Thursday, May 4

Daily WHUFC News - 4th May 2017

Sir Geoff hails Hammers fan base

Sir Geoff Hurst hails Hammers fan base for filling London Stadium week-in,
West Ham United legend says victory over Tottenham Hotspur will improve
atmosphere still further
World Cup winner believes London Stadium will be 'fantastic' for the Club's

Sir Geoff Hurst believes a big win over Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening
can help West Ham United feel even more at home inside London Stadium. The
Hammers welcome title-chasing Spurs to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for a
derby match that has ramifications at both ends of the table, seeing as the
hosts are seven points clear of the relegation zone and the visitors sit
four behind leaders Chelsea. West Ham's home form has been up and down since
they arrived in E20 last summer, with six wins and seven defeats from 17
home league games, but legend Sir Geoff is confident London Stadium will be
positive for the Club's long-term future. "I've been saying for years – the
move to London Stadium is fantastic for the Club," Sir Geoff, who was
presented with the Hammers' Lifetime Achievement Award in May 2016, told in an exclusive interview. "Yes, there were some issues with the
stadium early on, which appear to have been resolved, and I know that some
fans who go regularly have found it difficult to get used to the new
surroundings and the differences with the Boleyn Ground. "But atmosphere is
linked to the performance of the team. I was at the Southampton game earlier
in the season when we lost 3-0, and the reaction to that would have been no
different at Upton Park!"

The Hammers have been roared on by the third-highest average attendance in
the Premier League this season – 56,967 is behind only Manchester United and
Arsenal – and enjoyed the support of 52,000 Season Ticket Holders. Those
loyal supporters will turn out in their droves again on Friday, when Slaven
Bilic's side will seek to repeat their home win over Mauricio Pochettino's
men from last season, when West Ham dented Spurs' title challenge with a 1-0
win at the Boleyn Ground. A sell-out crowd is expected, with many supporters
taking advantage of the Club's initiatives to ensure every seat is filled,
namely the Ticket Exchange, Ticket Forwarding and Junior Season Ticket
upgrade facilities. The 1964 FA Cup, 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1966
FIFA World Cup winner, for one, has not been surprised to see the Hammers'
fan base respond to the stadium move so positively. "The big issue was
always whether we would fill the new stadium, having had 35,000 at Upton
Park, and that worry has proven unfounded – we are getting nearly 60,000
every week and looking to increase [the capacity]," Sir Geoff observed.
"It's one of the best stadiums in the country. If we improve the team,
improve results and push on, I think it will be fantastic for us."

Reid respects Spurs dangermen

Winston Reid knows he and his West Ham United teammates will have their work
cut out to slow the footballing juggernaut known as Tottenham Hotspur. The
north London side have won nine straight Premier League matches to maintain
their title challenge, and go into Friday's derby at London Stadium with an
opportunity to close the gap to leaders Chelsea to a single point. Reid, who
will be determined to secure the win that not only slows Tottenham's title
charge but also secures the Hammers' own safety, knows he, Jose Fonte, James
Collins, Adrian and company will need to be on their games, both
individually and collectively, if they are to stop Mauricio Pochettino's
men making it ten in a row. "Dele Alli is a very good player, first of all,"
Reid confirmed, when asked to identify Spurs' dangermen. "He's been able to
do it in his second season, when sometimes you have young players who are
able to do it for one season, and they can't sustain it. "He's done really
well again and that says a lot about his ability, and you can say the same
about Harry Kane. "In the first season he broke through in 2014/15, he
scored a lot of goals, then he did it in his second season and now he's done
it in a third, so I think that shows he has some real quality."

Kane has developed a reputation for being clinical in front of goal – a
reputation borne out by the fact that 46 of his 88 shots have hit the target
this season, while 21 of them have found the back of the net. While he is
not blessed with Jamie Vardy's lightning pace, Andy Carroll's dominant
aerial ability or Romelu Lukaku's unrivalled strength, the 23-year-old has
developed a skill for finding space, positioning his body and getting his
shots away – with either foot – in such a way that the ball is in the net
before his marker or the goalkeeper can move. "When we played them at White
Hart Lane [and lost 3-2 to two late Kane goals in November], he didn't have
a shot on target for 89 minutes, then out of nowhere he had scored a penalty
and another goal from open play and they had won the game," Reid recalled,
remembering a difficult afternoon in north London that ended with the No2
being sent-off late in added-time. "That's the type of player he is and
that's a positive for Spurs, because he doesn't need a lot of chances to
score his goals. He generally very rarely misses the target, so with players
like that, you need to try to keep them with their back to goal for as much
time as possible to make it difficult for them to score."

