Trott eager for England debut
Nathan Trott hopes to make his England U19 debut against Norway on Wednesday
The Young Lions face three qualifiers over the next week - the other two being against Spain and Belarus
Trott is joined in Keith Downing's squad by defender Reece Oxford
Nathan Trott says it would be a "great moment" to make his debut for England U19s in their European Championship qualifier against Norway on Wednesday. Trott has been one of the rising stars for Terry Westley's U23s this season and was rewarded with a call-up after a string of top performances in the Hammers net. The 18-year-old goalkeeper travelled to St. George's Park on Sunday to begin training with the Young Lions as they prepare for qualifiers against Norway, Spain and Belarus. "It's been pretty tough over the last few days because I'm still getting used to international football," said Trott. "It's my second call-up but my first time training with the team for a period of time. "We train twice a day so it's been a challenge getting used to the training schedules. It's taken some getting used to but it's going really well and I'm enjoying it. "The style of play is quite similar to West Ham. We play really good football at West Ham but it's a slightly different level here with England because you have the best players in the country playing here."
Bermuda-born Trott earned his first call-up to the England U19s in October, but injury meant he could not travel and make his debut for Keith Downing's men. However, the youngster hopes he can stay fit and help England achieve their aim of qualifying for the European Championships in July. "It would be a great moment in my career [to make my debut] because this is what I need to take my career to the next level," Trott added. "To play would be a brilliant opportunity and my family would be very proud. It would be nice to get on the pitch and help the team and it would be great for all the players if we could qualify for the Euros" Trott is not the only Hammers' representative in the squad – Reece Oxford has been called up by Keith Downing once again and is set to captain the side on Wednesday.
"I've been talking to Reece a lot and he has a lot of friends in the team as well so it's good to know some people in the team already.
"I've playing against some of them so it's good to get to know them and I know the goalkeepers already. Everyone is very friendly so it's been very easy to settle in."
The Big Interview - Jose Fonte
Everyone connected with the Club was hugely disappointed with Saturday's frustrating 3-2 defeat to Leicester City, but as one of the team's leaders, Jose Fonte was quick to come out and admit the performance was not good enough.
The Portugal centre-back, who now heads away with his international teammates for a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Hungary and a friendly clash with Sweden, is certain, however, the Hammers' defending will improve.
Working hard on the training ground and doing the basics right is the key, according to the 33-year-old, who says he, alongside his teammates, will be doing everything they can to turn things around.
Jose, when the ball's not bouncing your way, it's so difficult to change your fortunes, isn't it?
"Yeah, it's difficult to take, obviously. Nobody is happy, everyone is disappointed. But the only way to turn things around is to work and stick together and find a solution.
"We wish the next game was just around the corner. But we have got to regroup, analyse things and stop conceding these goals. We're better than this."
The first and the third goals, they could have been conceded on any pitch in the world, couldn't they?
"Yes, sometimes these things happen. Having said that, we could have easily won the game. We had the chances. It didn't happen for us.
"We tried in the second half with everything we could throw at them, everything we could. We had two or three great chances to equalise and win, but we didn't manage to do it.
"We showed character to try everything and not give up. Now it's about getting back to basics; good defending, clean sheets first. We can create chances. We're very disappointed and very sad, but we want to pick ourselves back up."
As a team, Slaven Bilic said we need to concentrate early-on in matches. Is that something you need to get together before and say, look, we need to switch on here?
"We have been talking and saying things the whole time for the last two or three months! Like you said, sometimes things don't go your way but you have to try and change your bit of luck, to try and be more compact and defensive.
"We know that if we try to get some clean sheets, we can do well because we have seen we can score. It's about back to basics. We need to be in good positions and just defend."
Andre Ayew has come into the team recently and he seems to give us something a bit different. How much of a boost has his form been?
"He is an important player for us, he's been showing his qualities and hopefully he can keep scoring goals for us and helping, because we need him."
We go to Hull City next in the Premier League. Their manager has come to England and you probably know him better than most…
"Yes, Marco Silva is a very good manager. He's very organised. It will be a tough game for us, but it's a game in which we've got to get a good result."
You go away now with the Portugal squad. To get that different environment and freshen up, is that good for you?
"I look forward to it, obviously. It's always an honour to play for your country. It will be good to see the boys and to be with them, but I want to succeed here. I want to win here.
"Obviously I want to win with Portugal and we'll give our best but I want to win with West Ham and start to put things right and start to get good results, because that's why I came here; to win. I'll be giving my all to put that right."
Any Old Irons group set to enjoy tea with DG!
Hammers fans aged 65 and over are invited to enjoy a free Afternoon Tea with special guest David Gold on Tuesday 4 April, in the latest meeting of the Any Old Irons event.
Any Old Irons is a joint initiative between the West Ham United Foundation and national charity Friends of the Elderly, celebrating and exploring the Club's rich history, and giving those involved the opportunity to bond over their shared love of West Ham United.
