Saturday, April 1

Daily WHUFC News - 1st April 2017

Preview - Hull City

Hull City's KCOM Stadium

When and where?

Hull City v West Ham United
Premier League
Saturday 1 April 2017, 3pm BST
KCOM Stadium

What's the story?

West Ham United return to action following the international break with a
trip to Humberside and Hull City on Saturday.

Slaven Bilic and his team are looking to hit form again after a run of five
games without a victory.

Since registering a 3-1 success at Southampton in early February, draws
against West Bromwich Albion and Watford, and narrow losses to Chelsea,
Bournemouth and Leicester City have left them twelfth in the Premier League

Hull City are nine points worse off, with 24 from 29 games to date – a tally
which places them in the bottom three as the season enters its finishing

The Tigers won promotion from the Championship last term and have given
themselves a shot at safety with seven points from their last six matches.

Victories over Liverpool and fellow strugglers Swansea City in that time
have kept them in touch, with manager Marco Silva making an impressive start
to life in the dugout at KCOM Stadium.

When the teams met at London Stadium in December, the Hammers were fortunate
to record a 1-0 win, with Hull striking the post three times in a match they
should have taken something from.

In fact, so influential was the upright that it won the Hammers' Man of the
Match award on Twitter that day!

Team news

The Hammers welcome Mark Noble back into their squad after he missed the 3-2
defeat to Leicester with a leg injury.

However, Michail Antonio (hamstring), Winston Reid (thigh) and Pedro Obiang
(ankle) all picked up injuries in that fixture and will sit this one out.

Angelo Ogbonna (knee) remains sidelined, while Diafra Sakho is working his
way back from a back problem.

For Hull, defender Michael Dawson has returned to full training this week
after missing six games with a calf injury.

Goalkeeper David Marshall is fit, despite withdrawing from the recent
Scotland squad with a hip problem, but Tom Huddlestone is suspended after
being sent off against Everton.

Player head-to-head


How do I get to the game?

Directions to the KCOM Stadium can be found by clicking here.

For the very latest travel news on the roads, click here. If you're
travelling by train, London Kings Cross is your departure point and up to
the minute travel news can be found here.

A cloudy day is predicted for Humberside on Saturday, with a top temperature
of 13C (55F).

How can I watch the game?

This match is not being broadcast live in the UK. However, if you are
watching from overseas the match may be broadcast in your territory. Check
our widget below for details.

You can follow all the action as it happens right here on Our
Live Match Centre has audio commentary from our media partners BBC London,
along with social media updates, in-running stats, photos and more. Get
involved in the conversation on social using the hashtag #HULWHU

From The Boardroom - David Gold

Hello everyone,

After the two-week international break, we are all looking forward to
getting back to business in the Premier League on Saturday, and the chance
to return to winning ways.

I'm still not quite sure how to sum up the defeat against Leicester a
fortnight ago. It was a bizarre game, in which we found ourselves 2-0 down
after seven minutes but ended up being hugely disappointed not to win. We
absolutely bombarded them in the second half, had all the possession and
created more than enough chances to come out on top.

In that sense, we can be positive and confident as we prepare to face Hull
City at the KCOM Stadium this weekend, aiming to end the run of three
straight defeats and hopefully push ourselves back into the top half of the

There is a similarity with the reverse fixture at London Stadium back in
December, when the result was more important than the performance. We were
quite fortunate that day, and I remember that the Hull directors were
devastated that they came away with nothing.

They will no doubt have that day in their minds this weekend, but I know
that we will go up there absolutely determined to get another positive
result. Slaven won't allow the players to take anything for granted or show
any complacency just because our opponents are in the bottom three.

Hull have been on a good run at home and we will have to be at our best to
get something out of the game. One thing that does give me confidence,
however, is the fact that on a number of occasions this season, when the
team have been going through tough times and really needed to dig out a
result, they have done exactly that.

Obviously it's a blow to have lost Pedro Obiang, Winston Reid and Michail
Antonio to injury but, on the bright side, it gives other players the chance
to stake a claim for the shirt. And you could argue that some fresh faces
coming in, eager to grab their chance and perform well, is something that
will give us a lift.

It is also likely that Mark Noble will be back in the squad on Saturday and
that is another tremendous boost for everyone.

Make no mistake, Mark's presence is absolutely vital to our team and his
return will have a positive impact. I know that he has received some
criticism recently but we must remember that he played his last two matches
while carrying an injury.

Not only is he a good player, he is a motivator, a leader, and he has a
great influence on the players around him. Mark is one of the best captains
I have come across during my years in the game – he cares as passionately
about West Ham United as anyone.

There is also a good chance that he will reach his 400th appearance for the
Club during the next week, and what a phenomenal achievement that is in the
modern game. He has been here man and boy, and his value and contribution
should not be under-estimated.

Finally, I would like to wish every single one of our 2,400 magnificent
travelling supporters a safe journey up to Hull tomorrow. I sincerely hope
we can give you the victory you deserve.

Come on you Irons!

David Gold

We're looking forward to Hull'

Aaron Cresswell says the Hammers cannot wait to get back on the pitch at
Hull City
West Ham United go to KCOM Stadium on a five-match Premier League winless
Left-back says the players are 'fully supportive' of manager Slaven Bilic

Aaron Cresswell says West Ham United are champing at the bit to get a win at
Hull City for themselves, the Claret and Blue Army and manager Slaven Bilic.
The Hammers have had the spotlight fall on them following a run of five
winless Premier League matches, and left-back Cresswell admits their
standards have not been high enough in those games. But, after working hard
through the two-week international break, the No3 says the players are
determined to dial up three points at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday. "It's
not good to have a few defeats, of course, so we want to turn that around as
quickly as possible," he began. "We've had a two-week gap when we would
rather have had a game the next day [after the home defeat by Leicester City
on 18 March], so we're looking forward to Hull and hopefully we'll get three
points. "When we haven't been picking up results, as has been the case of
late, we always want a game quickly to put things right. We've had to wait
two weeks, but now Hull is coming up on Saturday and we want to put in a
performance and, first and foremost, get the win. "We know we haven't been
good enough as of late and we want to rectify that and we've got a couple of
games we want to get maximum points out of and close the gap on the teams
above us. "Every game is tough in the Premier League, whether it's the start
or the end of the season. Going to Hull is not going to be easy and they've
picked up a lot of points under their new manager, who has been fantastic."

