Andre Ayew targets opening Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win
Andre Ayew wants to take his late-season form for West Ham United into
Ghana's opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier this weekend.
The Black Stars forward ended 2016/17 with five goals and three assists in
the Hammers' closing 13 Premier League fixtures, including the winner in the
final-day victory at Burnley. Now, the vastly-experienced 27-year-old, wants
to add to his 14 international goals when Ghana take on Ethiopia in their
Group F tie in Kumasi on Sunday afternoon.
Ghana finished fourth in the 2017 tournament, which was held in Gabon
earlier this year, with Ayew scoring two goals, but the No20 wants to do
even better at the 2019 finals in Cameroon. Ghana will also face Kenya and
Sierra Leone in their qualifying group.
Having started their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a draw
with Uganda and defeat in Egypt, Ayew wants Ghana to return to winning ways
as they seek qualification for their continent's own major tournament.
"It will be very important to start the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign
on a winning note," he confirmed. "We have a goal which is qualifying for
the 2019 AFCON and we must start by getting good results here and we know
the bad results we had against Uganda made our World Cup campaign a
"That is not yet over, but we have put that on the sideline now and think
about the Africa Cup of Nations. Now thinking about the game against
Ethiopia where we want all three points and we're going to work towards
"We can't sit here and say we want to win the Africa Cup of Nations if we
have not qualified, so we need to do our job and qualify. It's going to be
very tough and very difficult, but Ghana is a team which has to win
"Now until then is a long time, so we don't want to predict anything, but
that's the goal we are working towards, going to Cameroon and doing
something great. But before that, we have to pass Kenya, Ethopia and Sierra
Leone, so we have a lot of games."
Following their Group F opener, Ghana travel to North America for friendly
internationals with Mexico and the United States before recommencing their
stuttering World Cup qualifying campaign.
Ayew and company host Congo on 28 August before travelling to face the same
opposition on 2 September, and the West Ham man knows two victories are
vital against their pointless opponents.
"Nothing is impossible but we can say that it's close to an impossible
mission!" he smiled. "People who know me know that I never give up and in
one game everything can change.
"So, we have to stay calm and put everything in the hands of the almighty
Allah, but also in our legs, because we have a lot of work to do if we want
to go to Russia. We have to win all four games and I expect Egypt to lose a
game or draw two. So we're going to wait and see, but every game for us is a
Dan Kemp previews Toulon Tournament semi-final against Scotland
Dan Kemp hopes to draw on his knockout fixture experience when England U20s
face Scotland in the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament.
Kemp was part of the Hammers U23 side that won both knockout games in the
Premier League 2 Division 2 play-offs to win promotion last month. Since
winning promotion for West Ham PL2, Kemp has played a key role for England
in France, helping them make it through to the semi-finals. A mouthwatering
clash against their close rivals Scotland awaits on Thursday (4pm BST) and
Kemp hopes his knockout experience will prove helpful. "I think it (knockout
football experience) will help me a little bit because I have played in some
big games before," he said. "But this will be one of the biggest, if not the
biggest game I would have been involved in. "I love and enjoy playing in the
big games because I know that this is where I can learn and show people what
I can do."
England made it through to the semi-finals in Toulon after achieving a 100%
record in Group A. Kemp featured in their opening match against Angola when
a solitary header from Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo was enough to give them a
1-0 victory. England then thrashed Cuba 7-1 to qualify for the knockout
phase before edging out Japan 2-1 in their final group match to maintain
their winning record. Kemp was involved in the first of England's two goals
after being fouled in penalty area – Sheffield Wednesday's George Hirst
scored the spot-kick to set the Young Lions on their way. Meanwhile,
Scotland only made it into the knockout phase as the best second-placed team
from the group stage, but Kemp is well aware of the threat they pose. "I'm
very excited and I cannot wait for the game," he added. "It will be a good
test against Scotland but we are all looking forward to it. These are the
games you want to play in. "It (the rivalry) definitely adds some importance
to the game but it also give you extra incentive to push the extra bit to
get the win. The win is all that matters."
West Ham United's all-time most-capped international XI
While West Ham United's season may be over, a host of first-team stars are
away representing their countries on international duty.
From Wales wing half William Jones in 1901 to Portugal centre-back Jose
Fonte earlier this year, some 156 Hammers have pulled on the jerseys of
their respective nations.