Reid's thoughts on Tottenham's top attackers form part of an in-depth
interview, which you can read in full in Friday's 100-page Official
Programme, available to pre-order now here, priced just £3.50. The defender
also discusses West Ham's recent defensive improvement and the prospect of
representing New Zealand at this summer's FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018
World Cup in Russia.
Elsewhere, fans can read an exclusive interview with former West Ham and
Tottenham goalkeeper Jimmy Walker, the latest updates from the Club's
Premier League 2, U18 and Ladies sides, and get the complete lowdown on the

Hammers back Bobby Moore Fund

West Ham United will raise awareness for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer
Research UK at Friday's Premier League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur. The
charity, which was established by the late West Ham and England captain's
widow Stephanie following his death from bowel cancer in 1993, has raised
more than £23.5m to fight against the disease. On Friday, a bucket
collection will be held in and around London Stadium and the Hammers will
warm-up in Bobby Moore Fund T-shirts before kick-off, while a donation of
£1,000 will be made on behalf of the FA Community Shield at half-time. Here
is more information about the Bobby Moore Fund and how you can get involved
in the fight against bowel cancer…

Bobby Moore was just 51 years old when he died. The Bobby Moore Fund for
Cancer Research UK was set up in his memory to fund pioneering, life-saving
bowel cancer research. Our purpose is simple – to bring forward the day when
bowel cancer is cured. Stephanie Moore MBE, Bobby's widow, established the
Bobby Moore Fund in partnership with Cancer Research UK in 1993. Since then
bowel cancer mortality rates have fallen 30% and more than £23.5m has been
raised for research, but we still have so much more to do.


Forty-four people a day die from bowel cancer in the UK, making it the
second biggest killing cancer. One in 14 men and one in 19 women in the UK
will develop bowel cancer at some point in their lifetime. Money raised by
the Bobby Moore Fund goes towards only world class research that has the
potential for the biggest impact in ensuring more people survive bowel
cancer. The focus of Dr Sansom's research, where our funding is currently
concentrated, is to understand the early genetic changes that occur in cells
lining the gut, which lead to the development of bowel cancer. These early
genetic changes can often be pre-cancerous. This will help to identify novel
markers of bowel cancer, which could help diagnose it earlier and predict
how well it will respond to treatment, as well as provide new targets for
therapy. Dr Sansom's work could therefore have a huge impact in the
diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bowel cancer.


We need your support to do everything we can in 2017 to increase bowel
cancer awareness. Bowel cancer, if caught at its earliest stage, can be a
very treatable disease. With more people aware of more symptoms and signs of
the disease, taking advantage of screenings on offer we can make a real
difference and save lives. The signs and symptoms of bowel cancer can
include bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason or blood in your
poo, change in your normal bowel habit, tummy pain (especially if severe) or
a lump in your tummy and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms are
unlikely to be caused by cancer but it is better to play it safe, so it's
important to tell your GP if you notice them.


Bowel screening is used to check for early signs of bowel cancer by looking
for hidden traces of blood in your poo. There is a national bowel screening
programme for older men and women. They will receive a screening kit to use
at home and samples are sent away for testing. If your family and friends
are the right age (In England, men and women between the ages of 60 and 74
years take part), encourage them to take part in screening when invited.


Let's beat bowel cancer sooner.

Text Hero065 to 70070 to donate £5 or visit to see
how you can support our work.

All money raised goes towards funding world class research that has the
potential for the greatest impact in ensuring more people survive bowel

TC previews 'tough' Tottenham test

West Ham United great Tony Cottee scored on his debut in a 3-0 First
Division win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in January 1983, aged
The striker went on to play 17 games and score seven times against Spurs
during his Hammers career, which spanned 336 games and 146 goals in two
The 1986 Hammer of the Year and Season Ticket Holder looks ahead to Friday's
London derby between the near-neighbours…

Hello everyone,

I've got special memories of this special game and for it to be an eight
o'clock kick-off on a Friday night at London Stadium, I'm really looking
forward to it.

I must admit that I'm really pleased that the game is on a Friday evening,
as that means I can come along to the game, as I work for Sky Sports on
Saturdays and it really frustrates me that I can't get along to watch the
Hammers play.

We've also got Liverpool at home a week on Sunday, which means I'll be able
to go to the last two home games. I've got my two Season Tickets, which
haven't been over-used this year, so I'm looking forward to it!

Being honest with you, it's going to be a tough game on Friday because this
is a very, very good Tottenham team.

It pains me to say that with my West Ham hat on, because we don't
particularly want Spurs to win anything or do better than us. That's just a
natural feeling and thought you would have as a West Ham fan.

If I take my West Ham hat off and talk as the pundit that I now am, I think
Spurs are doing everything right. If you look, they have a fantastic team,
some great young players, a good manager and a new stadium coming along and
one of the best training grounds in the country, so everything is going in
the right direction for Spurs.

It sort of hurts to say it, but I think it's going to be a really tough

Last season, though, Tottenham would have gone top of the Premier League if
they'd won at our place in February, and we beat them.

Everyone goes on about Spurs drawing at home to West Bromwich Albion and at
Chelsea in the final few games last season, but when you think about it,
their 1-0 defeat to us at the Boleyn Ground really set them back.

Michail Antonio got the goal and the ground was rocking that night. We all
enjoyed the midweek games at the Boleyn and that was one fantastic win for
the Football Club. That defeat really knocked them out of their stride and
made it difficult for them to win the league.

So, who know knows, maybe history will repeat itself?

They sit four points behind Chelsea and we need to win the game to ensure we
stay in the Premier League, so three points against Spurs would be even

It's a Friday night under the lights and it's a home game, so we know my
fellow West Ham fans will be up for the game, but the problem we do have is
injuries to key players.

It doesn't help when players are out and we have had so many injuries which
have made it difficult for everyone, but hopefully the likes of Reidy and
Andy Carroll will be available to play in this game.

The setting and atmosphere will work in our favour, though, and I hope we
can overcome any difficulties to get the win we need.

Come on you Irons!


