Wednesday, April 12

Daily WHUFC News - 12th April 2017

Joint-Chairman responds to 'false' article

West Ham United joint-chairman David Sullivan has moved quickly to rubbish suggestions that he and co-chairman David Gold are actively seeking to sell their shares in the Hammers. An article in a national newspaper today suggests Sullivan and Gold are 'looking to sell part of their stake in the club', but Sullivan slammed the story as "utterly false". "It is no secret that both David Gold and I see our long term futures as custodians of West Ham United," Sullivan told "We have never once viewed West Ham United as a short term project and plan to be here for many, many years, bringing further progress to the Club on and off the pitch, and success to our loyal supporters. "It disappoints me to see an article published that is so utterly false."

Burke pleased with 90 minutes

Reece Burke made his comeback from injury on Monday night at London Stadium
The defender played 90 minutes as the PL2 Hammers were beaten by Middlesbrough
Burke was delighted to finally be back in claret and blue

Reece Burke was delighted to be back out on the pitch in claret and blue, despite West Ham United PL2's 3-1 defeat at home to Middlesbrough. The 20-year-old has endured a wretched few months on the sidelines through injury, but made his comeback for the U23s as their play-off hopes took a dent at London Stadium. Burke, currently on loan at Wigan Athletic, is unsure whether he will return to the Latics as they fight relegation in the Sky Bet Championship, but the defender was still pleased to get some much needed minutes on Monday. "It was good to get 90 minutes after a long time not being on the pitch," admitted Burke. "I'm buzzing with it but obviously not buzzing with the result. "It's not nice, it's probably one of the worst things in football being injured but some injuries you just can't do anything about. "Obviously you have to stay strong and there are always things you can work on off the pitch. That's what I've been doing and I'm glad to be back. "There's a chat I need to have with the physio. The plan was once I get 90 minutes and felt fully fit, I'd be going back up north and hopefully getting some games under my belt and help Wigan stay up. But we'll wait and see."

Burke made his return at the heart of the Hammers back four, but could not prevent Boro from travelling back to Teesside with all three points. Terry Westley's men edged a tight first half but went behind on the stroke of half-time when James Husband's free-kick was deflected beyond Nathan Trott. The Hammers could have equalised immediately when Dan Kemp headed against the crossbar. Substitute Joe Powell then nodded against the upright minutes after the break, as the hosts wondered how the scores were still level. Boro created very little throughout the match but took their chances when they came – Hayden Coulson prodded home the second before Marcus Tavernier volleyed home a loose ball for the third. Anthony Scully netted a consolation goal with ten minutes to play after a terrific free-kick, but the Hammers were ultimately beaten by three set-pieces goals. "They were pretty sloppy goals from us to be fair," added Burke. "I thought we dominated the game especially in the first half and we had the better chances but we weren't clinical enough today. "Obviously the next game is even bigger now. We need to win but we needed to win tonight. The pressure is on us now and I'm sure the boys will be fine. We've been playing well and we have much better quality than most of the teams in this league."

The Big Interview - Jonathan Calleri

Jonathan Calleri is determined to help West Ham United end a challenging 2017/18 Premier League season on a high. The amiable Argentinian has not played as much football as he would have liked after arriving on a season-long loan from Uruguayan team Deportivo Maldonado. The 23-year-old enjoyed a successful 2014/15 season with Primera Division club Boca Juniors in his home city of Buenos Aires, scoring 23 times, before netting 16 goals in just 31 appearances for Brazilian Serie A side Sao Paulo last year. However, Calleri has found opportunities to hit the back of the net harder to come by in the English Premier League, but the determined South American is not about to stop trying. Having netted from an assist from compatriot Manuel Lanzini at Middlesbrough in February, the No28 came close to repeating that feat in last weekend's 1-0 win over Swansea City, only for his shot to ripple the side-netting. Now, Calleri is looking ahead to a return to the North East, where West Ham will take on struggling Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

That was a big win for the team against Swansea on Saturday. What did you think of the game?

"It was a difficult game. We both were playing to remain in Premier League and these three points are really good for us because we had not won in the last seven games. "The game was very difficult. Each player had to play at 100 per cent. The way we played was not the best, but we got the three points."

