Thursday, August 25

Daily WHUFC News - 25th August 2016

Preview - Astra Giurgiu

West Ham United bid for UEFA Europa League group stage place on Thursday
Hammers drew 1-1 with Astra Giurgiu in first leg last week
Slaven Bilic's men looking to go one better against Romanian opponents than last year
When and where?
West Ham United v Astra Giurgiu
UEFA Europa League play-off round second leg
London Stadium
Thursday 25 August 2016, 7.45pm BST

What's the story?
West Ham United stand 90 minutes away from a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage when they take on Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu on Thursday.

The Hammers do battle with Astra for the right to make progress in Europe a week after playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Mark Noble's penalty gave Slaven Bilic's men the away goal that means they will be confident of winning the tie despite Denis Alibec's late equaliser in Romania.

West Ham go into the game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League – a feeling Giurgiu could not replicate as they slumped to a 5-1 defeat against CFR Cluj.

Astra's league season has not gone to plan to date, with just four points from their opening five matches.

But having shown better form in Europe a week ago, the Hammers will need to be on their guard to ensure their European campaign continues into the autumn.

Team News
West Ham's injury problems at the start of the season have been well documented, although a couple of players are nearing a return.

Dimitri Payet has missed the Hammers' last two games, but might be called upon on Thursday. However, Slaven Bilic has said a return on Sunday for both the Frenchman and Manuel Lanzini is more likely.

Elsewhere, Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Sofiane Feghouli are all out, but Bilic will pick as strong a team as possible.

Any links between the two?
Not on the playing side, but the two clubs have got well acquainted to each other over the last couple of years.

They were drawn together in last season's Europa League, with a 2-2 draw at the Boleyn Ground being followed by a 2-1 loss in Romania.

This time the Hammers will be hoping to make more use of their first leg draw – and with 57,000 fans set to roar them on at London Stadium, they will be confident of making that happen.

How do I get to the game?
Click here for information on the best routes to London Stadium. You can find the latest news from Transport for London here and National Rail here.

Blue Badge parking pass holders should note the car parking area is open from two hours before kick-off.

Where can I watch the game?
The match is being broadcast live in the UK on BT Sport.

From the Treatment Room

Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke issues his latest update - in association with Spire Roding Hospital...

Hello everyone,

First, on behalf of the medical team, I would like to wish the Joint-Chairman David Sullivan all the best after he underwent surgery this week.

Winning our first ever Premier League game at the London Stadium was something everyone enjoyed at the weekend, especially with after suffering a 'wave' of injuries in the last two weeks. Once again the manager, the strong team spirit and the positive attitude of the whole club proved to be essential.

We picked up a few knocks and bruises on Sunday but no new serious injuries. To continue with the positive news, there is light at the end of the tunnel with regard to Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet. Both Dimi and Manuel trained hard on the pitch on Monday and Tuesday. They will be available for selection very soon.

Aaron Cresswell is doing very well in his rehab, working hard with head physiotherapist Dominic Rogan twice a day. He is now walking normally and we will concentrate on improving mobility, stability and strength in the muscles around the knee.

Andre Ayew suffered a rare but very serious thigh injury at Chelsea, which will take time to recover from. Andre will not have surgery and we have started the rehab straight away, working two times a day. Andre is a highly professional athlete with a positive attitude that no doubt will affect the return to play date. It is early to put a time-line on the rehab, but we are positive to reintroduce him in December.

Unfortunately, Andy Carroll, after his first good pre-season in many years, injured his knee in the game against Astra Giurgiu in Romania last week. It was an incident where he passed the ball and then slipped on a difficult playing surface, over-stretching his knee. Andy has been an example at the training ground this season, working hard on the pitch and in the gym, but the reality is that he will be out for 4-6 weeks. One should not underestimate the mental challenge that comes with a physical injury. Andy cannot wait to start going again and he will come back strong!

Sofiane Feghouli injured his thigh against Juventus at the new Stadium. Soso will be back for our next game in the London Stadium against Watford. He will miss the international duty with Algeria, but train hard with the team.

The international break gives us time to train hard and maximise availability and fitness of our team.

Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of Medical and Sports Science

Important notice on Turnstile Access

New Turnstile arrangements have been put in place for Season Ticket Holders
New access cards will be delivered to those in affected Blocks 216, 217 and 221-228
Arrangements will be implemented for Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie with Astra Giurgiu

Following feedback that West Ham United have received from our Founders regarding Season Ticket access cards and ease of gaining entry to London Stadium on matchdays, the Club have taken immediate action to ensure that all supporters are able to enter the Stadium safely and efficiently. In future, supporters sitting in Blocks 216 and 217 will only be able to access the Stadium via Turnstile C, while supporters sitting in Blocks 221-228 will only be able to access the Stadium via Turnstile E. That is designed to ease any overcrowding outside the south entrance to the Stadium. Season Ticket Holders in the affected blocks will be issued with new access cards stating the correct entry turnstile ahead of the home Premier League match against Watford on 10 September. These cards will not work at other turnstiles, and all previous access cards for these blocks will be automatically deactivated and should be destroyed. The same turnstile arrangements will apply for fans sitting in Blocks 216-17 (access via Turnstile C) and 221-28 (access via Turnstile E) for Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie with Astra Giurgiu. West Ham remain committed to delivering the best possible matchday experience for every fan at the Club's new home, and we welcome all feedback from our Founders via the dedicated email address set up for them at

Ginge set to reach half-century

James Collins could win 50th Wales cap in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Moldova
Havard Nordtveit and Martin Samuelsen included in Norway squad
Enner Valencia's Ecuador face Brazil and Peru in South American World Cup qualifying

James Collins, Enner Valencia, Havard Nordtveit and Martin Samuelsen have all been called up by their respective nations for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Collins has been named in the Wales squad for their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D qualifier with Moldova. The West Ham United centre-half is in Chris Coleman's 23-man selection for the tie, which will take place at Cardiff City Stadium on Monday 5 September at 7.45pm BST. Should he feature, Newport-born Collins will earn his 50th cap for his country. The defender, who turned 33 on Tuesday, helped Wales to reach the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016, where they were edged out by eventual winners Portugal. The Dragons have not reached the World Cup finals since 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals in Sweden. However, following their recent success, Coleman, Collins and company will be hopeful of qualifying from a group that also includes Austria, Georgia – both of whom Wales face in October – Serbia and Darren Randolph's Republic of Ireland.

Martin O'Neill has yet to name the Irish squad for the Boys in Green's opening qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade on Monday 5 December. Ireland also host Oman in a warm-up fixture at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday 31 August.

Norway pair Nordtveit and Samuelsen have arguably the toughest opening qualifying job on their hands, as they host Germany at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo on Sunday 4 September. To prepare for the visit of the Germans, Belarus will visit the same venue on 31 August. Nordtveit has 28 caps and two goals to his name, while Samuelsen made his senior debut against Iceland in June – both will hope Norway can emerge from a Group C that also includes Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

Elsewhere, Dimitri Payet is awaiting news of France manager Didier Deschamps' selection for a friendly with Italy in Bari on Thursday 1 September and their opening World Cup Group A qualifier against Belarus in Borisov on Tuesday 6 September. France face a tough qualifying campaign, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria and Luxembourg also vying for one automatic qualifying place.

Angelo Ogbonna's Italy will continue on from Bari to Haifa, where they will take on Israel in their own Group G opener on 5 September.

