Tuesday, May 16

Daily WHUFC News - 16th May 2017

Nordtveit – The season isn't finished

Havard Nordveit determined to finish the season on a high at Burnley
Norway midfielder disappointed by performance and result in defeat by
No4 says Hammers need to reproduce the level they showed in beating
Tottenham Hotspur

Havard Nordtveit has vowed to put the disappointment of Sunday's defeat
behind Liverpool behind him as the Hammers look towards the final game of
the campaign at Burnley on Sunday. Nordtveit was back in centre midfield for
the visit of the Reds, but was left disappointed as goals from Daniel
Sturridge, Divock Origi and a Phillippe Coutinho brace ended his team's
five-game unbeaten run.
The Norway international admitted it was difficult to finish off at home in
that manner but he is sure his team can bounce back to end on a brighter
note at Turf Moor. "The season isn't finished yet," he said. "We will work
hard this week, and we want to finish the season off well at Burnley. This
season has had its ups and downs, but we know the stadium now and the last
five games before Sunday were good. "If we can get on the level of the
Tottenham game more consistently then we have a good opportunity to get back
to where we were last season. "But it was disappointing to finish at home
like that. We wanted to finish strongly and give the fans what they deserve
with a good win, but when we conceded a goal in the last few minutes of the
first half it made it hard."

Nordtveit completed 94.1 per cent of his passes against the Reds, while also
making two tackles and two clearances, but the Hammers missed key
opportunities and then went 3-0 down as Winston Reid lay inside the
Liverpool penalty area with an apparent head injury.
The 26-year-old, who was making his 16th Premier League appearance of the
season in place of the injured Mark Noble, lamented the circumstances of
Sunday's defeat. "We had a big chance to make it 1-1 before the break, but
they got another goal," he observed. "I haven't seen the pictures of what
happened with Winston in their box, but they counter-attacked and suddenly
it's 3-0. It was a hard game, and we are very disappointed."

Ladies seek new season improvement

West Ham United Ladies can look forward to another season in the FA Women's
Premier League Southern Division – despite ending the season on a losing

The Hammers finished the 2016/17 campaign in ninth place, a point ahead of
Swindon Town and relegated Queens Park Rangers, following a 7-0 loss to
champions Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday

They may have won just one of their 20 league matches this season, but
manager Greg De Carnys was refusing to be downbeat after seeing his side
beaten at Thurrock FC's Ship Lane ground.

"The hard work for next season has already started," said De Carnys. "We
needed to survive and we needed to stay in the league and that was obviously
a priority for next season.

"But if we are going to be competing next season and wanting to press on
into the Women's Super League, then we need to be improving as players."

The Hammers again gave their all against the champions, starting brightly
before conceding the opening goal nine minutes before half-time, when Katie
O'Leary's lob beat Lottie Ivison in the West Ham goal.

Whitney Locke had a chance to level a short time later, but Spurs defender
Sophie Mclean raced back to deny the forward an equaliser.

O'Leary then had a goal disallowed for offside before Wendy Martin doubled
the visitors' advantage in the third minute of added time. The prolific
Martin made it 3-0 with her second on 52 minutes before Ivison made a
fantastic save to deny Bianca Baptiste moments later.

Just past the hour-mark, Spurs had a fourth through Riana Soobadoo's low
shot, and it was 5-0 five minutes later when Baptiste got her name on the
scoresheet with a neat chip. Within 60 seconds, Lucia Leon had netted
Tottenham's sixth, before Baptiste completed the home side's misery with her
second and the champions' seventh eleven minutes from time.

"It is never nice to be on a scoreline like that and there are clear things
that we need to get better at and work hard on in training," manager De
Carnys admitted. "In the second half we tried to play and that really helped
us in terms of being brave getting on the ball and moving it quick. In
possession, we were much better second half than we were in the first half.

"Defensively we were not quite good enough. You've got to be able to do all
the things that stop good players like Spurs have got.

"That said, there were definitely some positives in the second half in terms
of the way that we played, but we know that we have got some things that we
need to improve on and we are going to work hard to do that.

"We have a young squad which we believe can develop into top players and we
are going to be trying our hardest to provide the appropriate learning
environment for them – an environment in which they are allowed to make
mistakes as they try new things. They obviously do not want to fail but you
have to be able to make a mistake if you are going to develop as a player."

Randolph set for busy summer

Darren Randolph named in 37-man Republic of Ireland squad for three June
Boys in Green travel to the USA to face Mexico in a friendly international
in New Jersey
Ireland then return to Dublin to host Uruguay and then Austria in a vital
World Cup qualifier

Darren Randolph has been included in Republic of Ireland's 37-man squad for
three fixtures to be played in early June.

The West Ham United goalkeeper will need to delay his summer holiday for the
third year in succession after being picked for friendly internationals
against Mexico and Uruguay and a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Austria.

The Boys in Green travel to New York on Monday 29 May before tackling Mexico
at MetLife Stadium – the home of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets
– in neighbouring New Jersey on Thursday 1 June.

Martin O'Neil's squad will fly home the following day before hosting Uruguay
at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday 4 June.

The third, final and most important of the three matches will take place at
the same venue on Sunday 11 June, when Ireland host Austria.

Victory over the Austrians will put Randolph and company in a very strong
position when it comes to World Cup qualifying Group D, with leaders Serbia
hosting third place Wales in Belgrade on the same date.

Wins for Ireland and Serbia would put the pair seven points clear of their
rivals on 14 points, with four rounds of matches left to play. The group
winners qualify automatically, while the runners-up will go into a play-off.
Republic of Ireland host Serbia in Dublin on 5 September.

Randolph has been part of O'Neil's squad in each of the last two summers,
sitting on the bench for the goalless friendly draw with England in June
2015, before keeping goal for his country at UEFA Euro 2016 a year ago.

In all, the 30-year-old Hammer has been capped 19 times since making his
debut against Oman at Craven Cottage in September 2011.

Preview - Newcastle v West Ham PL2

When and Where?

Newcastle United v West Ham United PL2

Premier League 2 Division 2 Play-Off Final

Tuesday 16 May 2017, 7.00pm BST

St. James' Park

What's the story?

West Ham United's U23s will aim to finish their year on a high when they
travel to St. James' Park for the third time this season in the Premier
League 2 Promotion final on Tuesday. The Hammers won 4-0 at West Bromwich
Albion on the final day of the regular season to sneak into the play-offs
and have used their momentum to make it to the final. They were minutes away
from being beaten in the semi-final at Wolverhampton Wanderers but two late
goals from substitute Jahmal Hector-Ingram and Martin Samuelsen ensured the
Hammers made it to the final.
Their opponents Newcastle finished third in the league standings and go into
the final in good form. Peter Beardsley's men have won three games on the
bounce including a 2-0 semi-final victory over Fulham last week.
The Hammers, meanwhile, will be hoping to make it back-to-back years of
final glory on Tuesday night after winning the Premier League Cup title last

Team News

The U23s side has chopped and changed a number of times this season but
Academy boss Terry Westley is expected to make very few changes from the
semi-final victory at Wolves.