The Afternoon Tea will take place at the East Ham Working Men's Club from 1pm to 4pm, when the Joint-Chairman will be on hand to share memories and chat with guests.
Run in conjunction with the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association, the Any Old Irons project is part of the Football Friends programme.
The initiative gives participants the opportunity to connect with other fans and locals in their community, bringing them together for fun and friendship. Those attending can also learn how to stay in touch with their fellow fans and the Club using digital technology.
The Any Old Irons event, held regularly at East Ham Working Men's Club, close to West Ham United's former stadium, also displays the club's ongoing commitment to providing support for the community in and around the Upton Park area.
The project is possible thanks to funding and resource provided by West Ham United Foundation, Friends of the Elderly, the Premier League and PFA. The PL/PFA Fund supports community projects delivered by professional football clubs, by allowing them to work in partnership with local agencies and charities who deliver programmes that will help and support those taking part. The Fund allows clubs to focus on areas of need for their local community and develop partnerships that will look to address these.
Any Old Irons is open to anyone over the age of 65. Spaces at the Afternoon Tea on April 4 are limited and will be allocated on a first reserved basis – those interested in attending should call 0330 332 1110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep checking whufc.com for more stories about some of the people who make West Ham United much more than just a football club. #WeAreWestHam
A little Cup magic
Filed: Tuesday, 21st March 2017
By: John Courtney
What with all the negative stories about at the moment and the Chairman's failure (yet again) to keep his gob shut, I thought I'd take a moment to write about something completely different. Sometimes nostalgia helps put some perspective back into your outlook.
I saw a clip in a tweet the other day from our famous defeat to Nottingham Forest in the 1991 FA Cup semi final in which Keith Hackett made it all about him. Interestingly enough he felt the need to say sorry some 23 years later - although it made no difference to me (I still despise the man).
The thing that struck me about that even today (and having been there) was the noise from us that you could hear on the TV. Despite getting an absolute shooing we were outsinging Nottingham Forest, who were wiping the floor with us (with a little help from Mr Hackett!)
The support that day was incredible. I was on the Holte End (it was divided half-Forest and half-West Ham) and it was an away day that even now, some 26 years later, I am so proud to have been at.
I went to school with Spurs fans, me and my best mate Ross (who I still go to games with today) used to get terrible stick from them and it's where my hatred of Spurs comes from, to this day. The Spurs v West Ham final was on, Spurs had done their bit but our name was on the Cup.
We watched Gazza's goal in a TV shop window outside Birmingham New Street and it was now our turn. Surely we wouldn't mess this up. Even as a Second dDvision side against Cloughie's first Division Nottingham Forest. (Yes kids, they used to be bloody good!) It was written in the stars it was going to happen wasn't it?
Was it Hell, it wasn't to be and the rest is history - or was it?
Something happened that day, something that made us different from every other fan in the country which made us all very proud. It was my first "I was there" moment in watching my beloved West Ham.
From the moment Tony Gale got sent off, the support from us all as we sang "Billy Bonds' claret and Blue army" over and over and over again, and louder and louder (even as Forest scored their fourth goal) was incredible.
What an atmosphere. Even some Forest fans we spoke to after the game just could not comprehend what they had witnessed. It really was truly magical stuff from the Irons faithful.
There was a long wait to slay that ghost of 1991 (15 years to be precise) but I found myself back there in the main stand with my father in-law as Middlesbrough awaited. It wasn't the best of games but thanks to Marleen's epic goal we were back at Wembley (well, Cardiff) against the Champions of Europe.
The thing that I remember other than the amazing chant of "Johnny Lyall's claret and blue army" was all of our supporters being right behind the team, it was as if it didn't matter that all the usual people you went with every week with were not around you. It didn't matter because we were one.
A collective voice all heading in the same direction, to the FA Cup Final! Even in that Final, despite the result, the fans were incredible. Steven Gerrard, who broke our hearts that day said the following:
"It really moved me that in their hour of utter desolation. West Ham fans stayed behind to applaud as I lifted the FA Cup. I'll never forget that sporting gesture. I'm Liverpool through and through, head to toe, but I have a place in my heart for West Ham supporters after Cardiff."
Fast forward to last year, it really was our year; when that French bloke banged that free kick in at Old Trafford I have never watched a game there and felt more confident. The crowd behind the team, nothing could go wrong. (Could it!?)
Yet again, as in 2005 and as in 1991 it did go wrong. Supporting West Ham, you know it usually does go wrong - but to the majority of us, that's West Ham, that's what being a supporter is all about.
Ask yourself this. Would 1991 happen today? Not a chance. Why? Because we'd all have left and got the train! We'd have all been on our phones tweeting saying how Slav should be sacked, Noble should be dropped etc and so on... you get the point.
We are all Football managers these days and all far better at picking the replacements for players out of form and a manager who isn't quite getting things right. But after last season Slaven Bilic deserves our support. After last season he deserves some slack.