To mark the current busy schedule of FIFA World Cup and Africa Cup of
Nations qualifiers, FIFA Confederations Cup and friendly matches, we delved
deep into the record books to select a team of players who earned the most
caps during their time in east London. The resulting XI may surprise you…
Goalkeeper: Craig Forrest
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 23
Craig Forrest had already been a Canada international for nine years when he
joined the Hammers from Ipswich Town in 1998.
The athletic British Colombia-born stopper excelled for his country during
his five years with West Ham United, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the
Most Valuable Player and Canadian International Player of the Year awards in
2000, before appearing at the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Right-back: Rigobert Song
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 22
Another experienced campaigner, Rigobert Song made his Cameroon debut at the
age of 17 back in 1993 – before he had even played a first-team game for
French club Metz! Song appeared at two FIFA World Cup and three Africa Cup
of Nations finals – winning one – before joining West Ham United from
Liverpool in 2000. The versatile defender played three times at the 2002
FIFA World Cup finals in Japan before joining French side RC Lens later that
Left-back: Jonathan Spector
Country: United States
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 34
Fresh-faced defender Jonathan Spector joined West Ham United from Manchester
United as a 20-year-old in summer 2006 – nearly two years after he had made
his United States debut against Jamaica. Spector enjoyed international
success while with the Hammers, winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup on home
turf before helping the Americans to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final
and travelling to the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament, both in South Africa.
Centre-back: Bobby Moore
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 108
England's greatest-ever captain marshaled the Three Lions defence for more
than a decade, earning a then-record 108 caps between May 1962 and November
1973. As every West Ham United fan will tell you, Moore led his country to
FIFA World Cup glory in 1966, to the UEFA European Championship semi-finals
in 1968 and the knockout stages at Mexico 1970.
Centre-back: James Collins
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 39
Still plying his trade in Claret and Blue at the age of 33, James Collins
has earned 39 of his 51 Wales caps during his ten seasons with West Ham
United. Newport-born Ginge debuted for Wales against Norway in 2004 and has
featured at least once in every calendar year since then, culminating in the
fabulous run to the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016.
Right midfield: Steve Lomas
Country: Northern Ireland
Centre-back: Bobby Moore
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 27
Born in Germany to the family of a British serviceman before being raised in
the town of Coleraine, Steve Lomas made his Northern Ireland debut against
Liechtenstein while a Manchester City player in April 1994. The combative
midfielder and captain moved to east London three years later and continued
to be picked regularly for his country for the next six seasons, taking his
caps total to 45.
Central midfield: Christian Dailly
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 39
Just eight players have been capped more times by Scotland than Christian
Dailly, who earned 67 pieces of headwear to cover his curly hair between
1997 and 2008. After debuting and appearing at the 1998 FIFA World Cup
finals while a Derby County player, Dailly spent two seasons with Blackburn
Rovers before earning more than half his caps during his seven seasons in
Claret and Blue.
Central midfield: Martin Peters
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 33
The second of three 1966 FIFA World Cup winners in this XI, Martin Peters
forced his way into Alf Ramsey's side just weeks before the tournament
began, at the age of just 22. A versatile performer who earned rave reviews
from teammates and managers alike, Peters earned 33 of his 67 caps between
1966 and 1970, when he joined Tottenham Hotspur and then added the remaining
Left midfield: Trevor Brooking
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 47
The first of two team members to earn all of his international caps while
with West Ham United, Trevor Brooking's talents saw him debut against
Portugal in 1974. He remained a regular member of the England squad for the
next eight years, appearing at UEFA Euro 1980 in Italy and the 1982 FIFA
World Cup finals in Spain.
Forward: Enner Valencia
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 23
The second member of the side still playing for West Ham United, Enner
Valencia joined the Hammers after excelling for Ecuador at the 2014 FIFA
World Cup finals. Prior to that tournament, the forward netted in a friendly
against England, and since arriving in east London he has continued to be
capped – and score – regularly for his country, appearing at the 2015 and
2016 Copa America tournaments.
Forward: Geoff Hurst
Caps awarded while at West Ham United: 49
Last but by no means least, Geoff Hurst is the second player to have earned
all of his caps while a Hammer – 49 in total between 1966 and 1972. The 1966
FIFA World Cup fina l hat-trick hero scored 24 goals for his country and
also appeared at UEFA Euro 1968 and Mexico 1970, netting against the Soviet
Union and Romania respectively.
