Monday, May 8

Daily WHUFC News - 8th May 2017

Hammers greats pay tribute to Bobby

The late, great Bobby Moore will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement
award at the West Ham United Player Awards on Tuesday night.

Bobby's daughter Roberta will be in attendance at the InterContinental
London at The O2 to accept the award in memory of her father, whose status
as one of the finest players the game has ever seen remains as bright as
ever, 24 years after his tragic passing at the age of just 51.

To mark the prestigious accolade, we invited four of Bobby's former
team-mates to London Stadium recently, to share their memories and stories
of the World Cup-winning captain they were proud to call a friend.

With a grand total of 1,543 first team appearances, four FA Cup winners
medals and three European Cup Winners' Cup winners medals between them, Ken
Brown, Ronnie Boyce, Brian Dear and Sir Trevor Brooking are, of course,
Hammers legends in their own right.

The illustrious quartet, who - like Moore - were all born locally and
graduated through the famous claret and blue Academy, were joined at London
Stadium last week by the Evening Standard's Ken Dyer, who has followed the
Hammers as both a fan and a reporter since the 1960s.

Popular defender Brown, who played alongside Bobby on his debut as a
17-year-old against Manchester United in September 1958 and in both the 1964
FA Cup and 1965 European Cup Winners' Cup triumphs, summed up perfectly the
qualities that established Moore as one of the greatest defenders in the
history of the game.

"Mooro was just different class," said Ken. "He read the game like nobody
else. I lost count of the number of times I ran behind him to cover and just
watched him collect the ball. And he didn't just clear it, he always tried
to create something."

Boyce, who famously scored the last-minute winning goal in that 1964 FA Cup
final victory over Preston added: "I was just in awe of him. I loved every
minute of my time playing for West Ham, and I would put three quarters of
that down to Bobby Moore."

Sir Trevor, who played both with Bobby early in his career and then against
him in the 1975 FA Cup final, said: "As a young player, it was a privilege
to play with someone of that level. It is sometimes an over-used word, but
you can look back over the last 50 years and say that Bobby Moore is a
genuine world football legend."

Brian Dear, a close friend of Bobby off the pitch, added: "Just a perfect
person. He was great at everything."

Winstone - We were like Trojans

IRON MEN star and lifelong Hammer Ray Winstone celebrated West Ham United's
1-0 Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur in typically enthusiastic
style on Sky Sports' Soccer AM programme. The actor joined Max Rushmore and
Helen Chamberlain on the sofa just 12 hours after the Hammers had dented
Spurs' title hopes with a dramatic win at London Stadium, courtesy of Manuel
Lanzini's second-half goal. Ripping off his denim jacket to reveal at Claret
polo shirt, Winstone roared before making the crossed hammers sign, before
praising Slaven Bilic and his players. "[West Ham] were like Trojans last
night… like Spartans," said the 60-year-old. "We done 'em, that north London
mob. "I feel a bit sorry for Tottenham in a way, because they are a great
side, but we out-bottled them last night. "They came to our manor and they
got done."

Cresswell - The atmosphere was incredible

Aaron Cresswell praised the West Ham supporters as they roared the Hammers
to a 1-0 London derby victory
The hosts beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to Manuel Lanzini's second half
Cresswell returned to the starting XI for the fixture and was delighted to
do so for such a huge match

The atmosphere at London Stadium after West Ham United's huge 1-0 win over
Tottenham Hotspur on Friday was incredible, according to Aaron Cresswell.
The left-back returned to the starting lineup for the vital London derby and
played a massive part as the hosts grabbed all three points thanks to Manuel
Lanzini's winner. Slaven Bilic's side ended Spurs' nine-match winning run in
the Premier League while securing their place in the top flight for next
season at the same time.
And though the team's performance was one to remember against Mauricio
Pochettino's men, it was the supporters on the night who stood out in
Cresswell's eyes.
He said: "It's possibly one of the best games I've played in in a West Ham
shirt, and certainly the atmosphere was brilliant. "It's a massive win and
I'm sure he fans will have enjoyed it. It's happy days for everyone - three
points. "The game finished and I was over the far side with Nobes and Ginge
and you're looking at the crowd, seeing how happy they are and singing and
dancing after the game, and that's what you live for as footballers.
363"The fans put bums on seats every week, they're there in their numbers so
it's nice to give something back and it's nights like this that I'm sure
they enjoy."

