Friday, September 30

Daily WHUFC News - 30th September 2016

Slaven Speaks - Middlesbrough

Slaven Bilic faced the media ahead of the big game against Middlesbrough on Saturday and says the players are working even harder in training and remain positive as they look to turn the season around. Bilic was asked about the team meeting which took place on Monday and also provides the latest team-news ahead of the game at London Stadium.....

Can you clear up what happened with the team at the start of the week and do you feel like it has improved team spirit?

SB: "It was completely my idea. After the Southampton game we had a big meeting and spoke and at the end of the meeting I told Mark the skipper to take the guys out to dinner, to spend time together which is always good. "I've been there before, it's definitely a good idea and good to do it. If you are asking, it was completely my idea and I told them to do that. "For me it's a good thing, not every week but in a great situation or a bad situation it's good to stick together and its a good thing to do. It's good for team building and that's it.

Are you hoping it will have a positive effect on the team when they play Middlesbrough on Saturday?

SB: "After that night we had a day off. Training yesterday was really good, but training last week was really good without bonding. I have been saying we now have to produce it in games."

How concerned you have been by the start to the season?

SB: "I am concerned. If we are talking about the last five Premier League games it's simply not the way we expected it to be, it's definitely not good and that's why the only thing we are thinking about is the game on Saturday against Middlesbrough. "With one win we can build everything back and we have a good chance at home. We are a team that is alive, the players are good together, they train, they listen, we talk about it a lot. "But we need to do it in a game and not for half an hour, or an hour, or when we are one down or four down. But we have to do it for 90 minutes."

Do you question how you can change the situation around and help the team get back on the winning trail?

SB: "Of course - you are questioning yourself when you are doing great so of course I am asking myself a lot of questions. I did last year when we were doing well and one short spell when we were doing not so well. We were seventh so that means we were losing games as well. "This year you have to change, you can't sit still and think it's gonna change by itself. But also you can't lose your head and change everything. I am questioning myself and I'm trying to be very open with that. But I'm a big believer in being calm, a strong philosophy which worked so well last year here. But of course you have got to change something."

What is the latest team-news ahead of the game and can you provide updates on Aaron Cresswell and Andre Ayew?

SB: "We are almost the same as last week. The left-backs are not back yet. Aaron Cresswell is going to start training with us Monday and should be okay after the international break.
"Ayew is another three to four weeks minimum. We also have a couple of players doubtful but we will see today. Nordtveit's got a bit of a problem. We will see tomorrow."

Who takes responsibility on the field for the current situation?

SB: "The captain and of course the best players. We can't expect it from the young ones. They can bring something, they don't feel the burden like the experienced players so they can be match winners and all that. "But I'm expecting the most experienced players to take responsibility."

Shuttle Bus Service update

Following the successful introduction of the Shuttle Bus Service that carries disabled fans to and from London Stadium, West Ham United are delighted to announce that the number of buses have been increased from four to six to accommodate the popular demand. So far the innovative scheme, which is just one example of the Club's commitment to affordable and accessible football, assists more than 500 fans every matchday. The Service, available at every home game, is in operation two hours before kick-off where it picks fans up from platform 13 at Stratford Station, and arrives at Car Park Two, to allow access to the Podium via the lifts in the Stadium Store. To ensure that our disabled fans enjoy the best matchday experience possible, anyone who does not fit the below criteria will not be allowed to use the Shuttle Bus Service. To maintain the smooth running of this valuable service, the Club would like to reiterate that:
The Shuttle Bus Service is available for any disabled Season Ticket Holder, as well as one carer.
All those wishing to use the Shuttle Bus will need to board the bus together and show their Access Cards. One card will show the disabled supporter's name, and the second will have the carer's name.
Access to the Shuttle Bus is also extended to Claret Members, who will have an Access Card with their name on it, and a paper ticket with a carer printed on it.
All senior and infirm citizens will also be allowed to use the buses but will need to request a permit in order to use the shuttle bus.
Similarly, any supporter who is pregnant, or those that have a temporary disability (i.e a broken leg) can also arrange a permit.

