Byram eyes Premier League game-time after impressive pre-season
Sam Byram is hoping his pre-season performances will lead to a fair-share of game-time when the Premier League season kicks-off. The right-back has competition for his place from the vastly-experience Pablo Zabaleta, but Byram's own displays in warm-up matches will certainly have caught the eye of manager Slaven Bilic.
The No22 was at it again on Tuesday evening, when his pace and willingness to support the attack were to the fore in West Ham United's 3-3 draw with Altona 93.
"It's part of my game that I enjoy, getting forward and putting crosses in," said Byram. "I'm trying to do my best for the team, building my fitness and trying to improve my performances."
Byram was not the only Hammer to impress during a competitive game in the German city of Hamburg, with new boy Chicharito coming close to scoring on his debut after appearing as a second-half substitute. The 23-year-old was certainly a fan of the ex-Manchester United striker's debut and expects him to cause problems for his old club at Old Trafford on 13 August. "It was good for the fans to see Chicharito in the last 20 minutes," Byram enthused. "You could see his movement and how sharp he is around the box. He brings a real different dimension to the squad. "I think he was a bit unlucky with the penalty decision as he was honest and stayed on his feet. He looked sharp and I look forward to seeing him when he's at full fitness."
Concentrating on Tuesday's draw with German fourth-tier opposition, Byram said Altona 93 had undoubtedly upped their game against their Premier League hosts.
The home side fell behind three times and lost Winston Reid to a red card with the score at 2-1, but battled back, with Byram's raids down the right flank playing a big part. As someone who has faced lower-division sides in pre-season many times before, the full-back was not surprised by Altona's performance. "You could see from the start that they came out sharp," he said. "It was a big game for them with a Premier League team coming here and obviously they wanted to do well.
"We're still working on things and getting our fitness work in. There were good things from the game and there were things to learn from, so it was a good test and a good run out for the lads again. "It's the same every pre-season. You travel to grounds and teams want to turn you over. We were disappointed to let three goals in, but we did score three ourselves and created plenty of chances but, as I say, we still have things to learn from. "It's a different ball-game in the Premier League. These games are mainly about getting fitness in your legs and bringing that sharpness back and you can see, with the signings we've made, the quality in depth in our squad now. I'm really positive going into our season now."
Next up for the Hammers is a trip to the Iceland and a Super Match clash with Manchester City in Reykjavik on Friday afternoon. It is a game Byram is relishing and says will be a yardstick ahead of the Premier League opener nine days later. "Obviously they have got an unbelievable squad and first XI have made some good signings. It's going to be a good test for us, but it's the type of game we want to be playing the week before the Premier League starts so we can test ourselves against the best."
Hammers fans go on tour with the Academy
Hammers fans enjoyed seeing the inner workings of the Academy of Football after travelling with the U23s on their pre-season trip to Slovakia. Club London member Kevin Gilliland successfully bid for the unique 'Go on tour with the Academy' lot at the 2017 Player Awards in May. Boleyn Bar regular Gilliland and his 19-year-old son Liam spent an enlightening few days with Academy Director Terry Westley, U23s assistant manager Liam Manning and the squad, watching them train and ate meals with the coaches and players. The father and son also attended the young Hammers' fixtures with Super Liga clubs Spartak Trnava and FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce and even went for a run with U18s manager Steve Potts and assistant Mark Phillips! "The tour to Slovakia was a great opportunity for the players themselves to further their own development, whilst at the same time test themselves against foreign opposition," said U23s assistant manager Manning. "Having Kevin and Liam with us on the the trip gave them a great insight into the level of detail and hard work the Academy does, which most fans may not necessarily see. It was great having them with us."
For the record, the U23s were beaten 3-1 by Spartak Trnava but bounced back with a more experienced starting XI to thrash FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce 5-1, with striker Jahmal Hector-Ingram netting a hat-trick. Westley's side will return to action on Tuesday 8 August, when they make the short trip to the AGP Arena to take on Isthmian League club Billericay Town in a 7.45pm kick-off. Meanwhile, the U18s kick-off their league season at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday 12 August.
