Saturday, 21 July 2018

Bizarre Scenes at Preston as Hammers Shoot themselves in the foot!

West ham continued their preseason campaign with a lively encounter at Preston this afternoon. The game finished 2-2 as Marko Arnautovic continued his excellent form with two well taken goals, while the youthful centre back pairing of Issa Diop and Declan Rice were caught napping for both Preston goals.
However, the big talking point was a rare sighting of a missed-Noble penalty. Last seen in 2016, Captain Claret rarely fails to convert but the Preston keeper pulled off an excellent save to deny Noble!
During his career, Noble has missed just 4 penalties and has converted 31 (in competitive matches).
In contrast, our most prolific penalty taker was Ray 'Tonka' Stewart who scored 76 penalties for West Ham and missed just 5 in his career.
Julian Dicks was undoubtedly the most flamboyant and missed 5 while scoring 34 penalties for the Hammers.
However, the best overall record is still that of Sir Geoff Hurst who converted 18 and missed a single penalty in his Hammers career.

Kiernan and the Cavan Connection

The news that West Ham have signed Irish striking sensation Leanne Kiernan to their Ladies squad brought a smile to all at VERYWESTHAM. For those who aren't aware, the fan site's name is a play on the fact that it originates from very west of West Ham, Ireland in fact. Having moved from Essex just after the 1975 Cup final, the VeryWestHam crew lived in Bailieboro - Kiernan's home town - for many years before the shift to Munster.

The 19-year-old Kiernan has signed from League of Ireland side, Shelbourne, for whom she scored a hat-trick in the 2016 Women's FAI Cup final! In an interview with the club website she revealed "my job used to be at home looking after the pigs, but now things are very different now"

Indeed they are! There won't be much pig farming to be done in East London. Kiernan follows in the footsteps of ex-Hammer Terry Dixon, who joined the club in 2009 but didnt quite make the jump from the reserve team to the first team. Dixon's Bailieboro connection is via his mother who is a native of the town. 

Here's wishing Leanne every success and also good luck to Terry next season as he is currently on the books of Aylesbury.

Here's a snap of the VeryWestHam crew making the long trip on the ferry to see the Hammers take on Aston Villa at Villa Park in the early 1990s.

Seamie Meagher RIP.


West Ham Raid the Palace in Latest Craziness!

With a bright new era looming under Manuel Pellegrini, Hammers fans are looking forward to parading themselves in club colours to let fans of other clubs know when we are 'loving it'!

Irritatingly, the new home and away kits are underwhelming, with the home kit in particular looking like a Burnley top with a Villa emblem on the arm!

But the Hammers have really ramped up the ghastliness with our third kit. If the leaked pic on is to be believed, we seem to have 'borrowed' from Crystal Palace with a superbland design.

Its time to sack our kit designers and bring in somebody who knows our history - which includes having one of the most recognisably attractive colours in World football.


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Obiang Italian Exit Looming - is this a big mistake by Pellegrini?

Hammers best goal of the season?

Manuel Pellegrini has certainly brought a new broom with him to West Ham as they have already brought in 7 new players since the Summer transfer window opened. With a squad that is actually starting to bloat, it is becoming necessary to offload sone of our players to make space for further rumoured signings and to ensure financial fair play compliance.

One player who looks like he may not be staying for the Pellegrini revolution is Spanish midfielder, Pedro Obiang. Singned from Sampdoria in 2015 at age 23 he looked all set to boss our midfield after an excellent 2016/17 season but then suffered a nasty injury and missed most of the second half of the season last year.

However his return to the squad for important wins over Leicester and Everton where he came on to help seal a rare win over our bogey team was received with delight by fans. The sense amongst many fans is that next year will see him further develop feom these decent beginnings.

Now reports from Italy (Bergamo Corriere Della Sera) suggest that he may be going on a year long loan for 1 million to Serie A's Atalanta with a 9 million purchase clause if all goes well for him.

Many fans will ask if this is good business given that he is now reaching his peak at age 26 and is a proven Premiership performer who's main flaw has been to get injured last season. Otherwise, he has grown during his time at the Hammers and is a decent all rounder with good physical presence in a holding role, decent mobility, accurate passing and a good shot (as Spurs can attest to!). All said and done, he seems like an ideal Pellegrini player!

Let's hope these rumours are nonsense!

Even Sherlock Holmes Couldn't Solve The Mystery of This Hammers Transfer Madness

Just when you had written off Jordan Hugill's signing as a moment of last minute Winter window desperation, reports are emerging that the real reason for bringing him in was in case we got relegated!?!

However bonkers that sounds, it is just as plausible as that Moyes might have thought he could make a difference as the poor lad has had just 22 minutes action and during that time has looked as clued in with things as Simone Zaza!

