From the Boardroom - David Gold
It has been a long summer but finally the transfer window has closed and we
are pleased with the players we have brought into the squad over the last
few months. We managed to secure an excellent piece of business on deadline
day with the signing of World Cup winner Alvaro Arbeloa. He provides strong
competition for the right back position and gives Slaven the option to play
Michail Antonio in a more attacking position where he is such a threat to
Alvaro brings with him a wealth of experience and I am sure someone like Sam
Byram will relish the chance to learn from one of the best right backs in
recent years. I can remember when we were in charge of Birmingham doing a
similar kind of deal when we signed Steven Carr. Steven turned out to be a
fantastic signing and was my player of the season. There is absolutely no
reason why Alvaro cannot do the same. I want to pay tribute once again to
David Sullivan, Slaven, Tony Henry and Andrew Pincher for making this deal
go through and all the other great signings they have made over the summer
Apart from the sale of James Tomkins who wanted first-team football and we
fully understood his reason for wanting to join Crystal Palace, we have
managed to keep hold of all our senior players which is a major bonus for
everyone at the Club.
There was obviously a lot of speculation surrounding the future of Dimitri
Payet and a number of reports said that he could leave, but that never
happened and we wanted him to stay. The player himself is very happy at West
Ham United and we didn't entertain any approaches. After what he did at the
European Championship Finals during the summer, I understand why fans would
be apprehensive and worried about his future, but myself and David Sullivan
always stated that he would be going nowhere.
When we took over the Club back in 2010, we both promised to try and stop
our best players being sold, especially to the other London clubs and we
have managed to stop that in recent years. We have said all along that we
are an ambitious club and both myself and David Sullivan put our savings
into making sure West Ham United can become one of the biggest Clubs in
London and we want to close the gap. The one area we can become number one
is in the capacity of the stadium and I am confident the fans can help us
get up to 66,000. They can do this by refraining from standing throughout
the game and not blocking other people's views. I was so happy to see
Michail Antonio earn a call-up to the England squad and I have always been
one of his biggest fans. He is exciting to watch and there is such a great
expectation from the crowd everytime he gets the ball. I know Sam Allardyce
well and he likes winners and fighters and Michail fits all the
requirements. I am very excited for him and I know everyone at the football
club is fully behind him and wishes him the best of luck ahead of the World
Cup Qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday. At last we have someone back in
the England squad and I hope there will be many more to follow this season.
We are all looking forward to the next Premier League game against Watford
and hopefully the long-awaited returns of Payet and Lanzini. We had a great
month in September last season and hopefully we can do the same again.
Simply Slaven - Part One
In the first part of our exclusive interview with Slaven Bilic, the Hammers
manager looks back at a successful transfer window and explains why he
brought World Cup winner Alvaro Arbeloa into the squad on deadline day.
Arbeloa has a wealth of experience having won the Champions League with Real
Madrid and will provide strong competition with Sam Byram for the right back
Bilic said: "His CV is top of course. He was at Liverpool so he knows the
Premier League. He had 10 years at Real Madrid and won everything. We were
looking to strengthen that position, at least short-term and he was
available and simply the perfect option what we needed.
"We watched a lot of Real Madrid games like everybody else and he's a great
professional, a player of great experience and I'm sure he's going to help
us a lot. Make no mistake, he's coming here as a player, not as a mentor,
not as a coach. "
After bringing in 13 players over the summer, Bilic was thrilled to have
secured the signing of Simone Zaza from Juventus and reveals what what the
Italy international could bring to the Premier League this season.
He added: "He's still young, hungry, great left foot, goalscorer, bit of
that drive and positive wildness on the pitch that is very important for the
team, the crowd."
The Hammers manager explains why he made the decision to allow Enner
Valencia to join Everton and says it could favour the player and the Club in
Bilic was also thrilled to see Michail Antonio earn his first call-up to the
England squad this week and says it is just rewards for a player who has a
similar story to Jamie Vardy and has worked his way from non-league into the
Don't miss Part Two on Sunday when Bilic reveals his delight at keeping
Dimitri Payet at the Hammers and gives his feelings on the 'crazy money'
that is being spent in the top flight.
U21 pair taste victory
Edimilson Fernandes and Josh Cullen were both on the winning side in UEFA
European U21 Championship qualifying on Friday.
Fernandes smashed in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards to complete
Switzerland's 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan in Biel.
The Swiss team's victory pulled them level with Group 9 leaders England,
albeit the West Ham United midfielder's nation have played a game more than
the Young Lions.
Switzerland travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday before completing
their campaign with a trip to Norway on 7 October. England host Norway on
Tuesday before traveling to Kazakhstan and welcoming Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cullen's Republic of Ireland beat Slovenia 2-0 in Dublin, with the on-loan
Bradford City man completing the full 90 minutes in central midfield.
Former Hammer Sean Maguire, now a prolific scorer with League of Ireland
title-chasers Cork City, appeared as a late substitute and netted Ireland's
second goal from the penalty spot.
Sitting fourth in Group 2, Ireland have two games to play, at home to Serbia
on Tuesday and away to the same opposition in October.
Both Switzerland and Ireland can still finish second in their group and
qualify for the Play-Offs, from which two countries will emerge to reach the
final tournament in Poland next summer.
Farther afield, Everton loanee Enner Valencia was part of the Ecuador team
beaten 3-0 at home by Brazil in South American 2018 FIFA World Cup
qualifying overnight on Thursday.
STAND UP SIT DOWN
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 3:49PM
This article is written by Jamie Wright @jamiewright1973The issue of
standing at the new London Stadium isn't going away and the club is in
danger of alienating some long standing supporters for good. Is that a good
or bad thing? Arguably as football has become a brand the idea of tourist
fans is surely appealing for any business model? More will be spent in the
ground, rather than going for a pint in their local they'll drink in the
ground. Pie n Mash shops won't be needed as a hot dog will suffice. The club
shop will do a roaring trade and the club income will rise. Appealing as a
global brand will bring new sponsorship and a never ending supply of
worldwide fans wanting to experience the highs of the premier league.
Why is English football so popular? Is it just the fast paced, high tempo
game? Low on technique but high on drama? Or is there something else that
attracts the fans? Surely if you just go purely for the football you can
view enough on your tv, laptop, iPad or phone? Why do so many want to enjoy
the whole match day experience? Football grounds have always been full of
characters, some edgy, criminals, tv celebs, big blokes covered in tattoos
who look menacing. Groups of lads wearing stone island who want to be part
of something. Something from an era not really associated with the suits who
run the game or the studios with their gadgets analysing every bit of this
This may seem melodramatic but when the Armageddon season happens and West
Ham are relegated who will fill the stadium? We know the ground is littered
now with not only tourists but local day trippers too. Fans who want to
watch this affordable prem in this world class stadium. What happens when
Rotherham or Coventry come to visit? Where will the tourists be then? At
Tottenham's new ground? Chelsea? One thing is for certain, the loyal
supporter who was at the Boleyn, drinking in the Vic, Lion or Stanley will
still want to meet up with their mates, escape their lives for a day and
have a day out. We don't want to lose them, many may have moved out but
this is still their club too. Whilst last season was great it could be
argued the football has got in the way of a good day out in the preceding
All seater stadia require fans to be seated but is that realistic? Does
anyone expect fans to sit and applaud when Payet strokes a worldy into the
top corner? The problem is that when attacks start to get exciting even the
sitters stand up. The young or elderly will still miss the exciting bits as
its a natural instinct to those who actually love the game but not
necessarily the razzmatazz. So sitting doesn't seem to be a solution either.
What we need as a minimum is a family area, there are a lot of kids now and
they don't all need to hear that Carroll is a useless c*** or Ogbonna should
f*** off back to Italy. They also can't all stand on seats, some parents
will still take their kids into the BML or other known standing areas and
that's their right. They can't have too many complaints though if they miss
a goal. The upper tiers should house the families, elderly and less able
should be in the front few rows. West Ham fans are on the whole decent
people and certainly show loyalty to other hammers, they don't want to
purposely obstruct someone's view. A trawl of websites like KUMB or
Westhamonline shows that, calling out and banning "fans" who try selling
tickets at over inflated value. This is dividing fans and needs some
promises from the club rather than threats. The fans have attracted praise
in the past for being the 12th man, making the Boleyn an intimidating
ground. Ex players from all clubs have a wry smile when the chicken run is
mentioned, ex hammers loved it, others a bit fearful.
Let's not lose that atmosphere, lets harness it, it may take a few seasons
for fans to migrate to certain areas but let's work together on this. Ticket
swaps are a start and trying to allocate children to upper tiers.
Once that atmosphere goes then for many the season ticket goes with it, we
are at risk of seeing all the experts predictions come true of "they'll
never fill it" should we not work together? This wasn't a huge issue at the
Boleyn and we need to make sure it's not a huge issue at the London Stadium.
