Sunday, June 11

Daily WHUFC News - 12th June 2017

West Ham star Pedro Obiang says he will be fit for start of pre-season

Pedro Obiang says he is on track to be fit for the start of pre-season
training. The West Ham United midfielder has been working hard on his rehab
after suffering a leg injury in the Premier League defeat by Leicester City
at London Stadium in March. The Spaniard underwent season-ending surgery,
but his professional approach and natural athleticism mean he should be
ready to go when the Hammers return to the pitch in early July. "I'm coming
back to Rush Green to continue my fitness work in a few days because I have
to work for to be ready for the fifth of July," he told on the
second anniversary of his arrival in east London. "I been on holiday with my
family and some friends to Mykonos and Athens in Greece, Belgrade in Serbian
and Montenegro, which was both interesting and relaxing, but now is the time
to think about my work because I want to be ready to train and play."

Obiang enjoyed a breakthrough 2016/17 season in Claret and Blue, making 30
appearances and scoring his maiden goal in the Premier League win at
Southampton. Reflecting on his opening two years as a Hammer, Obiang cited
that goal, as well as the Final Game victory over Manchester United at the
Boleyn Ground in May 2016 among his standout moments. "I have many good
memories of my time with West Ham," he said. "The last game in Upton Park,
the atmosphere and everything was amazing, and of course the game in the FA
Cup against Liverpool when Angelo Ogbonna scored the winner in the last
"This last season, the best moments were when I scored my first goal and
when I saw the videos of the supporters singing my song!"

An all-round midfielder who can break up play and put his own team on the
offensive, the 25-year-old is aiming to become a more potent attacking
threat next term. "I have two things to improve," he confirmed. "I need to
shoot more at the goal and give more assists to my teammates." One of those
teammates will be new signing Pablo Zabaleta, who has agreed to join the
Club following a super spell with Manchester City. Obiang believes the
Argentinian full-back will add a great deal to the West Ham squad. "I think
he is a really good player, a nice player," said the No14. "He has great
experience and he can help us to became more solid and competitive."

Bobby Moore was always destined for greatness, says long-time pal Brian Dear

Today marks the 59th anniversary of a landmark moment in West Ham United
history – Bobby Moore signed apprentice terms with the Club. After catching
the eye while playing for Essex schoolboys, Moore was invited to train at
Chadwell Heath, where he continued his development as a member of the Colts
side. Under the guidance of manager Ted Fenton and first-team centre-half
and coach Malcolm Allison, Moore's game flourished and the teenager was
rewarded with an apprenticeship and joined the Boleyn Ground groundstaff. In
August 1958, Allison's illness gave Moore, still just 17, an opportunity to
make his first-team debut in a First Division fixture with Manchester
United. The Hammers won 3-2 and the rest, as they say, is history.

A year later, another local lad who would make good followed in Moore's
footsteps by joining the Club at the age of 15 and going on to star for the
first team – Brian Dear. The striker became close pals with the centre-back,
who was two-and-a-half years his senior, and the friendship endured until
Moore's tragic passing from cancer in February 1993, aged just 51. Dear
spoke to about Moore's formative years and how his ability and
determination to succeed helped the great defender overcome any physical
shortcomings he may have had. "Going back to when he signed as an
apprentice, Bobby got nothing and when he became a professional his family
got £20 for signing and £12 a week, whereas now clubs are paying five or ten
million for players who never go on to play in the first team!" Dear began.
"I was lucky enough to come across Bob in 1959/60, when we were back in the
First Division and he was 18 and trying to establish himself in the first
team. "But of course those were the days before big matchday squads and
substitutes, so I played regularly alongside Bob in our Metropolitan League
side. We were lucky enough to play competitive football every week. "Bob
made the game look quite easy, even at that age. It was in early 1960 that
he got his place in the first team on a regular basis and we didn't see as
much of him then, as his career really took off."