You were needed after Michail Antonio was injured, so was it difficult to get up to the pace of the game in those circumstances?

"It is difficult to start a game as substitute. I was lucky to play few minutes and win the game but it is a shame that Michail was injured."

Captain Mark Noble told us he spoke to you at half-time and said the team needed you to get the win, which must have been a big responsibility?

"Mark is always positive, he told to me 'Run fast, you will have chances'. I think it was a good game, I can give a lot more but it is the beginning of something good."

Not only did you give Swansea's centre-backs a torrid time, but you came so close to your first goal at London Stadium after Manuel Lanzini had beaten his man and set you up, too?

"I was close to scoring a goal, maybe I would have scored that goal on a different occasion. These are things that happen in football and I will try to score the next game.

"It would have been a perfect goal. It was a very good move from Manuel but I was not lucky to finish that properly."

"Manu is a good colleague, I spend a lot of time here with him and as fellow Argentinians, we always try to be together."

We travel to Sunderland, who are bottom of the Premier League table, in our next match. Do you think we have a chance to make it two wins in a row?

"We have six games left. As a player, I always try to do my best in order to play all the games, but it is a manager´s decision to pick the team.

"Saturday could be a chance for me to start the game and, if I do, I will try to do my best to be manager´s first choice to play.

"People might expect us to win at Sunderland, but it will be a difficult game. It is again the last team of the table and they have to win, so I expect them to give it everything to beat us."

Written by Craig Podevin @CraigPodevin

A sigh of relief after the Swansea win could become even bigger if we beat Sunderland. A win could mean virtual safety for The Hammers and perhaps some thought could go into playing in the Premier League next season. Sunderland have been flirting with relegation for a few years now (I mainly blame the inconsistencies with managers) and this year look like they may not beat the drop.

General information:

Stadium: The Stadium of Light

Capacity: 48,707

Address: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU

Away seating: 3,000

Sunderland moved into the Stadium of Light in 1997 (can you believe that was 20 years ago?) after leaving their old home Roker Park. The stadium is totally enclosed and, as you can tell by the capacity, is quite large. Behind the West Stand is a large red wheel which is an emblem of the lifts that used to take the miners down to the mines, which the Stadium of Light was built on (look up Monkwearmouth Colliery), and also features at the top of Sunderland's badge.


The closest station is Sunderland Railway Station which is located in the city centre and is an approximate 15-25 minute walk to the stadium.

The Metro stations called "The Stadium of Light" and "St. Peters" also both go to the stadium, however St. Peters is the closest to the away entrance. NOTE that after the game the Stadium of Light metro station only goes towards the north, St Peters goes towards Sunderland City centre and southbound.

If you fancy it, Newcastle Airport is approximately 24 miles away from the Stadium of Light and also has a metro station that will take you to the previously mentioned Stadium of Light metro station.

Bus information

If you have a sat nav, put SR5 1SU in it and this will take you straight to the stadium. For those who don't have a sat nav exit the A1 at junction 62 and take the A690 towards Sunderland. After approximately 8 miles, you will come to a roundabout. At the roundabout, turn left onto the A19 which will have a sign for Tyne Tunnel. Stay on the left lane and take the second slip road towards Sunderland (and this will have a signpost for the Stadium Of Light, A1231). Go straight over 4 roundabouts into Sunderland. There will be two sets of traffic lights (make sure you stay in the left lane for the 2nd set) to go towards Roker rather than Sunderland. From here you will see the stadium car park on the right, but there is limited parking so I advise against this.

The stadium car park is limited, so you may not be able to park there and as expected for a Premier League stadium there are residents only parking restrictions around the ground. Make sure you double check where you are parked to avoid fines, and always park legally.

You can park at the Stadium of Light metro station for £4 or you can park in the city centre and walk to the ground (again around a 15-25 minute walk). The traffic can pick up on match days so please give yourself plenty of time.

There is a Park & Ride operation on matchdays, free for both home and away supporters. This is at Sunderland Enterprise Park, which is well signposted off the A1231. They run every 5 minutes for an hour and a half before kick-off and continue running after the game until everybody has left.