Cresswell has been forced to be patient in recent weeks with Arthur Masuaku
impressing in the left-back berth, but the 2015 Hammer of the Year was
delighted to make his return in such a high-profile fixture. "It's nice to
be back in the team," the defender admitted. "You want to play in massive
games like this and they're pushing for the title. "We all know we haven't
had a great season, but that in a way makes it even better beating Spurs and
more or less stopping them win the title. "Spurs had a few chances first
half but we could have been two or three up at certain points in the game.
Manu got the goal late on, and you can't beat a 1-0 win with a clean sheet.
"Everyone out a real shift in, especially Jonny [Calleri] up top. Every time
he has got a chance in the team, he's worked so hard. He really has. "It's a
massive win and I'm sure he fans will have enjoyed it."

Written by @Fareham_hammer

Make no mistake this is a huge transfer window for The Club and they simply
have got to get it right. I think us fans must also be realistic in our
expectations. We are in a similar position as a young couple, moving from a
two bedroom flat to a four bedroom house. In most cases it will take time to
get the house to the standard the couple want it to be. Same with West Ham,
just because we have moved into a new Stadium, it does not mean we are flush
with cash. It will take a bit of time before we can start benefiting from
the extra revenue. Another problem is most clubs generate money via player
sales on an annual base that the manager can add towards his existing
transfer kitty. During the last seven years we got five million for Scott
Parker, ten million for James Tomkins, and twenty five million for Dimitri
Payet. A pittance really. As a result very careful profiling of a potential
new signing has to be done, we have to minimise as much as we possibly can
that a player flops, even then we cannot guarantee that a new signing will
be a success. Signing a player for say £30 million and he flops means big
trouble, and has a knock on effect on the next two transfer windows.

A lot of fans say sell this player and that player they are crap! The
trouble is other clubs don't WANT OUR CRAP! When you go to Tesco do you buy
stuff that is past the sell buy date? Not a chance! Neither do football
clubs! We could most certainly do with some of our youth making the grade.
Time to stop sending Josh Cullen out on loan after loan and raving about his
great performances for Bradford. We need him put in the squad and used! Even
if he has a couple of bad games so what! That is how Southampton Football
Club do things and they have a very successful Youth Academy. Even if they
are 16, 17, or 18 and they are good enough they play! If they have one or
two bad games they don't shove them out the door!

So what do I hope we spend in the summer? Bearing in mind we got twenty five
million for Dimitri Payet. I would be happy if we spent between 50-60
million. That should enable us to bring a bit of quality in. The key to a
successful window is, getting in early and getting and getting deals done
!It gives the manager enough time then to fully integrate the new players
into the squad and a proper pre-season, which of course cuts the risks of
injuries. What we don't need is Barry Silkman 'specials'. Strikers playing
their football in The Zambian or St Helena Island second Division and being
told he has scored NINETY goals in 78 appearances and is the next Messi!
Then the player pitches up and makes Savio look like George Best! Please no
more time wasters! The Club are perfectly capable of delivering a good
window. Most of you know my opinion of The Board…but loathe them or like
them. David Sullivan for one knows his football, most of the footballing
world for example had NEVER heard of Neymar till we were linked with him.
The time to deliver is now.

I do not expect every signing to be mouth-watering either, value for money
is essential. I'm happy with Adrian as a goalkeeper, but Randolph is Bobo
the clown mark two in goal, poor at crosses and time and again beaten at his
near post. Not good enough. I'm not expecting us to sign the likes of Joe
Hart or Butland, just a good steady goalkeeper to via with Adrian for the
goalkeeping spot. I'm happy to keep Byram, but we need a top class and
experienced right back ahead of him. I'm happy with both left backs, yes
Creswell has not performed to his previous high standards, but you don't
become crap overnight. It's a case of regaining his confidence. At centre
back I'm happy with Reid and Ogbonna but worried about having to pair
Collins and Fonte at some stage of the season. Too old and too slow! Teams
will do us for pace every time! Sadly I can see Collins having to make way,
with either one of the two Reece's stepping up or another centre back
brought in. In midfield we need some creativity to help Lanzini, possibly
another defensive midfielder. One player I like who is not heralded, is
Brighton's Beram Kayal, I have followed him from his Celtic day's to present
day, a West Ham player through and through.

Lastly we come to the forwards. If you are insisting on playing Noble you
need pace ahead of him. So I would like to see a really pacey right sided
winger brought in.The strikers are where the money needs to be spent. We
need two quality strikers. We simply cannot rely on Carroll or Sakho that
has been proved over and over again. We have been linked with Daniel
Sturridge who barring he is fit I would love at the club. A good pacey
proven striker who knows where the goal is. I would also like Toni Martinez
to be promoted to the first team squad and kept there. It's undoubtedly
going to be a busy window with no room for error. The Board, Tony Henry and
Slaven Billic have got to get it right from the off! We are more than a
football club, we're a way of life!


Written by Darren O'Toole @dynamicfitPT

A lot has been leveled at the club this year. Most of which I would agree
with: poor stadium transition (I think it was right to move, but can
understand people's anger), woeful signings, lack of fitness etc. but one
topic that keeps arising is that of giving 'youth' a chance – a topic that I
feel relatively well placed to give an opinion – and an opinion which may
prove different to most.

I worked for two seasons assisting our under 16s in a 'conditioning coach'
capacity. 'Glorified bottle washer', 'warm-up guy', 'sport scientist'. I
went with conditioning coach. It gave me an opportunity to watch every match
for two years and spend time with the under 16 and under 18 coaching staff.
So, at this point, let me say, no fan would love to see the youth players
succeed more than me – apart from maybe Mark Phillips our under-18 coach
who, if cut, I'm pretty sure would literally bleed claret and blue.

Firstly, let's get a little perspective. In the last 14 years, four players
from our youth team have truly 'made it' at West Ham – Anton Ferdinand, Mark
Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins. All played over 100 games for the
club and at one point held their position in the team on merit. Some others
have got fairly close – Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, Zavon Hines – but
the reality is that none were quite good enough. Sure, Stanislas would have
been a better option than Tore or even Feghouli this year, but that would
also have involved him not playing at all for the previous couple of years.
Therefore, he wouldn't have become the player he has. In fact, one of the
more successful players that we released is a current England Under 21
International who we binned at 16 – bet some of you don't even know of this.

So, Big Sam and Slav have both been criticised for not giving the youth
players a chance. Let me briefly run down the list of those who were hyped
but let go: Rob Hall, Matthais Fanimo, Blair Turgott, George Moncur, Dan
Potts, Elliot Lee, Leo Chambers. Two have landed in the Championship – one
of which sometimes plays, the other doesn't. Did we get it that wrong to let
these go? Were they good enough? The simple answer is that they weren't.

When I worked at the club, without a doubt the best prospect was Leo
Chambers. He was followed by Elliot Lee, Josh Cullen, Kieran Bywater and Sam
Howes. These five (technically four as Howes' prospects were more based on
the fact he was so young to be an under-16 gk), were so far ahead of their
teammates in terms of quality. Leo, I feel, would still have become a top
player – potentially above and beyond West Ham – if it weren't for two
things – a tragic injury record and an undisciplined attitude. I'd describe
him as such a lovely lad that you wanted to slap! A talent but was never
going to put in the hours to become a superstar!

Cullen – despite his recent musings about leaving – has a great chance
still. Why? Because he will work damned hard to make it happen. Watching
Lampard and Gerrard both discuss their obsession to be the best reminded me
of Josh. When he gets a chance, he'll take it. I, for one, believe he'll get
that chance.

The others, Lee is warming a bench in Barnsley, Bywater ended up playing US
collegiate football and Howes – well we'll see. Reading between the lines it
seems that the club fancy Nathan Trott more. However Howes will make it as a

Even our players heading out on loan (Knoyle, Dobson, Samuelson, Browne,
Martinez, Gordon and Oxford) aren't even fancied by the managers of these
clubs. How is Slav expected to play a player that a League one team turns
their nose up at?

I want to see a team including Howes, Burke, Oxford and Cullen. I've
purposefully left all other names off this list because I just don't see any
others as good enough. However, instead of looking at Slav and Big Sam, or
even the youth system, why don't we look at the kids themselves? How much do
they want it? The ones that want it most, will be given a chance or will
come back to haunt us. For now, nobody has done that. So until then, let's
expect more from these highly paid young men, not bemoaning that they
haven't been given a chance which they haven't earned.

By Blind Hammer 7 May 2017 at 11:19 291 comments

Blind Hammer reflects on how Slaven Bilic got all the important decisions
right on Friday.

Slaven Bilic deserves all the praise which is coming his way after the
Friday night performance against Spurs. Bilic has had to endure harrowing
press scrutiny all season and the number of time the "two games" to save his
job headline ran throughout the season was ridiculous. Bilic has received
criticism and questioning from even loyal supporters, including myself, so
it is only right to reflect on all the things he has got right recently.