Any other supporters with a mobility problem will have to produce a letter from their doctor or consultant confirming that they are not able to walk.

All those eligible to apply for a permit need to at least 48 hours before kick-off. When emailing, please include the relevant match in the subject heading of all correspondence.

Please note that these measures will be in place ahead of our home fixture with Sunderland on Saturday 22 October.

However members of the accessibility team will be on hand this Saturday, during our match with Middlesbrough, to monitor and assist those fans that require this service.

If you have questions or feedback about the Shuttle Bus Service, or any other accessibility issue, please do not hesitate to get in touch by

Adrian - We are still optimistic

West Ham United keeper Adrian is adamant the players have been working extra hard work this week to turn their season around and is confident they can secure an important victory against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Spanish keeper has felt the pain of a frustrating start just as much as anyone and knows the hard work that is needed to fix the situation.

Adrian welcomed the chance for his team-mates to have an important meeting at the start of the week and can see the positive attitude that all the players have heading into the game at the weekend.

With the Hammers enjoying one of their best seasons in the top flight last year, Adrian sees no reason why they cannot re-produce that form and move clear of danger at the bottom of the table.

Adrian said: "For everyone this is a difficult period at the moment, but we are still optimistic and feel we have a great squad.

"We want this situation to change and have better results on the pitch. We have to work harder to fix the mistakes we have been making.

"We are mostly the same players who did so well last season and we need to show that kind of form again. Everyone is fully focused on the game on Saturday and we know that we need to win the game.

"We want to show the fans that we have a great team. They always support us every game and this is a tough moment for them, but we all need to stay together and remain as a team.

"It was good for us a team to come together and we need to enjoy being together, because it was not like that in the last game.

"We got a bad result so the mentality has to change a little and we have to stay together, both on and off the pitch and get a good result on Saturday.

"If we play well and show a good performance the fans will be very happy and proud of this team, We want to get a good result in front of our fans.

"We have big names in the team and many players in each position. We have a strong squad with the new signings and if we can get a good result, the mentality will change with everyone."

Adrian is looking forward to meeting up with Spanish compatriot Alvaro Negredo and knows the dangers the Middlesbrough striker can pose to his side on Saturday.

Adrian added: "I have known Negredo for a long time and have played against him many times. We have to be careful of him because he is a great striker.

"But we cannot think about Middlesbrough and have to focus on our team and give 100 per cent to get the three points.

"Last season we had a great home record and we want to do the same at London Stadium. When you are playing at home you want to show that you are strong and for team to be afraid of playing there."

A season of struggle?
Filed: Thursday, 29th September 2016
By: Ingwe

I have been a West Ham fan since 1965. I followed them in South Africa, getting airline editions of the Daily Mirror (SA not having TV in those days) for the football results and reports. I grew to love my team and will remain a supporter till I die.

I'm not sure that I have been more disappointed over the years by some West Ham performances than the abysmal showing against a poor Saints side last Sunday.

Sam Allardyce's type of football - as played by all the teams he managed - was horrible and I was not impressed by Bilic's arrival. Yes, the Hammers finished high up in the Premier League last season but I don't think any of it was due to Bilic's input. I wouldn't be sorry to see him go. What has he won elsewhere?

I see the new owners, not as true Hammers supporters, but essentially business people who have an eye on an asset rather than the best interests of the club and its supporters. The main real asset, the Boleyn Ground, was sold and we now play in an athletics stadium that has the atmosphere of a closed shopping mall.

The plethora of KUMB Forum posts by fans who complained of getting rained on show that the stadium wasn't designed as a football ground. I'm afraid I just don't buy into the argument that having a massive capacity will generate funds needed to buy big players etc.

I'd rather we filled our old ground with players playing attractive football - but more importantly, players who want to play for the club, not 'stars' from European leagues who can't get into their first teams and, where relevant, their national teams with any regularity.