Bilic reports dismissed
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd May 2017
By: Staff Writer

A newspaper report suggesting that Slaven Bilic has only two games to save
his job has been dismissed by a club insider. James Hayter, writing in
today's Guardian claimed that Bilic requires positive results from the final
two home games against Tottenham and Liverpool to avoid potentially facing
the sack. However a club insider has dismissed reports of Bilic's impending
doom as "rubbish", adding that the the end-of-season Board meeting, at which
Hayter claimed the Board will decide "whether to persist with" Bilic, is
simply a regular, annual post-season meeting. "Next year we'll be aiming for
a top half finish and pushing for a place in Europe," the source told KUMB.
"We haven't bought well enough this season, but we all take responsibility
for that."

West Ham face Spurs at the Olympic Stadium this Friday night, knowing that a
win would almost certainly end Tottenham's hopes of winning the Premier

Going for a Brazilian?
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd May 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are being linked with two Brazilian players ahead of the summer
transfer window. 25-year-old Ludogorets winger Jonathan Cafu is being chased
by several Premier League clubs, say the Daily Express, after it was
revealed that the in-form winger has a £10.2million release clause in his

In addition to the Hammers, Leicester and newly-promoted Brighton & Hove
Albion have also indicated their desire to bring Cafu to England. Elsewhere,
West Ham have made enquiries into the situation regarding Bayern Munich's
Brazilian defender Rafinha. The 31-year-old right back has struggled to hold
down a place in Bayern's starting XI in recent months and is being tipped to
leave the Bundesliga high-flyers - to whom he has been contracted since 2011
- this summer. And according to reports from Calciomercato, the Hammers are
just one of several clubs monitoring his situation.

Stoke 0-0 West Ham (And Other Ramblings)
Filed: Wednesday, 3rd May 2017
By: HeadHammerShark

1. Still Feeling Blue

Eighteen years ago I went to see the Christopher Nolan film, "Memento". I
saw it with my mum and sister and, true to form, they were a few minutes
late. Now usually, missing the first five minutes of a film isn't a massive
problem except for when the story is being told backwards.

For those of you who haven't seen it, the story centres around Guy Pearce, a
man who has a memory span of just fifteen minutes and who is searching for
the men who killed his wife. In order to aid his search he tattoos certain
phrases all over his body and has a set of Polaroids with names and
descriptions written on them. No one seems to tell the truth, nothing is
what it seems and all in all it's a beautifully dark comic noir thriller and
I recommend it highly.

In that spirit, it's not difficult to imagine that somewhere, before this
game, Slaven Bilic was stood looking at himself in a mirror. On his body
were tattooed varying slogans like "Winning games is good" and "Players
don't play well out of position". Scattered in front of him were varying
Polaroids, mostly showing injured players, but there were others like one of
Edmilson Fernandes saying "Don't play at wing back" or another of Jonathan
Calleri saying "On loan from Argentina - nobody knows why".

Slaven used to win games of football but he can't exactly remember how. Now,
he's in a seedy hotel in Stoke wondering what to do next. Diafra Sakho is
tied up in his closet and he has no idea why and no ability to make any new
memories. He's in Memento.

So, just as Slaven gets the full picture in his head, and decides to play
all his players in their correct positions, and with a gameplan to win the
game by scoring goals, suddenly his memories disappear once again.

And so it comes to pass that a midfielder plays at wing back, Jonathan
Calleri is trying to score via a rabona and we end this game with a set of
substitutions that could only have been devised by a person suffering from
serious head trauma.

2. Cry One More Time

Perhaps the worst thing about this result is that we really could have won
it. Unlike last weeks exercise in zen like non aggression, this was a
reasonably decent encounter. Adrian once again showed the value of a keeper
who can make important stops at important times, but the man of the match
was Stoke keeper, Jack Butland, who pulled off a number of excellent saves
to keep us out.

So to be critical is to be churlish, but also fairly accurate. As this
season slips away like a fat kid on a water slide, it's noticeable how
rarely we've been able to prevail in these sorts of games of late. Tight,
tense affairs where a rare moment of quality would be enough to separate the
teams have typically ended up as stalemates - think West Brom and Everton -
which perhaps isn't all that surprising when you consider that most of the
quality present in our team last year is currently not on the pitch.

It's not new or original for me to say this, but I sure can't wait for this
season to finish.

3. Love Hurts

Whilst there's not much doubt that we could have won this game, there's also
no doubt that the best chance of the game fell to Marko Arnautovic. He was
found with one of those long balls that Stoke don't play anymore now that
Mark Hughes is in charge and they are basically Barcelona redux, but his
poked effort was brilliantly kept out by Adrian from close range.

By contrast we fashioned lots of less clear chances inside the box, the best
of which fell to Calleri and gets a section all to itself later on.

Our most potent threat was Andre Ayew who was twice denied splendidly by
Butland, once from a marvellous overhead kick after a fine run by Arthur
Masuaku. But in the end, a point seemed about right, and it's another mile
travelled on the slow boat to safety.

With this team selection I was actually a little surprised that we carried
the fight as well as we did. What the above graphic doesn't show is the
Catherine Wheel-like display of Cheikhou Kouyate who bestrode the
battlefield like a general and was a huge part of how we were able to
frequently hit Stoke on the break.

Alongside him Manuel Lanzini continued his superb post-Payet run of form and
between them they give me what little hope I can muster for the upcoming
home games against much better teams.