As is the way with modern football, a short run of indifferent results has
led to media speculation over the future of the manager.
However, with West Ham one win away from climbing back into the Premier
League's top ten, Cresswell was quick to point to the qualities of the
former Croatia, Lokomotiv and Besiktas boss, while also pointing to the
outstanding campaign Bilic oversaw just a season ago
"If you ask any of the players, they would say the same, we are fully behind
Slaven and fully supportive of him. Hopefully we can turn it around, get
back up the league and take that pressure off everyone," the defender
confirmed. "He's been brilliant with me since he walked in, he's been
fantastic. He is first-class with the lads, training is good and he's got a
good coaching staff around him and we don't want that to change. "He is
hands-on, positive and passionate about his job. As players, that's what you
want from a manager, someone who is on the training pitch every day giving
his advice. He's a very good manager and we're all behind him. "He's both a
very good manager and a very good coach. His management skills are spot-on
and his tactical acumen and coaching sessions are very good. He is bubbly
around the place and wants to stay in a positive mood and, as players,
that's what we want. "Slaven has definitely been very positive since he
walked through the door. Looking back to last year, it was the highest
points tally the club has achieved in the Premier League. We finished on 62
points last season and in seventh place, so you could arguably say we
overachieved, but we've got nine games to go and we want to get as high up
that table as we can."

Young Hammers prepare for Japan trip

A selection of West Ham United U17 players travel to Japan on Sunday
They will take part in a special J-League tournament and will fly the flag
for the Premier League and Europe
Coach Danny Searle believes it will be fantastic experience for his young

West Ham United will take a selection of U17 players out to Japan on Sunday
for the J-League U17 Challenge League. The Hammers will be the only European
representatives at the eight-team tournament in Osaka and they begin their
campaign against Japanese side Renofa Yamaguchi FC on Tuesday (4am BST).
Four hours later, the youngsters face V-Varen Nagasaki before rounding off
their group campaign against Gamba Osaka on Wednesday. By then, the Hammers
will hope to have qualified for the semi-finals, which take place later on
day two. The final takes place on Thursday. Coach Danny Searle believes the
tournament will be a fantastic experience for his young guns and says
winning the competition overall is the aim. "It's the first time we've been
involved in this tournament and the first time the players and staff will
have been to Japan," he said. "Culturally, it's going to be a fantastic
experience. "The opposition will be different because we've never played
them before and it will be a good test for the lads to adapt to that. It
will be a different environment, cuisine, and dealing with the jetlag will
be a challenge but we are all looking forward to it. "We're flying the flag
for the Premier League, England and Europe out there so, from our
perspective, it's important we go out there and do a good job and perform."

The squad features a mixture of age groups with scholars Ben Johnson, Conor
Coventry, Ben Wells holding the role of experienced heads on the trip.
Searle hopes the younger players will be able to learn from the U18
regulars. "We've got a strong squad of 18 players going and a good mix of
age groups so it'll be a test for the younger players and hopefully the
older ones can bring their experience because they've been involved in
tournaments like this one before," he added. "The more experienced players
are going to play an important role especially with the younger ones who may
not have spent that amount of time away from home. "Playing with those sorts
of players and seeing what the standards are like at that level is vital for
our younger players."

West Ham are the only European side to have received an invite to the
competition and the appearance in Japan is part of huge number of
international tournaments the Academy competes in. The Academy of Football
was invited to the tournament after hosting various J-League coaches at
Chadwell Heath for a week earlier on in the season. "We fortunate that
we've manage to gauge this sort of recognition internationally and we're now
being offered tournaments left, right and centre. "Before, the amount of
tournaments we went on were limited because of resources and funding and now
we're in a situation where people are falling over themselves inviting us to

West Ham TV will be in Osaka, Japan with the team next week. You can keep up
to date with their progress at and on our social channels.

Five Talking Points - Hull City

West Ham United travel to Hull City on Saturday eager to end a run of five
Premier League matches without a win. Here are five storylines to look out
for at the KCOM Stadium...

1. Reshuffle?

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic will need to make some big decisions
ahead of Saturday's trip to the KCOM Stadium. With Winston Reid, Pedro
Obiang and Michail Antonio all out injured, Bilic will need to decide who
replaces three of his regular starters. At centre-half, James Collins is the
natural replacement, but the manager may opt to continue Cheikhou Kouyate's
tour around the pitch by starting the Senegalese in defence. In midfield,
Mark Noble is expected to return after missing the Leicester City defeat
through injury, but if Kouyate does drop back, he will be joined in midfield
by either Havard Nordtveit or Edimilson Fernandes. Finally, Antonio's
absence means either Sofiane Feghouli or Robert Snodgrass will return to the

2. Time to turn shots into goals

West Ham United have not won any of their last five Premier League matches –
their joint-longest such run this season. Despite scoring in each of those
five matches, outshooting their opponents in four of them and 76-59 overall,
talk of the Hammers being crisis has emerged on social media and among
selected journalists and pundits. But, cast your mind back 18 months and the
Hammers went on an eight-match winless run between Halloween and Boxing Day
that saw them drop from third to tenth in the table. Back then, it was not
even a drama. Likewise, the current situation is far from a crisis.

3. A good team in a bad position?

As one member of the Hammers' backroom team said this week, 'Hull are a good
team who happen to be in the relegation zone'. The Tigers may have won just
three of the nine Premier League matches they have contested since Marco
Silva was appointed as head coach on 5 January, but they are unbeaten in the
four of those nine played at the KCOM Stadium. Hull have beaten AFC
Bournemouth, Liverpool and Swansea City on home turf since Silva's arrival,
while Burnley left the East Riding of Yorkshire with a point. Away from
home, Hull's fixture list has been daunting in the five matches managed by
Silva – Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Leicester City and Everton – so
a haul of just one point from those matches was perhaps to be expected. So,
if West Ham think they are in for a relatively comfortable afternoon on
Saturday, they are wrong.

