Monday 29 February 2016

Hammered at The Inn Place

As luck would have it, the VERYWESTHAM team found themselves in Sunny Lanzarote for the recent Blackburn FA Cup tie. Staying in the main tourist centre at Puerto Del Carmen, we were charged with finding a suitable watering hole to take in the action and share the passion of the World's greatest soccer competition.

Initial forays brought us to a variety of mock-Irish bars where barely connected Man U, Liverpool and Arsenal fans are in endless supply to offer their disproportionately partisan perspectives on all things Scouse, Mancunian or Gooner. Casting the net a bit further brought in Lineker's Bar - part of a chain of pubs started by Gary Lineker's more than slightly embarrassing brother, Wayne. At Lineker's, the multiscreen coverage is impressive, but the mid-February atmosphere was tepid at best.

Then fortune came out of hiding as we stumbled (yes!) upon the Inn Place - a veritable Hammers treasure where the interior is decorated with endless Hammers regalia that would put any East London pub to shame! The pub emerged five years ago when the watering hole frequented by Hammers fans on the island went out of business. In response, the Inn Place emerged where shared landlords Jo and Rob Shard provide a warm East End welcome.

After three visits to the pub, which incidentally has Old Speckled Hen on draught, we cannot recommend it more highly. Even better the atmosphere for the Blackburn game was a decent substitute for actually being at the game. Even better, the pub attracts a variety of gamey non-Hammers fans so the banter is well decent.

If you find yourself forced by your significant other to go on holiday to Lanzarote during the footie season, a trip to the Inn Place is highly recommended as a place to keep up with happenings and shoot the breeze with some proper Hammers. It's easy to find just 30 seconds from the crossroads in the old town at Calle Roque Nublo 6 in the Old Town of Puerto Del Carmen.

Have A Specky Hen for us while you are there!


Sunday 28 February 2016

Sam Speechless as Police Called in to Investigate

The proceedings at Upton Park seemed pretty routine yesterday as the Hammers again struggled against lesser opposition but, like better sides do, managed to get ahead through a piece of brilliance. Sunderland, meanwhile, were experiencing the frustrations of relegation-threatened sides by dominating but without seeming able to convert their increasing number of opportunities.

At such times the great and the gifted step up. These are the valiant men who can change the game, upset the pattern of things and create success where frustration had prevailed. Sunderland needed such a player, one with the chutzpah to take responsibility and try the unexpected. As their fans searched down the team sheet they came to Wahbi Khazri - the one player who had looked likely to provide that moment of genius.

With a matter of mere minutes left on the clock, Khazri came marauding down the left side of the Hammers box and looking up spied an onrushing team-mate in space. Instead of succumbing to the obvious - he spurned the simple pass across the box, instead opting for a swashbuckling manoeuvre that would kickstart a flamboyant thrust for glory for his beloved Black Cats. There would be no simple cross from Khazri - no, my friends, he opted for a scintillating and bodacious RRRRRRRABONA!!!!!...

and duly fell over himself as he miskicked the ball into touch.

The Police are presently conducting a thorough search of Upton Park and the surrounding area for any evidence of his credibility but so far have drawn a blank. Big Sam has refused to comment for fear of saying something he might regret!

Saturday 27 February 2016

Allardyce finally goes a step too far!!!

West Ham fans are very familiar with the defensive-minded tactics of Mr Allardici, at one stage last season even using an injury crisis to field a strikerless side! However, the tactical genius is trying to pioneer an even more defensive formation today by dressing his outfield players as goalkeepers!

Unfortunately, Sunderland will need at least some attacking impact if they are to get anything out of today's game as they are one down to a slinky Antonio strike. Surprisingly, Sunderland's best player Patrick Van Aanholt displaying some green defending by allowing the muscular Antonio brush past him.

Hammers are unbeaten at home over the past six months. They will be looking to push on and extend that record in the second half!

Selection Headaches for Slav Key to Kickstarting Eurodrive

While much of the attention will focus on the return of Sam Allardyce, today's clash is vital for both West ham and Sunderland, albeit for very different reasons.

The Hammers are still well positioned to make a late season charge for a European place. These efforts will undoubtedly be buoyed by the host of key players returning from injury. Although Diafra Sakho is not yet ready to enter the fray, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll may well enter from the subs bench today, while Manny Lanzini will possibly start.

At right back, Sam Byram and Michail Antonio are both in the running for a starting berth. Sunderland are offensively strong on the left side with Van Aanholt being their best performer this season such that the Hammers will need to be well organised at right back.

Up front, Emmanuel Emenike found his form with a brace against Blackburn last weekend and should get the starting berth with Andy Carroll ready to shake it up from the bench if needed.

Mike Dean will preside over proceedings and Bilic will be expecting him to police Sunderland's efforts to contain the other-worldly talents of Mr Payet. No doubt the ever-vocal home fans will provide every assistance in his important efforts!

West ham look increasingly capable of scoring right now, with a variety of potential sources of supply for goals. As such, if they can dominate possession they should translate that into scores with Payet, Emenike, Antonio, Lanzini and Moses all more than capable. Cheikidh Kouyate's rescinded red card is thus a key midweek development as it will add muscle in the middle of the park.

Meanwhile, Hammers fans will enjoy ribbing both Allardyce and Defoe as the pantomime villains in what should be another passionate day at the Boleyn. Kick off is 12.45.

Sunderland will try to keep it tight but we expect our gamechangers to make the difference. Put your cash on 2-0.


Hammers Starlet Impresses at Bit O' Red

The increasing pressure to capture every possible point in the Premiership brings with it the considerable problem that younger players struggle to get any game time at top clubs. As a consequence, loan periods at lesser clubs provide the most effective outlet for developing stars to strut their stuff.

Unfortunately, for many youngsters the period away from the mother ship presents the beginning of the end of their shot at the big time. Often they find themselves just transporting the problem of game time to a lower league as the likes of Charlton and Peterborough also find themselves unable to take risks with less experienced pros in their hunt for league points.

Happily, Jaanai Gordon's loan period at League of Ireland outfit Sligo Rovers has started well, with the youngster scoring the only goal in a preseason friendly against big local rivals Derry City. Playing alongside ex-Hammer Kieran Sadlier, his pace and growing physical strength proved a real challenge for the Candystripes defence. Gordon rattled the bar in the first ha;lf before breaking free to score the winner on the hour mark. Gordon looks to be in good hands with Sligo manager Dave Robertson who previously worked with Jaanai as he progressed through Peterborough's youth ranks.

Meanwhile, ex-Hammer and previous Sligo loanee Sean Maguire is now at Cork City and thus will be hoping to meet up with Gordon when the clubs play eachother on Saturday 2nd April coming.


Monday 22 February 2016

West Ham Face Serious Stewarding Shortage at Olympic Stadium

Yes, he gets paid for this!
There's simply got to be some way for the 25,000 stuck on the West Ham 'priority' list to get a slice of the action at the Olympic Stadium next season. It appears that the board are trying to increase the stadium capacity but that solution is likely to come too late for many and they are thus open to all reasonable suggestions as they seek to share the new West Ham with everybody who wants to commit.

With the LLDC unlikely in the short term to permit the capacity to be increased from the current allowance of 54,000 spectators, one option is to 'employ' fans as match day stewards! For a nominal fee, fans could sign up to provide voluntary stewarding of those sections of the ground that will be covered up during matches!

Also, with the levels of excitement that are likely as the club push upwards and onwards, there will be a need for additional medical staff to keep an eye out for dangerously overecstatic fans.

And then there's the issue with matchday mascots...they've been hard at it all season so we can expect lots of additions to the bubbles and hammer clan.

One final solution would be to join the Metropolitan Police and apply for matchday responsibilities, but that is viewed by many as an unreasonable suggestion.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Manchester United get 'excellent' draw in quarter finals. REALLY???

The balls are out and the Hammers reward for today's demolition job on poor Blackburn is an away trip to the winner of tomorrow night's clash between Shrewsbury and Man Utd. Man Utd fan sites are akready announcing their 'excellent' draw for the next round....hmmm. Having watched the Red Devils stumble in midweek Hammers fans will hardly be trembling with fear.

Moreover, one wonders if the Mancs can control the Inferno that is Dimitri Payet? With Manuel Lanzini back in the mix the Mancs will be dacing double trouble from the current creative West ham midfield.

Oh, and then there's the Bilic factor. Under pressure 'big' club and away from home....we've heard this story before a few times this season.

 All of which presumes that the Mancs can overcome the Shrews. Probably, but no certainty under the creeking LVG regime! All will be revealed on the weekend of Sat 12th March.

It's Five Alive at 6.15

After the slaying of poor Blackburn, the Hammers march on. Emenike is up and running and Payet, well, what is there to say! Sensational!!!

There's still plenty of big guns in the competition, so the Kouyste red (harsh, very harsh) will likely be appealed as we will need him in the quarter finals.

Gingers crossed for a home tie. Everything else is a secondary consideration.


Upton Park set to see further Cup Action

So we head to Blackburn for the fifth round of a Cup campaign that looks increasingly promising. With Rovers struggling at the foot of the Championship and having just traded their star striker in Jordan Rhodes, while the Hammers are flying high in the Premiership, this looks a simple enough call.

However, West Ham have no available natural right back as Sam Byram is cup tied and Joey O'Brien injured. In addition, up front Emmanuel Emenike faces his biggest test yet as our only fir striker.

Rovers don't score many while West Ham look a bit blunt up top, so the smart dosh is on a 0-0 scoreline with the Hammers bringing cup action back to Upton Park - hardly a result any Hammer would quibble over.

But there is always the Dimitri Payet factor to consider and Blackburn may struggle to keep the talismanic midfielder under control. Similarly, if Rovers hit the final quarter still in the game the pressure will build on West Ham. Thankfully Darren Randolph and the Ogbonna-Collins centre back pairing has previously been very solid.

Rory Nostradamus predicts a 0-0 scoreline but older (and possibly wiser) observers see the Hammers providing the one moment of class needed to separate the two sides.


Saturday 20 February 2016

Mexican Artistry Can Solve Hammers Crisis

The insufficient number of season tickets at West Ham's new stadium has developed into a major footballing crisis as an estimated 25,000 fans are set to be excluded from the Olympic Stadium party! However, a solution has emerged from a most unlikely source - a Mexican immigrant! As pictured, this hombre managed to transform himself into a seat to avoid detection. 

Unfortunately, he was foiled by the heat as he sweated so much that border patrol could smell his presence - an unlikely problem in East London!

In other developments, artists from the 'merge' movement have reached a level of proficiency that fans could be easily disguised as seating or pillars or other structures with a simple lick of similarly coloured paint. This cunning plan could allow two fans to sit in each of the 20,000 'unoccupied' seats at the new stadium, one disguised as a seat and the other painted to merge in. 

As a result the actual capacity could be increased back to the original 80,000 that attended the Olympics! As our picture below shows, a combinaton of the human seat and mergepainting solutions can allow for almost 300 fans to be carefully concealed as empty 'seats' beside the two mascots. 

Pioneering Architectural Design Provides Solution to Olympic Stadium Debacle

The problem with insufficient capacity at West Ham's new Olympic Stadium has generated a whole host of clever solutions, ranging from cloaking devices to fan shrinking technology! However, the combination of state of the art East London design with traditional cockney opportunism can provide perhaps the best solution of all.

The Arcelormittal Orbit is East London's most unusually designed structure - located right beside the Olympic Stadium, at 114M high it towers above West Ham's new home (63m high) and provides a unique view of the action inside the stadium! Although the distance might require binoculars, in fact the view is at least equivalent to that at Old Trafford in the upper seats and very similar to that from the flats that overlook trusty old Upton Park that have provided free viewing of the action for years!

That goal was clearly offside!

Even better, there will be abseiling opportunities available for those fans who want that additional adrenaline rush during games. but perhaps best of all, with an annual admittance fee of £10 for local borough residents and £12 for others, it provides truly affordable football!!!

West Ham Embroiled in New Political Storm over Stadium

West Ham's acquisition of the Olympic Stadium for very favourable terms has provoked considerable political controversy and no small amount of green-eyed resentment from fans of rival clubs. While this has clipped some of the plans for the stadium and undoubtedly contributed to West Ham being forced to operate a reduced 54,000 capacity, the recurring political rumblings could prove to be an unexpected Godsend!

It has become increasingly apparent that around 25,000 fans will find themselves stranded on the priority list with no available season tickets to purchase. Even more disappointing is the fact that as many as 20,000 seats will sit unoccupied on matchdays due to planning regulations!!! Undoubtedly, the envious eyes of West ham haters will be watching carefully to see that these seats remain empty despite the obvious demand from fans.

As the board seek to find ways to accommodate fans, one ingenious suggestion has been to suggest that there is a political rally afoot on matchdays! It is well recognised that the attendance at such events is grossly under-reported by the mainstream media. As such, the Hammers could cram 70,000 plus into the stadium and if it is labelled as an anti-austerity event then this will likely be reported in official figures as just 20,000!!!

Even better, with high profile fans such Russell Brand fond of a protest or two, the Hammers are perfectly positioned to sneak in those unfortunate fans who will otherwise be excluded from the new era of affordable football FOR ALL.

Friday 19 February 2016

Hammers Pull Master Stroke to Increase Olympic Stadium Capacity

Back off!!! Or i'll whack you with this sex toy!
David Sullivan recently expressed his deep admiration for the West Ham faithful who tirelessly follow their club over land (mostly) and sea (occasionally). Along with David Gold, who is still advising fans to keep faith in the priority list scheme, the two crafty schemers are looking for any means possible to fit all interested fans into the new Olympic stadium.

With rumours that they are considering importing a Klingon cloaking device or Willy Wonka teleportation technology as possible ways of cramming more fans into the 54,000 capacity stadium, now comes further stunning revelations that they have teamed up with Dr Who's deadly nemesis - the Master!!!

The master is known for his wicked intelligence and for developing the infamous Tissue Compression Eliminator - a device that shrinks people to tiny proportions! Although the master usually applies the device to shrink his enemies until they die of extreme smallpersonness, if used more sparingly it can reduce people by small non-fatal amounts and could thus allow the board to pack in greater numbers.

This one's a deluxe model

However, with possibly 25,000 fans likely to be unable to obtain season tickets under the current arrangements, Messrs Sullivan and Gold will need to persuade the master to part with more than one of his precious devices. Luckily, it appears as if the BBC props department fashioned the device from a popular Ann Summers product!

Thursday 18 February 2016

Marshall To Lead the Line For Hammers Against Blackburn

It's kinda inevitable that with his surname and rapmeister look, that Hammers new man Emmanuel Emenike is already being referred to as soundalike hitman Eminem AKA Marshall Mathers! With the recent departure of Nikica Jelavic to China, the latest injuries to Andy Sicknote and Enner Valencia, and Diafra Sakho still a few weeks away from a return, Emenike faces a big opportunity to demonstrate his ability.

So far, the verdict has been mixed. Hammers fans were aware that Emenike is an emotional player, even to the point of volatility. In more practical terms, he had lost his previous scoring touch that in 2013 won him the Golden boot at the AFCON, ultimately being forced out of the Nigerian Super Eagles National team set up.

Some commentators warned that his first touch can be heavy, and early evidence suggests that indeed may be so. In addition, others have commented that he prefers to play from a wide attacking position rather than in the central role where the Hammers lack presence. However, he is well known to Slaven Bilic from his Turkish adventures and has strength and power as major assets.
In last weekend's game against Norwich he came on for a crazy final 20 minutes and managed to get himself into two gilt edged scoring positions, but sadly fluffed both!  On the plus side, he did get into scoring positions and watching his movement, he positions like a striker rather than an attacking wide player.

His first touch was heavy on a few occasions, including one which almost led to a dangerous Norwich counter attack. This, of course, may just be a combination of his enthusiasm along with having to adapt to the speed of the Premiership. Either way, it looks like Hammers fans are destined to get a close look at their now striker as Sakho will need time to get to match fitness.

Given his history, Hammers fans will be hoping that Emineke gets a confidence-boosting goal early in his Hammers career, and the tussle with Blackburn will provide an excellent opportunity to show his worth. Bilic has done virtually nothing wrong in the transfer market so far (OK, so Jelavic proved a squad bolstering move that didn't quite work out!) and seems to have a good sense of what works in the Premiership. Fingers crossed!


Further Developments as West Ham Turn to Space Age Technology at Olympic Stadium

West Ham may be on the crest of a wave of success right now, but that has brought it's own problems for the club as they desperately try to accommodate their adoring fans at their new home in Stratford. Unfortunately, although the Olympic Stadium has a capacity of 74,000, West Ham have a planning licence for only 54,000 seats - a figure that is vastly inadequate to deal with the unprecedented numbers seeking season tickets.

With 30,000 fans on the so-called 'priority' list for season tickets, it is particularly ridiculous that there will be around 20,000 unused seats covered over on match days!!! with that in mind, the sports science boffins at their Chadwell Heath laboratories have been working on a special device that will make fans invisible to any observers.

Based upon the infamous KlingOn 'cloaking' technology that was first described in the original Star Trek TV series, the device creates a teleoptical field around fans that makes then invisible to earthlings! West Ham fans will be familiar with the cloaking method as it has been used for years by Man United at Old Trafford to trick linemen in respect of offside decisions.

On the down side, the device does transform fans into cling-on lookalikes, which will slightly reduce their shagmagnetism during matches. Our artists at VERYWESTHAM have created this photofit image of the effects, using celebrity Hammers fan Ray Winstone as a model. Also, there is the added concern that those crafty folk down at the LLDC (London Legacy Development Corporation) who oversee capacity permission might employ Klingons to see through the cloaking device!


West Ham Identify Major Breakthrough in Olympic Stadium Capacity

As the remaining season tickets are being quickly hoovered up by those lucky enough to have joined the priority list within ten minutes of it's opening, Hammers fans are looking for other solutions in their efforts to find a way into the Olympic Stadium for next season.

One suggestion has been to operate a golden ticket-style competition based upon the seventies movie classic Willy Wonka and the chocolate Factory. However, many observers have noted that this would only solve the problems of the five lucky ticket finders, leaving another 29,595 without any hope of getting a slice of the new stadium action!

As an alternative, some fans have noted that the Wonka film may provide an alternative solution. In the storyline, spoilt brat ticket winner Mike Teavee is shrunk into a tiny microperson by one of Wonka's devices designed to teleport chocolate bars through the television. Growing rumours suggest that the Hammers management have purchased the device and hope to shrink Hammers fans so that they can fit into a special tinypersons section of the new stadium!

Although many have criticised the plans, suggesting that they are unworkable on the mass level that would be required to accommodate all those on the priority list, it seems that right now this is the best hope for the 30,000 or so who seem destined to be disappointed.

Given the ingenuity of the board, who have teleported the club from financial ruin to being Europe's fastest growing club in less than five years, we expect that they will have a selection of solutions for fans. At VWH we promise to keep you updated as the situation undoubtedly evolves.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Hammers Secret Plan to Accomodate Fans in Olympic Stadium

As the move to the Olympic Stadium draws ever nearer, one of the main concerns for many fans has been whether they can get one of the precious remaining season tickets. It's a measure of the success of the board that they will easily sell out the season ticket allocation despite an increase in capacity of around 20,000 compared to Upton Park!

However, as recently revealed, there are only 7,000 remaining tickets despite a 30,000plus 'priority' waiting list, suggesting that many fans will be left disappointed. However, hopes were raised today by Chairman David Gold who when asked if it was worthwhile joining the waiting list advised that the tweeter should indeed still sign up to the priority list!

Over the years, Mr Gold has been a refreshing force on twitter with his forthright style. It seems unlikely that he would give bad advice. Equally, Claret and Hugh who highlighted the disparity between availability and demand are usually spot on with their figures. As such thousands of Hammers fans are left wondering what cunning plan the board have to fit all those who want a season ticket into our new home?


Tuesday 16 February 2016

Zarate Hungry for Hammers Return

The football world was again left biting its tongue wondering how to respond to its latest biting incident. Once again, an Ex-West Ham player was at the centre of the gnasher-grief as Mauro Zarate appears to have taken retribution for an alleged punch by taking a chunk out of Jeison Murillo of Inter Milan in the dying moments of Sunday nights game which, incidentally, Fiorentina won 2-1.

Oi, wot u doin - this aint Gauchos mate!
While for Italian fans the events will bring back memories of Luis Sewerage's foul attack on Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini in the last world cup, many Hammers fans will be horribly retraumatised by the incident as it will undoubtedly trigger memories of Jermain Defoe's disgusting attack on then-Hammer Javier 'i can probably play better than this' Mascherano back in 2006.

Defoe was subsequently given a life ban from playing for a proper football team, something which forced him to stay at Tottenham for most of the rest of his career.

But even though the Hammers will blame tragic Tottenham for Defoes conversion to cannibalism, there can be no doubting that Oliver Kahn's 1999 carnivornous attack on Borussia Dortmund's Heiko Herrlich occured whilst wearing a Hammers away jersey. Such behaviour is unacceptable - even in the Bundesliga.

BTW that's Neil Ruddock looking on nonchalantly.

All of this could have been snuffed out if only the footballing world hadn't misinterpreted John Hartson's attempted purge of gnasher-related footballing offences when he attempted to kick teammate Eyal Berkovic's teeth out during a training ground routine in 1998. This was almost certainly a (vain) attempt to remove dental problems from the game for once and for all.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Ultimate Rejection For Captain Claret

In appauling scenes this evening, West ham fans were forced to endure an interview with Wicked Woy Hodgson on MOTD. Cornered by Alan Shearer, Woy was asked whether Mark Noble's consistently fantastic performances for West Ham might be relevant to an Engerland call up.

Poor Alan received the classic 'change the subject' response with a loada drivel about how happy Woy is with his existing midfield (???) and an obfuscating interlude about Danny Drinkwater(???)...ZZZZ!

Mark, we love you BUT you will never get an England call up under 'tactical genius' Woy. He has no intention of bringing you in and realistically It's time you cut your losses and declared for know it's true and we would welcome you with open minds, arms and hearts.....not like Woy and his saddo cronies!!!!

Fans Demand Increased Olympic Stadium Capacity

No room at the Inn?
There can be no doubting the financial smarts of the management team at West Ham. Having inherited a financial basket case, they have patiently transformed the club into Europe's greatest growing football force with a squad, manager and stadium to be trult proud of.

However, many longtime fans are struggling to get a piece of the action in the 'New West Ham'. When the capacity of the Olympuc stadium was first announced at 54,000 many observers chortled that the club would never fill it. As we fast approach the opening of the new stadium, a veritable stampede has erupted for season tickets, with rumours of 30,000 waiting on the "priority" list for a mere 7000 tickets.

One issue that has always been in the background is that the potential
capacity of the OS is in reality still 74,000 and that it is planned to cover over 20,000 seats on march days. This is madness if there are thousands of disappointed fans unable to attend. Our hunch is that those canny Davids and Mrs Brady Wiseoldlady are ready to put in for a capacity extension.

For thise on the priority list surely its time to mobilise a campaign to support such a move?

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Klopp's Toilet Humour Fails Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival as replacement for the logorrhoeic Brendan Rodgers. Forthright and generally humorous in pre match banter, the Brit sporting public have warmed to his style and Liverpool fans are looking forward to a new and more productive era.

However, Klopp's insistence in his prematch broefing that Loverpool would not follow Dimitri Payet inyo the toilet in order to prevent the talisman behaving talismanically certainly backfired last night.

Deep into the bowels of extra time Payet stepped up to take a free kick and duly planted the ball on Angelo Ogbonna's head resulting in a late late winner for the Wembley-oriented Hammers.

With Blackburn away in the mext round it really is game on as the Bubbles boyz attempt to mark the final year of the Boleyn with a trophy!

As for Payet, maybe Klopp was right - he is unmarkable!

Sunday 7 February 2016

Payet needs a wing man

Just when it looked like West Ham were ready to make a coherent challenge for a European spot, we blew it away to Southampton. In reality, this was always going to be a difficult test and a defeat is not the end of the world. In truth, Southampton dominated until Wanyama's foolish exit and thereafter we struggled to unlock a determined Saints defence in difficult blustery conditions where crossing became a lottery.

There were some important learning points. Firstly, Dimitri Payet is being targeted by opposition teams and needs to be protected as much as possible. He is our one truly creative force right now and teams have realised that if you deny him space that for all their energy and effort, Noble, Song and Kouyate are not natural lockpickers.

When reduced to ten men Southampton seemed happy to let Alex Song dance into their eighteen yard box feeling confident that he wouldn't cause too much harm - and they were right! However, Manny Lanzini is soon to return and any opposition that gives him the space afforded to Song will undoubtedly be punished. Lanzini's presence as a second lockpicker will provide a much bigger test of bus-parking defences and also create more space for Payet. Soon come.

It's not yet clear what exactly caused Tonks departure or how long he will be out but young Sam Byram provided spirited back up. However, he is far from the finished product as was evidenced by his sometimes overanxious movement of the ball in attack. More concerning still was his foolish two footed challenge that earned a yellow, but could easily have been red.

So, an opportunity missed but we can bounce back. For now, let's get focused on the FA Cup again and Tuesday night's Liverpool replay. Klopp is likely to be loyal to the young side who outplayed us at Anfield. Bilic will expect our senior squad to prevail.



Saturday 6 February 2016

Mystic Mark Predicts the Unpredictable

Mark Lawrenson is every bookies dream - over confident, stubborn and most importantly, usually wrong! Hammers fans have become irked by his obvious antipathy towards the club as time and time again he has predicted that they will lose despite their excellent form this season. Recently he went so far as to predict that they would probably lose at least 39 Premiership games this season - one more than they actually play!
As such, Hammers fans will be delighted that he has predicted a 2-1 defeat to Southampton this evening at St Mary's.

One suspects that Mr Payet may have something to say about all of this come kick off!

Southampton can provide a Barometer

After Tuesday night's victory over Aston Villa West Ham are sixth in the Premiership table with 14 games to go and perfectly positioned to push for a European place. However, despite dominating a defensive-minded Villa side with 70% possession the Hammers made hard work of actually sealing the win and were undoubtedly helped enormously by the early dismissal of Jordan Ayew for violent conduct.

Before the sending off Villa looked the more sprightly of the two sides and had a decent penalty shout for a hand ball incident turned down. Thereafter, they parked the bus and West Ham struggled to create real chances. In the post Big Sam era we are less bothered with the statistical 'paint by numbers' approach to tactical analysis, but the tally of 16 shots off target is hard to overlook. Right now, West Ham are playing without an out and out striker and it shows in terms of our lack of cutting edge.

Andy Carroll is scheduled to return today while newbie Emmanuel Emenike has his permit in order and could also appear. Interestingly, much of the debate around Emenike's remarkable loss of form at international level focuses around his preference to play in a wide position rather than as a central attacker, and thus smacks of a back up for Enner Valencia. In reality, the player most Hammers fans want back most is Diafra Sakho and will hope that he will be ready in the next fortnight as planned.

This evening's game is another crucial fixture where three points would put pressure on those above them, with Spurs facing a tricky clash with Watford, Man united snarled up with a recovering Chelsea and Leicester and Man City in a head to head top of the table tussle. However, Southampton will be keen to get back into the mix and, although with 5 fewer points, sit just one place below us. As a side salad, there's the whole Charlie Austin thing to consider, but in all fairness to our defence, we have handled him pretty well in the past when he was with QPR.

Perhaps more importantly, the Hammers have been lukewarm in their form over the past few games and this encounter will tell a lot in terms of where we sit in the real scheme of things. A recent computer-generated end of table prediction placed us in eighth. At the start of the season we would have grabbed that, but that was before we realised just how good Payet and Lanzini were. accordingly, our aspirations have been recalibrated to include a top six finish. This evening will provide a barometer.

Rory Nostradamus predicts a 1-1 draw while horoscope expert. Mark Lawrenson predicts .....well, you know what he predicts!

Fingers crossed we can nick a win and the rest stutter.



Tuesday 2 February 2016

Tomka or Tonka?

Those of a certain vintage will well remember the status symbol that was the toughest and most indestructible toy on the market - the Tonka truck! And so it seems West Ham have their very own indestructible machine in James 'Tomka' Tomkins who has made a remarkable recovery after receiving 13 stitches to a head wound at the weekend!

This is Tomka's second nasty head wound this season but his rapid recovery is a godsend as Sam Byram is out for tonight's clash. If needed, the ever willing Joey O'Brien is available to do a shift with last weekend's Anfield encounter demonstrating his various abilities - solid in defence but a little uninspiring going forward!

The Hammers will want to stretch a static Villa defence tonight and will want both full backs to push on to try and open up some space. In less positive news, both Mark Lawrenson and Michael Owen have predicted a Hammers victory, which given their accuracy record is worrying!



Monday 1 February 2016

It's Time to Ditch the Faux Modesty Slaven

And so, with the transfer window closed, now it's down to the business half of the season. The lack of engagement in the madness that is the window is a marker of where West Ham are as a club. Byram was a decent (and much needed) acquisition, while Emenike is a punt but otherwise we have a strong squad that should bloom with the imminent returns of Carroll, Sakho and Lanzini.

Time to fly fly fly!
In a recent interview, Slaven Bilic again played down our European prospects suggesting that “We don’t have Champions League ambitions, we are very far away from that". However, we are just two wins off fourth spot and deserved well in the running for a champions League spot. If Liverpool or Spurs or even Man United had our current squad they would surely expect to qualify for Europe!

As such, we need to push on now. One wonders if speculating on a poacher (Charlie Austin went to Southampton for peanuts) might have given us that extra bite needed to really pressurise Spurs (and probably Leicester) as the season unfolds. Clearly Slaven feels we have enough up top and if Carroll and Sakho stay fit their combined efforts should bring enough goals to put us into contention, especially if Payet, Lanzini and Antonio chip in with goals from midfield.

Either way, tonight's game is a must win. In contrast to us, Villa needed a big transfer window but Remi Garde could not attract the 3-4 big signings that their relegation battle needs. They have multiple absences for this evening's trip and will probably be happy with a draw. Luckily, we have the ultimate lockpicker in Mr Payet who may well be a key influence this evening. We managed only a point when we met a few weeks back and really need to get four points over the two encounters if we are to realise top six pretentions.

However, after a good run we have stuttered of late, losing a game we should have drawn (Newcastle), drawing a game we should have won (Man City) and drawing a game we deserved to lose (Liverpool). With Noble and Kouyate back in the centre, we wont concede midfield the way we did at Anfield. Hopefully Enner Valencia will have sorted out his studs and stop falling over the way he did against Liverpool. It would be interesting to get a glimpse of Emenike as well.

Ten points from safety with games rapidly running out, perhaps the best thing we can do for Villa is show them the league table at the same point during our great escape year to emphasise how anything is possible!

Dogged Hammers in Last Minute Swoop for Zamora!

Recent events down in the Championship have served to highlight a new source of footie talent for panic-stricken premiership clubs to tap into during the January desperation transfer window. Rex ‘crazy dawg’Widdlespoon injected a sense of real excitement to an otherwise dull Rothersnore United versus Comatown Athletic League Two match by seizing possession of the match ball and going on a mazey Giggsian run for all of 4 minutes before the Rothersnore keeper managed to dispossess him with an outrageous challenge that went unpunished by the match referee!

Ooo-definite contact, that’s gotta be a penalty
Hammers boss, Slaven Bilic, upon learning of young Rex’s acrobatics,has immediately diverted his scouts in search of similar canine talents. With very little genuine human quality on offer in the January transfer window, the astute gaffer has decided to cut his losses. Early indications are that the Hammers may have hit the jackpot as some former Upton Park favourites are unexpectedly out of contract and readily available should Slaven decide to swoop!!!

I'm with fatso!
A small minority of Hammers fans were disappointed when recent efforts to re-sign Frank Lampard Junior proved unsuccessful, but will be delighted to hear that the other (much less arthritic) footballing talent of the Lampard family is readily available and said to be straining on the leash for a bash at Premiership football.

Deadly strikers

In even better news, the Zamora family name may also soon be back where it rightfully belongs on the Hammers team sheet as young Zeus Zamora (or ‘ZeeZee’ as he is likely to be called by Hammer’s fans) is also available on a free transfer and would be likely to accept a minimal remuneration package comprised of dog nuts and a promise to allow him to hold on to his match balls.

Ecstatic fans have commented how these signings can re-ignite the longstanding Hammers tradition of promoting canine talent through its much admired kennel-like academy system. Previous graduates include the tenacious midfield stopper Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen who is well remembered for adding much needed bite to the Hammers midfield in the early 1990s
The Bard of Barking is expected to return to the Boleyn

Moreover, the signings would be likely to bring back to the Boleyn some disgruntled fans who have drifted away from the club due to a perceived lack of representation of local talent from previous feeder clubs clubs such as Dogenham Rovers and Barking FC.

Meanwhile, in other transfer news, the trend for canine signings seems to be catching on as various Premiership clubs unleashed new signings this week…
Villa's new defensive lynchpin
Man United finally get that striker they have been lacking

MOTD find a replacement for Robbie Savage

Errr.....Chelsea need a new Captain?

Ex-Striker Set For Shock Return to West Ham

While much of the Allardyce era was characterised by rather dour football that emphasised statistically 'effective' tactics, there was a brief period during the first half of last season when the Hammers took the Premiership by storm with open exciting football.

This new era was attributed to the contributions of ex-Hammers player Teddy Sheringham, who had arrived as forwards coach and rapidly instilled a degree of movement and flair that was reminiscent of the much lauded 'West Ham way' of old.

Teddy departed last Summer to take up the managers seat at Stevenage. With his deep knowledge of the game, most expected this move to be a success but after just seven months service, and with Stevenage positioned in 19th in League 2, Teddy has been shown the door.

All of which will provide an opportunity for West ham to ponder on the merits of bringing Sheringham back to Upton Park. With the range of forwards at our disposal at present, Teddy would surely relish the opportunity?

Hammer's New Signing Ready to Rock

The Hammers first team will undoubtedly be tired after Saturday's "heroics" (i.e. chasing around after a bunch of energetic Liverpool youths!) and will appreciate all the back up that they can get for tomorrow night's key clash with Aston Villa. Hopefully the three day break will provide enough time for Enner Valencia to find a pair of boots with longer studs as he spent much of Saturday evening's game falling over!

New striking acquisition Emmanuel Emenike has already expressed his expectation to "always be in the first XI" which seems a tad ambitious given the massive step up from playing in the Gulf to the Premiership! Either way, the Premier League have clarified that all signings registered by noon today will be eligible for action tomorrow.

Given that the negotiations were concluded yesterday evening, one would hope that the admin team have gotten the whole registration business sorted by now (don't mention Tevezgate and paperwork please!) and we may well get a first viewing of our new talent ripping into the Villa defence tomorrow night.

In other good news, chief midfield engine Cheikidh Kouyate is fit to start while Tomka remains somewhat doubtful.

Emenike Lambasted by Club Official

As the Hammers unveil their new recruit Emmanuel Emenike, Mohammed Obeid Hamdoun - a board member with his previous club Al Ain has accused the striker of lacking commitment. 

Emenike set the African Cup of Nations alight in 2013 scrong 4 goals to seize the golden boot award but has struggled for form ever since and had to retire from the Super Eagles after two years and 15 appearances without a goal.

His move to the Gulf League was prompted by a spectacular falling out with Fenerbahce fans culminating in an on field row with teammates and then an episode where he stripped off and demanded to be substituted to escape the boos of his own supporters.

Hamdoun didn't pull any punches as he revealed in a recent interview with Gulf newspaper The National “I saw Emenike in the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria and he was a good player. But when he came here he scored only seven [league] goals, with the local players we have here? Enough.”

Interestingly, Hamdoun expressed a belief that Emenike would be china bound and seemed unaware that the fallen star might be making the (huge) step up to the world's toughest league. However, Slaven Bilic's record with recruits is more than impressive and he certainly knows Emenike well as the episode of walking off the pitch occured during a game against Bilic's former club Besiktas. Intriguing stuff indeed. It is unclear whether Emenike will be available for the Villa game but with Carroll and Sakho still out, he may get a late run out!