Sunderland have opened a Fan Zone which is outside the South East part of the stadium. It has live bands, large screens for sports and food and drink outlets for both home and away supporters. Entry is free and it opens three hours before kick-off and remains open for an hour after the game.

There are two social clubs – The Sunderland Companions club and the New Democratic Club – both situated on North Bridge Street which are about a 5 minute walk away from the ground. They do get busy, but they both welcome away supporters.

Another pub that allows away fans is The Albion Pub on Victor Street (off Roker Avenue) which is a five minute walk from the station with limited parking nearby. Free snacks are put out after the game and there's also a chip shop on the same road.

If you are up for a bit of a longer walk (around 15-25 minutes) then the Harbour view pub on the sea front may appeal to you. Go along Roker Avenue (opposite the main entrance to the stadium) until you reach the sea front. Turn left along the seafront and you will see the pub on the left. It's listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, serves good beer, has reasonably priced food (with it's own matchday menu) and has a large TV. You can get some good views of the coast and harbour – hence the name.

Alcohol is available inside the stadium. Carling lager £4, Carling cider £3.80, Worthingtons £3.80 and wines £3.90. You can also get 2 pies and 2 pints for £12.

I hope this guide has helped some of you find your way around Sunderland, enjoy the match and let's hope there are many happy hammers after the game. As always, stay safe. Come On You Irons! – @CraigPodevin

West Ham to target Slavisa Jokanovic if they decide to replace Slaven Bilic
Last Updated: 11/04/17 7:14pm

Fulham's manager Slavisa Jokanovic is West Ham's No 1 target if they choose to replace Slaven Bilic this summer, according to Sky sources. West Ham eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win over Swansea at the weekend and are now 14th in the Premier League table, eight points clear of the drop zone. However, they had previously suffered five defeats in a row, raising questions about Bilic's future. Former Watford boss Jokanovic has impressed during his 15 months in charge at Craven Cottage and Fulham are seventh in the Championship at present, two points outside the play-off places. And Sky Sports News HQ understands that West Ham's board have been increasingly impressed by the Serb's ability to promote young talent from Fulham's academy into the first team. A former Yugoslavia international midfielder, who made 39 appearances for Chelsea, Jokanovic took Watford into the Premier League in 2015 before leaving to manage Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Hammers have been linked with a host of other managers in recent weeks, including Rafa Benitez of Newcastle and former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, but SSNHQ understands Jokanovic is the one West Ham have pinpointed, if they do choose to replace Bilic at the end of this campaign.
However, the West Ham board have remained steadfast in their support of Bilic of late and issued a statement earlier this month in which they reiterated that his job was safe. The statement read: "To end speculation once and for all, the board feel it necessary to announce that we have 100 per cent faith in Slaven Bilic's ability to lead West Ham United. "Despite press speculation to the contrary, the manager's position is not under threat. "The board know that Slaven and his coaching staff have the full backing of the playing squad and the overwhelming majority of supporters to lead West Ham United out of this difficult spell. "The board now urge all supporters to unite behind the manager, his staff and the squad as we go into some important games. "We all have complete confidence in their ability to end a testing run of results and finish the season on a high."

The vote of confidence was followed by a defeat at Arsenal last week, before the crucial success over Swansea

West Ham ready to resurrect Lamine Kone transfer interest with rock-bottom Sunderland looking doomed
The Hammers aim to strengthen defensively this summer and are also eyeing TWO Man City full-backs
The Mirror
21:10, 11 APR 2017

West Ham will make a fresh move for Sunderland defender Lamine Kone in the summer. The Hammers , and Everton, tried to land the 28-year-old centre-back a year ago, but new Black Cats boss David Moyes persuaded him to sign a new contract and commit himself to the club's bid to stay in the Premier League. He was also a West Ham target in January. Now, with rock-bottom Sunderland seemingly destined for relegation as they sit eight points from safety with seven games to go, Kone has re-emerged as a target for West Ham. The Londoners will make reinforcing their defence a priority this summer, along with landing a consistent striker. They have been particular concerned by the defensive frailties that had sucked the club back into relegation trouble recently after their climb into the top half of the table.
Last Saturday's win over relegation rivals Swansea moved West Ham eight points clear of the drop zone and the club are confident that they can now start planning for next season in the top flight. Also on their shopping list is a right-back, with Manchester City duo Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna both under consideration.
The players, 32 and 34 respectively, are going to be out of contract at the end of this season, and are both expected to leave the Etihad.