4. Arthur's seat

Aside from the changes Slaven Bilic will make due to injury, there is some
speculation that Arthur Masuaku could be handed the start at left-back. The
23-year-old is a dynamic player who made an impact when he appeared as a
substitute against Leicester City last time out.
Whether he plays or not, the Frenchman will know plenty about the man in the
opposing dugout, for Marco Silva was his manager at Greek champions
Olympiacos last season. Under the Portuguese, Masuaku started and finished
23 of the club's 30 Greek Superleague matches, winning 21, drawing one and
losing just one. He also appeared five times in the UEFA Champions League
group stage, twice in the UEFA Europa League and in the Greek Cup final.

5. Snoddy's return

Robert Snodgrass will make his first return to KCOM Stadium following his
January move from Hull City to West Ham United. The Scotland winger has yet
to score his first goal in Claret and Blue, but he does remain Hull's
leading scorer in the Premier League with seven goals and in all
competitions with nine. It remains to be seen what sort of reception the
29-year-old will get on his return but, whether he is jeered or cheered,
Snodgrass will be eager to make an impact against his old club. As an aside,
Mark Noble will also return to the club where he made five Championship
appearances on loan during the 2005/06 season.

Betway preview - Hammers 2/1 to win

The final international break of the season is done and dusted, meaning we
can get back to the important business of Premier League football and West
Ham United. Slaven Bilic will have had plenty of time on the training ground
with those players who stayed at home and is sure to be fully prepared for
the trip north to face Hull City on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers are
locked on 33 points with both Bournemouth and Southampton. The south coast
neighbours play each other in Saturday's evening kick-off, making this a
great chance for West Ham to move further up the table. A good recent record
against Hull City bodes well for the Irons. They're unbeaten in their last
four games against the Tigers, with three wins and one draw.

Another win on Saturday for the Hammers is at 2/1, while a Hull victory is
6/4 and the draw is 11/5.

In those last four games between the two teams, West Ham have notched eight
goals at an average of two per game.

You can get 7/5 on the Hammers scoring more than 1.5 goals, or 3/5 on them
scoring either once or twice.

When the sides met at London Stadium earlier this season, a Mark Noble
penalty secured a 1-0 victory for the Irons.

Another repeat of the same scoreline is good value at 8/1, while a 2-2 draw
(the result when the teams last met at KCOM Stadium) is 10/1.

One player who'll be determined to make a difference is Robert Snodgrass.
The midfielder moved to east London in January after two-and-a-half years at
Hull. He's yet to open his account for the Hammers, but he scored seven in
the first half of the season for the Tigers. You'll find odds of 15/2 for
Snodgrass to open the scoring, or 11/4 to score at any time. An Anytime
Wincast, meanwhile, with Snodgrass to score and West Ham to win is 5/1.

It could be a game with plenty of goals. Hull have gone five games without a
clean sheet, while the Hammers have gone even longer. There could be value
in both teams to score at 4/6.

If you think there'll be goals combined with three points for the Irons, you
can back both teams to score in a West Ham win at 9/2.

Whatever your prediction for Saturday afternoon, you're more than likely to
find it with us.

This weekend there are more than 100 markets on Hull City vs. West Ham
available at Betway. And if you're an existing customer, why not join our
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Slav wary of 'new' Tigers threat

Slaven Bilic is wary of the threat posed by a 'new' Hull City on Saturday
Tigers appointed a new manager and signed eight new players in January
Bilic also backs former Hull star Robert Snodgrass to make his mark at KCOM

Slaven Bilic is wary of the threat posed by a 'new' Hull City on Saturday.

The Tigers brought in a new manager, 39-year-old Portuguese Marco Silva, and
eight new players in January, seven of them full internationals.

Silva may have been a mystery figure to most English football fans when he
arrived at the KCOM Stadium, but he has won the Portuguese Cup with Sporting
Lisbon and Greek SuperLeague with Olympiacos in the past two seasons.

"They have improved points-wise, especially in the beginning when they beat
Liverpool and all that," the Hammers manager observed. "For me, they played
really good with Mike Phelan, too. They played against us and I spoke to
Mike after the game in my office when we won 1-0, but they played really

"Before, when I was preparing for that game, we watched a lot of their games
and they were really playing much better and were a little bit unlucky not
to get more points.
"Now, they have improved even more, got some wins and got the points they
expected from their home games. They play football, they like to pass the
ball and the credit goes to Marco Silva, of course.

"They also changed a lot of players. They got some really good European
players, internationals like the Polish international winger Kamil Grosicki
and Oumar Niasse on loan from Everton. Forget about Niasse at Everton, but
before he was playing really good in Russia and in Turkey.

"They got Andrea Ranocchia from Inter Milan, they got Lazar Markovic and
they got Alfred N'Diaye, so it's not a totally new team, but half of the
team is new and they have a new manager.

"They came from a position where they were struggling big-time to a position
where they have a chance."

During his pre-match press conference, Bilic was also asked about the player
West Ham signed from Hull just weeks after Silva's arrival, Robert

The Scot remains Hull's top scorer and assist-maker this season. The No11 is
still waiting to get off the mark in both categories in Claret and Blue, and
his new manager is hopeful he will do that on his old stomping ground this

"He started really well for us and is a player that we wanted," Bilic
confirmed. "He has got everything, a great left foot, not only for set
pieces but in general. He's a creative player and the amount of running he
does is very good. He runs a lot at high intensity, which is the most
important one.

"Like any other player, he also needs time to adjust to the new players and
the new environment. I am happy with Snoddy and he's going to be a big asset
for us.

"He is still looking for his first goal for us, but hopefully he's going to
do it on Saturday. It wouldn't be the first time for a player who goes back
and plays his first game against his old club. His game is not about scoring
goals, though, he's more about creating chances."

