Holland - It was our best team performance
Nathan Holland scored and assisted as West Ham United PL2 beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 on Monday evening
Holland's goal was West Ham's third on the night and came from a stunning 30-yard free-kick
The performances comes just two days after earning his first call up to Slaven Bilic's match day squad
It has been a week to remember for Nathan Holland. The young midfielder earned his first call up to Slaven Bilic's matchday squad in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Everton before then playing a starring role in the PL2 side's 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening. Holland scored a spectacular 30-yard free-kick and produced a touch of quality to assist Martin Samuelsen's second goal as he helped his side in to the PL2 Division Two play-offs.
Holland 1The four-pronged attack of Dan Kemp, Grady Diangana, Martin Samuelsen and Holland proved too much for West Brom's defence, who conceded as early as the third minute on a night to forget for the hosts. "I'm delighted to be back on the scoresheet after being out for a few weeks" Holland explained. "I couldn't have asked for a better way to come back really".
The eighteen-year old only joined the Hammers in January but has already stamped his mark on the side; scoring four times since his arrival. "I think we all played well, it's the best team performance since I've been here. "All the lads put a lot of hard work in, we knew what we had to do. We've got the three points and luckily the results have gone our way and we can get ready for the play-offs and hopefully play like that again."
Monday night's third goal was a stunning free-kick by Holland, who was clearly delighted with the strike: "To be honest, it was quite far out when I was thinking about it. "I was thinking to go for power but then I saw the way the keeper lined the wall up. I thought if I got it over the wall then it would have a chance and luckily I connected with it perfectly and it went in!"
The fourth was a perfectly timed diving header by Norwegian international, Martin Samuelsen, but Holland was still involved, turning provider this time with a perfectly placed cross. "I'm definitely happy with that one!" he said. When I caught it, I saw Martin move and it's a brilliant ball but I still think he had a lot to do - he's finished it off perfectly."
It will have been performances akin to Monday night which would have caught Slaven Bilic's eye and having featured among the First Team substitutes on Saturday, Holland is looking forward to more opportunities at London Stadium: "It was an amazing experience, just to see what the atmosphere was like. "Getting out at London Stadium, it felt quite surreal against my old club to be honest, but I just want more of that. "I've got to keep working hard and hopefully I'll get my chance."
We all follow the West Ham!
British High Commissioner to Ghana Jon Benjamin is spreading the West Ham Way throughout Andre Ayew's homeland...
Jon Benjamin has appeared on whufc.com before, back in 2013 when he was British Ambassador to Chile and tracked down Javier Margas in the capital, Santiago.
The following year, Benjamin swapped countries to become British High Commissioner to Ghana and non-resident Ambassador to neighbouring Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso.
He finishes there at the end of June to return to the Foreign Office in London for a three-year home posting – which means he will finally get to see his beloved Hammers play in their new London Stadium home.
"I have supported West Ham all my life, given my family's East End origins, first watching games at Upton Park in the early 1970s," he began. "I particularly remember a 4-3 win over Everton in 1974 and was at our FA Cup final win over Arsenal in 1980. Back then, my favourites were of course Brooking, Bonds and Devonshire."
Subsequently, he was a loyal Season Ticket Holder, at least whenever on a home posting in London. That has not been that often though, as a 31-year Foreign Office career has so far taken him to Australia, Indonesia, Turkey and the United States (New York), as well as to Chile and now Ghana as ambassador.
He is not the only Hammer amongst the senior ranks of the Foreign Office though: Tom Fletcher, former Ambassador to Lebanon and Mark Lyall Grant, a previous Ambassador to the US and now the Prime Minister's National Security Adviser are big West Ham fans too.
"In Ghana, I oversee a High Commission of nearly 200 staff, of whom about 75 per cent are Ghanaians, representing 12 different departments of Her Majesty's Government," he explained. "My tasks include overseeing bilateral political, trade, aid, cultural, defence, law enforcement and immigration relations, and a lot of media work.
"I am also in touch with the UK's vibrant Ghanaian community too: there are at least a quarter of a million Brits who claim Ghanaian heritage, including the actor Idris Elba, the fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, TV personality June Sarpong and footballer Danny Welbeck."
The high commissioner also knows the four Ghanaians currently playing in the Premier League Daniel Amartey at Leicester City, Jeffrey Schlupp at Palace, Jordan Ayew who recently joined Swansea and, of course, our very own Andre Ayew.
In Accra, Jon often sees Jordan and Andre's Dad – Abedi 'Pele' Ayew, who in his own right is perhaps Ghana's most famous player ever in his home country. Benjamin is also in touch with John Paintsil, another Ghana-West Ham connection of course.
"Ghana is a football mad nation which follows the Premier League closely with virtually every game live on cable TV – which often means several games on simultaneously" he continued. "Yes, that's right, you can catch virtually every West Ham game live from a sofa on Accra!
"I've become good friends with some of Ghana's best-known national team players, such as Asamoah Gyan, and already knew Andre Ayew well before he joined the Hammers. When he did, some Ghanaians even thought I had personally brokered the deal!
"On one trip back to Ghana last year, Andre brought Ashley Fletcher with him on a Betway promotional trip, and I was fortunate enough to catch up with them for dinner with legendary former captain of Ghana's national team, Stephen Appiah. "
Benjamin's influence during his three years in west Africa have also included the launch of a twitter account dedicated to Hammers fans in Ghana, which you can follow now at @GhHammers.
You can also follow Jon Benjamin's personal account on twitter at @JonBenjamin19.
Keep your eyes peeled to whufc.com for more stories about some of the people who make West Ham United much more than just a football club.
The Big Interview - James Collins
James Collins says a strong finish to the Premier League campaign can help West Ham United to start next season in a positive frame of mind. The Hammers head to Stoke City on Saturday on a three-match unbeaten run, having followed up a vital home win over Swansea City with a point at Sunderland and impressive goalless draw at home to Everton. Collins and company have kept two clean sheets out of three and only conceded two freakish goals in drawing 2-2 at the Stadium of Light, and the centre-back believes they have turned a corner heading into the final month of 2016/17. After travelling to the bet365 Stadium on Saturday, West Ham welcome high-flying Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool to London Stadium before ending the campaign at Burnley, and he believes those games could have bearing on how Slaven Bilic's side kick-off the new season in August.