Yes, it's not been great and I get the reason people want to leave early is because it is such a pain to get there. But it is our pain now. Upton Park tube wasn't exactly paradise either, was it? (Think about those queues in the rain as away supporters were steered in and onto OUR waiting tube trains.) Nostalgia is always great when it suits, but sometimes the reality is that we don't actually want to face reality.
Most fans feel like we have been done up like a kipper. The reality is that we must deal with it. There are 20 teams in the Premier League competing for three trophies (four if you are in Europe, however briefly). 20 into three does not go!
So what more do football fans want? Passion, commitment and being able to cheer and sing for your team. It does make a difference. I for one would love an FA Cup in the cabinet but I am realistic to know this doesn't happen very often. (once in my 41 years).
So to the new age fan, with their access to social media and ability to troll players if you are not happy, let me ask you this: if you had a bad day at work and a bloke on the train stopped you in traffic and started shouting random, hurtful, nasty, spiteful abuse at you - how would you feel?
Multiply that by 100/200 and you get the picture. It wears you down. Your opinion is important. But in the stands is where it is most important.
I think the club need to try to change the stadium for the better with singing sections to generate positive atmospheres around the place. But that applies to the fans as well. We really can be the 12th man.
Fans around you who want to sing and support the team but for fear of being "on your own" simply won't. Supporting your team through thick and thin is vital. Billy Bonds got our support in 1991 because he was one of our own. Slav should be the same. Give him time. It'll come.
Some may say I am stuck in an era that is totally different to that of 26 years ago! But is it really? 12 months ago we were all so proud of the team and support at Old Trafford. If we are not careful Big Sam will be laughing his fat moobs off as West Ham implodes again!
It's unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Saturday's second half showed what that place could be like. So let us take some of that cup magic and sprinkle it on our remaining home games. Before you know it we'll all be bored and mowing the lawn. Careful indeed what you wish for!
And please, Mr Sullivan, you may be the owner but the club is nothing without the fans... please shut up.
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, KUMB.com.
The needle and the damage done
Filed: Tuesday, 21st March 2017
By: Rio Barlow
This hasn't been an easy season.
I'd go as far to say it is quite possibly the worst I've encountered in my 34 years of attending games. Not for the performances on the pitch though. As difficult as it's been, we've endured far, far worse. There's a far more worrying core to this being so grim.
One of the factors that drew me to football and West Ham in particular was the sense of belonging, the feeling of unity between the support. It was like being in a second family. You could with friends, alone, but you were part of a bigger entity. Friendships outside your social circle formed, mere nods of acknowledgement made you feel at ease. The Boleyn Ground and its surrounding areas were though not aesthetically pleasing, gave you a sense of comfort that was akin to being in your grandparents living room.
With the enforced demise of the our former home, never was a sense of unity needed more. This was a true test of the spirit of West Ham. We've failed that test. We've failed it badly.
In essence everything should have been set up perfectly. The hardcore support we've always had, augmented with the plus 2's. A rag, tag and bobtail group of lapsed fans, offspring of the Boleyn's incumbents and fresh support previously unable to attend for one reason or another. But all invited by the hardcore? So why has it failed? Why has the supposed process of merely bringing friends and family caused so much angst that it's spilt over into violence at times? Why then are fingers being pointed at day trippers, when by and large the majority of the support is supposedly so intertwined?
We know the migration process was flawed and has destroyed some of the long standing bonds formed at the old ground. We know the new stadium itself is far from ideal. But that is what in the past would have drawn us together, made us stronger. Instead it's sought to drive us further apart. The hangover from leaving E13 is one that is lingering long and heavy. With no resolution in sight and nobody seemingly willing to act to bridge the divide. Until we have a united support, then making our new home a fortress, a place where opponents, rather than us fear to tread is a long, way away.
This leads me to to the second reason I've hated this season. I'm afraid to say that social media is sounding the death knell of football. Gone are the days of going to games, casually discussing the nuances of the match with friends after.
Now every individual action is played out, error by error, moment of genius by moment of genius, kick after kick live on Twitter, Facebook etc. by and large by those not in attendance. Those unable to see the bigger picture. Those who have little to say, but now big voices. These voices are rapidly draining the life out of the game.
It's not to say those who don't attend the games are not capable of offering constructive insight and comment. But those with worthwhile opinion are lost within swathes of mindless, knee jerk reactionists. Those who's in game mood-swings would put the most hardened psychiatric experts to the sword.
It makes for difficult reading at the best of times. But having easy access to vent frustrations directly at players is a step too far. In an era when most bemoan the lack of characters in the modern game, the detachment between the players and support, it's ironic that when players do offer a key point of contact, it's backfired massively. And it's not solely pre-pubescent teenagers who offer the kind of insightful disdain which would cause most to roll their eyes. It's created a snowball effect to the stage far too many grown men (and women. I won't discriminate) who should know better, feel free to chip in with views that have no place in the public domain.