They come for the money and the owners' key criteria is whether they will show a suitable return on their subsequent sale.

The summer transfer window was spent chasing a Colombian striker (Carlos Bacca) who clearly didn't want to play for West Ham. Players who did want to play, like Charlie Austin, were rejected by management. Ironic then that he should score first on Sunday!

We rely on Dimitri Payet to 'rescue' us with skilful free kicks, whilst the rest of the midfield look totally uncommitted. Players like Ashley Fletcher and Reece Oxford should be given a chance and other skilful players who would leap for first team experience, like Martin Samuelsen, are sent out on loan.

Why not have a team comprising players who are not only good, but who want to play for West Ham?

I hate to see fans booing the players off or leaving early; that is no way to support your team. But I do understand their total frustration in supporting a team, as only we Irons fans can, and then find that owners haven't done what they said they would.

They're in a stadium most didn't want, paying more for the privilege, having a manager who has brought in players who have performed poorly, played other players, like Antonio, completely out of position, for a number of games and doesn't seem to have a clue how to create a team capable of defending as well scoring goals.

After the pre-season and the Europa league debacle, I thought that we will be in a relegation struggle yet again. All talk of finishing in a Championship qualifying position, I think, is just wishful thinking. I would love to be proved wrong.

What I would want, more than merely surviving in the Premier League, is to get our old club back; free from the likes of Brady, Gold and Sullivan and with players who should recognise the immense good fortune and privilege that they enjoy, being born with a talent that allows them to become millionaires in their twenties, to play their hearts out.

Losing then, wouldn't feel so bad.

Contrasting Swansea's, Palace's and Southampton's performances last weekend, shows what teams with 'weaker' players on paper can do - and makes West Ham's performance even worse.

Call me fickle if you want but, if you really think that we aren't going to struggle this season, this is an example of hope over experience! I so want to be wrong.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to,

Cresswell to return next week
Filed: Thursday, 29th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

Full back Aaron Cresswell will return to full training with the first team next week. Club Doc Stijn Vandenbroucke has revealed that the full back, who has been training with the development squad in recent days is set to return to regular training from Monday - several shy of his estimated return date. "Aaron trained very well with the Under-23s on Wednesday," revealed Vandenbroucke. "The Academy kindly put on a very hard session, which Aaron took part in under the supervision of Eamon Swift, our rehab-fitness coach. "He will take part in another training session with the Under-23s on Friday and join the first team next week."
Vandenbroucke also revealed that Andre Ayew, who returned to Marseille last week to continue his rehabilitation will be back at Rush Green this weekend. "He has been working very hard on the pitch and is ready for the next stage in the rehab," he said. "Andre will continue working on improving his fitness levels for the next few weeks before he will join controlled introduction sessions with the Under-23s."
Meanwhile Arthur Masuaku, who sustained a medial ligament injury in the EFL Cup clash with Accrington Stanley is also nursing a broken hand. "He is now wearing a brace," said Vandenbroucke, "which he will be in for the next two weeks before being reassessed and taking the next stage in his rehab. "We started exercises with him at Rush Green on Wednesday."
Finally there was little news on the situation regarding Diakfa Sakho, who is said to be continuing his delayed 'pre-season'. "He has to build up a lot of fitness after three months out," reported Vandenbroucke. "The encouraging thing is that he has had no adverse reaction in his back to the hard work he has been putting in. Diafra is working very hard and there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Curbs tips Noble to shine despite difficult start to season
Filed: Thursday, 29th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