James, that's five points from the last three games, culminating in a good performance in Saturday's draw with Everton, so are you now looking up rather than over your shoulder as you approach the final four Premier League fixtures?
"We want to finish as strong as possible. I've been in the game a long time now and I know if you finish the season well, you can move onto the next season and look to continue that form, so that's what we're looking to do. "It's been a tricky season on and off the pitch, for the manager and for the boys getting used to new surroundings, but it's about finishing strong and looking forward to next season."
After five straight defeats and with key players out injured, you must be pleased with how the squad has come together in the last three games?
"The Swansea game we played at home the other week was played down a little bit, but it was a huge game. We had to get nothing less than three points there and luckily we did. "We knew Everton would also be a tough game but a point pushes us on up the table and we're looking up and can look forward to our four remaining games."
The general consensus is that West Ham shaded Saturday's draw with Everton – would you agree with that assessment?
"Looking back at the game, I think we were quite comfortable defending. I can't think of them having too many clear-cut chances and we probably had one or two at the other end that we should have done better with."
Did you have a specific game plan to stop Romelu Lukaku, who went into the game with a perfect scoring record for Everton against West Ham and as the Premier League's leading scorer?
"We didn't single him out especially. We know he is in good form and he is a tremendous player, but even though we conceded two at Sunderland the previous Saturday, we've been defending quite well the last few games. "We just went out there and played our game. We can't concentrate everything on one player because they've got a team full of class players, and luckily we've defended well, but unfortunately we didn't get one at the other end."
I FOR ONE WOULD WELCOME JOHN GEORGE TERRY TO THE LONDON STADIUM
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 25 APRIL 2017 AT 9:26PM
Written by @farehamhammer
It's time to bring the boy from Barking, who started his career at the club home. I accept that many of you will disagree with this post, but I think at this stage of his career, West Ham could do with John Terry. John Terry could do with West Ham. Providing we could get him on reasonable wages and a year's contract, with an option of another year should both parties want it? It's a no brainer. He could have a similar impact at the club as Teddy Sheringham had when he arrived, in the twilight of his great career. The mere presence of Sheringham on the training ground lifted the whole squad
Yes, John Terry has had his fair share of controversies on and off the field over the years. But he is a winner, has seen it all and done it all. I once read an article on one of the greatest managers of all time. Brian Clough, Clough had an extremely difficult choice to make before Nottingham Forest's vital European Cup semi –final. Clough explains that he had two outstanding centre half's in Larry Lloyd and David Needham and could not choose between them.
As people they were totally different, Needham "Was a lovely lad, someone you would proud to have as a son in law. While Lloyd was late for training and an arrogant loud mouth "recalled Clough. Clough is in the hotel lobby still unable to decide who to pick. So he asks both players the same question: "If I walked into a pub what would you do"? Needham replied: "I would have bought you a pint Mr Clough "was Needham's reply. Lloyd sneered and replied: "I would buy you a pint, pour it over your head and walk out! "I thought YOU BASTARD! But I had my answer, I needed a bastard in my defence" said Brian Clough.
How West Ham could have done with a bastard like John Terry, especially from the 80th minute onwards when game after game our defence resembled the keystone cops! An absolute shambles! Someone to cajole and organise things at the back! Many have rightly said both Randolph and Adrian are weak at crosses. A good defence cuts out crosses, John Terry's experience would have been invaluable in that regard.
It is not just on the pitch that Terry would prove his worth. He would be of enormous help to both Reece Oxford and Reece Burke .We need both in the team and on the bench! I can't see the point of sending our player's out on loan after loan. Sometimes a player just lands up getting frustrated for whatever reason. I'm not sure what Reece Oxford's loan has done for him confidence wise. Or the talented Martin Samuelsen being sent back by Peterborough and the manager publically saying; "He lost confidence "Talk about trying to destroy a lad or what? Let's get John George Terry in to provide leadership on and off the pitch! We are more than a football Club, we're a way of life!
West Ham 0-0 Everton (And Other Ramblings)
Filed: Tuesday, 25th April 2017
1. The To-Be-Forgotten
In the end, this was the kind of game to make you question your short term memory. I got home and immediately began to worry about why I could barely remember anything of the ninety minutes, before reassuring myself that this was less likely to be due to amnesia and more due to the fact that barely anything happened.
And for those of us who went into this expecting a largely traumatic experience, that was pretty good news.
Matches against Everton - or "make Romelu Lukaku your Fantasy League captain day" as they are known locally - have been largely depressing affairs for quite some time now, with just two Hammers victories in the last nineteen encounters. These came courtesy of last years burglary at Goodison Park and a Bobby Zamora long range beauty as part of the 2007 Great Escape. Overall, we have just seven wins from forty one Premier League encounters with the Toffees, meaning that there have been more Olympic Games than West Ham victories in this period.
So a draw, and a comfortable one at that, is not to be sniffed at in the context of our historical ineptitude in this fixture. Interestingly the first of those victories came in 1994, when the Sylvester Stallone film Demolition Man was knocking about in cinemas.
Slightly incredibly this movie was partly based on an Aldous Huxley novel, and involved people being cryogenically frozen and then waking up years later in a dystopian future where swearing is outlawed and guns no longer exist, and then loads of stuff explodes because Hollywood.
I'd like to shoehorn some questionable comparison here whereby I imagine waking up a West Ham fan from 1993 and showing them the current lot, but primarily I mention it because I think Arthur Masuaku and Edmilson Fernandes went to the barbers with a picture of Wesley Snipes' character from that film and said "make us look this stupid please".
2. The Two Men
There was a slight shock before the game when it was announced that Adrian would be replacing Darren Randolph, after the latter managed to concede two goals to a Sunderland team genetically incapable of scoring last week.
In the end we could have put a bag of flour in goal here and kept a clean sheet, so inept were the visitors, but it was somewhat reassuring to have the crazy Spaniard back between the sticks. Things started serenely enough but after a full fifteen minutes of peace he decided that was quite enough of that and signalled that Fernandes should lob a thrown in back to him.
As Lukaku wandered in to close him down with all the intensity of a teenage boy making his bed, Adrian promptly miscontrolled the head high pass, stuck a false moustache on, produced a bowler hat, did a quick mime and put a curly red wig on before finishing his routine up with a knee high lunge at Kevin Mirallas as the Belgian bore down on a open goal.