Some of the abuse directed at players is embarrassing. It's often said that if you earn £50,000+ a week, then you can shout what you like. But behind the wealth isn't always the mental strength to go with it. No fan knows the effect disparaging remarks can have. No fan really knows the circumstances behind all dips in form. These men are human beings just like the rest of us. They hurt when loved ones are ill. They all have issues, as do we. Just because they're athletes, and well paid ones at that, doesn't make them immune from the same things that affect our mental well-being.
With statistics claiming one in six people suffer from some sort of mental illness, most notably depression or anxiety, then it's highly likely that four or five of our current squad will have or be experiencing this. Could social media abuse fuel this further?
Money can buy a lot of things, but it can't rewire a brain. Some high profile athletes, Andy Flintoff, Jonathon Trott, Paul Gascoigne, Frank Bruno, Gary Speed to name but a few have all suffered. And they were by and large not subjected to the mass hysteria of social media and it's instant ability to be the instant recipient of public trolling.
With this in mind, do the supporters who insist of jumping on every error made in games, on every unpopular comment made in interviews really thinking taking to the Internet really is a way of making players perform better?
Last weeks haranguing of our skipper Mark Noble was a major point in case, this is a man who has spent his whole career at the club he supported as a boy. A man with over 300 appearances at the club he represents and feels for as much as we all do. A man who openly described what we mutually love, as i did at the top of this article as not a football club, but a family. The whole move has hit him hard, just as it has us.
Yet one outspoken moment last week saw a reaction on Twitter that left me shameful of some of our support. Is this really the band of brothers I grew up with? Is it the same core of like minded kindred spirits who made me feel part of something special.
In a season that I always felt would be both emotional and tricky, I didn't expect those closest to me to leave me most hurt.
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, KUMB.com.
LUNCHTIME ROUND UP: HAMMERS INTERESTED IN ROONEY, BYRAM LEFT FRUSTRATED, SNODGRASS CRITICISED
BY DAN CHAPMAN ON 21 MARCH 2017 AT 1:24PM
Hello Hammers. Here is Tuesday's lunchtime round up.
West Ham are interested in signing Wayne Rooney this summer, should he be allowed to leave Manchester United. (Sky Sports)
He would be a brilliant signing for us to make. However, I cannot see this being anymore than a rumour to get season ticket sales up.
Sam Byram says he has been left frustrated with the Hammers' first half performance against Leicester last Saturday. (Newham Recorder)
For me, Sam did well last weekend. He was a bit shaky in some parts, but overall he looked okay. I hope he now gets a run in the team and can start to prove his worth to the team.
The London Stadium is set to host a Cricket World Cup match in 2019. (Sky Sports)
As much as I love the London Stadium, this is just another example of everything that is wrong with it. I do not like the idea of cricket being played at the stadium. I know it is not actually ours, but I still see it as West Ham's stadium whenever I go.
Michael Gray says Jermain Defoe should have quit Sunderland in January and joined West Ham. (HITC)
I agree with Michael, he should have. But at the same time, we should have done more to sign him. He was rumoured to have wanted a return to West Ham, so I believe we should have done more. There is always the summer for us to get him too though.
West Ham fans feel that Slaven Bilic should not have sent Reece Oxford out on loan to Reading. (HITC)
With the injury to Winston Reid, I felt this could have been the perfect opportunity for Oxford to step in. It is just a shame that he has been sent out to Reading and is still not playing. I feel he is being wasted there to be honest.
West Ham legend Tony Gale has slammed Robert Snodgrass for his performance against Leicester last weekend. (HITC)
He has been a disappointment so far, but I am sure he will improve. He is a very good player in my opinion, and I am sure that we will soon see the best of him in the near future.
Transfer news: West Ham linked with veteran forward
Filed: Tuesday, 21st March 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham are being linked with a move for Manchester United's veteran forward Wayne Rooney. The 31-year-old former England captain is set to end a 13-year association with the Red Devils this summer which has alerted a number of Premier League clubs - one of whom is said to be West Ham.
* In other transfer news today, the Hammers are reported to be hot on the trail of Bologna forward Simone Verdi, who moved to I Veltri via Milan last summer in a £1.3million switch. The 24-year-old - who has previously featured for the Italian Under 19s and Under 21s - has been watched by Hammers scouts in recent weeks and scored during their 4-1 defeat of Chievo last weekend.
* Udinese midfielder Jakub Jankto is another young prospect whose progress has been monitored by West Ham in recent weeks, say Gazzetta dello Sport. The Czech midfielder, 21, has enjoyed a solid season in Serie A with Zebrette and is also said to be interesting Tony Pulis and West Bromwich Albion. He joined his current club in 2014 from Slavia Prague in a deal worth €700,000.
West Ham interested in signing Wayne Rooney this summer - Sky sources
By Kaveh Solhekol, Sky Sports News HQ reporter
Last Updated: 21/03/17 11:37am
West Ham are interested in signing Wayne Rooney if Manchester United allow him to leave Old Trafford this summer, according to Sky sources. Rooney has started only nine Premier League games since Jose Mourinho became United manager in June last year. His contract runs out in the summer of 2019, but United are expected to allow him to leave at the end of the season.
A senior source at West Ham has confirmed they would be one of the clubs who would try to sign Rooney - if United give any indication that they will let him go. When asked to comment on how likely it was that Rooney would become a West Ham player, the source said: "Never say never". Last month, Mourinho refused to rule out the prospect of Rooney leaving before the Chinese transfer window closed on 28 February. Three Chinese clubs had been interested in signing him - Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan and Jiangsu Suning - but on February 23 Rooney released a statement saying he wanted to stay at United. United signed Rooney from Everton for £27m in 2004. Since then he has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008. He became United's leading scorer when he scored his 250th goal for the club in the 1-1 draw at Stoke City in January. Rooney has said the only Premier League clubs he would play for are United and Everton. West Ham are planning on spending big money in the transfer window this summer. Top of their shopping list are a proven international-level striker and a right back.
Sam Byram shares what West Ham players discussed at half-time against Leicester...and it sums up their poor attitude
The West Ham United right-back hasn't reached the heights expected of him since his move to the club. The Hammers season is in danger of imploding - for the second time this term, and Sam Byram's comments during an interview with the club's official website are indicative of the poor attitude amongst the current group of players that has led to the problems currently being experienced at West Ham. Slaven Bilic's side currently sit in 12th position in the Premier League table, just nine points clear of 18th placed Hull City, after a woeful run of form that has seen them take just two points from their last five league outings. The real concern for Hammers fans is that there is not just one main issue that needs addressing. There are a plethora of problems all over the pitch that need to be looked at in the summer, and on top of that, there are question marks hanging over the head of Slaven Bilic. Does he still have full trust in his players? Do the players trust him?
Byram spoke to WHUFC.com today, and opened up on a conversation the West Ham players shared during the half-time break of their 3-2 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday:
"Especially in the first half, it was disappointing for us to perform like that. We turned it around in the second half and thought we were unfortunate not to get anything from the game. We said at half-time that they'd scored three goals from nothing. They've not posed us a great attacking threat and they were three sloppy goals caused by lack of concentration from us as a team."
The mere fact that the players were discussing how the Foxes had not posed them a threat, yet were leading 3-1 at the time, is bordering on farcical.
Now is the time for the players to stand up and be counted, and admit that they have been appalling this season. They have got themselves in this mess, and they will have to get themselves out of it. Enough of the excuses, now is the time to be men, and put in the kind of performances that they owe their manager. Starting with their trip to Hull City upon the resumption of Premier League action, following the two-week international break.
EDIMILSON FERNANDES IS THE MAN TO FILL THE VOID IN MIDFIELD
ROBBIE LAWTHER @rlawther94
This season has not had many positives but the one that stands out from the rest is the signing of Edimilson Fernandes. The 20-year-old has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant season. When West Ham signed the Swiss youngster, not many knew of him but I am sure the Hammers fans know him now. He has made 23 appearances in all competitions for Slaven Bilic's side, and in my opinion, it should be a lot more. Fernandes has the potential to be our centre midfielder playmaker for many years to come, and his performance during the second half against Leicester City proves this. During this season, the youngster has been thrown from pillar to post by Bilic and he has been very consistent with a few poor performances which is expected of someone his age.
I feel we need to trust players more and ignore age. The talent of Fernandes is there to see, and the injury to Pedro Obiang does not install fear into me for the next few weeks because I believe Fernandes can fill a hole very comfortably. Many fans may say that is a stupid statement but as many fans rave about the former Sampdoria star, I feel he has not been performing to the highest standards over the last few weeks. Obiang, when on form, has a great instinct for intercepting the play and an eye for a pass but he has been too inconsistent recently, and his performance against Leicester highlighted this.
West Ham lack pace and technique in the heart of midfield and I feel Fernandes can bring this. We are slow in possession, lacking any drive unless it comes from Manuel Lanzini or Michail Antonio. We need more fire in the centre of midfield which will not come from Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble or Obiang.
Fernandes may not be the finished article, far from it, but we have to start entrusting talent more and give them the breakthrough when it is deserved. Fernandes is tall, strong and fast, three attributes which are described of Kouyate. Fernandes may not have the defensive talents of Kouyate but he has more offensive qualities than the Senegalese international, which is missing from our game every week.
This article may be proved wrong in the next few weeks but I think we need to start taking risks because Bilic is playing safe with the side and it is going desperately wrong at times. We need a fresh change, and Fernandes can be that change.
'Absolute joke!' West Ham fans aren't impressed with Wayne Rooney rumours
The Hammers are reportedly interested in signing the Manchester United striker
13:22, 21 MAR 2017
West Ham have been linked with a summer move for Wayne Rooney. The East London side are one of several clubs reported to be interested in signing the England and United captain at the end of the season. Although the striker brings a wealth of experience, both in the Premier League and at international level, some West Ham fans are torn over whether the player would represent a worthwhile signing, given his age and expected wages. Some also questioned whether Rooney would even want to join the club.
