Wednesday, April 5

Daily WHUFC News II - 5th April 2017

Fonte – We'll have opportunities

Hammers defender Jose Fonte is confident his side will have opportunities
when they face Arsenal on Wednesday
The centre-back admitted facing the Gunners will be a tough challenge, but
says the squad have been working hard to change their fortunes
The Portugal international also expressed how important the Claret and Blue
Army are to the players on the pitch

West Ham United defender Jose Fonte believes his side will have their
chances on Wednesday when they take on Arsenal, and therefore the team's
ability to take them at the Emirates will be crucial. Slaven Bilic's men
make the short trip to north London in a bid to get their campaign back on
track after four consecutive defeats in the league, and the visitors will be
hoping to make it two wins from two on the Gunners' home turf. Cheikhou
Kouyate and Mauro Zarate goals helped the Hammers to a 2-0 2015/16 opening
day win last season, and Fonte predicts the Gunners can be beaten once
again. He said: "It will be a tough game against Arsenal, but it's a game
that I think we'll have opportunities in. I think we'll have good chances.
"We've been leaking a lot of goals ourselves recently, but if we can be
solid and compact, and hopefully take chances that will come our way, I
think we'll give ourselves a great chance to win that game. "Arsenal have
been in a tough patch too, although there is no good time to play top teams
like them. They have great, great players who can decide the game in one
moment. "They're a patient team; they like to play intricate football
between the lines and they like to find that killer pass. They have players
who can play that perfect ball. They haven't been as good this season as
people expected, but they can still hurt you at any time."

The Club's recent struggles have meant the Portugal international has
enjoyed just one win as a West Ham player, back in February against
Southampton – the team he left for London Stadium. Fonte is confident,
however, he and his teammates know what they need to do to turn their
fortunes around. "It's up to us to work hard together, as one, and move on
from this situation," he continued. "You can say that there are many things
wrong, but it all comes down to us, as a squad, and as a Club, to come
together and sort it out. "Enough talking; it's about us. We need to run for
each other, to work hard together, and the results will come. Even if you
aren't playing well and things aren't going your way, if you put the effort
in, you should see your luck start changing. That's what we need to focus
on; giving it all on the pitch as one and things will change, I'm sure. "Of
course, being in a run like this, confidence starts to go down a little bit.
You can be the most experienced player or the greatest in the world, but
it's only human nature that when things aren't going your way, confidence
gets lower. "Like I said, the only thing you can't let decrease is your
effort. We are the ones that can change this and we will change things by
doing that. "We've got to take responsibility as defenders too. We have
eleven on the pitch and we have to defend as a squad but defenders will
naturally get more blame than the rest when we're losing. That's football,
and that's the world we live in. I take that seriously and I want to perform
at the highest of my ability."

The 33-year-old was not in the Saints squad which secured an EFL Cup victory
against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season, though he did
enjoy a win in the same competition there back in 2014/15 – his only three
points at Arsenal's home. And while the centre-half remains fully focused on
Wednesday's task in hand, Fonte also admitted he has not been satisfied with
his personal performances at the Club yet. "I haven't been as good as
perhaps I have been before but I'm working hard to get there. I'm doing
everything I can to perform at the best of my ability. Together, the eleven
players need to defend, and the eleven need to attack. It's as simple as
that. "We're disappointed and frustrated with our performances recently, and
obviously the fans are worried like we are. But only everyone pulling in the
same direction will achieve what we want to achieve. "I hope they keep
supporting the team like they have been brilliantly and in the last game
against Hull City. So many fans travel to cheer us on and push us towards
the win and they're so important. "The main thing we want to do is give them
something to cheer, something to be happy for, so that's what we are going
to try and do on Wednesday; to give them something that makes us proud."

Manager on Matchday

Hello everyone,

After the disappointing result at Hull on Saturday, we are determined to
bounce back against Arsenal this evening. The players have trained really
well in the last couple of days, we have one or two back from injury, and we
have belief in ourselves.

Tonight I go up against Arsene Wenger, a man for whom I have the utmost
respect and admiration. He is someone I would describe as an encyclopedia of

Around 15 or 16 years ago, when I was taking my first steps into coaching, I
was very fortunate to spend a week at Arsenal's training ground, watching
Arsene's sessions, seeing how he worked, and especially then afterwards
talking about football.

It helped me a lot, of course. You can read books and have your ideas, but
to talk to someone like him about football in general, about coaching and
managing a team, gives you proof that it is something you want to do.

I think Arsene Wenger definitely deserves more respect. Okay, there is no
yesterday in football any longer, either short term or long term, and it's
true that Arsenal were always a big club, even before Wenger, but it's also
true that he took them to a different level, to become one of the biggest
clubs in Europe, and that's why I respect him so much.

It is very difficult to imagine a manager staying with one club for more
than 20 years in today's game. Nobody can say that they would expect to
remain in a job for that long now. You may say that you would like to
achieve that, but it is definitely more unlikely in the business now.

That is the case everywhere, at all levels of the game. There is a need for
instant success, but that is only a reflection of life. People used to plan
long-term, for example in three years we will buy a car, or change our car,
but that is not happening any more. It is fast living, and people want that,
that and that. As I said, football is only a reflection of life.

As managers, we accept that. I have been all my life in football, and so I
know the situation. You have good days, you have great days, you have bad
days. And you can't expect things to be great all the time. You have to
react when you have bad spells, and not get carried away when you have good
spells. And like life, you just hope you have more good days than bad days.

Let's hope today is a good day. It will be a great atmosphere from the start
tonight. It's a London derby, and Arsenal had a good result against
Manchester City on Sunday, but that atmosphere can change depending on how
the game is going, and it is up to us to give a performance that keeps the
home fans quiet.

We had nearly 2,500 travel with us to Hull on Saturday, and there will be
3,000 of you cheering us on at the Emirates. I can promise you that the
players, my staff and myself are absolutely grateful for that magnificent
support, and we will be doing everything we can to send you home happy

Come on you Irons!