This was simultaneously heart stopping, as it reminded us all of the slightly frenetic air that always surrounds the Spaniard, and marvellous as this was literally the closest Everton came to scoring all game.
I have felt for a while that Adrian needed to come back in to the team as Randolph seemed not to have that crucial ability to keep us in games by producing big saves at big moments. By contrast, Adrian is unorthodox but effective and if he can revert to last years form it would be a huge boon for these last few games. Whether either will survive the summer is perhaps questionable as Joe Hart ticks all the David Sullivan boxes (heard of him, expensive, possibly in decline, no one else wants him), but in general I think that upgrade would be so marginal that it really wouldn't be worth the cost involved.
3. He Never Expected Much
Ahead of this game it seemed the height of optimism to expect a positive result. Byram and Noble were suspended, while Obiang, Antonio, Carroll, Snodgrass, Feghouli (Our wingers! Our ineffective wingers!) and Ogbonna were all absent with late season West Ham syndrome. This led to a number of youngsters being on the bench and had the effect of making an already deeply unimpressive squad look like they were having a "bring your child to work" day.
But then a funny thing happened - the game started and we weren't terrible. In fact, far from it. This was the kind of determined, "fuck-the-circumstances" type of performance that fans love but West Ham seem to so rarely produce.
Havard Nordtveit was the best player on the pitch, despite a start where he looked as nervous as Ross Barkley in a nightclub. The Norwegian grew into the game and by the end had so thoroughly subdued Barkley that it's entirely possible he took him home in his back pocket. No mean feat given the Evertonians impressive recent form.
We managed to stop Lukaku from scoring for the first time ever as an Everton player (not an exaggeration), primarily by snuffing out his supply and if that failed by swarming him with rugged centre halves.
The returning Winston Reid was supreme in this role and was ably assisted by Fonte and Collins, each of whom benefited hugely from the extra layer of support provided by the 3-5-2 system. Outside them Masuaku was excellent, in spite of his terrible hair, whilst Fernandes provided the athleticism and near total lack of positional awareness that Bilic seems to demand from his right sided defenders.
As the below shot map from @11tegen11 shows, we were pretty dominant all game without really carving out the one big chance we needed to secure the points. Our best hope was probably a Lanzini effort that was blocked by the excellent Phil Jagielka, quite possibly at the expense of some of his teeth. As for Everton - nil shots on target nil hope, and a big LOL at those shot locations.
Sadly, up front Jonathan Calleri endured an afternoon to consign to the wastepaper basket as he toiled in a lone striker role to no noticeable effect. More than any other player, he seems to visibly lack confidence and will presumably disappear back to the bench once they get the plaster cast off Sakho or Carroll next week.
Behind him, however, Andre Ayew actually started to look the part as he benefited from the lack of mobility in Everton's back four to float around and, startlingly, link our play with some effectiveness. With Lanzini a constant menace, it would be a significant boost if Ayew could step up his play to provide a second player in the final third with the ability to carve out chances. He still seems ponderous at times, and is infuriatingly slow to run at defenders but he worked hard here and his high pressing was one of the reasons that Everton never looked remotely threatening. With all of that being said, he should be leaving the free kicks to Lanzini though.
Still, all things considered, I'm going to take Sam Allardyce's advice and respect the fuck out of that point and order a nice pint of wine to celebrate being a point closer to mid table oblivion.
4. Moments Of Vision
There was a moment in the second half that demands a little commentary all of it's own. Manuel Lanzini - our light in the gloom - picked up the ball on the left and cut inside to loft a pass to Ayew, who in turn flicked it back to him via an aerial backheel.
The Argentine sprinted through in pursuit before pulling another magical Rabona cross from nowhere. Naturally it went in to an empty box because we have no strikers, but in these days of respecting the point and hoping Hull lose at Stoke, it's nice to see some bona fide brilliance from time to time.
5. The Self-Unseeing
Over lunch recently with a friend, we got on to the topic of Ross Barkley's hair. Having stuck rigidly to local law by having the same haircut for 25 years, the youngster has suddenly allowed his locks to grow out a little. We posited the theory that this was due to the arrival of Tom Davies and his long flowing locks and low shin pads. Davies was Barkley's Summer of Love, his sexual revolution, and now young Ross is sporting a barnet like a mushroom and getting knocked out in nightclubs. Good for him - Stevie G will be proud. But somehow, that little act of growing his hair seems to symbolise a new found belief in Barkley and has coincided with a very good season, or had done until this stinker of a performance at least.
I don't have huge amounts of time for the more unscientific side of analysing sport. I have written before of my disdain for the concept of passion, and I subscribe to Mike Atherton's view that "team spirit is an illusion glimpsed in victory". In both cases it strikes me that these are stock phrases used by people to cover up a lack of knowledge or because spouting cliches is far easier than thinking about things.
As an example, it strikes me that quite often James Collins is reduced to making full length diving blocks because of a poor bit of positional play, rather then because he's full of passion. But one is easier to explain than the other, so here we are.
However, one area which I do believe impacts on the game hugely is confidence, both of individuals and a team. At the start of this game, two of our players were obviously struggling - Nordtveit and Calleri - but only one overcame it. Nordtveit is a better, more experienced player and you could see that he wanted to ease himself into the match. He barely attempted anything other than a five yard pass and was robbed at least twice in dangerous positions. But as the game progressed he started to feel his way and by the end of the second half was using his physicality impressively to regain possession in our defensive third, and starting attacks wisely with intelligent use of the ball.
He is actually a more naturally defensive midfielder than any other player we have, and he screened our back three superbly. This solidity has been lacking all season, and it was actually refreshing to see a good performance against a good team being built on such foundations. Although Obiang and Noble offer much going forward, neither of them quite have the positional awareness or physical gifts of Nordtveit and with SARS sweeping through the dressing room, he has a chance to cement a place for the next few games.
By contrast, Calleri looks lost. He looks like a cockney Atlas, with the world on his shoulders except for the fact that if that were true he would have lost possession of it by now. I suspect he'll go on to play elsewhere and have some success. There is the germ of a good player there, but here he just looked unathletic and bereft of any self belief.
6. Song Of Hope
Confidence takes many forms and it seems that the team are starting to rediscover some after a long fallow period. Some of that may just be because the some of them are getting fit again and can now trust in their bodies to do what they want them to. It certainly seems to be the case that we have rushed far too many players back from injury and paid the price when they have either had relapses or simply taken an age to get up to speed.