WEST HAM ARE UNDENIABLY ON AN UPWARD CURVE AND THE BOARD ARE THE ONES THAT
SHOULD BE THANKED
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 3:32PM
This article is written by Jack Morgan Challis
Now that the transfer window is shut and some of our most important players
are returning from injury, Payet and Lanzini most noteably, we can now all
look back on the business that was done with some clarity. 11 players were
brought into the club with much of the dead wood that has plagued the squad
being shipped out, Joey O'Brien comes to mind, some of which were youth
players but most slot straight into the first team. Like every transfer
window over the past 3 years some lose their mind over the players we
seemingly miss out on after being linked in sub standard papers like The
Sun, then quickly reverse this when quality alternatives are signed.
The way that the board has been looking at improving the squad has been
quite clear season after season, with 2 or 3 quality game changes are many
other shrewd deals to improve the squad in a healthy way without broken
promises for the players. This summer was no different with loan players,
most of which didn't perform as had been hoped, being sent back and replaced
with better players as well as the likes of Ayew and Zaza improving the
quality of a frontline that lacked a potent goalscorer last season. Both of
these players are versatile and add a clinical edge to our attack, although
it is a shame that Ayew will have to wait to prove that.
This system has also meant that a core of older players that have been at
the club for long periods previously largely unchallenged, such as Kevin
Nolan and Carlton Cole, is not a situation that will be allowed to happen
again. With the likes of Oxford, Byram and Burke all showing huge potential
just to name a few this means that they will actually get a chance with them
being included in the first-team squad on a regular basis being mentored by
older players rather than them playing instead. Bryam is now in this
situation with Alvaro Arbeloa being brought in as a mentor instead of a
replacement, meaning that after a few years in the wilderness the "Academy
of football" tagline will fit our club once again.
As much as it pains me to admit, the ideal transfer policy shown this summer
was by Manchester United. A very experienced manager in Jose Mourinho
recognised that they needed 4 positions strengthened, he then went out and
bought arguably the world best in each position although Bailly could be
seen as a rough gem at this point. Their squad was strong enough that they
just needed some keys players to push them on. My point is that with the
business done by West Ham since our promotion and the steady increase of
quality in the squad year on year, next season we could be in the same
position just needing some key players to push us towards the top 4.
It remains to be seen which positions these may be and which of our signings
will succeed and which won't but just to think that so soon after being
promoted we would even be in this kind of position is certainly something I
wouldn't have considered as we were losing 5-1 to Ipswich. Below shows the
squad depth after 11 signings and nearly 40 million net spend, we are in a
fantastic position for the rest of the season and the board should be
thanked for putting us there. COYI
Bryam/Arbeloa Ogbonna/Collins Oxford/Reid
Antonio/Feghouli Lanzini/Fernandes Payet/Ayew/Tore
ONE TO WATCH - TIMOTHY FOSU-MENSAH
BY BRIAN KNOX ON 3 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 6:42PM
Age: 18 years
Height: 6ft 3in
Positions : Centre Back - Full Back - Defensive Midfield
Current Team: Manchester Utd
Born in Amsterdam , Holland, Timothy is a rising future star of the game who
currently plays for Manchester United.
Mensah graduated from the very famous Ajax academy, but never made an
appearance for the Ajax Senior team.
He was snapped up quickly by ex Man Utd boss Louis Van Gaal. The Dutch
Manager was slammed for his patient approach .however signing Mensah at 16
years of age was an excellent move.
Ajax Rated Mensah very highly and were devastated when he left the club.
Style of play
Fosu-Mensah is a very versatile player in any defensive position. He first
started playing at Centre Back at Ajax but he also has proven that he can
play Full back in the Premier League for the Red Devils. Defensive midfield
is another position that he can play.
His ability and defensive skills make him a huge talent for the future. He
is only 18 years of age and shows good maturity and consistency already.
Being Dutch you expect him to be comfortable with the ball and he is exactly
that. He is also a great athlete, has incredible pace and power which makes
him very hard to beat in one v one situations.
Mensah gets tight when defending and is very physical in his defending
style. He is also a brave defender who won't pull out of 50-50 challenges.
He times his tackles very well and is very clean with his sliding
challenges. His interceptions and determination on the pitch add to his
I think Mensah is one worth keeping a good eye on, if he doesn't get the
game time he needs under Mourinho, I'm pretty sure clubs will be monitoring
his situation closely as he has the ability to be a class act.
Written by Richard Jones - via twitter @emagehtjr
STRENGTHS : Pace - Tackling - Strength - Anticipation
WEAKNESSES : None