Further afield, Enner Valencia has been called up by Ecuador for mouth-watering fixtures with Brazil in Quito on 1 September and Peru in Lima on 5 September. Ecuador have made a fantastic start to South American World Cup qualifying, winning four of their opening six fixtures to sit second to Uruguay only on goal difference. The top four will automatically reach Russia 2018.

In Africa, World Cup qualification Round 3 does not commence until October, but Cheikhou Kouyate's Senegal will be in action in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying instead. The Lions of Teranga host Namibia in their final Group K fixture, having already won five out of five to cement their place in Gabon in January.

Elsewhere, Sofiane Feghouli's Algeria have also secured qualification from Group J with a match to spare, but the winger will miss their closing fixture with Lesotho through injury.

Finally, former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will name his first England squad for his opening game in charge – a FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier with Slovakia – on Sunday.

Burke - It's important that we progress

Young defender Reece Burke looks ahead to the UEFA Europa League second leg against Astra Giurgiu
He wants another chance to impress in the competition
A loan move could be forthcoming soon for the 19-year-old who recently signed a new contract

West Ham United defender Reece Burke is hoping to get the chance to impress again in the UEFA Europa League against Astra Giurgiu on Thursday.

The Hammers take on their Romanian opponents in the second leg of the competition's play-off round at London Stadium with the tie level at 1-1.

And Burke, who played the first clash in its entirety, is keen to line up in Slaven Bilic's starting XI once again.

"I hope to be involved against Astra as I did well in the first leg even though I was playing left-back," he said. "Hopefully I'll get some more game time.

"I quite enjoyed playing at left-back to be fair, and it's always good to play in different positions. If the gaffer asks me to do a job there, I'll be more than happy to.

"It's 100 per cent important that we progress and get through to the group stage. We of course want to do better than we did in the competition last year.

"If I'm still at the Club and not on loan, the Europa League fixtures are a chance for me to get more appearances. It's not guaranteed that we're through though, so we have work to do in the second leg."

The 19-year-old signed a new four-year deal at the Club this week, but his future may lie elsewhere during the current campaign.

The centre-back has hinted at a potential loan move and revealed he has held talks with boss Bilic.

"I'm delighted to sign for the Club I support and obviously it's a long-term deal. It gives me more time to progress and get into the first team.

"I spoke with the gaffer, and if I'm not playing here, I want to be playing somewhere else. The Championship would be ideal, because I obviously did do well in League One.

"The gaffer did say he wanted me to stay to begin with, but there have been a few games where I'd have liked to be involved and I haven't been. The more experience you get the better player you become."

London Stadium seating issues rectified

West Ham United can confirm that all allocated seats for Season Ticket Holders at London Stadium have now been installed.

The operators of London Stadium have apologised to those Season Ticket Holders who – due to an administrative error – were unable to sit in their allocated seats for Sunday's match against AFC Bournemouth, and at West Ham's insistence, the issue has been immediately rectified in time for Thursday's UEFA Europa League match with Astra Giurgiu.

Those fans who found themselves in that position were offered alternative seats elsewhere in the Stadium, but some chose not to move, leading to images circulating on social media of fans located in areas without seats.

It had always been expected that, as with any new Stadium, there would be some teething problems to resolve arising from West Ham's opening matches at London Stadium, but the Club are nevertheless deeply disappointed by the inconvenience caused to those fans at the first home Premier League match on Sunday.

The Club has written individually to each affected supporter to apologise and offer further compensation for their inconvenience.

West Ham remain committed to delivering the best possible matchday experience for every fan at the Club's new home, and we welcome all feedback from Season Ticket Holders via the dedicated email address set up for them at:


West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has signalled his intention to not sit back and rely on away goals to get past Romanian opponents Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League on Thursday. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Croat said "We are not going to protect the away goal. It gives you an advantage but you cannot hang on for 90 mins", before re-iterating his desire to see his side play "a normal game". This will come as welcome news to Irons fans heading to the London Stadium on Thursday, hoping for a repeat of the 3-0 win over NK Domžale a few weeks ago.

However, Bilic is wary of West Ham's Romanian opponents, acknowledging that his players must not underestimate the Romanian champions, as "they beat us last year and it is not job done", also referencing their national team's exploits in this the European Championships this past summer. Nonetheless, Slaven cut a confident figure in his presser, stating unequivocally that he feels his players "have had enough time to recover from Sunday", and that they should take confidence from home victories against Bournemouth and NK Domžale at the London Stadium. Bilic also appeared to attribute some of the team's success in these games to the atmosphere created by the fans at their new ground, voicing his pleasure at their efforts, he said; "we can feel them [the fans] and I want that to continue'. In addition, the Manager also suggested that the fans will have the "strongest possible side" on the field to cheer on, allowing them to rest assured that the Europa League will be taken much more seriously this season.

This press conference showed a level of confidence that isn't always seen from West Ham managers, so to hear the boss come out swinging in such a fashion will be welcome news indeed to the Irons faithful. Bilic is already exceptionally well regarded by the Hammers, but with categorical statements of intent like "I expect to win" – he can only endear himself further.


Swiss attacking midfielder Edmilson Fernandes is said to be on his way to West Ham United for a medical according to Guardian news editor Ed Aarons. A fee of close to £5.2 million allegedly agreed with FC Sion for the talented youngster. Fernandes is a product of the FC Sion youth academy making his Swiss Super League debut against FC Zurich in 2013. Last season the 20 year old made 26 appearances for Sion in the Swiss Super League also scoring one goal. He is a regular in the Swiss U21 team participating in the 1-1 draw with England U21's in March of this year. Edmilson is the cousin of Swiss international and ex Manchester City player Gelson Fernandes. Bilic is currently looking into midfield options given the interest from Milan in Pedro Obiang. Dependant on the outcome of the medical Fernandes is set to sign this coming week. I think this would be a very positive signing for the Hammers, Edmilson looks to have a bright future ahead of him. His vision and passing accuracy seem well beyond his years and would be a great addition to our range of talented youngsters.


Is Zaza set to become Slaven's main man?

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has today confirmed the club is in talks with striking duo Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza. Talking in his pre-match presser ahead of the Hammers crucial second leg clash at the London Stadium tomorrow against Astra Giurgiu, the Hammers boss stated the Irons are looking for a couple of new bodies to bolster the squad ahead of deadline day.
Bony, who has fallen out of favour at the Etihad following the arrival of Pep Guardiola has been linked with a loan move to London, but it is likely the move will only be short-term with a rumoured move to China on the cards in January. The former Swansea man has only appeared for the Citizens 36 times scoring six goals during his time in Manchester. The Ivorian is said to be keen on linking up with Bilic at West Ham with the view of rejuvenating his career in England. Zaza meanwhile has been linked with a move to the Hammers for a while having been linked with a move to the East End last summer. The Juventus man who became famous in the Euros for his horrific penalty for the Azzurri scored at the London stadium for the Old Lady during the Irons inaugural opening game at their new home. Italian Press suggests it will be an expensive loan move with the view to a permanent deal, but the Hammers face competition from Everton and Southampton for his signature. Bilic stated that the club isn't desperate with the club's current stars set to return soon, with Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll the only long-term absentees. He said, 'we were linked with him (Zaza) last year and he is a top player. We were in contact with him last year and will see what happens. 'He (Bony) is also an option because he is a plays in the position we are looking for. I leave negotiations to the Chairman and Tony Henry. 'We will not sign someone because we have to act now. The longest injury is Andre [Ayew] and we expect him to be fit in December.' He added. Our very own ExWHUemployee will bring you an update on this later tonight on our radio show on Phoenix FM.