Joe Hart makes fellow goalkeeper's dream come true
West Ham United's visit to Altona 93 gave Joshua Du Preez a once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk goalkeeping with Joe Hart. And the 24-year-old was not about to let the opportunity pass him by, sending England's No1 a message via photo networking application Instagram. The South African stopper explained how Hart had been his goalkeeping hero since the age of 12 and asked to swap shirts in a post replying to a post showing the Hammers stopper training with Mark Noble. Hart spotted the comment and met with his fellow member of the goalkeeper's union after Tuesday's 3-3 draw at the Adolf-Jager-Kampfbahn in Hamburg, swapping shirts and passing on some tips to the former Charlton Athletic trialist. "I've been following Joe Hart since I was 12-years-old," confirmed Du Preez, who combines his football career by running his family's online florist business in his native Cape Town. "I started following him when he was just a young talent and everyone was talking about how he was going to be the next No1, and now he obviously is. "I've been following him through the years and when I saw we were playing West Ham and he had signed, I thought 'I have to write to this guy before somebody else does' so I thought I would comment on one of his pictures and I can't believe someone saw it and it came true! "It was very exciting chatting to him for a few minutes, too, and if he's got a girlfriend in Cape Town and he wants some flowers delivered, I'm his man! "It's part-time and semi-professional here, so I also run a flower shop. I started in South Africa and now I run the online part of it here, organising the online orders and it's a family business, so my father takes control of the actual deliveries!"
While Hart's career path from teenage prodigy to Premier League title winner and England regular is well known, Du Preez's own has been far less typical.
Born in Cape Town, he was spotted at a trial and brought to England for trials. When they did not work out, he joined German club Osnabruck, before moving on to SV Todesfelde and, in 2015, Altona 93. While he continues to pursue a full-time professional contract, Du Preez relished the opportunity to share a pitch with Premier League opposition. "For me this was a dream come true," he enthused. "Since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to play against a Premier League team and I never thought it would really happen, but here we are!" he smiled. "I was born in South Africa but it was always my dream to play in Europe. An agent spotted me playing through a programme and I went over to London and trained with Charlton for a little bit, but it didn't work out as I was just out of high school and the tempo was quicker than I could ever have imagined. "My agent had a team in Germany who were interested and they took me on and gave me a chance and I'm still trying to make the dream happen."
Unfortunately for Du Preez, he scored an own-goal in Tuesday's game as West Ham came from behind three times to draw 3-3 with Altona in their penultimate pre-season match.
Chicharito: The Big Interview
Chicharito shared the excitement of West Ham United fans as he made his Hammers bow in Germany on Tuesday evening. The Mexico star produced an eye-catching cameo in the 3-3 pre-season draw with Altona 93, coming within inches of scoring a debut goal and pulling the home defence all over the place with his non-stop movement. The new No17 sat down with whufc.com to talk about his eventful first appearance, gelling with his new teammates and looking ahead to Friday's meeting with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City…
Chicha, you pulled on a West Ham United shirt for the first time on Tuesday night, which was an exciting sight for all of us! How was it for you?
"It was the same for me! I was very happy to be back into a football pitch. I am now with my new team and we had a good game against a good team. We drew 3-3 and I played for 20 minutes, I feel very good and hopefully I can get better with each game."
Our players know how you like to play, but it is different watching you than playing alongside you, so what did you make of your early combinations with your new teammates?
"Obviously when you have quality in the team like we have, it's easier to go in the pitch and try to think like them. We have a lot of quality and a lot of different types of players and ways of playing, so it's easy and we're going to have a very good season, I hope. "When the games go on, we are going to feel better with each other after each game. We will build our chemistry like a team and hopefully we can get the proper results in the Premier League."
You came so close to a debut goal at Altona 93, having one shot cleared off the line and another flash just wide of the post…
"Of course it was very close! It was a good tackle. When I took out the 'keeper, I tried to be safe because I felt I was too far from the goal, but I thought it was a great effort from the defender to take out the ball."
You speak fantastic English, but with so many Spanish speakers, you have settled into the group so quickly!
"Yeah, it's been quick because they are very good lads! Marko and Angelo speak Italian as well, so they understand the Spanish, as does Jose. I also have Pablo, Manu, Toni, Adrian and Pedro, so we have a very good group of Latin and Latin American guys."