Out wide, I remain unconvinced that playing Fernandes as a wing back is a
good idea, but there's no doubt his athleticism is a bonus, and indeed he
twice popped up here in advanced positions in the first half without quite
picking the final pass that was needed. I couldn't help but think back to
Bournemouth and Sam Byram and wonder if playing a proper wingback in that
position might actually be useful at some point.

It rather feels like we've stumbled into this 3-4-2-1 formation by accident,
and that Bilic is now picking players and shoehorning them into the setup
rather than picking players in their natural positions and moulding a way of
playing to suit them.

And so it goes that we have a central midfielder playing out of position to
cover a suspended full back, and retaining his spot seemingly because the
manager doesn't like to treat his players unfairly. It's admirable enough I
suppose, but I feel like we've seen this all season to the detriment of the
team. Darren Randolph given too much rope, Noble playing ahead of more in
form alternatives and Kouyate playing instead of Byram for reasons I've yet
to fathom.

Poor decision making is one thing, but it seems to me that a failure to make
decisions can be equally as damaging.

4. That's All It Took

On that topic, it's been a delight to welcome Adrian back between the
sticks. I wouldn't say he necessarily inspires an unswerving confidence but
there is a certain comfort to be taken when he's lining up a save. As an
example, Saido Berahino hit a very decent second half effort low to his
right that he palmed away strongly. It was a save he should have made, but
one perhaps that Randolph might not. In addition, Berahino hadn't scored in
24 games so I'd have bet my fucking house on him doing it against us. I
still remember Linvoy Primus, after all.

Whether Adrian stays with us in the long run is probably dependent upon
whether the Club want to make a big splash in the summer. The reality is
that the Spaniard is a perfectly decent stopper who got off to a bad start
when his own form dipped just as Bilic was assembling a back four that
seemed to rely upon voodoo spells and magic to keep out the opposition
rather than such exotic notions as tackling or defensive structure.

But, our Board is our Board, and they like nothing more then to be seen to
be doing stuff. Snodgrass, Fonte, Ayew, Zaza - one could argue that all of
these were little more than impulse purchases because David Sullivan didn't
want to be seen to look like he was inactive. It's not hard to see how such
folly could extend to splashing out £15m on Joe Hart.

The problem I have with that is the fact that goalkeeper is the easiest
position to recruit. Top teams only need one so unlike centre halves or
strikers, they tend not to get hoarded. When Tom Heaton can't get a game at
Manchester United he moves to Burnley. When Tim Howard can't get a game at
Manchester United he moves to Everton. Stop me when you see a pattern.

Equally, Premier League history is filled with keepers who were brought from
"smaller" overseas clubs for low cost. Petr Cech, Thomas Sorensen, Jussi
Jaaskelainen, a raft of Americans and, yes, Adrian are all examples of
outstanding players who were picked up for small sums.

Of course, it's still possible to spend big amounts on the every best
keepers like De Gea or Lloris but I'd still be fine with us sticking with
Adrian and spending the money elsewhere. I'm {on} not {a} sure {right} where

5. Do You Know How It Feels

It's not often you watch a game and think that a full back might be the best
player on the pitch. I can think of a few vintage Leighton Baines and Ashely
Cole performances, and of course we had Julian Dicks in his prime, but it's
not an everyday occurrence.

Step forward then Arthur Masuaku, who was comfortably our best player here,
even if he has a haircut that looks like it belongs in The Hunger Games.

Masuaku has always looked pretty comfortable on the ball and going forward,
but has had a tendency to defend like Diane Abbott on the radio. To clarify,
it's often made no sense at all. But since his return to the side, and
perhaps crucially - to full fitness - he has looked outstanding. His
footwork makes him difficult to tackle and as such allows him to raid high
up the pitch. He combined here on a number of occasions with Lanzini and
Ayew, and generally seemed to have miles more time on the ball than anybody
else on the pitch.

The crucial difference to his earlier performances were that back then he
wanted time but couldn't get it, whereas now he brims with the confidence to
make time for himself. A year ago I would have thought it incomprehensible
that we would replace Aaron Cresswell and yet the performances of Masuaku in
the last couple of weeks have been better than anything Cresswell has
produced this season. Small sample size and all that - who can forget that
Kepa Blanco looked good for about twenty minutes - but there is an
increasing confidence about his play, and he deserves a chance to press for
his place.

That said, an hour of chasing after Kyle Walker on Friday might burst that
balloon fairly quickly.

6. White Line Fever

Talking about players brimming with confidence and derring do. Jonathan
Calleri. He hangs out with a couple.

Calleri continues to bemuse me like some sort of footballing "Avengers"
film. Why am I watching this? Why do people think is good? OK, that bit was
good. Shame about the other hour and a half.

In this game, Calleri was faced with a great chance to score after a
Fernandes cross fell to his feet eight yards from goal and the keeper was
stranded. Faced with the chance to touch the ball on to his left foot and
try to drive it past the defender, Martins Indi, he did what any of us would
do when we'd scored one deflected goal all season, had no confidence and
were playing for a team in desperate need of points - he tried a Rabona.

I have not the words.

OK, I have some words.

Christ on a fucking submarine.

I can just about accept that every now and again a Rabona can make sense
when your feet fall in a certain position and your momentum is going a
certain way. Payet and Lanzini have both credibly pulled it off at various
times this season, and we all delighted in them. But Jonathan Calleri is
assuredly not in that class.

He is our Jeremy Renner, bringing a bow and arrow to a gun fight. I want him
to be good, but I really don't see the point.