This Thursday brings the 2nd leg of the Play-Off round of the Europa League where we take on Astra Giurgiu after we picked up a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture last week. The game is to be televised on BT Sport 2, kick off is at 7:45pm.

We go into this game on the back of our first Premier League victory at The London Stadium against Bournemouth, and this is a game we will certainly be looking to win and progress to the group stages for the first time ever since the competition was restructured and revamped. Personally, I think it is imperative that we qualify for the group stages. I understand that qualification will have its consequences and that our league form may well suffer, but if we are to have genuine aspirations of becoming the big club that our owners pledge to deliver us one day, we cannot just ignore the Europa League and jump straight into the top 4 and into the Champions League. We need to progress as a club gradually and if this means entering this competition for the next 2 or 3 seasons then I think we should be extremely happy with our progress, providing we are still seeing improvement and the gap closing between us and the 'big clubs'. One of the biggest positives about the Europa League is that we are able to give important game time to the likes of Reece Oxford, Reece Burke, Pedro Obiang etc., and players that are unlucky not to get more minutes due to the quality that is ahead of them in the pecking order for the Premier League. This game time will convince them to sign new contracts as they will be getting valuable playing time and hopefully allow them to give Slaven Bilic some food for thought when picking his team for Premier League games assuming they have impressed during the Europa games. Overall, my opinion is that we should embrace this competition and put out a side that is capable of beating Astra on Thursday night.

Since we played our Romanian counterparts last week, they suffered a terrible defeat on Sunday against CFR Cluj going down 5-1 away from home. Cluj finished 9th in the Romania Liga I last season, despite being deducted 10 points for failing to deal with their spiralling debts, they would have finished 7th if it wasn't for the points deduction. This season they have been deducted 6 points and currently sit in 12th despite picking up 2 wins and 2 draws in their opening 5 games, if it wasn't for the points deduction they would be as high as 5th place. Astra started the game against Cluj with 9 of the players that started against us last Thursday, with striker Denis Alibec starting on the bench as he did last week before making a substitute appearance and bringing the tie level with an impressive goal. I would hazard a guess that Alibec will start in the 2nd leg.

Based on last week's game, I would be very surprised if we do not progress from this tie. Astra are by no means a bad side, but this tie should have effectively been put to bed when Marcus Browne burst clear and squared the ball for Michail Antonio to put us 2-0 up, unfortunately it wasn't to be. We were far from our best last week, and there was only 1 player who stood out for us and that was young Reece Burke. Burke has since been rewarded with a new 4 year contract, which is thoroughly deserved and I am hopeful to see big things from him in the years to come. He played 90 mins out of position at left back and he did himself extremely proud, he deserves to start again, hopefully in his more natural position although I see Bilic playing him again at left back due to the lack of other candidates for that position.

Player to watch: Denis Alibec

It is not surprising that I have chosen the man that scored the goal against us last week, however he was the only player for Astra that stood out, the closest player to him was Filipe Teixeira, the former Paris St Germain and West Bromwich Albion midfielder, but for me Alibec caused more problems in his half hour appearance than Teixeira did in the entire match. Alibec has had a slow start to this season, however last season he managed to bag 16 league goals in their championship winning season. Since joining Astra in 2014, Alibec has scored 29 goals in 51 appearances and has since earned a call up for the Romanian national squad. Alibec featured as a sub against France in Euro 2016, this was the game where Payet scored the quite sensational last minute winner, he then went on to start the last group game against Albania where Romania were defeated 1-0 and subsequently knocked out of the competition. Alibec started his career for Romanian Liga III side Farul Constanta before being picked up by Inter Milan when he was just 18. He failed to make any impact at Inter before, and was loaned out to a few times before joining Astra.

With such a big game coming up at the weekend against Manchester City, I would be looking to keep it as fresh as possible for Thursday's game but in the same breath making sure the team is strong enough to progress. Due to lack of players in certain areas because of injuries, I would line up in a 4-4-2 formation with the following starting XI;

Randolph, Byram, Oxford, Ogbonna, Burke, Tore, Nordtveit, Obiang, Valencia, Fletcher, Calleri

I appreciate there are better players who are available for this game, but we need to keep it fresh and prevent as many injuries as possible. Regardless of this, I strongly believe the team above should beat Astra. This team would allow to us to have a bench consisting of Adrian, Collins/Reid, Noble, Kouyate, Payet, Antonio. Bilic even mentioned the possibility of Lanzini returning, although I am not entirely sure if he has been registered to play in the competition, the UEFA website suggests that he hasn't. If my suggested starting XI isn't doing the business on the hour mark, imagine being able to call upon Payet, Antonio and Kouyate to change the game.

I am going for a comfortable 2-0 victory. COYI

Our last stand
Filed: Tuesday, 23rd August 2016
By: Paul Walker

If it sounds like a stitch-up, if it smells like a stitch-up, then you can be damned sure that it is a stich-up.That's my view of the on-going row about standing at the London Stadium.

And we are walking straight into a battle that we cannot win. That is, being allowed to stand behind our seats at our new home in Stratford, something thousands in the Bobby Moore Lower and large sections of the Sir Trevor Brooking end at the Boleyn had done for decades.

Sunday saw our first Premier League home game in E20, Bournemouth the visitors under the all-seeing cameras of Sky, who had this first West Ham match at the former Olympic Stadium on their schedule for weeks.

But now they have a news story to occupy their minds, one that has been around a while but as is typical of Sky, it only becomes real news when they are there to witness it.

And this is the problem. All they did is slowly pan their cameras across the home support--particularly at both ends of the stadium--and just show the amount of people who were standing up, refusing to sit down or --worst of all--becoming engaged in heated arguments with stewards.

It was beamed worldwide and was the subject of much earnest discussion about the behaviour of West Ham fans, and left plenty of our fans right in the firing line. Season tickets may be withdrawn, miscreants have been highlighted and condemned. And this will go on until our fans comply passively with the directive to sit-down during matches.

It might take months, but I doubt that our club and the authorities who own and license our new home will care one jot about a few thousand people who lose their tickets. Collateral damage, but in the great scheme of things, just one of those things.

And I can assure my friends and colleagues in the Bobby Moore Lower on Sunday that we were in a very small minority as our stadium moves from being a working class ground to a gentrified arena fit to house the very new-look fans West Ham have attracted.

Around 25,000 new fans now in our 57,000 current capacity, 16,000 of them--as Karren Brady points out--are youngsters.

You can tell by the general feedback on fans' forums, that a vast majority of our fans, new and old, do not understand why people want to stand when they are being specifically told it is against ground regulations (not the law of the land, that only applies to the ground owners who must provide a seat for me to sit on).

Now I have stood on the BML for years now, happy to do so, and enjoy the banter and general atmosphere. Many around me stand because they love the joy of watching games that way, or believe it is their right to do so. Many stand because they have to if they want to see the game and knew the situation when they bought their tickets for the BML, Chav Corner or the small group of nutters who always stand in the Chicken Run next to the away section.

In all, I reckon we are talking about maybe 5,000 West Ham fans who stood during matches at the old Boleyn. A small minority of our home support. That 5,000 or so transported into the London Stadium will be an even smaller minority.

And if fans start being thrown out, banned with their season tickets gone, I doubt there will be much sympathy from the rest of our following.