Sam Byram could be a doubt for Sunderland trip in another big injury blow for West Ham
The right back appeared to roll his ankle against Swansea
Football London
14:00, 11 APR 2017 understands Sam Byram is a doubt for West Ham this weekend with an ankle injury. The right-back, who had arguably the best game of his Hammers career in the 1-0 win over Swansea last Saturday, rolled his ankle near the end of the first half and was down on the ground for about a minute. He shrugged it off and put in an outstanding performance in the second half as he left the London Stadium on crutches. Co-chairman David Gold then circulated a photo on his Twitter page which showed Byram once again on crutches, leading to fears he could be badly injured.

Dennis @DDen2205
@davidgold @sambyram93 -class act, clearly took a knock but did'nt hesitate to stop for a photo with my youngsters.better every game
8:15 PM - 10 Apr 2017
23 23 Retweets 175 175 likes

A full injury report is expected tomorrow (Wednesday) but we have learned there is a distinct possibility Byram could miss the trip to Sunderland. With Alvaro Arbeloa and Havard Nordtveit out of favour, we could see a return to Cheikhou Kouyate at right back if Slaven Bilic persists with four at the back. He could also switch to three centre halves, with Sofiane Feghouli playing at right wing back.
Another option is to bring back Aaron Cresswell from injury and move Arthur Masuaku to right back, or play Cresswell himself there.

Odds update: Liverpool made favourites in race to sign Aaron Ramsey ahead of West Ham
Antony Martin

Liverpool and West Ham United lead the race to sign Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey this summer, according to the bookies. Popular bookmakers SkyBET have made the Reds the new favourites in the race to sign Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey this summer, ahead of the Hammers who are second on the list. The Welshman has been woeful for Arsenal this season, in a campaign that has been marred by injury and inconsistency. He has made just 15 Premier League appearances this term, failing to score a single goal and chipping with just one assist. The 26-year-old still has plenty of potential, however, and could go to the very top, under the correct management. His performances for Wales in the European Championships last summer proved what he is capable of doing, if given strict instructions and discipline, rater than the 'free role' he seems to be given at Arsenal. And maybe an exit from the Gunners would suit all parties involved. SkyBET make Liverpool 6/1 favourites to sign the midfielder ahead of West Ham at 8/1. A move to Anfield would surely be more appetising for Ramsey than a switch across London, however, what with the European football that Jürgen Klopp would be able to offer.
The Wales international's contract is set to expire in the summer of 2018, so he could be available for a reasonable price, should Liverpool or West Ham decide on making a summer bid.

David Sullivan dismisses claims West Ham co-chairmen want to sell Hammers shares
Evening Standard

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan has dismissed reports claiming he and David Gold are actively looking to sell their respective shares in the club. Sullivan and Gold purchased the Hammers for £105million in 2010 and oversaw the club's best-ever Premier League finish last season. The pair have also managed West Ham's move into the London Stadium, which is set to boost the club's revenue and ability to compete with the division's elite. Recent reports suggest Sullivan and Gold have been searching for new investors for over a year but the former has dismissed such claims, reiterating his desire to continue building towards long-term goals. "It is no secret that both David Gold and I see our long term futures as custodians of West Ham United," he told the club's official website. "We have never once viewed West Ham United as a short term project and plan to be here for many, many years, bringing further progress to the club on and off the pitch, and success to our loyal supporters. "It disappoints me to see an article published that is so utterly false."
Meanwhile, Sullivan has previously suggested he would consider selling to an investor capable of taking the club to a level "we ourselves cannot hope to reach". West Ham have endured an indifferent debut campaign at the London Stadium and are not yet safe from relegation. The east Londoners have opened up an eight-point gap above the drop zone and will take a huge step towards safety if they beat Sunderland in their next game.