Wind back in time to 7.30 on Friday night and I was a worried man. Bilic had
selected a team which surprised many, including myself. Bilic had, in his
team selection, judged on the qualities needed against Spurs in defiance of
form. Despite recent favourable reviews of Håvard Nordtveit's, Bilic took
the decision to re-introduce Mark Noble. Bilic judged that experience and
leadership was more important than form. Despite the recent success of the
re-jigged defence Bilic decided to disturb his previously effective
formation and re-introduced Sam Byram in place of Edimilson Fernandes. He
judged that the form of Fernandes was outweighed by Byram's defensive skils.

Bilic also refused to bow to the criticism that Jonathan Calleri had
attracted and persisted with him and Ayew as an attacking partnership,
resisting calls for Fletcher to get his chance.

Bilic was proved absolutely correct in all these decisions. Noble was a
rampaging and effective leader of the team. Byram had his best game for West
Ham and fostered the belief that we actually have a quality performer on our
hands after all. Calleri and Ayew worked tirelessly and was a constant
nuisance to Spurs all night. Calleri in particular is starting to give
glimpses of what could be possible if he could only score a couple of goals.

None of these decisions were straightforward or obvious. Bilic would have
been under enormous pressure if any of these selection decisions had not
paid off. The conservative easier approach would have been to rely on the
same team which had successfully ground out points in previous games.

In relation to goalkeeping, Slav was right to drop Adrian for Randolph at
the beginning of the season but he has also been correct in re-introducing
Adrian to the team recently. Personally I feel that he has managed the
goalkeeping situation impeccably. Goalkeepers need, more than any other
position, confidence. Constantly dropping and re-introducing Adrian or
Randolph after every mistake would have done neither favours.

Bilic had also underseen a quieter transformation in the squad. Wind back a
few weeks and we had a dysfunctional team under enormous pressure which was
consistently conceding 2 or more goals a game. As previous readers of my
posts will know this was my own biggest concern, stretching back to last
summer. Bilic had tried 3 at the back earlier in the season only to see it
collapse against the quality of teams such as Manchester City. Now Bilic,
despite this history saw the need to re-introduce this defensive
organisation. The initial result was drab goalless draws, including a
priceless goalless draw against Everton. People thought it was dull;
personally I was over the moon. I always felt that if we could sort our
defence out the quality in the rest of the squad would eventually start to
shine through. There is no shame in playing three at the back. Chelsea and
other successful teams do it all the time. Above all the new defensive
formation seems far more suited to confronting the expanded dimensions of
the pitch at the London Stadium.

Bilic has had to cope with staggering problems this season. He has had to
play all season without a fit forward. Ayew missed half the season due to
serious injury and is probably only now approaching expected performance.
Carroll and Sacko have had again disastrous injury records. Even Antonio has
joined the sick room curse. But consider also the wider picture with

We learnt in January that Obonna performances throughout the first half of
the season were affected because he had to play through the pain barrier
before missing half a season through surgery. We learnt this weekend that
Winston Read is also similarly having to play through a pain barrier and is
due to have surgery after the Liverpool game. Byram has spent large parts of
the season injured with hamstring and other injuries. Cresswell has never
looked the same after his terrible pre-season injury, and clearly needs a
summer's recovery time. Arthur Masuaku has also had to miss large parts of
the season, as has Håvard Nordtveit's. Cheikhou Kouyaté has received some
criticism for some of his recent performances but we now know that he also
has been playing through the pain barrier for the club and will be required
to have surgery this week now that we are safe.

So even when players play we learn that that they are having to confront
injury. Bilic truly has had the season from hell on the injury front, and
that is not to even mention Payet.

So hail Slaven Bilic this week. I can't promise I will never question him
again but he has earnt a lot of credit in my loyalty bank.


David Griffith


Last summer, West Ham spent many weeks negotiating a deal with Besiktas for
the transfer of Gokhan Tore. Slaven Bilic worked closely with the winger
during their time together in Turkey and even tried to sign the former
Chelsea youth star during his first season in charge of the Hammers. After
failing with several permanent transfer bids, West Ham struck a deal to take
the Turk on a season-long loan with a £10m purchasing option should they
wish to keep him on a full-time basis. Tore got off to a rocky start in West
Ham colours, and was in and out of the first-team making just eight
appearances, recording just one assist in the process before suffering a
season-ending knee injury in the winter. It's evident that Tore won't be
staying at the club beyond this season and the club hierarchy, who will
review Bilic's position after the season, are concerned about how Tore's
transfer to the club has played out. Bilic had a major say in whether or not
they would sign Tore and really pushed for a permanent transfer before
settling on a loan deal, which has raised questions about whether he's the
right man to make the final decisions over who comes in or out of the club.
Tore is an isolated example of a transfer not working out, but we cannot
forget that Bilic was the man who insisted on bringing in Dimitri Payet and
Manuel Lanzini to the club who were both highly successful signings.