West Ham Injuries: What are Slaven Bilic's options to replace vice-captain Winston Reid?
By Essex Chronicle | Posted: March 21, 2017
By Tommy Wathen
After losing three more vital first team players to injury during Saturday's [March 18] Premier League defeat to champions Leicester City at the London Stadium, manager Slaven Bilic has got some big team selection decisions to make! One of those that is back in the physio room is New Zealand international Winston Reid, who captained the Hammers against the Foxes in the absence of skipper Mark Noble, but needed to be replaced after just 18 minutes when he fell to the floor clutching his hip in pain. With fellow centre back Angelo Ogbonna already out till the end of the season and Reid expecting to be out for between four to six weeks, Hammers fans have started discussing who they feel should be the man selected to fill the gap in the defence.
Here are some options:
James Collins - Probably the most likely man to be selected to replace Reid is Welsh international James Collins - although it wasn't the case during the match. As soon as Reid hit the floor, Collins jumped up on the substitutes bench and immediately started warming up to make sure he was ready if Bilic gave him the nod. Unfortunately for 'Ginger Pele', Bilic decided to put Kouyate at centre back and introduce Robert Snodgrass to the midfield in his place, meaning Collins again missed out on gaining any rare first team minutes.
Cheikhou Kouyate - For some reason (and I don't know what!), Bilic seems to just love playing Kouyate in the defence. I suppose that makes him a likely option to replace Reid after the international break, although I think it has been made clear that the supporters would prefer to see the Senegal captain play in the middle of midfield - especially now that Pedro Obiang is ruled out till the end of the season. Kouyate used to feature quite often in defence for former club Anderlecht and Bilic also seems to prefer that route, so maybe the selection issues coming up will be in the midfield.
Havard Nordtveit - Havard Nordtveit joined West Ham last summer and has a rocky start to life back in London. The former Arsenal youngster seemed to be a favourite of Bilic's during the early games this season, including the UEFA Europa League, but was slaughtered by fans for giving away a last minute penalty in the 3-2 defeat to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in November 2016. Since then, Nordtveit has had his own injury problems, but could be a viable option to come back into the first team picture to replace Reid.
Declan Rice - Probably the least likely option - unfortunately! West Ham fans love to watch the Academy talent being given a chance in the first team, but chances have been hard to come by recently. Reece Oxford and Reece Burke has both made impacts in the Hammers first team in the past, but have both been sent out on loan as Bilic couldn't guarantee them enough minutes. Now that Reid is injured though, Bilic could look to current U23 captain and Republic of Ireland U17 Player of the Year Declan Rice, who is an outstanding talent that has been touted to make it all the way to the top in the near future.
THE LONDON STADIUM POLL - THE RESULTS
By Iain Dale 21 Mar 2017 at 08:00
Statistics by Iain Dale
Commentary by Sean Whetstone
With 6,356 match going supporters filling out this survey it has to be the biggest of its kind and statistically accurate to make the findings a true reflection of fans' perceptions of the London Stadium. There is no evidence that the survey was hijacked by rival fans or protest groups with hidden agendas. The Board may not like these results but we all understand it is early days in our ninety-nine year tenancy and the first year was always going to be a difficult one.
How long have you been supporting West Ham?
Less than a year 1%
2-5 years 2%
How many games have you attended at the London Stadium since we moved in August?
All 20 18%
After seven months in the London Stadium do you still believe that the move was a good idea?
Not sure 28%
West Ham's Official Poll before the move showed 85% of supporters backed the move, 10% wanted more information and 5% were against the move. These new results show only a third still believe it was the right thing to do, less than a third are undecided with nearly 40% saying it was not a good idea in hindsight.
When will the London stadium feel like our proper home?
It does already 6%
Next season 13%
2-5 seasons 41%
6-10 seasons 6%
+10 seasons 4%
It never will 30%
Only 19% believe it will feel like our proper home by the end of next season but 41% believe it will feel like home within 5 more years. More tellingly is the 30% who say it will never be our home. Let's hope that 30% change their mind.
If you are a season ticket holder do you plan to renew for next season?
Not sure 17%
Not a season ticket holder 23%
On the waiting list 8%
This shows that around 69% of those filling out the survey claim they are season ticket holders who account for 4,392 supporters. 2,546 say they will renew their season tickets which is just under 58%, just 17% say they won't renew their season tickets which could account for 8,840 seats if they really mean what they say! 1,082 were undecided which account for the remaining 25%; again history tells us many of them will bite the bullet and renew as the deadline gets closer so renewals could be as high as 83%. With a doubling of season ticket holders from 26,000 to 52,000 last season we were never going to get 100% renewals and not all of the reasons for non renewal will be down to the London Stadium.
If you are a season ticket holder have you ever used ticket exchange functionality for matches you can't make?
