Wednesday, May 3

Daily WHUFC News - 3rd May 2017

PL2 play-off tickets on sale

A limited number of tickets have been available for Monday's Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United at Molineux.

The Hammers reached the promotion play-offs by winning 4-0 at West Bromwich Albion on the final evening of the regular season, and also won by the same scoreline when they traveled Wolves before Christmas.

Should Academy Director Terry Westley's side prevail against Wolves, they will travel to either Newcastle United or Fulham in the play-off final, with the winners being promoted to Premier League 2 Division 1.

To secure your seats for Monday's semi-final, click here.

Seating for the 7pm kick-off is all unreserved and tickets will require collection on the day at Molineux from the Ticket Office located between the Stan Cullis and Billy Wright Stands. Supporters should take their booking reference and ID for collection.

For Season Ticket Holders booking in advance and up until Monday 8 May at 11am these will be free.

For all non-Season Ticket Holders, seats are priced at £4 for Adults and £1 for O65s U17s when booked in advance.
Season Ticket Holders will also be charged if purchasing at Molineux on the day.

The Big Interview - Jose Fonte

Jose Fonte is relishing the opportunity to get one over three men he knows well when Tottenham Hotspur visit London Stadium on Friday evening.

West Ham United's Portugal centre-back played under Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino for 18 months at Southampton between January 2013 and summer 2014, helping the Saints finish eighth in the Premier League in the manager's only full season in charge.

The following campaign saw Fonte form a formidable partnership with Tottenham star Toby Alderweirld at St Mary's, helping Southampton to the second-best defensive record in the top division.

Both campaigns saw the Hammer play alongside Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama, who joined his former colleagues at White Hart Lane last June, with the trio combining to lead Tottenham on a sustained challenge for the Premier League title this term.

Fonte discussed his old colleagues' fortunes, but insisted he was totally focused on helping to ensure they endure a miserable first visit to West Ham's new home.

Jose, we earned a third clean sheet in four matches and made it four unbeaten at Stoke City on Saturday, when our performance was certainly not one of a team which believes the season is over?

"We spoke before the game at Stoke and we have experienced players in our dressing room. We want to win every game between now and the end of the season and finish on a high because obviously it's important to fight for our badge, for our fans and also for ourselves.

"We will give everything and continue to work really hard because that's the only way."

Next up we face Tottenham Hotspur in a game every West Ham supporter will want to win…

"Listen, it's a game we are all looking forward to. Obviously we know they are fighting for the title and they are playing really well and have a good manager and good players, but we're at home and we want to make sure we beat them and give the fans something to be proud of.

"We will give our best to win the game and that's all we can do."

On Friday, we face a manager in Mauricio Pochettino and players in Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama who you know well from your time at Southampton. What can you tell us about them?

"Pochettino is a great manager and I don't need to speak much about him because you can see the job that he is doing. He helped me a lot when we worked together and improved me, and I can only say 'Thank you' for what he did for me, but we're on opposite sides now!

"Alderweireld is a great player and we had a great season together [in 2014/15], while Wanyama is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, so what can you say? They are great guys.

"It's going to be tough, but we're in a good place now and we look forward to the challenge and we want to give the fans something to be proud of."

Looking back on the goalless draw at Stoke, their goalkeeper Jack Butland was voted Man of the Match, so that shows how many chances we had to win the game?

"Their goalkeeper 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."

Our goalkeeper Adrian also looked very solid, as he did against Everton on his return to the starting XI?

"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."


Hello Hammers. Here is today's lunchtime round up.

Stan Collymore says West Ham will be monitoring Rafael Benitez this summer. (Daily Star)

Rafael Benitez has done an incredible job at Newcastle, there is no denying that. After a disappointing spell in Madrid at the start of last season, he took a chance when he opted for the Newcastle job. Since then he has not only rebuilt Newcastle, but he has rebuilt himself too. I think he is a brilliant manager, but I would like to think that he wouldn't be top of the list of candidates to replace Slaven Bilic. I think we should be backing Bilic now.

Slaven Bilic says he is planning to hold talks with Andy Carroll at the end of the season, regarding his injury record. (Evening Standard)

I honestly think that there is too much pressure on Andy Carroll at times. When he isn't fit, we don't really have anyone else. Yes he is injury prone, but there is no one else like him on his day. That is why I believe we should be keeping him, and it is also why this summer is so important. If we can get two strikes in, then it will take a huge amount of pressure off of Carroll and the club.

