Saturday, June 24

Daily WHUFC News - 24th June 2017

Jack Collison - My West Ham 5-a-side team

Who would make your West Ham Five-A-Side team?

Jack Collison played for West Ham United over 100 times between 2007 and
2014 and has played with a host of Hammers icons - most past, some still

The former midfielder opts for James Tomkins as the only defender in front
of Rob Green in goal. The midfield is commanding, a Hammers duo you would
not want to mess with, and above all, two Club captains. Scott Parker
partners current First Team skipper, Mark Noble.

To complete the line-up, Collison chooses his former Wales international
teammate, Craig Bellamy to lead the line. Bellamy scored nine times in 26
appearances for the Hammers between 2007 and 2009.

Permit granted for Hammers target
Filed: Friday, 23rd June 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United transfer target Henry Onyekuru has been granted a work
permit ahead of his proposed move to England. However to which club remains
to be seen - with West Ham being joined by the likes of Leicester City and
Arsenal in vying for the Nigerian striker's signature. "Henry has been in
Paris, he is there with his agents," a source told Score Nigeria. "He has
been granted his visa to the UK and he is now studying all the offers and
possibilities with his handlers. "His first choice is a Premier League
Although West Ham had been front runners to land the Eupen striker,
Leicester had looked a more likely option in recent days. However further
rumours suggest that a deal between Onyekuru's entourage and Arsenal, who
entered the race late, has already been struck.

Michail Antonio Exclusive Q & A as he looks towards World Cup Finals and
another big season at West Ham
The West Ham star enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career as he forced
his way into the England squad and now hopes to play a major role for Gareth
Southgate in Russia next summer
The Mirror
18:29, 23 JUN 2017UPDATED18:35, 23 JUN 2017

It has been the ultimate fairytale story for Michail Antonio after making
his way from from non-league football and becoming one of the big stars in
the Premier League. It was not that long ago Antonio was playing for Tooting
and Mitcham and was earning extra money as a lifeguard. But he has now
become a fans favourite at West Ham United and is one of the first names on
Slaven Bilic's team-sheet following his incredible journey since joining the
east London club back in September 2015. The 27-year-old enjoyed a memorable
first season in the top flight when he scored nine goals and got on the
scoresheet against Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. Antonio
dominated a number of headlines with his memorable goal celebrations
including the Homer Simpson turn and the Carlton Banks dance from the
popular Fresh Prince of Bel Air sitcom. The talented forward continued his
impressive form last season and wrote his name into the record books after
becoming the first ever Premier League scorer at London Stadium when he
scored the winning goal against Bournemouth. Antonio's performances did not
go unnoticed and he earned his first call-up to the England squad last year
for the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia but failed to make an
appearance under former manager Sam Allardyce. He was also called into
Gareth Southgate's squad back in March for the games against Germany and
Lithuania, but was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury. The Hammers
star is now working his way back to full fitness through the summer and with
the World Cup taking place in Russia next summer, Antonio would love to
represent his country in one of the biggest tournaments in world football.

Q: Michail, how disappointing was it for you to withdraw from the England
squad back in March?

A: "The first injury in March probably cost me an England debut, which was a
massive disappointment. When I got the call-up I actually said to myself:
'Just don't get injured!' "Especially with it being against Germany, it was
a big game and I was so happy when Gareth Southgate named me in the squad. I
did watch the game, although it was a bit painful. Virtually everyone on the
bench got on, so the chances are it would have been my first cap. "But it
was just one of those things, part and parcel of the game, and I prefer not
to look back – just look forward and if I keep working hard and playing
well, I will have more opportunities."

Q: Have you spoken to Gareth Southgate and what has he told you about the
future for England?

A: "Gareth Southgate did call me at the time, saying he was sorry to hear
about the injury, but told me to keep doing what I was doing and I would be
in his plans.
"That really gave me a push to work hard and make sure I get back fit."

Q: You must be thrilled to have made it into two different England squads
and must be targeting a recall next season?

A" It's pleasing to know that I have now been called up by two England
managers, and hopefully it shows that it wasn't a fluke to get into Sam
Allardyce's squad at the start of last season. "That was definitely one of
the proudest moments of my career. As a child growing up, watching England,
it was one of those things you always wanted to be involved in."

Q: How important is it that you don't get carried away with the prospect of
playing in a major World Cup tournament next summer?

A: "The World Cup next year isn't in my mind. I don't really pay attention
to the long-term, I take short steps - that is what I have done through my
whole career, from non-league to the Premier League. "You've got to take
each step as it comes – you can't think about 20 steps away because it will
distract you and trip you up. "Of course I want to get into the England
World Cup team, especially having been so close, but I'm not going to be
concentrating on it or let it be at the front of my mind. I have to play
games and do well for West Ham – that is my focus."

Q: What are your hopes for West Ham next season?

A: "I am so determined to have a great season, especially after the injury.
My target at the start of last season was to improve and score more goals
than I had the previous year. And I ended up getting the same number, nine.
"I could blame the injury and say I would have beaten it, but that's not how
I think. All I think is: 'I didn't reach my target.' "So next season, I want
to reach it. I want to get to that mark as soon as possible so that I can
make it higher, keep pushing myself and keep getting better."

Q: How proud were you to be named Hammer of the Year last season and can you
perform to an even higher standard next season after signing a new deal back
in May?

A: "It's the greatest honour from the fans. I was speechless, to be honest.
"I had been runner-up to Dimitri Payet the previous season, so to then go on
and win the award shows the progress I have made. "And I don't want to step
back – I want to keep pushing and hopefully do enough to win it again next

Henry Onyekuru granted UK visa: Winger to decide between Arsenal, Newcastle,
West Ham soon
HENRY ONYEKURU has reportedly been granted a visa and will soon jet to the
UK to assess a number of transfer offers.
PUBLISHED: 16:55, Fri, Jun 23, 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40, Fri, Jun 23, 2017

Henry Onyekuru has been turning heads with his performances for Eupen in the
Belgian top flight. The Nigeria international's 24 goals in all competitions
last term have reportedly caught the attention of Arsenal, Newcastle and
West Ham. And the winger has reportedly been granted a visa and will fly to
the UK in the coming days to sound out a deal to the club of his choice. A
source close to the player told website ScoreNigeria: "Henry has been in
Paris, he is there with his agents.
"He has been granted his visa to the UK and he is now studying all the
offers and possibilities with his handlers. "His first choice is a Premier
League club." The report says Arsenal are serious contenders as they have
already agreed a transfer fee with Eupen for the winger. And Onyekuru made
no attempt to hide his excitement about being offered a deal by the Gunners
last month. "It's a good feeling for a club like Arsenal to make a bid for
me," he said. "This is due to my hard work in training and games. "I am
waiting and working towards it and we'll see how it goes after the [Nigeria]
qualifiers." Onyekuru made 41 appearances for Eupen last term, scoring 24
goals and providing nine assists in all competitions.

West Ham star Michail Antonio reveals he brought a physio to his Las Vegas
stag weekend as he recovers from a hamstring injury: 'I was close to having
to walk up the aisle on crutches'
Michail Antonio suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-0 win over Swansea in
The winger scored nine goals in 37 appearances for West Ham last season
Mark Noble said he was worried West Ham were being priced out of transfers
Antonio is currently taking time off to marry long-term partner Debbie
Hammers manager Slaven Bilic is recovering from hip replacement surgery
By Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 12:01 EDT, 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:02 EDT, 23 June 2017

Michail Antonio had to take a physio with him on his Las Vegas stag do this
month as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem. The West Ham
winger is fighting to be fit for the start of next season, having not kicked
a ball since April when he suffered what Slaven Bilic described as a
'significant' injury. The 27-year-old is no longer on crutches, however, and
is currently taking time off to wed long-term partner Debbie Whittle.
Antonio, whose last appearance was against Swansea on April 8, has been
doing solo work at West Ham's Rush Green training ground over the summer.
'Thankfully the injury didn't put the wedding in doubt,' Antonio told
Sportsmail. 'I'll be honest, I was close to having to walk up the aisle on
crutches. 'Luckily I'm quite a fast healer, so in the end they weren't
needed. I had to take a physio with me on my stag weekend in Las Vegas, but
thankfully I don't need to take him on the honeymoon.' On his recovery,
Antonio said: 'The rehab is going well. I'm on schedule and where I want to
be. 'It's all progressing well and I'm raring to go for the new season.
'Injuries are the hardest part of being a footballer. Every player just
wants to play, so being on the sidelines, watching your team-mates playing
the game – it gets to you mentally. 'At the time, the games were very
important, and I just wanted to be involved, and do something to help the
West Ham boss Bilic is also continuing his recovery following hip
replacement surgery on May 24. It typically takes six weeks to recover.

Michail Antonio on staying grounded at West Ham: 'I never think I've made
it, you can be forgotten in two weeks'
Evening Standard

Michail Antonio is wary of getting ahead of himself after a stellar rise at
West Ham as "you can be forgotten within two weeks" in football. The
27-year-old enjoyed another productive season, scoring nine goals to be the
Hammers' top scorer despite largely playing on the right flank, to be named
the club's player of the year.
Antonio, who earned his first England call-ups under Sam Allardyce and then
Gareth Southgate, subsequently signed a new four-year deal at the London
Stadium to cap a rise to prominence in the Premier League. "It was pleasing
to get the deal done before the summer started," he told Standard Sport.
"The contract talks went on for a long time and it can be quite distracting,
so I'm looking forward to going out next season and playing with a free
mind." Antonio is yet to make his England bow but is of interest to
Southgate after making the squad in March. The midfielder feels his
determination to better himself will only serve him well moving forwards. He
continued: "It's always been about taking each step as it comes. Being
honest, when I was playing for Tooting & Mitcham, I was buzzing, thinking:
'I'm semi-pro.' Then when I made my debut in League One, I was buzzing
again, thinking 'I'm pro'.

"Then it was the Championship, then the Premier League, and then called up
for England. And each time it happened, it was a surprise to me. But I've
always wanted to make myself better, and I think that is why I have made
those steps. "As soon as I reach a new one, I don't think 'Ah that's it' and
settle. I always want to be better and kick on again. "I never think 'I've
made it' because, in football, you can be forgotten within two weeks and I
don't ever want to be forgotten. I want to always be better and make my
career last as long as possible." "It does make me proud to know where I've
come from and how hard I have worked, but I'm also scared of it, because I
know what I've had to do, and I don't ever want to go back to that
situation. It drives me more to be better."

Antonio's path to the Premier League was stop-start. After impressing at
non-league Tooting and Mitcham United he made the big leap up to
Championship side Reading. Loans to League One outfits Cheltenham Town and
Southampton followed before he was finally given the chance to impress at
Reading only to be sent out to Colchester and then Sheffield Wednesday. It
was at Hillsborough where he found his feet and made the move permanent a
year later. Nottingham Forest then came calling before Antonio made it to
the Premier League seven years after his first professional move. "Football
is about a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck," he says. "I got to
Reading because Billy Smith, my manager at Tooting & Mitcham, knew Steve
Coppell and told him to come and watch me. But I also had a trial for
Millwall, who wanted to sign me after noticing me play. "So although there
was a bit of luck in getting to Reading, it was my hard work that got me
noticed, and at the end of the day that is what it always comes down to."

West Ham struggled during their first campaign at the London Stadium,
winning just seven of 19 in front of their home fans. But, as with his own
progression, Antonio is confident of this club's fortunes and points to the
small margin of error which would have put a differing shine on their league
finish and feels the absence of the Europa League is a positive. He said:
"Looking back at last season, I don't think you can really call it a bad
season. We finished 11th, one point off eighth, which you can't say is a bad
season. "This team has a lot of character. Despite people talking about
relegation last season, we never believed that. We knew we had the quality
in our squad to pull away from danger. "But as a team, we want to progress
and keep improving - that is our aim next season. We finished seventh the
season before last, and that is what we should be looking towards again." He
added: "We will have a lot of time to work together on the training field as
a team. Without the Europa League games early on that we had the past two
years, things won't be as rushed, we can work on our game plan and on what
we need to do in the Premier League."

West Ham have one new face among their ranks ahead of the upcoming campaign
with the free signing of two-time Premier League winner Pablo Zabaleta.
"He has great experience with Manchester City, he's won the Premier League
title and experienced it all," Antonio added. "It's not just ability that he
is bringing, it's his knowledge of the game, and we can all learn from him."

By Dan Coker 23 Jun 2017 at 08:00

As Tony Hanna re-visits his excellent nostalgia articles, I thought I'd go
through some Hammer of the Year winners who I've previously written about in
the 'Club Connections' section of my match previews. Today we take a look at
the 1973 winner of the coveted prize as voted for by the supporters…

A Magpie from 1962 until 1971, Bryan 'Pop' Robson was signed from Clara Vale
Juniors and went on to be a member of Joe Harvey's Newcastle team who were
crowned Second Division champions in 1965. Robson made his senior debut
during that campaign, scoring seven goals in 20 appearances and playing
mainly as a right-winger before his move to a more central position. The
story of his famous nickname goes back to when Robson and two childhood
friends named themselves after the Rice Krispies cereal characters 'Snap',
'Crackle' and 'Pop' – Robson's moniker was to stay with him. Newcastle went
on to win the European Fairs Cup, the last major trophy to arrive at St
James' Park, with Robson forming an effective partnership with Wyn Davies.
Robson scored 30 goals in 1968/69 as Newcastle enjoyed European success
before notching 25 the following season. Having been at the club for eight
years, Robson requested a testimonial after ten years' service during
contract negotiations. Chairman Lord Westwood rejected the request,
following a trend at the club, according to 'Pop' himself, whereby homegrown
talent was not as recognised or appreciated as much as purchased players.

At the age of 25 and following 97 goals from 243 starts for Newcastle,
Robson became West Ham United's record signing in February 1971 when Ron
Greenwood signed him for a fee of £120,000 – Robson is pictured above
signing on the dotted line for the Hammers. He scored on his debut in a 2-0
home win against Nottingham Forest on 24th February 1971. Two more goals
against Manchester United and West Brom, both in 2-1 home victories, helped
the Hammers avoid the drop at the end of that season. 'Pop' scored 14 goals
in 1971/72, including a hat-trick in a 5-0 League Cup quarter-final win over
Sheffield United (see my video at the end of the article). His finest season
came in 1972/73, however, when he led the First Division goalscoring charts
with 28 goals as the Hammers finished in the top six. This impressive haul
included eight doubles and one hat-trick in a 4-3 home win over Southampton
and resulted in 'Pop' being crowned Hammer of the Year. This was followed by
just eight goals the following season and, in July 1974, Robson was heading
back to the north-east to join Sunderland for £145,000. He had scored 53
goals in 140 appearances for the Hammers.

After helping the Wearsiders to Second Division title glory in 1975/76, John
Lyall brought the diminutive forward back to the Boleyn in October 1976 –
while he had been away, West Ham had won the 1975 FA Cup and made the Final
of the 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup. His 14 goals in 1976/77, particularly
a double in a final-day 4-2 home win over Manchester United, ensured the
Hammers' survival in the top flight. His 11 goals the following season,
however, were not enough to save the Irons from suffering relegation. 'Pop'
hit 26 goals in the Second Division in 1978/79, including a hat-trick in a
3-0 triumph over fierce rivals Millwall in October 1978. After being voted
runner-up to Alan Devonshire in the Hammer of the Year poll, Robson rejoined
Sunderland in the summer of 1979 for £45,000 – he again missed out on FA Cup
glory with West Ham as the club went on to win the trophy again at the end
of the following season. 'Pop' had scored 51 goals in 115 matches during his
second spell at Upton Park, giving him overall statistics of 104 goals from
255 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers.

Robson helped Sunderland to another promotion in 1980 and went on to play
for Chelsea and Carlisle, as well as having a third spell with Sunderland.
He represented England at Under-23 level but never won a full cap. Since
retiring from playing Robson, now 71, has coached and scouted at Hartlepool,
Manchester United, Leeds and Sunderland.

My video below contains 20 of Robson's goals for West Ham United, including
his hat-trick against Sheffield United and doubles against Manchester
United, Sheffield United, Everton and Derby. The Hammers – in the hunt for a
new striker this summer – are currently crying out for a forward with Pop's
finishing ability. One wonders how much the Geordie goalscoring genius would
be worth in today's market…


The Premier League is seen as the most exciting league in the world and for
good reason too. Any team can beat any other and the talent levels are
increasing across the league. It may not feature one of the best teams in
Europe, with the English teams struggling on the continent in recent
seasons, but the product is excellent. The huge television deal has led to
increased prices and there is now genuine value in developing your own
players through your academy. However, clubs continue to be hesitant about
using young players and Reece Oxford's loan move to Borussia Monchengladbach
underlines the flaws in youth development in this country.

Oxford is regarded as one of the best young players in England after
starring on his debut at the age of 15. Since then, he has impressed at
youth level and shown flashes when he has been given an opportunity, but
they have been few and far between. West Ham may believe that they have been
protecting the 18-year-old, but they have made signings that have blocked
his passage to the first team. Havard Nordtveit was signed last summer and
he was average at best. Meanwhile, Jose Fonte was signed in January and the
ageing centre-back is past his peak. Oxford should have been given a chance,
but he wasn't and now he has to move to Germany to gain the experience that
he needs.

The Hammers tried to keep him in England and let him go out on loan to
Reading during the second half of last season, but he wasn't given much of a
chance there either. They were already in a strong position and it was
difficult for Jaap Stam to change a winning team. The Bundesliga is famous
for developing young players and he will be given opportunities there. There
are positives to take from the move as a young English player is
experiencing a new culture. That said, it is sad that he has had to leave
these shores to get the development that he needs.


Sadly, it is unlikely they are going to anytime soon. The finances in the
game and the demand for success means that it isn't the best breeding ground
for young players. It is more appealing to bring in players from abroad that
already have experience. Marcus Rashford is the exception that proves the
rule, as he has been excellent in senior football, but he would still be in
the Manchester United reserves if it wasn't for an injury crisis. His last
18 months have shown what can happen when a young player is given a chance.

For clubs outside of the top six, it could be a better long-term plan to
invest some of their budget into youth development rather than spend on
average imports. Depending on what happens with Brexit, it may become more
difficult to bring players in from the rest of Europe and it would be
beneficial to have a good academy. The reason why clubs don't do it is due
to it being a long term investment and most teams can't afford that. The
Oxford case highlights how difficult it is for young players to earn an
opportunity in England and it is a trend that needs to be changed soon, but
that may not happen.

Talksport pundits baffled by West Ham transfer decision, criticise David
Gold and club policy
Damien Lucas

West Ham United have left two pundits and many fans baffled by their
decision to loan out Reece Oxford. The Hammers officially announced that
their talented young defender has been sent on a season-long loan to mid
table Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach this week. Shortly before the
announcement the club also revealed it had sold flop utility man Havard
Nordtveit to Gladbach's German rivals Hoffenheim. Many supporters were
frustrated at Oxford's lack of chances in the first team squad last season
after he burst onto the scene with that memorable man of the match display
in the 2-0 win at Arsenal on Slaven Bilic's debut as West Ham boss back in
With Nordtveit gone and Bilic busy reshaping his squad, many fans thought
the likes of Oxford would get his chance next season. Instead some
supporters have been left baffled by the decision as were talkSPORT pundits
Adrian Durham and Darren Gough. The duo rounded on the club and co-owner
David Gold for recent comments he made about youth development at a club
famed for its academy. "We're baffled by that one, I don't understand how he
(Oxford) can't get in their side," Gough said on talkSPORT Drive. "To go on
loan next season? I thought he'd have been ready to play (for West Ham), he
was linked to Manchester United last year wasn't he?!"
Host Durham then took aim at Gold for recent comments he made on Twitter
about it being harder than ever for teenagers to establish themselves in
Premier League sides. "This goes back to a couple of weeks ago when the West
Ham co-owner David Gold was saying teenagers weren't going to break into the
first team at West Ham United, which sounds like it's a policy which has
been talked about around a table rather than people looking at players on a
pitch. "That makes sense for me then, the (Oxford) move, if that's the West
Ham policy that they're not going to go with any young players. "I think
it's an absolute heads gone, I think it's counter productive to the football
club and it's seen a player - who I believe a lot of West Ham fans want to
see given his fair chance in the first team - go off to a mid table
Bundesliga team. "The fundamental issue is why would West Ham - who weren't
particularly brilliant last season - let go a young player, even if just for
a year, to a Bundesliga club?!"

Darren Randolph should leave West Ham if Joe Hart signs
Subhankar Mondal

West Ham United have been linked with Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in
the summer transfer window. Darren Randolph could become the third-choice
goalkeeper at West Ham United if Joe Hart signs in the summer transfer
window. According to The Telegraph, West Ham are interested in signing the
England international from Manchester City this summer. Randolph already has
to fight with Adrian for a place in Slaven Bilic's starting lineup, and if
Hart moves to the London Stadium, then the 30-year-old may not even play
once in the Premier League next season. The Republic of Ireland
international is a good goalkeeper and has proved that he has the quality to
be a success in the Premier League. If West Ham signed Hart, then Randolph
should leave the London club; he is simply too good to be the third-choice
custodian at a club that is unlikely to break into the top six of the
Premier League next season. Manchester City should take advantage of this
situation and sign Randolph from West Ham in he summer transfer window,
perhaps even pose a swap deal of some sorts involving Hart. Randolph would
not start for City, but with Willy Caballero leaving the Citizens, the
30-year-old would be behind Claudio Bravo in the pecking order at the Etihad
Stadium. Even if City manager Pep Guardiola signs another goalkeeper,
Randolph would still be better off at the Citizens; after all, it is better
to be third-choice custodian at City than at West Ham.


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