I never miss a game 28%
Yes sometimes 15%
Yes, every time I can't go 8%
Not worth it financially 39%
I prefer to leave my seat empty 10%
Good to see that 28% never miss a game but disappointing that only 23% of the respondents say they use the functionality when they can't make a game. 49% seem to say they don't want to help their fellow Hammers fans without a ticket watch a match and this is possibly the main reason we can see so many empty white seats on match days. The club needs to do more to fix the perception of this service and get a greater take-up.
If you are a season ticket holder were your expectations managed well before the move to the new Stadium?
Stadium as expected 32%
Stadium worse than expected 62%
Stadium better than expected 6%
This is possibly the most disappointing result from the survey. It indicates that 62% believe they were mis-sold in communications and their Stratford reservation visit. Only 6% would admit to the stadium being better than expected.
What is your view on the general matchday atmosphere at the London Stadium in terms of volume and support for the team?
No surprise here, maybe the 3% only went to the Chelsea cup game or the Palace game which could be described as excellent, but we have had everything in between and the atmosphere needs to improve with the fans leading the way.
What is your view on the quality of stewarding and security taking into account the last game you attended at the London Stadium?
Personally, I believe stewarding has vastly improved over the last few weeks so surprised at such poor results. Are we are the level of the Boleyn Ground stewarding? No, and that will take some time, so I suppose the perception will improve over time too.
What is your view on the quality, choice and price of food and drink within the London Stadium?
Again surprised about the 80% who said the catering average and poor. A vast improvement on the Boleyn Ground and similar to other Stadia such as Emirates and Embley whose catering is run by the same company but as they say perception is the reality so obviously room for improvement for the majority.
What is your experience of the London Stadium sight lines and views of the pitch from your seat?
The key message for me here is that the majority like their view of the pitch and sightlines with 57% giving a good or excellent rating. One in five think their view is poor, but you can't help but wonder whether the majority of these season ticket holders are stuck at the back of the upper tier in the cheap seats which cost £289 per season.
What is your experience of travelling to and from the London Stadium taking into account walking, public transport or car?
We were told it was the most connected stadium in the country, that might be technically true, but it still takes around 30 minutes to walk from Stratford Tube Station to my turnstile. The majority of respondents (56%) believe transport is poor or average. I am not sure what the club can do about this, but a better route from the station to the stadium would be a big step in the right direction.
How do you rate your general match day experience at the London Stadium?
So the all important match day experience is only average or poor for 61% of those surveyed. I think the results on the pitch have got as much to do with this sentiment as the stadium does and I do wonder what the result would have been to this question would have been if we won every game at home.
West Ham have been criticised by Taxpayers groups for not paying enough in the contribution to the transformation costs and running costs. Do you think West Ham should pay more?
Don't know 19%
I surprised 20% said the club should pay more, but it certainly has turned out to be the deal of the century with predicted operating losses for the stadium owners predicted to top £8.4m next year. The club will come under more pressure to increase their contribution to reach the 66,000 capacity they so desperately want.
Do you think West Ham will become a regular top six club within the next five years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?
Not sure 21%
Just goes to show not many of us bought into the top six dream sold to us before the move. The problem is as we earn more ourselves the current top six move to higher levels and it ends up a cat and mouse game.
Do you think West Ham will kick on to the next level and become a top four team within ten years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?
Not sure 24%
I love the optimism of the 12% of supporters who think we could become a top-four team within ten years. I suppose it happened briefly to Leicester for one season only so we can all dream
Do you think the West Ham board are doing a good job?
Another surprising result was the view that 68% thought the West Ham board was only doing an average or poor job. They will be disappointed with that view as many of them work tirelessly to improve things and I think they deserve more credit than they get.
How well does West Ham value you as a supporter and listen to fans concerns?
Room for improvement here but things are starting to change with more customer support staff and forty match day SLO's. It is very telling that 76% think the club don't listen or value fans and possibly the biggest takeaway for them from this survey.
Where did you come to this survey from?
West Ham Till I Die 14%
Claret & Hugh 19%
The West Ham Way 17%
West Ham scout Simone Verdi, once touted as next Gianfranco Zola
West Ham are reportedly interested in Simone Verdi. West Ham's search for a successor to Dimitri Payet has led them to Bologna attacker Simone Verdi, according to a report. Italian website Tuttomercatoweb claim West Ham scouted Verdi in Bologna's weekend win over Chievo, in which he scored one and bagged an assist. Verdi is an attacking midfielder who prefers to play centrally, even behind the striker, but can also line up on either wing. He has scored five Serie A goals this season and provided three assists, and is currently under contract until 2020. Verdi is 24-years-old, and has relaunched his career at Bologna after struggling to hit early heights once expected of him at AC Milan. Verdi made his debut for Milan at just 17-years-old, but he could not make the breakthrough to star on a regular basis after that. The Guardian reported that his diminutive frame and silky skills saw him dubbed the next Gianfranco Zola, who incidentally used to manage West Ham.