Alan Curbishley believes Mark Noble's passion for West Ham will help him and the Hammers pull themselves away from danger. In an exclusive interview with Blowing Bubbles Monthly, Curbishley believes Noble was one shining positive from his time as boss who still plays a key role at the club to this day. During the great escape, I put him in the team for the game against Spurs, where we lost 4-3 to a last-gasp goal, and it was only when I saw the highlights after the game that I noticed he was down on his haunches, almost in tears – that's how much it meant to him,' said Curbishley. "When we won at Old Trafford on the last day to stay up, he was the first one sprinting across the pitch to jump on the coaching staff. There aren't many players left these days like that and fans love players like that."
Read more from Curbishley on Icelandic owners, Carlos Tevez and why he could have done something really special before it all went wrong for him in Blowing Bubbles' October issue.
Elsewhere in the popular publication, which supporters can get hard copies of at the entrance to the Olympic Park outside Westfield on Saturday, Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate have outlined their hopes for the season. As has the voice of Formula One, David Croft, who discusses all things West Ham. Meanwhile ex Hammer George Parris believes Aaron Cresswell's reputation has soared since he has been injured. In addition, Sky Sports' Bianca Westwood asks if it's time West Ham truly honoured Billy Bonds. Blowing Bubbles also looks forward to our League Cup game against Chelsea and asks if this is exactly what West Ham fans need at Stratford? Lucy Woolford asks if West Ham and Zaza can make their unlikely alliance work while two writers debate whether or not West Ham missed a trick not signing Christian Benteke? For those living in the UK who aren't going to the Middlesbrough game, you can secure your issue here. Those living in Europe and further afield can also pay for a hard copy on the same page as well as securing a subscription to receive future issues.

Nordtveit to miss 'Boro clash
Filed: Thursday, 29th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

Utility man Havard Nordtveit has been ruled out of this weekend's Premier League clash with Middlesbrough. The summer arrival, who has featured in midfield, central defence and at full back since joining the club has been ruled out of the match with what the club are describing as "a small medical procedure". "Havard Nordtveit had a procedure at Spire Roding Hospital on Wednesday and will be unavailable for one week," confirmed club docv Stijn Vandenbroucke. "He will return to training in the middle of next week." The 26-year-old Norwegian international - who joined West Ham on a free transfer during the summer having agreed to move to London back in March - has featured in four of United's six Premier League matches thus far this season.

West Ham fans need to let Upton Park go, it's boring to blame the new ground - Don Hutchison
Evening Standard

Former West Ham midfielder Don Hutchison has warned the Hammers and their supporters cannot blame their recent woes entirely on their new stadium.
Slaven Bilic's side have struggled to adapt to life in the London Stadium and look unlikely to improve on their seventh place finish in the final season at Upton Park even with the new campaign just over a month old. West Ham currently lie 18th in the table after just one win in six games and are out of the Europa League. The Hammers have already lost three games at their new home, conceding seven in two league games against Watford and Southampton, and Hutchison believes visitors may be raising their performance on the new pitch. "I've been to the new stadium and when you're in the bowels of it, I've never seen a stadium that looks as good," Hutchison added. "It's better than Wembley. It's better than the Emirates. It's plush, it's slick, it really is a sensational stadium. I don't buy into the theory that the new stadium has had a negative effect on the players – they need to roll up their sleeves and get on with it.

Their struggles come in spite of over £40million of investment in the transfer window where Bilic brought in 13 players including striker Simone Zaza, winger Sofiane Feghouli and club record signing Andre Ayew, who was injured in his first appearance. It is these players, rather than their new surroundings, that Hutchison believes are responsible for the early season woes at the London Stadium. Hutchison added: "The main thing for me is the new signings. Last year Slaven Bilic saw all of his signings hit the ground running and adapt straight away, which in itself is rare. This summer, West Ham thought they were going to be in the Europa League and so they've signed 13 new players to create a squad designed to compete on all fronts. "Unfortunately, they've gone out early to Astra Giurgiu and now they are left with players who are not up to Premier League standard. "Andre Ayew I think is up to the level, but the likes of Gokhan Tore and Arthur Masuaku are nowhere near Premier League and West Ham standards. Going out of Europe so early leaves West Ham with a big squad, but not one necessarily equipped to perform week-in, week-out in the Premier League."