Now it looks that he will be shipping off to Leeds or QPR for a knock down price to make room for another Andy Carroll understudy.

While thete can be no doubting that David Moyes restored stability at the club and steadied a ship that was rocking its way towards relegation, the Hugill saga along with letting Jose Fonte depart when we were short of CB options endure as moments of bizarre decision making!

All of which begs the question - will we return to our circus management antics next year despite the arrival of Pellegrini? Time will tell.

Best of luck to Jordan Hugill whatever direction he takes. It must have been a frustrating and farcical adventure for him as well!

By the way - Zaza may have been a laughing stock at West Ham but has pretty done well since switching to Valencia 18 months ago, notching 19 goals in 53 appearances - better than his big zero for the Hammers!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Payet? No way - here's where discerning Hammers should put their cash

With less than five weeks until the Premiership kicks off again, its time to start thinking about realistic aspirations for the season ahead.

With a new Pellegrini-led era upon us and a board who seem determined to make up for perceived previous parsimony in the transfer market, just about anything seems possible.

One thing that has certainly changed is that our transfer activities are bringing in players that the manager actually wants and who fit in with his set up. Last season it was apparent that Chicharito was not suited to either the Bilic or Moyes method and, as the World Cup highlighted, we ended up wasting his undoubted talent.

For these reasons, Hammers fans have reason to feel positive - sonething that has not yet transferred to the bookies! While the odds of a Dimitri Payet return are a mere 5/2, the likelihood of West Ham getting a top six finish is quoted at a 18/1, with the top four at 66/1!

With Yarmolenko and Anderson ready to set the league alight, Chicharito essentially a new signing and an astute manager at the helm who has succeeded in pretty much every club he has managed, a top six finish is by no means out of the question and surely worth a 20 quid punt - if it comes up next season you will find yourself watching top class entertainment on a free season ticket! If you go for the top four bet you could afford to be next to the board the following year!


Forget formations: with Pellegrini it's about the quality of your players!

The volume of action involving West Ham in the transfer market since Manuel Pellegrini arrived has come as a surprise to many fans but an analysis of the Chilean mastermind's history quickly reveals that the Davids have gone for a truly bold selection as new manager.

Pellegrini has been hugely successful as a coach both in South America and La Liga, as well as winning the Premiership with Man City in 2014, scoring 102 goals while conceding just 37.

Pellegrini's emphasis is undoubtedly an attacking one - often playing with two strikers in a 4-2-2-2 formation. He demands great mobility from his players - expecting each forward to drift wide to link in with  marauding full backs and create space for passing triangles with the attacking midfielders. Played correctly, it makes for an exciting spectacle and one that will undoubtedly please fans!

Pellegrini firmly believes in dominating possession and is an advocate of that old truism that the opposition cannot score without the ball! He is equally ebullient about playing your own game and has been critical of managers who base too much of their energies upon tactics designed to  stifle the opposition's game. That said, he can be very flexible and frequently shifts to a 4-2-3-1 against better sides and also at times has used a 4-1-4-1 or even a simple 4-4-2 usually to accomodate the skillset of particular players. Pellegrini sides like to defend high up and therefore he prefers players with pace and expects his teams to cover lots of yards and dominate possession - he surely would not approve of Moyes' method that often resulted in West ham conceding two thirds or more of possession - and not just against the top sides!

So, what are the implications for West Ham's set up? The loss of Andy Carroll may not be so big an issue given that he really is not a Pellegrini-style forward. Chicharito, on the other hand, should fit in much better than he did in the 4-5-1 of Moyes which exposed his lack of physicality. Ryan Fredericks has lots of pace and along with Aaron Cresswell should prosper in a more traditional full back role. In the holding role we might expect Wilshere/Noble to pair up with Obiang/Kouyate in front of the back four, while the attacking midfield of Anderson and Lanzini (after Christmas) would make for an exciting link with Arnie and Yarmolenko / Hernandez.

Add to all of that the unpredictable creative mayhem of Masuaku and Antonio and its looking very exciting up top. Pellegrini's preferred centre back pairing remains unclear and the opening game against Liverpool will tell us how close to the required standard he considers Declan Rice and the exciting French youngster Issa Diop. For such a big game one suspects he may go with the greater experience of Ogbonna and the newly arriving Balbuena - aka 'The General'.

And then there's the small issue of more arrivals to add to the mix!

I am so glad to have a season ticket for next year - it is going to be very exciting and whatever else, we will have committed attacking football from the home side at the London Stadium!

How about this? Note that the common formation building sites do not include a 4-2-2-2 function even though it is quite common in South America.