Powell's late penalty earns draw

Joe Powell scored a late penalty as West Ham United U18s grabbed a 1-1 draw
against Liverpool
The Hammers dominated for large periods and probably deserved to take all
three points
Assistant manager Mark Phillips was delighted by the spirit shown by his

Joe Powell netted a late penalty as West Ham United's U18s fought back to
take a deserved share of the spoils against Liverpool in Merit Group A.

The Hammers dominated large periods at the Kirkby Training Ground and it
looked like they would regret their missed opportunities when Okera Simmonds
scored with four minutes left to play.

However, the menacing Jahmal Hector-Ingram won a penalty for the visitors in
stoppage time and Powell fired home the spot kick to give the Hammers a

"The way the game transpired, we definitely created far more clear cut
chances," said assistant coach Mark Phillips. "I cannot remember Rihards
[Matrevics] having a save to make. We had several clear-cut goalscoring

"When they scored we thought it may not be our night. But it's great
testament to the lads and the commitment showed to fight back. A point was
the least we deserved."

The Hammers started on the front foot from the first whistle and went close
when Hector-Ingram force Atherton into action from a tight angle.

Liverpool rarely had a sniff in the first half and the visitors continued to
look more threatening as Hector-Ingram was once again thwarted by the keeper
after a lovely chipped through-ball by Scully.

Head coach Steve Potts was forced into an early change, bringing on Rosaire
Longelo for Jake Eggleton just before half-time, and the substitute
immediately made a difference out wide.

The Hammers emerged from the interval with the same intensity and missed a
terrific chance to take a deserved lead. Hector-Ingram returned the favour
for Scully who shot over from point blank range.

The Hammers No9 was prevented by Atherton once again 20 minutes later before
Longelo was unlucky with a dipping strike from 30 yards just going over.

Against the run of play though, Liverpool snatched the lead with just
minutes to go. A mix-up in the Hammers defence allowed Simmonds to slot home
from the edge of the box.

But the Hammers got their just rewards in injury time. Hector-Ingram was
brought down by Atherton and up stepped Powell to fire home the penalty and
give the visitors a deserved point.

"We were on the road for six hours today so it's a great achievement for the
lads to get a point after that," continued Phillips. "I can't praise the
lads highly enough.

"We now have three tough games left. We've got a friendly against Barnet on
the 13th April because there's three weeks before our next competitive game.

"But our remaining games are three great ones. They're the games you want to
play and the boys should be very excited.

West Ham: Matrevics; Eggleton (Longelo, 36), Akinola, Wells, Neufville;
Coventry, Lewis; Johnson, Scully (Hamilton, 82), Powell, Hector-Ingram.

Subs not used: Henry, Forde, Constantinou.

Goals: Powell (pen) 90.

Bookings: Wells

Hull City v West Ham United
Venue: KCOM Stadium


Tom Huddlestone begins a three-match ban after the FA rejected Hull's appeal
against his red card at Everton. Hull captain Michael Dawson is in
contention after recovering from a calf injury and Oumar Niasse is also

West Ham skipper Mark Noble is back in the squad after a dead leg but
Michail Antonio is not fit enough to travel. Pedro Obiang's season is over
after ankle surgery and Winston Reid is another long-term absentee.


Martin Fisher: "Hull City have never suffered relegation directly after
promotion to the Premier League. If they're to avoid that outcome in May
it's clear their escape route centres on continued home success. "Since
becoming head coach, Marco Silva has taken 10 points from a possible 12 at
the KCOM Stadium. However, Hull have lost 12 of their last 13 on the road.
"Fellow strugglers Middlesbrough are in town on Wednesday, but first the
visit of a badly out-of-form West Ham side who have lost three games in a
row and haven't won since 4 February. "Treading water in mid-table, the
Hammers are hampered by an ever-lengthening injury list and are leaking far
too many goals... opportunity knocks for Marco's men."

Twitter: @mfisherfootball


Hull City head coach Marco Silva: "It's good news about Michael Dawson. He
started training with us on Wednesday, and it is important to have our
captain back. "We have done well at home of late and we want to win again.
The secret to our home form is work - hard work."

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic on speculation surrounding his job: "I
am 48, I've been in football a long time and the position was always very
demanding, and that makes you strong. "I talk to the chairmen, not on a
daily basis, but after every game. Then I talk about some issues during the
week. I have a good relationship with both of them. "I just concentrate on
my job. I am totally focused on the next game."


Hull were well beaten by Everton in their last match, but I think they will
edge this one.
Prediction: 1-0



Hull have never lost at home to West Ham in the Premier League (W2, D2).
The away team has never won this fixture in the Premier League, with seven
home victories and two draws. Both draws came at Hull: 3-3 in November 2009
and 2-2 in September 2014.

Hull City

Hull are unbeaten in their last seven home games in all competitions.
They could equal the club Premier League record of six consecutive home
matches unbeaten, set in 2009 and also achieved between May 2010 and
November 2013.
They have conceded 11 penalties this season, equalling the Premier League
record set by Blackburn Rovers in 2006-07.
Robert Snodgrass is still Hull's top league scorer with seven goals, despite
joining West Ham in January.

West Ham United

West Ham have suffered three straight league defeats as part of a five-match
winless run (D2, L3).
They have kept one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League games.
The Hammers have scored 19 set-piece goals this season, a joint-league high
with West Bromwich Albion
Andy Carroll is currently on 49 Premier League career goals.

SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 1-1 Probability of draw: 25%
Probability of home win: 29% Probability of away win: 46%
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale
at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football

The Slaven Bilic column: 'Anyone who says criticism doesn't affect them is
not telling the truth'
Evening Standard

Around three months ago, in press conferences, I was asked about my future
because things were not going so well. A few weeks later, when things had
improved, the question was when would I sign my new contract. In yesterday's
press conference, we were back on the original subject. The answers I had
were very similar to those I have always given. I don't blame journalists
for asking the questions about my future but what more can I say? Even last
season, after things had gone so well, I was consistent. My focus as manager
of West Ham United has always been — and always will be — on the team and
the challenge ahead. Everything else will take its course. If I allow
criticism, speculation or anything else to divert my attention from striving
to help this team improve, then I am not doing my job. I am not on social
media, so I don't see it. I am aware, though, of some of the speculation
regarding my position at the club but I have to keep a clear head for the
However, I am human. Anyone who tells you criticism doesn't affect them is
not telling the truth but does it affect my energy or my concentration? No.
I am a proud person who just wants to make a success of managing this great
club. My relationship with David Sullivan, David Gold [the co-owners] and
[vice chairman] Karren Brady is as it has always been since I came here. I
talk regularly and openly to them and have spoken to David Sullivan since
the Leicester game [on March 18].
It has been a long break since that 3-2 defeat, perhaps too long because the
disappointment has not gone. On the other hand, it has given us the chance
to analyse what we have done well and not so well. After we finished third
in the 1998 World Cup, the Croatia coach Miroslav Blazevic said he would
like the next game to be in two years, so he could really savour the
experience. To be honest, there was much about which to be positive during
that Leicester game but I am the first to say you can't go 2-0 down after
seven minutes and expect to win. The problem is defensive, we are scoring
enough without converting half the chances we are creating.

Okay, we have lost the past three games and are conceding too many goals but
we haven't dropped too far in the Premier League table. We have worked hard
on certain aspects over the past two weeks, especially on concentration,
and, hopefully, we will see a change at Hull tomorrow. Results are
everything. Nothing can boost your confidence like three points — but the
reverse applies also.

In December we beat Burnley and then tomorrow's opponents Hull. Neither
match was pretty and we have played way better since — but six points and a
few places up the table and we are 'out of trouble' and everyone is that bit
taller. Against Leicester, you can say we were unlucky and Kasper Schmeichel
was the man of the match but we lost — and everything is negative. The
bottom line is the result. The way you achieve things is important — for the
fans, for the media, for everyone — but most important is the result.

Tomorrow, we are missing three players from the team's spine in Michail
Antonio, Pedro Obiang and Winston Reid. That is not good for us but Michail
is progressing well and there is even a chance he could be on the bench for
tomorrow's game but, if not, definitely for Arsenal on Wednesday. We have
been okay for injuries in the past couple of months but then — wham! We lose
three in one match.
More good news is that Diafra Sakho is very close to a return. He is back
training and it is only the length and nature of his [back] injury which
makes us cautious. He wants to play now — against Hull — but we have to be
careful with him. Overall and despite the injuries to players, I am
approaching these next few games — against Hull, Arsenal, Swansea and
Sunderland — with a great deal of optimism.

You know that, in the Premier League, all your opponents are good and have
the capability of hurting you but you must be ready to resist that. I am not
underestimating the opposition but I am approaching every one of them with
the intention of winning because you have to believe in yourself and your
team. I am sure, if we can cut out these individual mistakes which are
hurting us badly, we have a really good chance in all of them. We are a fit
team. We are ending every game strongly. Against Watford, Chelsea, West Brom
and Leicester, we were the ones who were pushing. Finally, I have been asked
if I had the opportunity for what is called 'downtime' over the last couple
of weeks. The answer is, not really. The break comes at the end of the
season but I do enjoy my private life with the family. Most of them are
here, only my eldest daughter, Alani, is not with us and she will come for
the Easter holidays. Apart from that, though, I still enjoy my work and I
look forward to tomorrow against Hull — and beyond.

Humility, dignity and class
Filed: Friday, 31st March 2017
By: The Pink Palermo

I like Slaven Bilic - which doesn't qualify him as a good manager, but I
believe he is a good person (although Laurent Blanc may not agree). He is
the sort of person I'd happily spend a night in the pub chatting with. He
has an engaging warmth and I believe the players like that.

That may prove ultimately to be something of an Achillies Heel, as in
Bilic's line of work it may serve him better to be feared than loved.
However I've had enough of the nasty, snarling, mean spirited 'winners' in
the game because for me football remains just that, a game. Football
professionals may take a different view but that's their lookout, I'll stick
with my pub yardstick.

Last season Bilic gave us a marvellous farewell to the Boleyn, turning what
for many of us was a traumatic experience into something with a feel good
factor. For a while nobody got near us, we were the bollocks and it felt
good, the best I've felt as a West Ham supporter for 30 years.

For the Board to bottle it in January 2016 was disappointing. We had a
chance, a glorious opportunity to challenge for a Champions League spot. We
were riding high and they bottled it. Nevertheless, right up until the end
Slaven's team gave us drama to rival the Bard of the other Stratford and the
win on that final night will live long in the memory.

I bumped into Winston Reid this week and referenced his goal. He had a grin
a mile wide when I did so, so for him too it was a special moment in his

I reckon Winston gets us, he certainly grasped the significance of
Manchester United being denied the bragging rights of a last day win at our
real home and I reckon Slaven gets us as well. He knows most of us don't
mind losing that much as long as we are trying to win when we do so.

So, for that glorious season Slaven gets a huge amount of credit. A win at
Anfield? Suits you, Sir. 3-0 at their place and we battered them, were miles
better than them, it was an absolute thrashing: a proper spanking.

Not enough drama for you ? How about the Alamo at the City of Manchester
Stadium? Bilic gave Michail Antonio his debut that day, a positive
substitution when lesser managers may have made a different decision.

There's no doubt in my mind that last season he got the very best out of the
resources available to him - what was it, eight improved results after he
introduced Andy Carroll from the bench? Daring to be brave and being
positive in his approach meant we exited the Boleyn on a high (which for me
was always more important than getting off to a flyer at the Athletics

Clearly this season has been tougher, we can all see why and to have to put
up with all the nonsense from DImitri Payet and Diafra Sakho would be a test
for any manager. See how Arsene Wenger has struggled with the Ozil/Sanchez
situation at the Arsenal - and they've generally been willing to play.

Bilic has also had to endure inappropriate interference from co-Chairman
Sullivan; his comments on Antonio's position being particularly unhelpful.
somehow I doubt Sir Alex Ferguson would have put up with similar comments
from his employers at East Stirling, let alone Old Trafford.