Ludo is the latest craze among the Spanish speakers, so have you had a game yet?
"I didn't play yet! I know how to play, but I leave the guys to play and enjoy it. They love to play and hopefully in the future I'm going to play and I'm going to beat them!"
We go to Iceland on Friday to face Manchester City in the Super Match. What are your thoughts ahead of that fixture?
"It's a very good match for us to see where we are and what we need to work on in the next week before we face Manchester United [in the opening Premier League fixture]. It's going to be a very good match and we're very happy to have the opportunity to be involved in a match against one of the best teams in the world. We're very glad and very motivated to head up there to make a good performance and to try to get a result."
Finally, you've played against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and Bayern Munich, so how do you assess his coaching style and the way his teams play?
"I played against his Barcelona team for Man United in the Champions League final in 2011 in London as well and we lost, so I know he is one of the best managers in the world over the past ten or 15 years. He has been unbelievable in each team he has managed, putting his style of play into Bayern Munich and now into Manchester City. It's going to be a tough match for us, but hopefully we can get the win."
Season Ticket card update
As the countdown to the 2017/18 Premier League season continues, Season Ticket Holders are reminded that they will be issued with a new Season Ticket card for the new campaign.
Slaven Bilic's men face Huddersfield Town in their first home fixture at London Stadium on Monday 11 September, and your new card will be needed to gain access to the Stadium as your 2016/17 card will no longer be valid.
Season Ticket Holders can expect to receive their card from next week, but if for any reason you haven't received your card by Monday 21 August, please contact the Ticket Office on 0333 030 1966 (option 3). Phone lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday.
City clash live on TV
Filed: Wednesday, 2nd August 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham's clash with Manchester City in Reykjavík this Friday is being broadcast live on TV, it has been confirmed. The pre-season friendly takes place at the Laugardalsvollur Stadium in the Icelandic capital and kicks off at 3pm BST. Broadcaster Eurosport confirmed this morning that they will be showing the entire match live on Eurosport 1 and the Eurosport Player. West Ham have managed just one win in pre-season so far - against Championship side Fulham - whilst Manchester City have beaten Real Madrid (4-1) and Tottenham (3-0), whilst losing 2-0 to bitter rivals Manchester Utd.
The West Ham youngster who could be Slaven Bilic's wildcard in 2017/18
West Ham's pre-season tour of Germany taught Slaven Bilic plenty about the options he has available
20:00, 2 AUG 2017
On the whole, West Ham's pre-season excursion to Germany will be considered a successful one, even if there were some results thrown in which show there is still work to be done before the season gets underway. There have been debuts for Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Marko Arnautovic, who has also already opened his account for the club, while Chicharito's arrival boosted spirits and while the Mexican remains behind schedule compared to his new teammates, there were enough promising signs in his brief cameo against Altona 93 to suggest he can hit the ground running. He will get another opportunity to prove his fitness when the Hammers face Manchester City in Reykjavik on Friday as the standard of pre-season opposition ratchets up a notch. And so too will Declan Rice, the youngster whose form so far in pre-season has belied his status as a reserve player. Having captained the U21s to promotion to the top flight of the second-string Premier League competition, Rice was named among a clutch of young players for the trips to first Bremen and then Hamburg as he looked to impress Slaven Bilic ahead of what could be his breakout season.
Rice featured on the final day at Burnley and his performances over the past few weeks among serial winners - in the shape of new recruits Hart and Zabaleta - have spoken volumes about his potential. Rather than allowing this opportunity to faze him, Rice has seized his moment and looks ready to challenge for more regular first-team involvement. West Ham are adamant Winston Reid will not be leaving the club amid rumoured interest from Everton but the interest may yet prove unsettling as the season starts, while Angelo Ogbonna is returning from an injury which robbed Bilic of the Italian for the final stages of the season.
Jose Fonte will be expected to push on after a slow start since his January transfer from Southampton but Rice is well placed to benefit from any loss of form, injury or suspension suffered this season.