While Moore missed just four First Division fixtures in 1960/61, with the
manager who handed him is debut, Fenton, being replaced by the visionary Ron
Greenwood with a month of the season to go. The following year, 1962,
Greenwood handed Dear his own debut, reuniting him with old pal Moore in a
goalless top-flight draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Over the next few
seasons, the pair would turn out alongside one another dozens more times,
most notably during the run to European Cup Winners' Cup glory in 1964/65.
"From the very start, you could tell that Bob was going to be a good
player," Dear, now 73, confirmed. "The management found out he wasn't that
quick, but we played 4-2-4 and he just sat there alongside Ken Brown and his
game progressed. "He started something really different as a defender.
Everyone said he couldn't jump and he couldn't do this or that, but 640-odd
games and 108 England caps, 90 of them as captain, he must have been doing
something right!"

Darren Randolph targets place at 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Having starred for his country at UEFA Euro 2016, Darren Randolph would love
nothing more than to represent Republic of Ireland at next summer's FIFA
World Cup finals in Russia.

Randolph produced a series of outstanding displays to help Ireland qualify
via a Play-Off victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, qualify from a group
that also included Italy, Sweden and Italy and push hosts France all the way
in the Round of 16.

The Boys in Green have faced Mexico and Uruguay in friendly internationals
since the Premier League season ended, but are now ready for their third,
final and most important of three summer post-season matches – a World Cup
European Group D qualifier with Austria at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Sunday
11 June.

Victory over the Austrians will put Randolph and company in a very strong
position, with leaders Serbia hosting third place Wales in Belgrade on the
same date.

Wins for Ireland and Serbia would put the pair seven points clear of their
rivals on 14 points, with four rounds of matches left to play. The group
winners qualify automatically, while the runners-up will go into a play-off.
Republic of Ireland host Serbia in Dublin on 5 September.

"We can definitely finish in the top two," Randolph continued. "It's like
any small group, if you can take points off the teams who are going to be
the biggest threats to you to qualify, those wins are massive.

"In our group there is Serbia, Wales, Austria and ourselves who everyone
else would have said would be up there to qualify – no disrespect to Georgia
or Moldova – so if we manage to beat Austria, if won't secure any
qualification, but it makes it a bit easier.

"Our ultimate goal is to qualify for Russia next summer."

Ireland have not been to a World Cup finals since Japan/South Korea 2002,
when Mick McCarthy's squad reached the Round of 16.

The Boys in Green also famously reached the quarter-finals at Italia '90,
before West Ham Academy graduate Ray Houghton's winner against Italy helped
them reach the Round of 16 at USA '96 – both under Jack Charlton.

Randolph has been part of O'Neil's squad in each of the last two summers,
sitting on the bench for the goalless friendly draw with England in June
2015, before keeping goal for his country at UEFA Euro 2016 a year ago.

In all, the 30-year-old Hammer has been capped 21 times since making his
debut against Oman at Craven Cottage in September 2011.

Snodgrass' Scotland pick up point against England

Robert Snodgrass collected his 24th Scotland cap on Saturday as his side
picked up a point in a 2-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw with England at
Hampden Park. The midfielder started and played 65 minutes before being
replaced by Ryan Fraser for Gordan Strachen's outfit who remain six points
behind the Three Lions at the top of Group F. Meanwhile, Aaron Cresswell –
the Hammers left-back included in Gareth Southgate's squad – was left on the
substitutes' bench north of the border, with Southampton's Ryan Bertrand
filling the berth on the left side of defence. Leigh Griffiths was the man
in the spotlight in the clash, overturning England's one-goal advantage with
four minutes remaining, curling home two beautiful free-kicks from almost
the exact same position 25 yards from goal with three minutes separating the
strikes. Both sides had their chances before the opener, with Jake Livermore
hitting the post for the visitors in the second half before Andrew Robertson
lashed over from a good position shortly after. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
opened the scoring though, smashing in with his left foot shortly after
replacing Marcus Rashford from the bench. The points looked to be heading
south but with four minutes remaining on the clock, Griffiths stepped up and
levelled before beating Joe Hart once again moments later. There was a final
late twist however, as Harry Kane finished well from close range to silence
the home supporters and make the scoreline 2-2 as the referee's final
whistle sounded. Scotland now wait until September for their next fixture –
another World Cup qualifier against Lithuania – while England face France in
an international friendly on Tuesday, giving Cresswell another chance to
grab his second international cap.

Havard Nordtveit was also in action on Saturday, as his Norway side faced
the Czech Republic in Group C qualifying, with the clash ending in a 1-1
Theodor Gebe Selassie gave the visitors the lead before Alexander Soderlund
equalised for Nordtveit's team, who are 14 points below top of the group
Germany, who have a 100 per cent record in qualifying. Alexander Soderland
opened the scoring for Nordtveit's team before

Elsewhere, West Ham's Dan Kemp celebrated England U20s' Toulon Tournament
triumph as the Young Lions beat the Ivory Coast on penalties in the final.
The promising winger, who was instrumental in the youngsters reaching the
final, was left as a sub in the match which finished 1-1 after extra time.
Sheffield United midfielder Daniel Brooks scored the opener in the tie and
it looked to be the winner until the final minutes, when opponents Ivory
Coast grabbed a late equaliser through Ake Loba. There were no nerves from
the U20s from 12 yards though, as they converted all five of their
penalties, with Jean Amani missing the crucial spot-kick for Cote d'Ivoire,
meaning Kemp and England lifted the highly coveted trophy for the second
year running.


So this column comes a little earlier than I had expected but some of the
news I was going to talk about is breaking elsewhere so I thought I should
get it out now. Most of this has been covered in my section on the radio

So transfers are what most people want to hear about and this is where I
will start. Iheanacho is the first one. Talks have been ongoing and largely
around his buy back clause. These talks have been quite frustrating and not
as productive as we would have hoped however they are not dead. Iheanacho
wants to stay at Manchester City and the injury to Gabriel Jesus in the week
is not ideal. The situation however is that he was told he will leave the
club and that he has to brace himself for this. There are other clubs
interested in him and it will be interesting to see how this transfer
develops over the week however he is still very much a target of ours.

There is more positive news for another Nigerian and that is Henry Onyekuru
who is a 20 year old who scored 25 goals and got 14 assists last season for
Eupen who are one of the smaller teams in the league. He has played on the
wing and upfront and is said to have traits that are similar to his namesake
Thierry Henry. This versatility is an attractive option for us. The only
problem with this transfer is that he has only played one international game
which means he could struggle for a work permit but his transfer fee, wages
and performances last season may enable this to go through under the special
talent rule. There is a release clause of £7m for this deal and he is said
to have turned down Arsenal already. He had met with their officials but
because they cannot promise him first team football he has turned them down
which shows a good attitude in my opinion. He has interest from other clubs
and is expected to choose us over them when he flies into the training
ground on Tuesday. This story was covered on our radio show on Wednesday,
it has been picked up by Simon Jones of the Mail too but this is often the
case with him and my news. I have spoke to the mail about securing some
form of acknowledgment for his regular use of my stories but unless I want
to go through a legal proceeding I can't. So this is likely to happen
throughout the summer as a heads up.

We still have a very strong interest in Batshuayi of Chelsea and hope that
Chelsea will complete the signing of Lukaku, keep Costa and maybe add
another forward to this deal. We are likely to loan the Belgian
international but the only problem could be that Everton ask for him as part
of the Lukaku deal. If Batshuayi doesn't come or moves elsewhere we could
turn to Traore or Abraham from the same club on loan deals. Both had
impressive loan spells at Ajax and Bristol City with impressive goals to
games records. We do have some concerns about their ability to transfer
this to the top flight but a loan deal could ease those worries.

Breaking news last night was that we would be after Giroud. This is an
interest that we have had for many years and you can trace this back through
my columns, the "If I owned the club" alternative ITK feature we ran last
year and hope to resurrect this year and through my tweets. We have always
rated the player and made a move for him last summer. His age, lack of
football this year and the fact Arsenal look set to sign another former
target of ours in Lacazette could mean that he becomes available. We would
certainly move for the player and have said we will match any offer that
goes in for him. A similar policy that we did with Fonte and Snodgrass
which has often been overlooked by the board bashers although of course in
this case neither proved to be a great signing. There is also lesser
interest in Lucas Perez another Arsenal forward who is also out of favour at

Forward is the number one priority and the club are determined to not have a
repeat of last summer where these players didn't come (I also covered other
targets on the radio show which I will not repeat again. Here is the link: In
other news we had scout Thomas Hengen, someone who Tony Henry brought with
him from Everton at the Under 20s World Cup looking for new talent. The
transfer window is only just opening and it is important to not be too
negative if the deals are not completed yet although I can understand why
people are worried after last year.

The home shirt has been leaked online because it has gone on sale in
Thailand and Hammers Thailand facebook group have put them online. You can
see the picture below.

The shorts have now been changed to plain white with the badge on one leg
and a claret Umbro on the other leg. The socks are also white with a thin
Claret hoop and a large light blue hoop near the top. There is a Claret
Umbro badge in the middle and some Claret stripe hoops near the ankle which
looks a bit like a barcode. The goalkeeper kit that goes with the home
shirt is all yellow except for some green going up to the arm and under the
arm pit down to the elbow on each sleeve. The shorts and the socks are
exactly the same as the outfit kit except they are yellow and where there is
a light blue hoop on the socks it is a green hoop. There are two potential
dates schedule for the launch one is next Thursday the 15th of June (which I
think will be the new date due to the online leaks) or the original date of
Wednesday 21st June. You can hear the kits first being described on the
radio show in my section on this show:

There is a third shirt and this is all light blue with a thin claret ending
to both sleeves and a button collar which the other shirts do not have. The
shorts are white with a Claret stripe running down each side. The keeper
shirt for the third shirt kit is all dark green with claret in the same
place as the green on the home keeper shirt. This shirt is due to be
released just before the season starts. I have seen the designs for each
shirt for a while now and have them on my phone, as a few people including
Sammy McNess, can vouch for but have chosen to not release them online due
to the legal implications having spoken to the club about it.

Speaking of Sammy don't forget to get your tickets for his up and coming
fight on the 8th July. It promises to be a great West Ham event and in the
absence of the football this is the perfect substitute. To get tickets make
sure you contact Sammy via his email

We are hoping to continue with our radio show weekly throughout the summer
including one in Ibiza! If you fancy coming to Ibiza with a load of West Ham
fans then we are out there on the 30th July. Next week we are delighted to
have Sammy on our show and there will be further transfer updates there!
Make sure that you tune in!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! COYI

By @WestHamAmerican

The chairmen of the 20 Premier League clubs are set to meet this week in
Harrogate, and one of the early reports is that the "Big Six" owners are
making demands of a greater share of the broadcast revenues. Whether this is
some idea to make BPL clubs more competitive in the Champion's League
(doubtful) or just a ploy to increase the wealth of the club owners
(probable) it is a bad idea for the league and for all of English football.

Many remember the blunt statement from Ian Ayre, the former Liverpool
executive, who stated a few years ago that "in Kuala Lumpur there isn't
anyone subscribing to ESPN to watch Bolton." While certainly not winning
Old Ian any love from the neighborhood surrounding Macron Stadium, he is
probably correct in that assessment. Those in America that regularly watch
the Premier League overwhelmingly support one of those top six clubs. As a
West Ham supporter in the United States, I am more likely to encounter a
bear walking down my small town's streets than another claret-clad West Ham
fan. But a healthy league must have parity. Each of the 20 clubs in this
league must at least have hope and a path to a top 5 finish in the next
three seasons, or else the Premier League becomes top-heavy and predictable
like the other major European leagues.

In fact, the improbable championship won by Leicester City last year, was
great for the Premier League as a product. It proved that a scrappy but
determined side with small wages could deliver a championship to its fans.
As unlikely as the Foxes' run was in 2016, could a club in their second year
of promotion pull off that feat in the French, German, or the Spanish
leagues? Very doubtful. It was the fair distribution of the massive Premier
League broadcast revenue that at least gives bottom ten clubs a chance.

I often tend to contrast Premier League policies with the NFL in the USA.
This is because it's the most financially successful sports league in the
states. Not only do they share their broadcast income, but they also share
apparel sales. While there will always be some teams with better stadium
arrangements and attendance revenue, every team has a chance, and thus the
NFL remains popular because all the fans have hope. In over 50 years of
Super Bowl play all but four of the 32 clubs have at least won their way
into the final game once. Almost every team can boast a top 2 finish at
some point. And with the NFL draft, the worst team doesn't get relegated,
but gets the first choice of the top "academy" talent. It would be as if
Sunderland, by virtue of their poor finish, had the rights to pick the best
U-23 player in England as their reward of failure. Alas, some NFL clubs
are so poorly managed; they can't find success even under that arrangement.
But my point is parity is good for the success of the league. At the
beginning of the season, NFL teams all at least have hope to compete unlike
our baseball teams which have much greater inequities in their wage
structures between the top clubs and the bottom clubs.

In America, Premier League matches have better ratings than our own MLS
matches do. The Premier League's viewership numbers are successful in the
US and they continue to grow. (West Ham finished with the 5th highest
average viewership in America this season, better than Spurs and Chelsea,
although our matches were broadcast half as many times.) Our people enjoy
the English version of the game. There are 300 million fans to be won over

Hopefully the BPL owners will keep the playing field as level as possible.
I really don't see the other 14 team owners voting to grant the bigger clubs
more money, but for the health of the Premier League, another
Leicester-style surprise would certainly be better than Chelsea and
Manchester City splitting the next five championships.

Now, let's sign that 20 goal-a-season striker and we'll write our own
unlikely story.

Arsenal face missing out on Henry Onyekuru as West Ham push to finalise £7m
deal for Nigerian sensation
The 20-year-old struck 25 goals and made 14 more in a superb year for Eupen
in the Belgian First Division A
The Mirror
17:25, 11 JUN 2017UPDATED17:27, 11 JUN 2017

Arsenal look set to miss out on Henry Onyekuru as West Ham grow in
confidence that they have won the race for the Nigerian super talent. The
Eupen forward has been linked with the Gunners but the Hammers appear close
to finalising a deal, report the Mail. A £6.8m release clause appears to be
a bargain for whoever signs the 20-year-old given he struck 25 goals and
made 14 more to ensure the Pandas avoided relegation. Onyekuru is rumoured
to be planning a visit to the capital on Tuesday for a medical. The Nigeria
international will command wages of around £35,000-per-week in order to
remove the hurdle of a work permit. It will prove to be quite the coup for
West Ham and add to the sense of optimism after Pablo Zabaleta joined on a
free transfer from Manchester City. Arsenal, Lille, Anderlecht and Club
Brugge were all prepared to meet Onyekuru's buy-out clause, while Monaco,
Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan have also been linked.

West Ham target transfer of Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud after he reveals
frustration at being on the bench
There's also interest from Marseille and clubs in Italy but the Hammers are
confident they can match any offers
The Mirror
22:30, 10 JUN 2017

West Ham are ready to make a stunning move for Arsenal's Olivier Giroud.
France international Giroud confirmed last week that he "will not settle for
another year with such limited playing time" at the Emirates. There has
already been interest in the 30-year-old from French giants Marseille and
several clubs in Italy, but the Hammers are confident they can match any
offer and keep the £20million striker in London. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
and chief executive Ivan Gazidis were in Nice last week, reportedly talking
to Lyon president Jean Michael-Aulas about Alexandre Lacazette, while their
desire to sign 18-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe from Monaco is also
confirmed — and neither frontman would join to play second-fiddle to Giroud.
In the season just ended, Alexis Sanchez was often preferred through the
middle, and Wenger went with Danny Welbeck ahead of Giroud in the FA Cup
final. Giroud, capped 63 times by France, cost Arsenal £13m when he joined
from Montpellier in 2012 and has scored 69 goals in 118 Premier League
appearances for the club. But despite that impressive record he still splits
opinion among Gunners fans and, despite the respect Wenger has for a player
who worked his way up from the French football's lower tiers, he isn't
automatically Plan A for his manager.

West Ham put Robert Snodgrass up for sale less than five months after his
£10m transfer
The Scotland midfielder has only started eight games for the Hammers but
they have decided he doesn't fit their plans
The Mirror
22:30, 10 JUN 2017

West Ham are looking to offload Robert Snodgrass just months after paying
£10million for him. The Hammers are willing to take a hit on the Scotland
international midfielder, who started just eight games after his arrival
from Hull. However, the East Enders have realised Snodgrass is not the right
fit – and they will listen to offers. Championship sides Middlesbrough,
Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday would all take the 29-year-old, but he
does not want to drop down from the Premier League. West Ham believe
promoted Brighton would be a good fit, but they may have to supplement his
wages of more than £50,000 a week.


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