Having said that, he has made a number of decisions this season that, given
his time again, he may have made different ones. But so what - I quite like
a car journey home where we can say "I think he got it a bit wrong today"
but without being too bothered, because he's a decent bloke and difficult to

The fact he sometimes gets it wrong is pretty endearing. Lord save us from a
Mourinho type who never gets it wrong and who never accepts it's down to
him. And I think that might be it, the quality I've been trying to define.
It's Slaven's humility that sets him apart from his peer group.

He's a little bit humble and in the over-hyped, over-sold world of the
Premier League it's a throwback to gentler times and an era when our club
stood by managers through thick and thin. A time when we were one of the
most respected football clubs in the land because of that.

Mark Noble has played roughly half as many games for us as Billy Bonds did,
but has been picked by three times as many managers. I can't help but feel
that somewhere along the way we've lost some of the things that defined us;
loyalty, dignity and class.

We can start to turn that around by sticking with our current manager. We're
the famous West Ham, we don't have to be like all the rest. I voted 'stick'
in the current KUMB poll.

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,

Hull v West Ham preview: Michail Antonio remains on the sidelines
Last Updated: 31/03/17 5:56pm

Hull City will look to preserve their unbeaten home record under new boss
Marco Silva against West Ham on Saturday. Silva has yet to taste defeat at
the KCOM Stadium in six games across all competitions, including wins
against Swansea City and Liverpool. Despite this run, Hull remain firmly in
relegation trouble, sitting 18th in the Premier League - three points adrift
of safety. West Ham come into the game 16 points worse off than they were
after 29 Premier League games last season and the pressure seems to be
growing on Slaven Bilic, who has overseen three defeats on the spin.
However, there have been positive performances on the road, where they've
scored 23 league goals this season - only three Premier League teams have
scored more.

Team news

Hull skipper Michael Dawson could return to the squad. Centre-half Dawson,
sidelined since early February, returned to full training on Wednesday and
could be included in head coach Silva's plans, but midfielder Tom
Huddlestone starts a three-game ban. Silva will make a late decision on
whether to include striker Abel Hernandez, who only returned from
international duty with Uruguay on Friday, while midfielder Evandro is still
out with a calf injury.

West Ham are without Michail Antonio, Winston Reid and Pedro Obiang for the
trip to east Yorkshire. Winger Antonio is close to recovering from a
hamstring problem but will not be ready, defender Reid is out a month with a
thigh injury and midfielder Obiang will miss the rest of the season after
undergoing ankle surgery during the international break. But skipper Mark
Noble is poised to return to the squad after missing the defeat by Leicester
a fortnight ago with a dead leg.

Opta stats

Hull City have never lost a home Premier League match against the Hammers
(W2 D2) - but West Ham are unbeaten in their last four Premier League
clashes with the Tigers (W3 D1), keeping a clean sheet in the last two.

West Ham's last seven Premier League goals against Hull have all come in the
second half of games.

Silva hasn't lost a home league match as a manager in over three years. His
last home defeat in league competition was for Estoril against Rio Ave on
March 30, 2014 - since then he has gone 38 league games on home turf without
a loss (W31 D7 L0) with four clubs (Estoril, Sporting, Olympiacos and Hull).

West Ham players have cumulatively made 10 errors leading to opposition
goals in the Premier League this season; more than any other side.

Andy Carroll has played the full 90 minutes in each of West Ham's last three
Premier League games - he hasn't done this in four successive games in the
competition since April 2014.

The Hammers have conceded more goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches
this season than any other team in the Premier League (8).

Hull have conceded the most goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League
matches this season in the Premier League (20).

Andre Ayew has had a hand in a goal in each of his last four Premier League
appearances (three goals, one assist), despite playing just 173 of a
possible 360 minutes in these games.

These two clubs have given away the most penalties in the Premier League
this season - Hull City (11) and West Ham (8).

Merson's prediction

This should be a good game. West Ham haven't been great, though they are
better away from home. I just think Hull have to win this game, they've got
two games at home in the space of a few games, and they need to get six
points from these two games.

Silva started off well, in games where the pressure was on, but the pressure
will double and triple now. Hull have to win this.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1, 17/2 with Sky Bet


An important game for both teams with third-bottom Hull City 7/5 chances at
Sky Bet to pick up a vital three points as they look to boost their survival
hopes in the Premier League. Silva side have lost three out of their last
five but are seven games unbeaten in all competitions at the KCOM Stadium.

The Hammers have dipped in form recently and lost three on the trot but are
19/10 to get back on track with a win while the draw can be backed at 12/5.

RYAN DARBY @RyanDarby_

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta is thought to be closing in on a
summer move to West Ham. According to Nicolo Schira, the defender will sign
a contract with the Hammers until 2020. The Argentinian has been unable to
hold down a regular starting place at Manchester City under the management
of Pep Guardiola. The 32-year-old has made just 14 Premier League
appearances this season. West Ham have been linked with Zabaleta and former
Arsenal defender, Bacary Sagna, who are both out of contract in the summer.
The right-back position has been a problem position for the Hammers this
season and Zabaleta would provide a wealth of experience for Slaven Bilic.
The City boss is reportedly hoping to sanction of a squad overhaul this
summer as he prepares for his second season in charge at the Etihad.