7. Farther Along

Three men currently enjoying their football in the current system are our
centre halves. Winston Reid was at his imperious best here, blocking
everything and finding a precious moment to whinge at every single person in
the stadium.

Beside him Jose Fonte is revelling in the unusual situation of having people
in the team who are actually concerned with stopping the opposition scoring,
whilst James Collins is the perfect man to sit between them and chuck
himself on any grenades that need muffling. Perhaps the reality is that we
don't have a confident enough pair, or indeed four, to play a traditional
system so we're replacing defensive competence with numbers and just
snuffing out attacks with the sheer weight of players in front of the goal.

Crucial to that is Havard Nordtveit who patrolled that area in front of the
back three with plenty of intent, and he did a good job of preventing the
likes of Shaqiri from getting between the lines and causing us problems. I'm
not sure that Andy Carroll can play in this system as it doesn't get players
close enough to him but even the powderpuff Calleri made it look workable at
times, and for now it definitely seems like the best way to stagger to the
end of the season.

8. Man In The Fog

Whisper it quietly but is Andre Ayew becoming useful?

He linked play nicely here, following up from a decent second half
performance last week against a soporific Everton. Whether he is a proper
striker is up for debate but we have to ask the same question of Calleri
too, Slaven. Therefore, the decision to remove him and leave the Argentine
on, to facilitate the introduction of Noble was a head scratcher. Having had
two very decent efforts, Ayew looked positively aghast to be withdrawn and
dragged himself off the pitch with all the speed of Karren Brady answering
the front door to HMRC inspectors.

Yet more mystery would follow when Bilic removed Calleri and then his Magic
8 ball told him to bring on Robert Snodgrass in his stead. For those keeping
track at home this meant we had no strikers on the pitch, as we employed a
sturdy 5-5 formation that one would usually associate more with Roman
military units than Premier League teams.

Maybe there was some unseen method to the madness, but mostly it just looked
like a manager trying to get certain players some game time, and not
worrying about whether that actually made sense given the situation of the

I'm not the biggest fan of Ashley Fletcher, feeling that he would have
benefitted greatly from a loan spell somewhere, but to be left on the bench
whilst the manager plays anybody but you seems like it must be demoralising,
much as in the same way that Byram has suffered this year.

I'm fairly open about my loss of faith in Bilic, but games like this don't
help. This was an almost Redknappian set of changes that did nothing but
gift the initiative back to Stoke in the closing stages, and seemed to
confirm the thought that if you're a Bilic favourite you'll get playing time
no matter whether it makes sense or not.

9. Dark End Of The Street

It might have made sense to have opened with the HMRC raid on West Ham and
Newcastle but in the end I began to realise that I don't really have much to
add. I actually work in this field, so I can confirm that 180 agents isn't a
casual knockabout gig, but at the same time it's impossible to know what
this is about.

I'd be willing to bet the same house that I already lost gambling on Saido
Berahino to score that this was agent related, as they are the hardest
people to regulate and clubs can easily fall into a trap of paying money to
them that doesn't end up being declared.

But at the same time, I don't know and it could just as easily relate to
irregularities around image rights, or the failure to report agents' fees as
a benefit in kind or even just good old fashioned evasion.

I can't really believe that the Club would be so stupid as to try and get
cute with their tax affairs in an age when they've been given a taxpayer
funded stadium, and get £90m from the Premier League no matter how crap they

But then I remember that we are the Club who signed Mascherano and dropped
him for Hayden Mullins; the Club who made a semi final and then realised
we'd played a cup tied player in the previous round for 30 seconds; the Club
who tried to cure a players thigh strain with a hot jacket potato; the Club
who beat a team 10-0 in the Cup and signed their centre half; the Club who
signed a player from Oxford who then got homesick; the Club who sold Mike
Marsh because his wife was homesick for the North, before he then moved to
Turkey and came back to Southend; the Club who decided Andriy Shevchenko
hadn't pulled up any trees on a trial and, of course, the Club who hired
Avram Grant.

Perhaps that uselessness is just a part of our DNA. I don't know, but until
we know more it's probably best not to worry about it.

10. In My Hour Of Darkness

It's going to be a long week. We play Spurs on Friday and given that our
season finished months ago and they are sort of still in the title race,
naturally Spurs fans don't care about it whilst it's our Cup Final. That's
completely logical and cannot be argued.

Spurs fans are generally alright, but listening to them at the moment is
fairly difficult. They finally have a team to match the opinion they've held
of themselves for the last two decades, and having finished above Arsenal
for the first time in Dele Alli's life they have now declared themselves the
Kings of North London. Much as we are now all supposed to accept Gary Barlow
as a serious musician, it's like the last twenty years never happened.

So, one way to get through the excruciating water cooler discussions of the
next couple of weeks after their inevitable win is to arm yourself with this
helpful Spurs bingo card. If you can get a full house in any conversation
you win the prize of a commemorative Tim Sherwood DVD and gilet. I once did
it in twelve minutes.