Nathan Holland has also caught the eye in Germany but he appears further off the first-team setup when you consider Arnautovic's purchase, Michail Antonio's impending return and the Hammers feeling confident enough in their wide options to entertain offers for Sofiane Feghouli and Robert Snodgrass. Rice may find his path to the first-team setup less crowded in central defence and, intriguingly, his ability to play in a deep midfield role could be particularly appealing to Bilic, with another midfield option offering him some more variety to that area of the team. The talent and versatility are there and so too is the temperament.
While Josh Cullen and Reece Burke were considered too inexperienced to make a first-team impact, Rice may avoid being sent out on loan to further his education because it is becoming increasingly clear it would be best served staying put and continuing to learn from the players he spent time with during the German leg of pre-season. Holland and Moses Makasi, who underwhelmed during the tour, may yet head out for loan spells but it certainly feels as if Rice can make a decisive impact next season if Bilic places his faith in youth. David Gold's previous comments would cast huge doubt over the likelihood of Rice's emergence but even the chairman appeared to backtrack last week on how he sees the development of the players of tomorrow and Rice could be first in line to profit.
EXPLAINING WEST HAM'S £100 MILLION OF DEBT
By Sean Whetstone 2 Aug 2017 at 21:00
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan's comments that the club is still £100m in debt have caused some confusion among some Hammers supporters.
He told Jim White on Talksport last week:
"It's a difficult one because we're not a bottomless pit. We still have to balance the books and we still have £100million of debt."
Many still believed the board promised that the club would be debt free when they sold the Boleyn Ground
In fact those original comments were talking about external bank debt although I accept that was not precisely highlighted at the time. Gold later clarified on social media last year by saying
"We never said we would be free of debt, we said we would be free of BANK debt which we now are. dg"
In simple terms, you can't clear a £100m debt unless you make £100m of profit so they have merely moved much of the external bank debt to shareholder loans which will now mature in January 2020.
Many disgruntled fans will always believe it is all smoke and mirrors but below I will try to explain five straight forward key numbers from West Ham financial accounts for the six years following the Gold and Sullivan take over to explain why we haven't paid off the £100m of debt.
The key numbers are turnover (the amount West Ham earned in the year), Operating profit or loss for the year before player trading and interest and the general profit/loss after player trading and interest payments are taken into account.
The figures below show the club earned £665m in six years after the takeover and made a net operating profit of £97m but it spent a further £124m net on transfers and another £31m in interest payments creating an overall loss of a further £59.5m over those six years.
In 2010 West Ham had £110m of debts made up of £50m owed to banks £40m owed to other clubs and £20m owed to Sheffield United. In 2016 the '£100m of debts' is made of £61.4m owed to two Davids from shareholder loans and £35.5m to other clubs for transfers so just under £97m.
As for the sale of the Boleyn Ground for £38m last year. £15m went to the LLDC for the conversion of the London Stadium £15m went to banks to pay off loans mortgaged against the Boleyn Ground and the remaining £8m went to fit out the new shop and offices at the London Stadium plus the WestHamification of the stadium includinf the cleart and blue seats.
West Ham had £12million bid for Neymar rejected back in 2010... and now he's preparing to move to PSG for £199m
Because landing both Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez back in 2006 clearly wasn't enough...
16:24, 2 AUG 2017UPDATED16:26, 2 AUG 2017
Back in 2010 there weren't many people who had heard of 18-year-old Santos starlet Neymar, apart from Football Manager users and... well, apparently, West Ham. The Hammers had been tracking the Brazilian youngster from east London as he developed into a player that will one day rule the footballing world.
Chelsea were also keen on bringing Neymar to the Premier League, but Avram Grant wasn't deterred by the competition and made the first approach for the teen.
Testing the water, the then West Ham boss offered the Brazilian outfit £12million in the hope of snaring the youngster from under the noses of the European elite.
Santos rejected the bid outright, telling the Hammers they would not accept anything lower than his £28.4million release clause. Speaking at the time, club director Pedro Luiz Nunes said: "We received an offer from West Ham for Neymar, worth €15m [around £12m]. "Our position is clear, we do not open negotiations. These athletes only leave the club by paying the release clause."