One positive is the return of Spaniard Toni Martinez. The U23s top scorer
made his return to full training last week, having picked up an injury
towards the end of his loan spell at Sky Bet League One side Oxford United.

Martinez has a terrific record this year, scoring 12 goals in just 14
competitive matches, and will bring some much-needed firepower to the side.

Marcus Browne, Josh Pask, Alex Pike, Alfie Lewis and Reece Burke will all
miss the trip through injury, but winger Nathan Holland is expected to play
despite picking up a knock in the semi-final.

How can I watch the game?

Tickets will be available at the North East Corner for West Ham fans, priced
at £3 for Adults and £1 for Concessions. Season Ticket Holders who produce
their cards will be admitted free of charge.

If you are unable to make the game at St. James' Park, whufc.com will have
live text updates from 6pm tomorrow evening. You can also keep up to date
with the action on our Twitter feed.

Noble undergoes surgery

Mark Noble undergoes keyhole surgery to rectify an abdominal injury
West Ham United captain will miss remainder of 2016/17 Premier League season
Italy defender Angelo Ogbonna returned from knee injury in Sunday's defeat
by Liverpool

Mark Noble has undergone keyhole surgery to rectify an abdominal injury.

The West Ham United captain had the procedure carried out on Saturday,
having led the Hammers to Premier League safety at the end of a challenging

The skipper had been at his inspirational best in recent weeks, captaining
the Hammers to vital victories over Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur. But,
speaking ahead of his operation, Noble admitted he had played through the
pain barrier to keep Club he loves in the top flight.

"I've been playing in pain for three or four months now and, after speaking
to the medical department, I decided not to say anything publicly and to
keep playing until we were safe in the Premier League," the No16 confirmed,
speaking to Sunday's Official Programme for the visit of Liverpool.

"After the fantastic win against Spurs, we had seen the surgeon the night
before and he said I needed the operation pretty urgently, so we decided to
get in done as soon as possible.

"It's been painful, but we had a fantastic win against Swansea that I got
through, then I got suspended for a couple of games and I wasn't going to
miss Spurs for the world.

"So, when we beat them, we decided to go ahead with it. Once it's done, it's
done, but obviously with the pace that we play at and the demands of the
Premier League, I didn't want to miss pre-season, so the surgeon said we
should get it done as soon as possible."

Noble is one of five senior West Ham players ruled out of the final game of
the 2016/17 season at Burnley through injury. Cheikhou Kouyate also
underwent surgery to a long-standing wrist problem after he too played in
pain to aid the Hammers' cause. Meanwhile, Hammer of the Year Michail
Antonio is also absent due to a hamstring injury, while Diafra Sakho has a
back problem.

Pedro Obiang has also been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign after
suffering an ankle injury while making a challenge in the Premier League
defeat by Leicester City at London Stadium in March.

On a positive note, Italy centre-half Angelo Ogbonna returned to the
matchday squad for Sunday's Premier League fixture with Liverpool after
missing more than three months following knee surgery. The defender, who
celebrates his 29th birthday next Tuesday, could make an appearance at
Burnley on Sunday.

West Ham 0-4 Liverpool (And Other Ramblings)
Filed: Monday, 15th May 2017
By: HeadHammerShark

1. Intro

I would wager that you are not of the opinion that this game was A Good
Thing. But I rather think it was. Of course losing is crap, losing at home
is crappier and losing 4-0 to a team captained by James Milner is really
rather embarrassing and I'm not suggesting otherwise. But after the
electrifying high of last week, it felt like maybe we were all losing sight
of what this season has truly been like. Not to wallow in misery, but this
has been it. All. Fucking. Season. Overrun, overpowered and over before half

There were plenty of mitigating circumstances today; injuries aplenty, the
most uneven refereeing performance I have seen in quite some time and an
incredible miss that - fittingly for a player known as Shrodingers Ayew -
defied the laws of physics. But let's not kid ourselves that this hasn't
been de rigeur for us all year. Consider how dreadfully shit we were today,
and then reflect on the fact that I would name Arsenal, either of the Man
City games and the Southampton match as worse home performances. Worse! This
game didn't even crack the top three of our incompetent shitshows at the
London Stadium. Aye(w) Carumba.

2. In Cold Blood

So, I think it's good that we disappear off for the summer with this
awfulness ringing around our head. That might seem like heresy, but our
Board need to be held to account for their abject failure this season and
hiding behind a late season flourish isn't going to cut it. I'm sick of
hearing from David Sullivan about how he sniffed out Payet and Lanzini and
then leaking to his preferred fan sites how it was actually Bilic who wanted
the likes of Tore and Zaza.

Fuck that cowardice. It's in the annual report that he's the Director of
Football so that's the end of it. David Sullivan is responsible for every
player at this Club and right now there aren't very many good ones on the
pitch. If you want the plaudits for Payet then you have to take the
brickbats for Calleri. That's how it goes. I fervently hope Sullivan sat
there today utterly chastened by what was unfolding in front of him and left
dispirited and hurt like the fans who actually paid to be there. Good - it's
his fault.

We deserve more than this. Every fault line was visibly and egregiously
exposed today. The lack of transfer nous at the Club, the failure to
prioritise or even remotely acknowledge the importance of fitness in the
squad, the consistent inability to keep players on the pitch, the lack of
pace right through the team and the chronic failure of our Academy to
provide first team players.

The danger of the Spurs win was always that it would paper over the gaping
cracks in the facade. How bad can it be, we all wonder, if we can continue
to deny them the title each year? Yeah, well I've got my sights a little
higher than that. My head nearly came off my shoulders this week with all
the eye rolling I've been doing at Spurs fans saying they'd be "embarrassed"
if their team only got up for two games a year. The problem is that they're
at least partially right - one week after we play like Trojans we revert
right back to this clueless, shambolic schoolboy outfit.

Last week was glorious, but it stands alone in this season. It's a
lighthouse on a treacherous coastline, showing us the way but illuminating
the crashing awfulness below. I hate losing, but if this defeat in a
meaningless end of season game that the team approached like a testimonial
serves to force the Board to accept their failures then it will serve a

When you go to renew your season tickets, or buy your new shirts, or book
your stadium tours remember that it's this shit they've been serving up for
most of the season. We deserve better.

3. Breezeblocks

As for the actual game, well it was a curious affair. We started pretty
brightly with both wing backs getting high up the pitch and causing
Liverpool problems. One nice move involving Lanzini and Calleri opened up a
channel for Byram, who dragged his shot across goal from a promising looking
position. From there, however, it was all downhill and quickly at that.

@11tegen11 does his usual sterling job of laying out the chances and it's
fairly clear that we were second best for most of the day. The visitors hit
the bar three times, although to counterbalance that Andre Ayew hit the post
twice with the same opportunity.

After a fairly even opening quarter Liverpool took the lead when a glorious
Coutinho pass set Sturridge free. He bore down on Adrian with ease and even
though his catheter came out and his bandages were trailing behind him, he
navigated his wheelchair round the Spaniard and rolled it in expertly. This
was a disaster on three fronts as it gave them the lead, gave David Sullivan
another reason to try and spend fortunes on a constantly injured player and
also meant he celebrated with that fucking dance.

I did enjoy his after match interview, however, when he confessed that he
never practices one on ones because "you never see any at this level". Wait
until you join us mate.

Not long after that a deep Lanzini corner fell to Ayew, who was standing
minding his own business at the back post, two yards from goal with no
defenders in sight. Ordinarily he would have tapped it into the empty net
and drawn us level, but on this occasion he got the ball trapped under his
foot and somehow hit the post and then fell over because - I don't know - an
earthquake? Worse was to come as the ball rebounded to him, and from his
prone position he poked it back against the same post where Mignolet finally
fell gratefully upon it like a FIFA executive on a free luxury watch.

Meanwhile our defensive set up at corners must have been put together by the
same Republicans who devised the Trumpcare health act as there was no cover
anywhere. Matip hit the bar, and generally any cross in the general vicinity
of our box caused everyone to go apeshit.

By the time the second half arrived our third choice central midfield duo of
Nordtveit and Fernandes were being overrun, and the deployment of Coutinho
as a deep playmaker behind Sturridge and Origi was paying dividends. The
Brazilian had a few first half rangefinders that Adrian kept out but he
eventually arrowed in their second after finding a ludicrous amount of space
on the edge of our box.

At this point our back three were so far apart that the concept of defensive
cohesion was nothing but a memory, and Liverpool were cutting us open at
will. It is, however, possible to be both shit and unlucky and we appear to
have that down to a fine art this season. In that spirit then, we should
have got back into the game when Wijnaldum managed to both handle a corner
in his own box and elbow Reid in the same movement. No Premier League
referee has ever gone hungry giving decisions to big teams, however, and
Neil Swarbrick decided to implement the ancient "two wrongs make a right"
law. Liverpool thus broke away as Reid lay in the box with a head injury and
played on all the way until Coutinho crashed in his second. OK then.

It should be pointed out that as shit a piece of refereeing as that was, the
West Ham "defending" for the goal defies any attempt to describe it. I mean,
look at the state of this drivel: After that everyone stopped pretending
there was a game going on, and West Ham even let Divock Origi score as
though it was a playground game and there is that one kid in your class who
everyone knows can't really play football but it's summer, the sun's out and
everyone's in a good mood so let's let him stick one in. It'll be nice.

4. Pusher

The tough thing about this game was watching us struggle, knowing that
probably half of this particular team aren't up to the standard required.
Add to that the fact that Snodgrass and Feghouli were on the bench despite
the number of injuries and it's even more depressing.

I'm not sure I can recall a squad so totally unbalanced for the job it has
to do. It's hard to be too critical of the fourth and fifth choice central
midfielders, but it should be pointed out that last year that role was
filled by Alex Song. Rather then sign Victor Moses, they instead went for
Feghouli and Tore, and then replaced Payet with Snodgrass, and Bilic then
chose to play Michail Antonio at right back to accommodate this madness. My
fucking eyes are bleeding.

So, I acknowledge that one cannot get too upset about games like this
without at least acknowledging the entire hospital wing of missing players.
Antonio, Carroll, Sakho, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble, Obiang and Kouyate are all
first team players and left a running track sized gap in the team.

But that really serves to highlight the problem as much as explain it. Our
squad gets decimated by injuries every year without fail. It's hard to find
accurate statistics on this, but the most recent report I can find (from Sky
Sports) had us 2nd in the league for days lost to injuries with 1,574. For
reference Sunderland were first meaning that we led the league in injuries
to actual professional players, and had lost around 1,200 days more than
West Brom, who had the fewest injuries. Yet more reason to sell them Diafra

Context is everything, of course, and it should be acknowledged that a huge,
bloated squad gives you more chance for players to get hurt. It's also not
possible to prevent injuries like impact injuries or a player cutting his
toe open on a broken cup.

But at some point the Club has to address this. As long as I've been
watching West Ham it seems like we've suffered huge numbers of muscle and
soft tissue injuries, and then done a terrible job rushing those same
players back into the team before they'd reached full fitness.

It's why Sturridge cannot be signed. He simply cannot. We've endured a
season of playing without a striker and having valuable wage capacity taken
up by Carroll and Sakho. We simply cannot afford yet another squad member
who goes long stretches without contributing anything, no matter how
enticing it might be when you see him play like he did today.

Also the dance, but mostly the fitness.

5. Something Good

Our goalkeeper was good today. It's really very West Ham to say it, but
Adrian was decent. None of the goals were particularly his fault, and in
fact I might take to calling him Moses given how readily everything parted
in front of him.

In one single Liverpool attack immediately after half time he made three
successive saves, each of which were eminently saveable but exactly the kind
of chances that seem to have been creeping in all year. He was later undone
by the brilliance of Coutinho, but that was rather more to do with the
abject defending in front of him than with an failure on his part.

It was interesting to see us being linked with Jordan Pickford earlier this
week, as he is exactly the kind of player we should be targeting. He is
young, promising, has some experience and would almost certainly fetch a
good price were he to move on. Whether he actually represents an upgrade
over Adrian is debatable, and all of the chatter seems to suggest that we
are behind Everton in terms of recruiting the youngster anyway.

It would also be quite West Ham to buy the keeper from the worst defensive
team in the league, but I can see the merits. In the end, however, we have a
finite budget and I maintain that Adrian is a perfectly acceptable Premier
League keeper. He'd look an awful lot better with a defence in front of him

6. Dissolve Me

Less certain is the future of Sam Byram at right back, and rumours continue
to swirl that Pablo Zabaleta will be arriving imminently. I tend to treat
such press murmurings about West Ham as being fairly reliable given the the
way the Club leaks like the Legion of Doom's bathtub.

I think there is a player somewhere inside of Byram and the reality is that
if we sign Zabaleta he's likely going to face long periods on the bench. Or
not, because the Argentine is 32 and actually has grey hairs.

There are those who believe that having older, more experienced players
around is great for young players as they can learn from them. I suppose
that might be true, but I've spent this year watching Byram training with
World Cup winner Arvelo Arbeloa, and I can't say that it's made much
difference. It's not that I'm opposed to buying another right back - far
from it, as regular readers will attest - but have we learned nothing from
recent years? Fonte was hauled off today, having made a less than stellar
start to his career with us, and Snodgrass looks like the worst ever January
signing for the club that signed Mido.

I've already had this rant when we signed that pair, but good clubs don't
sign players over thirty. The modern game demands a mobility that is
generally beyond those players whose legs are on the wane. There is a reason
that Schweinsteiger and Gerrard ended up in MLS, and why Tevez and Pato are
in China. Mostly it's the bonkers wages, but it's also because they couldn't
cut it at the highest level anymore.

Now, plenty of you might say that we're not at the top level so players like
Zabaleta are just fine for us. But the issue I have with that is that surely
that's what we're aspiring to? Aren't we going for the top four? If not,
what are we here for? And if we are then why are we signing players who are
being discarded by those teams as not being good enough?

Look at the some of the names on the list of leaked targets for next year:
Sturridge, Zabaleta, Toure, Rooney and Hart. That team is going to be
brilliant in 2012.

The lack of vision and process is soul destroying. Where are the young
players? Where is the attempt to sign players who can actually improve and
grow with us? Every single one of those players is in the decline phase of
their career, and the thing about players like that is you are assuredly
paying them for things they have already done for other clubs, instead of
what they are going to do for us.

And for those who would, not unreasonably, say that we can't criticise the
Board for things they haven't yet done, that is fair enough. But consider
why these names get leaked; it's either an agent wanting to stir things up -
in which case they have to choose a club that is clueless enough to seem
credible. We should be ashamed that we fit that mould. Alternatively, they
have been leaked by the Club in an attempt to gauge public opinion, as they
did with the rumoured El Hadji Diouf signing.

No other Club does this, but our owners seem so desperate for public
approval that they genuinely seem to care what fans think, despite fans
having no access to the reams of data available on players these days, and
despite fans being mostly stupid. Not you, obviously.

So the Yaya Toure rumour might be rubbish, but you look at the journalist
and the seemingly detailed nature of the discussions that have taken place
and it looks very much like there might be some truth to the piece. At which
point you realise that we might be willing to pay over £100,000 to a 34 year
old. Excuse me while I puncture my own lung.

I realise I'm writing a lot about transfers today but that's mainly because
I'm avoiding the game, and because let's face it, transfers are going to be
all we talk about for the next three months.

7. Tessellate

Does anyone know how we play?

I'm two seasons into Bilic's West Ham and I really don't know. It started as
a solid, repeatable 4-2-3-1 but that disappeared once it became clear how
much it relied upon the disappearing Payet. We then stumbled into three at
the back because everybody was injured and it was the only way to keep
Feghouli out of the side, and in fairness it worked like a dream for a

But there is a recurring theme that whenever we think we've hit upon a way
of playing, teams tend to discover how to nullify us pretty quickly. It
happened earlier this season when our 3-4-3 flummoxed Alan Pardew at Palace,
scraped past Sunderland (which barely counts) and then was abandoned again
after a subsequent six match winless run.

After the most recent revival, we looked good here for about twenty minutes,
at which point Liverpool pushed their wide players higher up the pitch,
dropped Coutinho back to operate in the gaping hole in front of our midfield
and that was us done for. Gone was the high intensity pressing of the Spurs
game, and we were incredibly passive all day, with barely a tackle made in
anger. This is how I imagine Gandhi would have played football.

It's hard to be too critical of Bilic for not altering his tactics as he had
very few options, but it was telling that at 2-0 down we swapped out Fonte
and went back to a flat back four. I'm not quite sure why Collins remained
on as he was fairly woeful, including going on a magical mystery tour of his
own right before Sturridge ran past him for the opener.

None of it made a huge difference although Feghouli did some reasonable
things, to further cement his position as the most maddening footballer

Maintaining tactical coherence while replacing team members every week is a
huge challenge, but the strange persistence in playing one up front, when
the only player truly able to do that is the permanently injured Sakho, has
continued all season to very little effect. In particular, the insistence of
playing this way with Carroll as the lone striker seems especially fatuous.

Surely a priority has to be for Bilic to establish a way he wants to play
and get some players in who fit that system. Tellingly his Evening Standard
column specifically said he wants to target players with pace, which makes
sense as we looked incredibly pedestrian here today. It would also make
sense in the context of the one up front plan, as it requires mobile players
to be support runners for the lone front man.

How he utilises Carroll next season will be hugely telling. One has to
imagine a fit, mobile striker is high in the shopping list, as it has been
every year since I was 14.

8. Hunger Of The Pine

One frequent lament of fans after a performance like this, in a season of
performances like this, is to demand that some youngsters are given a
chance. If I had a pound for every time I've had someone tell me there must
be someone better in the youth team I'd almost have enough to buy a round of
drinks in the stadium.

It is the way of being a football fan. We lust for what we cannot see.
Players are never better than when they are injured, and youth team players
are a constant well into which we want to dip to satiate our desire for
answers. The sad thing is that most of us have never seen these kids play,
and choose to ignore a lot of the basic facts around youth team players.

Very few academy players at any club ever make it, and so the declining
number of graduates is perhaps a mirror to the rest of English football. But
it's also true that we seem to be producing fewer players who are even going
on to play at a lower league level. Think of the famous Lampard and
Ferdinand team - there were plenty of others like Lee Hodges, David
Partridge, Joe Keith and Chris Coyne who went on to be successful lower
league players. We seem to have even stopped producing those types now.

So simply wanting young players to be given a chance because they aren't
Feghouli or Calleri doesn't make huge amounts of sense to me. If they were
good enough then presumably they would be demanding a call up by virtue of
their performances on loan or in training. The likes of Martinez, Samuelsen,
Browne, Oxford and Burke have all been out on loan this season with little
to no impact having been made and no glowing reports coming back. The
exception to this rule is Josh Cullen, who has been Bradford's player of the
year for two consecutive seasons and surely deserves a chance to make an
impact next year.

My broader point is that football managers aren't in the habit of turning
their back on players who can help them win games. If they are good enough,
the kids will force their way into the side. Two at the club to keep an eye
on seem to be Declan Rice and Domingos Quina, who are routinely making the
bench despite their teenage years. But we are getting down to crunch time
for the likes of Samuelsen and Burke, who at the age of 20 are getting close
to the point where the club will need to make a decision about the
likelihood of them having long term futures at this level. That might seem a
ludicrous assessment to make, but all the academy graduates that I can think
of who made it as top level professionals were all firmly ensconced in the
first team squad by that age.

In our desperation for improvement we all latch on to the "if you're good
enough, you're old enough" sentiment, which is admirable. But sometimes I
think we forget to actually answer the first part of that question.

9. Choice Kingdom

It was the Club's annual year end awards bash in the week, and amidst the
many and varied categories (Best Signing - Edimilson Fernandes, Best Owners
- David Gold and David Sullivan (joint winners), Best Kiwi - Winston Reid
and so on....) it was noticeable that the fans voted Michail Antonio as
player of the season, while the players went for Manuel Lanzini.

Both are good choices, although I would slightly favour the latter. Had they
stayed fit both Pedro Obiang and Winston Reid would have been in with a
shout but of course they didn't because West Ham.

Shortly after, Antonio signed a new improved contract designed to ward off
Chelsea and ensure he is paid more than Snodgrass and Feghouli on account of
how he is actually useful to the team. A lovely little departing present to
all of us for the summer might be something similar for Lanzini as one would
think those two will be the primary targets for any circling vultures.

It is telling, perhaps, that there isn't likely to be anyone else at the
Club who is chased by rival clubs. If anything one might expect to see some
players moved on, with the likes of Feghouli and Nordtveit prime candidates
due to their high wages and failure to settle. Both Ayew and Snodgrass might
arguably fit that description too, but given the insane fees paid for them
they would be getting sold at a loss, and that's not something that the
Board will want, so you'd imagine both will stay.

Lots of fans would apparently give James Collins a new deal and as a fourth
choice centre half he's not bad, but I'd rather they relegated Fonte to that
role and went after a better player who could improve the team, not the
wider squad. Harry Maguire at Hull is one we've been linked with, and he can
at least still legally go on a Club 18-30 holiday.

Collins has been a wonderful servant to the Club, but the Premier League is
no place for sentimentality, and the sad fact is he is old and declining.
Not to repeat myself, to repeat myself, but we need players who might
actually improve after joining us.

10. Last Year

This was a year ago this week. Chin up - a lot can happen in twelve months.
I mean, we could get worse again but...let's not think about that.

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.

You could have surprised us
Filed: Monday, 15th May 2017
By: Staff Writer

A West Ham player who featured in Sunday's humiliating home defeat against
Liverpool insists that the season isn't over yet. Havard Nordtveit was part
of the team which was thrashed at home by a Liverpool side that hadn't
managed to beat West Ham in their previous five outings prior to Sunday
afternoon's meeting. However the Norweigan international insisted that
despite the latest crushing reversal, there is still plenty to play for this
season - with a match against Burnley to look forward to. "We will work hard
this week," said the 26-year-old midfielder. "We want to finish the season
off well at Burnley. This season has had its ups and downs, but the last
five games before Sunday were good. "It was disappointing to finish at home
like that. We wanted to finish strongly and give the fans what they deserve
with a good win, but when we conceded a goal in the last few minutes of the
first half it made it hard. "If we can get on the level of the Tottenham
game more consistently then we have a good opportunity to get back to where
we were last season."

Nordtveit, who was still part of Borussia Monchengladbach's squad 12 months
ago before joining West Ham in the summer on a free transfer was panned on
social media after the game after being accused of idly standing by as
Liverpool scored their third goal of the game.
Meanwhile fellow Hammer Winston Reid believes yesterday's defeat was "just
one of those days". "It turned into a game that we really didn't want," he
said. "They are really good. They have good quality players and have a lot
of speed. Everything went wrong. "I thought we started alright and we had a
couple of chances. But at the end of the day we lost as a team. We tried our
best and went out there to try and put on a performance. But sometimes you
have days like that - and unfortunately, we've had a few of them this


When Jonathan Calleri arrived on loan from Deportivo Maldonado back in the
summer, many were quick to source some clips of him on YouTube and they
wouldn't have been disappointed with what they saw.

Having netted 16 goals in 31 appearances for Sao Paulo in 2016, Calleri came
with high acclaim but has failed to live up to his expectations, netting
just one goal in 19 appearances for the club.

Despite Calleri admitting earlier in the season that he arrived at a club he
didn't intend to join, the 23-year-old striker has had a change of heart and
would now like to stay at the club beyond this season.

Speaking to ESPN Brasil after the game against Liverpool, Calleri admitted
that he's finding life in east London easier now and he'd like to remain at
the club:

Yeah, I've always said the places where I've been treated well, I want to go
back. I'm happy to be here. I've adapted to what is the Premier League, to
what is English football. I've learned to speak English a bit, which is what
I was lacking. And the truth is I'm very happy here. I want to stay at West
Ham or to go to another European club, which is what I've always wanted.
Calleri has started five of the last six Premier League games, his only
league starts of the season, and while he's failed to find the net, many
will agree with the statement that his general work rate and hold-up play
has been sound to say the least.

Still young, it's clear that the Argentine has quality, you only need to
look back at his performances for Boca Juniors and Sao Paulo to back that
up, so maybe he does have a future at the club if they persevere with him.

West Ham wait to hear if Pablo Zabaleta will join from Manchester City
Evening Standard

West Ham were on Monday waiting to hear whether Manchester City defender
Pablo Zabaleta will be their first summer signing. The 32-year-old
Argentine, who joined City from Espanyol in 2008, will be available on a
free transfer when his contract expires this summer and West Ham, who
desperately need a right-back, have offered a two-year contract. Zabaleta is
considering his options but West Ham remain the favourites to sign him.
Meanwhile, Winston Reid has admitted he and his team-mates have to improve
next season, following the 4-0 home defeat by Liverpool. "We know, as
players, that we have to do better than we've done this season," said the
defender. "The board and the manager know what we need next year and I am
sure they will address that but the players who have come into the team will
have learned a lot. "It's not been a good year but it could have been a lot

Toni Martinez to feature for West Ham U23s vs Newcastle in PL2 play-off
The Spanish striker is in the squad for the massive game at St James' Park
Football London
15:29, 15 MAY 2017

Spanish striker Toni Martinez is set to feature for West Ham's U23s as they
take on Newcaslte United in the PL2 division two play-off final on Tuesday
night. The Hammers reached the final thanks to a dramatic last ten minutes
against Wolves in the semi final last Monday, turning around a 1-0 deficit
into a 2-1 win as Martin Samuelsen's late penalty won it. Jahmal
Hector-Ingram had earlier levelled proceedings with 11 minutes on the
clock. The U23s top scorer Martinez returned to full training last week,
having picked up an injury towards the end of his loan spell at Oxford
United and is expected to be fit. He had scored 12 goals in 14 games for the
U23s before he was sent out on loan to the League One side, where he bagged
three goals. Marcus Browne, Josh Pask, Alex Pike, Alfie Lewis and Reece
Burke will all miss the trip through injury, but Nathan Holland is expected
to play despite picking up a knock in the semi-final. Peter Beardsley's Toon
have won three games on the bounce including a 2-0 semi-final victory over
Fulham last week, while the Hammers will be looking to make it two seasons
in a row with glory after winning the Premier League Cup last season. A
place in Division One of the P2 structure is at stake for the winner of
tomorrow's game.

West Ham among Premier League trio chasing Montpellier's Ryad Boudebouz
Danny Owen

Ryad Boudebouz's sublime performances in Ligue 1 appear to have caught the
attention of Southampton, West Ham United and West Brom.
Midfielders with the ability to score and create in equal measure do not
come around too often. Therefore, when they do, there's usually a flurry of
interest. And unsurprisingly, Montpellier talisman Ryad Boudebouz appears to
have a number of Premier League suitors after plundering 11 goals and nine
assists for an otherwise average side sitting just four points above the
Ligue 1 drop zone.
Foot 01 claims that Southampton, West Ham and West Brom are all interested
in the 24-time Algerian international. Southampton manager Claude Puel
should know Boudebouz well having spent all of his managerial career in
French football before moving to the St Mary's last summer. And the former
Nice coach will be aware that his side could do with more creative thrust
and goal threat from central midfield.
Renowned for perfectly weighted through balls and excellent dribbling
ability, Boudebouz promises to form a thrilling partnership with Nathan
Redmond (below) and Dusan Tadic.
West Brom could target Boudebouz for a similar reason. The Baggies have
overachieved this season with a top half finish within their grasp, despite
the fact that none of their midfielders have netted more than five goals in
2016/17. And West Ham will go into the summer under major pressure to get
their recruitment right after the disastrous summer 2016 window. It's
impossible to tell how Boudebouz would adapt to English football, for every
Dimitri Payet (below) there's a Remy Cabella, but the 27-year-old certainly
has the natural ability to succeed where Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore

15 May 2017

He's been linked at various times with Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea but
now it seems that Napoli hitman Dries Mertens is most likely to swap Serie A
for life at West Ham United. The Irons are 7/4 favourites to snap up the
Napoli ace, whose contract at Stadio San Paolo ends next June. And having
struggled for goals from their current front-men this term, it's fair to say
that Mertens would be a huge upgrade for the Hammers, with the versatile
forward scoring 25 goals and chalking up 10 assists for the Campania outfit
this term.

However, the East London outfit still face some pretty stiff competition for
the Belgian's signature. Everton are 4/1 shots to sign the 30-year-old,
while their city rivals Liverpool are just behind the Toffees at 5s.
Meanwhile, it's a 7/1 shot for the Leuven native to join Tottenham, while
Premier League champions Chelsea are priced up at 9/1 to acquire his
services. However, our traders can't see him following Gonzalo Higuain's
controversial path to Juventus, with 12/1 on offer for Mertens to join the
Old Lady. A Ladbrokes spokesperson said: "The Hammers could be set to make
the signing of the summer, with the bookies tipping the Belgian hitman to
head to London Stadium."

Ladbrokes Latest Betting:
Dries Mertens – Next Club

West Ham – 7/4
Everton – 4/1
Liverpool – 5/1
Tottenham – 7/1
Chelsea – 9/1
Man United – 10/1
Juventus – 12/1

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

Bilic determined to land Hammer blow in race for Napoli star
15 May at 10:37

Despite pledging his future to Napoli, Belgian international striker Dries
Mertens is once again being linked with a move to the Premier League. The
Sun reported on Sunday that the 30-year-old, already the subject of interest
from Manchester United and Chelsea, is also being eyed-up by West Ham United
boss Slaven Bilic.

Mertens has had a wonderful season in Serie A, firing in 24 goals for the
Partenopei including one in his side's 5-0 destruction of Torino on
Saturday. A new contract is on the table at the San Paolo and despite
reports suggesting the he has already put pen to paper on the deal, the club
itself are yet to confirm any agreement is in place.

The journal also states that his international colleagues Eden Hazard and
Romelu Lukaku have been explaining how happy they are in England and that a
move to join them would suit the player down to the ground. Any new deal
struck in Italy is likely to have £30M release clause written into it, a
price that would certainly not put off any potential suitors.

Arsene Wenger has dig at West Ham as he accuses teams of 'being on holiday'
for Premier League run-in
The Hammers lost 4-0 at home to Liverpool in a dent to Arsenal's top four
The Mirror
10:17, 15 MAY 2017UPDATED10:58, 15 MAY 2017

Arsene Wenger has taken an apparent shot at West Ham after accusing certain
teams of being on holiday during the Premier League run-in.
Arsenal's slim hopes of a top four finish were hit when Liverpool eased to a
4-0 win at the London Stadium on Sunday. That meant that Jurgen Klopp's men
are assured to finish above the Gunners if they beat already-relegated
Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.
And it would appear that the performance of Slaven Bilic's men did not
impress Wenger. "When you are a manager you want your team to give
everything until the last moment. You hope that results go your way," Wenger
said. "Some teams turn up, some teams are on holiday. You just want your
team to play well. "To be professional is to do your job well until the last
day of the season. "To look into the mirror and say you did it properly is
vital. If we don't have the results I am disappointed but what is not
excusable is to not give your best."

Are the West Ham kids alright? Bilic should find out against Burnley if he
wants a glimpse into the future
The final game of the season represents an opportunity
Football London
10:19, 15 MAY 2017

Much has been made about West Ham's famed "Academy of Football" and rightly
so as it has produced a brilliant line of talent over the decades. But,
Reece Oxford aside recently, the production line has somewhat stalled as the
clubs starts to poach youngsters from other clubs, think Toni Martinez,
Domingos Quina, Edimilson Fernandes, Ashley Fletcher in the past 12 months.
Even U23 skipper Declan Rice was poached from Chelsea as a kid and Nathan
Holland was brought in from Everton back in February. If the Hammers have
one eye on the future, which they absolutely should, the final Premier
League trip to Burnley represents a chance to see just how good these kids
really are. With West Ham not having the best season - but a top ten finish
is still on the cards - Slaven Bilic may not be willing to throw some of the
younger stars into the fire but in a game with not too much riding on it, it
does present a chance. Burnley away is a stern test. The Clarets may not be
the top flights strongest side but they are no mugs at Turf Moor and we have
seen many a big side struggle there, it could be a very good test for the
youth. Ashley Fletcher can lead the line, throw Quina in on the right wing
of the diamond, Declan Rice can line up at centre half alongside an
experienced defender, probably Winston Reid and give James Collins a rest.
Quina has been in a number of matchday squads but barely seen any game time,
the same as Fletcher. Rice has been involved more recently and picked up the
Young Hammer of the Year award last week.
There is even a case for someone like Moses Makasi to get a run out in
centre midfield alongside Fernandes. West Ham have eight players out injured
at the moment and these players aren't going to be around forever anyway, so
why not see if the kids are alright? They have done extremely well to reach
the PL2 play-off final on Tuesday night at Newcastle, so why not see if they
can take that next step?

Andre Ayew's unforgivable miss against Liverpool surely a contender for
"miss of the season"
Published on: 15 May 2017

Andre Ayew hit the post from point-blank range twice in a matter of moments
during West Ham's clash with Liverpool, a miss Graeme Souness described as
one of the worst of the season. The ball fell to the Ghana striker inside
the six-yard box after Liverpool failed to deal with a Manuel Lanzini
corner. With the goal gaping, the forward controlled the ball and turned it
towards goal from around two yards out. Incredibly the ball came back off
the right-hand post and back into Ayew's path. Having fallen over during his
first attempt at goal, the striker then poked the ball home from a sitting
position. Again the ball came back off the post. This time, however, it
rebounded into the arms of a thankful Simon Mignolet. The miss ensured West
Ham went in at half-time of the Premier League clash trailing 1-0 after
Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool into the lead midway through the first half.
During the break Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness blasted the West Ham
forward's failure to find the net, claiming: 'It's up there with the misses
of the season, you can imagine Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal lads watching
this one.

West Ham have a horrendous record without Mark Noble - why do they struggle
so much?
He is Mr West Ham and his team really can't click without him in the team
Football London
06:30, 15 MAY 2017

Some of the criticism levelled at Mark Noble this season was quite strong.
He's too slow, only passes sideways, gets caught out positionally, doesn't
score enough goals etc etc etc. But, let's look at the stats and see just
how much the Hammers struggle without their captain because the bare facts
are right there and they do not make for pleasant reading.
Since January 2015:

Played 11
Won 0
Drawn 4
Lost 7
Scored 10
Conceded 22

So, there you have it. Out of a possible 33 points available to West Ham in
those games without Noble, they have picked up a measly seven points. Noble
is Mr West Ham, he is the heartbeat of the team. Even if he hasn't been
playing great, his presence in central midfield is enough to spur others on,
especially when they have been so out of form like some Hammers players have
been this season.
He provides that defensive shield in front of the defence, he will win the
crunching tackle in midfield, he will be the one to just calm things down if
his teammates are losing their way.

How can you say Noble is not vital to this team?

He does the donkey work which allows Manuel Lanzini - formerly Dimitri Payet
- to go ahead and be creative. Without him in the side, West Ham are exposed
so very easily. His experience is crucial to this team. When times are
tough, he can drag them back up. When times are good, he will keep everyone
in check. His absence at the London Stadium for Sunday's trouncing by
Liverpool was arguably the most evident yet. Havard Nordveit, playing for
his West Ham future, completely froze. His central midfield partner,
Edimilson Fernandes, is more offensive minded and was far too cavalier at
times when he needed to be disciplined.

For all of the criticism he has received this season, Mark Noble is still as
vital to the team as he ever has been. He's ticked over 400 appearances for
the club and by the looks of it, they will need him to stick around for a
lot more than that.

Why West Ham's attempt to scare off rivals could have the opposite effect
Antony Martin

West Ham United star Manuel Lanzini has really impressed this term. News
broke yesterday regarding the Hammers' stance on Manuel Lanzini, with the
Mirror reporting that they will demand at least £30 million for the
Argentine this summer, with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal all
reportedly interested in signing the diminutive playmaker. The gist of the
article form the Mirror was that this supposed £30 million asking price has
been slapped on the 24-year-old in an effort to warn off any potential
suitors, but in reality, it should only serve as an incentive for the clubs
mentioned above to make their move.
To describe today's transfer market as inflated would be an understatement,
and the price quoted as the amount needed to prise Lanzini away from the
London Stadium seems totally reasonable, especially when it is considered
how many years left he has before he reaches his peak. The Argentine has
proven this year just how good a player he is, showcasing his incredible
talent on a consistent basis, and he would be the ideal addition for a team
like Spurs or Arsenal who have lacked that cutting edge in the final third
on occasions this season. He is a wonderfully intelligent footballer, and
the mature manner in which he conducts his business defies his tender years.

When it is considered that Granit Xhaka was signed for £35 million and
Georginio Wijnaldum for £25 million, Lanzini for £30 million sounds like an
extremely reasonable piece of business. First and foremost, the East London
outfit should be looking to keep hold of the gifted midfielder for as long
as possible, but if that proves to be impossible, they should be demanding a
lot more than the £30 million that is being quoted. He is still under
contract with the Hammers until the summer of 2020, so they do still hold
all the cards, and should under no circumstance allow Lanzini to leave the
club for less than he is worth, especially in the current climate of the
transfer market.

Newcastle United in 'shock move' for Andy Carroll
So, Andy Carroll once again on his way back to Newcastle in a 'shock move',
if you believe the papers...
The Mag
by John Martin

Newcastle are making a 'shock move' for Andy Carroll according to media
reports in recent days. Rafa Benitez sees the West Ham striker as ideal to
give his team that extra quality as they return to the Premier League…or so
the story goes. The reality is of course, that the only 'shock' thing about
this story, is that it would be a massive shock if Newcastle weren't linked
with Andy Carroll. In pretty much every transfer window since he flew away
from Tyneside six and a half years ago, there have been media exclusives
that the striker is on his way back to St James Park. The truth of course is
that there must be zero interest for Rafa in signing the former Newcastle
striker. A quick look at his stats will tell you that, with the usual
refrain being 'if only he could stay fit…'. Bottom line is that in six and a
half seasons after Newcastle sold him for £35m, Andy Carroll has only scored
36 Premier League goals – in his final 15 months at NUFC he scored 28 league
goals (Championship & Premier League). To get those 36 goals, Carroll has
only managed to start exactly 100 league matches, with another 42
appearances off the bench. So Carroll's post-Newcastle career sees him
averaging around 15 league starts per season and a shade under six goals
each year. This season he once again has flattered to deceive, scoring some
very good PL goals and managing seven in 15 starts (plus three off the
bench) but injuries are once again making him into a liability overall.
To sum it up, Andy Carroll is once again out injured as this current season
comes to an end (he has two years left on his contract after signing a six
year deal in 2013). Just have a look at this injury record (dates are when
first out with that particular injury) in just the last three years. So just
as it is a foregone conclusion that we will be linked with Andy Carroll this
summer, you can take it just as much for granted that we won't be seeing him
back in a Newcastle shirt.

Andy Carroll's injuries in past three years:

Groin Strain (April 2017)
Groin Strain (February 2017)
Groin/Pelvis Injury (January 2017)
Neck Injury (January 2017)
Knee Injury (August 2017)
Groin Strain (February 2016)
Hamstring (January 2016)
Thigh Muscle Strain (December 2015)
Ankle/Foot Injury (September 2015)
MCL Knee Ligament Injury (February 2015)
Knee Injury (January 2015)
Ankle Ligaments (July 2014)

By HamburgHammer 15 May 2017 at 08:00

Make no mistake, that was one crap Sunday all around for me. Starting with
the Concordia game early afternoon (excuse me if I start with them, if you
ain't interested, just skip the first two paragraphs). In order to keep any
mathematical promotion chance alive Cordi had to beat an already relegated
home side (Halstenbek-Rellingen) who moreover had one eye on their upcoming
local Cup Final, yet Cordi somehow managed to lose yet another game against
inferior opposition (and the refereeing crew) by a 1:2 scoreline.
The refs strangely enough were all from former East Germany (???), and not
even from clubs in the local area, but from far away, and the linesman on my
side started to fight his own personal battle against Concordia's players,
manager, assistant coaches, substitutes and fans, myself included (!!!)
right from the first whistle.
Whenever someone dared vociferously questioning a dubious offside call or
freekick decision he told everyone to pipe down or face being ejected from
the coaching zone/stadium straight away. That's the kind of guy he was.
Attention seeker if I ever saw one. Secretly wishing to be the referee
himself instead of only being the assistant waving his sorry little flag at
random. Shortly before the end he jumped at the chance to give Concordia the
proverbial finger in the shape of some payback, coaxing the ref into
awarding a suspicious penalty against the Cordi boys, giving a handball
against our defender who had cleared the ball on the line. The ball might in
fact have hit his arm actually, but from very short distance and the player
was merely turning himself away, arm NOT even stretching out from his body,
in order to block the shot. But a red card was given regardless, the
opposition scored the penalty and that was that. Game and season over.

It was a season of two halves for Cordi, being breathtakingly fantastic
until shortly before Christmas while playing incredibly dire for pretty much
the remainder of the season. But on the plus side the club is gearing
towards promotion in the near future and there have even been rumours of
Cordi building a new stadium of their own not too far from where I live
actually, walking distance even at one and a half miles away.
This could be a goer if the City of Hamburg agreed to put a bit of money
into that project in a supporting role, same as what happened at other local
clubs in recent years, doing up football pitches or building new grounds
altogether. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed most certainly.

As for the West Ham game against Liverpool, well, the less said the better,
when I switched on the game upon my return (game hadn't finished yet) we
were 3:0 down already with almost half an hour left to go. From what I saw
meself and what the pundits said in their post game analysis I gathered that
our team must have been as indifferent, terrible and mistake-ridden in this
one as we were eager, brilliant and focussed the week before in our win
against Spurs.

I would not read too much into that result though, Klopp and Liverpool had
everything to play for, we already had our personal Cup Final against Spurs
and it appears to me like our season's bubble had reached the sky with the
Spurs win only to fade, burst and die straight after. We also cannot ignore
the ridiculous list of players being out, recovering from surgical repairs
and the like. We have been discussing in numerous threads how much we need
to learn from this nightmare of a season. We've suffered enough injuries,
rotten luck and bad decisions at club level to last three seasons, nevermind
just the one almost completed.

We all sense the need to address a multitude of pressing issues in order to
avoid a repeat of this dire season in 2017/18. For me the main thing still
lacking at West Ham is a clear path, a long-term strategy and concept to
adhere to and follow doggedly with focus and determination. Decide what kind
of club we actually want to be, what kind of football we want to play and
then put the personnel in place, the training regime, the transfer strategy

And stick to it. It may cost money but that comes with the territory of
playing Premier League football.

As I said, I have already renewed my season ticket. So who we sell, who we
sign, if we get rid of Bilic and bring in Mancini will not make much of a
difference tobe me in terms of the number of games I will attend next
season. Of course I would prefer us to keep Bilic and hang on to players
like Lanzini, Antonio and Kouyate. But if not, well, I would make a mental
note to myself in that case and will continue to criticise the owners when I
feel it's warranted.

But I still have some hope we will see a much different transfer window at
West Ham this summer. If not the backlash for the owners prior to what would
then be our third season at the London Stadium would be massive and I
wouldn't want to be in their shoes in that scenario.

Talking of the board, I briefly have to mention that I tried to initiate a
preseason friendly between "my" clubs, West Ham and Concordia, in Hamburg,
this summer.
With the kind help of Sean Whetstone my request actually reached the
relevant people in charge at West Ham and there was potential to find a
suitable venue and date in July.

Alas, unfortunately the match fee asked for/required by West Ham was
prohibitive for a club of Concordia's size and budget to get this game on
the road.
I spoke to the Concordia hierarchy at length, and doing their sums back and
forth they tried to find a workable solution, but Concordia as a lower
league club couldn't risk financial ruin in order to host a marquee friendly
against Premier League opposition just for the same of it.

I still have to thank Sean a lot for trying to get the ball rolling.

I will stay in touch with him and West Ham though about the possibility to
play a friendly against the West Ham U23s or U18s sometime in the future, or
maybe Concordia can find a way to travel to London and play a game at Little
Heath or at Dagenham's Victoria Road ground. We will see. I ain't giving up
just yet.

I hope you all still had a great WHTID meetup yesterday, I always find it an
experience to put some more faces to names, to drink and be merry with my
fellow fans and readers too in some cases. I know technically the season
ain't quite finished yet and that our development squad too have another
vital game later today.

However, I wanna take this opportunity to thank you all for reading my stuff
and putting up with me, especially those of you I had the pleasure sharing
time with in person over the course of the season, you all know who you are
and how much I value the chats and quality time we shared. Hope for more of
that next season!

As for West Ham though I hope for plenty of improvements on various fronts.
It's about time. The stadium will not get any smaller or change its shape.

And attendances are bound to suffer eventually unless the club and team
mirrors our new stadium in terms of size and quality (and I mean the quality
of the stadium and its facilities as a sports venue, not a football
stadium). We play in a massive stadium now. Our club needs to grow as well
in order to fit the place. So far we haven't really begun doing that.

Over to you Lady Brady, Mr.Sullivan, Mr.Gold and Poštovani gospodine Bilic.
I am sure the West Ham fans will continue to cheer the team on to finally
see better times coming our way.

God, do we deserve a bit of fortune next season! COYI!!!



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