Slaven Bilic's West Ham future under review at end of season
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 03/05/17 7:49am

West Ham will review manager Slaven Bilic's position at the end of the
season, Sky Sports News HQ understands. Bilic has just over a year left on
his three-year contract, with talks scheduled to take place about extending
his deal midway through the season postponed after a series of disappointing
results. West Ham's move from Upton Park to the London Stadium has not gone
smoothly, with injuries to key players having regularly disrupted his plans
and several of the club's new signings have struggled to make an impact.
Bilic also had to put up with the disruptive behaviour of Dimitri Payet
before he was sold back to Marseille in January. This campaign has been
especially disappointing compared to last season when West Ham finished
seventh and said goodbye to Upton Park with a 3-2 victory against Manchester
United. Bilic's side are not yet mathematically safe from the threat of
relegation and they have three difficult games left to play, at home to
Tottenham and Liverpool and away at Burnley. If Bilic does leave this
summer, the names in the frame to replace him would include Newcastle United
manager Rafael Benitez, Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic and Roberto

Jermain Defoe attracting interest from West Ham and Bournemouth - SSN HQ
Last Updated: 03/05/17 4:28pm

West Ham are interested in Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe, who is also "an
option" for Bournemouth this summer, Sky Sports News HQ understands. Sources
close to the player have told Sky Sports that there is a strong interest in
the England international from his former club West Ham, whom he left for
Tottenham in January 2004. Defoe progressed through the Hammers academy in
1999 after moving to the club from Charlton as a 16-year-old. The striker
made his first-team debut for West Ham in September 2000 as a 17-year-old,
going on to score 41 goals for the club over four years before departing for
Tottenham. The 34-year-old has scored 14 goals for Sunderland in the league
this season, but his exploits were not enough to keep the club in the top
flight, with their relegation confirmed after defeat against Bournemouth on
Saturday. Sky sources also understand that the Cherries have earmarked Defoe
as a potential transfer target. The striker spent the 2000-01 season on loan
with the club, where he scored in ten consecutive matches, equalling John
Aldridge's and Clarrie Jordan's post-war record. Defoe scored 18 goals in 28
games during his spell with the Cherries as an 18-year-old.
Defoe was recently handed an England recall by manager Gareth Southgate and
scored on his return against Lithuania in a World Cup Qualifier, having not
featured for the national side since 2013.

Tottenham's Victor Wanyama is one of the Premier League's best midfielders,
insists former team-mate Jose Fonte
Evening Standard

Tottenham's Victor Wanyama is one of the Premier League's best midfielders,
according to West Ham defender Jose Fonte. Wanyama joined Spurs from
Southampton last summer and has thrived at White Hart Lane under the
influence of Mauricio Pochettino. The Kenya international will be aiming to
help cut Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premier League table to one point
on Friday night when Spurs travel to the London Stadium for the first time.
Fonte played with Wanyama during his spell at Southampton and is adamant
Slaven Bilic's side must be particularly wary of two of his former
colleagues later this week. "[Toby] Alderweireld is a great player and we
had a great season together [in 2014-15], while [Victor] Wanyama is one of
the best midfielders in the Premier League, so what can you say? "They are
great guys," Fonte told West Ham's official website. "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." Spurs have won nine
consecutive top-flight fixtures in a row and will be installed as clear
favourites against the Hammers, who are languishing in 15th place.
Pochettino's management style is regularly hailed as a key reason behind the
north Londoners' rise and Fonte remains a big fan of the Argentine coach's
"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," added the Euro 2016 winner.
"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!"

West Ham's London Stadium to host glamour ties at Cricket World Cup
Evening Stadnard

The London Stadium is set to host two of the most glamorous matches of the
2019 Cricket World Cup. The venue, which was used for the 2012 Olympics and
is currently occupied by West Ham, is expected to stage the group matches
between England and Australia and India and Pakistan, according to reports.
The London Stadium has a capacity of 60,000, meaning these games should
comfortably break the record for the highest attendance at a cricket match
in this country. The plan is for these fixtures to be staged on consecutive
days or over the same weekend. Tournament officials are happy the stadium
could be adjusted to suit the needs of cricket.
Speaking in March, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "It has the right
dimensions to play meaningful cricket and there are not a lot of other
stadiums around the country that have got the capacity to fit the boundaries
in. We will have to tweak the orientation of the ground slightly. There are
minimum boundaries that we have to deliver. "It would be an amazing
statement to have 55,000 to 60,000 people in a ground in the UK watching
World Cup cricket."


For a few years, West Ham were perennially linked with a move for Islam
Slimani during his time at Sporting Lisbon and as they say, there's not
smoke without fire. It appears the Hammers have always had an eye on the
Algerian centre-forward and are ready to reignite their interest in him this
summer but they face competition from West Brom for his signature, according
to Africa Top Sports. The 28-year-old completed a £25m move to Leicester
last summer and has been a relative success for the Foxes, netting nine
goals in 27 appearances to date in an injury-plagued season. West Brom saw a
bid rejected for Slimani last summer and are eager to sign him one year
later to add competition in their strike-force. Adding strength and depth in
attack is a real priority for Slaven Bilic this summer and if reports are
true that the Hammers are willing to move on from Andy Carroll then Slimani
would be a smart like-for-like replacement.

