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Dobson eager for PL2 inclusion
George Dobson has returned from his loan spell and is in contention to start West Ham United PL2 on Monday night
The Hammers take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in their Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off semi final
Speaking to whufc.com, Dobson also reflected on his loan spell at Walsall
George Dobson has declared himself available for West Ham United PL2 selection ahead of their play-off clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday. Dobson played 21 times and scored once for Walsall as they finished their Sky Bet League One campaign in 14th place.
After the climax to the League One season last weekend, Dobson has now returned to east London and reflected on his first loan spell with fondness. "It's been a long but good season," said Dobson. "I've learned a lot from the loan, got quite a lot of appearances in the end. I felt like I learned a lot and I've developed as a player. "The second half of the season I've been involved a lot more. I've been working hard just to try and impress the management there to stay involved and get more involved. That hard work definitely paid off towards the end of the season. "The manager said he would love to have me back and he said I had done really well. I also said a lot of good things which is obviously good. I definitely feel like I've improved over the course of the season which is the most important thing."
Dobson has been training with the Hammers as they prepare for their Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off clash with Wolves. The Hammers qualified for the play-offs after beating West Bromwich Albion 4-0 two weeks ago, and Dobson is keen to be involved as the U23s strive for promotion. The 19-year-old missed out on last season's Premier League Cup victory after injury ruled him out of the final's second leg and says it has made him even hungrier to achieve success this time around. "I saw that they got into the play-offs after the 4-0 win at West Brom. It's a massive game for the club because the possibility of moving into the top division is a great incentive for all the boys," added Dobson. "I'm available for selection so we'll see what happens. "I played most of last season and literally missed the second leg of the final because of injury. It would be nice to be involved in winning something this year where I actually get to play.
"That makes you want to be involved more. I'm really enjoying training and seeing what happens over the next couple of weeks. 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.
Keep up to date with West Ham United PL2's play-off clash with Wolves at whufc.com and on our social channels from 7pm on Monday.
Loanee round up
Josh Cullen and Bradford City will soon travel to Wembley for a place in the Championship for next season
The Bantams held Fleetwood Town to a goalless draw on Sunday having beaten them 1-0 in the opening leg at Valley Parade
Cullen played the full extent of both legs and will be key to Bradford's success in the capital on 20 May
Josh Cullen – a season-long star on loan at Bradford City this season – helped the Bantams reach the League One play-off final on Sunday night with a goalless draw at Fleetwood Town. Stuart McCall's men travelled to Lancashire knowing a draw would be enough for them to reach Wembley having beaten Uwe Rosler's team 1-0 at Valley Parade in the first leg. Cullen was awarded Man of the Match in that clash, and he again impressed on Sunday, having a couple of opportunities to himself extend the Yorkshiremen's lead. The stalemate at Highbury was enough, however, and Bradford will now prepare to face Millwall – who beat Scunthorpe United 3-2 away from home to go through – for a place in the Championship next season. That all-important clash will take place in just under two weeks' time, on Saturday 20 May at Wembley Stadium.
Also in play-off action on Sunday was goalkeeper Sam Howes, on loan at National League South side Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Beavers faced Ebbsfleet for a place in the final, but knew the task on their hands was a big one having lost the opening leg 2-1 at home to United. And It wasn't to be for Borough, who again went down 2-1 to eventually crash out of the semis 4-2 on aggregate. Ebbsfleet will face Chelmsford City for a place in the National League division for the 2017/18 campaign.
Finally, Enner Valencia was a second half substitute for Everton as they were beaten 1-0 by Swansea City at the weekend. The Ecuadorian played the final 25 minutes for the Toffees, who were by then already one down thanks to Fernando Llorente's first half strike which turned out to be the vital winner for Paul Clement's side. Swansea overtook Hull City, who were beaten by Sunderland, with the win to climb out of the relegation zone.
Manager on Monday
Slaven Bilic says he felt the omens were good ahead of Friday's 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur – despite the visitors going into the game on the back of a nine-game winning streak.
Few pundits gave the Hammers a chance against Mauricio Pochettino's title-chasing Spurs, but they proved them wrong with a terrific performance which yielded maximum points thanks to Manuel Lanzini's second half goal.
Bilic recalled the victory against the north Londoners at home last year, as well as the performance in defeat earlier this season, and said those games helped formulate his gameplan to defeat Tottenham for the first time since early February.
He explained: "We played against a team who have been the best [in the Premier League] especially over the last couple of months – they had won nine out of nine.
"They were still up for it because they wanted to put the pressure on Chelsea, but we had a couple of good patterns. Not only the performances in the last four games where we had kept three clean sheets and created enough chances to score goals in every one of those, but also because of our last couple of games against Spurs.
"We beat them 1-0 at Upton Park, and although we lost 3-2 at White Hart Lane earlier this season we were really good. We had the pattern, we had the gameplan which was working against them and we did the same again on Friday.
"We planned it, but it was the guys who executed it brilliantly. We deserved it – we showed character, we showed determination, we showed team spirit, everything. Most of all, we showed the quality to beat a big team."
One player who displayed that quality was Lanzini, whose ninth goal of the campaign, secured the derby spoils.
Bilic was thrilled with his contribution, saying: "Lanzini is a young player, but a magnificent player. He works hard, he covers a lot of ground on the pitch and he is very good in the box.
"He's scored some amazing and important goals for us, he creates goals, the players love him because he is not one of those who wants to be spared the defensive part of the game.
"He works hard and he's brilliant to have."
Fonte's top ten target
Jose Fonte says West Ham United want to end the season strongly after beating Tottenham Hotspur
Hammers welcome Liverpool to London Stadium on Sunday, seeking to go six games unbeaten
Portugal star says Claret and Blue Army played their part in Friday's London Stadium success
Jose Fonte says West Ham United want to take the confidence drawn from beating Tottenham Hotspur into Sunday's Premier League meeting with Liverpool. Fresh from beating second-place Spurs, the Hammers welcome the third-place Reds to London Stadium seeking to extend their unbeaten run to six matches and continue their strong finish to the season. With two games to play – West Ham go to Burnley on the final day – Fonte and his teammates are targeting a top-ten finish, but know they will need to take at least four points from those matches if they are to hit that target. "We are pleased, but we still have two games to go and two wins to get," said the Portugal defender, who has now kept eleven clean sheets in 31 Premier League appearances this season. "We have a massive game against Liverpool and we want to finish in the top ten, so we have got to win those two games. It's another big game on Sunday and we want to replicate what we did against Tottenham. "We have found a good system and we've been excellent in the last four games, so I'm pleased, because as a defender it's good to keep clean sheets. "The three points are always more important, but the clean sheet matters to me!"
Slaven Bilic's new preferred 3-4-2-1 system has produced four clean sheets in the last five matches, with the Premier League's top two centre forwards, Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Tottenham's Harry Kane, being held to a combined two shots on target. On Friday, Kane had just two first-half shots, both of which were saved by Adrian – an illustration of the resilience the Hammers showed in ending Tottenham's nine-match winning streak. "It was a great night," Fonte confirmed. "When we play like this as a team and work hard, it's very difficult to beat us. So, well done to us and well done to the fans, who created an unbelievable atmosphere. They helped us to win the game and this win is for them. "We knew we would be hard to beat. Our confidence is high and we knew if we performed how we had been performing, it would be very difficult to score against us. So, we went into the game knowing we would get chances if we stayed compact and kept the lines closed, then broke quickly, and that's what happened. "Credit to the manager who made the system work, and credit to us."
Having helped the Hammers to climb clear of the relegation dogfight, Fonte's next target is to help his new Club take the next step next season by challenging for European football. "I came here to be successful and help the Club to be successful," said the UEFA Euro 2016 winner. "I didn't have the perfect start, but one thing I don't do is give up. I trust the process and I trust my work during the week, and I give my heart and soul for this Club now and for my teammates. "I'm pleased for these last few results and I'm pleased the fans have supported us. If the fans want to, they can make it hell for the opponents and that's what they did on Friday. They were loud, they were intense and we felt it – goosebumps. "Well done to the fans, because they were massive and this win is for them."
Manning praises skipper as U23s reach final
West Ham United Premier League 2 were 2-1 winners at Wolves on Monday in their play-off semi-final
The victory will see them face Newcastle for a spot in Division 1 next season
Assistant manager Liam Manning praised captain Declan Rice as he led the team to victory in the midlands
West Ham United Premier League 2 assistant boss Liam Manning praised skipper Declan Rice for an outstanding display as he led the U23s to a play-off semi-final victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Hammers scored twice late on through Jahmal Hector-Ingram and Martin Samuelsen at Molineux to seal their place in the final. They will face Newcastle United – for a fourth time this season and a third at St. James' Park – for a spot in Premier League 2 Division 1 next campaign and Manning stated the performance was the result of a season's worth of hard work. He said: "It's the icing on the cake for a really tough season to get that result. It's good to get rewards like that at the end of the season. "It was an extremely difficult game. Wolves are well organised, they're effective in what they do, they're physical, so we're delighted with the way the boys applied themselves. We kept moving it really well, and the boys do that every single day. "I thought Declan Rice was outstanding at the back. The front two were a handful for them but he dealt with them comfortably and every week, we've said for the whole season, he's been outstanding. He's getting close to needing another challenge now. "We have another trip up to the north east, and we have unfinished business up there to be fair. We went up there in the league and ground out a point and lost in the cup."
Wolves scored in the first half through Sylvain Deslandes when the full-back rose the highest from a corner to head home, and it looked as though, for 55 minutes, it would be the hosts who would be progressing to the final. But with ten minutes left on the clock, substitutes Joe Powell and Hector-Ingram combined perfectly to level the scores, goalscorer Hector-Ingram finding the back of the net with his first touch. And soon after, the forward was bundled over in the penalty area, giving Samuelsen the opportunity to finish from the spot, something he did with aplomb. "It's important for the players to know they must be focused whether they're starting or whether they're on the bench," continued Manning. "As you saw with our first goal, two subs combined for that, and they showed what they could do. It was a quality goal; a great delivery and great header. "We were one down for a long time so we're really proud of them believing they could still get something from the game. The group are like that; they're a close-knit group. The team is very young and we had four U18s starting tonight. "[Raphael] Spiegel kept us in it at 1-0 down as well; he made two or three consecutive saves in a short space of time and kept us in the game. He did very well. "Hopefully now we can go to Newcastle and it would be great to get the result and ultimately get promotion."
ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! TIME TO SHOVE GOLD AND SULLIVAN OUT THE DOOR! THEN WHAT?
BY EXWHUEMPLOYEE ON 8 MAY 2017 AT 9:29PM
Written by FarehamHammer
Well few will disagree, I have been amongst Messrs Gold and Sullivan's harshest critics, if not the harshest of them all, from the off. I had been well briefed about them, before they even set foot on The Boleyn Ground. A couple of friends of mine, Birmingham City fans, had warned me how they rolled. They would overplay The Club's debt, as an excuse for not investing in the transfer market. Always reminding Brum fans how they had 'saved' them. During season ticket renewal time, they used their many contacts in the media to spin fantasy land stories, linking Brum to this star or that. Phantom 'bids were the order of the day. 'Bids they knew perfectly well, would not be accepted. Either offering the club selling the player peanuts, or offering the player personal terms, that they knew would not be accepted .Then they would say "they tried". They also had a tenancy to undermine the manager at every turn .The transfer strategy was to sign a lot of distinctly average players, with Sullivan always signing cheap imports from South America, via their trusted agent at the time. Barry Silkman. Believing that one of them, would turn out to be the next Messi. Of course this never happened !So it's no surprise, that Birmingham City suffered three relegation's during Gold and Sullivan's tenure at St Andrew's.
The one relegation, came off the back of a season when Brum had finished ninth. The previous season Mikael Forssell had scored a lot of goals for Brum, he got injured during the relegation season. Gold and Sullivan never signed another striker, and down went Birmingham City. Another thing that used to anger Birmingham City Fans ,was they would have a tendency to flog star players, during the last days of a transfer window, not replace them, and say they "Ran out of time "to bring in someone else. People …this on the face of it is, exactly how they have operated at West Ham. As soon as they arrived they lived up to my expectations spectacularly. Over and over we got told they would not have bought the club if they were not fans, we got told how The Club had lent money against the following two years season tickets. We were a financial Armageddon was another line on an almost daily basis, we were left in no doubt they were West Ham's 'Messiah's'
I remember their first two transfer windows very well. We had David Gold telling us they were prepared to spend £100 000 per week on a top striker, with Ruud Van Nistlerooy being heavily linked with The Club .The reality was Mido signed on £1000 per week. The first summer transfer window was an eye opener. Seventy two hours before the expiry of season ticket renewals, came this gem on The Club's website: "The club is expected to sign six exciting players in 72hrs "The reality was Freddie Piquionne and Pablo Barrera. So a pretty damning start by any stretch of the imagination of their legacy at Brum. The truth will always set you free they say. Ignoring my mate's opinion of them, there are three ABSOLUTE FACTS about Gold and Sullivan's tenure at St Andrews. They most certainly left The Club better off, than when they arrived at Birmingham City. When they arrived at St Andrews, The Club was heavily in debt, and in the third tier of English football. With a Ground that was falling apart .Well they changed all that. They rebuilt St Andrews, had reached The Premier League, and were in the black by the time they left. Leaving aside the pure the theatrics of it all, one would have to say their time at St Andrews was a success.
This season in particular, many have told them to sell up .As frustrations have built regarding the transfer window failure. But sell up to who? Whatever one's opinion of Gold and Sullivan, they DO know how to run a Football Club. They know how and where to identify players, Sullivan in particular, is heavily involved in transfers at The Club, his experience shone through in the deals of both Tore and Zaza. He saved he club millions, by taking them out on loan first rather than buy them outright. What is the alternative to Gold and Sullivan? Owners like the owners of Blackpool Orient, Charlton and Leeds to name a few? People are not lining up to buy football clubs, post the financial credit crunch of 2008. And the Chinese buying our football Clubs? What would happen if the Chinese economy collapsed? Do you think they will stick around? Like hell they would! People think if a Billionaire buys a Football Club, they automatically splash the cash in the transfer market. Not now. You only had to look at the hysteria, created by the Everton takeover, to realise that. Ronald Koeman, would be able to spend a HUNDRED MILLION in the transfer window screamed the tabloids. Everton sold Stones for 50 million…and loaned Enner Valencia from us, says it all really!
Another mate of mine, who is a huge Aston Villa fan, hated Doug Ellis, The Villa owner before Randy Lerner. "DEADLY DOUG OUT! "Was his battle cry. When Lerner bought The Club I kept hearing " 'Uncle' Randy is going to spend MILLIONS in the transfer window!" To be fair to Lerner, he did spend millions in the transfer window. In the last couple of years before he sold Villa, Lerner hardly spent a penny. As Villa slid down to The Championship, my mate startled me one night when he said: "I wish Deadly Doug had The Villa! "WHAT??" I replied. He then said that the big problem with Randy Lerner was, that although he tried, he was out of his depth in the transfer market for starters. "What do you mean? "I asked. "Well he paid £31 million to your lot for Reo Coker, Collins and Harewood for starters" he replied. He had a point. Sunderland are in exactly the same boat now, Ellie Short, their owner wants out but can't get rid of The Club. Can any of you imagine that scenario at West Ham? No chance!
Many think I HATE The Board and WANT them to fail. Rubbish! If The Board fail, West Ham fail, so that is a no go. I have my fair share of clashes with them on twitter and the rest !I had one run in with @DaveSulleyjnr,on twitter after we failed to bring in a striker on transfer deadline day. Dave, who was 14 at the time replied: "Support your Club! You moron!" Of course it kicked off, with fans saying that he had no respect for the fans. Me? I had a huge grin, poured myself a Jack Daniels and thought:"Fair play he stuck up for his old man" I have had sporadic contact with Dave since, and I will vouch for him. Nice guy and bright, and an independent personality. My dialogue with Dave left me an impression of Sullivan in particular. Like most human beings they have their faults, deep down they are not bad people running The Club. What we don't need is the constant lies and spin. No need to leak stuff like we are 'closing in ' on Messi and Neymar! It just causes a negative vibes between them and the supporters! We understand that David Sullivan, the majority shareholder, although a billionaire, only has £500m in liquid assets. So cannot go paying 40m plus wages at a time, for three or four players at a time.
When you look back at the squad we had when they took over. You can see that they HAVE made progress! Back then we had the likes of Spector, Kovac and Boa Morte in midfield, we were paying Kieron Dyer NINETY three grand per week! Dyer made Sakho and Carroll look like ever presents, such was his sick note record. Back then we only dreamt of players like! Payet! Lanzini! Kouyate! Song! Carroll, Fonte! Ayew to name a few players, that they have brought to The Club .Even some of last summer's recruits are coming to life, and doing well. Fernandes and Arthur Mausaku, spring to mind. Mausaku is proving to be a revelation, just hope he does not suffer second season syndrome. Sam Byram is another signing who is coming along nicely. The future is most definitely Claret and Blue. Like it or leave it, Gold and Sullivan own The Club that will not change. No realistic takeover bid on the horizon, so it's got to be ….Gold and Sullivan in.
PLEASE Mr Chairman cut the spin and downright lies!
We are more than a football club, we are a way of life!
Fonte: that one's for the fans!
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham defender Jose Fonte has dedicated Friday's night's win over Tottenham to the Hammers supporters. And Fonte, who starred in the 1-0 win that effectively ended Tottenham's title hopes also revealed that he was finally feeling at home in Slaven Bilic's new system, which allows the Portuguese to play along two fellow central defenders. "It was a great night," the 33-year-old told whufc.com. "When we play like this as a team and work hard, it's very difficult to beat us. "Well done to us and well done to the fans, who created an unbelievable atmosphere. They helped us to win the game and this win is for them. "I'm pleased for these last few results and I'm pleased the fans have supported us. If the fans want to, they can make it hell for the opponents and that's what they did on Friday. They were loud, they were intense and we felt it – goosebumps. Well done to the fans, because they were massive and this win is for them.
"We have found a good system and we've been excellent in the last four games, so I'm pleased, because as a defender it's good to keep clean sheets. The three points are always more important, but the clean sheet matters to me! "When we play like this as a team and work hard, it's very difficult to beat us."
Meanwhile fellow defender Aaron Cresswell - who only played on Friday night as a result of Arthur Masuaku's injury - insisted it was good to give the fans some reward for their unwavering support in what has proved to be a difficult season. "The fans put bums on seats every week," he added. 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. When the game finished I was with Nobes and Ginge and you're looking at the crowd, seeing how happy they are and singing and dancing after the game. "That's what you live for as footballers."
West Ham 1-0 Spurs (And Other Ramblings)
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
1. Tonight The Streets Are Ours
What a night. Stick that up your fucking cheese lounge, Mr Levy. We might have had to wait an eternity for something worth watching this season, but when it finally came it was thrilling and uplifting. This was joy.
For what is being a football fan about if not joy? The relationship between ourselves and Spurs is at once both complex and simple, but tonight there was nuance everywhere. Their fans are determined that this a fixture about which they are ambivalent. They have always had bigger fish to fry and grander ambitions than merely beating us - "the Pikeys", I type incredulously - apparently. Of course, that particular sobriquet always tells you everything about the person saying it and nothing of the person it is being said about, but let's brush past that.
No, the problem is that this fixture has recently had the inconvenient feature for those indifferent Spurs fans of being a bit important. Last year, we were both flying and Spurs were cowed at Upton Park, just as we were insipid at the Lane. But tonight was Spurs biggest game of the season, if you use the not unreasonable logic that losing would end their electric title charge.
But still their fans insist it was our Cup Final. And maybe it was - our season ended months ago in a blaze of nothingness after all, and actual cup runs aren't really our thing. I guess the piece I can't quite understand is the way in which Spurs fans are so insistent (correctly, I might add) that defining yourselves by comparison to a superior local rival is the mark of a tinpot club, just one week after celebrating finishing above Arsenal like it was the fall of Baghdad. Had there been a giant statue of Arsene Wenger you can bet your life it would have been sawed down and decapitated on Seven Sisters Road last week.
In the end, I don't really care how Spurs fans feel about this game, but I will say that the general air of indifference is a bit unconvincing. Indeed, it just strikes me as the footballing equivalent of the teenage boy who has been dumped by his girlfriend and is now insisting he never liked her anyway whilst refusing to leave his room. It might be true, but it looks to the outside world like you are simply trying to inure yourself to the pain.
And that point brings me back once again to joy. The sad truth is that joy travels hand in hand with despair. For Spurs fans this defeat will be the canvas upon which they will one day paint their own joy. That's what football does to us. But this was our night. I have carried the pain of our November 3-2 loss for nearly half a year and tonight it was washed away. Joy.
2. Nothing Like A Friend
The brilliant Alan Fisher wrote this piece about that 3-2 game in his Tottenham On My Mind blog, and even he succumbs a little at the end to the weird notion of indifference. I love Alan's writing - he has soul, if you'll excuse me going all Roddy Doyle for a moment - but to me this smacks of the cockerel doth protesting too much.
We all went to schools with a mix of West Ham and Spurs fans, there are families everywhere around Essex and North East London split claret and blue and lilywhite, and there was a garrison of riot police officers at this game for a very good reason. Simply saying that they don't care about beating West Ham isn't really enough - they actually have to mean it, surely? All those last minute goals certainly seemed to spark celebrations that suggested they cared at least a little.
But in the curious London footballing ecosystem, it can't be ignored that we're not going to be as important to Spurs as Arsenal. This makes obvious sense, even if there were times over the last twenty years when you wondered why they didn't make a bit more out of their dust ups with us - they could actually beat us, after all.
As such, I'm fine with the notion that it means more to us than them. Our natural geographic rivals are Orient, whilst our historic and vicious feud with Millwall dates back to a dockers strike in 1926 that nobody knows anything about but feels obliged to still be upset about. Like Chelsea in the West, the fact our nearest neighbours have declined leaves us without a natural enemy and thus Spurs fit the bill.
So, was this our Cup Final? I don't know, and in all honesty I don't give a shit. We're not a homogeneous group of drones and each of you will make up your own mind. All that matters is that we won. Deservedly. And it was wonderful.
Enough of the cod psychology. "What of the game", I hear you ask?
As usual, @11tegen11 reveals much. For all the increasingly demented commentary on this thread from Spurs fans, I don't see how anyone could have viewed this as anything other than a richly deserved home win. Except, perhaps for the visiting Spurs fans at the game who dragged in their chaise lounges and sun loungers so they could relax and keep half an eye on the game while they played canasta behind the goal, because they don't care about this fixture.
We started like the office of a Tottenham sheet metal working firm - on fire. Bilic has faced Pochettino four times now, and on three occasions seems to have bested him tactically. It's a small sample size, and the Spurs man is clearly destined for greatness, but it's an interesting point to note. It feels to me like Bilic has spotted a weakness in the North London ranks. When they play well they squeeze you into submission like a python, albeit one with cringeworthy preplanned goal celebrations, but seem surprisingly clueless when faced with the same tactic.
Much is made of the fitness of Spurs and their double training sessions - mainly by them, it has to be said - but here they looked leggy. Our extra day of recovery probably deserves a mention. There has also been a strain of commentary in the media suggesting that they bottled it here, but I think that's wide of the mark; I thought they were just outplayed.
Calleri and Ayew led from the front and harried the usually impeccable Vertonghen and Alderweireld into costly errors. By the end Toby even had a hair out of place. When the Argentine was eventually replaced it was to a standing ovation from a crowd who recognised that most universal of footballing truths - when it isn't going your way, work a bit harder. The poor fucker looked more tired than a fireman on the Seven Sisters Road dealing with all those spontaneous fires in the area.
Behind them Cheikhou Kouyate was a giant amongst men and the lung busting standard bearer for Bilic's high intensity death march. Before the game most Hammers were delighted to see Dembele on the bench, but concerned about the physicality of the Spurs central pairing of Dier and Wanyama. In the end, it wasn't even a fair fight as the Senegal captain hoisted both of them on to his shoulders and wore them like a gilet. By the end, both had been withdrawn - Wanyama to the bench and Dier to the back line. It might have been the single best individual performance I have seen at that stadium, and highlights the madness of playing him at right back ever more starkly.
Elsewhere, there were heroes aplenty. The back three give the distinct impression that they all enjoy having another person around to cover for mistakes and throw themselves desperately in front of shots. Jose Fonte against Dele Alli looked like something you'd only ever see in a Wes Craven film, but in the end the Portuguese stuck the quicksilver Spurs kid in his bum bag and didn't let him out all night. No doubt there will be better days ahead for him, but here he just spent the evening on Snapchat to Gareth Bale asking about decent club nights in Madrid.
Ahead of him Harry Kane looked hopeless, but then he always does when I see him in the flesh and he still has five goals in six games against us. Football makes fools of us all. Here he came up against Winston Reid in dominant form. Having the Kiwi skipper and Adrian back in the fold has rejuvenated us, and we kept a third successive clean sheet that the above xG shows was never really under threat. The most nervous moment came when Kane poked one goalwards from a penalty box scramble and Adrian diverted it over the bar with his foot. He might the most unorthodox keeper around but he stood up here when we needed him. Unlike Kyle Walker, who spent most of the night throwing himself to the ground in search of fouls.
4. Standing At The Sky's Edge
With half time approaching, the game shifted. Suddenly the visitors were moving forward. No real menace to their play, but an undeniable purpose. Christian Eriksen is a silken dream of a footballer and when he got on the ball my stomach began to clench as though I'd eaten a suspicious looking lasagne. But there was nothing much to get stirred up about and instead there was a sense of menace rather than evidence of danger. At one point, some of the visiting Spurs fans lowered their books and had a quick look before returning to their reading, because they don't care about this fixture.
By half time the concourse chat was mostly fearful, although tinged with a pleasant hint of surprise that we were making a game of it. It should be pointed out that most of my fellow Hammers seemed to have allayed their pre match concerns of a tonking by getting mind warpingly drunk. I could see the logic, unlike one bloke I encountered who apparently couldn't see anything at all.
The presupposed threat from the Spurs full backs hadn't really materialised. Ben Davies had his hands full trying to stop Byram, who had wisely decided that given his defensive deficiencies he was going to do as little of it as possible and spent the entire evening bombing forward instead. On the other side Walker seemed distracted. When he wasn't falling over he was on Right Move looking for properties in Manchester, and he was another to be later withdrawn from the fray. Cresswell, his opposite number, started tentatively but grew into the game and eventually helped set up the goal. He seems to typify our lost season, but here there was a little more swash to his buckle once again. If nothing else, the sparkling form of Arthur Masuaku seems to have jolted him into life. It's almost as if having competition for places is a good thing.
Going into this game you would have said that Nordtveit and Fernandes were unfortunate to lose their places, and there is truth in this, particularly for the former. However, on nights like this, when the stakes are high and the margin of error is low, Bilic needed men he could trust. Up stepped Mark Noble, once more unto the breach and all that, as Bilic might say.
The skipper clattered Eric Dier early and got a yellow, which didn't stop him covering more ground on the pitch than anyone else. He had been preceded by Walker leaving a foot in on Byram, and the tone was one of disjointed action amid lots of speed and physicality, with no sense that anyone had much idea what they were doing. A bit like a Fast and Furious film. Our main chance was a Kouyate strike where he got his feet mixed up and ended up smacking it so far wide it nearly hit Walker. Thankfully it didn't or he'd have just fallen over again.
But after the break, we were rejuvenated - score one more for Bilic - and swarmed them once more. The goal, when it came, was much like the game itself; bitty and disjointed, with Spurs tentative and West Ham purposeful. I'm glad it was Lanzini who scored as he is the player who seems most joyful at his lot in life. He is the only Hammer who could threaten a joint West Ham/Spurs XI and nobody gives a shit about that because those aren't actually a real thing. As his strike hit the net, a roar erupted to lift the roof off - and given the shitty design of this stadium we probably shouldn't dismiss that as a possibility - and a season of futility and frustration evaporated up into London's toxic airspace. Forget Bournemouth - this was the night that the London Stadium became our home, even if Barney Ronay conjectures that it might be the worst designed football stadium in the world. To my great-grandchildren who might be reading this fifty years from now, I say - "Sorry kids, the drawings looked a lot better than the real thing. Also, apologies about the inheritance tax thing. I forgot about that".
The last thirty minutes were torture in reality, but comfortable upon reflection. Spurs huffed a bit but all the best chances fell to us on the break. Calleri and Fletcher both ought to have scored but were denied by fine keeping from Lloris. Our goalkeeper, by contrast, was doing this:
And so we scratched through to full time, a thoroughly merited three points, and a brief sojourn into the top half. By the point we entered added on time, the Spurs section was almost empty. I couldn't actually believe that given their record of recent late goals against us, but in truth their team hadn't given them much by way of hope. Or maybe they really don't care about this fixture.
Whatever. We deserved this. Savour it.
5. The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Was A Train Coming The Other Way)
Where exactly does this leave Slaven Bilic? Watch the game again and you'll see a well drilled back line, and a clever tactical system that allowed his wing backs to range far up the pitch. Spurs fans complained that we parked the bus, but that's the bitterness talking. The four full backs all had average touch positions in pretty much the same place, with the difference being that our three man backline allowed us to cover ours when they went forward.
By contrast, there were acres in behind Walker, in particular. Twice Lanzini drifted into the inside left position, once scuffing his shot across the goal and the other time being taken out by Lloris. From behind it looked a clear red, but in fairness I was sat in the stratosphere. There are people in Westfield who were closer to it than me. Either way, it was a sign of the rewards we would enjoy all evening on that side of the pitch.
But the nagging feeling that enveloped me as I watched this was one of slight incredulity. Where the hell was this all season? Watford scored four times past us. Watford! If they score four in training they release a fucking DVD.
So we can mutter all we want about Bilic seeming to have an edge on Pochettino but the twenty nine point difference between us puts the lie to that one. The gap between the two teams is as wide as a canyon, even if we bridged that gap tonight with a Herculean effort and an Argentinian jewel.
Context is important too, however, and Spurs were missing only Danny Rose, while our injured list included Pedro Obiang, Michail Antonio, Diafra Sakho, Andy Caroll, Arthur Masuaku and Angelo Ogbonna. But in some ways, I find that just annoys me even more - if Bilic could manage this with half his first team missing then what the hell has been going on all year?
I suspect that survival and the first truly great night at the new stadium will save him. I've said before that I can't see how we can progress with this level of chaos off the pitch, but Bilic deserves credit for keeping the team with him through a traumatic stadium move, the Payet bullshit, the annual injury crisis and the general maelstrom that surrounds West Ham.
As with everything that involves our board, the major benefit perhaps is simply that not firing him means they don't have to choose a replacement, and the less decisions they make about footballing matters, the better.
6. No Way Home
Still missing Upton Park? Me too, but it's undeniable that tomorrow the London Stadium will feel a different place than it did this morning. Now we have an "end" we can point to where someone scored a meaningful goal! Now we have a template for a victory over good teams! Now we have a spot in the crowd where the team celebrated and injured a fan!
The atmosphere tonight was fully present and correct. I thought the Spurs fans were mostly silent, but my cousin sat next to them said this wasn't the case, at least in the first half. Perhaps this was due to a particularly exciting turn of events in the group wide Scrabble competition they were all participating in as they ignored the game because they don't care about this fixture.
Either way, it speaks to the volume around me that I couldn't hear them. This was how it should be all the time, lively and fun and tense and loud. Thankfully, also, there was no anti-Semitic bullshit, no racism and no "mong" stuff at Kane. After all, "Tottenham Hotspur, it's happening again" is fine - to be encouraged, frankly - but "DVD, DVD" at a Korean winger is not. I'm glad we passed the test. It shouldn't need to be said, but it does.
There are still problems, of course, and I still wake up each day in the hope of reading a back page headline (or a tweet from the Club's official spokesman if he doesn't have a biology GCSE that morning) telling us that the track is coming up and the radioactive waste isn't actually radioactive because Brian was holding the machine the wrong way up again for fucks sake Brian, and we're getting a new, Spurs style stadium to call home.
But wishful thinking never got anyone anywhere - except for that time Simon Pegg said "Yeah, I'll write a Star Trek film" and Paramount said yes, and then Simon Pegg had to actually write a Star Trek film and apparently did it whilst on magic mushrooms - and so we have to accept we're stuck with the place.
I maintain that memories will be the difference. Make the team comfortable and in turn they'll reciprocate. Jacob Steinberg highlighted lots of the issues in this thoughtful piece for The Guardian, and the reality is that the view isn't getting any better and the gaps in the seating aren't disappearing, but after this I think it will feel an awful lot better for the Liverpool game.
7. Just Like The Rain
What a player is Manuel Lanzini. He and Eriksen were the two outstanding technical footballers on display tonight. His importance to us was highlighted on the many occasions he picked up the ball deep, slipped the Spurs press and cajoled his team mates forward. It was a bravura performance that also featured a proper defensive focus as he tracked back to contend with the rapier like Spurs counterattacks that failed to rouse any of their fans from their evening snoozes because they don't care about this fixture.
The way that Lanzini has stepped up to replace Payet has been fantastic, and all the more so for his young age. In quieter times I might ponder whether we really made enough of having them both in the same team together, but either way he is emerging as one of the best young midfielders around.
There was some paper talk recently suggesting that Antonio was looking to leave, being not unreasonably pissed off that he was on less money than Robert Snodgrass. As am I, to be honest.
His agent quickly denied this, leading me to conclude that his agent planted the story and that Antonio will therefore soon get a raise. In that spirit it would be hard to argue with the same outcome for Lanzini. Along with Reid, Antonio and Obiang he has been the core of this team and needs to built around. The summer challenge will be to find a player to complement him, without driving him into the shell that he perhaps inhabited when Payet was in town and still talking to everyone.
For what it's worth, he's the front runner for the never-coveted-by-anyone H List Player of the Year award.
8. I'm Looking For Someone To Find Me
Adrian could fit that description too if he could find this level of consistency all season. I mention his unorthodoxy above, but it's still notable that he has not yet conceded a goal since returning, despite facing the twin buzzsaws of Lukaku and Kane. It's impossible to prove a negative, unless you're a barrister for Sheffield United apparently, but it's hard to imagine Randolph would have made both those saves from Kane and Son tonight.
Adrian remains a walking cardiac arrest inducer, but on nights like tonight it was reassuring to look at our goal and see him wandering around yelling stuff manically whilst maintaining an unmoving side parting.
There is an undeniable solidity about our back three now, and Adrian deserves credit for that too. Whilst chatting with Allen McKnight in a box before the Everton game (*) he suggested that changing a goalkeeper is often done in conjunction with the defence. Sometimes they'll prefer to play in front of one keeper over another, and as such a manager will resist change. It's a theory I hadn't really considered, and does suggest that perhaps Bilic had some private reasons for sticking with Randolph that we're not privy to.
And if you're thinking of suggesting that this is an area that McKnight would know a thing or two about, it's worth me saying that he made the joke himself.
(*) Literally the worst bit of name dropping you will ever read.
9. For Your Lover, Give Some Time
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, we can now start to plan for next season. Achieving safety might seem like a prosaic event after the highs of last year, but it should allow our off the field scouting and analytics teams to swing into action. Or at the very least, log into YouTube.
One would hope that the scouting department have multiple lists of potential players dependent upon our likely schedule next year, contractual situations, any European football, injuries, AFCON and, yes, which division we'll be in.
One does indeed hope for all of that, but one also is prepared to accept that we might simply be waiting for Jack Sullivan to break up for the holidays before we can really start scouting in earnest.
Matches like tonight might give us cause to consider the situation of players like Collins, for instance, but at some point we have to make an effort to get younger. If nothing else, buying some more players on the right side of 30 at least gives us an opportunity to get something back when we sell them. Consider that Feghouli and Nordtveit would probably bring back about £15m if sold over the summer (source: Transfermarkt), and then consider that the same website already suggests that Snodgrass and Fonte have lost value - or likely were overpriced to begin with.
Consider also the customary, but still awful, injury list. I said this only last week, but we need to consider player fitness as being equally as important to anything else. The amount of times we have lost Carroll and Sakho this year shows the sheer folly of not attempting to supplement our striking options last summer. I refuse to count Zaza here, because any man who can insert an interpretative dance routine into a penalty isn't a serious striking option.
With no news of a Director of Football on the horizon, we shall have to assume that David Sullivan hasn't become self aware yet and will continue to treat the Club as his plaything. This usually means six or seven new signings, one awful tabloid exclusive interview and someone from South America. It doesn't fill me with hope, and I am really terrified about where we might get that striker from. But what I took from tonight, heroic and life affirming as it was, is that we too often are forced to rely on our players raising their games to compete. It would be a hell of a lot easier if their levels were just up that high to begin with.
10. Lady Solitude
Karren Brady has a column writing for The Sun. This strikes me as pretty tone deaf given the papers history with football, but there you go. This morning she wrote something about how more women should be like Theresa May, which just conjured up visions of me asking my three daughters how their day at school was, and all of them replying "strong and stable".
She also wrote this about Spurs.
I usually find the stuff that Brady writes about Spurs to be unnecessary. As an example, she previously criticised Harry Kane for writing "we've had a baby" in an Instagram post like every other human on the planet would, as Brady thought this wasn't giving enough credit to his partner.
But in this case, I don't see the issue. She's saying what everyone is thinking - that Spurs are going to have to cough up soon, or lose some players. Walker already seems to be gone, and if Real decide they want Alli then that will happen too.
Brady is taking the opportunity to highlight that, to a rival who bid for a ground they didn't want and insisted the athletics track be retained. As part of that process, men ended up in court for hacking her phone. Let's face it, if Jose Mourinho says something similar before their game next week he'll be heralded as playing mind games, and being a master tactician.
So if Brady has a pop at them in print, and it's this sort of thing that's actually credible and makes sense then I don't really have an issue with that. And neither will Spurs fans. After all, they don't care about West Ham.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
One magic moment in time changes everything
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Paul Walker
It wasn't just any old goal, was it? That gem from our very own little pearl, Manuel Lanzini. It has changed the course of our immediate history and maybe seasons to come.
I don't feel that is over-sensationalising the effect of Manu's winner against Spurs, such was the gathering cloud hanging over every aspect of our progress as a club and the great master plan of our owners.
Relegation was not part of that plan, the loss of so much money and status a nightmare of biblical proportions. Far too many folk were dismissing the prospect of the drop, more fool them.
The form hit by Swansea, Hull (before that home defeat by Sunderland) and Burnley, the big Sam factor…all set against a West Ham side defending like clowns ,losing players to injury by the shed-load and failing to show any sign of a collective spirit and purpose.
I don't doubt for a minute that David Sullivan, David Gold and Lady Karren were terrified of the prospect and its implications. Even the current position is bad enough to contend with. But it took the arrival of the despised , patronising, laughable entitlement of the second biggest club in north London to galvanise our great little club. The management, the team, the vast sways of fans were united as one.
Sadly I missed it. Entrenched in deepest Cheshire with a bottle of wine and family illness to occupy me. But I witnessed on TV something not seen this season at the OS. A collective, defiant spirit. Proper defending, team ethos, a refusal to give an inch to a deluded club who have never understood that talking big about winning titles, claiming top spot whatever, before they face us is just asking for trouble.
The noise was deafening, the unity so obvious. And the best bit? Seeing our fans as one. No longer old hands and tourists, newbies and first-time season ticket holders. It is what our owners have prayed for.
The whole place was rocking, and I have even seen pictures of thousands of fans celebrating outside on the soulless (not any more!) concourse, with its concrete and boulders, its queues and over-priced food.
There was 50,000 plus--there were some Spurs fans there, I believe--howling their defiance. Sullivan was spot on in his programme notes, stating: "Let's take the opportunity in front of the TV cameras and a captive audience of millions around the globe to show the passion that makes our fans famous worldwide, and to illustrate the effect your support can have on the team throughout the game".
Frankly Spurs' supposed wonderkids couldn't cope with it and Dele Alli was back to his petulant, stamping schoolboy best. And as for his England mate Eric Dier, he was out there I assume? Well, they both ran into an inspired Mark Noble, whose legs haven't gone. Jamie Redknapp on Sky reckoned he'd need a weekend in the ice bath to recover, having run 7.8 miles for the cause, further than any one else on the pitch, further than any of Poccho's supposed super-fit wonder kids.
I do hope that calms down the anti-Noble brigade a bit. Slav said he was brilliant, and as long as Bilic remains manager, Noble will continue to play a major part in this club, that's obvious.
That one match, Manu's one goal, changed the perception of the club overnight. And it has taken a battering so far have we regressed this season. Jacob Steinberg in a excellent, calm, thoughtful piece in the Guardian last week got it very right.
He explained the season of mishaps, fan unrest, transfer shambles, Payet's treason etc,etc without taking sides or blaming anyone. You sense he's a West Ham fan, he certainly writes with that level of concern.
Sullivan and co will know just how far we have fallen back from the supposed giant step to a higher level that just has not happened on the pitch. Off it, well that's different...
Alan Pardew, in one of his increasingly regular TV spots these days, talked of our owners doing an excellent job. And he's right. Forget all the personal stuff, all the emotion, just look at a management that has doubled the fan base, raked in vast amounts on the commercial and corporate side to put us--financially at least--amongst Europe's top 20. That has been a success.
Trouble is, everything from UEFA regulations to financial controls, works against a newcomer breaking into the elite.
Last summer was our best chance of selling the dream. Seventh place, within touching distance of CL qualification and with a bright, vibrant manager and a team capable of beating their supposed betters on a regular basis. But we all know it went wrong. Even with all that going for us, the big names wouldn't come. We were not in the CL, simple as that.
Without going through the transfer failings again, in hindsight a few have been better than we first thought. It takes time for some people to adjust to new surroundings, and how were we to know that Simone Zaza was going to have a mentality and personality as brittle as crystal, or that Gokhan Tore was going to be that poor.
That still bothers me. When Slav arrived I was telling anyone who would listen that the one player he should bring from Besiktas was Tore. I had seen him at international level as well as club level in Europe and knew he was a tough, hard working, clever wide player. But he too lacked mental toughness, got injured and we are still paying his loan wages…one decision Sullivan certainly got right.
So it was down to Lanzini, our shining light this season, to bury that winner. It's still going to be hard to sell our club (no pun intended) to top players, who have no doubt heard all Dimitri Payet's moaning about what he discovered in the east end. Just think how tough our progress would have been from the Championship.
And of course, Bilic has survived yet another crisis, yet another 'he's got two/three/four games to save his job.' Tedious those stories, and always discounted.
Now I have not bothered my old friends in the industry much about West Ham. The saying goes that those retired should stay retired. But I have rung a couple of good mates, not to ask for sources of course but to find out what sort of briefings take place. And I have been assured that our place leaks like a sieve. Enough said really.
And surely all bets are off now regarding Slav's future. I felt he returned to international mode a few weeks ago, the sort of approach you have with a small country.
Croatia had a handful of very good players and then the outstanding Luka Modric. The rest just have to work their socks off. Bit like Wales. Gareth Bale is world class, then there's Aaron Ramsey, while the rest are journeymen.
An international manager at that level knows he has about 15/16 players to work with, and he picks the best system. We have had that problem for weeks, due to injuries and form loss. Slav had to get his most trusted people in the side, take a bow James Collins, and then make the most of what is left.
And it has thrown up five unbeaten games, three successive clean sheets and it has acquired nine priceless points. It has also produced unlikely heroes. We'd all seen the YouTube clips of Jonathan Calleri, so there's talent there. But it is clear now he lacks pace. Slav suggested months ago that he lacked the ability to adapt his game.
But what we have seen recently is a young man who probably never played with his back to goal for Boca Juniors but has had to learn to do that job. Against excellent Spurs defenders he held up play with the ball to feet, not in the air, turned defenders and made a real nuisance of himself running and closing down. He deserved his standing ovation and I would like to see him kept on, one certainly for the future.
But now we discover that the rogue Kia Joorabchin is behind the shell-club in south America we signed him from and he wants the lad to move to Italy. Hell, I thought we had seen the last of him and his dubious ability to affect team selection (the core really to the Carlos Tevez scandal). Why are we still dealing with him?
But we still have Manu. Great performance against Spurs and for a few weeks now, and it would be nice to see him tear Liverpool apart on Sunday.
As it is, his goal has given Sullivan and co a lifeline. The opportunity to spend more wisely, pay the big wages needed and to give Slav a balanced squad. Surely he deserves that now after all the months of pressure, much of it unnecessary.
Garth Crooks reckons we are lucky to have avoided relegation. But he's become little more than a fat, smug, annoying Spud these days. We cannot be lucky after Friday's result, just fortunate that the anguish didn't drag on any further.
At last there seems to be unity, whatever Pedro Obiang thinks. Sometimes his interviews this season have been a little odd, did he mean lack of unity between players, between manager and board, fans and owners, between manager and players. Who knows?
But in one marvellous night under the lights, it seemed like the Boleyn again. The word raucous was heard on TV to describe the atmosphere. Not a word I have heard since that last home game against Manchester United., the first anniversary being today(May 10).
That team, including subs was Randolph, Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Obiang, Payet, Valencia, Carroll, Sakho, Tomkins. Eight of those players were unavailable to Slav against Spurs…that sort of disruption to plans and progress says it all really.
Slav, surely now, deserves to start next season. In fact the board have constantly said that's what they want too. Well now, after the end of season review, they have the grounds to let that happen.
But lets be clear. Any repeat of this campaign, certainly until Christmas , will see a new manager at West Ham. Slav must know that himself.
But that's all for the future. Lets continue to bask in the glory of Friday, the demise of a club who believe they are so much better than they are. Their only triumph this season is to finish above Arsenal for the first time in two decades, but they will always be bigger than your lot, won't they?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
Hammers second favourites in 'keeper race
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United have emerged as second favourites to sign Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The 23-year-old stopper was relegated to the Championship along with his side the weekend before last and is set to move on this summer. And whilst Everton have been cited by several sources as favourites to land the youngster - with rumours of a £17million fee having been agreed circulating - West Ham have today emerged as a surprise alternative.
Gambling firm Betstars this afternoon installed Slaven Bilic's side as second favourites (at 11/2) to sign Pickford, who received his first international call-up last October. They currently lead Stoke (6/1) - who are expected to lose Jack Butland this summer - and Manchester United (7/1).
Speaking about the potential loss of Pickford at the weekend, Sunderland boss David Moyes admitted that he faced a struggle to hold on to one of his top players. "You can see what he does for us with the saves he makes," he said. "He's been outstanding from day one."
Noble leading by example
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Staff Writer
Leading by example keeps Hammers captain Mark Noble working hard and he remains confident things will get better for him and the Irons. Nobes has struggled to find consistency since the Hammers move to the London Stadium, and the maiden season may not have panned out as fans had hoped, but quiet determination is the name of the game for the skipper. "I've always tried to lead by example, as in play at 100 per cent and give everything," he said in an interview for Blowing Bubbles Monthly. But ranting and raving isn't his way, even when the team is not performing as he would like and returning the results the fans crave. "When you play with the boys there are some characters that you couldn't have a go at during half time because they'd go into a shell. Everyone's got feelings and sometimes, especially me, you can't help showing them."
Just turning-up is never an option for the long-serving local boy from Canning Town. For many years West Ham fans scratched their heads as Noble was overlooked for full international honours, despite the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Tom Cleverley getting call-ups - yet Noble did have the chance to play international football with the Republic of Ireland as his grandparents are Irish and the team has come calling. "I love Irish people and half my family are Irish but for me personally I always dreamed of playing for England."
Also in the latest edition George Parris says players must forget about the newspaper headlines over the HMRC raids. "What I hope is that the players keep their focus on what they are doing on the pitch and haven't spent too much time worrying about what's happened off it," he wrote in his exclusive column for Blowing Bubbles Monthly.
The Hammers hero also speculates about the outcome of the Hammer of the Year - will it be Antonio or Lanzini, or is there someone else who should take the honour? The popular monthly magazine also looks back at the great escape of 10 years ago after relegation was a safe bet in March and the Hammers propped-up the table ten points away from safety. Fans will always adore Carlos Tevez for his goal that secured victory against the champions and ensured Premiership safety, but Mark Noble got better and better as the going got tougher for the Hammers and he was the unsung hero of the piece If you hear that distinctive piece of film theme tune blasting from the speakers and picture Tevez on the bike heading for the fence, remember it was Noble riding pillion.
West Ham win leaves Fabregas smiling
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Staff Writer
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has revealed that West Ham weren't the only team in London celebrating the Hammers' win against Tottenham on Friday evening. West Ham's 1-0 win in their final London derby of the season secured West Ham's Premier League status whilst almost certainly ending Tottenham's title hopes. And that, naturally, was sweet music to the ears of Fabregas and his Chelsea team mates - who now need to win just two of their final four matches to guarantee the Premier League title. "We cannot deny that a smile came onto our face," he told Sky Sports, when asked how he reacted to the result. "The more points that they drop, the better for us and the closer to the title we are with less games. "Now today it's all about us, we have to do our job. Today is that game that winning would mean a lot to the team and the club, so hopefully we can do that."
The win took West Ham to 42 points for the season, guaranteeing them at least a 16th-place finish - although the defeat of Spurs leaves them 12th in the table, level on points with Southampton and Bournemouth and just one behind reigning champions Leicester City.
Valencia's European adventure over?
Filed: Monday, 8th May 2017
By: Staff Writer
Enner Valencia is being linked with a return to his former club, once his loan spell with Everton ends. The Ecuador international has spent the entire season on loan at Goodison Park, but could be set to return to North America this summer after Pachua - from whom he joined West Ham in a £12million deal three seasons ago - signalled their interest in re-signing the 27-year-old striker. Valencia has made 21 appearances for the Toffees since moving to Goodison Park ahead of last summer's transfer deadline, aiding his cause with three goals. And it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could remain on Merseyside, with manager Ronald Koeman a particular admirer.
According to Mexican source @TransferLigaMX, Valencia has already held exploratory talks with Pachua having given tacit approval to a second spell in Mexico. He remains contracted to West Ham until the summer of 2019, having signed a five-year contract upon joining in 2014 - and it is the Hammers who will determine his future, either way.
West Ham unlikely to offer Slaven Bilic new contract this summer despite interest from Fenerbahce
Slaven Bilic's future at West Ham looks assured despite news that Fenerbahce are keen to appoint the Croatian as their next manager.
There was no appetite among the West Ham hierarchy to make a change even before Friday's 1‑0 win over Tottenham — with the emphasis now shifting to whether Bilic should be offered a new deal. It is unlikely, though, the board will rush into any decision regarding their manager, beyond next season. Bilic has a year remaining on his contract and is well liked by those in authority at the club but co-owner David Sullivan will want to see how West Ham start next season, before deciding on a new contract. Last season, when Bilic guided West Ham to seventh in the Premier League, Sullivan said he wanted to see if the 48‑year-old Croatian was a "one-season wonder" so it seems distinctly unlikely now, given West Ham's troubled season, that he would hurry into drawing up a new, improved contract.
However, the board will have noted the news from Turkey where Fenerbahce are reported to be keen on Bilic succeeding Dick Advocaat as their manager, who is set to be appointed the head coach of the Dutch national side. Bilic became a popular figure in Turkish football after managing Besiktas for two seasons, before moving to West Ham. West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate will miss the final two games of the season — at home to Liverpool and away to Burnley. Kouyate has been nursing a wrist injury all season and will undergo surgery this week with West Ham's place in the Premier League next term now assured.
Slaven Bilic names the West Ham star who all the players love
West Ham United have managed to salvage their season over this past month or so. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic wrote his regular column for the club's official website, and lavished praise upon Friday's match-winner Manuel Lanzini, sharing how the Argentine is loved by his fellow players. The 24-year-old spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan with West Ham, before making his move to East London a permanent one in the summer of 2016, for a fee believed to be in the region of £9 million. He has showcased his incredible talent on a regular basis, and has elevated his performance levels even further still since Dimitri Payet's acrimonious exit from the club, assuming the mantle of the Hammers' talisman with the minimum of fuss. The mercurial midfielder has scored eight goals in 33 Premier League appearances for the club thus far, and he will be looking to continue his development next season. Bilic highlighted Lanzini's importance to the team, when writing his regular column for WHUFC.com, sharing how hard the little Argentine works for his teammates:
"Lanzini is a young player, but a magnificent player. He works hard, he covers a lot of ground on the pitch and he is very good in the box. He's scored some amazing and important goals for us, he creates goals, the players love him because he is not one of those who wants to be spared the defensive part of the game. He works hard and he's brilliant to have."
Everything seems to be looking up at West Ham all of a sudden, and with some smart player recruitment in the summer, their fans will be hoping that their side can produce the kind of form that saw them finish in seventh position in the table last term.
Sunderland want £25m for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford
Sunderland stopper Jordan Pickford has been targeted by the likes of Everton, West Ham United and Liverpool. According to a report in the Telegraph, Sunderland are planning to take advantage of the volume of interest in Jordan Pickford by forcing a bidding war for the goalkeeper. David Moyes has recently suggested that Sunderland will do everything they possibly can to keep hold of Pickford. However, there is believed to be a realisation from within the Stadium of Light that the 23-year-old will move on in the summer. Everton, West Ham United, Liverpool and Manchester City are all credited with an interest in Pickford. And Sunderland are believed to be searching to receive around £25 million for the stopper. Pickford has arguably been Sunderland's best performer this season, as the Black Cats have slipped to relegation. And Everton and West Ham both see Pickford as their first choice stopper next term. At the moment it is believed that Everton are leading the race to sign the England youth international.
WEST HAM DUO NAMED IN PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK
8th May, 2017, 10:49 AM
By Russell Edge
West Ham pair Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini have been named in the Telegraph's Premier League team of the week. The news comes after the duo put in excellent performances to earn the Hammers a surprise 1-0 win over title-hopefuls Tottenham. The win also mathematically secured the club's top flight safety for another season and leaves them 12th after the weekend's fixtures.
Chief football correspondent for the Telegraph Jason Burt was the man who made the decision to place the two alongside the likes of David Silva and Aaron Ramsey who also enjoyed a profitable weekend with their clubs. Writing on the Telegraph website, Burt claimed that Lanzini: "Showed that he might – just might – be able to fill the void left by Dimitri Payet."
Lanzini has enjoyed a profitable season in front of goal for the Hammers, scoring eight league goals in 33 appearances, including another match winning strike in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace back in October. As for Reid, Burt credited his ability to take on in-form striker Harry Kane, writing on the Telegraph website: "West Ham bravely went man-for-man on Harry Kane with Reid taking on the role and physically dominating the Spurs striker as few other defender have done."
The West Ham mainstay has established himself as a key member of Slaven Bilic's starting XI and plays a pivotal role in the heart of the defence. The 28-year-old has made 29 appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring two goals. West Ham host Liverpool in their penultimate match this season, before travelling to Burnley on the final day.
West Ham News: Euro giants plot shock move for Slaven Bilic
By Eren Sarigul - May 8, 20170
Turkish Super League giants Fenerbahce are plotting a surprise move for West Ham boss Slaven Bilic. According to the Express, the Istanbul based club want to replace Dick Advocaat with the Croatian tactician. Per the source, Fenerbahce will step up efforts to lure Bilic back to Turkey. Bilic previously worked in Turkey as manager of Fenerbahce's rival club Besiktas. The Yellow Canaries hierarchy are planning major revisions this summer following a disappointing season. Fenerbahce sit in third place in the Turkish league, eight points behind leaders Besiktas. Meanwhile, Bilic's position at West Ham is under threat following a rocky 12 months. However, Bilic's side defeated their biter rivals Tottenham by a 1-0 score line on Friday night. The Hammers next home game is against Liverpool on Sunday. West Ham currently find themselves in 12th spot with 42 points after 36 games. The London-based club have won just two of their last ten games in the Premier League.
From frustrated winger to creative genius - the evolution of Manuel Lanzini at West Ham
The midfielder has blossomed since the departure of a certain stroppy Frenchman
07:00, 8 MAY 2017
Manuel Lanzini has come full circle in the five months. The Argentine midfielder has become a creative genius since the departure of Dimitri Payet back to Marseille in January. Slaven Bilic might disagree - and he has said as such - but Lanzini has stepped up enormously to fill the void after Payet left in such acrimonious circumstances. When the Frenchman was in town, Lanzini played second fiddle. He couldn't play in his favoured position because Payet was there and at the time rightly thanks to his stunning form. We saw Lanzini shafted out to the left or right wing, desperately craving the chance to get inside into that number ten role and play off the front man but he wasn't allowed to. But now? The 24-year-old is like a little puppy arriving at his new home for the first time. He's a bundle of energy, running about everywhere and bumping into things, getting into all sorts of mischief but then redeeming himself by scoring goals, like a naughty dog that ate that bit of meat off your kitchen floor that you dropped.
Seeing "The Jewel" left out on the wings was not pleasant. Lanzini couldn't have any influence at all on what was going on and when he did get the ball, he tried too hard and would inevitably lose it. The away game at West Bromwich Albion earlier this season was a real low point when the Hammers were whacked 4-2. It's now impossible to imagine just how worse off the Hammers would have been this season without Lanzini. Just his energy enough brings goals as he is involved in so many things that are good about the team. Since Payet's last game, Lanzini has scored five goals and got two assists, bagging two man of the match performances in the process but that doesn't tell the whole story. Lanzini wants the ball a lot more now and his teammates know it, so they give him the ball. He is always the option to get the Hammers moving forward and while defensively he is suspect, that doesn't really matter. We are expecting another summer of upheaval in E20 after this season is done in a fortnight's time but one of the main moves could well be tying the Argentinian magician down to a long-term contract.