What has concerned me, reading the reactions of many of our fans on various websites is that they think this is a debate, where earned discussion can be held with the club over safe standing. Where folk believe that if enough people stand in one area, a blind eye will be turned and we can all carry on like we did at the Boleyn.

Don't be fooled. This is nothing like that. Do not forget that we do not own our ground, the only Premier League club to be tenants. Our owners have no say in the ground regulations, the issue of safety certificates, Newham Council's view and how the stewarding is carried out.

We are tenants. And I would be surprised if somewhere in the small print of our contracts with the owners, there was not included clauses that govern possible punishments if we misuse THEIR stadium. Or do things against THEIR wishes.

It surprised many when Karren sent out that draconian, no inch of compromise, directive about standing a couple of weeks ago. It seemed a little over the top, we'd only had a couple of 'trial' games at the stadium and the general rank and file had probably not been in their true seats anyway.

But she knew what was coming. She knew their was a licensing/safety meeting coming up in a few weeks, and she no doubt knew already the attitude of the owners to customers who did not comply with their regulations.

Do not forget that this is a multi-use sports arena, and we are only there--I believe--because we were the last resort to save the place from becoming a hugely expensive white elephant. We are there under sufferance really, not really that welcome. And the rules are the rules.

No debate, no thought of shifting a few like-minded 'standers'into a singing area where they wouldn't upset the Essex middle classes who have been persuaded to bring their kids and wives, and buy the ice cream and popcorn on the concourse.

So we are being stitched-up, set-up even, so that authorities can make their point. I can only appeal to my fellow fans not to allow ourselves to be made scapegoats. Because they are just waiting for us, waiting to make examples of a few.

Why do I think this? Well, as I may have mentioned before, all goes back to my previous life when I worked for a living. Sadly, I spent too much time at Old Trafford and witnessed first hand the tactics used to beat the trouble making 'standers' at Manchester United.

I recall once asking Martin Edwards, the former chairman and owner, why the club were picking a fight with the true, hardcore fans, who wanted to stand. His view was generally that Man United were not bothered, they wanted the club to go upmarket, to attract the richer, Cheshire-based middle-class fans rather than those handy Red Army boys from Salford who didn't spend enough anyway.

And that is what happened. Fans were thrown out, banned from the ground, and then one summer the worst offending area in the old Clock End, was transformed into a brand-new disabled section and family stand.

Nothing wrong with that, before anyone starts having a go at me. All clubs should pay better attention to the less fortunate fans, and to our credit the amount of disabled spaces at the London Stadium is a vast improvement on the Boleyn. But they have the space now, even if they do not have a family stand.

I know the lack of standing areas at the London Stadium will drive some fans away, their traditions swept away. And I sympathise.

But I believe that the hands of our owners are tied, giving them the chance to put out consolatory statements showing sympathy with the fans with traditions views, but making it clear that they must sit down because the license says so.

Sadly the debate is over, if it ever started. What we were allowed to do at the Boleyn will not be the case now. And, as I said, the sympathy will be limited because the vast majority of fans want to sit down, or do so because they do not want the aggro.

The capacity has already only been increased to 57,000, that's 3,000 less than the club wanted. At say £40 a ticket, that is around £120,000 a match, or over 19 home league games, over £2m a season in lost revenue. Karren and the Davids do not want that.

They want a 66,000 capacity stadium working a full volume to make the most money possible. They will not settle for less and if that means throwing out a few thousand seasons ticket holders, with --they say--10,000 on the waiting list, they will do just that.

And what of those Bournemouth fans who stood on Sunday? Well, that is easy to solve. They will have their allocation cut or withdrawn. I refer you to our old friends at Manchester United for proof of that.

Yes, I know I sound like a prophet of doom. But I have seen this happen before, and I don't want to see it happen again to my friends and colleagues when they take their seats in the new Bobby Moore Lower, where a vast amount of last season's BML patrons, are now going to be seated.

My advice is not to make ourselves a sitting target, don't give Sky the chance to run and re-run footage of our fans make a last stand, because if it comes to a war, there is only going to be one winner.

Bilic confirms interest in strike duo
Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham are interested in signing Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza. The Hammers boss, who has already lost club record signing Andre Ayew and strike partner Andy Carroll to injury this season revealed that the club are hoping to push through at least one deal ahead of next week's transfer deadline. And top of the list currently are Manchester City's Bony, plus Italy and and Juventus star Zaza. "We have a couple of players we are trying to do a deal with," confirmed Bilic. "We are in a period where we are missing a number of our offensive players. "We are short of numbers and short of quality, but after the international break some of them should be back. In terms of signing someone we are not panicking, but if something good comes up for us quality-wise and financial-wise, we are going to act. "We were linked with Zaza last year and he is a top player. We were in contact with him last year and will see what happens. Bony is also an option because he plays in the position we are looking for."
However Bilic also urged supporters not to panic shold the club fail to land either player. "We are not going to sign someone just because we have to act now," he warned. "The longest injury we have is Ayew and we expect him to be fit by December. "It is not tomorrow, but that time will pass. We have to be optimistic and cannot moan about the situation because that does not help. We will do something if we can in the next few days, without panicking and that is exactly what we are doing."

Get well soon, Mr Chairman
Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan is recovering in hospital after undergoing heart surgery. The 67-year-old, who has a history of heart problems was pictured on his phone following the operation by son Dave, who posted the image via his Twitter account. Sullivan later confirmed that he had undergone surgery to correct what he described as "a heart flutter" - adding that he hopes to be at West Ham's Europa League clash with Astra Giurgiu in just 48 hours time! On behalf of everyone at, we'd like to wish Mr Sullivan a speedy recovery.

New season tickets to be issued
Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham supporters who were issued season tickets allowing them to enter the Olympic Stadium via turnstiles meant for away fans are being issued with new access cards. Following a number of problems at the Bournemouth game, which occurred after home fans were asked to use the same turnstiles as away supporters, West Ham have announced that supporters housed in Blocks 216, 217 and 221 to 228 are to be sent new cards before the next home match against Watford. That means fans in Blocks 216 and 217 will only be able to enter through Turnstile C, whilst those in 221 to 228 will have to use Turnstile E from hereon. The club acted after Bournemouth fans posted videos on social media of home supporters being ushered into the away area by stewards in order to reach their seats. Further violent scenes involving the two groups of fans immediately outside the stadium are also thought to have forced the club to act.

Fernandes flying in
Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are on the verge of signing Swiss youngster Edimilson Fernandes from Sion FC, according to reports.

The 20-year-old midfielder is set join United in a deal worth aound £5.25million later this week, according to sources.

And he is poised to undergo a medical with club doctors at Holly House on Wednesday before putting pen to paper on his switch.

A cousin of former Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes, Edimilson has spent his entire career with the Swiss Super League outfit.

He made his first team debut for Sion at the age of 17 back in June 2013, before going on to become a regular in the side.

In all Fernandes has made 48 appearances for his current club, scoring two goals. So far this season he has played for Sion in all five of their Swiss League fixtures, only one of which has ended in victory.

A meeting with the Met
Filed: Wednesday, 24th August 2016
By: Amanda Jacks

Having followed events online, in particular a 30-minute Periscope film taken immediately outside the Boleyn, including capturing the arrival of the MUFC team bus, it was clear that a dangerous situation had built up over the afternoon and into the early evening.