Last summer's recruitment was, for the most part, a big failure, so West Ham
have it all to do this summer to right those wrongs. Two problem areas for
the Hammers remain between the sticks and in front of goal, but they're
planning a double swoop on Sunderland to fill those voids. According to the
Express, West Ham have launched a late bid to sign Jordan Pickford, who is
being tipped to complete a move to Everton, while Jermain Defoe is a top
summer target. The £17m-rated goalkeeper has been sounded out by the Hammers
for a summer move as they look to add a top quality stopper with Adrian's
contract set to expire and Darren Randolph being unable to nail down the
spot himself. As for Defoe, Slaven Bilic tried and failed with several bids
for the striker in January as he turned down offers in order to aid
Sunderland's survival bid. With the Black Cats now relegated, Defoe is free
to leave the Stadium of Light for nothing courtesy of a clause in his
contract. After netting 15 goals already this season, matching last year's
tally, West Ham are ready to meet Defoe's £100,000-a-week wage demands in
order to secure his signature. Bournemouth and West Brom have also both been
linked with a move for the England international.


This season really hasn't gone as planned for West Ham. Another early exit
from the Europa League compounded by some inconsistent Premier League form
finds the Hammers in an irrelevant mix for mid-table placings with just
three games to play. Two decades ago, West Ham were lauded for their
investment into young talent and giving them first-team opportunities, and
many believe that the club should get back to that philosophy that served
them so well. Currently, the club has used the loan market to send their
best young talents out into the Football League to play so much-needed
first-team football to aid their development, but perhaps the time has come
to give a number of them some chances in the Premier League. We take a look
at West Ham's young stars that deserve a chance in the first-team next


An obvious choice, but Oxford has done nothing but impress whenever he's
been handed some first-team minutes. A stop-start loan spell with Reading
hasn't been great for him this season and it's time he's given a real run of
games in the first-team.


The same can be said for Reece Burke who is in a similar situation to
Oxford. Injuries have limited his playing time at Wigan this season but
Burke will return to the club in the summer and able to play both right-back
or centre-back, he'd be an apt replacement for James Tomkins.


West Ham strikers this season have all struggled for goals with Carroll
being the only one to score more than one goal this season. Martinez has had
a great loan spell with Oxford and he should be kept in and around the
first-team squad next season – he knows how to find the net.


Cullen has enjoyed another great loan spell with Bradford and has developed
into a fine central midfielder. While West Ham have a number of options in
central midfield, Cullen, who fits the Mark Noble role perfectly, could be
his long-term heir.


Rice is one of the players West Ham are most excited about in the
Development Squad right now. Named to the bench on a number of occasions of
late, Rice is someone the club see as a future leading centre-back for the


Samuelsen hasn't had the greatest of seasons on loan with Blackburn and then
Peterborough, but he needs a run of games. West Ham should keep him around
in the first-team squad next season to see what he can offer.


Quina was used in the Europa League and the club are excited about his
prospects. The young attacking midfielder should be afforded an opportunity
to impress.


With Sakho and Carroll both injured, Fletcher could be given another chance
to start over the final few games of the season. He's flashed potential in
his debut campaign but needs to start more games for us to see the best of

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate to undergo wrist surgery with Hammers
survival assured
Evening Standard

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is to undergo surgery on a
long-standing wrist injury and will not feature again this season. Kouyate
has been carrying the problem for much of the campaign and has played with a
cast covering his right wrist. With West Ham's survival assured thanks to
Friday's 1-0 win over Tottenham at the London Stadium, a result that
effectively looks to have ended Spurs' title challenge, Kouyate will now
undergo treatment. As such he will miss West Ham's final two games, at home
to Liverpool and away to Burnley. Kouyate was in exceptional form in
Friday's win, dominating a midfield battle against the powerful pairing of
Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier, and has been a regular in Slaven Bilic's side
this season, making 36 appearances in a campaign interrupted by his
participation with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations. The 27-year-old
joins Pedro Obiang and Angelo Ogbonna in being sidelined until next term but
Andy Carroll, who missed the win over Spurs, could yet feature again this


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