Karren Brady has advice for Dimitri Payet
Dimitri Payet joined Marseille from West Ham United in the January transfer window. West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady has responded to Dimitri Payet's recent comments in her football diary in The Sun. Payet left Premier League outfit West Ham for his former club Marseille in Ligue 1 in the January transfer window for a transfer fee reported by The Guardian to be worth £25 million. The 29-year-old attacking midfielder was on the books of the Hammers for a season-and-a-half following his move from Marseille in the summer of 2015. In a recent interview with French newspaper L'Equipe, Payet stated that he was not happy with the defensive system used by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. The former Lille star also revealed that he was bored at the Hammers, and claimed that he risked regressing at the London Stadium and needed another challenge.
West Ham vice-chairman Brady has hit back at the France international attacking midfielder and has given him some sound advice - move on.
"Dimitri Payet says he got bored when West Ham went through a bad patch," Brady wrote in her football diary in The Sun. "Some excuse to go on strike that is. His reason at the time was his family were unhappy in England. "Payet did well with us and we did well by him. He regained his international spot and, while we had defensive problems at the start of the season (a few pop up today at Bournemouth, too), a decent pro doesn't withdraw his labour. "He, like us, should just move on."
Injured All Whites skipper Winston Reid could miss rest of EPL season for West Ham United
Last updated 11:13 21/03/2017
Kiwi centre-back Winston Reid suffered a groin injury during West Ham's loss to Leicester City at the weekend. All Whites captain Winston Reid is not guaranteed to be back on the field before the end of the English Premier League season. Reid suffered a groin injury in West Ham United's clash with Leicester City on Saturday (Sunday NZ time), limping off London Stadium in the 18th-minute of his team's eventual 3-2 defeat. Initial signs were not great and the following day it was officially confirmed the 28-year-old centre-back would not be returning to New Zealand for the All Whites two-legged World Cup qualifying tie against Fiji, which starts in Lautoka on Saturday. Further news on Reid's situation arrived on Tuesday when Jack Sullivan, the son of West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, posted an injury update on social media.
"Reid scan later this week, but at least 4-6 weeks and might be longer," Sullivan posted to Twitter. West Ham have nine games left in their EPL season, finishing with an away match against Burnley on May 21. A four week absence could have him back for a clash with Everton on April 22, while six weeks would have him in line to return against Tottenham Hotspur on May 6. But with just two games coming after that home encounter with Tottenham, it appears a real possibility Reid may have played his last part in the Hammers' 2016-17 Premier League campaign. All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, who spoke with Reid briefly following the game and said the injury "looked bad", will no doubt be hoping his skipper's recovery goes as well as possible. New Zealand play their first warm-up clash for the Confederations Cup less than two weeks after the end of the EPL season, a match against Northern Ireland in Belfast on June 2.
The All Whites open their Confederations Cup campaign just 15 days later when the face hosts Russia in the tournament opener in St Petersburg. The update on Reid was not the worst news West Ham fans received on Tuesday. Jack Sullivan also posted that Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang was set to miss the rest of the season with his ankle injury, while winger Michail Antonio would be out for three to four weeks with the hamstring injury that meant he had to withdraw from the England squad for matches against Germany and Lithuania.
Tony Gale slams West Ham flop Robert Snodgrass for passing the buck in defeat to Leicester
West Ham United legend Tony Gale laid into struggling January signing Robert Snodgrass in the defeat to Leicester. The Hammers made it three consecutive defeats and five games without a victory when they lost 3-2 at home to Leicester City on Saturday. Slaven Bilic's side found themselves 2-0 down after just a matter of minutes and although they laid siege to the Foxes goal in the second half, could not find an equaliser. Snodgrass replaced Dimitri Payet in January and while nobody was expecting the Scotland international to be anywhere near the Frenchman's level - even though he cost the same amount - fans are already growing impatient with his performances.
Snodgrass has been full of big talk since arriving at the club but has failed to back it up so far. A distinct lack of pace and no sign of a goal or assist so far, Snodgrass has been hauled off or started sub in most of the games so far after failing to impress. That was the case again last time out when he was introduced as a second half sub and yet again failed to impress.
Hammers legend and co-commentator on the match Tony Gale tore into the playmaker after his worst display yet in the claret and blue.
Gale, who played 300 games for the East Londoners during a decade at the club, could not hide his disappointment at the former Leeds United man's performance as he made a number of observations on the Scotsman's woeful contribution. "Dear oh dear, Snodgrass keeps passing to (Sam) Byram when it's really his responsibility to be getting the crosses in and making things happen from that side," Gale said. "He's got the ability but he keeps passing the buck and he's running Byram ragged out there. "He's been really disappointing I must say."
One of the main reasons Bilic signed Snodgrass was because he would not need time to settle into the Premier League. But he has looked like a fish out of water for most of his time in East London so far and there are already serious question marks over his future.