Robert Snodgrass - Beat England and Scotland can qualify for the World Cup
West Ham United winger Robert Snodgrass is out to make himself an unpopular
figure among the Claret and Blue Army this weekend. The Hammers wideman is
set to start for his country when Scotland host England in a vital 2018 FIFA
World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park on Saturday evening. The Scots need to
win the Group F tie to give themselves any real hope of reaching Russia and,
despite having beaten England just once in their last ten meetings with the
Auld Enemy dating back to 1985, Snodgrass insists the Tartan Army will rise
to the challenge. "I have never ever had that sort of feeling [of
inferiority] since I went down to England," the No11 told The Scottish Sun.
"I have always had that drive inside my stomach, that burning feeling to get
the success you want to achieve as an individual, and to keep hitting
targets. "I want to keep driving forward, and I have never had the feeling
of being feart of this player or that player. I look forward to it more than
anything." "You can sit and say 'That's Scottish fitba', if we go and beat
them. So there is that to consider, but there are loads of different things
about this match. "On the day, it will be about which team wants it the
most. It will be about which team has that desire to get on the ball and
make things happen."
England won the reverse fixture at Wembley 3-0 before Christmas, with
Snodgrass missing the Scots' best chance of the game with his side just a
single goal down. While that result might have been a big blow to Scotland's
hopes of reaching a first World Cup since 1998, they go into Saturday's
mouth-watering Glasgow showdown on the back of a morale-boosting 1-0 win
over Slovenia in their last qualifier. The Hammers star has challenged his
compatriots to repeat that performance and result when they take on Aaron
Cresswell and company in his home city. "We all knew after the last game
against Slovenia that was more like the Scotland we all want to see," he
confirmed. "There was no fear and there is nothing to be scared of on
Saturday. "We have good players playing at a good level, so let's go out and
Victory over their neighbours would close Scotland's deficit to England to
just three points, with four qualification matches still to play. While it
looked very unlikely a few months ago, Snodgrass insists a win this weekend
would give Gordon Strachan's side a real chance of overhauling England and
topping the group. "It would give everyone the belief again that we are
serious contenders," said the midfielder, who scored a hat-trick in a win
over Malta earlier in the current qualification campaign. "We need to focus
on group position, and we need to get the win for that reason. It is all
about qualifying. "That was our objective at the start. It wasn't to just
fight for second place. "You saw against England we had a lot of chances,
and if we didn't believe we would never have got those chances. "We have
always believed that we could go for automatic qualification in this group.
But when you take hits and have to take a step back, you then need to try
and take two forward. "We want to get there automatically, we want to beat
England and kick on."
The day West Ham United braved the bombs to win at Wembley
While the Football League may have been suspended just three games into the
1939/40 season due to the onset of the Second World War, West Ham United
continued to compete throughout the conflict-torn decade. Just as had
occurred during the First World War 25 years earlier, a regional War-Time
league competition was introduced, with the divisions and their make-up
fluctuating from season to season.
Every football club in the land sent men to fight for their country and West
Ham were no different, with no fewer than 41 players swapping their football
kit for military uniform. The FA Cup was also suspended for the duration of
the War, with the Football League War Cup being introduced in its place, and
it was in this competition that the Hammers enjoyed a unforgettable day in
the Club's history.
The final was played on 8 June 1940 at Wembley Stadium at 6.30pm - before
the night-time blackout - despite fears that London would be bombed that
evening by the Luftwaffe, West Ham defeated Blackburn Rovers 1-0 through a
34th-minute goal from Sam Small. Amazingly, a crowd of 42,300 bravely turned
out to see Charlie Paynter's Hammers presented with the trophy by A.V.
Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty.
As a further reminder that the country was at war, the crowd included
wounded members of the British Expeditionary Force recently evacuated from
Dunkirk in northern France, while a number of players headed straight back
to their service units after the game.
West Ham United's War Cup final-winning team
Charlie Bicknell (capt.)
Alec George Foreman
When do Premier League clubs return for pre-season?
Last Updated: 07/06/17 2:12pm
The Premier League season may have just ended, but clubs are already
preparing for pre-season. We look at when are each team will be back in
Arsenal - July 3
The Gunners officially return to pre-season training on July 3, but players
are expected to come back in groups due to international fixtures. Arsene
Wenger also confirmed that he would be staying at the club for another two
years on Wednesday May 31, meaning there will be no worry over who will be
at the helm when the players return - including new signing Sead Kolasinac
from Schalke. The FA Cup holders then jet off around the world for their
pre-season friendlies, heading to Sydney and Beijing - where they will take
part in the International Champions Cup - before competing in the Emirates
Cup on home turf.
Bournemouth - July 1
The Cherries return to pre-season action on July 1 as they look to maintain
their Premier League status for a third consecutive season.
Eddie Howe's men have one friendly slated so far against QPR, heading to
Loftus Road on July 29 for a game which is being played to commemorate Rs
legend Stan Bowles.
Brighton - June 29
One of the earliest returners are promoted Brighton, who will be back at the
American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on June 29. The Seagulls
will be playing their first season in the Premier League having previously
had four seasons in the old Division One, and are mostly staying in the UK
for their friendlies. They travel to Crawley Town on July 22 in their first
fixture which culminates in a showpiece match against Atletico Madrid at the
Amex Stadium in August 6, one week before their opening league match.
Burnley - July 5
Burnley welcome back their players on July 5 and their extensive pre-season
schedule starts with a week-long training camp in the Republic of Ireland as
well as a first friendly against Shamrock Rovers on July 14. Trips to
Nottingham Forest and Preston follow among others, including two
as-yet-unconfirmed home fixtures, before the August 12 opener in the Premier
League. Speaking about pre-season, manager Sean Dyche told the club's
website: "Pre-season is a long period, so I think it's good to get the lads
away, and in that more confined environment where everyone is together for
five or six days to allow us to get that bonding done, as well as the
physical, tactical and technical work."
Chelsea - July 3
The Premier League champions begin their preparations for a title defence on
July 3, although this is also expected to be affected by international
duties. Chelsea will also be playing their pre-season friendlies across the
globe with a game scheduled against Arsenal at the Bird's Nest in Beijing
before two matches in Singapore when they compete in the International
Champions Cup. Their first competitive fixture will be on the opening day of
the Premier League season, with their Champions League campaign getting
underway in September.
Crystal Palace - TBC
Crystal Palace are yet to confirm a date, but do say it will be at the
beginning of July and will release a specific day when they have appointed a
new manager. The Eagles will take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy,
shown live on Sky Sports, where they will play Liverpool and either
Leicester or West Brom on July 19 and 22 in Hong Kong.
Everton - July 3
Ronald Koeman will have his squad back in training on July 3 as they look
towards a busy season that will include the third round of Europa League
qualification on July 27. However, some players could return after the
allocated date after international commitments, with manager Ronald Koeman
telling the Liverpool Echo: "I believe the players need at least three weeks
of holiday and maybe I will decide several players come back even later than
that date." The Toffees will also become the first Premier League side to
play in Tanzania for a pre-season fixture on July 13 and will also host
Sevilla on August 6.
Huddersfield - July 5
Play-off winners Huddersfield will start preparing for life in the Premier
League for the first time on July 5 when the players return to their
training ground, the Canalside Sports Complex. It remains to be seen if loan
players that helped them to promotion like Aaron Mooy, Izzy Brown and Danny
Ward will be in the squad with David Wagner saying after the Wembley
victory: "I think I have a lot of calls to do." The Terriers are yet to
announce their pre-season friendlies.
Leicester - July 3
Craig Shakespeare is yet to be confirmed as Leicester's boss, though he will
be expected to take charge of the Foxes going into next season after
impressing as interim boss at the King Power. The players will return to
training on July 3 before travelling to the Far East to take part in the
Premier League Asia Trophy. They face West Brom in Hong Kong (July 19),
while a second match in Asia will be followed by a number of friendlies back
home. Visits to Luton, MK Dons, Wolves and Burton are all in the pipeline.
Liverpool - first week of July
Jurgen Klopp's side ended the season with a friendly Down Under against
Sydney FC - which also featured Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher - and are
set to return to pre-season training in the first week of July. The Reds
travel to the Far East for the Premier League Asia Trophy, where they will
first face Crystal Palace (July 19) in Hong Kong. Liverpool will also play
Hertha Berlin (July 29) at the Olympiastadion before heading to Dublin to
take on Athletic Bilbao (August 5).
Manchester City - July 10
City have provisionally set a July 10 date for the squad to return to
training, though they will soon jet off to the United States to feature in
the International Champions Cup. Pep Guardiola's side will take on city
rivals Manchester United in Houston (July 20), before facing Real Madrid in
LA (July 26) and Tottenham in Nashville (July 29).
Manchester United - TBC
After ending the 2016/17 season with the Europa League glory, and the
guarantee of a Champions League spot to boot, Jose Mourinho's side return to
Carrington in the first few weeks of July - although the players will be
arriving at different times, depending on international commitments. United
take on LA Galaxy (July 15) and Real Salt Lake (July 17) before playing Man
City (July 20) in Houston. Friendlies against Real Madrid (July 23) and
Barcelona (July 26) follow, before they return to Europe to play Valerenga
IF (July 30) in Oslo and Sampdoria (August 2) in Dublin.
Newcastle - July 3
Sky Bet Championship winners Newcastle are back in the big time after just
one season away, and are heading back to training on July 3.
Rafa Benitez's side are yet to finalise pre-season plans in terms of
Southampton - TBC
Southampton are yet to confirm when their players will be returning for
pre-season training, with the future of manager Claude Puel still in doubt.
Southampton also have just one friendly match confirmed so far, as they
attempt to build on their eighth-place finish in the league last season.
They travel to Brentford on July 22.
Stoke - July 5
The Potters get their pre-season preparations underway on July 5 as they
look to improve on their 13th place finish from last season.
Stoke then travel to Switzerland to participate in the Uhrencup with matches
in the UK against Sheffield United, Bolton and Crewe Alexandra also on the
Swansea - July 3
After surviving the drop by the skin of their teeth last term, Paul Clement
will begin his first full pre-season at Swansea on July 3 when the players
return to training. It's then a hop across the pond for the Welsh side as
they play three friendlies against American opponents during a 10-day
pre-season camp and a fourth friendly against Birmingham City to be played
at St Andrew's on July 29.
Speaking about the USA tour, Swans vice-chairman Leigh Dineen told the
club's website: "The tour is not only designed to provide Paul Clement with
the best environment to prepare the squad for the new campaign, but it also
gives Swans fans at home and in the States the opportunity to plan potential
trips well in advance.''
Tottenham - July 3
Mauricio Pochettino's side are another who have earmarked July 3 as a return
date for their players, but with international fixtures coming up, they will
return at different times. Tottenham are heading to the USA for their
pre-season tour, playing games in Florida, New Jersey and Tennessee as they
compete in the International Champions Cup before returning to the UK for
the start of the Premier League season. "We are delighted to be taking part
in the International Champions Cup this summer - a competition that will
provide our players with ideal preparation for the season ahead and give our
passionate US fanbase a unique chance of seeing the team test themselves
against top European opposition in their home country," Spurs chairman
Daniel Levy told the club's official website.
Watford - TBC
Watford are yet to confirm when new Hornets boss Marco Silva will welcome
his players back to training, but the Portuguese boss will be busy this
summer after taking over from Walter Mazzarri, who was sacked after one
season in charge. Watford head to Woking (July 8) and AFC Wimbledon (July
15) for pre-season friendlies before hosting Aston Villa at Vicarage Road on
West Brom - July 3
The Baggies are back in training on July 3, and will be looking to get their
form back on track after failing to win any of their last nine Premier
League games at the end of the previous campaign. Tony Pulis' side will be
jetting to Hong Kong to take part in the Premier League Asia Trophy, live on
Sky Sports, along with Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Leicester and also have
a host of domestic fixtures including games against Burton and Bristol
West Ham - July 5
West Ham return to pre-season training on July 5, although the club are yet
to announce any friendly matches. However, they are expected to mostly be
playing away games as the London Stadium will host the World Para-Athletics
Championships and World Championships in Athletics at the end of July and
the start of August respectively.
Robert Snodgrass reveals that he will stay at West Ham after 'difficult'
start to Hammers career
The midfielder has struggled since his move from Hull City
15:00, 8 JUN 2017
Robert Snodgrass has revealed he will stay at West Ham next season after
holding talks with manager Slaven Bilic. Snodgrass struggled in east London
following his move from Hull City but he has said he is committed to the
club despite rumours of a potential transfer.
The Scotland international failed to score in his 15 appearances for the
Hammers after netting nine goals for the Tigers prior to his £10.2million
transfer. The 29-year-old admits he struggled without his family in London
last season, as well as trying to fill Dmitri Payet's boots. "It's not easy
moving to a new club in the middle of the season but I chose to join West
Ham above other teams because of their great tradition and fanbase and I'm
determined to make it a success," said Snodgrass. "There were some factors
that made things difficult last season. I was living away from my family
because we didn't want to interrupt schooling but next season I'll have my
wife and three kids with me. "I was also asked to play on the left to fill
the gap vacated by Dmitri Payet but it's never been my position. I've scored
nearly a hundred goals as a mainly right-sided player and I've said to the
manager that's where I think I'm most effective. "We've had a very good
discussion and hopefully I'll be given a run of games where I'm comfortable.
If it doesn't happen right away, I will have to wait for my chance. "I'm
really looking forward to meeting up with the West Ham boys for pre-season
and starting again."
Snodgrass is now looking to hit top form once the new season gets underway
after a difficult start to life in a claret and blue shirt.
After playing on the right in the final game of the season at Burnley, the
Scotsman is hoping to take that performance into the new campaign. "I scored
nine goals for Hull and a hat-trick for Scotland in the first half of the
season, you don't do that and then become an average player overnight, so I
know I can contribute to West Ham," added Snodgrass. "I was heartened by
playing on the right for the final game against Burnley which we won. It
gave me a bit of confidence and I want to take that momentum into the new
season. I don't know where the stories have come about moving on. I am
committed to West Ham."
WEST HAM INTERESTED IN BARCELONA STAR MUNIR EL HADDADI
ABDULLAH MULLA @AbzMulla6
West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Southampton are interested in signing
highly-rated Barcelona forward Munir El Haddadi as the youngster looks
surplus to requirements at the Nou Camp, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Barcelona are ready to sell Munir, who spent this season on loan at fellow
La Liga club Valencia. The Catalan club are willing to listen to offers of
around £10 million and it is understood that West Ham are considering a bid.
Munir scored seven times in all competitions for Valencia this season and
the report states the La Liga club have been given the option to sign him
permanently but are unlikely to take the Catalan side up on it. Hammers boss
Slaven Bilic is looking to add firepower up front and with the anticipated
departure of Enner Valencia imminent, Munir could be the perfect
replacement. The Spanish forward first broke into the Barcelona squad in the
2014/15 season and managed to score six goals in 26 appearances. He then
fell out of favour and didn't manage to get enough game time which
ultimately led to his loan move to Valencia this season, where he was
BESIKTAS LINING UP A MOVE FOR ENNER VALENCIA
ABDULLAH MULLA @AbzMulla6
West Ham United striker Enner Valencia is set to leave the London club, with
Turkish Champions Besiktas lining up a move for the out of favour forward,
according to a report on Football London. Reports in Turkey are suggesting
that the 27-year-old could be playing Champions League football with
Besiktas next season as the Istanbul-based club look to add firepower to
their frontline. Valencia spent this season on loan at fellow Premier League
club Everton but failed to make a lasting impression as Ronald Koeman
rejected the chance to sign him permanently for the Merseyside club. The
Toffees had an option of signing Valencia for £11m, but Koeman turned down
the deal. He scored three times for the Merseyside club this season in the
Premier League in 21 appearances. Valencia still has two years remaining on
his West Ham contract but it seems he has failed to impress Hammers boss
Slaven Bilic, as the manager looks set to cash in on the Ecuadorian forward.
The Hammers had huge problems in finding the back of the net this season and
Bilic is looking to strengthen his attack in this summer's transfer window.
It is highly likely that Valencia will be joined by Diafra Sakho through the
Mexican side Cruz Azul and former club Pachuca have also shown interest in
Valencia but it is thought that Besiktas are leading the line for his
Robert Snodgrass commits to West Ham despite tough start to Hammers life and
interest from Brighton: 'I'm determined to make it a success'
West Ham signed Robert Snodgrass for £10.2million from Hull in January
The midfielder has only made 15 appearances, eight as a substitute
Brighton are interested in the Scot but he has pledged himself to the
By Joe Bernstein for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 12:24, 8 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:25, 8 June 2017
Scotland midfielder Robert Snodgrass will remain at West Ham next season
after discussions with manager Slaven Bilic. Snodgrass, in Gordon Strachan's
squad to face England on Saturday, failed to score for the Hammers following
a £10.2million move from Hull City in January but has reaffirmed his
commitment despite interest from Premier League new boys Brighton. 'It's not
easy moving to a new club in the middle of the season but I chose to join
West Ham above other teams because of their great tradition and fanbase and
I'm determined to make it a success,' said 29-year-old Snodgrass. 'There
were some factors that made things difficult last season. I was living away
from my family because we didn't want to interrupt schooling but next season
I'll have my wife and three kids with me.
'I was also asked to play on the left to fill the gap vacated by Dmitri
Payet but it's never been my position. I've scored nearly a hundred goals as
a mainly right-sided player and I've said to the manager that's where I
think I'm most effective. 'We've had a very good discussion and hopefully
I'll be given a run of games where I'm comfortable. If it doesn't happen
right away, I will have to wait for my chance. 'I'm really looking forward
to meeting up with the West Ham boys for pre-season and starting again.'
Though Bilic shared the frustration of Snodgrass' slow start to his West Ham
career – not helped by an ankle injury – he regards it as unfair to make a
final judgement after less than six months. 'I scored nine goals for Hull
and a hat-trick for Scotland in the first half of the season, you don't do
that and then become an average player overnight, so I know I can contribute
to West Ham,' said Snodgrass. 'I was heartened by playing on the right for
the final game against Burnley which we won. It gave me a bit of confidence
and I want to take that momentum into the new season. I don't know where the
stories have come about moving on. I am committed to West Ham.'
Eight of Snodgrass' 15 West Ham appearances have been off the substitutes'
bench but he can still end the season on a high with a famous result against
England at Hampden. 'It feels as if I've had two different seasons already
but playing England in a World Cup qualifier is a great way to go into the
summer,' he said. 'After that, I can't wait to rejoin the lads at West Ham
for pre-season training and show the real me.'
West Ham fans most responsible for rise in football-related arrests on
British transport network
8 JUNE 2017 • 10:55AM
Hooliganism may no longer be quite the issue it once was in this country,
but problems still persist, particularly on our trains. Research conducted
by ticketgum into a Home Office news release reveals that while
football-related arrests have decreased over the last five seasons, the
number made on the transport network has risen for a fourth year running.
The statistics show that over the past five years there has been a decrease
in the number of football-related arrests across the country, from around
2,400 in 2011/12 to 1,895 in 2015/16, the most recent season charted.
However, arrests made on public transport have continued to rise, with 22
per cent of all football-related arrests made by the British Transport
Police. Football-related arrests have played a big part in overall crime on
the railway increasing by four per cent. Of the incidents where a Premier
League football club was mentioned, West Ham were responsible for the most,
with Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea next on the
Liverpool and Middlesbrough were mentioned in just one per cent of those
arrests where fans of a specific Premier League club were involved. The fact
that the 'bigger' Premier League clubs are mostly nearer the top of this
list may be accounted for by their larger fanbases and attendances. However,
West Ham were still playing at the Boleyn Ground in 2015/16, while
Liverpool's Anfield home is one of the biggest in the country, so the number
of fans at matches cannot be the only explanation.
One of the reported offences included "4-500 fans who boarded a special
train service. While at platform the doors of the train were forced open and
coins thrown at rival fans. Due to the difficulty closing doors, the train
lost power, causing one cancellation and delays to 15 trains. [A] train
window was later found to have been smashed."
Another incident was said to have caused more than £3000 in damages. On the
matter, the British Transport Police stated the following, "We adopt a
proactive approach to football policing, with officers escorting trains
before and after matches and patrolling stations where large numbers of fans
are expected." The BTP added that "fixed penalty notices are not used for
football-related offences, making sure that offenders are charged with the
most serious offences their conduct warrants." BTP chief constable Paul
Crowther said in 2015 that the number of incidents on the transport network
may be even higher, because victims feel too frightened to talk to British
Transport Police officials. The three most common football-related offences
are public disorder, alcohol offences and violent disorder, which make up 96
per cent of arrests. Earlier this year, a French court found four Chelsea
fans guilty of racist violence on the Paris metro before a Champions League
match in February 2015. West Ham have endured more problems since moving to
the London Stadium, with visiting Middlesbrough fans attacked after their
match there last October.
Chelsea refusing to allow wantaway Michy Batshuayi's transfer until they
sign a new striker
Clubs across Europe are after the £33m Belgian, who confirmed he wants to be
playing more next season in a World Cup year
22:30, 7 JUN 2017
Michy Batshuayi will not be permitted to leave Chelsea until the champions
have landed a replacement. West Ham, Scotland's Rangers, French side Monaco
and Sevilla of Spain are all keen to snap up the 23-year-old, who spent last
season on the fringes for the Blues before scoring in three of his final
four games — including the late winner at West Brom that confirmed them as
champions. Chelsea, meanwhile, are trying to agree a fee with Everton for
their star frontman Romelu Lukaku . The Toffees' 25-goal leading scorer
wants a return to Stamford Bridge, where he spent three seasons from 2011
albeit mostly out on loan. However, Everton require a world-record
£100million for him. The future of Diego Costa , the champions' current
first-choice up front, is also uncertain. The Spain striker is reluctant to
move to the Chinese Super League, where Tianjin Quinjan are ready to pay
£76million for him. He is prepared to rejoin previous club Atletico Madrid,
but the La Liga heavyweights are under a transfer ban and will not be able
to register new players until January. It means Costa could stay at Stamford
Bridge, and Belgium international Batshuayi is unwilling to endure another
season on the bench in a World Cup year. He said: "No, no, no. Everyone
knows that I have to play more, that I have to score goals. There's a World
Cup coming up next year. I want to be ready for the World Cup. "But I'm not
going to ask anything. I'm going to listen to what they are saying. They are
the boss, not me. And afterwards I'll discuss it with my agent and the club.
Amicably, as friends. Of course. "A loan? That's not up to me. That's up to
them. They take the decisions, not me. "Diego is a top player who has played
in top teams and has scored a lot of goals at the highest level. I'm still
young, so I've learned a lot from him. "I have lived difficult moments, but
it's in times like those that you learn the most. "Certainly when you're
surrounded by top class players, like Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, all of
them, you only can make progress in a situation like that. I haven't played
a lot, you know, but I managed to scored one of the most important goals.
"It gave me a boost. Good for me, good for the team. Of course I wanted to
play more. And of course I wanted to score more goals. That's normal. All
players want that. But we have become champions. That's really good for me.
It's a wonderful experience."
Chelsea title hero Michy Batshuayi insists he cannot accept another season
sitting on the Blues' bench
Michy Batshuayi has admits he cannot spend another season on Chelsea's bench
The Belgian striker became a Blues hero after scoring the title-winning goal
Batshuayi ended the season in a purple patch, scoring in three consecutive
West Ham and Everton have been linked with the 23-year-old
By Danny Gallagher For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 23:16, 7 June 2017 | UPDATED: 23:17, 7 June 2017
Chelsea's title hero Michy Batshuayi has admitted he cannot spend another
season wallowing on the substitutes' bench at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian youngster spent the majority of the season seeing only glimpses
of action, before bursting onto the scene in the latter stages to score the
title-clinching goal during Chelsea's away clash with West Brom. He went on
to find the back of the net in each of Chelsea's two final fixtures of the
season, ending his personal campaign on a high. And now the 23-year-old has
spoken openly regarding his immediate future, maintaining that he cannot
spend another season as a bit-part player. 'Everyone knows that I have to
play more, that I have to score goals. There's a World Cup coming up next
year. I want to be ready for the World Cup,' said Batshuayi in an interview
with The Guardian. 'But I'm not going to ask anything. I'm going to listen
to what they are saying. They are the boss, not me. And afterwards I'll
discuss it with my agent and the club. Amicably, as friends of course. A
loan? That's not up to me. That's up to them. They take the decisions, not
Despite the frustration of limited time out on the pitch, Batshuayi believes
he has grown as a player as a result of the talent around him. This, plus
the additional confidence of a title-winning goal, is set to stand him in
good stead ahead of the coming season, the striker believes: 'I have lived
difficult moments, but it's in times like those that you learn the most.
Certainly when you're surrounded by top class players, like Cesc Fàbregas,
Eden Hazard, all of them, you only can make progress in a situation like
'I haven't played a lot, you know, but I managed to scored one of the most
important goals. It gave me a boost. Good for me, good for the team. Of
course I wanted to play more. And of course I wanted to score more goals.
That's normal,' he added. West Ham, who bid for Batshuayi before he made the
move from Marseille to Chelsea, have again been linked with the player.
Everton have likewise also been touted as a destination, with Batshuayi a
potential inclusion in any possible deal to bring Romelu Lukaku back to