While being caught up in the crush was obviously an unpleasant experience for many, thankfully nobody sustained any injuries. Nonetheless, it seemed that there were questions to answer about the crowd management, or rather lack of it, at the momentous last game at the Boleyn.

So I contacted the football unit at the Met Police, with whom I have a good working relationship with, and they kindly agreed to convene a meeting with the Chair of Newham's Safety Advisory Group and Ron Pearce, the then Safety Officer.

All parties were clear that this wasn't to be a blame game or exercise in finger-pointing, rather an opportunity to discuss events of 10 May. Thankfully there was no suggestion of "what's the point, it was the last game" and further, it was felt that (not that this will trouble many West Ham fans!) learnings could inform planning when Spurs and Chelsea play their own last games at their current stadiums.

Suffice to say a full, frank and amicable discussion was had with no avoidance from the key points that the flow of supporters onto Green Street could and should have been managed so as to avoid the crushing. There was no shrugging of shoulders or events being chalked up as "just one of those things".

Chief Supt Colin Morgan asked some key and probing questions of both his colleagues and Newham Council and my concerns around the pre-planning concentrating on avoiding public disorder at the expense of public safety were taken seriously and addressed.

I'm very happy with the public report and conclusions, not least a commitment of more meaningful dialogue with supporters from Newham Council and the Met being prepared to, arguably, put their heads above the parapet and publicly say intelligence taken from forums is properly evaluated and not taken at face value. For that I think they deserve full credit.

Finally, and digressing slightly, I can't have been the only one disappointed with the media narrative that developed around events pre-game. I don't for one second condone the behaviour of those who threw missiles at the MUFC team coach but the suggestion that the kick off was delayed because of that and not despite it while failing to report the wider context was disappointing, to say the least.

* Amanda Jacks is a Case Worker for the FSF who deals with all things policing and stewarding. She is also able to help and advise supporters who have cause to complain about either and is able to refer supporters for initial free of charge legal advice in the event of serious matters or if they've been arrested or charged with a football related offence. You may contact Amanda on 07703 519555.

West Ham in talks to sign Loic Remy on loan from Chelsea - Sky sources
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 24/08/16 8:12pm

West Ham are aiming to push through a deal to sign striker Loic Remy on a season-long loan from Chelsea, according to Sky sources. Hammers manager Slaven Bilic is keen to strengthen his forward options before the close of the summer transfer window, with strikers Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho on the sidelines because of injury. Bilic confirmed on Wednesday his interest in Wilfried Bony of Manchester City and Simone Zaza of Juventus, but Sky sources understand West Ham have opened talks with Chelsea in a bid to sign Remy on loan until the end of the season.
Remy, who joined Chelsea from Queens Park Rangers in 2014, has not featured in any matchday squad so far this season under new Blues head coach Antonio Conte. The 29-year-old - previously of Newcastle, Marseille, Nice and Lyon - made just 13 Premier League appearances for Chelsea last season, scoring one goal.
Sky sources understand La Liga side Valencia are also interested in signing Remy, while Crystal Palace have previously made enquiries into the availability of the Frenchman. Chelsea, who refused to comment when contacted by Sky Sports News HQ, are understood to favour a straight forward sale but have not ruled out the possibility of a loan deal.

West Ham agree transfer deal to sign Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion for £5.5m - Sky sources
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 24/08/16 3:46pm

West Ham have agreed a £5.5m deal to sign attacking midfielder Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion, according to Sky sources.

Hammers manager Slaven Bilic last week expressed his desire to sign at least one more midfielder before the close of the summer transfer window, despite having added Havard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore to his midfield ranks. Fernandes, who is the cousin of former Manchester City and Leicester midfielder Gelson Fernandes, will undergo a medical on Wednesday ahead of a move to London Stadium. The 20-year-old came through the youth system at FC Sion and has since made 48 first-team appearances for the Swiss club, scoring two goals. Meanwhile, Bilic also confirmed West Ham's interest in forwards Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza on Wednesday ahead of his side's Europa League play-off second leg against Astra Giurgiu.

West Ham are currently without strikers Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho because of injury, leaving Bilic light of recognised frontmen. Bony has scored just six Premier League goals for Manchester City since joining from Swansea for around £25m in January 2015 and is yet to feature in any matchday squad so far this season under new manager Pep Guardiola.

Zaza, currently of Juventus, scored five times in Serie A last season and also netted the winner in a 3-2 pre-season victory over West Ham earlier this month. West Ham agree transfer deal to sign Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion for £5.5m - Sky sources
West Ham have agreed a £5.5m deal to sign attacking midfielder Edimilson Fernandes from FC Sion, according to Sky sources. Hammers manager Slaven Bilic last week expressed his desire to sign at least one more midfielder before the close of the summer transfer window, despite having added Havard Nordtveit, Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore to his midfield ranks. Fernandes, who is the cousin of former Manchester City and Leicester midfielder Gelson Fernandes, will undergo a medical on Wednesday ahead of a move to London Stadium.

The 20-year-old came through the youth system at FC Sion and has since made 48 first-team appearances for the Swiss club, scoring two goals. Meanwhile, Bilic also confirmed West Ham's interest in forwards Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza on Wednesday ahead of his side's Europa League play-off second leg against Astra Giurgiu. West Ham are currently without strikers Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho because of injury, leaving Bilic light of recognised frontmen. Bony has scored just six Premier League goals for Manchester City since joining from Swansea for around £25m in January 2015 and is yet to feature in any matchday squad so far this season under new manager Pep Guardiola. Zaza, currently of Juventus, scored five times in Serie A last season and also netted the winner in a 3-2 pre-season victory over West Ham earlier this month.


One week today, the final day of the 2016 summer transfer window will be in full swing. With that in mind, it's hardly surprising that the rumour mill is in overdrive. Until our sources tell us otherwise, please remember we're simply rounding up the latest rumours from the Internet. Nothing confirmed, simply wrapping up the best of the rumours in one place. Ex will do as he does and elaborate should the need arise.

The Best Of The Web :

Slaven Bilic confirms West Ham are in talks with strikers Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza.

He also reveals that either Dimitri Payet or Manuel Lanzini could be on the bench for the Astra game although are unlikely to feature, with our game against Man City looming on Sunday.

Fans favourite James Collins is in the Wales squad for their World Cup qualifier against Moldova next week. Enner Valencia is in the Ecuador squad for their qualifiers against Brazil and Peru.

One for the future – Martin Samuelsen has put pen to paper on a new four year contract.

Co chairman David Sullivan is recovering from heart surgery earlier this week. David Gold took to twitter to wish him well and said he could be well enough to attend our important game on Thursday. All of us at The West Ham Way send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mr Sullivan.

West Ham scouts are set to watch the Genk vs Zagreb match tomorrow, with the player being scouted rumoured to be Wilfred Ndidi.

The Guardian are reporting midfielder Edimilson Fernándes, currently of FC Sion is set for a medical at West Ham ahead of a proposed £5.2m move to The London Stadium.

West Ham favour Simone Zaza over Wilfried Bony and are ready to test Juventus with an offer this evening. (Credit @DiMarzio)

Our game tomorrow vs Astra is to be shown on BTSport4 with former Hammers Trevor Sinclair, Dean Ashton and Don Hutchison providing the analysis pitch side.

Edimilson Fernándes has arrived in London, unclear whether his medical will take place this evening or tomorrow. All riding on him passing his medical as the clubs have agreed a fee and terms between West Ham and player already agreed. (Credit: @ironsfacts).