Slaven Bilic brushes off reports that West Ham are lining up Roberto Mancini as his replacement
Tom Nightingale

Former Manchester City boss Mancini has been linked with the Hammers hotseat this week. West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has responded to questions about Roberto Mancini by insisting that he is not worried about reports suggesting that the Italian manager is being lined up to replace him, as quoted by the Daily Express. Bilic is coming under pressure from some sections of the Hammers support and the media as the London club struggle with a difficult start to the season. After finishing seventh last season in arguably their most impressive campaign this century, the Irons were knocked out of the Europa League before reaching the group stage and have lost five of their first six Premier League fixtures. That has led to rumours that Bilic's job could be under threat, and a report earlier this week from calciomercato suggested that the club were lining up Premier League-winning boss Mancini as a potential replacement. Bilic was quizzed about these rumours in his press conference on Thursday, but gave a bullish response. The Croatian said, via the Express: "Last year, when you were asking me about new contracts, I didn't want to talk about this. I am not worried about that [Mancini link]. I am delighted to be here and have a job. "But I am concentrated on training and preparing the game, analysing the opponent and working with the players, putting the best possible team out and put my whole energy into my team. That is my contract, new or old."
It is, of course, still very early in the season, but the poor manner in which West Ham have begun both the campaign and life at their new London Stadium home is undoubtedly a cause for concern. Bilic's side have conceded 11 times in their last three games, and a drastic upturn in form is desperately needed if they are to avoid this terrible start becoming symptomatic of a poor season on the whole.

West Ham duo Andy Carroll and Darren Randolph to discover their fates amid all-night drinking claims
12:32, 29 SEP 2016 UPDATED 12:32, 29 SEP 2016
Both players have vehemently denied either drinking or being drunk, but the Hammers are looking into reports to the contrary
The Mirror

Slaven Bilic says Andy Carroll and Darren Randolph will learn their fates next week after claims they were drunk and in a pub on Tuesday morning. Mirror Sport revealed yesterday that West Ham are investigating the conduct of both players after claims that they were spotted the morning after a team-bonding night out. The bonding session had been fully sanctioned by Bilic. But the club are unhappy at suggestions that Carroll and Randolph were out the following morning. Both players are understood to have denied to the club that they were drunk. But the club are making their own inquiries. Bilic, whose West Ham side face Middlesbrough this weekend, said: "It was suggested [that they were drunk] but it's not proven. [The team bonding night] was my idea. "We have a game and we ain't gonna discuss it. We are always discussing it to solve problems in our family, within the club. "There are rumours, I am aware of them, I spoke to the chairman about it and he agreed we should focus on the game. "We are gonna talk about it, find out what happened but now it's not proven, it's rumours. We will talk and if necessary act on it. That's all I'm going to say on it."

West Ham say 'emotional' farewell to Boleyn Ground as final game raises £75,000 for charity
Evening Standard

West Ham have labelled the beginning of demolition work at their former Boleyn Ground home as "emotional", but insist the Hammers' rich history in Upton Park will be felt "for years to come". Developer Barratt London will today begin the process of knocking down Upton Park, West Ham's home for 112 years until May, which is expected to take a number of months to complete. The London developer will then build 842 homes, including 211 affordable houses, shops, a library and new cycle routes on the site and also commemorate West Ham's time in the area with a new statue of Hammers legend Bobby Moore. The centre circle of the Boleyn Ground pitch will also be preserved in a landscaped courtyard while the half-way line will be illuminated through the use of in-laid lighting. Former West Ham midfielder Jack Collison praised Upton Park as being a "special place" as he acknowledged on Twitter the beginning of demolition work on Wednesday, a view that has also been echoed by the club. "Wednesday is the start of an emotional process for the hundreds of thousands of West Ham United supporters who have such fond and special memories of the Boleyn Ground over the last 112 years," a West Ham spokesperson told Standard Sport. "From Geoff Hurst's six goals against Sunderland to Paolo Di Canio's wonder volley, Trevor Brooking's Cup Winner's Cup masterclass to Winston Reid's epic finale winner, these memories will live with our supporters forever. "Now the legacy of our famous old home will be felt throughout the area for years to come, with Barratt London committed to delivering a project that honours the site's rich heritage. "Rather than sell the land to the highest bidder, the West Ham United Board elected to sell to the bidder who offered the best legacy for West Ham United, the Boleyn Ground and, most importantly, our community. "The developers have now promised to deliver a hat-trick of improvements to the area - jobs, homes and legacy."