Slaven Bilic: will Ashley Fletcher be the final straw for the West Ham
Posted by: Cameron James Broome May 3, 2017

If Slaven Bilic won't play Ashley Fletcher when West Ham are drawing with
Stoke, will he ever be given a chance? And what does it tell you about the
Hammers boss? West Ham are currently stuck in stalemate. They've got enough
points to guarantee Premier League survival but can't do any better than
finish in the bottom half of the table. The Hammers' mediocre season is
certainly different to what the board envisaged life at the London Stadium
to be like. So the owners have a few weeks to reflect on what's best for the
club and prepare for summer. Undoubtedly, the squad needs improving. My
latest piece looked at five possible positions that need strengthening. But
money will need to be spent and the big question is: is Slaven Bilic the
right man to make the necessary changes to take West Ham forward?
The optimists (or realists, depending on your perspective) would point out
that West Ham have suffered many injuries throughout the season, as well as
having had to overcome the whole Payet saga. And it cannot be overstated how
much the Hammers have missed star man Andy Carroll due to his frequent
injuries – unfortunately, that has become a common occurrence during the
Geordie's stop-start career. Without Carroll, West Ham lacks any real goal
threat up top and nobody can hold up the ball to get attacking moves going
like the Englishman.
In that sense, perhaps Bilic isn't to blame; he deserves the benefit of the
doubt. The first season in the London Stadium would never be easy. The
atmosphere just isn't the same – things might improve over time but for now,
the romance and intensity of Upton Park are missing. And Bilic has also had
to juggle other challenges off the pitch: crowd trouble, unhappy fans and,
more recently, tax allegations.
But West Ham's most recent game could have been a turning point. West Ham
were 0-0 away from home against Stoke City. The game hadn't been the most
action packed but West Ham had created a few chances, and it was clear that
Stoke were there for the taking. That being said, Calleri and Ayew hadn't
looked likely to score all game and West Ham lacked any real goal threat up
top. But the Hammers had played fairly well, defended solidly and created a
few chances.
Midway through the second half, the travelling away fans chanted Ashley
Fletcher's name, clearly desperate for the youngster to be given a chance.
Since arriving from Manchester United in the summer of 2016, Fletcher has
made only 13 appearances for the Hammers. However, despite still searching
for his first Premier League goal in claret and blue, Fletcher has always
looked lively and puts in a good shift. In contrast, Jonathan Calleri has
come under criticism from some West Ham fans recently over his suggested
lack of pace and general work rate.
Bilic instead chose to bring on both Robert Snodgrass, having brought on
Mark Noble earlier in the second half. Despite being someone with high
technical ability, Fletcher is more energetic than Snodgrass and could have
given West Ham the injection of pace they were lacking. Bilic's
substitutions might have helped consolidate West Ham's hold on the game and
helped to keep things tight at the back. But Fletcher arguably added a
greater goal threat.
Firstly, you have to ask why West Ham signed Ashley Fletcher. If he isn't to
be given a chance at this stage in the season and with the team playing so
mediocrely, when will he ever be given an opportunity to shine?
Secondly, what does the game tell you about Bilic? Is he a pragmatist,
bringing on experienced players like Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass to help
keep things ticking away in the middle of the park and ensure West Ham come
away with a well-earned point? Or does it reflect his lack of ambition, not
even having the guts to go for the win when you're level pegging with Stoke
in a mid-table clash, with both teams having little to play for except
The West Ham board certainly have some thinking to do over the summer. Money
needs to be invested into the team but is Bilic the right man to lead the
Hammers into the 2017/2018 season?

Tony Adams misses out on signing Nigel Reo-Coker... to team in Norway's
second tier

It turns out Adams won't be signing the ex-Aston Villa midfielder for
Granada at the end of the La Liga season after all. Adams brought Reo-Coker
and former England midfielder Kieran Richardson in on trial at relegated La
Liga club Granada, and despite failing to sign the pair immediately due to a
"cash flow problem", the former Gunner said they would be given deals to
join the club next season. But it seems Reo-Coker wasn't too interested in
what Adams & Co. had to offer, as he's joined Norwegian second division club
Start instead until the end of the season. The Norwegian season finishes in
October. Reo-Coker, who has turned out for three different MLS clubs after
playing for the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa and Bolton in the Premier
League, had been on trial with the club from Kristiansand for over a week.
The 32-year-old has been without a team since leaving Montreal Impact in
January 2016, and after trials – including ones at Lillestrom with Luke
Moore and Granada with Richardson – he has accepted a permanent offer in
Norway. The former England U21 international is set to make his debut for
the reserves on Wednesday night against Flekkeroy.

Bournemouth jump ahead of West Ham and Crystal Palace in race to sign
Sunderland striker
By Robert_Warlow | Posted: May 03, 2017

Crystal Palace face a battle to try and sign Sunderland and England striker
Jermain Defoe this summer, according to the bookmakers.
Palace are one of the sides that have been linked with a move for the former
Tottenham and Portsmouth man, who has scored 14 goals for Sunderland this
season. That has not been enough to save the Wearsiders from relegation, and
it is widely expected that he will move on this summer, with Palace,
Brighton and his former club West Ham all linked with a move to sign the
34-year-old. However, bookmakers have installed Bournemouth as the odds-on
favourites (8/13) to sign Defoe, with the Hammers priced at 5/2, Brighton at
4/1 and Palace at 6/1. And Bournemouth full-back Adam Smith discussed how he
would fit into the Cherries' side after the south coast side won 1-0 at the
Stadium of Light on Saturday. "Hopefully, he will come here next season," he
told the Bournemouth Daily Echo. "I think he would thrive in our team and,
with all our creative players, he would get loads of chances. "He has scored
14 goals this season for the team that is bottom of the league so that shows
what a great finisher and striker he is. "For sure, he could score more than
14 goals in our team next season."
Defoe has previously spent time at Bournemouth on loan early on in his
career, while he also worked with Palace boss Sam Allardyce at Sunderland
last season. If Defoe did join the Vitality Stadium side, it would not be
the first time Bournemouth had pipped Palace to a signing of an England
international, after Jack Wilshere joined the Cherries on loan from Arsenal
last summer.