Aston Villa are interested in signing the man unpopular with sections of our fans, Enner Valencia. (Credit The Mail). The Telegraph since reporting Villa have had a bid turned down as West Ham want to have a replacement in place before letting him go.

Reported West Ham target Daryl Janmaat has left Newcastle and signed for Watford for a fee of around £7.5m.

27 is the number to look out for in tonight's league cup 3rd Round draw which will take place on Sky Sports after the Accrington Stanley Burnley game this evening.

I hope that's got you all up to speed. The aim of us all at The West Ham Way is to bring you the latest, most up to date news all day, every day.

Come On You Irons!

West Ham's transfer business hangs on the result of Europa League qualifier admits Slaven Bilic
19:20, 24 AUG 2016 UPDATED 19:21, 24 AUG 2016
Striker-hungry Hammers entertain Astra Giurgiu on Thursday to decide who reaches the group phase, knowing their targets might only sign if they are victorious
The Mirror

Slaven Bilic knows their Europa League decider against Astra Giurgiu could have a big impact on West Ham 's transfer dealings. The Croatian has already confirmed interest in a loan move for Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and an interest in Juventus and Italy frontman Simone Zaza . It is the ­continuing saga of Carlos Bacca , however, that has yet to reach a conclusion. The club still want the free-scoring 29-year-old ­Colombian who insisted this week he now wants to stay at AC Milan, but could yet be tempted if West Ham reach the Europa League group stages by seeing off their Romanian visitors on Thursday following a 1-1 draw in the first leg. An offer of around £96,000 a week plus bonuses – around double his salary at Milan – has been on the table for weeks. But Bacca has been stalling for a better offer from a bigger club. That has not been ­forthcoming. And, after seeing Bacca start his season with a ­hat-trick against Torino last weekend, Hammers chairman David Sullivan – making calls from his hospital bed after a minor heart op – remains hopeful. But Bilic says he will not beg the striker to solve their crisis up front. "We've tried," he said. "It's become a little bit of a saga. I was the one who called it off three weeks ago in Austria. I wanted him, of course, but I don't want to have to drag players to West Ham. "We are not Real Madrid or Manchester United, but we are a good club and a proud club with players who are proud to play for us. "Lots of players want to come to West Ham, believe me — they are calling me every day. "So, I was the one who said there was no point continuing with Bacca. We are not going to beg anyone to play for us."
City are happy for Bony to leave the club because the Ivory Coast striker has no future under new manager Pep Guardiola. The 27-year-old has scored just six Premier League goals since moving to the Etihad from Swansea for £30million in January 2015. Bilic said: "He's a good player, he's an option because we tried to sign a player in that position even before the ­injuries. He's a centre-forward. But I'm the manager, I don't negotiate, I say to the chairman and to Tony Henry, we talk and then they do it."
Zaza, 25, scored five times in Serie A for Juventus last season and was part of Italy's Euro 2016 squad. Bilic added: "I'm not going to tell you the details, but we have been linked with Zaza since last year. He's a top player and I like him. I was here last year, so it tells you everything. "We will see if it happens this year in the next few days."

West Ham's Europa League opponents battered ahead of crunch decider
Damien Lucas

West Ham United's Europa League opponents Astra Giurgiu haven't had the best preparations for the crunch decider on Thursday night. Romanian champions Astra, who held the Hammers to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in their homeland, warmed up for their second leg clash with a 5-1 defeat to Cluj on Sunday.
Meanwhile Slaven Bilic's side were busy seeing off Bournemouth 1-0 in the Premier League despite feilding a hugely understrength side due to a wave of injuries.
It is a case of winner takes all for the second leg with the victors qualifying for the Europa League group stages. Astra are finding things tough going domestically after their manager, Marius Sumudica, was banned for six months by Romania's football federation for betting offences. Sumudica placed bets between 500 euros and 900 euros on several matches in the Romanian championship, the Champions League, Europa League as well as Romania's junior teams' matches, according to the federation. Astra somehow managed to keep 11 men on the pitch in their embarrassing defeat to Cluj despite having eight players booked. Most fans would assume Samudica, who is allowed on the bench for the Europa League matches, had made a host of changes in order to rest players for the trip to East London.
But in fact it was the same side which drew with West Ham three days before.


West Ham United are closing in on the signature of long term target Simone Zaza from Serie A side Juventus according to reports in Italy. Calcio Mercato report exclusively how the Hammers have agreed a four year deal for the Italian international that is estimated to be worth €3 million a year. The fee reported for Zaza is believed to be around €25 million for the former Sassuolo man. It is said that Napoli were interested in taking Zaza to Naples, but Juventus are not keen to see him join a rival and the player is keen on a permanent move away from the Serie A champions.
If a deal is concluded it will bring to an end a summer long pursuit for the 25 year old who only joined the Italian giants last summer. Zaza featured 19 times last season under Massimiliano Allegri whilst also scoring on five occasions. When a deal is complete for Zaza it could well allow Slaven Bilic to allow Enner Valencia to leave the club with reports suggesting today the Hammers rejected a bid from Aston Villa..

West Ham v Astra Giurgiu preview: Slaven Bilic set to name strong side
Last Updated: 24/08/16 3:12pm

Slaven Bilic has said he will name his strongest side when West Ham face Astra Giurgiu in Thursday's Europa League play-off second leg at the London Stadium. The tie is evenly poised at 1-1 ahead of Friday's group stage draw after Mark Noble's penalty was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Denis Alibec in last week's first leg. "We are going to wait and see who will play tomorrow," Bilic said at a press conference on Wednesday. "We will put out the strongest possible side as we want to qualify. We got a good result in the first leg. "If we want to qualify, we have to beat Astra at home and we should be confident. I expect us to win."
Bilic is expected to continue resting Dimitri Payet against the Romanian champions. The France midfielder is almost match-fit but is unlikely to be risked, although Bilic said either he or Manuel Lanzini (knee) may be on the bench with the tie firmly in the balance. Andy Carroll and Aaron Cresswell (both knee) are both missing for the hosts. Andre Ayew (thigh) does not need surgery on the thigh injury he sustained in the opening day defeat at Chelsea but is still absent alongside Diafra Sakho (back) and Sofiane Feghouli (hamstring).
West Ham have won only one of their last six European games, all Europa League qualifiers (D2 L3). Although Astra Giurgiu have lost five of their last seven away European games (W1 D1), their two unbeaten games were on British soil, winning 1-0 at Inverness and drawing 2-2 with West Ham in 2015. The Hammers have won three of their last four Europa League home qualifiers (D1), although those games were all played at Upton Park. Astra Giurgiu have only qualified for the Europa League once before, in 2014/15. They were eliminated in the group stage. The Hammers' last participation in a European competition proper was in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup, when they were eliminated in the first round by Palermo. Mark Noble has scored a penalty in two of West Ham's three Europa League qualifiers in 2016/17, including one in the first leg of this tie. Astra Giurgiu have shipped 26 goals in their last 12 away European games, keeping only one clean sheet (1-0 v Inverness).