Barratt London, who completed the purchase of the Boleyn Ground from Galliard Homes in August, hosted the final-ever football match at the stadium on Tuesday afternoon to raise money for charity. The tournament featured 24 five-a-side teams made up of employees from companies involved in the re-development of the site, and raised about £75,000 for Children of Heroes, MacMillan Cancer Support and The Silver Line charities. Speaking about the re-development of West Ham's former home into residential houses, finance director at Barratt London, Tom Olsen, said: "The entire team involved in redeveloping Upton Park recognises the heritage embedded here and we are keen to mark the start of its new era with an event that will benefit a variety of charitable causes."

Jack collison ✔ @jackcollison
Demolition work starts today... What a special place.... Thanks for the memories... #TheBoleyn
8:41 AM - 28 Sep 2016
116 116 Retweets 392 392 likes

Sam Allardyce in the spotlight over Ravel Morrison's West Ham loan move
Evening Stadnard

Sam Allardyce could face questions over allegations of unexplained payments in relation to Ravel Morrison's loan move from West Ham to Cardiff. Allardyce was West Ham manager when the midfielder moved to Cardiff in September 2014 and the Welsh club launched an investigation after questions were raised over fees connected with the deal. The Daily Telegraph report an agent is understood to have told the club the payment had been agreed with Allardyce. Cardiff brought in an external company to investigate but did not find any evidence of the payment being made to Allardyce. However, Cardiff failed to report the issue to the FA, which is in breach of the governing body's rules. The FA could now launch an investigation into Cardiff, which could lead to Allardyce being quizzed. The Telegraph also reported that eight unnamed managers with Premier League experience are alleged to have taken bribes for the transfers of players

Slaven Bilic defends West Ham players after team bonding night out in London
Evening STandard

Slaven Bilic today defended his West Ham players after they were pictured out at 7am, admitting he sanctioned a night out in a bid to improve the club's slump in form. The Hammers have lost five of their first six Premier League games and Bilic allowed his players to hit the town in a "team bonding" exercise on Monday evening. The squad reportedly racked up a £5,000 bill during dinner at a Kinghtsbridge restaurant before Andy Carroll, Darren Randolph and Aaron Cresswell were pictured in the same clothes in a McDonalds at 7am the next morning.
"The team bonding was completely my idea," Bilic said this morning. "I told Mark Noble to take the guys out and go for a meal, to spend some time together. "I am totally concentrated on the game on Saturday. It is good for us all to stick together and good for team building."
The club are believed to be investigating their players' behaviour and will decide on any punishment in due course. Carroll and Cresswell are currently sidelined through injury, although Bilic revealed today that the latter could return after next month's international break. Bilic enjoyed a superb debut season in England last term but he is under pressure as West Ham seemingly struggle to adapt to life at the London Stadium. They host Middlesbrough on Saturday and he said: "I am concerned and it has been a bad start. "But with one win we can build everything back with a win over Middlesbrough over Saturday. "I am asking myself a lot of questions even when it was good last season. You think about how you can change things. You can't sit still."
Bilic also gave his reaction to Sam Allardyce's departure as England manager following a newspaper sting in which he was caught offering advice on breaking FA rules regarding players transfers and agreeing in principle a £400,000 payment to represent a Far East firm. "I followed what has happened with England this week," he said. "It is very sad for English football. "I am sorry for Sam. We all love our jobs and I am so happy with my job. I don't remember seeing someone who was so happy to get it. "He has not lost his position from results on the pitch and I feel very sorry for him."


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