West Ham captain Mark Noble hands over signed boots to limbless war veteran
and lifelong Hammer
The midfielder handed over the boots to Matty Wollard, who lost his right
leg while in Afghanistan
The Mirror
09:20, 31 MAR 2017

West Ham captain Mark Noble surprised a former soldier with a pair of signed
football boots. A group of Afghan veterans were on a visit to the club's
Chadwell Heath training ground when they bumped in to skipper Noble. The
midfielder was heading home but stopped by for a chat with the group from
Blesma, the limbless veterans charity. And for one lucky member of the
group, it was a day to remember as Noble handed over a pair of signed boots.
Matty Wollard, a lifelong Hammer , lost his right leg while on his first
tour with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan. "It was great to meet
him and the other players as I'm a big West Ham fan," said the 28-year-old
from Colchester "He had to leave pretty quickly but after he'd gone someone
gave me a bag and said 'he wanted you to have these'. It was a pair of
signed boots." Blesma provides rehabilitation for limbless veterans,
alongside regular financial support if necessary.
Noble is set to be back in action when West Ham face Hull on Saturday. The
midfielder missed the defeat to Leicester but Slaven Bilic has confirmed he
is fit. "Mark is back in training and he came back on Monday," Bilic said.
"He's training so he should be in the squad. He's been out for a couple of
weeks because of the injury he had in a couple of games against Chelsea and
Bournemouth, but he's back."

West Ham co-chairman David Gold backs Slaven Bilic as pressure mounts on
Hammers boss
Evening Standard

West Ham co-chairman David Gold has given Slaven Bilic his public backing
with pressure mounting on the Hammers boss. Bilic's position has been the
subject of heightened debate in recent weeks after the Hammers lost three
games in a row, with Gold's fellow chairman David Sullivan publically
expressing his concern over recent displays. Standard Sport understands that
West Ham are considering delaying talks over a new contract with Bilic until
after the start of next season, with the Croatian's deal due to expire in
the summer of 2018. The Hammers have endured a tough season on and off the
field, with the move to the London Stadium proving a challenge for their
players and Dimitri Payet's strike during the January transfer window
creating a more challenging atmosphere around West Ham than the unity they
enjoyed in their final season at the Boleyn Ground. However Gold insists
there are "no issues" between Bilic and the board, though he did not offer
any clarification as to if and when a new contract would be offered to the
West Ham boss. He told reporters: "There is no issue between me and the
board and Slaven, and I go to every board meeting, and in the board there
have been no discussions over Slaven – he's our manager we all like him,
he's a great guy."Me, personally, I like him very much. I think he's very
passionate and I love the passion. Would I like to be two or three places
higher than we currently are, of course I would. Tell me a club apart from
Chelsea who wouldn't. "There's no issues. There never has been a new
contract on the table. He still has the rest of this season and next season.
"He's had a tough season, we accept that. He's had stadium issues outside of
his control. He's had Payet issues which he dealt with to the best of his
ability. He's had injury issues – at one time we were second in the league
for days lost and it wouldn't surprise me if we were still in top three or
four for clubs affected. "We had a fantastic season last year where players
West Ham finished seventh last season and currently find themselves 12th in
the Premier League table with recent results leaving them only nine points
clear of the relegation zone. Bilic's side travel to struggling Hull City on
Saturday for a match where they will be expected to arrest their recent

Report: West Ham plot summer move for Domagoj Vida after Bilic gave him his
international debut
Olly Dawes

West Ham United are reportedly battling Everton and Stoke City for the
signature of Domagoj Vida. According to The Mirror, West Ham United are
interested in signing Dynamo Kiev defender Domagoj Vida – but face
competition from Everton. The Hammers have taken just two points from the
last five Premier League games, losing the last three to pile the pressure
back on manager Slaven Bilic. Bilic may yet lose his job, but fresh transfer
rumours are linking the Hammers with a player that the current West Ham boss
knows very well. The Mirror claim that West Ham are interested in landing
Dynamo Kiev defender Domagoj Vida, who was handed his international debut by
none other than Bilic himself. Vida, 27, came up through the ranks with
Osijek before a short-lived spell with Bayer Leverkusen, and after heading
back to his native Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb, he moved on to Dynamo Kiev in
2013. A right back or centre back, Vida has racked up 42 caps for Croatia,
with his first coming under Bilic back in 2010, and he featured for his
country at Euro 2016 last summer. Vida could offer West Ham another solid
defensive option, whilst his familiarity with Bilic would also stand him in
good stead, given that Bilic has previously signed Nikica Jelavic and Gokhan
Tore – two other players he has worked with before. Competition from both
Everton and Stoke will be a concern for West Ham ahead of the summer
transfer window, but Bilic could be the key to luring Vida to the London
Stadium – if he's still in the job.

Security to be beefed up for West Ham vs Tottenham's Friday night clash in
The London derby has been moved to the start of the weekend to May 5 after
Sky decided to select the game for TV
The Mirror
08:32, 31 MAR 2017

West Ham are looking at beefing up their security for May's Friday night
clash with Tottenham. The London derby has been moved to the start of the
weekend to May 5 after Sky decided to select the game for TV. London Stadium
185, who run the security at the ground, are pressuring police to make the
event a category C fixture - which is the highest risk. If the game does
become a category C there would be a huge boost in police and steward
numbers. The worry is that a Friday night match would increase the number of
drinkers before and after the game. There has been a number of problems at
the London Stadium this season - with crowd trouble marring matches against
Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Watford and Bournemouth. Earlier in the season,
Hammers and Spurs supporters clashed close to White Hart Lane.
The fixture will be the first Friday Night Football since Hull against
Everton in December. A Met spokeperson told the Daily Mail : "The
Metropolitan Police Service will have an appropriate and proportionate
policing plan in place for the West Ham United vs Tottenham match on Friday
May 5."

Slaven Bilic given vote of confidence by West Ham co-chairman David Gold
Ben Rumsby
30 MARCH 2017 • 8:30PM

Slaven Bilic was given a public vote of confidence on Thursday by David Gold
after West Ham United shelved plans to offer him a new contract. Co-chairman
Gold spoke out upon it also being revealed that Huddersfield Town manager
David Wagner had emerged as a potential replacement for Bilic if the Hammers
decide to part company with the Croatian this summer. Bilic had been in line
for a new deal after West Ham finished seventh in the Premier League in his
first season in charge but the club's slide down the table since their move
to the London Stadium prompted a rethink. Speaking as his side look to halt
a run of three straight defeats at Hull City tomorrow, Gold said: "There is
no issue between me and the board and Slaven, and I go to every board
meeting, and in the board there have been no discussions over Slaven – he's
our manager we all like him, he's a great guy. "Me, personally, I like him
very much. I think he's very passionate and I love the passion. Would I like
to be two or three places higher than we currently are, of course I would.
Tell me a club apart from Chelsea who wouldn't. "There's no issues. There
never has been a new contract on the table. He still has the rest of this
season and next season. "He's had a tough season, we accept that. He's had
stadium issues outside of his control. He's had [the Dimitri] Payet issues
which he dealt with to the best of his ability. He's had injury issues – at
one time we were second in the league for days lost and it wouldn't surprise
me if we were still in top three or four for clubs affected. "We had a
fantastic season last year where players overperformed."