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian says he wants to get revenge on Tottenham when the two sides meet this Friday. (Evening Standard)

People are saying that we don't have anything to play for now, but that is so wrong. Although it is very unlikely that we will go down, we still are not mathematically safe yet. However, we have something bigger to play for. This Friday, we can all but end Spurs' hopes of winning the league for the second year running. That should be a big enough reason for the players to give their all in this game. I believe we will give Spurs a good game and all but end their hopes of winning the title, again.

West Ham and Southampton are battling to sign former Manchester City youth star Ahmad Benali. (The Sun)

West Ham have responded to an article that was posted by the Mail on Sunday. (West Ham United)

David Gold has made an attempt to appease disgruntled West Ham fans regarding the move to the Olympic Stadium. (HITC)

I feel sorry for David Gold, I really do. He takes so much stick from our fan base online, and it can't be easy for him. People are constantly moaning about the stadium to him, but in all honesty I cannot see why. Yes things could have been done better, but not everything will run smoothly straight away. The fact is, when the fans turn up, that stadium is an incredible place to be in. I believe that some fans need to stop moaning and just support the team. Things will get better, I guarantee it.

Kinnear makes Championship switch
Filed: Tuesday, 2nd May 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United Managing Director Angus Kinnear is set to leave the club at the end of the season in order to take up a position with Championship side Leeds United. Former Arsenal employee Kinnear, who was largely tasked with the club's heavily-criticised migration from Upton Park to Stratford is poised to move to Elland Road this summer, just a year after West Ham's move to the Olympic Stadium and four years after taking up the role. Prior to joining the Hammers, Kinnear - pictured above during a trip to Africa last October during which he handed out a £35,000 donation to Nigerian Premier League club Ifeanyi Ubah FC - spent a decade as Marketing and Sales Director at Arsenal. He is also a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Games England. Last week West Ham's offices at the Olympic Stadium were raided by HMRC officers in relation to an international investigation into tax evasion. It is unknown whether Kinnear's departure is related to the incident.

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Napoli reject huge Hammers bid
Filed: Tuesday, 2nd May 2017
By: Staff Writer

Napoli have rejected a €30million bid from West Ham for Belgian international Dries Mertens, according to Italian journalist Raffaele Auriemma. Speaking on Radio CRC, writer and presenter Auriemma claimed that the 29-year-old is set to extend his contract with Gli Azzurri - despite Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis having recently rejected the record-breaking offer from the Hammers.
"Mertens will sign within a matter of hours," said Auriemma. "He was convinced by his wife who who wanted to stay in Naples. Napoli have already rejected an offer from West Ham of €30million for the Belgian."
Mertens - who has been in Italy since 2013 and has scored 21 times for Napoli in Serie A this season - has been closely linked with potential moves to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham in recent weeks. The diminutive striker, who stands 5'7" tall has featured 57 times for his country - for whom he made his debut in 2004 - scoring 11 goals.

Obiang: we've lacked unity this season
Filed: Tuesday, 2nd May 2017
By: Staff Writer

One of the front-runners for this year's Hammer of the Year award says West Ham have failed to replicate their form of last season.
Pedro Obiang, whose season was ended prematurely back in March after sustaining a serious ankle injury during the 3-2 home defeat against Leicester also believes that the team have "under-performed" at times. "The team has lacked unity," he said. "This year we've grown apart a little, the staff and the group as a whole have suffered as a consequence of it. It's normal though, there have been lots of changes in a short space of time. We can only learn from this experience. "The team, the club, the players, even the fans will be better next campaign because this one has helped us realise that we didn't have all the right answers or ideas. Next year we should be aspiring for a place in Europe and there will be no excuses."

The former Spanish Under 21 - who is still unable to participate in any kind of running - also rather modestly claimed that his challenge for the HotY crown was perhaps the result of a number of key players failing to live up to expectations. "My season has been quite low key," he argued. "I think I've stood out over the rest due to the fact that the rest have under-performed. That's why it's so crucial for me personally to keep my performances at a high level to really establish myself in English football. "It's a real shame I haven't been able to help the team recently, but now I have time to recover, come back stronger, learn from my mistakes and transform them into consistency next year."