West Ham returned with an improved £16million offer for the 18-year-old, but Santos stuck to their guns and once again snubbed the bid. At the time Neymar had yet to make a senior appearance for Brazil, meaning he was not able to receive an automatic work permit. This made the potential move even more problematic and it wasn't long before his mooted transfer to West Ham disintegrated into thin air. Premier League interest in the star persisted however with both Chelsea and Manchester City lodging bids in the region of £40million for the forward a year later, but, like West Ham, saw these quickly rejected. "We don't want to sell the player but there is a release clause in his contract that can be paid," explained Santos president Luis Ribeiro at the time. "Five European clubs have offered to match the clause."
And that was that until Barcelona finally won the battle to sign the Brazilian for £48.6million back in 2013. Four years on and playing for one of the best teams in the world, it was expected that Neymar would more than likely see out the rest of his career in Catalonia. But after Paris Saint-Germain started to show interest in the player, and there was suggestions they would meet his release clause, speculation started to grow. It was then confirmed by Barcelona on Wednesday that the 25-year-old had announced his decision to leave and will not be training with the first team for the time being. And so seven years on from a rejected bid worth £12million the Brazilian is preparing to move to Ligue 1 for a world-record breaking £199million...
Rice, Holland, Arnautovic & Snodgrass - the winners and losers of West Ham's tour of Germany
Who came out of the trip with their reputation enhanced and who has taken a knock back?
10:00, 2 AUG 2017
The undoubted star of the tour, there can be absolutely no doubt about that as the 18-year-old seriously rose to prominence in not only the eyes of Slaven Bilic, but the West Ham fans as well. The 18-year-old barely put a foot wrong in training or in games during all three matches - maybe getting caught under the ball for Altona 93's third goal on Tuesday night was an error - but other than that? Whether Rice played in central defence or midfield, he shone. Slaven Bilic, Nikola Jurcevic and Edin Terzic have been really impressed with the teenager and this trip may well mean a loan move away is not going to happen as the manager wants to keep the Irishman around the first team. Rice is very likely to add to those two Premier League minutes he got at the end of last season against Burnley this campaign and the kid should be proud of what he has done.
Another one of the youngsters who has made an excellent impression in training and games here in Germany. Holland was particularly good in the two games against Werder Bremen and football.london witnessed first hand his improvement in training. Another lad who is just a teenager, the future is extremely bright for Holland and Everton have certainly let a good one go in him, but that's West Ham's gain. Is Hollland a viable option as a replacement for Michail Antonio if he is injured or missing from the team for some reason? Don't bet against it.
From the moment the assembled media met Arnautovic at the Hammers team hotel in Rotenburg last Wednesday, we knew this was going to be a fun ride and Hammers fans can now see it too. The arrogance he has, the swagger on the pitch, the strength on the ball, to the undoubted talent and skill he has - he is the perfect signing for West Ham this summer. Slaven Bilic spent £23m on him and the Austrian, you sense, is very keen to repay that. He had an impact in all three friendlies here and has that "X Factor" that the club has been crying out for.
The Frenchman has outperformed Aaron Cresswell in all three games this tour and if Slaven Bilic wasn't sure who his left back should be this season, he really should know now and it's the Frenchman. Masuaku still needs work defensively but it's the attacking threat he brings which stands him out from Cresswell. If the defender can improve just slghtly as a defender, the Hammers have got a serious player on their hands. His partnership down the left with Marko Arnautovic looks excellent well, if that helps Slaven make a decision.
You have to feel for the Scotsman, who is just lacking completely in any confidence after a tough start to life at West Ham. Nothing went his way this tour, no matter how hard he tried and he really did, he can't be accused of not putting the effort in throughout the ten days. But when it came to the games, he just looked lost and unsure of what to do when he had the ball. He needs something to get him going this season or it could be a long struggle.
While he got on the scoresheet against Altona 93, the Ghanaian had a difficult tour as he struggled to have an impact in any of the games in a number of different positions. We know what we get with the former record signing - pace, energy and workrate - and we got that these past ten days but it wasn't enough for him to really stand out. With competition for his spot, Ayew is still likely to start at Old Trafford and he needs a big performance there, you'd suspect.