"Should have got Sakho but we signed Fonte" - West Ham fans marvel at Crystal Palace defender
The Hammers opted not go in for the defender and it looks a bad move
Football London
09:59, 11 APR 2017

Mamadou Sakho put in another brilliant display for Crystal Palace as they comprehensively saw off Arsenal and that left West Ham fans wondering what might have been. Palace snatched the French centre half during the January transfer window on loan for the rest of the season from Liverpool and has seen his stock catapult upwards after helping the Eagles to four clean sheets in five games. The 27-year-old was frozen out at Anfield after an alleged failed drug test and it doesn't look like he'll get back in favour with Jurgen Klopp despite his excellent performances in SE25. West Ham had the opportunity to get Sakho in to fix their leaky backline and instead plumped for Jose Fonte, an £8m buy from Southampton. He has only just kept his first clean sheet since signing. Hammers fans watching the game last night couldn't help but wonder how their side would have shaped up for the second half of this season if they had signed the Frenchman instead of 33-year-old Fonte.

David Sullivan reaffirms commitment to West Ham amid speculation over club's future
Reports suggested Sullivan and David Gold were looking to cash in on their shares of the Hammers
The Mirror
08:43, 11 APR 2017UPDATED08:51, 11 APR 2017

West Ham chief David Sullivan has played down reports that he and co-chairman David Gold are ready to sell the club. Reports suggested the pair were looking to cash in on their shares of the Hammers. However, Sullivan, who holds a 51 per cent stake in the east London club, has moved to squash the speculation. The 68-year-old said in a statement: "It is no secret that both David Gold and I see our long term futures as custodians of West Ham United. "We have never once viewed West Ham United as a short term project and plan to be here for many, many years, bringing further progress to the club on and off the pitch, and success to our loyal supporters. "It disappoints me to see an article published that is so utterly false." Saturday's 1-0 win over Swansea eased the Hammers' relegation worries, with Slaven Bilic's side now eight points clear of the drop zone.

West Ham target makes it clear he'd be up for the move, needs to do it quickly
By Lucas Sposito - 11th April 2017

Back in December, when West Ham seemed keen on a striker, they were linked to Lucas Pratto from Atlético-MG. The Argentine attacker was impressing at the Brazilian club and had many sides interested on him. At the time, his representative Gustavo Goni confirmed that at least one English club was on the list of interested clubs, so it all made some sense. But instead of going to Europe, Pratto ended up staying in Brazil, and was signed by São Paulo for €5.8m. With five goals in seven games for the club, the striker keeps impressing, and was invited to ESPN Brasil's show 'Resenha' this Sunday.
In a relaxed conversation, the West Ham target was asked by his compatriot Juan Pablo Sorin if he still has the desire to return to Europe, as he played for Genoa for a short period. "Last year, and now in January, there were offers that didn't reach Atlético-MG's demands. But I'll always want to return to Europe. "I've went too young, and I think maybe I took a wrong decision in coming back so early. Maybe I could have stayed for six more months and be loaned to another club in Europe. "But now I'm very happy with my career. It ended up being a good decision. I'll always want to return to Europe to play with the great players there, but I'm very happy here."

São Paulo clearly wouldn't let him go cheap so soon, but considering that Pratto is already 28, he doesn't have much time to convince a European club to sign him. If West Ham interest was genuine, there's every chance Slaven Bilic is keeping an eye on the player's situation. However, the last striker to move from São Paulo to West Ham was Jonathan Calleri, and that switch has worked out poorly, so far, for both player and club.