James Corden urges West Ham to sign Celtic midfielder, Bhoys fans respond
Tom Nightingale

The TV star wants to see a Parkhead favourite brought to the London Stadium.
The future of Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong is shrouded in some
uncertainty at the moment, and TV megastar James Corden has urged his
beloved West Ham United to capitalise by making a move to bring him to East
London. Armstrong has blossomed at Parkhead this season under Brendan
Rodgers, developing from useful squad player to first-team star. The
24-year-old has 11 goals this season from midfield in all competitions, and
made his full Scotland debut this week, with national team boss Gordon
Strachan suggesting that it was one of the most impressive maiden
appearances he has ever seen.
That will only have served to raise Armstrong's profile even further. The
midfielder is in discussions with Celtic about a new contract, but with only
one more year left on his current deal, there may well be supporters of
other clubs casting an eye over the star.
It certainly seems that at least one West Ham fans wants to see a move for
Armstrong in the summer. Sharing a video compilation of all of Armstrong's
goals for Celtic, The Late, Late Show host and former Gavin and Stacey star
Corden admitted his desire to see the Hammers bring in the midfielder.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic told to make wholesale coaching changes as
boardroom pressure increases
Slaven Bilic has one year left on his contract with West Ham United
Bilic is unlikely to be offered a new deal this summer after disappointing
Hammers bosses want the Croat to make sweeping changes behind the scenes
There are concerns Bilic's training methods at West Ham are out-dated
By Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:31, 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 22:55, 30 March 2017

Slaven Bilic is under increasing pressure to make changes to his coaching
staff and his training regime if he wants to save his job as West Ham
manager. Bilic has one year remaining on his contract and accepts there is
unlikely to be a new deal on the table this summer after a disappointing
campaign. West Ham, winless in five, have won only once at home since
Christmas and co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold remain unconvinced
about the suitability of the 48-year-old Croatian to lead the club into the
long-term future.
Roberto Mancini has an eye on the job and West Ham's board are impressed by
the work of David Wagner at Huddersfield, who are pushing for promotion to
the Premier League. Sullivan and Gold have never been owners with a
reputation for sacking managers but they do not sit idly by if they feel
something needs changing. They shook up Avram Grant's backroom team,
installing Wally Downes as a defence coach and ousting his assistant manager
Zeljko Petrovic after less than four months. Teddy Sheringham was introduced
to coach the strikers in an attempt to encourage a more attractive style of
football when Sam Allardyce was in charge. Bilic is assisted by trusted No 2
Nikola Jurcevic, 50, relatively inexperienced Edin Terzic, previously in
scouting and youth team coaching roles at Borussia Dortmund, and 70-year-old
fitness coach Miljenko Rak, a former long-jumper.
West Ham have failed to keep a clean sheet since January 17 and have
conceded 17 goals in their eight games since then. Concerns have been aired
inside the club that the training methods are out-dated and involve lots of
hard running. Dimitri Payet claimed he was 'bored' after leaving for
Marseille in January. The manager is well-liked but his players have been
upset by what they see as the removal of privileges, such as match-day
parking for families at the London Stadium. Dressing-room morale has also
been hit by a salary gap which has opened up between new signings Jose Fonte
and Robert Snodgrass, on £60,000 a week, considerably more than Michail
Antonio and Manuel Lanzini, who have been among the most consistent
performers during the last two seasons. Winston Reid is set to sign a new
contract which will catapult him close to the top-earners at West Ham, such
as Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew, who are paid more than £80,000 a week.

West Ham's Slaven Bilic refusing to let tweets and bleats from their
co-chairmen get to him
"There's something between not liking it and being worried about it, and I'm
not worried" says manager of Sullivan and Gold comments
The Mirror
22:30, 30 MAR 2017

Slaven Bilic wants West Ham 's co-chairmen to stop publicly piling pressure
on him. Hammers boss Bilic insists he has a good relationship with David
Sullivan and David Gold, but is feeling the heat after five games without a
win and three straight league defeats, and contract talks have been shelved.
Sullivan hinted at his ­frustration about recent ­results by apologising to
fans after the 3-2 defeat to ­Leicester, and rating the next few games
"vital" to West Ham's season. A week earlier, following a 3-2 loss at
Bournemouth, ­Sullivan said: "Slaven, the players and the staff all know we
have to do better."
As well as Sullivan's ­comments to the club ­official website, Gold is
active on Twitter and is no stranger to ­responding to messages about the
Hammers. Bilic said: "I've a good ­relationship with both of them. "I don't
talk to the ­chairmen on a daily basis ­because there is no point to talk
every day, but I talk after every game. Then I talk about some ­issues
during the week about new players or renewing the players' contract or
whatever. "But I don't talk to the chairmen through the papers. We've a
direct line and we talk. "They're locals, they are West Ham. They talk to
the papers. Twitter. Instagram. That one, this one. I'm a really strong
person and I have no problem with that. "Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't
love that to be in the papers but there is something in between not liking
it and being worried about it, and I'm not worried. "I'm 48, have spent a
long time in football and the ­position was always very demanding and that
makes you strong, optimistic."
Bilic also insisted he is not concerned about seeing other managers linked
with his job. West Ham are making contingency plans and Reading's Jaap Stam
, Newcastle's Rafa Benitez and out-of-work Roberto Mancini are among those
in the ­Hammers' sights. Bilic said: "It doesn't annoy me. My head is clear
and I'm totally motivated and focused."


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