There were high hopes for the youngster heading into the tour but he really struggled in games, barely figuring in what have been a massively frustrating time for him. It wasn't all his fault, Slaven Bilic played him in three different positions on the trip, but Makasi failed to settle in any one of them and just drifted through games without making much noise. No doubt talented, he is clearly more suited the U23s just now rather than the first team.
WHY IS THE GUARDIAN ANTI-WEST HAM?
By Blind Hammer 2 Aug 2017 at 08:00
Blind Hammer responds to Guardian criticisms of West Ham.
I am a Guardian Reader but have to confess I am becoming increasingly fed up with the negativity of some of the comments published by this August institution about West Ham. Some of this criticism is childish, snarling and frankly unacceptable. The Guardian's "Fiver" Sports Newsletter thinks it is clever to now resort to name calling, referring to our club as "Taxpayers United", joining with the BBC in promulgating a theory that if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it. Apparently the Guardian is blind to the overt measures taken by Spurs to secure Tax payers money as reported by Sean Whetstone a couple of weeks ago, preferring to only launch their barbs with a single eyed determination at West Ham. It appears that the Guardian also somehow now believes fervently that West Ham should be responsible for funding the nation's commitment to Athletics at the London Stadium. This is the lazy lie which the Guardian and others are pushing about the Stadium's financial problems, that these are sole responsibility of West Ham cheating the Taxpayer when any fair analysis would recognise that it is only with West Ham that the stadium has any future at all. It is the multi-use of the stadium for Athletics which is creating a financial crisis.
This snarling criticism was echoed by a recent piece by Jacob Steinberg in which he sought to belittle the business done by West Ham in the transfer market this summer. The piece is interesting because I have personally been unaware of the Guardian taking up any agenda against other clubs for their transfer business, beyond reflecting on the general lack of business done. Only West Ham appears to have received criticism for the actual signings made.
If we are to believe Steinberg West Ham has indulged in "short terminism", signing players approaching the end of their Careers.
This flimsy and poorly argued piece by Steinberg is barely worth taking seriously but for the record he includes the signing of Joe Hart at 30 as an example of short terminism. He then goes on to criticise West Ham for not only signing a player at an advanced age but one who career is in decline. Steinberg appears desperate for what he describes as a "glamorous" signing to go sour.
Steinberg does not seem to reflect that if there is this risk then West Ham have done extremely good business by only signing Hart on loan. If things go sour, as he suggests, then the damage to West Ham will be minimised. If on the other hand things go well, then West Ham will be in prime position to consolidate the Hart signing with a buy option. I personally think it is extremely unlikely that if Hart does well, that he would want to jeopardise his international place, by returning to a so called "bigger club" to warm their bench. To describe the signing of a 30 year old keeper as short term by Steinberg would be laughed off as plain silly by most football pundits. Hart could easily have 7-8 years as a West Ham Goalkeeper ahead of him.
Pablo Zabaleta is the other allegedly geriatric players that Steinberg takes aim at. At 32 he is another person apparently up for a last big "pay-day" in a retirement home. Steinberg queries whether West Ham can cope with more slow players, referring to the evident lack of athleticism in the team last season. Now at 32 Pablo Zabaleta will have to answer some questions this season, though the prospects look reasonable, if pre-season is anything to go by. Age, as we know from many examples, including those at our club, is not necessarily a guide to fitness. Billy Bonds at 32 was clearly the fittest player at our club at the time.
However I do not recall Steinberg lining up to criticise Manchester United when they signed Zlatan Ibrahimovi? on an even shorter term contract last year at 35. Nobody is ridiculing Manchester United when they say that they may offer Zlatan Ibrahimovi? another contract in |January if he recovers from his knee ligament injury. It is apparently perfectly acceptable for Manchester United to invest in proven international class players at the end of their careers whilst it is foolish for West Ham to do the same.
Steinberg's criticism of Arnautovic seems to revolve around the fact that Stoke paid only £2 million for him 4 years ago, and that he is at the giddying advanced age of 28. Now Steinberg's carping now descends to the silly. 28 are considered by most to be the age at which most footballers are at their peak. The problem for West Ham over the years is that their transfer business has recruited players not at their peak, but players who are either young and unproven, or older and at the end of their careers. Any fair evaluation of the recruitment of Arnautovic would recognise this fact. The fact that he cost only £2 million 4 years ago is just irrelevant. There are hundreds of players who have increased their transfer value whilst playing for a club. Nobody blinks an eye if Chelsea or Manchester City pays a higher transfer fee for a player at his peak who was previously recruited for a lesser fee. Why should it be a problem for West Ham?