West Ham fan spared jail over vile 'die like a Jew' tweet
Evening Standard

A West Ham fan who sent vile anti-Semitic abuse to a founder of the
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has been spared prison. Mark Harding, 48, told
Holocaust survivor Agnes Grunwald-Spier MBE to "stick your head in the oven
like the Jew you are" on Twitter. He had spent the day drinking while
watching his team lose to Tottenham in November last year , and sent a
second message saying he hoped she would "die in a freak car accident."
Harding later blamed the incident on "football banter", claiming he had been
baited by Spurs fans online in the wake of his team's defeat. "He was
involved in banter that escalated out of control," said Tina Patel,
defending. "He is totally ashamed by all of this."
Harding, from Walsall, admitted sending offensive communications and was
given an 18-month suspended jail sentence by Hendon magistrates yesterday.
JP Harvey Simons said his tweets were "hurtful and obnoxious", and Harding
was also told to do 60 hours' community service and pay £150 compensation.
Mrs Grunwald-Spier, 72, was a baby when she and her mother were sent to the
Budapest ghetto by the Nazis in 1944. She was liberated aged six months and
came to the UK in 1947.

By Blind Hammer 3 May 2017 at 08:00

Blind Hammer appeals for Supporters to show consideration.

Accessible Toilets designated for use by Disabled or older Supporters at the
London Stadium are being abused by non-disabled supporters.

This was the shocking complaint which emerged after the first ever meeting
of the West Ham Disabled Supporters Advisory Board

Supporters explained that their access to these toilets at half time in
particular is being blocked by supporters who have no need of these special
facilities. Shockingly it was reported that these rooms are being used by
supporters as a furtive smoking room so that they can enjoy a half time
cigarette. This has meant that disabled supporters are missing parts of the
second half of games as they have to wait to gain the access they should
have as of right.

The Club responded at the Board to explain that there are 17 Accessible
Toilets arranged around the ground which should provide good access for
Disabled Supporters. Each toilet is accessed by use of a RADAR key which
should in theory only allow eligible key holders to access the facilities.

Supporters explained that what is happening though is that when a key holder
departs the toilet ineligible non-disabled supporters are intercepting the
door before it closes and forcing their way in.

It was also reported that these so called supporters are also engaging in
disgusting behaviour in relation to use of sink facilities.

West Ham has promised to try and improve the situation by increasing
stewarding around the Accessible Toilet facilities.

It is my view though that we ourselves should stamp on this inconsiderate
minority who continue to give football supporters a bad name. If any of you
observe this behaviour then you should have no hesitation in giving them
your opinion of their behaviour.

We should not need stewards to tell us how to behave. Come on – if you are
one of the guilty ones doing this just stop it.

Let the Tottenham game mark a new standard in our crowd behaviour.

There is much more news to come from the Disable Supporters Advisory Board
which will be reported on in future posts.


David Griffith

showing no consideration for their fellow supporters.
Did West Ham really miss the boat on Napoli star Dries Mertens?
Football London
07:00, 3 MAY 2017

West Ham have reportedly failed with a £25m bid for Napoli superstar Dries
Mertens, who is expected to sign a new, long-term contract with the club.
According to Italian journalist Raffaele Auriemma, the Hammers are
interested in bringing the Belgian winger/forward to the London Stadium this
summer after having a brilliant 2016/17 campaign. Mertens has made 42
appearances for the Naples outfit this season and has rattled in 28 goals
and bagged himself 12 assists to boot. This comes after the club sold
Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus this past summer, Manolo Gabbiadini to
Southampton in January and Arkadiusz Milik, brought in to replace Higuain,
to injury for the majority of this season. But., it appears to be a
non-starter as Mertens has reportedly agreed a new contract at Napoli and
won't be going anywhere for the foreseeable.

Report outlines what West Ham boss Slaven Bilic must do to save his job
Antony Martin

West Ham United have really struggled to settle into their new home this
season. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic's future hinges on the outcome of his
side's remaining two home games against Liverpool and Spurs, according to a
report from the Guardian. The Croatian has come in for heavy criticism this
season, with his side failing to live up to high expectations after last
term's seventh placed finish, and his judgement has been questioned after
many of his summer signings have failed to impress thus far. Bilic is a
divisive character at West Ham. He is mostly adored by the fans, but there
is still an underlying question mark regarding whether he has the tactical
acumen required to cut it at the elite level of management. And the Guardian
claim that he could be shown his marching orders by the Hammers' hierarchy
this summer, should he fail to guide his team to positive results against
Tottenham on Friday night and Liverpool on the following Sunday, both at the
London Stadium. Although it might seem a little harsh on Bilic for his
future to be decided on the outcome of a couple of games against two of the
Premier League's best sides, it must be noted that West Ham's performances
against most teams at home this season have been nothing short of shambolic.
And it is hard to see much of a turnaround when they welcome Spurs and the
Reds to the London Stadium over the course of the next two weeks. After last
season's superb seventh placed finish in the league, it would be fair to
make the assumption that Biic has earned himself a bit of grace, but as we
all know, football is a game devoid of sentiment, and it would be no
surprise at all to see West Ham part ways with the popular Croatian this


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