West Ham welcome investment despite £650m snub
Dan Coombs

West Ham are claimed to now be open to receiving investment. There are potential new developments surrounding West Ham amid a report in The Express which claims the club's co-owners are open to receiving investment in the club. The report states that duo David Gold and David Sullivan would sell some of their stake in the club to a wealthy benefactor if approached, but want to retain their places on the board. Last year the duo rejected a £650 million full takeover offer from energy firm Red Bull, The Express report. This is not what Gold and Sullivan are looking for, but their desire to sell some of their shares indicates they have reservations over how far they can take the club forward. West Ham have had a very disappointing season and without substantial investment, breaking into the top six looks more difficult than ever, despite bold predictions from the duo that the move to the Olympic Stadium could help with this. Premier League competitors Everton and West Brom have big money financiers from Iran and China adding to their funds, and the Hammers are evidently looking for similar investors. Considering the club's rich history, league status, and location, West Ham should be an attractive proposition, but the investor would have to be willing to work with Gold and Sullivan. Potentially there lies the biggest problem in doing a deal.

WEST HAM EXCLUSIVE: David Sullivan and David Gold want to SELL their stake in the club
WEST HAM joint owners David Sullivan and David Gold are looking to sell part of their stake in the club - but both want to stay on the board.
PUBLISHED: 07:50, Tue, Apr 11, 2017 | UPDATED: 07:51, Tue, Apr 11, 2017
Daily Express

The two Hammers supremos have been looking to bring other investors into the club for over a year but plans had been put on hold this season while Slaven Bilic's team dropped towards the Premier League relegation zone. The crucial 1-0 win over Swansea on Saturday has eased fears of the drop, with West Ham now eight points clear of the relegation zone with six matches left. A drop into the Championship would have dealt a massive blow to the prospect of attracting any big league investors, and although the danger has by no means entirely passed, Sullivan and Gold are again actively looking for people with the wealth to take the club to the next stage.
Sullivan and Gold want to recoup some of their investment in the club, but both will want to keep their places on the board in the future if any deal is done. Last summer the duo rejected a £650million takeover bid for the club from energy drinks giants Red Bull.
A valuation of the club last year put a price on West Ham of around £200m, although Sullivan believed the move to the London Stadium meant the club was worth nearer £400m.

Duo feature as West Ham U23s are well beaten by Middlesbrough
By London Football News 10/04/2017

Havard Nordtveit and Edimilson Fernandes featured for West Ham's Under-23 side on Monday evening. Anthony Scully scored the home team's goal in a 3-1 defeat against Middlesbrough at the London Stadium, where Reece Burke returned to action after injury. James Husband put the visitors ahead before West Ham were twice denied by the woodwork, with Dan Kemp heading against the bar and Joe Powell's header hitting the post. Hayden Coulson made it 2-0 and Marcus Tavernier got Boro's third before Scully pulled a goal back with a superb free-kick.

West Ham fan killed friend with one punch after row following 5-1 defeat
Nigel Williams was jailed for five years for manslaughter after he admitted hitting Mark Munday, who died from a bleed on the brain
20:08, 10 APR 2017UPDATED23:18, 10 APR 2017

A football fan killed his friend with one punch after arguing at a West Ham game, a court heard. Nigel Williams, 39, admitted manslaughter after hitting Mark Munday, 48, in a Bedford pub and was jailed for five years. The father of three died from a bleed to the brain. Williams, of Olney, Bucks, and Mr Munday, of Kempston, Beds, had been friends and season ticket holders for 14 years and regularly travelled to see West Ham play. In a drunken row outside an East London pub, following the club's 5-1 defeat to Arsenal, friends of the pair had to keep them apart after they grappled in the street, But, hours later, after the group had returned by train to Bedford, Williams - who had earlier tried to headbutt his Munday - was still seething. Luton Crown Court heard today how Williams went into a bar, where he knew Mr Munday was having a last pint and punched him once so hard that it sent him reeling. Seconds before, 39 year old Williams had been heard to say "F*** me, f*** me. It's been coming all day."
Mr Munday, a 48 year old father of three grown up sons, fell into a table and, when he tried to stand up, fell backwards into a fruit machine. Customers and staff in The Grafton Hotel in Midland Road, Bedford, rushed to his aid and an ambulance was called. The aircraft engineer was rushed to Bedford Hospital where, just hours later, he died from a subarachnoid haemorrhage - a bleed on the brain. The court was told today by prosecutor Tim Probert-Wood that witnesses in the bar said the punch was thrown with real brute force. Judge Michael Kay QC, hearing the case, was told that the impact from the single punch to the side of Mr Munday's head had caused his neck to twist so violently that an artery at the base of his skull had torn, resulting in the fatal haemorrhage. The court heard that the following morning Williams, of Cowper Street in Olney, Buckinghamshire, was arrested. Today he appeared at court via a video link from Norwich Prison, where he has been remanded in custody since his arrest on December 4 last year. He pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter, which was accepted by the prosecution. In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Munday's wife Sandra told how she and her husband had been married for 26 years and had worked hard to make a happy life for their three sons. She described Mark as a "loving husband, who was devoted to his three sons." She went on: "The loss of Mark has left a gap in the lives of so many people. She said following his death, nearly 400 people had attended his funeral. "There is not a minute of every day that goes by when I don't think of Mark and miss him and want him."
She said that with her husband Mark, they had always sat down for meals with their three sons but, since his death, they have been unable to do that. "I don't know whether we will ever be able to sit around the table like that again." She said when her phone rings or she receives a text, at first she expects it to be her husband. She says she is unable to sleep at night in her bed because, without her husband, it seems "too big and too empty." "I am terrified of what life looks like with Mark not with me."