Can West Ham's Michail Antonio ever truly thrive as a right-back?
Last Updated: 24/08/16 6:18am

Michail Antonio was West Ham's wing hero as they beat Bournemouth 1-0 on Sunday, but despite speculation about his position, it might not mark the end of his days at full-back. Michail Antonio's header gave West Ham the points against 10-man Bournemouth. For the West Ham supporters who had been calling for Antonio's run at right-back to come to an end, the finale to the first Premier League game at the London Stadium was a lesson for the future as well as history in the making. Antonio, freed from his full-back duties, duly popped up at the far post to head home Gokhan Tore's left-wing cross and win the game for West Ham. The first goal at their new home and the last word on the notion that the 26-year-old is any kind of full-back. So it was interesting that Slaven Bilic appeared in no mood to retreat. "Antonio is a guy who can play in a few positions," the West Ham boss said afterwards. "He can be a great right-back like Antonio Valencia of Manchester United."
Nobody should have been too surprised. Bilic has clearly been irked by the theory that playing Antonio at right-back is folly. It would be more accurate to say that he regards it as a happy accident - one of the triumphs of his first season in Premier League management. "It wasn't planned for him to play there, but by chance against Liverpool," said Bilic after the win over NK Domzale earlier this month. "I think Joey O'Brien got injured and Sam Byram was cup-tied. Then he played there and he surprised us so we started to talk to him."

It was approaching 11pm in the bowels of the stadium that evening, with Bilic having been delayed by greeting his Slovenian guests, but he seemed prepared to talk long into the night about Antonio. "Look," he said. "Tell me a right-back that when he goes up doesn't leave a gap? Tell me a right-back that when he goes up doesn't leave a gap? "It's physically impossible. When a right-back is pushing up at the same time he has to leave his position. Every time he does well it's like normal, every time he doesn't do well it's a big story. Like for any other player, people should look at what he brings us. "How he played last year was unbelievable for us, going forward and also defensively. Occasionally he does some mistakes but that's what other full-backs are doing. So for me he's got everything to make a great career of his position."

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher acknowledged when discussing Antonio that there are "lots of players who you turn from wingers into full-backs" and Bilic has clearly been struck by the player's physical capabilities. Speak to Antonio's former team-mate David Prutton and he still marvels at a player "so strong and quick he can carry the ball 40 or 50 yards up the pitch". The ingredients are there and what's more he was - briefly - able to turn them into something tangible last term. West Ham lost only one of the eight games he started at right-back last season. Antonio was dribbled past only 18 times in the campaign, numbers that are far more encouraging than those of title-winning full-back Christian Fuchs, for example.
But playing any role requires commitment to it. "I've never thought or dreamt that I could actually be played as a defender," Antonio told FourFourTwo this summer. "I'm hoping that I can be back in my right position because that's where I've played my whole life."

Perhaps that was the issue against Chelsea. Antonio endured a miserable evening, most notably conceding possession on the edge of his own area and then compounding the error by fouling Cesar Azpilicueta to concede a penalty too. He was substituted soon after. Worryingly, it seemed as though Chelsea had identified Antonio as a potential weak link. Antonio Conte's side focused 41 per cent of their attacks down the left flank (compared to 31 per cent down the right and 28 per cent centrally). Eden Hazard targeted him. "When you come up against someone like Eden Hazard, you can't be feeling confused or distracted or maybe thinking you want to play somewhere else," Gary Neville told Sky Sports. "You have to be absolutely committed to thinking that's the job you have to do. "He did quite a good job there last year for West Ham so I don't know why he'd come out with such a clinical comment about [not wanting to play in] that position, because it was obvious his manager was going to use him in that same position again."

Premier League goals for West Ham in 2016

Player Goals
Michail Antonio 8
Andy Carroll 7
Mark Noble 5

Whether West Ham fans feel it's quite so obvious he'll be moved back there remains to be seen. After all, Antonio has now scored nine Premier League goals for the club, the same tally as Dimitri Payet but in fewer minutes and with many of them as a nominal defender. With Byram hoping to seize his chance now, Manchester City are unlikely to get the opportunity to test Antonio's defensive credentials on Sunday. But don't be too shocked if Bilic has put the player's full-back career on hold rather than abandoned it for good.

Harry Redknapp: West Ham United can be 'biggest club in England' following London Stadium move
Exclusive: The 69-year-old, who managed the Hammers for seven years across the turn of the millennium, says his former employers should be challenging for Champions League football
Samuel Stevens
The Independent

Harry Redknapp has backed West Ham to overtake Manchester United and Liverpool to become the "biggest club in England" after trading the Boleyn Ground for the London Stadium. The 69-year-old, who managed the Hammers for seven years across the turn of the millennium, says his former employers should be challenging for Champions League football in the coming seasons after moving to the 60,000-capacity former Olympic Stadium. Addressing the potential for homesickness in the early months of their maiden campaign in Stratford, former Tottenham boss Redknapp said: "Maybe on the pitch they may [struggle to settle] but I could see them finishing seventh or eighth again this year. "If you look at the teams in the Premier League it could be tough, but in the long term I think it's a great move for the club. It's going to take them onto another level. 60,000-odd people every week at the stadium … what is the value of West Ham now? It's gone on to a completely different level. It can be massive. "I used to get upset when I heard people say 'it's not a big club'. West Ham's always been a big club. They didn't have a big stadium, but it's always been a big club. You're not a small club when you produce three players who played in a World Cup final winning team. "It's always been a club which has produced its own players – it's getting tougher now – but they've always played, in the main, good, attractive football. "They got good support even when they were relegated; their support stays with them. It's a big club and now they've gone to a big stadium, they've proved it with selling 50,000 season tickets so I think the future looks fantastic."
Heaping praise on co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold – as well as delivering a glowing reference for vice-chairman Karren Brady – Redknapp expects the east London club to eventually be sold on to foreign investors in the future, but not before launching an assault on the top-four. "In years to come, definitely," he added. "It's like everything, isn't it? Now they're sitting on a goldmine of a football club which is one of the most valuable clubs anywhere. Their assets are so big, they can invest more and more into the playing side, which I think they will, and they'll want to get Champions League football themselves. "If they decide to sell, there will be people wanting to buy West Ham in the next 10 years, for sure. They're in their sixties, seventies, they're not going to keep it forever. So when they do sell and suddenly we get somebody coming from China, or from somewhere in Asia, like they did at Manchester City, it could be the biggest club in England. "It will happen one day, for sure, Gold and Sullivan have done a brilliant job. Karren Brady has done a magnificent job, what she's done has been unbelievable. When they've had enough, or when they get too old, and they decide to sell it, someone's going to buy it.
"Even they will invest now they know what they're sitting on. Their assets are so big, they can invest more and more into the playing side, which I think they will, and they'll want to get Champions League football themselves."

Harry Redknapp has partnered with EE to launch their latest offer which sees customers get free access to the BT Sport App – including within select new EE mobile plans, which launched on Wednesday 17th August. Head to for more information.?

Europa League group stage draw 2016/17: Date, time, team list and live coverage
Evening Standard

West Ham must overcome Astra Giurgiu at London Stadium on Thursday evening to book their place in the Europa League group stages. The same opponents ended the Hammers' European campaign at the third qualifying round last term and Slaven Bilic's men will see this year's contest as an opportunity for revenge. The West Ham boss struggled to hide his disappointment when West Ham failed to beat Astra in the first leg last week, but conceded that his side won't deserve a spot in Europe's secondary club competition if they fail to get the job done at home.
Should the Premier League side progress, they will learn their group stage opponents during Friday's draw. Below, Standard Sport brings you everything you need to know as the Europa League groups are determined.

Date and time
The draw will take place on Friday August 26 and is set to start at 12:00 BST.

The draw will be made in Monaco.