Hernandez at 29 is apparently another who is ready for the rest home and the lazy life. Whilst it would have been great to have signed Hernandez at 27, when we first wanted him, to suggest he is over the hill now is again carping. I have seen no articles from Steinberg pointing his ammunition at Bournemouth for signing the 34 year old Jermaine Defoe. If Hernandez has anything like the fitness levels he apparently naturally holds we have a player who can reasonably perform for the next 3-4 years at least. Steinberg's gloomy assessment of Hernandez's age does not appear to be shared by other football commentators. Commentators writing for the fan base of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal have all bemoaned the fact that West Ham has achieved the Hernandez coup, when they clearly feel he could have done a job for them. But then according to Steinberg all these commentators from other clubs are presumably also lacking judgement, falling into the "short terminism trap.
There is a risk in all transfer business and we will have to see how these recruitments pan out. It is also possible that the club may still, late in the window, invest in more speculative players for the future. Any fair analysis of West Ham transfer policy over the last few seasons would recognise that this is what they have done. Ashley Fletcher was recently sold for a profit, Lanzini's worth has climbed astronomically since he was signed. Fernandez and Arthur Masuaku all look like proven PL quality signings on the cheap, as was Cheikhou Kouyaté. Even Payet realised a 250% transfer rise in value whilst at West Ham.
The investment in the Academy appears to be finally paying off with a crop of youngsters who may just possibly form the core of another "golden generation" of West ham youngsters. The investment the club makes year in, year out, in its Academy is the very opposite of short terminism.
So in my view it is time for the guardian to recover some it alleged spirit of "balanced reporting" and stop their anti-West Ham bias and sniping.
West Ham set to miss out on playmaker as €8.5m switch to Spain beckons for Montpellier star - report
West Ham transfer news sees target Ryad Boudebouz close in on a move to Real Betis
07:00, 2 AUG 2017
West Ham look set to miss out on Ryad Boudebouz. The Hammers have already concluded the baulk of their summer transfer business but Slaven Bilic has not ruled out further signings for his squad in the remainder of the transfer window. And with Robert Snodgrass a target for Premier League and Championship clubs and Sofiane Feghouli's future also shrouded in doubt, a move for Boudebouz had started to look increasingly likely. But Spanish side Real Betis now appear to have moved in and agreed a cut price deal for the Algeria international, who made 33 appearances in Ligue 1 last term and scored eleven goals as well as providing nine assists. Boudebouz is now expected to compete an €8.5m switch to the La Liga outfit. Sampdoria and Bayer Leverkusen had also been linked with the playmaker.
Angelo Ogbonna tells West Ham to forget Champions League and stay focused
West Ham United star Angelo Ogbonna says the club must not get sidetracked by Champions League daydreams. The Hammers took a huge step forward in their first season under Slaven Bilic with a club record Premier League points haul seeing them finishing agonisingly just four points off the Champions League places.
A total of 14 draws that season - the joint most in the league - ultimately cost them but there were so many plus points including a first positive goal difference since 1986. Last season was a complete contrast, though, as Bilic's side struggled for any kind of form or consistency for much of a torrid campaign. West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is seen during the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on May 21, 2017 in Burnley, England.
Problems ranging from poor recruitment to the Dimitri Payet saga and the fallout from the move to the Olympic Stadium made for an attritional campaign.
But the East Londoners pulled through and actually did reasonably well to finish 11th. Impressive transfer business this summer has once again raised expectations around the club. The acquisitions of Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Pablo Zabaleta as well as the capture of Joe Hart on a season long loan have created a real buzz among fans. More signings are expected to follow too as West Ham look to re-establish themselves in the pack of teams looking to challenge the elite.
But Italian international and fan favourite Angelo Ogbonna has told the club to forget talk of Europe and maintain a steely focus in an interview with the official website. "We want to show ourselves better than last season and I think the board have done well and we have signed good players," Ogbonna told whufc.com.
"I think my idea is to start over this new season so that step-by-step we don't need to make the same mistakes like we did last season. "We don't need to talk about finishing higher or top-four, but we need to do better than last season. We need to concentrate on our work – this is very important."
The amount of money spent this summer already is an indicator to just how competitive the Premier League is going to be. West Ham's progress as a team will hinge on how quickly the new players can gel and how often Bilic can get his best XI on the pitch at the same time. But Ogbonna is right to be cautious and the club will need to hit the ground running with three consecutive away games to start the season at Manchester United, Newcastle and Southampton.
Winston Reid sees red for clapping referee in West Ham pre-season match
Last updated 09:12 02/08/2017
Winston Reid had to hand over West Ham's captain's armband after getting a red card for ironically applauding a referee in a pre-season friendly in Germany.
All Whites skipper Winston Reid has copped a red card - for sarcastically applauding a German referee. Reid was captaining West Ham United in a pre-season friendly against Altona FC in Germany on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) when he got his marching orders. The Daily Star reported that Reid was penalised for a foul in the Altona box while he was set to attack a corner just before halftime. Reid - who has been linked to English Premier League rival Everton - then "reportedly sarcastically clapped the referee for his decision", the Daily Star said. The 29-year-old was already on a yellow card and a video showed the match official dispatching Reid for an early shower for dissent. West Ham players mobbed the referee after the decision. Altona reportedly asked to play with 10 men in the second spell, but the referee refused their offer. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.
Altona 93 3-3 West Ham: Ten-man Hammers held by German fourth tier side as Winston Reid is sent off
Altona took the lead through Nick Brisevac before Antonio Martinez equalised
Dennis Thiessen put Altona back in front shortly before half-time on Tuesday
Winston Reid was sent off for the Hammers a minute before the break
Andre Ayew levelled the match 2-2 after 53 minutes after clever play
Darius Stode regained the lead but Joshua Du Preez then scored an own goal
By Tom Farmery For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 23:47, 1 August 2017 | UPDATED: 01:13, 2 August 2017
West Ham were held to an entertaining draw by Altona 93 on Tuesday night as Winston Reid was sent off. The match also presented Javier Hernandez with his first appearance for the Hammers. The German fourth tier opposition attacked West Ham from the first minute.
Altona 93: Grundmann (Matthai 27, Grubba 46, Du Preez 61), Aniteye (Stode 46), Yilmaz (Kunter 46), Hosseini (Lechler 74), Buzhala (Holz 46), Brisevac (Wachowski 46), Rettstadt (Cayir 46), Hinze (Edeling 46), Novotny (Sachs 46), Schultz (Correia Ca 46), Thiessen (Hadid 46, Schultz 83)
Goals: Brisevac 5, Thiessen 39, Stode 58
West Ham: Adrian, Zabaleta (Byram 57), Reid, Ogbonna (Rice 57), Cresswell (Masuaku 46), Obiang, Fernandes, Arnautovic (Holland 67), Snodgrass (Fonte 46), Ayew (Makasi 70), Martinez (Chicharito 70) Sub not used: Hart (GK)
Goals: Martinez 6, Ayew 53, Du Preez 72(own-goal)
It was their aggressive approach that put them in the lead after five minutes in Hamburg. They were ahead after Pedro Obiang gave away a free-kick 30 yards away from the West Ham goal. Nick Brisevac bent his free-kick around the Hammers wall and beyond goalkeeper Adrian. But Slaven Bilic's side were level just one minute later when Antonio Martinez equalised with a left-footed effort which nestled into the roof of the Altona net. The German were back in the lead shortly before half-time when Dennis Thiessen scored with a beautiful curler from 25 yards. West Ham's first half got even worse a minute before the break when Reid was sent off for a second bookable offence. The Hammers started the second half with a higher intensity than they had shown in the first 45 minutes. Andre Ayew got a deserved equaliser when he scored after a clever ball through ball. West Ham tried to push on but they were behind again with 58 minutes gone when Dennis Stode converted after Serhat Cayir's free-kick fell kindly to him in the West Ham. But with 16 minutes left West Ham were level for the third time when goalkeeper Joshua Du Preez scored an own goal.