Think of how frustrating it is to try and play a sport with an injury and an unresponsive body, and then multiply that by a million for these men who rely on their health for their living. Fans see a player on the pitch and expect him to be completely fit and capable, without ever really giving any grace and favour period for recovery.
Both Nordtveit and Ayew suffered injuries early on in the season and only now seem to have recovered. Likewise Sakho returned here and looked fairly ginger as he ran around, presumably wondering where the fuck everyone had gone from the last time he played a home game. Aaron Cresswell, meanwhile, doesn't appear to have recovered at all and was only seen here in a late cameo at right wing back because it's required by law that West Ham always have someone in that position who doesn't know how to play there.
That failure to have a fully fit squad has exploded in our face this year as several players without obvious replacements (Byram, Carroll and Ogbonna) got injured, necessitating either panicky transfer business or ludicrous decisions to play people out of position to cover them. When the time comes to fire up Jack Sullivan's Xbox in the summer and search on FIFA 17 for new players, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to put health as a main criteria for any new purchases.
Ignoring our ongoing fitness travails, however, there was a pleasing solidity to this performance as the players at last looked as though they had some belief in the system they were playing. It was slightly odd that Everton didn't try to exploit the spaces out wide behind the Demolition Men, as this is traditionally how teams nullify wing backs, but without Seamus Coleman they probably lacked the personnel to do so.
Whether this form will continue next week, or survive intact against the better teams to come, is another story but one worth keeping an eye on. For all his flaws, Bilic has successfully got the team able to switch from system to another without much of an issue, and deserves praise for that.
7. The Dead Man Walking
Talking of the manager, this nascent unbeaten run seems like an opportune moment to reflect on his position and wonder whether he will make it all the way to next year. The signs are that he will, although my fears over his tactical shortcomings would lead me to move him on in the summer, given the choice. Which I won't be. So ignore me.
However, it's a nuanced situation when one considers the vagaries of the stadium move, the Board he has to work for, Payet, the terrible transfers and the oft ignored fact that the top six in the Premier League have absolutely destroyed everybody else this season. You could cogently argue that Bilic himself must take some blame for those issues, but in the end the point here is that all of that stuff has made his job incredibly difficult this season. In the circumstances, perhaps time will show he has done a better job than we are currently acknowledging, although as I write this we have won just once in ten games which still feels very Allardycian.
Perhaps the most galling part is that for so long last year we felt we were on the verge of joining that elite, but the harsh reality is that one misstep in the fast moving world of the Premier League can cost a team badly. Think of Newcastle's tumble from Champions League contenders to Championship runners up, if you need a live example of how hubris and boardroom incompetence can kneecap a promising revolution before it gets any momentum.
Even standing still isn't enough - as Arsenal are finding out now – and the reality is that given our low starting position we have little hope of getting back in touch with the top six any time soon. Indeed, ignoring the evidence of this game, we have a huge job on our hands just to get back in touch with Everton. So the question with Bilic is how much blame must he take for the transfer window and how much do we think he can improve in that area? The sad fact is that none of the other people involved in our summer transfer shambles will pay the price for our failures there, and thus it is Bilic who is always at risk.
As an outsider I would guess that this is probably one of the reasons why Bilic agreed to safety first, uninspired signings this January when we probably needed to push the boat out and try to attract some younger, less rounded players in the hope of later harnessing their upside, as Spurs have done with Dele Alli and Saints have done with Nathan Redmond.
Sullivan and Gold don't like to fire managers, so I suspect he may get another year. However, as our season will open up with three games on the road next year due to the stadium not being ready after the summer athletics – God bless that track – it will be very difficult to get off to a good start. I can't help thinking that any hint of a repeat next season will be met with a fairly swift visit to the executioner.
8. Night In The Old Home
There were some noticeable moments where the atmosphere on Saturday was edging towards decent. In fact, I suspect if you were in one of the noisier hotspots you might even have felt it was pretty good altogether. Sadly, the London Stadium is so large that it has yet to truly ignite and take the whole crowd with it, and it wasn't about to do that for a game so dreary it could have been written by Ed Sheeran.
But there were signs, as the home fans grew in belief after each minute that ticked past with Lukaku no closer to breaking a sweat, that the general mood was turning a little. There's no doubt that the stadium can be intermittently loud, but it doesn't have that same capacity to swell with excitement as Upton Park did. I have a theory that this might be due to the upper tier spectators being divided from the action by an obvious and distracting thirty foot gap, covered by claret tarpaulin, temporary gangways and comatose stewards. But here, in the sun and facing a team on their holidays, there was a hint of life.
For those pining for the Boleyn, this is all grist to the mill, but perhaps the Spurs game on a Friday night might be the spark that sets the whole fire roaring. On the flip side, I'm fairly friendly with a senior Met Police crowd control officer who will be working that night, and when I asked him how he felt about it he went pale, whispered "the horror, the horror" and put his head in his hands. Good ol' Sky Sports.
An interesting conversation from Saturday.
How much would you be prepared to put up with in the pursuit of glory? For some fans we already know that the stadium move was a leap too far, and they've abandoned us – possibly for Leyton Orient, which I imagine is working out well.
But what of the rest of us? Looking at the Premier League, realistically the only way we can dare to dream is with new ownership pushing us upwards with the help of a cash injection and the strategic thinking that is evidently beyond the current board. I won't go over all the old ground of recent weeks, but events of the last season would suggest that the Board have done a very good job with the balance sheet, but have probably reached a level in terms of team affairs where it has become evident that they don't have the strategic vision, experience or self-awareness to make the necessary decisions to push the team forward. To be honest, there is no shame in that particularly, but rather more in the failure to internally critique their performance and either hire in people who can do the job or standing aside for new investors.
On that point, remember when the Club announced they had turned down a £650m bid via a teenagers Twitter account, as all top tier businesses tend to do? The assumption at the time was that this was a bid from Red Bull, the Austrian soft drink company who have cornered the market in weird flying events and producing mixers for vodka that can convince middle aged English people to dance at weddings. However, they also do an interesting sideline in footballing ventures, with clubs owned in Austria, the US and most successfully of all, Germany.
There they took SSV Markranstädt, a team from the fifth tier of German football, to the very tip of the Bundesliga. They created enemies all over Germany as they went, as well as renaming the club RB Leipzig. I don't claim any level of expertise on their rise and would recommend this as a primer on why they are so hated, but it did make me think a little about how West Ham fans might have taken to such a takeover.
For me, the support of my team has become tarnished by the fact that the very league they play in is determined not have any competitive balance. And I say that knowing full well that West Ham are a well-funded, well supported team who benefit from this in our own way. (Also Leicester - but fuck Leicester as their victory made zero sense). As an example, our general incompetence this year will net us a whopping £90m of TV money while a team like Huddersfield in the tier below won't pick up even 10% of that, despite being far more successful, relatively. Such is the iniquitous nature of English football.
But to jump up again we need money. Even Spurs, who I laud for their off field thinking, are supplementing that policy with enormous sums of cash. Nowhere the likes of the Manchester clubs, but still many multiples of what a team like Burnley can spend. It's a rigged casino and the only way to challenge the house is to have more money. So, it's a worthwhile question to ponder – how much change could we stomach? A new badge and a new ground have already been and gone. No more claret and blue? How about RB West Ham? What about staying as West Ham United but finding Manuel Lanzini has joined RB Leipzig in a cut price deal because they are in the Champions League and we aren't?
I'd probably need several thousand more words to properly articulate how I feel about all of that, and there isn't a right and a wrong answer anyway, but if we truly want the investment required to get us to the top trough of English football, at some point we might have to face up to some hard truths. Everything has a cost.
10. The House Of Hospitalities
I can't finish up without admitting I watched this game from a hospitality suite. This might well render everything I have ever said, or will ever say again, redundant but I don't care - it was ace. I'll happily point out the flaws of West Ham's transfer policy forever, but I won't hear a word against their chocolate orange brownie.
My sincere thanks to Andy Ellis for the invite. I have no qualms at all about saying that the meal was more entertaining than the game.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
Who is Onur Kivrak? Everything you need to know about the rumoured West Ham target
Reports in Turkey have linked the Hammers with a move for the goalkeeper
14:27, 25 APR 2017
West Ham have long been linked with a move for a new goalkeeper in the summer transfer window - and reports in Turkey now believe they have found their man. Trabzonspor stopper Onur Kivrak is the latest name being linked with a move to the London Stadium, a player Slaven Bilic has tried to sign once before during his time at Besiktas.
So, who is the 29-year-old?
We have a look:
Career so far
Onur Kivrak has spent the majority of his senior career with Trabzonspor. He joined the club in January 2008 from Karsiyaka - and has made 169 appearances for the Super Lig side since, winning a Turkish Cup and a Turkish Super Cup in that time. He renewed his contract in 2013, in a deal which reportedly put a 10 million euro buyout clause in his deal.
The stats behind his season so far
In 27 appearances so far this season, Onur Kivrak has been making, on average, 2.7 saves per game. For context, Adrian has made an average of three saves per game in his 12 league matches. However, it must be said that Trabzonspor are fifth in the Turkish Super Lig table - having conceded 32 goals less than West Ham this season in just six less games. So, it's very probable that Kivrak is facing less shots, but still saving nearly as many as West Ham's current goalkeeper.
Is he an international?
He is, and has been for a while. The goalkeeper represented his country at every youth level before making his full debut for his national team around seven years ago. Kivrak made his debut for the Turkish national side in a 2-0 win over Northern Ireland back in May 2010. Since then, the goalkeeper has made a further 12 appearances for his country, including being called up for Euro 2016.
Does he fit the bill at West Ham?
Well, West Ham definitely need a goalkeeper - so he fits the bill in that sense. And there's no doubting the Kivrak is a handy stopper, but he's not the big name that many will be looking for in goal to replace Adrian.
How likely is he to leave?
Trabzonspor consider their goalkeeper as one of their best talents, so they won't let him go easily. However, the pull of the Premier League and the London Stadium can't be ignored. Surely you'd have to believe Kivrak would be interested on some level.
The Loan Report: Burke Makes Long Awaited Return and Cullen Shines For Bradford
POSTED BY: CIARAN JUDGE 25/04/2017
Enner Valencia – Everton
Did not feature in the game against his parent club.
Reece Burke – Wigan Athletic
Burke made his first appearance since December in Wigan's 0-0 draw with Cardiff, which put a dent in the Latics chances of surviving relegation to League one. Burke shone at right-back in the stalemate and spoke to Latics website after the game "It's been frustrating to have been out for so long but that happens in football and you've just got to deal with it. I was glad to be back in the team today but obviously, the draw wasn't what we wanted. "I spoke to Graham to see if he wanted me to come back here and be involved, and he wanted me so I appreciate that. I was happy to get 90 minutes today."
Discussing his own personal performance, Burke was pleased with his display but admitted the team were left frustrated at the final whistle. "In the first half I thought I did well but then in the second, I started blowing. Graham (Wigan Manager Graham Barrow) kept telling me to push through though and keep giving it more. "The referee might have got a couple of penalty decisions wrong today but that happens in football. If things don't go your way you can't then start looking at the officials to help you."
Burke will return to West Ham at the end of his loan spell at the DW Stadium but admits he has been grateful for the opportunity given to him by the club. "I can't thank Wigan enough really for giving me the opportunity to come here and get some game time. It's hard when you go out on loan sometimes as a young player because you're not guaranteed that football. "It's probably not been one of my best seasons with everything that's happened but I'm glad I got fit before the end of the season and just want to kick on now."
Josh Cullen – Bradford City
The midfielder played in Bradford City's 3-0 over AFC Wimbledon which confirmed the Bantams play-off place this season. Cullen won the penalty for the first goal and played a significant role in the win which meant Bradford ave remained unbeaten at home through the whole League campaign
George Dobson – Walsall
Dobson came on for the second half in the Saddlers disappointing 1-0 defeat away to already relegated Coventry. Walsall are currently 13th in League One.
Jaanai Gordon (Newport County) was an unused substitute in County's vital 1-0 win over Accrington which leaves Newport 2 points clear of the drop zone with two games left to play.
Tony Martinez (Oxford United) did not feature for Oxford in their 3-0 trouncing of Millwall at the weekend.
Reece Oxford (Reading) was an unused substitute during the Royals 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest, The defeat leaves the Royals in 3rd Place in the Championship.
HAMMERS MAKE OFFER FOR ETIENNE FULL BACK
DANIEL EMERY @DanielEmeryRS
West Ham have made an offer for Saint-Etienne full back Kévin Malcuit, along with newly-promoted Newcastle United. According to FranceFootball, both clubs have made offers for Malcuit ahead of a potential summer switch to the Premier League. The report claims that the two clubs have made approaches for the Frenchman, who is in his second season at Etienne. It is said that offers for Malcuit have ranged from €8-10m, although it is not confirmed whether Saint-Etienne are willing to part with him for those fees. Malcuit has played 20 times at right-back this season, with a few appearances across the board when needed – in midfield and on the wing. West Ham have struggled with the right-back slot this season, so bringing in Malcuit would suit a purpose as they look to improve their squad over the summer. The 25-year-old joined Etienne in 2015 for €800k from Chamois Niortais. He is yet to score for his current club.
If Martin Samuelsen ends the season well with West Ham's U23s it could be the catalyst for a bright 2018
The West Ham United teenager needs to start performing consistently. After a few brief sightings of midfielder Martin Samuelsen in action, the majority of West Ham United fans knew they had quite a player on their hands. Unfortunately for the young Norwegian, he has been unable to build on his impressive initial loan spell at Peterborough United, failing to get much of a look-in at Blackburn Rovers before struggling second time around with the Posh. However, a two-goal haul in his return to under-23 action for West Ham suggests he could yet end the season on something of a high, giving Hammers manager Slaven Bilic something to think about in the process. Samuelsen needs to work hard on certain areas of his game, but his struggles may have come at the perfect time, ensuring he understands the need to keep building on his undeniable talent. With West Ham reaching the under-23 play-offs Samuelsen has a few more matches to prove his worth with the second string, and if he plays to his full potential, expect more goals and assists before he puts his feet up this summer. Given his recent struggles it would be foolish to suggest that Samuelsen will become a regular starter for West Ham as early as next season. However if he ends this campaign well, it could give him the boost needed to ensure he remains at the London Stadium next year and begins to make waves in the Premier League.
West Ham one of three English sides in pursuit of Ludogorets striker Jonathan CafuFeatured Image
Date: 25th April 2017 at 12:33pm
Written by: Marcus Oades
West Ham are one of three English clubs thought to be keeping tabs on Ludogorets striker Jonathan Cafu, according to Sport Witness.
The 25-year-old forward has been in impressive form for the Bulgarian champions this term, netting 14 goals and laying on nine assists in 39 appearances in all competitions, including scoring in their Champions League campaign against FC Basel and Arsenal. And after scoring seven times in his debut season at the club last time out, Cafu appears to have adapted well to European football, and as a result is attracting interest from several sides in England. It is thought that Chris Hughton's Brighton, who were promoted to the Premier League on Easter Monday after a 34-year absence from the top tier, are monitoring Cafu's situation in Bulgaria, while Sport Witness report that top-flight champions Leicester and Slaven Bilic's West Ham are looking to speak the 25-year-old in the near future.
It has also been reported that the Brazilian striker has a €12 million release clause in his contract, a figure unlikely to deter the aforementioned three sides, and with there believed to be interest from around Europe as well, any side hoping to land Cafu will need to act fast in the summer window. Brighton will be looking to strengthen ahead of their first ever Premier League campaign, while both Leicester and West Ham will be searching for signings that can take them into the top half after frustrating seasons this time around.
400 appearances up - Mark Noble's four most memorable games for West Ham
After reaching the big milestone, the Hammers skipper looks back on his favourite matches
12:24, 25 APR 2017
West Ham captain Mark Noble was presented with a special award to mark his 400th West Ham United appearance at Saturday's game against Everton. Noble reached the landmark in the recent 1-0 victory over Swansea City and Hammers legend Sir Trevor Brooking was on hand to give the award to the West Ham skipper. The midfielder, who turns 30 in May, joined the club at the age of 11 and is now West Ham's current longest-serving player and was made captain of his boyhood club in 2015. Looking back on his career at Upton Park, and now the London Stadium, Noble told West Ham's official site about his four most memorable games.
West Ham 1-0 Preston North End - 2004/5 Championship Play-Off final
"I remember travelling to the 2005 Play-Off final and it was the biggest game I had been involved in at that time," Noble recalled.
"I was warming-up behind the goal with Teddy [Sheringham] when Matty [Etherington] put the cross in and Bobby [Zamora] scored and the feeling was unreal. "After Bobby scored that goal we had that celebration and I came on after and I always remember trying to chip the goalie from 25 yards! "I didn't even think Pards [Alan Pardew] was going to bring me on, but before coming on I remember standing there looking up at the crowd and thinking 'Oh my God, this is unbelievable!' and it was an incredible day."
Manchester United 0-1 West Ham - 2006/07
"I remember being on the coach on the way to Old Trafford and I was sitting opposite Ginge at the time and we were all nervous because we needed to win to stay up and they'd already won the league, so we thought they would just go out and enjoy themselves," Noble explained. "Ginge looked at me and said 'I've got a good feeling about today!' and it gave me a buzz, then Carlos [Tevez] scored! "I remember looking up at the clock and thinking we've still got another half to cope, then another 15 minutes then another five and thinking 'They've got to score two'."
Blackpool 1-2 West Ham - 2011/12 Championship Play-Off final
Noble described the 2012 Championship Play-Off final victory over Blackpool as 'so important', as he was getting married a week later. What a fortnight for the skipper.
West Ham 3-2 Manchester United - 2015/16
"That game was so special with the way it went, for me. To be able to come back and win in that atmosphere, to top off the best season I'd ever had as a West Ham player and a West Ham fan, was incredible. "We all wanted to leave Upton Park on a high and to leave it the way we did was amazing. I'll never forget it."
West Ham are a 'couple of players' away from fighting for Europe, says Michail Antonio
West Ham will challenge for a place in Europe next season if Slaven Bilic adds to his squad this summer, according to Michail Antonio.
The Hammers moved into the London Stadium amid high hopes they could force their way into continental competition, having secured a seventh-place finish in their final season at the Boleyn Ground. Yet poor form in the early stages of the season saw such lofty ambitions quickly evaporate. West Ham have recovered to pull clear of the relegation zone and could force their way back into the top-10 before the campaign draws to a close. But Antonio is adamant West Ham could soon be in contention at the right end of the table if the club brings in a handful of new additions. "We need to sign a couple of players - a right-back, one more centre-half, two strikers - and get more goals. "If we can do that, we will be up there for European places," he told ESPN. A hamstring injury has brought the current campaign to a premature end for Antonio. But the 27-year-old is aiming to return to fitness in time to take part in pre-season. Antonio's career in east London proved to be a slow burner but he is now a key member of Bilic's side and a firm fans' favourite. The Croatian manager has found himself under pressure of late but Antonio is adamant Bilic's presence has been key to his rise. Antonio added: "He has given me the opportunity to play games and given me the freedom to do what I do on the pitch. "I need that freedom; I pop up in lots of different positions and he has given me freedom to do that."
Pundit Dean Saunders savages West Ham hierarchy, his brutally honest rant in full
It has been a turbulent season for West Ham United and speculation has been rife over Slaven Bilic's future. The Hammers had been in freefall and found themselves perilously close to the danger zone after five defeats on the bounce. But Bilic's side have gone unbeaten in their last three games to ease relegation fears although the East Londoners still have some work to do to secure safety in what has been a hugely disappointing season compared to the record-breaking campaign the club enjoyed last term. As a result of West Ham's poor form of late Bilic's future has been the subject of intense media speculation with the likes of Jaap Stam, Roberto Mancini, Rafa Benitez, Slavisa Jokanovic and most recently Lazio boss SImone Inzaghi tipped to replace him in various reports.
Many supporters blame co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold for the club's struggles this season after a woeful season of recruitment and broken promises over investment. Fans and pundits have also been highly critical of the very public way Sullivan, Gold and Brady talk about the club. Fans have also been critical of Sullivan's sons David and Jack for discussing club affairs and transfers on Twitter.
A bizarre columnist dubbed The Insider - which openly discussed transfer targets and fees amongst other things - was pulled from the club's official website on the orders of Brady earlier this season after she was inundated with complaints from supporters. Fans also reacted with anger to the revelation from Jack Sullivan that he is to write a twice monthly column for national newspaper The Sun. Now pundit and Wales legend Dean Saunders has spoken out on BBC's Final Score to defend Bilic, savaging the owners in the process."Yea (they should stick with Bilic), in my opinion he has been treated awfully," Saunders told Final Score. "It's undermined him and some of the bad results he's got has been down to the way he's been treated. "I heard at the start of the season there was a shortlist drawn up for his job while he's still in the job. If that was me as a manager and I heard they were looking at other managers, I'd just resign... I'm totally undermined. "I'm going into a dressing room trying to manage a group of players, and there's voices at West Ham coming from all angles. "One of the owners tweeted after the Leicester game (a 3-2 defeat) saying 'I want to apologise for that result' - no, it's not your place to apologise, it's the manager's job to comment on the team, you just run the club."
Referee for Stoke City v West Ham will officiate first Hammers game in FOUR years
The official is taking charge of just his second game of the season this weekend
07:15, 25 APR 2017
The referee has been announced for West Ham's clash with Stoke City this weekend and the official is getting a very rare outing indeed.
Lee Probert will take charge of just his second game of the campaign on Saturday, having knocked around in the Football League for all of this season bar one game. Probert missed the whole of last season through injury and his only other top flight game this season was Watford versus Sunderland and the Hornets scraped a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road. In fact, the last time he has officiated a West Ham game was way back in 2013 when he oversaw the Hammers 3-0 win away at Spurs at White Hart Lane when Winston Reid, Stewart Downing and Ricardo Vaz Te were on target for the visitors.
West Ham coach hits back at criticism of Martin Samuelsen after superb u23 performance
West Ham youngster Martin Samuelsen impressed for the under-23s last night, returning from his Peterborough loan to play in the fixture.
West Ham coach Graham Westley has raved about teenage talent Martin Samuelsen and sought to deflect recent criticism of him. Samuelsen scored two goals as West Ham's under-23 side beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 last night, with his second an impressive diving header.
Speaking to the club website after the game, Westley defended Samuelsen after recent comments from his Peterborough manager Grant McCann.
Samuelsen has not been included in Peterborough's last three squads and was permitted to return to the Hammers to play in last night's under-23 fixture, with his deal terminated early. Westley said: "I read an article this week about Martin Samuelsen and confidence. People give players confidence, and you saw tonight what an absolutely outstanding talent we have on our hands. "He's only 19 and we had too much for them. Let's not forget how talented some of our players really are."
Westley's comments are a real shot at McCann, calling him out and suggesting he should be providing the Norwegian youngster with confidence. McCann told Peterborough's official Youtube channel that he felt Samuelsen had lost his spark after an unsuccessful loan spell at Blackburn in between his two tenures with the League One side. He said: ""He didn't have the confidence to try things that he once did, when he was here. I wanted him to express himself more. "He needs to get somewhere where he can play week in week out. He should've come here at the start of the season, but he decided to go to the Championship. He's a great kid, he'll have a massive future in the game."
Last night's performance was huge, but it does help highlight the gulf in quality between playing under-23 football and the competitive nature of the Football League. It at least should help repair Samuelsen's confidence, and in Graham Westley, Samuelsen evidently has a manager who has full faith in him.
HAVARD NORDTVEIT FINALLY COMES GOOD - WATCH OUT MARK NOBLE!
By Iain Dale 25 Apr 2017 at 08:00
I was quite excited when I heard we had signed the Borussia Moenchengladbach captain, Havard Nordtveit. What was not to like? People don't become captain of their side without having something about them. And he could play in a variety of positions. Just the sort of player we needed. Or so I thought.
In pre-season he looked totally out of sorts. As the season started he didn't improve. Every performance was terrible. He looked hapless. What a turkey, we all thought. But there was a nagging doubt in my mind. He mainly played at right back and once or twice in central defence. But wasn't he a central midfielder? Wasn't that his preferred position? Clearly with Kouyate, Noble and Obiang playing well, he didn't get a look in there. Until Saturday.
Against Everton I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was as if Nordtveit had become a different player. Cool, calm and tenacious. Spraying balls over the field. Running with the ball. Attacking. Shooting. He wasn't far off being my man of the match. On that performance he deserves to keep his place and the chance to show us more of what he can do.
Mark Noble is under real pressure. Edimilson Fernandes, and now Nordtveit, have shown that there is real competition for the second central midfield space. And that is surely only a good thing.
Michail Antonio: West Ham can push for Europe with summer signings
West Ham's Michail Antonio takes on ESPN's quick-fire questions.
West Ham United midfielder Michail Antonio is an example of a player that is becoming increasingly rare in the Premier League: a late bloomer.
Having spent his formative years at non- and lower-league level, the versatile winger finally got his chance in the top flight with West Ham United in 2015 and hasn't looked back.
Since Antonio's £7 million move from Nottingham Forest, he has scored 17 goals in 52 Premier League starts. And, after rejecting a call-up from Jamaica, he has been called up to the England squad.
While injury has brought his season to a premature end, Antonio is looking forward to next season and he spoke to ESPN FC at an Umbro event about West Ham's future prospects, his international ambitions and how he is still learning as a player.
ESPN FC: What is the timetable for your recovery?
Michail Antonio: "I am looking to be back around July, basically getting ready for beginning of next season. I'm hoping to be involved in the majority of preseason training. I might miss the first week, but I'll hopefully be back for the rest of it."
FC: Which position do you prefer to play in?
MA: "I'm an attacking player -- I prefer left wing, right wing. They're quite even for me. But I am a team player and don't mind playing in other positions but, if I had to choose, it would be left or right."
FC: How important is versatility in modern game?
MA: "It's very important; this day and age, the Premier League, football comes at you fast and that takes its toll on players' bodies. I'm injured right now. It's good to have the option to have someone else who can come in and play in different positions."
FC: Has playing full-back helped you as winger?
MA: "Definitely. When people run at me, I see what I don't like for myself. When I'm running at people I understand now what full-backs don't like and what they do like."
FC: Your England call-up came at a fairly late age (26). Is that something that can help inspire other players, showing the door is not closed?
MA: "Definitely. I got signed at a very late age and had to work my way up through the leagues and get opportunities where I can be chosen [for England]. I've always believed the door is never closed and have had past experience with Ian Wright and Rickie Lambert, who got a call-up at the age of 30, so I have always had that belief that the door is never closed."
Michail Antonio received his first England call-up under former West Ham Sam Allardyce.
FC: What was your reaction to Sam Allardyce getting sacked?
MA: "It was very surprising, with all the stories that came from it. But there's always surprises that happen and you have to live with them and move on. In football, managers get sacked, teams lose players. You just have to get on with it and keep being professional."
FC: Did it affect your England chances?
MA: "Not at all; I was called up to Gareth Southgate's first England camp and have been playing games. I'm not going to be involved in the summer because of the injury, but hopefully next season I can be called up again."
FC: Players like you and Jamie Vardy have been in the lower leagues. How does it benefit you when you get to the Premier League?
MA: "We have a 'never say die' attitude. We have belief in ourselves because we finally managed to get there, and we believe that we can always push on."
FC: Is there a difference between players who have always been in the Premier League and those who have had to fight it out in the lower leagues?
MA: "Players that come from non-league don't ever want to go back there, so they have more fight in them to make sure they don't go back to the 9-5 life and build up a strong career."
FC: You turned down a chance to play for Jamaica. Is that a decision you would ever look to change your mind on if you don't become a regular with England?
MA: "I believe in my ability, and I believe I can become a regular for England. I've never really had a step back to think about that. Hopefully I will keep playing the way I play and keep getting called up."
West Ham's Michail Antonio belives they are four signings off of Europe.
FC: How has West Ham manager Slaven Bilic improved your game?
MA: "Massively. He has given me the opportunity to play games and given me the freedom to do what I do on the pitch. I need that freedom; I pop up in lots of different positions and he has given me freedom to do that."
FC: What do West Ham need to do to fight for Europe next season?
MA: "We need to sign a couple of players -- a right-back, one more centre-half, two strikers -- and get more goals. If we can do that, we will be up there for European places."
FC: Which is the best team you have faced in the league?
MA: "I'm going to have to say Man City. We played them twice [at the London Stadium], and I think they got more than four in both games [5-0 in the FA Cup third round, 4-0 in the Premier League]. It shows the quality they have and the individuals they have, but they haven't been doing it consistently this year. But the team they have and the way they play is frightening."
FC: Do you prefer watching Real Madrid or Barcelona?
MA: "I prefer watching Barcelona because the football they play is beautiful."
FC: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
MA: "It used to be Ronaldo, but now it's Messi. His all-round play... the amount of assists he gets, the amount of goals he gets -- he's better for a team."
FC: You've had some creative goal celebrations. Do you have your ideas beforehand or is it spur of the moment?
MA: "I always think of them beforehand. The night before, I rack my brain about the next celebration. So there is always good planning and I also ask the fans to send me ideas on Twitter. My teammates think they are crazy and don't have a clue why I'm doing it. But I'm enjoying my football, and that comes out in my celebrations. I have some more ideas -- but I'm not going to share them."
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.
West Ham suffer transfer blow as Fleetwood confirm goalkeeper Alex Cairns has signed new deal
West Ham United were linked with a move for Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns, but it now appears that they will have to switch their attention elsewhere. West Ham's transfer plans appear to have suffered a minor blow after Fleetwood Town confirmed on their official Twitter account that goalkeeper Alex Cairns has signed a new contract at Highbury Stadium. A recent report from the Daily Mail suggested that the 24-year-old was attracting Slaven Bilic's attention after an excellent year with the League One promotion chasers.
The Hammers' two first-choice stoppers - Darren Randolph and Adrian - have both struggled to take full advantage of the opportunities that they have been given with neither really cementing themselves as number one. The Mail suggests that that had prompted Bilic to target Cairns to try and provide some further competition in the goalkeeping department, but it seems that the hopes of bringing him in have now suffered a setback. Fleetwood have now confirmed on their official Twitter page that the former Leeds United youngster has put pen to paper on a new deal with the Trawlermen, that they say is a long-term contract.
Fleetwood Town FC ✔ @ftfc
✍️ BREAKING: #ftfc are also delighted to announce that @AlexCairns30 has signed a long term contract with the club! #CairnsSigns 👏
7:04 PM - 24 Apr 2017
While West Ham would surely have the funds to make a move still happen, the fact that the confirmation of the new deal has come out after news of the Hammers' interest has come to light suggests that he sees staying with Uwe Rosler's men as the best decision for his development. Despite keeping 15 clean sheets this season, it seems difficult to imagine that he would move ahead of the current pair in the pecking order straight away, and thus, staying put may prove to be the wise decision.