Slaven Bilic

U17s in Japan - Day Two

West Ham United U17s advanced to the J-League Challenge final on day two
They thrashed Consadole Sapporo 4-1 in the semi-final on Wednesday afternoon
Head coach Danny Searle hopes his players can learn from their final group
match as they face the same opponents, Gamba Osaka, in tomorrow's final

Head coach Danny Searle hopes his players can learn from their group match
against Gamba Osaka as the pair meet in tomorrow's J-League Challenge final.

The U17s lost their final group match on day two to the local side by a goal
to nil, despite having already qualified for the knockout phase.

But the Hammers put in a dominant display against Consadole Sapporo in the
semi-finals, comfortably sweeping their opponents aside by four goals to

"It was very important to get out the group," said Searle. "To play against
Osaka, not knowing what they're like, was good experience for the boys to
see the standard. It definitely helped us prepare for the semi-final.

"The squad as a whole has been massive and this has allowed rest and given
the players an opportunity to recover. Our dominance in the first half (v
Sapporo) allowed the players to relax and enjoy the semi final and it gave
the younger ones experience. They did everything that was asked of them and
it was a really assured performance."

As mentioned, the Hammers went into their final group fixture knowing they
had already secured progression to the semi-finals, but it was clear they
wanted to maintain their momentum going into the knockout rounds.

Gamba Osaka had scored an astonishing 20 goals in their opening two matches
and looked a threat early on after hitting the post in the first 15 minutes.

But the Hammers set about containing the danger and had chances of their own
through Conor Coventry, Sean Adarkwa and Ben Johnson in the first half.

Searle's players emerged with much more intensity after the break, with
Jeremy Ngakia causing the local side problems on the right flank, but it was
Osaka who scored against the run of play with ten minutes to play.

A ball was squared to the edge of the penalty area and there was an Osaka
midfielder, arriving late, to drill it into the top corner. It was much
against the run of play.

Osaka held on in the final stages meaning the Hammers would settle for
second place in the group and a semi-final tie against Consadole Sapporo, a
side who had yet to concede in their three group matches.

Sapporo were blown away in a ruthless first half display by Searle's
players. Jeremy Ngakia's powerful effort and Bernardo Rosa (2) saw the
Hammers three up by half-time.

Searle rang the changes at half-time, ensuring rest for the experienced
players and game-time for the younger ones, but there was no alteration in
the team's work ethic and quality.

Adwarka got his third of the tournament, finishing brilliantly after a great
through ball from Harrison Ashby, and although Sapporo scored a late
consolation, the Hammers cruised into tomorrow's final with local side

"There'll be no excuses in the final," Searle continued. "We know what
they're (Gamba Osaka) are about now. Our second half display against them
showed that we adapted and evolved as the game went on. It was a dominant
second half performance and we should take that into the final. We have a
very good chance of coming away as tournament winners."

West Ham (v Gamba Osaka): Anang; Johnson (Forson), Dalipi, Wells, Hannam
(Okotcha); Coventry, Mingi; Ngakia (Ashby), Rosa, Diallo (King); Adarkwa.
Subs not used: Watson, Sanneh, Chesters.

West Ham (v Consadole Sapporo): Anang (Sanneh); Johnson (Ngakia), Dalipi,
Wells, Hannam (Coventry); Coventry (Forson), Mingi; Ngakia (Ashby), Rosa
(Okotcha), Diallo (King); Adwarka (Diallo). Subs not used: Chesters, Watson.

Goals: Ngakia, Rosa (2), Adwarka.

Bookings: Mingi.

Three Key Battles - Arsenal

West Ham United's second away day in the space of five days comes on
Wednesday when they make the short trip to north London to face Arsenal.

And though Arsenal, consistently one of the top flight's title challengers
in recent years, represent a tough challenge at the Emirates, the Hammers
have beaten the Gunners five times away from home in the Premier League era.

Fulham are the only other side West Ham have won more on the road at, and
Slaven Bilic will be hoping to equal that record of six away Premier League
wins this evening.

We've taken a look at some statistics ahead of the London derby and three
key battles which could prove vital…

Bellerin v Byram

First off, we take a look at the two respective right-backs, Hector Bellerin
and Sam Byram. The latter has started the previous two games for the
Hammers, and set one up as a sub in the side's recent defeat at Bournemouth.

But, judging by the statistics, it's Bellerin who edges things in terms of
getting forward. The Spaniard loves to run at the opposition defence and
join in with attacks.

Byram, on the other hand, has clearly been more defensively effective so far
this term. He makes more tackles, interceptions and clearances per game than
his Arsenal counterpart.

It will be interesting to see whether West Ham can exploit Arsenal's
right-hand-side going forward against Bellerin, whose main focus is to get

Ozil v Lanzini

Mesut Ozil has had a relatively disappointing campaign for the Gunners,
while Manuel Lanzini has impressed, particularly since the turn of the year.

Argentine Lanzini has scored seven times for the Hammers this season so far,
already trumping his total of six in the Premier League last term, while
Ozil has five.

But it's the German's assists total which is the major disappointment; the
28-year-old made 19 Premier League goals for Arsene Wenger's side in
2015/16, while this season he's set-up just five.

His pass success percentage is also down on last campaign, and Lanzini's 88
per cent just about edges him in front in that respect. Could either
playmaker be the difference at the Emirates tonight?

Giroud v Carroll

Sometimes some physicality up top is crucial, as Oliver Giroud and Andy
Carroll have proved at times this season. Both sides have struggled when
their main men in attack have been missing.

The Frenchman, however, has not been starting for the Gunners of late, and
Danny Welbeck was preferred for Sunday's draw with Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Carroll remains vital to Slaven Bilic's side and has proved that
in recent weeks with five goals in his last eight Premier League matches.

Though Giroud has scored more than the Big Man this term, had Carroll not
missed so much of the season through injury, not many would bet against him
being on top at this stage.

Fletch deal finally concluded
Filed: Wednesday, 5th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United have finally reached an agreement over the fee for Ashley
Fletcher. The 21-year-old striker moved to West Ham from Manchester United
last summer but his fee was subject to a tribunal. That fee was finally
settled last week with West Ham ordered to pay Manchester £1million for
Fletcher, with a further £1million to follow should he make a certain number
of appearances. That would however appear extremely unlikely, with the
Keighley-born forward having made just 14 appearances for the Hammers - the
vast majority as substitute.

OS set for naming rights deal
Filed: Tuesday, 4th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

Telecommunications giant Vodafone are close to agreeing naming right for the
Olympic Stadium, according to reports. Although a deal is yet to be
concluded, KUMB understands that a six-year agreement worth in the region of
£20million in expected to be agreed in time for the 2017/18 - West Ham's
second in Stratford. Revenue from naming rights is split 50/50 between West
Ham United and the stadium's owners - bar the first £4million per annum. By
contrast, Tottenham were recently linked with a £25million PER YEAR deal
with Uber for their new stadium which opens next year. Previously Indian
manufacturers Mahindra had been close to agreeing a £6million-per-year
naming rights deal, although that fell through at the beginning of the

My rights versus yours
Filed: Wednesday, 5th April 2017
By: Staff Writer

It was revealed last night that the Olympic Stadium owners are close to
agreeing a £20million naming rights deal with telecommunications giant
Vodafone. However West Ham United are unlikely to see a penny of it due to
the standing agreement with the LLDC, which entitles the owners to the first
£4million per annum of any rights deal for the stadium. In order to put the
deal in context, we took a look at the rest of the Premier League to see how
the proposed Vodafone arrangement compares with existing rights deals.
Whilst clubs such as Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion are happy
with their traditional ground names, most clubs that have moved to new
grounds in recent years have arranged naming rights deals. And although some
clubs (eg Hull and Bournemouth) have kept the terms of their particular
deals confidential, most have been happy to publish financial details of
their arrangements.

As you can see from our list below, the LLDC's arrangement with Vodafone is
dwarfed by the likes of Arsenal's (£30million p/a) and Manchester City's -
whilst even Stoke City are better off, following their recent deal with
bookies Bet365.

The Premier League: My Rights Versus Yours

Arsenal: First agreed a £100million deal with Emirates Airlines in 2004,
guaranteeing naming rights for 15 years (now extended to 2028) worth in the
region of £3million per season. Most recent package worth £150million
(£30million per year), signed in 2012.

Bournemouth: The club signed a three-year (confidential) deal with medical
insurance business Vitality in 2015 which saw Dean Court renamed as the
Vitality Stadium. It has previously been known as the Seward Stadium and
Goldsands Stadium.

Burnley: No stadium deal but the club's redeveoped Gawthorpe training ground
will be known as The Barnfield Training Centre until 2020, following a deal
struck in 2015 with Barnfield Construction Ltd who paid the bulk of the
£10million costs.

Chelsea: No deal presently but seeking interested parties for new Stamford
Bridge in 2020.

Crystal Palace: Signed a unique (and confidential) 2013 deal with 12BET
which saw the gambling firm sponsor the stadium but not change the name.
There are no plans currently in place to offer naming rights.

Everton: No deal in place for Goodison Park but the club's Halewood training
ground is now known as USM Finch Farm following a five-year, January deal
with Russian firm USM Holdings. Chief Exec Robert Elstone recently confirmed
the joint deal (to include shirt sponsorship) is worth £75million
(£15million p/a).

Hull City: The KC Stadium was renamed the KCOM Stadium ahead of the current
season after the main sponsors rebranded in 2016. The intricacies of the
original deal have never been revealed, although a 15-year extention was
confirmed in 2010.

Leicester City: Initially signed a deal with King Power in 2011, however a
deal with the Trestellar Ltd in 2014 - which saw annual income jump to
£16million after the company bought marketing rights from Leicester before
selling them back to the owners - was investigated last year.

Liverpool: Owners Fenway Sports seeking a deal worth in the region of
£90million for new main stand at Anfield, worth £7-9million per year.

Manchester City: Signed a £400million, 10-year deal with Etihad Airways in
2011 to cover naming rights and shirt sponsorship.

Manchester Utd: The Glazier family, who own the club ruled out a naming
rights deal in 2015 despite. However sponsorship deals with Adidas
(£75million p/a) and Chevrolet (£53million p/y) have helped soften the blow.

Middlesbrough: Agreed a (confidential) deal for the Riverside's South Stand
only with 888Sport in 2015.

Southampton: Initially known as 'The Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium'
when first opened in 2001 but no stadium sponsor at present. Recently signed
a shirt deal with Virgin worth circa £8million p/a.

Stoke City: Entered a six-year agreement to rename their ground the Bet365
Stadium in 2016, worth £8million p/a. This included a shirt sponsorship
deal, worth £3million p/a.

Sunderland: The club widely considered selling naming rights for the Stadium
of Light in 2010 but nothing came to fruition.

Swansea City: Initially entered a deal with Liberty in 2011. Currently
seeking new deal with stadium owners Swansea Council that would allow them
to arrange their own rights deals and have a greater say in how the stadium
is run.

Tottenham: As per Chelsea. Reports of club seeking £400million naming rights
deal (no takers at present) for the New White Hart Lane.

Watford: No deal in place but did sell naming rights to one stand (Vicarage
Road End stand) for £30,000 in 2009 prior to returning to the Premier

West Bromwich Albion: "Naming rights in not an option as we value our
115-year link to The Hawthorns name," said George Harborne, Albion's 'Head
of Partnerships' in April 2015.

West Ham United: The LLDC, who control the Olympic Stadium are close to
agreeing a £20million, six year deal for the Stratford stadium- of which
West Ham will not see a single penny.

Hull City 2-1 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)
Filed: Wednesday, 5th April 2017
By: HeadHammerShark



HEADHAMMERSHARK is whirring away uselessly at an iMac with an autocorrect
designed by a madman. MARK KERMODE is sitting next to him, his hair perfect
and unperturbed since 1984.

Ooh, is this going to be a clever take on renowned Texan thriller "Hell or
High Water" from acclaimed British director David Mackenzie?

I don't know, I've never seen it. I just like the play on words.

I see. What about "Hull Metal Jacket"?

What does that even mean?

Look, whatever you do, just make sure you set it in a dystopian hellhole
that accurately reflects the creaking at the seams of modern day society,
like the original.



We are in Hull, UK City of Culture 2017 because of course it is. Many HULL
CITY fans are wandering around, smiling pleasantly as a brass band plays in
the background. Most WEST HAM fans appear to be as drunk as KERRY KATONA on
a morning show. Around the stadium are rows of desolate streets and houses,
with poverty writ large across the screen.

Fair play to him, he's nailed that.


The changing room is a hive of activity. SAM BYRAM and AARON CRESSWELL are
having sun tan lotion rubbed into their shoulders, ANDY CARROLL is booking a
booze cruise and ADRIAN is midway through a Dan Brown thriller where the
villain will most likely be the same person it always is. JAMES COLLINS is
looking for a restaurant serving a full English and showing old episodes of

OK boys! This is it! If we lose today, then we'll definitely lose at Arsenal
on Wednesday which will mean we've lost five in a row. For some reason the
chairmen have decided six defeats in a row is untenable, even though they
employed Avram Grant, so winning today would probably save my job.

(checking their bank balances)
Count us in! We are definitely motivated by your job security, gaffer whom
we have known for three weeks!

OK, so the team is: Randolph in goal, the two oldest slowest guys in the
middle, Cresswell on the left and Masuaku on the other side as we have no
right back.

Hey boss

Yeah, it's a pisser but we just don't have any right backs at all. I even
played Antonio, Nordtveit and Kouyate there earlier in the season. Imagine
what a fucking shitshow that was!

Hi boss, I'm right here.

So, yep, Arthur on the right.

Er, Slav, what about playing Byram there?


The skinny kid with the hair? He's from Leeds so we all just assumed he was
on day release but apparently he's actually a player.

He's a right back?

(shrugging, looking at programme notes)
That's what it says here.

OK, whatever. The kid on the right. Holding midfielder is Kouyate with Noble
and Lanzini alongside. Ayew and Snodgrass are wide...

In the background SOFIANE FEGHOULI is holding up INCRIMINATING PHOTOS of

Oh Christ. Yep, sorry. Nobes on the bench and Feghouli goes wide. Carroll up
front. Now, seeing as we apparently bought Fonte for leadership qualities,
and fans think the captain is really important because most fans are idiots
and we need a captain, you'd think it might make sense for me to choose him.
So, congratulations Andy Carroll – you're the new West Ham skipper!

ANDY CARROLL, wearing a Club 18-30 t-shirt, falls off a barstool in the
background as the rest of team line up to be called out by the referee.

Now remember boys, the script is very clear. We're playing a shit team away
from home at the end of the season. Custom dictates that we dominate the
first half and take an early lead, before squandering all other chances to
extend that same lead, OK? Then, we allow a second half comeback to gift
them an unlikely win and really cement our season as being a complete waste
of time. Usually this will require a subtle change of tactics from the
opposition, a substitute no one has ever heard of coming on and changing the
game and probably goals from two players who've never scored before.
Everybody clear? OK, get out there!

What script is this that you keep referring to, boss?

The one we're in right now.

This is all very meta.

The team exit, with many wearing goggles and with beach towels thrown over
their shoulders.

Julian Dicks turns to Edin Terzic

Was Feghouli in flip flops?

FONTE hangs back to have a word with Bilic.

As I'm not skipper, what should I do boss?

Well, definitely don't get booked before you've literally even touched the



Referee MIKE JONES is booking JOSE FONTE before he has LITERALLY even
touched the ball.



Slaven Bilic is pacing around the technical area as his team are dominating
Hull City. After an impressive opening, Carroll slips his marker and rifles
home the opening goal.

He's like bloody Kryptonite isn't he? The closer he gets to home, the
stronger he is.

I don't think that's how Kryptonite works.

It would really have to in order to fit this simile so let's assume it does.
He's useless in London, but bring him to Middlesbrough or Hull and he's
unstoppable. I'm really excited about our away game at Newcastle next year.

But they're coming up aren't they?



There are West Ham fans everywhere. HEADHAMMERSHARK is stood mere feet from
the HULL fans. Behind him are some fellow Hammers who have devoted quite
some time and money to BOLIVIAN MARCHING POWDER on the way up. It is like a
scene from Apocalypse Now, but with more STONE ISLAND. There is a WOMAN in
the home end.

She's got chlamydia, she's got chlamydia

Wait, why are we singing this?

Because of our famous Cockney wit, and also because she has committed the
unpardonable sin of attending a football game whilst being a woman and must
be put in her place. Bantz, LOLZ, locker room talk.

Am I in an episode of Life on Mars or something?

She's got chlamydia, she's got chlamydia

There is absolutely no way that this will rebound spectacularly at any
point. No sirree.

(to some Hull fan four feet away)
You mug! How do you like this? We pay your benefits! Hahahahaha

No sirree.



Great half lads. You've followed the script perfectly. Hull really are
absolutely terrible, but you've only scored once despite being demonstrably
the better side. Now, we need to follow the script so-

DAVID and JACK SULLIVAN come wandering into the changing room.

I'm really sorry to interrupt, Slaven, but I wanted to let you know that
despite me having no formal involvement in transfers unless they are a
success, we're readying a three year contract offer for Pablo Zabaleta. He
ticks a lot of boxes for me as he's in Jack's fantasy football team, I've
heard of him before, and nobody else sane wants to buy him so I can get into
a bidding war with myself.

This isn't a great time, to be honest Mr Chairman, but can I suggest we keep
it under wraps for now and perhaps revisit on Monday?

Meanwhile, Jack is tweeting in the background.

Sure, no worries, it won't leave this room.

Several phones begin beeping around the room as news of the Zabaleta bid
flashes up on several preferred West Ham websites and media outlets.

I have absolutely no idea how that keeps happening.

They leave.

OK, so as I was saying, we really need to stick to the script-

DAVID GOLD enters the room.

Hi everyone, I'm David Gold. You might remember me from such other scripts
as "Did you know I lived at 442 Green Street?" and "Come and see my gardens,

Sure, Mr Chairman, hi. I'm a little busy preparing my team to throw away
three points.

Of course, it's the West Ham Way! I just wanted to let you know that myself
and my fellow board members are going to put out a strongly worded statement
in support of you tomorrow. I really can't fathom where all these rumours
about your position are coming from.

(comes charging into the room)
David, can I just get you to quickly sign off on today's Mediawatch? It has
three stories about a new manager including one about Jaap Stam because
Slaven parked in my space this morning and pissed me off.

Gold looks embarrassed and starts to shuffle out of the room.

Karren, for fucks sake, you couldn't have picked a worse time. All the best
boys, especially you Sofiane – playing in Crocs, well I never. I wouldn't
have got away with that at West Ham boys when I was 15. All the best. dg

They leave.

OK lads, we're running out of time, but we quickly need to change our

Why would we do that?

It's in the script Manuel. So, from now on, even though Andy's been
terrorising them like an EU passport with a Brexiteer, we're going to aim
all our crosses at Feghouli for him to head in at the far post.

All of them?


What is "heading"?

In the background, Lanzini receives a WhatsApp message from Dimitri Payet
with links to available houses in the Marseille area.



KAMIL GROSICKI is introduced as a substitute. Literally nobody has ever
heard of him before, so no West Ham player attempts to tackle him for the
next forty five minutes.



JAMES COLLINS bumps shoulders with HARRY MAGUIRE. The latter falls over like

That's the sort of shit I've been looking for! Del Boy fell over and Trigger
made a face!

My eyes, my eyes! Forsooth, how can thou deny me a penalty? I have been most
grievously injur'd!

Harry, look at the size of you, for fucks sake. If I stuck a bit of cladding
around your arse and cemented you into the ground in Notting Hill I could
get £850,000 for you.

(going batshit crazy)
Vengeance, will be mine!

Calm down, Marco. Give it a minute mate.



ANDREW ROBERTSON is advancing into the area somewhat menacingly. Fonte and
Byram are doing the MACARENA by a barbecue, and DARREN RANDOLPH is hastily
scrambling up from his beach towel.

Behold! I am the son of Robert, and I bite my thumb at you sir.

Should one of us try and tackle him?

Maybe, but he's really Feghuoli's man.

They peer through binoculars to see Feghouli miles upfield buying a fake
Rolex from a guy on the beach.

Yeah, maybe we sh-

Robertson scores from a Grosicki pass. This is so predictable that Mark
Kermode gives it a ONE STAR review because the plot twist could be seen A



I wonder if I should change my tactics?



A SUCCESSION of crosses arrive at the back post for Feghouli. He puts them
all wide with a variety of beach tools, including once with a SWINGBALL
racquet and once with a SURFBOARD. He is now wearing FLIPPERS.



God no, you're fine.



ALFRED N'DIAYE hits the post from 10 yards out. Randolph nearly saves it
before remembering he doesn't save anything.

I wonder if I should change my tactics?



Bilic is readying a substitution. The number 7 is flashed on the board.
Feghouli sees this and holds up an incriminating picture of Bilic.

For fucks sake

Sorry Sofiane.

The board is changed. Off comes Snodgrass.

How did I do boss? Did I do what you asked?

Show everybody that £10m really doesn't get you much these days? You betcha!



ANDREA RANOCCHIA comes striding into the box. Several West Ham defenders are
engaged in a game of beach cricket.

Behold! I am Ranocchia, destroyer of worlds. Alack! I have not troubled the
scorers verily but here I am, as unlikely a scorer as e'er there was!

Why do all the Hull players talk like Shakespeare characters, but as though
the writer doesn't have any grasp of Shakespearean language at all?

City of culture, innit?

I can't wait until I get to Marseille.

Hey Cheik - can you mark Ranocchia? Seems like one of us should.

CHEIKHOU KOUYATE is struggling to erect a parasol, Masuaku rushes to help
him. Randolph is playing BADMINTON. Ranocchia heads in the winner.

I wonder if I should change my tactics?



Bilic is looking around for a substitute. He settles on JONATHAN CALLERI,
who is lying on a sun lounger, wearing a MANKINI.

Jesus Christ, did you even bring any boots?

Behind him, the fourth official holds up the board to show six minutes of
injury time.

(going batshit crazy)
Where the fuck did you get six minutes from? My goalkeeper just spent five
minutes pretending to be injured so I simply cannot understand where this
time has come from.

On the pitch, another cross makes its way to the Hull back post where
Feghouli heads it wide.



Hull fans are giving it plenty, shockingly. This is making West Ham fans

We taunted you mercilessly when we were winning and now you're doing the
same to us. This is OUTRAGEOUS. We demand physical combat, now.

I'm throwing you out.

But I want to fight them!

You can fight them outside.

Brilliant - wait, what?

Several West Ham fans are ejected. Nobody fights anybody. It's almost as
though it was all just the posturing of teenagers.



ANDRE AYEW is here. He has yet to touch the ball.



Manuel Lanzini is here, still wriggling his little heart out. Andy Carroll
is also here, still destroying Hull central defenders. Another cross
inexplicably makes its way to Feghouli.

You would think that having played in Spain for many years, and being a
clearly very talented footballer that I would be able to head this football.
(punctures it with a speargun)
Huh, well you'd be wrong.

The final whistle blows. West Ham fans launch into a chorus of "Super Slav"
because he has lots of PASSION.

A final cross arrives at the back post. Feghouli heads it wide.


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,

Referee confirmed for Arsenal vs West Ham - Arsene Wenger will not be happy
This appointment will not go down well with the Arsenal boss
Football London
14:26, 5 APR 2017

Martin Atkinson will be the referee for tonight's Premier League clash
between Arsenal and West Ham. The appointment will not go down well with
Arsene Wenger - with Atkinson proving to be a bad luck charm for the Gunners
in recent times. The last time he took charge of Arsene Wenger's side was
the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea back in February. Atkinson was criticised by
Wenger and Arsenal supporters after the game for failing to give a foul on
Hector Bellerin when Marcos Alonso elbowed the Spaniard as he scored the
opening goal, knocking him out. The incident left Bellerin with a
concussion, much to the annoyance of the Arsenal manager. "It was 100 per
cent a foul, he said. "It was dangerous play, Bellerin was concussed."
Atkinson was also in charge of Arsenal's defeat at Manchester City in
December when the hosts claimed a 2-1 win. Wenger again hit out at Atkinson
and his officials after the game, claiming both City goals should have been
ruled out. "The two goals are two offside goals and in a game of that
stature I feel enough is enough for us," he said. "We got some bad decisions
for the whole season and today I looked at the goals and both are offside."

You've got 180 minutes to show West Ham exactly what you're worth, Arthur
The Frenchman will be starting the next two Hammers matches
Football London
13:15, 5 APR 2017

Right then, Arthur. Now is your time to shine. You've had to be patient for
your chance, despite the poor form of your chief opponent, Aaron Cresswell.
Fans have been calling for you to start ahead of him. Tonight, you have your
chance. Don't be overawed by Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil or
whoever you come up against. Remember your good game at Manchester City way
back in the early stages of this season? I do.
We'll forget about the horror show at West Brom and then your serious
injuries after that. Put it simply - you've got two games to show your worth
to this team and whether the £6m spent on you last summer was worth it.
Something West Ham have lacked this season is basically a left winger.
Manuel Lanzini has been shunted out there but he drifts in field all the
time. There will be a lot of space for you to run into in front of Hector
Bellerin. The Spaniard is not in great form at all, Leroy Sane - admittedly
a different player to you entirely - destroyed him for Manchester City at
the weekend. Take him, get him running back towards goal, then cross it in.

You'll see the imposing figure of Mr Andy Carroll in the box waiting for you
and he'll be up against a bumbling centre half in his first game back after
injury in Per Mertesacker or maybe, Gabriel. Behind them will be Arsenal
THIRD CHOICE goalkeeper in Eni Martinez - nope we've never heard of him

Defensively, just put a few bruises on Theo Walcott. Let him know you're
there, but don't kick him out of the game. You've got the pace to get back
in position if Arsenal counter, so use it. You're going to be doing a lot of
running tonight, so be prepared. You'll have James Collins alongside you,
the experienced head. He'll cover for you if you for a wander, but it's
advisable to stay in position.

Last time, it didn't go so well but this is a different Arsenal team now - a
worse Arsenal team.
Good luck.

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic stalls over Besiktas move - opening door
for West Ham
By talkSPORT - @talkSPORT
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

West Ham's pursuit of Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic has been give a boost
after talks between the striker and Besiktas stalled. The Croatia
international was expected to put pen-to-paper on a deal to join the Turkish
giants in the summer, but there are now suggestions that the club cannot
match Mandzukic's demands. According to reports in Turkey, a £7million fee
had been agreed but the move has now been thrown into doubt, given Besiktas'
unwillingness to adhere to the striker's wage demands. Besiktas are expected
to continue negotiations but this has now opened the door for West Ham, who
are expected to recruit heavily during the summer. The Hammers are in
desperate need of a regular goalscorer and had identified Mandzukic as the
ideal target. Slaven Bilic may further his interest now that his proposed
move to Besiktas has hit the buffers.

Shkodran Mustafi explains Arsenal's plan to limit aerial threat of Andy
Evening Standard

Andy Carroll would be a perfect fit for Arsenal in a purely narrative sense.
A world-beater on his day, yet undermined by injuries and dogged by
questions as to whether off-field issues compromise his ability. Carroll
displays his considerable talent all too fleetingly but the Gunners do not
have far to look to appreciate the threat he poses when West Ham arrive at
Emirates Stadium tonight. Saturday marks exactly a year since Carroll took
just seven minutes and 14 seconds to score the fastest Premier League
hat-trick of last season in a dramatic 3-3 draw that ended Arsenal's slim
title hopes. Two of those goals were headers and manager Slaven Bilic
declared Carroll the best in the world at that art after a match that
highlighted familiar concerns about Arsenal's frailty against powerful

Carroll has scored five times against Arsenal in his career — only Swansea
(6) have a worse record against him. West Ham have struggled to the extent
the board felt compelled to issue a vote of confidence in Bilic after last
week's 2-1 defeat at Hull but Carroll will relish the chance to seize upon
the nervousness in Arsenal's defending. Laurent Koscielny's absence with an
Achilles problem therefore comes at a bad time. Much was made of the
capitulation Arsenal suffered against Bayern Munich when he went off with
the score at 1-1 in both legs only for the Gunners to lose their Champions
League last-16 tie 10-2 on aggregate.

They coped adequately without him against Manchester City, keeping the
diminutive Sergio Aguero at bay in the second period. However, Carroll is
more reminiscent of Bayern's Robert Lewandowski — in stature, if not
pedigree — with the right kind of service. An injury scare to goalkeeper
David Ospina means the relatively inexperienced Emiliano Martinez could face
a test of his ability to command a penalty area, while Shkodran Mustafi is
likely to be partnered by Gabriel at centre-back and the £34million summer
signing from Valencia believes stopping the supply line to Carroll is
essential. "We will play in their half trying to make things happen but then
it is important when we lose the ball that we don't stay open because it is
easy for them to go down one side and cross," he said.
"We need to win the ball straight back when we lose it or as soon as we lose
it, come back as quickly as possible to make it difficult to cross the ball.
"This is the Premier League so you have to handle players like that, he is
really strong in the air. Do I like a battle like that? I prefer to stay
more in their half instead of wrestling in our box but it is part of the

Arsenal face a major challenge to continue Wenger's remarkable record of
securing a top-four finish in every season since he took charge in 1996.
They sit seven points behind fourth-placed City with 10 games left. Mustafi
said: "There are still a lot of games and points to play for. If we build on
the game against City and fix a few details, it is possible to get into the
top four. We need to build up from the performance we had against Man City
because we did quite well."

West Ham are looking for their own turning point after four successive
defeats left them six points above the relegation zone and Mustafi has
warned Arsenal must not commit mistakes to aid a Hammers revival. "We must
not give them confidence by making errors," he said. "We have to focus on
our ourselves and do the right things, try to make the game like we always
do when we are at home. We have to take advantage of that. West Ham, even
though they have had not so good results, they have good players and are a
good club."

West Ham's Diafra Sakho set to return against Arsenal as Slaven Bilic gets
timely boost
Evening Standard

Diafra Sakho looks certain to be on the substitutes' bench for West Ham
against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium tonight, which is welcome news for
beleaguered manager Slaven Bilic. Without a win in six matches and after
four straight defeats, the striker's long-awaited return is a huge boost to
West Ham, who have slipped to 15th in the Premier League table, six points
above the bottom three. Sakho has made just two appearances this season,
scoring in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in November, before suffering a
back injury. The Senegalese forward subsequently underwent an operation for
a disc problem in his back, followed by an extensive period of
rehabilitation. Sakho has been back in full training for the last week and
suffered no ill-effects. "He wants to play now," said Bilic (right), "but he
has been out for a long time and we need to be a little careful with him."
Bilic looks certain though to include Sakho on the bench to face Arsenal
tonight and, if he comes through that with no problems, could even start the
striker in what is a crucial home match against fellow Premier League
strugglers Swansea on Saturday. Sakho's return provides a timely fillip for
West Ham in what has been a turbulent season. Signed from French club Metz
in 2014, the 27-year-old came to prominence when he scored in his first six
starts in the Premier League to equal a 20-year-old record. However, a
succession of injuries has hampered his career since and a fall-out with the
club last year ended with him submitting a transfer request. It looked
likely that Sakho would move to West Brom last August but the proposed
transfer fell through after he failed a medical. Also returning for
tonight's match is Michail Antonio, who has recovered from a hamstring
strain which forced him to pull out of England's two recent internationals.
Club captain Mark Noble also looks likely to be back in the starting XI as
Bilic looks to shore up his midfield, following the 2-1 defeat at Hull last

West Ham keen on signing Pablo Zabaleta when his Manchester City contract
ends in the summer
Pablo Zabaleta looks set to leave Manchester City after nine years at the
He helped City win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups
The Hammers are also interested in Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic
By Simon Jones for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:30, 4 April 2017 | UPDATED: 00:16, 5 April 2017

West Ham United have opened up contract talks with veteran Argentina
defender Pablo Zabaleta. The 32-year-old, whose contract with Manchester
City ends this summer, looks set to leave the Etihad Stadium after nine
years at the club. Zabaleta was a £7.4m deadline day signing from Espanyol
in 2008, and has since helped City win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup
in 2011 and two League Cups. is experience has attracted the interest of
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, for whom the right back slot has been a problem
position all year, and is looking to add more experience to a team which
remains in danger of relegation this season. Numerous players have played
right back for the Hammers this season, including Michail Antonio, who more
usually is deployed as a winger or striker. West Ham are 14th in the
Premier League but are just six points above the drop zone with eight games
left to play.

West Ham United keen to sign Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic after he
finishes his loan spell at Hull City
West Ham United would have to pay Liverpool £16million for Lazar Markovic
Markovic joined Liverpool from Benfica in July 2014 for £21.25million
He has since been on loan to Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon and Hull City
By Simon Jones for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 00:31, 5 April 2017 | UPDATED: 00:31, 5 April 2017

West Ham United are interested in signing Lazar Markovic, the Liverpool
winger who is on loan at Hull. The Serbian, 23, would cost £16million,
despite never showing his full potential at Anfield and having been farmed
out to the relegation threatened Tigers. Markovic joined Liverpool from
Benfica in July 2014 for £21.25million, intended to be one of a number of
players signed by Brendan Rodgers to replace the departing Luis Suarez.
However he has spent the succeeding years primarily on loan around Europe,
including at Fenerbahce, then at Sporting Lisbon, where he first played
under current Hull manager Marco Silva. At Liverpool he has played just 34
games, scoring three goals, and looks set to have little future at the club
under Jurgen Klopp. West Ham are looking to reinforce their squad after a
season where they have unexpectedly slipped towards the relegation zone, and
have already begun talks with Manchester City's out of contract defender
Pablo Zabaleta.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic: Days of long-term managers are over - Arsene
Wenger will be the last
Evcening Standard

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic believes Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger will
be the last manager to preside over a club long-term. Wenger has reigned at
the Emirates Stadium for the past two decades, with Bournemouth's Eddie Howe
the Premier League's next longest-serving coach at four and a half years.
The Frenchman's future is the object of furious speculation as another
season of under-achievement looms, and Bilic believes he occupies a unique
position in the game. "It is difficult today. You cannot plan long term now
in today's business. No way. Those days are over," Bilic said. "Nobody can
now say that he will stay at a club for 20 years. You may say you would like
to, but it is definitely more unlikely that you will survive 20 years.
"Unless you buy a club, maybe, but even then you cannot do it because the
fans will protest if a season is no good. "You have Alex Ferguson, Wenger,
and David Moyes at Everton. After that we are talking about four years."
The rival managers will lock horns in Wednesday's London derby and Bilic is
only too aware of the pressure Wenger is under after receiving a vote of
confidence from West Ham's board in the wake of four straight defeats. "Make
no mistake, that need for instant success is everywhere. It is everywhere,
in every league," Bilic said. That is only the reflection of life. Football
is also a reflection of life. People and individuals want instant success.
"Before people were planning long term. In 20 years we are going to buy a
house, in three years we will buy a car. "Now because of this fast-living it
is different even there. People want this, they want that. As it always was,
football is only a reflection of life. "It is a dangerous job. In the
massive clubs they are basically expecting at least to fight for a trophy
every year."

Reading fans absolutely delighted with West Ham loanee Reece Oxford's
performance last night
The Hammers defender was given a rare start by Jaap Stam
Football London
07:27, 5 APR 2017

Reading fans were seriously impressed with Reece Oxford in their side's 3-1
win over Blackburn last night. The on-loan West Ham defender was handed his
first start by Jaap Stam since his loan move this January - and he didn't
disappoint. Oxford put in a composed performance at the centre of defence
before being replaced in the 73rd minute, helping Reading to what was
eventually a comfortable win over Blackburn. And the Royals supporters were
absolutely delighted with the performance of the youngster after the game. A
few said that Oxford looked composed beyond his years at the centre of
defence - whilst others think that the West Ham loanee has given Jaap Stam a
lot to think about in terms of his starting line-ups in the future.

ElmParkRoyals @ElmParkRoyals
Oxford was particularly good considering he's not started a game for so
long. Good on the ball, loves a tackle & good positioning #readingfc
10:02 PM - 4 Apr 2017

RFC News @RoyalReading106
How on earth has Oxford not got a start until tonight?! Oozed class
#readingfc #whufc
11:06 PM - 4 Apr 2017

AndytheBear @RoyalBearC
Tyler played a blinder tonight... Moore and Oxford class.. good to see Ilori
back and Yann is god!!! ???? #readingfc
10:44 PM - 4 Apr 2017

Talk Reading @TalkReading
Oxford looked very good - so mature for his age. Kermorgant class. Moore -
absolute rock. Swift & Blackett had good games, too. #readingfc
10:15 PM - 4 Apr 2017

Royals @Berkshire_Boys
Oxford looked class tonight... should start more often IMO #readingfc
10:06 PM - 4 Apr 2017

verity @Vxrity
Oxford impressed tonight! #readingfc
10:06 PM - 4 Apr 2017

Harley @harleylane1
Impressed with Reece oxford #readingfc
10:05 PM - 4 Apr 2017

Belfast Biscuit @BelfastBiscuit
Good to see Ilori coming on for Oxford. Both excellent defenders and bodes
well for the playoffs (touches wood) #RFC #readingfc #BRFC
9:32 PM - 4 Apr 2017

corbss @WillCorbishley
Reece Oxford was class tonight?? #readingfc
9:32 PM - 4 Apr 2017 · Reading, England
13 13 Retweets 51 51 likes

West Ham's James Collins aims thinly-veiled dig at Slaven Bilic for lack of
first-team starts
Antony Martin

The West Ham United defender made his 150th Premier League appearance for
the club on Saturday. Veteran Hammers centre-back James Collins sat down for
an exclusive interview with the club's official website, and shared this
opinion that he should have been chosen to play from the start more
regularly over the past two-and-a-half months. The 33-year-old started at
the KCOM Stadium against Hull City on Saturday - his first start since West
Ham's 3-0 win over Crystal Palace way back in January. Since that victory,
Slaven Bilic's side have been in free fall, winning only twice in nine
games, slipping to 14th in the Premier League table, just six points clear
of the drop zone. And the Welshman explained to how he believes
his performances earlier on in the campaign merited a lengthy run in the
first-team: "I was disappointed to come out of the team in the first place.
The last time I played we beat Crystal Palace 3-0 and it was a good
performance and a clean sheet, but then I didn't play for seven weeks, which
was disappointing when I thought I probably should have."

With Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna currently out injured, however, Collins
has a real chance to prove to Bilic that he is the right man to partner Jose
Fonte at the heart of the Hammers' defence for the remainder of their
campaign. West Ham travel to north London to take on Arsenal tomorrow night,
and the affectionately nicknamed 'Ginge' will surely be in for a busy night
up against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud.

Gentleman Bilic Starting to Learn the Fergie Way

One of the big positives about having Slaven Bilic as club manager is that
he oozes class. He is forthright but fair in his style and never shirks a
question. When decisions go against his side he points out why he thinks the
referee got it wrong without engaging in the type of vitriolic abuse that
some managers celebrate.

However, the modern Premiership is an unforgiving environment for gentlemen
as every manager is under pressure to deliver results or face the inevitable
chop. Maybe SuperSlav's approach is out of time in the dog eat dog

Recently Slaven engaged in some uncharacteristic whinging about the
treatment of Reece Oxford at Reading. Bilic bemoaned the lack of game time
the youngster was getting, which was especially galling given that the
Hammers wanted to recall him as back up for the injured Winston Reid and
Angelo Ogbonna. Reading head honcho Jaap Stam was displeased but, lo and
behold, Oxford has featured in the Royals last two games!

The youngster really impressed last night in their 3-1 victory over
Blackburn, prompting many fans to query why he hadn't started a game bin the
three months prior to that during which he had been overlooked. Oxford's
performance will serve to remind Hammers fans how his starring role in the
away win at Arsenal two seasons ago ushered in what appeared to be a new era
under Slaven Bilic.

Sadly, since then things have not gone according to plan and the side are
now in a relegation dogfight that, ironically, sees them visit Arsenal
tonight desperately needing a result but with limited cover at centre back
as both Reece Oxford and Reece Burke cannot be recalled under their loan
contracts with Reading and Bradford respectively.

Either way, Bilic's bollocking of Stam seems to have had the desired effect
- maybe it's time to extend the verbal manipulation to include match
referees - it certainly worked for Alex Ferguson over the years and made it
nigh on impossible for visiting sides to get big decisions going their way
when visiting Old Trafford. Maybe he could also give a bit of guff to our
board to get them to actually bring in a reliable and top class striker this

Careful though, it might be cheaper for the board to sack Bilic than to
splash the cash!


No comments: