Monday 30 March 2015

Allardyce Reveals Plan to Capture European Spot

Ooooogh! Careful Kevvy Wevvy...
With the startling news that West Ham's dream of European football at Upton Park next season still alive, pressure is mounting for a plan of action to maximise their chances. With the back door entry of the Fair Play league firmly open, Sam's men need to be vigilant in order to stay top of the standings when the ratings are completed on April 30th.

Key to success will be the capacity of the team to engage in positive attacking football (AKA 'The West Ham Way'), be respectful of match officials (no matter how stoopid / blind / biased / guilty of being a merchant banker  etc etc), and avoid yellow and red cards. A source close to Upton Park revealed that Sam is using old video footage of Hammers legends to help the current squad adjust to the required style.

With Premiership safety assured, the team can fully indulge these needs and have been practising a new 'fair-play-friendly' style that may lead to some embarrassing defeats, but that will score highly on the UEFA ratings!

Anything for a European trip....and, even better for fans, the first round of the Europa league is at the beginning of July!

Sunday 29 March 2015

The Truth Behind West Ham's Fair Play Backdoor into Europe

One thing abour Mr Allardyce that everyone concedes is that he enjoys good fortune. Remember our glorious promotion in his first season after we had messed up automatic promotion and looked down and out in the play-off final against Blackpool?

This season Sam needs to deliver big if he expects a contract extension. European footie would be a perfect example of 'big', but seemed to have slipped away. However, we have suddenly realised that England are in the third (and final) qualifying spot for an extra place in the Europa league and, would you believe it, West Ham are top of the fair play standings in the Premiership!!!

Get your passports ready folks!

Or maybe not. The ratings conclude on April 30th during which time we will need to maintain a slender lead at the top of the league, with Liverpool and Burnley hot on our trail.

So what do we need to focus upon in order to stay top? Fair play points are calculated in five areas - yellow/red cards tally, positive play, behaviour towards opponents, behaviour towards match officials, and conduct of club officials.

To date, our high standing mostly reflects a combination of the second best cautions-count, along with the highest score in the league for positive play!!! Yes, that is correct - teams are rated for attacking play, not time wasting and continuing to attack even when ahead on the scoreboard. No doubt this ranking will surprise the 'Sam-Out' brigade who claim he is killing the club with negativity!!!

On a less positive note, West ham score only modestly in terms of behaviour towards opponents and officials, with a combined score of 312 points which, like our actual league standing, is hopelessly mid table. Never the less, this is considerably better than the worst behaved club in the league on a mere 290 got it.......those cads at Chelsea Who also have the worst rating for conduct of their club officials, including, of course, the special one. So no surprises there! Perhaps the raters  know what they are at After all?

So, for the next month West Ham need to keep the card count down, keep playing "attacking" football, be nice to opponents, and ban Kevin Nolan from hectoring the referee!

And then keep our fingers crossed that England remain in the top three of the National rankings.

And yes, all this provides yet another reason to celebrate Chelsea's exit from the Champions League. Thankyou PSG. Double thankyou!

Saturday 28 March 2015

Reid to be dropped for the rest of the season?


As news emerged that West ham's european dream might still be alive - by virtue of topping the Premiership fair play league - the focus has turned to which players accumulate the most cautions.

Unfortunately, this will be bad news for those Hammers who attract most yellow card cautions, with ace defender Winston Reid topping the list with a whopping eight yellow cards accrued this season. With Burnley breathing down our necks on the fair play league there seems little option other than to rest the Kiwi warrior for fear his disciplinary record might drag us away from the current Europa league placing.

Second worst offender is James Tomkins with six yellows, but his recent operation will limit the fair play damage he can contribute. Maybe its time to give one of the Reece's a run in the first team?

Who ate all the pies?

This one surely calls for an intervention from Hammers dietary science consultant Razor Ruddock!

Happy Christmas, War is Over!

Wasn't it nice to see John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic together again after all these years. Hartson posted a picture of the pair posing together in Haifa during his visit to cover the Wales-Israel Euro 2016 qualifier.

Isn't it funny how time changes one's perception of things. In 1997 Hartson and Berkovic were involved in a training ground spat that was captured on video. After a 'coming together' Berkovic punched Hartson's leg as he was getting up rovoking a red mist moment wherein Hartson kicked the little midfielder directly in the face! When the incident occured Hartson was rightly vilified in the media and, despite the staged make up that followed, Hartson was soon on his way. Similarly, Berkovic also found new pastures.

Both players enjoyed successful careers afterwards. Hartson, who was only 20 at the time of the incident, slowly grew up and got sense, while Berkovic enjoyed sometimes mixed affections from fans at Blackburn and Celtic. His best season was for Man City for whom he was voted player of the year in 2002-3.

Big John was a fans favourite wherever he roamed and a footballer nation was palpably distressed by his sudden diagnosis of testicular cancer with brain spread in July 2009. Hartson's subsequent brave battle was truly awe-inspiring. Fans were delighted to see his emergence as a pundit and the thoughtful and astute observations of the current Hartson testify to the power of maturity to bring out previously unsuspected talents.

In contrast, Berkovic has remained an edgy character who has often struggled to fit in. His reurn to Israel was marked by his signing for the arch rivals of his boyhood club after a spat over contracts. After an unsuccessful season, Berkovic retired to focus upon management. Unfortunately, his two managerial efforts have been short lived, ending acrimoniously after he fell out with the club owners at Maccabi Netanya (2 months) and Hapoel Tel Aviv (7 months).

No doubt hostilities will be resumed as Wales and Israel battle it out for top spot in the grouo in this weekend's crucial fixture!

As for Big John, live long and prosper - you are a shining example of hope in the battle against cancer. We will always remember your time at Upton Park fondly - who could forget the sense of terror in opposition defences when you started one of your determined runs!

Thursday 26 March 2015

Still No Plaice for Noble in England Set Up

Begorra begod!!!

Hammers midfield ace Mark Noble isnt allowing the latest snub from England boss Wicked Woy Hodgson to get him down in any way and, in fact, has been using the free time during the international break to enjoy some coarse fishing with fellow Hammer Alex Song.

Pictured above with the rewards from a day at the lake, Nobes is obviously almost as useful with the rod as he is in midfield.

With Martin O'Neill perched to grab his services should he opt to play for Ireland instead, we can recommend some of Europe's best coarse and fly fishing venues in the Emerald Isle.

C'mon O'Noble, its time to join the green party!

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Hammers Star will be selected "Only if there's an outbreak of bubonic plague"

The infamous Giovanni Trappatoni quote dates back to a question as to whether he might consider  Paolo Di Canio for Italy's 2004 World Cup Squad. At the time, Di Canio was on fire and would have been selected for pretty much any other International side. But alas, the conservative Trapps was unwilling to take a risk on the volatile talent. Increasingly, one wonders if Roy Hodgson has a similar grudge against Hammers superstar midfielder Mark Noble? The latest outrage occured when he select Ryan Somebody or other to replace Adam The LLama in the England squad. Surely it's time for Noble to commit to the Republic of Ireland?

Noble may be forced to join a biological weapons programme in order to achieve an England Call up

Meanwhile, rising Hammer's star Reece Oxford captained the U17's to a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Slovenia, scoring a cracking headed goal in the process.

Pick that one out....!

Sunday 22 March 2015

West Ham deducted 15 points ahead of Premiership run in!

It simply had to happen. Faced with endless moaning from bored West Ham fans, Premiership chiefs have finally buckled under the pressure and deducted a whopping 15 points from the club for being "too boring". The Hammers are now dragged away from mid table tedium and, with a revised total of 27 points, are back into their traditional relegation dog fight! Put those gardening utensils away folks - it's squeeky bum time again!

Squeek, Squeek!
It is thought that the final straw came when fans threatened to report the club for a breach of the trade descriptions act. Jack Windybottom, a lifelong Hammer, explained the grounds for such a complaint "Everyone knows what West Ham are all about - pretty football, nice passing in midfield, cruel misfortune in the final five minutes of games, and an annual relegation battle that leaves fans awake at night worrying how we can possibly win at Old Trafford on the last day of the season in order to stay up"

The many fans who were unhappy with the Hammers 1-0 victory over Sunderland yesterday will surely see things differently in light of the revised Premiership table. Three precious points against fellow strugglers are simply gold dust. Moreover, the quality of the defensive performance augers well in the relegation run in as one must feel that West Ham are capable of getting points off anybody. Big Sam deserves praise for grinding out a precious win and ending a run of terrible results. Moreover, keeping a clean sheet was all the more impressive given the makeshift nature of the centre back pairing, where Cheikidh Kouyate once again demonstrated his versatility.

For Fcuk sake don't anybody tell the kid!
On the positive side, the upcoming games against Leicester, QPR, Villa and Burnley now suddenly take on a different complexion. Rather than a lurching towards the season's end in a methadrone-induced stupor, Hammers fans need to prepare for a series of do or die battles that will require passion and guts. Paul Bottomley, President of the East Ham and Plaistow Small Traders Association, explained "the end of season always brings a welcome increase in demand for incontinence pads and adult diapers as fans of West Ham deal with the pressure of possible relegation to the dreaded Chumpionship. Without this income, many of our members would simply go out of business".

Up for anything!
Meanwhile, speaking of points deductions and relegation, poor Wigan Athletic look destined to join tragic Sheffield United in League One (The Old Division Three) after managing a mere draw yesterday and find themselves five points adrift with seven games to go.

Saturday 21 March 2015

GOSH!!! Wasn't that Exciting!

No, not the scrap at Upton Park, but the rugby. The action was simply spellbinding as France and England went toe to toe and Ireland watched on hoping the crazy French wouldn't be too... crazy. And so it was, the game went right to the final play as England came within a whisker of an unlikely result.

Oh Dear!
Back at Upton Park, the action was a little less compelling as a grim first half  was livened up most by the failure of Jermain Defoe to take a gilt edged opportunity to put one over on his former employers. Hammers fans sighed with relief followed by a hearty chuckle or two. If Sunderland go down one wonders whether he will wait for the following day to deliver his transfer request  or maybe get it over and done with on the team bus on the way home after the match?

The second half trundled along aimlessly until the 88th minute when Diafra Sakho pounced to slot home the only goal of the game. It was harsh on Sunderland and their new manager Dick Advocaat, but the Premiership is no playschool and as West Ham know only too well, you've gotta keep playing until that oversized chanteuse breaks into song.

Speaking of which, what has gone wrong with Alex? Another performance where he looked out of sorts. The rush to find £100K a week to keep him at the Boleyn next year has slowed considerably. Similarly, what's up with Stewie Downing?

42 points and, after a few fumbled efforts, we are finally safe. Surely its time to let some of the up and coming talent have a run out. Of these, only Diego Poyet was named amongst the subs today and didn't get on. We want and need to get a look at the Likes of Elliot Lee, Josh Cullen, Dan Potts and the two Reeces. Speaking of up and coming talent, on loan Sean Maguire scored for Accrington Stanley today adding to the Irish cheer! 

Next a break and then Leicester away. We have a relatively 'soft' run in but, as we will be facing relegation threatened sides, we might prepare for more dour encounters as our opponents will be desperate for results.

Would you prefer to be in the relegation mix or drifting in mid-table obscurity? Sometimes it's hard to tell!

Finally, congratulations to Ireland on winning back to back Six Nations Championships!


Ireland do Hammers fans a big favour ahead of Sunderland clash

You're welcome!

Many Hammer's fans are facing the dilemma of whether to keep a sly eye on the rugby during the match with Sunderland this evening but, after Ireland thumped Scotland by 30 points in Murrayfield, England will need to squash Les Bleus by a margin of at least 26 points if they are to take the Six Nations trophy.

For Ireland, this would be a rare consecutive season's win but unless England can produce something remarkable at Twickenham the title will be going west. As such, Hammers fans can (probably) safely keep their full attentions on the footy!

Meanwhile, the Hammers will want to get back to winning ways against a Sunderland side who are in crisis and start the match on the edge of the relegation zone. The teamsheets have just be released:

West Ham United XI: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell, Song, Noble, Nolan (c), Jarvis, Downing, Sakho
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, Poyet, Amalfitano, Nene, Cole

Sunderland XI: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt, O'Shea (c), Brown, Larsson, Gomez, Rodwell, Defoe, Wickham, Fletcher
Subs: Jones, Bridcutt, Johnson, Graham, Vergini, Watmore, Mannone


Friday 20 March 2015

Go on..take a sneaky peek,- its Hammers new jersey (probably)

In developments that will shock and amaze Hammers fans, the proposed new strip breaks with longstanding tradition by adding two claret diamonds to the sleeves.

Otherwise, its all Bobby Moore era to mark the final year at the Boleyn.

Thankyou to Paximus and the rest of the ladies down at the fashion design shop for their hard work. Pity to spoil it with the Betway logo.

What do you think? Will it become a fashion accessory that fans of other clubs envy and resent.

At times like this you have to feel sorry for Fans of Spurs and Fulham who have the most boringly boringest jerseys in London.

It's the Wounded versus the Weary as West Ham and Sunderland discover the Harsh Truth about Squad Depth

Each year, the transfer windows provide all sorts of excitement and for clubs with even a modicum of ambition, the inevitable arrival of a handful of potential 'legends'. The top signings prov=oke all sorts of speculation and fantasy, but in reality, these newbies often take time to settle in, especially if they hail from foreign leagues where the pace and physicality is often considerably less than the Premiership. And even as these hopefuls arrive, the more average players get quietly pushed down the squad rankings. The upshot is, that when everyone is fit and available, most sides can put out a first eleven that on its day will have a rattle at beating most of their Premiership competitors.

However, as the season reaches its final third, the clubs with less resources find themselves having to dip deeper and deeper into the squad. As a consequence, the points haul during the run in is often decided more by how good the Matt Jarvis' and Joey O'Brien's perform, rather than whether Alex Song or Diafra Sakho hit top gear. At Christmas, Hammers fans were outraged to learn that despite the Hammers fourth-placed position,both Arsenal and LIverpool were still predicted to finish 15 plus points ahead of them in the final table. But let's face it - as we look to Matt and Joey and the like, they can rely on World Cup stars to come in and do a shift.

And so it is for tommorrow's clash wioth Sunderland - both sides are missing half of their preferred starting XIs. For West Ham, our fate may well be decided by the performances of a makeshift centre back pairing and whether Carlton Cole can produce something up front. Sunderland, meanwhile, will probably be forced to do battle without John O’Shea, Sebastian Larsson and Lee Cattermole, with the under a cloud Adam Johnson possibly thrown into action in a desperate bid to produce something incisive up front.

Next Summer, look out for the movement down the squad as well as the marque signings - these squadfillers are the ones we ultimately rely on to get the results when the chips are really down!



Wednesday 18 March 2015

Clarkson in Pole Position to Replace Allardyce

With Sam Allardyce's exit from the hot seat at West Ham seeming increasingly inevitable, bookies have begun to speculate as to a suitable replacement. A myriad of possible managers have been suggested - from David Moyes to Slaven Bilic, but top sports psychobabbleologists have suggested that, having become dependent upon being governed by a big arrogant authoritarian figure, similar qualities in any replacement would lend themselves to a smooth transition for the emotionally-fragile playing staff.

With that in mind, the free and available Jeremy Clarkson has been mooted as the ideal candidate. Larger than life, bombastic and handy at pugilistic enforcement if needed, it has been suggested that he could readily fill the shoes of big Sam. Moreover, the desire that any new manager would add flamboyance to the current 'efficient but on the dull side' Ford Mondeo-like squad would be more than welcome as the East End giants try to rediscover the West Ham way.

Clarkson's odds were slashed when he was spotted at the recent West Ham versus Chelsea game on what was in all likelihood a scouting mission. Moreover, other sources have revealed that Messers Gold and Sullivan have commissioned Ferrari to provide a signing-on softener for the automotive fanatic.

However, Clakson's appointment would not come without it's problems. Having little or no knowledge of basic football tactics could be an issue, although this did not prevent Avram Grunt from occupying the role for a whole season of entertainment. Perhaps more problematic would be his well documented difficulties working with Argentinians. This could prove to be a serious obstacle in working with Mauro Zarate who, it is rumoured, will be paired with fellow Argie and Hammer's legend Carlos Tevez when he returns to the Premiership next season!

What do you think - could Jezza do a job for the Hammers?


Tuesday 17 March 2015

Top of the mornin to ye!!! Irish Hammers: Past, Present and Future...

On St Patrick's Day we get to celebrate all things Irish and it provides an ideal opportunity to consider how a team comprised of the greatest Irish Hammers might look. After a trawl through club records, we have coddled together a team from the most notable Irish players to turn out in the claret and blue.

Goalkeeper: We have had a lot of short stay Irish netminders at the club with no single player really making the position their own. Allen McNightmare was certainly the most memorable, sadly for all the wrong reasons – possibly making the greatest contribution of any single player to our relegation in 1989. Will we ever forget those many crazy moments when he came running off his line only to get stranded in no-man’s land!

We got a slice of Gerry Peyton towards the end of his career, mainly in a covering role while Roy Carroll performed pretty solidly until personal problems interrupted. David Forde never really got a proper chance and Noel Dwyer was well before our time.

Most recently we have had the services of Stephen Henderson who exited for Charlton in 2014 after a mere two league cup appearances. On balance, Roy Carroll gets the nod!

The defence was…frankly, worrying! Unbalanced and not endowed with aerial presence. There would undoubtedly be much sweating at set pieces.

Joey O’Brien at right back is a consistent and dynamic defender who has become a great servant to the club. His chances this year have been limited by karl jenkinson's availability but he is always willing and has never let the side down.

Centre back is a real patch up…..Gary Breen and Clive Clarke…Hmmm. At times we have seen Georgie McCartney provide pretty solid cover in that position but he was better suited to full back. Never the less, Clarke was too lacking in mobility and not suited to top level footie so we are left with Gazza Breen and Georgie.

Left back provide a more challenging call – We got a useful turn out of Chris Hughton at the twilight of his career but Noel Cantwell was a much more formidable left full from long ago and a previous club captian - he gets our selection.

Midfield is by far our strongest zone. Steve Lomas as enforcer and water carrier and a nice partner for Chippy Brady. Although Brady is primarily a Gooner, we got two very decent seasons out of him that included some cracking moments, and a delightful strike against the Gooners!.

Wee Michael Hughes was a great seizure from Wimbledon - gamey, if lacking in physicality, and with a useful habit of scoring at key moments. Both Frank O’Farrell and Tommy Moroney were key contributors in the early fifties but Tommy Moroney gets the final nod, mostly based upon his presence on the glorious Ireland team that was the first foreign team to beat the old enemy on their own turf at Goodison Park in 1949.

Up front, David Kelly underachieved – too light for top-level English football. David Connolly was too, well, David Connolly (i.e. perfectly average). Jimmy Quinn was a decent contributor in the late 80s while Robbie Keane came and went in the blink of an eye, with most of that time spent on the injury room table, but on the basis of what might have been he gets the nod, just!

And finally, Iain Dowie – a true Hammer who was not prolific by any means but always gave 100% and created opportunity for those around him. A real servant who had two determined spells at the club and is one of the more refreshing TV pundits about. Loyalty – a rare thing amongst our footballing folk these times.

So, a team that would by no means be worldbeaters, but we might expect plenty of effort and any team with Liam Brady could always find a moment of magic, while Michael Hughes would be sure to spoil a few Man United celebrations and Robbie could always find cause for a party!

Suits you Sir!
Of note, Kevin Nolan should be on this list but no manner of persuasion has been able to get him to use the Parents rule as qualification. Similarly, Mark 'O' Noble may yet decide to opt for Ireland as for some bizarre reason he has been unable to convert from U21 captain to full England honours and until Hodgson changes his mind or departs he remains eligible for Ireland by virtue of Cork grandparents.....C'mon Mark, join the party!

The new Tony Cottee??? 
Hammers fans will be hoping that our Irish youngsters in the development squad (striker Sean Maguire - pictured presently on loan at Accrington Stanley - and midfielder Josh Cullen (on the bench last weekend for the Arsenal match) as well as our academy lads - Declan Rice and Anthony Scully will eventually make the step upwards into the first team. Fingers crossed!

Monday 16 March 2015

Hammers Presented with Excellent Chance to Salvage their Season

I love getting Hammered ...

After Saturday's irritatingly predictable capitulation to the Gooners of Middle Arse and only two wins since Christmas, Hammers fans find themselves at a loose end for the rest of this season.

In freefall, but with a 39 points cushion, there is absolutely nothing to fear except fear itself and the extreme boredom of mid-table obscurity.

and our better players leaving as they sense the lack of ambition....

Now that a European place is clearly beyond us, surely now it's time to give our youngsters a run out in the first team - good news at least for Elliot Lee, Diego Poyet and the promising Reeces -  Oxford and Burke...

Maybe even Dan Potts might get back in the reckoning? C'mon Sam - you really don't have anything to lose this time.

Remember these kids...


Saturday 7 March 2015

Dubai Trip Turns Sour as Hammers' Star Flown Home

West Ham’s hard earned sun break in Dubai appears to have turned sour today as reports emerged that their experienced defender James Collins has returned home from the training camp in Dubai. Sources indicated that the flame-haired defensive star is in a critical condition after sustaining second degree burns during a game of beach football.

Collins, who is nicknamed ‘Ginge’ due to his preference in tasty biscuit snacks, is especially vulnerable to such problems having previously sustained similar sunburn injuries during the pre-season trip to Southend on Sea FC a few years ago.

The unlucky Hammers medical team will be cursing their bad luck as the East End side are lacking in ‘ginger experience’ having had a dearth of red-haired players over the years. Apart from rubicund Steve Lomas, only Hayden Foxe and Robbie Slater’s brief periods at the club the only previous need for high factor sun screen in living memory.

Meanwhile, Winston Reid sustained a career threatening injury just days after finally committing himself to West Ham for all of eternity.

Actually, the Reid report is a joke....... even West Ham couldn't be that unlucky with injuries - could they Andy?

Monday 2 March 2015

Put the Passports Away Lads...

"Anyone got any biscuits?"

At Christmas Hammers fans were dreamong of European football next year but after a subsequent run of just 2 wins in 14 matches (yes...2 wins, 7 draws and 5 losses!) West ham are merely making up the numbers as the business end of the season starts in earnest.

The players must have been dreaming of their annual 'warm weather' holiday to Dubai on Saturday as they fell apart against a very modest Crystal Palace side succumbing 3-1 at home.

The single bright moment for the Hammers was that it was good to see Enner Valencia back scoring again - our prediction is that he will realise his true potential in his second Premiership season.

With Chelsea buoyant after their league cup win over Tottenham yesterday, the Hammers will need to up their game if they are to get anything from Wednesday's trip to Stamford Bridge.

Either way, the season has petered out. Now the work will focus upon trying to hold what we have for next year's campaign as out of contract Winston Reid And loanees Alex Song and Carl Jenkinson look set to depart.

It's time to get out into the garden again...