Alan Pardew makes bold statement about prime West Ham target Gylfi Sigurdsson, has his price just gone up
Damien Lucas

West Ham United need to get it right in the summer transfer market and have been linked with a move for Swansea City star Gylfi Sigurdsson. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has enjoyed another superb season netting 10 goals and providing 11 assists despite playing in a Swansea side who look increasingly likely to be relegated. That would suit West Ham's interests in their pursuit of the Icelander - as reported by the likes of The Mirror. But it won't help that former Hammers boss Alan Pardew has declared Sigurdsson to be the best number 10 outside of the top six clubs following another big performance and trademark free-kick against Manchester United at the weekend. Appearing as a guest on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Pardew - who was sacked as Crystal Palace manager earlier this season - made the bold statement about the ex Reading man. "For me he (Sigurdsson) is the best number 10 outside of the top six, he's that good," Pardew told Sky Sports' MNF. "The kind of figures he gets in terms of goals and assists, some number 10s at the top clubs don't get those."

According to The Mirror, Sigurdsson is seen as an ideal fit for Hammers boss Slaven Bilic after the club lost influential playmaker Dimitri Payet when he forced a move back to Marseille in January. The report claims the Hammers will make a serious move for the 27-year-old in the summer as they look to overhaul the squad following a disappointing season of recruitment and performance levels. Everton are also said to be interested and it would be in the Swans' interest to spark a bidding war for the midfielder come the summer should they drop into the Championship.

Ray Wilkins's strong words for Michail Antonio
Subhankar Mondal

Michail Antonio has been linked with a move away from West Ham United in the summer transfer window. Michail Antonio has been West Ham United's best player this season, but the winger's future at the Premier League club has been cast into doubt. According to a recent report in The Times, Antonio will look to leave West Ham in the summer transfer window after falling out with the club's board. It has been reported that the former Nottingham Forest winger has rejected a new deal with the Hammers as he is not happy at being offered significantly lower wages than Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte, both of whom moved to the London club in the January transfer window. According to The Times, the 27-year-old earns £35,000 per week as salary at West Ham, and the winger wants to leave the London Stadium in the summer. Antonio has scored nine goals and created 31 chances 29 Premier League appearances for the Hammers so far this season. Former Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins has given his take on the situation, and has some harsh comments for ex-Reading and Sheffield Wednesday winger Antonio. "Why should he be disappointed?" said Wilkins about Antonio on The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show on talkSPORT last Friday morning (broadcast from 6am, April 28, 2017). "He came from Nottingham Forest to a Premier League club who have looked after him extremely well. Get your head down and start playing for the club. All this business about 'I am a bit disappointed with the board'… He shouldn't even be talking to the board.
"What's he talking to the board for? His first communication is with Slaven Bilic. Don't go to the board, don't have a row with the board, his communication is with the manager."

Josh Cullen admits he may not fulfil his West Ham dream
Vincent Ralph

The West Ham United midfielder has spent the season on loan at Bradford City. West Ham United player Josh Cullen has been speaking to West Yorkshire Sport about his hopes for the future, admitting that things may not go his way at the London Stadium. The 20-year-old joined Bradford City on loan this season and featured 43 times, scoring one goal and providing six assists in the process. But despite making his mark in League One his chance of a Premier League breakthrough is still tough to say the least. "My dream has always been to break into the first-team at West Ham but I'm aware that might not happen," Cullen told West Yorkshire Sport. "If this was the move that suited me best I would have no problem because I've enjoyed my time at Bradford." Cullen has featured 35 times for West Ham's under-23 side having previously come through the youth ranks, but with only four senior appearances for the Hammers to date his dream of getting a regular starting spot seems unlikely at this stage of his career. While he is still young, Cullen will know West Ham are likely to further strengthen their midfield this summer and that is without mentioning the likes of Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble and Havard Nordtveit, who all stand ahead of him in the pecking order.

West Yorkshire Sport @WYSdaily
Bradford City loanee Josh Cullen: "My dream has always been to break into 1st team at West Ham but I'm aware that might not happen." #bcafc
2:05 PM - 2 May 2017 · Bradford, England

West Ham managing director Angus Kinnear leaves club to become Leeds United chief executive
Evening Standard

West Ham managing director Angus Kinnear is leaving the club to join Leeds United as their new chief executive. Kinnear has been recruited by Leeds' new owner, Italian media mogul Andrea Radrizzani and is expected to leave the Premier League club at the end of the season. Kinnear joined from Arsenal in 2013, with his principal area of responsibility being West Ham's move to the London Stadium.
Meanwhile, manager Slaven Bilic hopes his injury-plagued striker Andy Carroll will be in his squad to face Tottenham on Friday. Carroll has been suffering from a persistent groin problem in recent weeks but could be back on the bench for the derby at the London Stadium. Bilic said: "I will be disappointed if he is not involved in our next game. You want to have him at least on the bench."

Referee announced for West Ham v Spurs and it's horrendous news for the Hammers
It couldn't have been a much worse appointment to be honest
Football London
13:11, 2 MAY 2017

West Ham will be seething after the Premier League announced the match officials for this weeks games. The Hammers are up first this week as they face title-chasing Spurs on Friday night under the lights at the London Stadium with the Hammers desperate to de-rail Spurs pursuit of Chelsea at the summit of the table. So, who has been appointed to oversee proceedings in the highly-charged atmosphere that will be Stratford on Friday? Anthony Taylor is the answer and that, we're afraid to say, is horrendous news.

Why? Taylor has reffed three games this season for the Hammers and they have lost all of them. He failed to send off Diego Costa for his awful studs up challenge on Adrian during the opening game loss at Chelsea, for starters. Taylor was also in charge at Everton when Romelu Lukaku inspired the Toffees to a 2-0 victory and the third game was the 1-0 loss to Leciester City on New Year's Eve.

So, yeah. That's great. Cheers, Premier League.

How the West Ham change in formation has helped Jose Fonte more than anyone
The Portuguese defender has improved vastly
Football London
12:00, 2 MAY 2017

West Ham have finally kept successive clean sheets in the Premier League as they limp towards the magical 40 point mark that will see them survive in the top flight. Since Slaven Bilic opted to switch to three centre halves against Everton, and the following game against Stoke, they have looked the most solid as a unit in defence as they have done at any point this season. The return of Winston Reid has undoubtedly helped matters but the biggest beneficiary of this has been Jose Fonte. The £10m signing from Southampton in January had struggled, unable to help keep a clean sheet and didn't look anything like the player we thought he would be. But, alongside James Collins, he has improved game on game. Collins has been superb since he returned, you couldn't drop him to allow Reid to come back in, so the Hammers have switched to three at the back and it has worked. Fonte looks much more comfortable and he seems to thrive when he has in-form players around him. Look at Virgil van Dijk when Fonte was at Southampton. The Dutchman was imperious and Fonte was superb alongside him, they complemented each other so well. When the Euro 2016 winner arrived at West Ham he slotted in to a really struggling side, that were leaking goals left right and centre and he was unable to help bridge the gap.
But now they have stopped shipping goals, the 33-year-old looks a lot better and he has contributed to that solidity. Against Stoke, he was the defender making the vital interceptions, staying slightly behind Reid and Collins who would be the ones to push up and try and win the ball. If they didn't, Fonte was there to mop up and he did a superb job. The use of the wing backs as well has meant Fonte hasn't had to step out too often and try to get move going. There is always a simple outlet pass to either wing and West Ham can get moving. He is finally starting to look like the £10m investment deserves and another clean sheet this Friday at Spurs will certainly endear him to the claret and blue faithful just a little bit more.

Goal drought puts West Ham on back foot for London derby
Andy Carroll may be back – but his bit-part role against Spurs may be as talisman more than frontman
Football London
11:02, 2 MAY 2017

If you want the positive spin here it is – West Ham are on a four-game unbeaten run having kept clean sheets in three of those matches.
As any West Ham supporter will attest, that doesn't quite encompass the experience of watching their team at the tail-end of a season. And, as they approach a tough London derby on Friday (May 5) against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur , they sit in 15th, still, mathematically, in a relegation struggle. While that shouldn't be too great a burden – Swansea would have to win all their matches, West Ham lose all theirs – the lack of goals remains the greatest concern. The defence has shown that it can bounce back from early season drubbings but, if manager Slaven Bilic wanted to signal to the boardroom that this summer they must be serious about a striker, three goals in five games might just be the headline figure.
Andy Carroll's presence for part of the Spurs match which, although a moral-boost, doesn't automatically equate to goals. However, Bilic pointed out: "It's not coincidence that during that period we won six out of nine, then suddenly we are without him."

At the London Stadium, West Ham have it all to play for – secure safety, put that dismal league position to the sword, end the season with momentum – but few expect a goal-fest from the home side. The entertainment will come from the North London rivals buoyant despite their likely inability to land a title.

West Ham are likely to play an "away game" strategy – defend solidly and launch sporadic attacks on the break. They will attempt to hold in check Harry Kane just as they did Romelu Lukaku and they will expect an onslaught from a light, fast and energetic team.

Spurs should be an inspiration in some ways. For they were a middle ranking team for so long, trading on past glories but looked down upon by the mighty Arsenal. But a canny manager and some astute signings have made them title contenders – precisely the narrative West Ham were seeking when they headed to Stratford.

After two 0-0 draws, the latest away at Stoke at the weekend, the team will be looking to show some signs they can still entertain within the constraints of a tough match. Slaven Bilic told the club's website : "It's a derby, and it can't be just an ordinary game. 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 everything."

Crazy omen as West Ham aim to wreck Spurs' dreams yet again 11 years after Lasagne-gate
Damien Lucas

West Ham United entertain bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night and a bad omen is looming large over the match. The Hammers need another win to secure safety in what has been a torrid second season under Slaven Bilic. Sitting 15th in the Premier League, their fortunes are in stark contrast to the record breaking last ever season at the Boleyn Ground when the club finished just four points off the Champions League places. While the Hammers have taken 10 steps backwards this season, their fierce rivals Spurs have continued their progression into genuine title contenders under Mauricio Pochettino. The North Londoners will have the chance to cut the gap on Chelsea to just one point and push West Ham deeper in the mire in the process when they visit the Olympic Stadium on Friday night. But a remarkably bad omen is looming large over the game for Tottenham as it falls almost precisely 11 years on from the infamous Lasagne-gate match between the sides at Upton Park which cost Spurs a place in the Champions League.
Martin Jol's team needed to match the result of their arch rivals Arsenal when the visited the Boleyn Ground on that fateful day on May 7th 2006. But many feel the match was lost the night before, with fingers pointed at a tray of lasagne at the team hotel which left many of the squad suffering a bout of food poisoning. West Ham relished every minute of inflicting a 2-1 defeat on their foes as a Thierry Henry inspired Arsenal won 4-2 against Wigan. With it went Tottenham's finest chance for a decade to make the Champions League and the club did not take it well either. Spurs contacted the Premier League, demanding the right to a replay and when it was flatly rejected, investigations centred upon what had triggered the virulent bug. Of course this time Spurs have already sealed Champions League qualification but something even more valuable is at stake, a first title since 1961. Hammers fans have dined out on the Lasagne-gate win ever since. If they end Tottenham's hopes of the title 11 years on, the ignominy could last a lifetime.

West Ham United FC's young midfield man can be 'influential player' for us, says boss
By Walsall Advertiser | Posted: May 02, 2017

West Ham's George Dobson is a wanted man - Walsall boss Jon Whitney would like him on another loan spell next season. Walsall boss Jon Whitney wants West Ham midfielder George Dobson back on loan at the Banks's Stadium next season, insisting: 'He can be an influential player for us'. Whitney will be looking to bolster his midfield after yesterday's news that former Aston Villa product Isaiah Osbourne is leaving the club this summer. And he would love to have Dobson, 19, back for another campaign from Slaven Bilic's Hammers after seeing the midfielder blossom in his first season of first-team football, making 26 appearances for the Saddlers. Whitney said: "I would like to try to keep George in some way if I can and I will speak to West Ham in the next week to try to make that happen. "Our loan players are being spoken to about other clubs. Everybody is trying to fill their jigsaw really quickly and I'm doing the same with certain players and that's the way of football. "Isaiah sees himself somewhere else next year so I need to look at other things. "George is someone I'm going to try to get and with another pre-season under his belt, he can be that influential player for us, alongside (captain) Adam Chambers."


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