Where to watch
UEFA are expected to stream the event live on their website but you can also follow proceedings on Standard Sport's blog.

Group stage dates
Matchday one: September 15 2016
Matchday two: September 29 2016
Matchday three: October 20 2016
Matchday four: November 3 2016
Matchday five: November 24 2016
Matchday six: December 8 2016

Confirmed team list

Manchester United
Athletic Club
Internazionale Milano
Viktoria Plzen
Standard Liège
Celta Vigo
FC Zürich
Zorya Luhansk
Hapoel Beer-Sheva

Draw procedure
21 teams (above) have secured their place in the group stages and will be joined by 22 play-off winners and five losing teams from the Champions League qualifiers.
The exact draw procedure will be confirmed before the ceremony. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other.

West Ham begin talks with Sion for midfielder Edimilson Fernandes
West Ham target Swiss Under 21 international Edimilson Fernandes
The midfielder was labelled 'unsellable' by the Sion president last season
Youngster is the cousin of former Man City midfielder Gelson Fernandes
PUBLISHED: 13:40, 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:46, 24 August 2016

West Ham have opened talks with Sion over their coveted midfielder Edimilson Fernandes. The 20-year-old was labelled 'unsellable' earlier this year by Sion president Christian Constantin after Liverpool and Bordeaux expressed interest. The Swiss U21 international is the cousin of former Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes and can play in the centre or on the right-hand side. Slaven Bilic has been looking for an energetic player who can help increase intensity in his side and sees Fernandes as one who can develop. The West Ham manager remains hopeful of adding Wilfried Bony on a short term loan from Manchester City. Meanwhile, Aston Villa have expressed interest in signing West Ham striker Enner Valencia.

West Ham vs Astra Giurgiu team news: Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini in contention
Evening Stadnard

Slaven Bilic insists he will not rest players for West Ham's Europa League play-off against Astra Giurgiu tomorrow, despite his side facing a daunting Premier League clash at Manchester City on Sunday. The Hammers are tied at 1-1 from the first leg and Bilic has vowed not to make the same mistake as last year, when he left a host of leading stars out of the corresponding fixture — against the same opposition — only to be knocked out 4-3 on aggregate. He said: "We will put out the strongest possible side as we want to qualify. Maybe one of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini will be on the bench. It is more likely they will participate on Sunday against Manchester City. "We got a good result in the first leg. If we want to qualify we have to beat Astra at home. I expect us to win."

West Ham are favourites to progress to the group stage but Bilic warned: "They are the Romanian champions.

West Ham hopeful Andre Ayew will return from injury in December as record signing does not require surgery
Evening Standard

West Ham are hopeful Andre Ayew will return to fitness in December after starting rehabilitation on his thigh injury. Ayew joined the Hammers from Swansea in a club-record deal earlier this summer but endured a nightmare start to his career for Slaven Bilic's side and had to be withdrawn on his debut against Chelsea. The Ghana international is set for an extended spell on the sidelines, which could force Bilic into the transfer market again, with Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony one of the Hammers' targets. However, despite early fears that Ayew would require surgery, the 26-year-old does not need to go under the knife and could return before the end of the year. "Andre Ayew suffered a rare but very serious thigh injury, which will take time to recover from," Stijn Vandenbroucke, the Head of Medical and Sports Science told the club's official website. "Andre will not have surgery and we have started the rehab straight away, working two times a day. "Andre is a highly professional athlete with a positive attitude that no doubt will affect the return to play date. "It is early to put a time-line on the rehab, but we are positive to reintroduce him in December," he added. Bilic has also lost Andy Carroll to injury, which has left the Croatian manager short of options up front for the foreseeable future. Enner Valencia or Jonathan Calleri are expected to lead the line when the Hammers host Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League tomorrow night.

West Ham transfer news: Napoli line up Simone Zaza as Hammers are dealt blow
Evening Standard

West Ham's hopes of signing Simone Zaza have suffered a blow after it emerged Napoli could be lining up a bid for the Juventus striker. Napoli's interest in Zaza hinges on whether they accept Everton's £26million offer for fellow striker Manolo Gabbiadini. Should Gabbiadini leave, Napoli are expected to launch a bid for Zaza, who it is understood would prefer to stay in Italy. Napoli are believed to be Zaza's first choice if he moves from Juventus. Napoli and Juventus are set to meet for talks but before then, Everton are set to tie up a deal for Gabbiadini. Asked about Zaza today, Slaven Bilic said: "We were in contact with him last year and will see what happens." Manchester City's Wilfried Bony is another target and Bilic said: "He is also an option because he plays in the position we are looking for."

West Ham vs Astra Giurgiu: Slaven Bilic's men heavy favourites to reach Europa League group stage
ALEX CONSTANTINOU in association with BetVictor
Evening Standard

West Ham have been at the London Stadium for just a few weeks but it already looks like there is no place like home. They have played two competitive games at their new ground and won them both without conceding a goal. Their next opponents in the Olympic Park are Astra Giurgiu in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying play-off and Slaven Bilic's team are red-hot favourites with BetVictor to make it three wins out of three at home. West Ham are 4-11 to secure victory in 90 minutes while the Romanian side, who go into the game on the back of a 5-1 thumping, trade at 17-2 and the draw is available at 4s. Bilic's men should qualify with ease against a team who are struggling domestically with just one win from their opening five matches of the new Romanian season. The Hammers, who were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, are 23-10 to win with at least three goals being scored in the match and 6-5 to prevail without conceding a goal (extra time does not count for either bet). In the market to win the Europa League, West Ham can be backed at 25-1 – the same price as Southampton. Another English club are at the top of the market, with Manchester United an industry-best 8-1 with BetVictor. Meanwhile, BetVictor have shortened the odds on Enner Valenica being West Ham's top Premier League scorer this season to 11-4 after Andy Carroll was ruled out for a few weeks with a knee injury. The England man is now 5s. BetVictor also make the club's Euro 2016 star Dimitri Payet 33-1 to be crowned PFA player of the year.

West Ham transfer news: Slaven Bilic confirms interest in Wilfried Bony and Simone Zaza
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic has confirmed West Ham's interest in strikers Simone Zaza and Wilfried Bony with the Hammers eager to act in the closing days of the transfer window. Injuries to Andre Ayew, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have left Bilic with limited options up front after a summer in which West Ham struck out in their bids to secure the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Mario Gomez. Both Manchester City's Bony – who is set to move to China in January – and Juventus' Zaza could be short term options for West Ham and they are both under active consideration by Bilic. He told reporters: "We have a couple of players we are trying to do a deal with. We have injuries and we are short of numbers… In terms of signings if something good comes up we are going to act. "We were linked with [Zaza] last year and he is a top player. We were in contact with him last year and will see what happens… [Bony] is also an option because he plays in the position we are looking for."
Should West Ham move for Bony they would hope that Manchester City would consider covering some of the former Swansea striker's £128,000 a week wages. Standard Sport understands that, with the two clubs set to meet in the league on Sunday, it is unlikely that Manchester City and West Ham would complete a deal before their fixtures, not least because Bony would be ineligible to play against his parent club if he joined Bilic on loan. As for Zaza, his father has made clear that his client would consider a move to West Ham, describing the club as "a solution we'd appreciate". The Italian international has been told he will not figure heavily in head coach Massimiliano Allegri's plans. Juventus have Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic ahead of Zaza in the pecking order, whilst Croatian youngster Marko Pjaca will also require game time.


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