, other members of the team expressed their doubts about the new manager.

That lack of confidence manifested on the pitch. It soon became clear that this was a team lacking an identity.

There were brief high spots, such as a 5-0 home win over Sunderland. But there were too many lacklustre showings. Defeats to the likes of Bradford and Oldham saw us plummet to eleventh position at Christmas.

Goals had been a problem all season. Eamonn Dolan and Stuart Slater were inexperienced, Rosenior was blighted by injury and the ever-unpopular Kelly never recovered from the crisis of confidence that beset his first season.

Macari's response was ruthless. If the current squad wouldn't fit his system, he'd find players who would. Out went Ward and in came Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley from Manchester City. Martin Allen and Colin Foster brought extra steel to the side and the giant figure of Ludek Miklosko, whose name gave Capital Gold commentators sleepless nights, arrived from Czechoslovakia.

The flurry of signings wasn't a guarantee of instant results. They needed time to bed into their new surroundings.

Time was a luxury not afforded to Macari.

A disastrous 1-0 defeat to Torquay in the FA Cup cranked up the pressure. And he was being investigated by the authorities for a betting scandal furing his time at Swindon..

He failed to appear in the away dugout for a visit to his old club and his reign ended in ignominy. Emlyn Hughes used his national newspaper column to accuse Macari of running scared, though "Crazy Horse" himself back tracked rather quickly when the ICF took exception to any criticism of their beloved club. It was left to Billy Bonds to see the season through and steady the sinking ship.

Time has not brought fondness to reflections on the Macari era. According to many, he was one of the worst managers in our long history. On a purely results basis, it is hard to disagree. He left a divided dressing room and a team struggling desperately for direction.

However, in that dressing room were names that would play an important part in restoring – and retaining – our top-flight status. Allen, Bishop and Morley were mainstays of the mid-Nineties, whilst Ludo became one of the finest glovemen to grace Upton Park.

You would think that those signings alone would offer Macari some sort of reprieve. But prowess in the transfer market doesn't a good West Ham manager make. You have to understand the heart and soul of a club that will always prize romance over results-driven football.

Just ask Big Sam.

Follow Sid on Twitter @sid_lambert for more reflections on football past and present.
Introduce safe standing, urges new report - KUMB
Filed: Thursday, 11th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

A new report has called upon the Government to investigate the possibility of re-introducing safe standing at football in England.

The Adam Smith Institute, an independent think tank/quango has written to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch urging her to repeal the ban on standing at professional clubs.

The organisation claim that there is no reason to continue with all-seater stadiums, whilst insisting that the vast majority of football supporters would like to see safe standing areas introduced.

Ben Southwood, the Instutute's Head of Research told the FSF that a blanket ban on standing was now completely outdated. "The ban is an anachronism," he said. "Clubs across Europe have rail seating sections with no incident, creating superior atmosphere and allowing for a cheaper tier of tickets.

"Unlike the adversarial attitude police, club organisations and fans had during the dark days of the 1980s, we now know how to manage large crowds well. The ban doesn't fit. Tracey Crouch doesn't need to pass a law, she has the power to simply undo the prohibition on safe standing—and she should."

Scottish Premier League side Celtic re-introduced a safe standing area at Celtic Park this summer. Around 2,900 places were made available to those who wish to stand throughout a match.

And even some of those affected in the past by tragedy believe safe standing is the way to go; David Lafferty was at the 1971 Glasgow derby in which 66 Rangers fans died following a crush, but firmly believes seating should be reintroduced.

"I'm a season ticket holder in the safe standing area of Celtic Park and this is the same area where we stood even before the new safety barriers were installed," he said.

"I can assure everyone that we have so much room and each and every seat has its own safety barrier. I have been to many stadiums around Europe including Anfield and I can assure the families of the 96 that I have never felt safer in any stadium as in our new section."

Rather closer to home, the move to bring back standing on the terraces has been consistently backed by West Ham's co-owner David Gold, who took to Twitter yesterday to reiterate his stance in the wake of critcism concerning West Ham's move to Stratford.

I support SAFE standing but the law has to be changed for that to happen. I do not support antisocial standing. dg
— David Gold (@davidgold) August 10, 2016

Gold was commenting in the wake of heavy criticism regarding the migration policy that has led to numerous problems between West Ham supporters at the Olympic Stadium, some of whom wish to stand and others who prefer to sit.

You may read the Adam Smith Institute's full report into the viability of safe standing on their website.
Bilic confirms Calleri arrival - KUMB

Filed: Thursday, 11th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham have completed the signing of Argentine Olympic squad member Jonathan Calleri.

Bilic, speaking to the media this morning ahead of the Premier League clash with Chelsea on Monday confirmed that the 22-year-old will arrive at West Ham shortly, following his team's surprise exit from the Olympics overnight at the hands of Honduras, who they needed to beat but could only draw 1-1 with.

"We signed Calleri," he confirmed during this morning's presser. "Unfortunately for him, but good for us, Argentina were knocked out of the Olympics on Wednesday.

"They didn't pass the group stage so he should be here with us – not today, not tomorrow, but pretty soon, depending on work permit or whatever. We did the deal not a long time ago but not yesterday.

"He is a top striker as well. You need a squad, but it is also about the balance."

Calleri, who spent the latter half of last season at Sao Paolo in set to join West Ham on a season-long loan.


Who is Jonathan Calleri? Profile of West Ham's new loan signing - SkySports
By Tom Robinson

Last Updated: 11/08/16 6:50pm

West Ham have added another striker to their ranks with the season-long loan signing of Jonathan Calleri from Deportivo Maldonado.

Having starred alongside Hammers' idol Carlos Tevez for Boca and finished as top scorer of this year's Copa Libertadores, Calleri has forged a reputation as one of the most exciting young strikers in South America.

So what can West Ham fans expect from new signing Calleri…


Age: 22

Position: Striker

Nationality: Argentine

International Caps: 0 (5 caps, 1 goal for U23s)


Born in Buenos Aires, Calleri followed in the footsteps of his uncle, former Argentina international Nestor Fabbri, by making his formative steps at Club Atletico All Boys - a small but historic club nestled in the Floresta neighbourhood of the capital, where Tevez also began his career.

Like Tevez, Calleri's next destination was Boca Juniors. His record of six goals in 30 appearances for relegated All Boys meant that he arrived at the Bombonera in July 2014 without much of a fanfare, and initially struggled for game-time under legendary coach Carlos Bianchi.

Nevertheless, he forced his way into the first team with six goals in 15 matches, finishing the Torneo Transicion as Boca's top scorer.

The arrival of Rodolfo Arruabarrena in the dugout brought about a focus on youth and Calleri became a regular, scoring 15 goals in all competitions as Boca won a league and cup double.

The arrival of Carlos Tevez midway through the season proved to be the catalyst for Boca's success and Calleri immediately struck up a prolific partnership with the former West Ham player.

Calleri's economic rights were bought by Uruguayan side Deportivo Maldonado at the beginning of 2016 and the striker was close to joining Inter Milan before eventually signing for Sao Paulo on a six-month loan.

The 22-year-old quickly adapted to life in Brazil and was the top scorer in the Copa Libertadores with nine goals in 12 games as Sao Paulo reached the semi-finals.

This summer, Calleri lead the line for Argentina in the Olympic Games in Rio, scoring once against Honduras before they crashed out at the group stage.


Combining technique, power and tireless work-rate, Calleri looks to be a good fit for the hi-octane world of the Premier League.

Despite not being the tallest at 5ft 10in, Calleri possesses good heading ability and has the strength to hold the ball up and link play.

His willingness to run into the channels and drift wide makes him a slightly different proposition to a traditional out-and-out striker, but he possesses the requisite movement, burst of acceleration and nous inside the box to lead the line if necessary.

Although lacking the skillset and low centre of gravity compared to fellow countrymen Sergio Aguero or Paulo Dybala, Calleri does still have the ability to conjure up a moment of magic, as demonstrated by his audacious rabona lob against Quilmes last year.

Comparisons to Gonzalo Higuain may be somewhat premature but the young Argentinian striker has proven his worth at some of the biggest clubs in South America and will relish the challenge of establishing himself in the Premier League.

How will he fit in at West Ham?

Calleri is unlikely to be first choice at London Stadium and talk of Carlos Bacca or another marquee signing being brought in could see him further down the pecking order. Still only 22, Calleri will most likely be seen as a long-term project for the future.

Nevertheless, Slaven Bilic will need to rotate his West Ham side if they are to deal with the rigours of Europa League football and, as a result, Calleri could see plenty of game time.
He has already consulted former team-mate Tevez and the presence of Manuel Lanzini should help him to settle in East London, as he attempts to emulate his fellow Argentinians.
He may still be raw but if the rough edges are polished and provided he can adapt to the tempo of English football, Calleri could well be a very shrewd signing for West Ham as they look to build on last season's seventh place finish.

West Ham signing Andre Ayew says Dimitri Payet played big part in transfer - SkySports
By James Dale

Last Updated: 11/08/16 7:19pm

Andre Ayew says his close friendship with Dimitri Payet played a big part in his decision to join West Ham.

The 26-year-old joined the Hammers from Swansea in a £20.5m deal on Tuesday, becoming the club's record signing after eclipsing the £15m they paid to sign Andy Carroll from Liverpool in 2013.

Payet, who scored nine goals in 30 Premier League appearances last season, played with Ayew for Marseille in Ligue 1 and the new West Ham signing was not surprised by Payet's impressive campaign.

"We have a very good relationship, he's a friend," said Ayew. "I'm happy to be in the same squad as him. He's a great player, he has great quality.

"I'm not surprised with what he did last season because I even know he is going to do more this season, he has the quality to do more.

"With him, and all the other guys who have come in, with Feghouli, I had to take my time, have a discussion with the manager, he made me understand what he wanted."

Ayew scored 12 top flight goals for the Swans last season but the ambition shown by West Ham persuaded him to switch to the London club.

"I knew that this club is a very popular club, has a lot of ambitions, wants to get to another level and I want to be part of that project," he added.

Eden Hazard and Dimitri Payet: Former Lille duo face off as equals - SkySports
By Adam Bate

Last Updated: 11/08/16 4:39pm

Eden Hazard and Dimitri Payet spent a season together at Lille in 2011/12. Hazard was the star back then, but when the pair face each other for Chelsea and West Ham respectively on Monday Night Football, it will be as Premier League equals, writes Adam Bate.

Dimitri Payet's difficult beginnings in football are well known. Kicked out of Le Havre as a teenager, he was sent back to his home in Reunion, 5700 miles away in the Indian Ocean. It wasn't to be the end of Payet's career - or his disciplinary problems.

Given another opportunity with Nantes, he stormed out of a 2007 training session after a row with senior goalkeeper Fabien Barthez. At Saint-Etienne in 2010, Payet struck his own captain, Blaise Matuidi, during a home defeat to Toulouse.

He went missing soon after in the hope of forcing through a transfer to Paris St Germain. "He made a blunder," said Saint-Etienne president Roland Romeyer at the time. "What kid hasn't made a mistake?" But Payet made more than most.

Flash forward six years and the West Ham man is a hero for club and country, named in the PFA Premier League team of the year and the Euro 2016 team of the tournament. At 29, he's now playing the best football of his career.

A late bloomer then, but one whose talent was never hidden. Payet's France debut had come at the age of 23, providing assists in each of his first two appearances. Damien Comolli, sporting director during Payet's stay at Saint-Etienne, hinted that any issues were in the mind.

"On a natural class level, Dimitri is stronger than a player like Luka Modric, who I saw very closely at Tottenham," Comolli told France Football in 2010. "It is a very high level. We never stopped repeating to him: 'It is only up to you.'"

It was this Payet, not the hero of France whose goal lit up the opening night of the Euros, who pitched up at Lille in 2011. The club were newly-crowned as the champions of France, winners for the first time in 50 years thank to the precocious gifts of Eden Hazard.

Lille supporters might have envisioned a perfect partnership between the two players, but it took time for the new signing to settle. Despite being four years older than Hazard, it was Payet who was the one still learning to make the most of his ability.

He scored twice in his first 28 appearances and by the winter of 2011 found himself among the substitutes. Indeed, Payet didn't even start consecutive games alongside Hazard between November and mid-March. On-loan Joe Cole was preferred instead.

Cole has since revealed some surprise at how quickly Payet made his impact at West Ham, having assumed it might take his former team-mate "six, seven, eight months to settle down" in England, but this was understandable based on the evidence of their time at Lille.

Expressing himself alongside Hazard was a problem for a Payet. "I'm asking him to do different things to Saint-Etienne," said Lille coach Rudi Garcia. "It's logical that it takes time. The competition should push him to excel. Dimitri must display confidence, he must let go."

Within months, he was starting to do just that. A goal in a 3-0 win at Evian sparked a run of three consecutive games in which Payet found the net. Finally, Garcia got to see the player he'd bought and finally there was a glimpse of what Payet and Hazard could do together.

"It is interesting when he is in close proximity to Eden because they get along well on and off the field," said Garcia. "The potential was there, we knew that. But beyond that there was a real confidence problem with him. The difference is that he is now full of confidence."

Look hard enough and there were signs of the Payet who'd emerge. While it was Hazard who topped Lille's charts for goals and assists - recording a league record number of the latter - it was actually Payet who created more chances per minute than the team's star.
Lille in 2011/12
Eden Hazard Dimitri Payet
Goals 20 6
Assists 16 6
Shots per 90 3.0 3.2
Dribbles per 90 2.5 1.2
Chances created per 90 2.6 2.7

Following Hazard's departure that summer, he went on to enjoy the joint-best goalscoring season of his career to date. It earned Payet a move to Marseille and, eventually, an unlikely link-up with Marcelo Bielsa that would help take his career to another level.

It was after one particular Bielsa team-talk that Payet turned to goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and said: "Now I can die for him." Despite the coach's nickname being El Loco, it was Bielsa's calm that impressed Payet. He responded by matching Hazard's Ligue 1 assists record from 2011/12.

The Argentine trusted Payet, turning him into the team's playmaker. It helped prepare him for the move to England that Cole had recommended three years earlier, seizing it in style to become West Ham's most thrilling performer and win a France recall in the process.

He took his chance at Euro 2016 too, forcing his way into Didier Deschamps' starting line-up and scoring that winner against Romania. "You have to say thanks to West Ham," said team-mate Patrice Evra afterwards, "because you can see now that he takes responsibility."

In truth, Payet has had many influences. The credit should be shared. From the wasted chances as a teenager through to the faith of the coaches who've been so emphatically rewarded, it has been quite the journey to the top. Team-mates played their part too.
Chelsea vs West Ham

"I have been helped by the top players at all the clubs I have played for," he said recently. "When you are playing with such good players it does make things easier but I also feel that you can learn new things at all ages... My maturity has helped me see things differently."
Payet learnt from Hazard and has become a different player today to the one he'd been at Lille. In fact, having outshone his old friend in the Premier League last season, perhaps he's even now looking like the senior man that he is. But the real indication of Payet's progress is that this Monday they will face each other as equals.

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