Anthony Rimmer, defending, said his client and Mr Munday had been good friends for many years and had socialised together and had also gone on holiday together. "The tragedy is that, as far as Mr Williams and Mr Munday are concerned, they had developed a good friendship, building up over 14 years." ailing Williams Judge Kay said: "A husband, a father, a relative and a good friend has been lost. You not only ended one life, but you destroyed other lives."

By Iain Dale 11 Apr 2017 at 08:00
Guest Post by Paul Hickin

The term "loyalty" is thrown about as an intrinsic good. Some fans could have the L word tattooed onto their forehead such is its importance. And if us fans don't think someone possesses – Defoe, Ince, Payet or whoever – rightly or wrongly, they are often cast out in a medieval-like boo-hiss. It seems so relevant to West Ham right now. Not only because of the aforementioned players and whether Mark Noble can criticize 'us fans' , but because of the other side of the coin.

What about our loyalty? Should we show loyalty to Slav after the team's recent slide? Should we show it to Mark given his poor season? Or does the team come first always? The practical side would debate whether Slav is good enough, pure and simple. Or Mark. But this isn't about whether we trust Slav/Mark but whether we should be loyal to them and to what extent? Should our loyalty to these mean they get a little more leeway?

Remember the days when managers actually went down with the clubs only to get them promoted the following season again? Now there is so much money in the premier league that owners can ill afford the luxury of loyalty. But what about you? Surely we can't have it both ways: players/managers need to have loyalty but a wobbly season and out you go!

Now for some of us, football is a job and players should maximize their careers. Why should they show loyalty at all? Maybe only respect is needed and moving on in the right way. As arguably Slav did when he left us. Or Tomkins did when he wanted regular football at centre back. Or if the club decides to cash in on a player (for the greater good hopefully). But for those fans who demand loyalty, how much do you expect to provide in return?

Surely being "loyal" to West Ham doesn't count as that is all part of having skin in the game. If you decided to switch clubs rather than be loyal to the Hammers, then your footballing enjoyment would be superficial and futile, albeit rather successful. But success is so transient and those fans seeking that in its pure form are surely missing the point and that will only lead to misery. The only way your loyalty is measurable is how much you give to those in the club that deserve it, no? Or does our loyalty to the (symbolic idea of the) club trump our loyalty to certain individuals?

On the flipside, Slav could be suffering from his loyalty to Payet (building his team around him etc), to Noble, to Cresswell, et al this season. In the same way Ranieri suffered at Leicester and was not afforded the same such loyalty by the owners who pressed the panic button and which seems to have worked out well at least for this season. Do the Leicester fans feel dirty but happy that the Tinkerman is gone or just relieved that results have turned.

As the voices grow louder among a section of the fans for Slav to go, what is the price, cost and value of loyalty? For me, loyalty goes both ways and Slav deserves the chance to build his team despite mistakes he has made, not only because a huge of host of challenges he has had to face this season which weren't his doing, but because loyalty to those who are part of the West Ham family is "the West Ham way".


No comments: