Monday, May 1

Daily WHUFC News - 1st May 2017

Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic hoping West Ham United can emulate last season's home win over
Tottenham Hotspur
Hammers defeated title-chasing Spurs in the final derby between the two at
the Boleyn Ground
Manager believes Andy Carroll could return after two-match absence on Friday

Slaven Bilic is hoping to 'enjoy' Friday's Premier League visit of
title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur to London Stadium. The Croatian's West Ham
United side go into the derby under the lights on a four-game unbeaten run,
and having kept clean sheets in three of those matches. The Hammers are
still not mathematically safe from relegation, but victory over their
near-neighbours would secure their top-flight status. "That game is always
big, it's a derby, and it can't be just an ordinary game," Bilic observed.
"Then, if you add to that that it's Friday night and they need points to
stay in the race for the Premier League, and we need points to climb or to
make us safe, it makes it even bigger. "We're going to approach it in a very
positive way, four games unbeaten, with three clean sheets in the last four
games and knowing we are playing, for me, against the best team in the
league. "Hopefully I'm going to enjoy it, but it's going to be a very
nervous game. We will have to be on top of our game, defending even better
than we did at Stoke, and taking our chances and scoring the goals. But we
did it last year, beating them at home, when they were also on fire and

West Ham's chances of beating Mauricio Pochettino's men will be boosted by
the potential return of Andy Carroll to the squad a two-game absence with a
groin problem. The east Londoners have failed to score in those two games,
drawing 0-0 with Everton and Stoke City, and Bilic knows the No9's presence
adds a new dimension to his team. "I will be very disappointed if he is not
involved in our next game," he stated. "It looked like he would be 50-50 for
the Everton game, but it wasn't, so hopefully he's going to make it to be
involved against Tottenham. "He won't be available for 90 minutes, but you
don't need to play the whole game to be effective, like Stoke put Peter
Crouch on for 20 minutes on Saturday. You want to have him at least on the
bench, because it gives a lift to the team as we are lacking goals.
"Everything else I am happy with. We are defending good, we have a good
shape and everything, never losing composure, good on the ball, but there we
are. "I know that Andy is not injured because he is not professional. That
script is not the case. I know that Andy is very settled down, very up for
training and looking after his body and it looked, at one stage of the
season, that he would be OK and all that. "It's not coincidence that during
that period we won six out of nine, then suddenly we are without him."

Adrian keen for more clean sheets

Goalkeeper Adrian is hoping to add more clean sheets to his tally before the
season's climax
The Spaniard kept his second shut-out in as many games as the Hammers drew
0-0 with Stoke City on Saturday
The keeper is yet to concede since his return to the starting XI

Having kept his second clean sheet in as many games since returning to the
West Ham United starting XI, goalkeeper Adrian is hoping to continue his
good form for the remainder of the season. One of the standout performers in
the Hammers' goalless draw with Stoke City on Saturday at the bet365
Stadium, the Spaniard kept the hosts at bay with a number of smart stops.
Preferred in goal to Darren Randolph in recent weeks, Adrian has performed
well having bided his time and superbly denied the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri,
Saido Berahino and Marko Arnautovic on Saturday. And with three games of the
campaign left to play, the stopper is keen to add more clean sheets to his
tally before the league's climax. He said: "The Premier League is never
easy, and it's always difficult, but we showed today that we are a solid
team and we defended very well. "It's not just about the defenders; it
started at the strikers. Today we were a little bit unlucky that we couldn't
score that one goal and get the three points. "It's also very difficult to
keep a clean sheet in the Premier League, and we have now two in two games.
We want to win as many games as possible now. "We have two big games left
at home now – Tottenham and Liverpool – very hard, but two good games and we
need to keep showing this solid defending as well so we can keep getting
Adrian's last appearance before losing his No1 spot to Randolph earlier in
the season was in the reverse fixture against the Potters earlier this
season, and since, he has been forced to watch from the substitutes' bench.
But, reinstated for last weekend's London Stadium fixture against Everton,
the goalkeeper is delighted that his patience is now beginning to pay off.
"It was difficult waiting to play obviously," he continued. "I am a
professional so it's been hard the last few months, but at the end of the
day, we are a team. "Darren and me work hard every day together, and yes, we
are good friends. It's not just us – there is Rapha [Spiegel] and the young
goalkeepers too. "It was really open at Stoke and we had some chances, in
the second half too. Both teams had good chances to score but it was a
Premier League game. It's finished 0-0 and one more point. "It was a
reaction save from Arnautovic [that I made]. I tried to touch it with my
hand to get it away from his head, which I managed to do."

Club response to newspaper report

In response to an article in today's Mail on Sunday newspaper, West Ham
United would like to clarify the following:

1. Dimitri Payet had a £1m annual loyalty payment, which was detailed in his
contract submitted to the Premier League and The FA. Payment was made via
his normal monthly pay and subject to 45 per cent income tax and National
Insurance, which was deducted at source and was paid to his UK bank account
along with his normal monthly wages. There is nothing to probe about this

2. In contrast to many Premier League clubs, not a single West Ham United
player has any part of his salary paid as image rights.

Fonte - It gives us a good base

Jose Fonte was pleased to help the Hammers keep a third clean sheet from
their last four games as they drew 0-0 at Stoke City on Saturday. The point
brought Slaven Bilic's men ever-closer to the milestone of 40 after a
closely-contested match at the bet365 Stadium, which saw West Ham extend
their unbeaten run to four games. Fonte is delighted with the defensive
resilience his team are showing at the moment, and is sure the goals will
soon follow at the other end of the pitch. He explained: "It's positive,
it's another point on the board and with a little bit more composure in the
final third we could have got the win. "At the end of the day, it's Stoke
away, it's another clean sheet and another good display defensively. "It
gives us a good base for the rest of the games that we have. We have to
maintain this defensive shape and resilience, and hopefully we will have
some people back to give more options up front. The Portugal defender had
praise for Adrian, who made an excellent reaction save from Marko Arnautovic
in the second half. He added: "Adrian has been very good since he came back
into the team and on Saturday he had an important role. "He made a couple of
saves, so congratulations to him - he helped the team and this is a team
effort. I think everyone played their part. "Their goalkeeper also made some
good saves. We tried, we had some good opportunities and he did well. "If we
had a little more assurance with that last pass we could have created more
dangerous situations, but that will come. "The boys are working really hard
on the training ground, they are fantastic, and we are looking forward to
the next two games at home."


Written by Matt Brown @footballtyper

I can immediately see comparisons between my team, Sheffield Wednesday, and
West Ham. Last season Wednesday, to many, overachieved. I think the same can
be said about West Ham with Slaven Bilic steering The Irons to finish 7th in
the top flight, in his debut season as manager. Hitting these sorts of
heights in your maiden campaign in charge can really work against you

First of all, setting the bar so high, it duly raises expectations. Why
shouldn't it? Fans want to see their club progress, so finishing 7th, you
want better than that the following season. Otherwise, it's seen as a step
forward but then two steps back if you fail to build on the headway made the
previous campaign. Hype surrounds most football clubs and when things are
going well, it can all get over hyped, not just by fans but the board too.

Many would describe me as ITK in regard to Sheffield Wednesday. Transfers
are my forte, as they are @ExWHUemployee's. I'm an avid follower of Ex's
timeline and also the radio show on Phoenix FM. What became apparent to me
is that the board did a lot of talking in terms of "we'll spend this" or
"we're in for so and so." This approach to me, as a football fan, is
something I simply cannot fathom, for various reasons.

First of all, keeping your targets as under wraps as possible is key to
going about transfer business in football. This isn't always possible though
due to the number of people involved in a deal. Agents like to talk, A LOT.
Purposely of course. They want to increase competition for their client, in
order to get the player a better financial package and also increase their
own earnings. For the buying club to come out and suggest they have an array
of riches at their disposal to buy the likes of an Alexandre Lacazette or a
Carlos Bacca, to me, is nothing more than the hierarchy massing their egos,
so to speak.

It can be a pretty damaging route to go down as figureheads of a family
club. The board need to retain a good relationship with the fan base. A
divide can have devastating consequences if supporters feel trust has been
broken between themselves and those making the decisions. Everyone loves a
good transfer rumour and they are usually just that, rumours. I feel when
someone high up at a football club hints towards the rumour though it
changes from a rumour into a possibility. It goes from pipedream to reality.
There is a mass furore surrounding the potential arrival and if the club
don't deliver, the supporters are left understandably disenchanted and
cracks in the relationship between the hierarchy and fan base start to
slowly appear.

Another potential pitfall in being so publically brazen about transfer
activity is that rivals are alerted. It could be a case of letting another
club do the leg work before swooping in and snaring the player from right
under their counterpart's noses. Why would you make a deal public knowledge
that could go a lot smoother and be financially more viable, if as few
people as possible know about it?

Onto on the field matters and the current campaign has been disappointing,
there's no denying that. It's been a season where West Ham have languished
at the wrong end of the table instead of building on what was achieved last
term. You could highlight that recruitment has played a part here with new
arrivals failing to hit the minimum levels expected. I don't think you can
solely park the blame here though.

There's been a lot of supporters who have found themselves disillusioned by
Slaven Bilic in his second season as manager. You could make a case of the
Croatian putting square pegs in round holes. One example has been the right
back slot. Former Wednesday player, Michail Antonio, was shoehorned into the
position for a short period. To me, I can kind of see the logic here.
Antonio does, in my opinion, have the attributes to play there. He's got
bags of energy, has a great spring, he's physically strong and he's close to
6'0 tall. You can see why it could work. Unfortunately it didn't. Bilic was
heavily criticised by some for taking the decision and sticking with it but
hindsight is a wonderful thing after all.

What I have noticed is that West Ham have conceded a lot of goals this
season. Slaven is a former international centre half. Julian Dicks, another
former defender, is working at the club but both seemingly aren't involved
in coaching the defensive unit? I don't understand how that works. I think
the defence, primarily, has to do the basics well. Just head it and kick it
out of the back, keep it simple. Build that confidence. It sounds too easy
from how I've just described it but when your defenders aren't able to do
the straightforward things effortlessly, at this level of football, you will
get punished. I think working as a unit is key to a good defence. Strong
understandings and the ability to do the uncomplicated successfully, will
stand you in good stead going forward. It will give you a solid base to
build on.

I saw, via Ex, that possibly Rio Ferdinand had offered his services to West
Ham to come in and help out with the defence. Rio is my favourite all time
centre half. He did the simple things extremely well but also added that bit
extra, that bit of magic, that transformed him from great to one of the best
in the world. He built good partnerships during his career, with the likes
of Woodgate and Vidic and he knew how important working as a unit was. I
would have expected the club and Slaven to bite his hand off when the offer
was forthcoming. Alternatively, Bilic or Dicks should be overseeing the
defensive coaching.

Another comparison I can make between Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham is
that of a player being a rebel. Fernando Forestieri, in Wednesday's case and
Payet in West Ham's. Expressing a desire to leave, refusing to play and
alienating themselves from their teammates is a commonality I can draw on
here. There is no denying Payet's ability as a footballer but that was
underpinned by his inexcusable behaviour. With the player on big money and
approaching his twilight years, maybe the board had no option but to sell
him. Some would say the club should have taken a stand against him, as
Wednesday did with Forestieri, but it's not always possible.

Looking forward, I feel the debate will rage amongst West Ham fans, as to
whether Bilic is the man to move the club forward. The reality is, that
decision rests with the board. They look like they're backing him and they
will need to back him in the summer window too. It has to be a case of less
talk, more action, with better decisions made by all involved in

by Steve Claydon @trbeat

Tactically Weird

Bilic decided that last week's formation, three central defenders and
wing-backs, may also work this week and to be fair the defence was stout and
limited Stoke to some long-range efforts and the odd chance. What troubled
me was some of the substitutions. Let's review each one.

Half time. Masuaku off for Cresswell. As I write this, I have not had a
chance to see If this one was due to an injury. Masuaku looked good both
defending and attacking and seeing him replaced at half time left me
wondering why, and the first attack of the second half by Stoke left
Creswell in knots, and we luckily escaped with no punishment. While
Cresswell settled in, we did lack momentum moving forward in that area, and
it negated what looked promising in the first half.

Noble for Ayew. Another strange decision. It looked like Bilic was happy
to settle for a point. Ayew is not a prolific scorer, but he does have a
knack for being in the right place at the right time. Noble certainly adds
more of a defensive responsibility to the game, but it seemed an adverse
change, unless, as with the first one it was due to injury. However, Ayew's
body language seemed to indicate otherwise.

Snodgrass for Calleri. I am not a fan of Calleri. I'll take goals over
rabona flicks but bringing on Snodgrass for Calleri when you have Fletcher
on the bench seemed silly at best. If you wanted to add pace, to provide an
outlet, then bring on Feghouli. We took a point, but it showed that we are
incredibly thin at the striker position or even someone who can play in that

Defense Playing Strong

Two clean sheets. I cannot complain about that. I do like playing with
three central defenders, but I hope that Fernandes, camped out as the
left-wing back is not something we stick with as I think he has a lot to
offer in his natural position, which in my mind is central position looking
to attack. I am also really starting to see the potential of Masuaku. The
last couple of games he has shown off both his defensive and attacking
skills, and with a full pre-season, he could cement his place in the team.
However, that does beg the question of where that leave Cresswell.
Competition is good, but do we have the ability to keep both players? Will
one of them want more playing time over the other and cause issues?

Adrian looking back to his best

As someone who was happy to see Adrian replaced after his antics against
Stoke in the reverse fixture, I am pleased with his maturity and skills over
the last two games. When Randolph was between the sticks, there was always
a fear that he would lose the game for us and in some cases, he did lose us
some points. With Adrian, back, there seems that calm has come over the
team, something I didn't think I'd ever say. Adrian seems focused on the
team, and less about himself, his antics and trying to make every save look
world class. He seems very grounded. Teams in the Premier League who have
diligent sensible and confident keepers thrive far better than others. I'll
take three more clean sheets to wrap this season up.

Cramped Midfield

It's been a strange season in more ways than one. I don't think we have
gone through four games without drama (always nice to have HRMC pay a visit)
or some positive things happening. One of the positives has been the
partnership of Nordtveit and Kouyate. A few weeks ago the positive was
Obiang and Kouyate. Now let's fast forward to next season, and I'll assume
we stay up. Obiang is clearly a player we want to keep and a starter as is
Kouyate. Now keep looking; Nordtveit, Noble, Fernandes, and some youngsters
all seeking to be part of that group. It's going to be a crowded defensive
midfield area. I would hate to see any of these players leave and to be
honest, I don't think any will, but if we do bring another one in, then
Obiang could be the one that generates some interest in the transfer market.
He has the best market value and is probably the most rounded player at that
position. We have to be careful that we don't subtract by addition.
Something we did last year when we thought that Tore and Feghouli would
upgrade our wings, and to compound matters the January signing of Snodgrass.

Different Week. Same Problem.

We can argue all day about the potential of Calleri. Against Stoke, he
skied a pull back into row z and tried to be so smart in scoring when all he
needed to do was push the ball slightly to the left and strike it hard and
low. At that moment, if he had done the basics, 3,000 odd fans would have
been delirious. Instead, we are left to wonder who might score the next
goal. Carroll might be fit but won't last a full 90 minutes. Sakho will be
sulking, even if he shows up. Calleri can't hit a barn door from 12 yards,
and Fletcher seems to be the kid who gets picked last at school. So, if you
can tell me where the goals are going to come from on Friday, please write
your answers on a postcard and send them to me no later than Thursday. Maybe
the winner can get a Blue Peter Badge and play up front.

Roll on Friday, and with a win, it will be a great way to start the weekend,
killing off our bitter rivals Premier League hope, just like last year and
maintaining Premiership survival.

West Ham insist no wrongdoing in £1m loyalty payment paid to Dimitri Payet
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 30/04/17 10:25pm

West Ham have insisted a £1m loyalty payment paid to former midfielder
Dimitri Payet was all above board following raids by HMRC earlier this week.
A report in the Mail on Sunday suggested the £1m bonus fee paid to the
France international was one of the reasons behind the raids at the London
Stadium and the club's training ground on Wednesday. West Ham have said the
payment was paid into Payet's UK bank account, along with his normal monthly
wages, and was subject to 45 per cent income tax and National Insurance.
They also confirmed the payment was detailed in a contract submitted to the
Premier League and Football Association and insisted no player at the club
has any part of their salary paid as image rights. A statement released on
the club's official website read: "Dimitri Payet had a £1m annual loyalty
payment, which was detailed in his contract submitted to the Premier League
and The FA. "Payment was made via his normal monthly pay and subject to 45
per cent income tax and National Insurance, which was deducted at source and
was paid to his UK bank account along with his normal monthly wages. "There
is nothing to probe about this payment. "In contrast to many Premier League
clubs, not a single West Ham United player has any part of his salary paid
as image rights."
Payet joined West Ham from Marseille in June 2015 for £10.75m and went on to
score 15 goals in 60 appearances, helping the club secure qualification to
the Europa League in his first season. West Ham rewarded Payet with a new
deal in February 2016 and, following his sensational Euro 2016 campaign with
France, handed him a loyalty bonus in a bid to keep him at the club.
However, Payet returned to Marseille for £25m in January in acrimonious
circumstances after informing manager Slaven Bilic that he would no longer
play for the club.

Bilic fumes at Lanzini, Masuaku Messi-esque nutmegs and Ayew furious -
moments you might have missed
West Ham drew 0-0 at Stoke City in the Premier League - but did you pick up
on all these incidents?
Football London
13:20, 30 APR 2017UPDATED13:22, 30 APR 2017

Slaven Bilic said before the game he is starting to expect more from Manuel
Lanzini and he certainly gave him a berating when the Argentine made a
mistake. Arthur Masuaku was in oceans of space on the left wing but instead
of passing to him, Lanzini tried to take on three Stoke players and lost the
ball. Cue Bilic absolutely losing his mind at the midfielder and Lanzini
quickly retreating back to the middle of the pitch. King Arthur had an
outrageous 45 seconds midway through the first half. Frst off, he left
Xherdan Shaqirir flat on his backside with a cruyff turn that nutmegged the
Swiss star - Masuaku did this just a couple of yards outside his own box.
The French left back then produced another fine piece of skill and defending
to nick the ball of Glen Johnson in the penalty box, which caused the former
England right back to lsoe his right boot, much to the laughter of the
visiting Hammers fans.

It's always been a question - studs or blades?

Blads are certainly the vogue, erm, stud, to have on your boots in the
Premier League these days but when you see players falling over constantly,
you do wonder if they made the right choice. No less than five players were
flat on their backsides within the first quarter f an hour without going
down under any contact.
The Bet365 pitch was heavily watered before the game for the beenfit of
slick passing, obviously, but it certainly contributed to many players
losing their balance.

Andre Ayew less than impressed

The Hammers record signing was really coming into the game after the break
but then all his momentum stalled when he was subbed off with 20 minutes to
Ayew looked perpelexed as his number was read out over the tannoy - he
hadn't even turned round to look at who was coming off - before realising it
was him.
The Ghanaian trudged off and straight past his manager, who gave him a pat
on the back but Ayew didn't exchange a glance with Slaven Bilic as he went
to the bench.

Calleri wasting a golden chance

It's not the two chances in front of goal that he had and subsequently
spurned in both halves, no. In the first half, Calleri won the ball of Glen
Johnson and went off to the races down the left he didn't. That's
what he should have done but instead, he turned back on himself and played a
pass inside to Manuel Lanzini. Had Calleri got his head up and went on a
run, West Ham had a three on one down the left hand side, with a charging
Arthur Masuaku the likely outlet. It was a massive opportunity. Maybe we are
nitpicking but all the Argentine had to do was get his head up and see the
space in front of hm, rather than laying it off to his international


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