Tuesday 28 June 2016

Hodgson's Westhamophobia Comes Home to Roost

I'm Just here to watch the opposition Mr Gold.

England are once again hurting after a whoppingly humiliating defeat to Iceland - no, not the cut price supermarket, but the tiny country with 300,000 inhabitants. Stats are that Icelandic males have a 1 in 2000 chance of playing football for their country!  Back at West Ham your chances of playing for Roy Hodgson's England were 1 in ten gazillion, apparently.

After an in and out opening three matches, the Hodgson error was exposed - put simply: NO PLAN B. Was there ever a game where England needed the twin battering rams of Andy ('I can out-head every CB in the world') and Michail Antonio ('Watch me open your defence with a direct run towards goal'), then it was the final quarter of last night's game where Iceland had firmly shut the gates.

Even worse, England lacked a midfielder who could lead by example...anyone for Mark Noble? As a committed Hammer, a big part of you will be glad that our players weren't exposed to the horror of being part of the Euro mess.

The competition for a new manager will be fascinating - mostly because there are no obvious replacements! Let's hope that they don't approach Mr Bilic who clearly has the experience and smarts for the role. Either way, with the excitement of the first Olympic Stadium season ahead, He'd probably tell them to fcuk off!


Sunday 26 June 2016

Payet Kisses Hammer Goodbye

The luck of the Irish ran out this afternoon at the Stade de Lyon. Having taken a shock lead, the Irish enjoyed the better of the first half and could easily have added to their lead by the break. However, the second half brought an inevitable backlash as France piled on the pressure in an effort to keep their Euro dreams alive.

That pressure eventually paid off as Antoine Greizmann scored a rapid fire brace between the 58th and 61st minutes before breaking free again to force the hapless Shane Duffy into taking a red card for his team. Thereafter the Irish huffed and puffed by were out of steam in the hot conditions and frustratingly just could not chisel out a chance for an equaliser as the game ended in a 2-1 victory for France.

Dimitri Payet was, by his high standards, relatively quiet throughout but found time at the final whistle to console Hammers teammate Darren Randolph with a kiss. Right now every last gesture from the talismanic midfielder is being subjected to intense analysis as Hammers fans fear that, despite his five year contract, Payet might be tempted into a move to join Zinedine Zidane at Real or to become a crowdpleasing replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG.

Today's events highlight Payet's class and perhaps suggest that he will repay the faith West Ham placed in him by leading our Premiership campaign as we move to the Olympic Stadium. Either way, commiserations to Darren Randolph who once again demonstrated his expertise between the sticks and thus reminding Hammers fans that he represents genuine competition for Adrian.

Let's hope Dazza enjoys a well-earned break before we come back for the new season.


Holy Mother of God!!!

Bejaysus, it's a dream start for Ireland. A 'softish' penalty in the first minute for a coming together of Shane Lond and Paul Pogba, dispatched into the back of the net off the post and it's 1-0.

Payet has been pretty quiet thus far as France look rattled and have been largely reduced to an Irish-style game.

Cunningly, Martin O'Neill has held back Wes Hooligan for Extra time, if it arrives..

That 9-1 against price for an irish win looks like a great deal now!

G'wan ya good thing!!!

Anyone For a Nice Salad?..... Irish Klingon to Euro Hope

As they say...."Revenge is a dish best eaten cold". However, who exactly are "they" and when did they actually voice this chilling slice of wisdom? Many historians attribute the phrase to French novelist Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' "Les Liaisons Dangereuses". In fact the phrase is not in any of his writings and neither is there any record of his ever voicing these ideas! How fraudulently French - rather like Thierry Henry's basketball masterclass that allowed Les Bleus to progress to the World cup finals at the expense of a brave but ultimately cheated Ireland.

And so to Ireland versus France today...Randolph versus Payet....Endeavour versus craft......Justice versus Thierry Henry. For many observers this is a no brainer - as hosts, it would be a catastrophe were France to be eliminated. Moreover, Dimitri Payet has been the star of the show so far and those who watch proceedings in order to be entertained (i.e. not proper partisan football curmudgeons) will not want the charming talisman to run out of opportunities to wield his magic.

However, for fans of West Ham and of Ireland this is an entirely different call. While Ireland simply want revenge for the Henry nonsense, Hammers fans want Payet out of the Euro shop window. With Zidane and others purring about his performances, it may take more than his current five year contract to keep him in East London next year. Secretly, many Hammers fans have been wishing for a minor injury to halt his charge.

In terms of the contest, Ireland are quoted at 9-1 against to progress - the worst odds for any side still in the tournament. careful analysis suggests this might be worth a punt. Apart from Payet, France have not been particularly impressive to date with Pogba and Griezmann failing to deliver upon their potential. Moreover, Les Bleus are shaky at the back with an aged defence who will struggle if Extra Time comes into the equation. Patrice Evra in particular looks well past his sell-by date.

Meanwhile, for all their limitations (this is the weakest Ireland squad in decades - there are no Giles, Brady, Stapleton, McGrath, Keane et in the current crop), the Irish are well organised and courageous. One senses that they can cancel out France across the pitch BUT with one exception: Payet. Just what Martin O'Neill has planned is unclear but the return of Jonathan Walters to pair up with Seamus the Coal man on the right side will reduce Irish fears somewhat.

If that works in denying Payet space in his favoured position (quite a big 'if'!), Dimitri will drift more central where he will encounter his old sparring mate James McCarthy. McCarthy will need to be on form if he is to prevent Payet providing another masterclass. McCarthy may be considering trying on another scissors tackle like the one that sidelined Payet for six weeks last season, but unlike at Goodison Park, such tactics are unlikely to go unpunished today.

In terms of free kicks, Payet is simply stunning. However, In the Irish goal will be a keeper who trains with him every day and will be better equipped than most to deal with this threat. However, this is an example par excellence where prevention is better than cure. Let's hope the French crowd don't overly influence the referee into awarding spurious free kicks but Coleman, Walters, Whelan and McCarthy need to be VERY disciplined in order to avoid presenting Payet with gilt-edged scoring chances.

The odds are certainly stacked in France's favour but if Ireland can frustrate them then the crowd will get edgy and the notorious wobbly French psyche may come in to play. One would hazard a guess that Martin O'Neill's men have spent more than just a few minutes fine tuning their penalty taking skills in training. If Ireland can cling on for 120 minutes then they can also benefit from Randolph's big presence in goal. If not, they need to look to Karma and the Klingon proverb from Star Trek II, The Wrath of Kahn, 1982.


Saturday 25 June 2016

Heartbreak for France at Euros


The Euros were sent into disarray this evening as Norn Iron were defeated by Gareth Bale leaving the women of France heartbroken at the departure of Kyle 'Sexy Beast' Lafferty from the tournament.

Lafferty is an international dandy man of much regard having been sent home from Palermo and described by their chairman Maurizo Zamparini as an out of control womaniser and 'an Irishman without rules!'

While Lafferty's exit leaves the women of France distraught, the Repuberlic O' Ireland plan to also break the hearts of the men of France by ejecting their soccer team from the tournament tomorrow afternoon.


Top Bilic Transfer Target: "I want to Play at West Ham"

It's no secret that Slaven Bilic is a big fan of Turkish international Gokhan Tore. Having managed the 24 year old at Besiktas, Bilic has stated publicly that he wants to bring the pacey winger to join the West Ham adventure. Until now, Tore has been silent on the matter but in an interview with Turkish outlet Yazbir, Tore has revealed that he wants to play at West Ham stating...."I have a contract until 2019 at Besiktas, bit I have completed my mission here. If they meet my fee, I want to play at West Ham.".

In a separate report in Futbol Arena a deal has apparently been finally agreed for £10million, with the transfer to be concluded next week. As Turkey looks to enter the EU, while the UK has voted to leave, it remains to be seen if the sudden fall in value of sterling post BREXIT will pose another obstacle in this drawn out transfer saga!

Meanwhile,  Elliot Lee has joined Barnsley on a permanent deal - we all wish him the very best of luck at his new club.

Real Boost for Madrid in Payet Campaign

"I just don't think you understand..."

Just as the magnitude of the Brexit vote is starting to dawn on the British nation it is becoming evident that the Premiership's time as the foremost league in the world is likely to come to an end. Apart from all the likely visa/permit issues for foreign players, the simple factor of sterling's diminishing value will have an immediate impact upon transfer activity.

As sterling's value on the money markets fell to a 30 year low at 10% less than the day before Brexit, so Dimitri Payet's likely cost to foreign Eurozone suitors fell by an equivalent amount, along with his salary value. Conversely, the value of the Hammers reported bids for a variety of top strikers in the French and Italian leagues also fell, with the alleged E40 million bid for Michy Batshuayi now only worth a paltry E36 million.  

With Dimitri Payet gearing up for another likely masterclass against the Republic of Ireland tomorrow, it's looking like events are conspiring against the talismanic midfielder staying at West Ham next season. As Real Madrid fans become increasingly vocal in their demands that Payet be brought to the Bernabeu, this is all bad news for Bubbles fans. Let's hope Seamus the Coal man and Dazza Randolph can halt Dimitri's progress tomorrow and get him out of the spotlight. After the Thierry Basketball outrage of 2010, Ireland deserve a big slice of luck against the French.

Even more disappointment awaits Hammers fans who want to enjoy the adventure of European footie that awaits this season as the cost of following the team in the Europa league will be greater.

One wonders how many Brexit-voting fans factored in these effects in choosing to separate from their European allies with Thursday's vote. Maybe the UK will get a second chance to vote on the matter just like Ireland did in the Nice/Lisbon treaty votes of a few years ago. Moreover, one senses that exiting the EU may turn out to be like trying to terminate a Sky Sports subscription - a drawn out and arduous journey!


Tuesday 21 June 2016

Eamonn Dolan (1967-2016): Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Just when you think you've got it licked, facing a future that's bright, on the verge of greatness and with our manager and star player vying for personality of the tournament so far, in comes a real kick in the grass with news of the death of former Hammer Eamonn Dolan at just 48 years of age.

Eamonn was born in Galway but grew up in Chelmsford with his twin brother Pat. The pair attended the Hammers academy and debuted together for Ireland at U17 level in a memorable 6-1 thrashing of Northern Ireland in 1985, during which Eamonn scored a hat trick!

Eamonn entered the Hammers first team in 1987 and made a total of 21 appearances as a forward before moving to Birmingham and then Exeter During which his first brush with testicular cancer occurred.

Happily, Eamonn saw it off and continued his career as manager at Exeter and then subsequently as a much lauded and highly popular coach at Reading. Sadly, the condition caught up with him again and he passed away earlier today.

A popular man wherever he went, Eamonn was a true giver to others and will be much missed.  

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


Monday 20 June 2016

Thin Air for England Strike Duo

All across Ireland this evening the usual scenes of mild antagonism towards Engerland were replaced by an unusual sense of frustration at the misfiring Vardy and Kane show. After their resounding defeat to Belgium, Rep of Ireland needed English and Welsh victories to keep their Euro hopes alive as a win against Italy would leave them with 4 points but a poor goal difference.

Bale and the boys duly obliged while Vardy and Kane were part of the impotent English front line that wasted over two dozen shooting chances!!! England managed to avoid an embarrassing tournament exit by keeping a clean sheet against the Slovaks but the lack of cohesion in their play must have Roy Hodgson worried.

After being given more time than most England managers, it's clear that Roy doesn't know his best team or even formation!!! Hilariously, Dwayne Rooney is playing in a deep midfield position having never done so before! Does anybody believe that Jose Mourinho will follow suit next season at Man United?

The high point of the night was when the Slovak medical team entered the fray to tend to the injured Martin Skrtel allowing their physio to showcase the most impressive pair of manboobs in the tournament so far!!!

All said and done, England could well end up with Portugal in the next round as reward for letting the Taffs top their group. Hmmm.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Swedes Fail to Turnip

I Payet
D Repuberlik of Oireland got their Euro campaign underway with an impressive performance against Sweden last night. The Irish came out of their corner in fighting mood and were unlucky not to be leading at half time after dominating proceedings during the first 45. They finally capitalised upon their dominance just after the break with a well-crafted Wes Hooligan strike. However, as the ever-optimistic Ronnie Whelan suggested, it was too early to take the lead and duly, Sweden managed to squeeze an equaliser in the 71st minute. Strangely, Hammers netminder Dazza Randolph only came under real pressure for the period between Ireland's opener and Sweden's equaliser as the Irish went back on the offensive looking for an elusive winning goal.

A key talking point centred around Sweden's cynical fielding of two Zlatan Ibrahimovic's!!!  In a blatant affront to the German legend of the doppelganger, the Swedes introduced a second Zlatan (under the pseudonom of Eric Johansson) at half time. 

but which one is the original?
In a pathetic attempt to cover their tracks they then forced the second Zlatan to play as a defender.  Either way, the Irish defence was having none of Mr Ibrahimovic's nonsense as the self proclaimed 'leg end' failed to impress his utter excellence upon proceedings as Ciaran Clark and John O'Shea coped admirably with his threat.

All of this will undoubtedly be of interest to the West Ham board as they continue to seek ways to keep Dimitri Payet at the club. Leaked pictures from their sports science department suggest that their efforts are progressing well!

Next up for Ireland will be Belgium and then Italy. After Italy's 2-0 victory last night, the Belgian's will be desperate for a win -and perfectly positioned for Ireland to catch them on the counter, hopefully.

Monday 13 June 2016

Let's Gdansk!

As the second smallest country to qualify for the Euros (yes, Iceland really is only 300,000 in population!), the Wee Six counties of Norn Iron made their debut last night against the might of Poland.

Brave, Plucky, determined, courageous - a predictably patronising TV commentary provided the backdrop as ultimately the men from the North lost 1-0. Despite having the prolific Robert Lewandowski up front, Poland squandered a hatful of excellent chances in the first half before taking the lead in the 51st minute through Arka Millik.

Thereafter, Norn Iron were forced to push forward and brought on Conor Washington to support Kyle Lafferty up front. In truth, they created three decent chances in the final 20 minutes and could well have snatched an undeserved point. The game stats tell the story as Poland had the lion's share of possession (65%) and dwarfed Norn Iron in shots taken (11 versus 1).

What Michael O'Neill would give for a Michael Hughes, Jimmy Quinn or Stevie Lomas in his current squad?

It's great to see Norn Iron back on the footballing map and with a team comprising a healthy mixture of players from both of the main traditions of the province. Manager Michael O'Neill has done a fantastic job to steer football away from the narrow bigoted funnel it had become trapped in prior to his arrival. No doubt the Euros will provide the opportunity to look further outward.

One stangeness about the whole affair was the growing blueness of the Norn Iron kit...is it slowly morphing into a Rangers kit? The current strip looks like a hybrid of the colours of Glasgow's auld enemies!


Sunday 12 June 2016

Hammers Take Early Lead in Euro Ratings

My oh my! second minute of injury time. Russia only had one offensive asset - a 6ft 5 inch beanpole forward and England decided to let him go one on one with all 5ft 8 of Danny Rose on the edge of the 6 yard box. 91 minutes of excellent work undone. Tzzzz.

Better news elsewhere though, as the long tradition of English music being adopted by Johnny Foreigner continued with French fans borrowing our Dimitri Payet song. This is a good thing because although the French excel at wine making, cooking and petty strikes, they are pretty embarrassing musically. Even in the punk era, where attitude trumped musical complexity, they could only serve up the suspiciously inauthentic Plastic Bertrand with his hit 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' - later covered by Captain Sensible of the Damned.

Even worse, Bertrand turned out to be Belgian!

The Payet chant is so infectious that his teammates murmur it under their breaths during matches - check out Cheik Kouyate at the Annual Awards ceremony or Adrian in just about any interview he has done in the last 6 months.

Even the World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen found himself singing it after his visit to Friday night's Euro Opener - and he's Norwegian!

It seems West Ham are already certain to bag best song of the tournament. Mr Payet could well go on to achieve best player, but the defence behind him will need to sharpen up if he is to make it to the later stages of the tournament. Elsewhere, Darren Randolph will need to put in one hell of a showing if the Republic of Ireland are to progress from the group of death with Belgium, Italy and Sweden as opponents....OUCH!!!

Saturday 11 June 2016

Hammers Concede Sale of Payet

All this Payet perfection at the Euros is great fun to take in until you click on the internet to find headlines like 'Why is Payet wasting his talent at West Ham' [Talksport] or 'Chelsea set for Mega Bid' [Club Call] or "Dimitri Payet brilliance sparks intense Barcelona and Real Madrid interest' [Eurosport UK]. Already there are reports of massive transfer fees being set as thankfully, Messers Gold and Sullivan were smart enough to nail down a long term Hammers contract during the mid season.

But how big a transfer release figure is enough to make the point to would be buyers? Luckily,we at VERYWESTHAM have turned to top International mathematicians for a solution to finding the number best suited to communicating how much Payet is NOT FOR SALE.

Graham's number is an unimaginably large number that is generally considered to be the largest actual number short of infinity. Named after mathematician Ronald Graham, it is much larger than either Skewes' number or Moser's number - both of which are humungously bigger than a googolplex, which is, apparently, pretty damn massive.

Graham's number is so large that the observable universe is far too small to contain even an ordinary digital representation of it!!!! If you could visualise Graham's number in your mind then your head would collapse into a black hole - perfect reward for those would-be pilfering types at Chelsea, PSG, Barca, Real and Manchester-the-United-Citeh!

As Slaven Bilic might put it when next on International Television - F*** off!

For Fcuk's Sake Slaven, Stop being so Bloody Brilliant!!!


Yes, we love him. Rock star Manager - smart and honest - he says what we all feel - and often in the way we say it to eachother in real life. Slaven doesn't subscribe to the 'I didn't see the incident myself' school of Wuzzy punditry, rather, he says it as he sees it - often with stunning objectivity about our own efforts!

We were a mere seconds into the half time analysis last night when the Hammers boss let fly with an expletive - when asked what Hugo Lloris might say to his defence he replied using a naughty word that we are all very familiar with! Even better, as the international media gasped in disbelief, Slaven banged on totally unphased.

Shocking stuff - not really, just the real world penetrating our sanitised media. As Hammers fans, we would have to hold up our hands and admit that amongst the worst fence sitting pundits of modern times was our own Uncle Trev Brooking but with SuperSlav we are making up for that in spades.

As for Bilic - is there any manager who is cooler in World footie right now? Why not ask fans of Arsenal, Man United, Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea - all of whom have seen their sides tamed by Mr Bilic this past year.

Will ITV bang on with the vernaculous Bilic or will they reverse towards the Unkie Trev Brigade? Come on ITV - SHOW US SOME BALLS!!!


Double Trouble on the Payet Front

We're off. The biggest Euro Championship of all time has started and already Hammers fans will be worrying about the future of their talisman Dimitri Payet. As usual, the opening fixture was a tense affair with Payet the only shining light. In four moments of genius he put down the gauntlet to other wannabee tournament darlings;

1. By providing an inch perfect cross for the opening goal of the tournament.

2. As the game looked to be drifting into a turgid stalemate of mediocrity, Payet made three Romanian midfielders look like village idiots with one of his midfield ball juggling manoeuvres....'now you see it, now you don't'....sublime!

3. Just as the French were preparing to settle for a point - reasonable given that the host side has only won the opening fixture once in 30 years - Payet decided to set the tournament alight with a goal out of nowhere. He received the ball surrounded by three Romanian defenders but his first touch created a yard of space and with his weaker left foot he curled the ball into the top right hand corner of the Romanian net. Truly sensational.

4. He treated the artistic and emotionally inclined French media to some patriotic tears. Audacious!!!

Bad news for Hammers fans as Payet is now firmly installed as the most desirable player on the planet! PSG, Barca, Real Madrid were all watching, undoubtedly with considerable envy.

The bad news for Dimitri is that France were disorganised at the back with an ageing Patrice Evra especially off the pace and thus would appear to have little chance of competing against the better sides.


Thursday 9 June 2016

JOB well done

This week saw the end of the Hammers dream for a dozen players, with utility defender Joey O'Brien the most senior amongst the pack. His appearances at the start of the season in the Europa League seemed to auger well but he dropped down the pecking order and, once again, injuries prevented him from seizing the opportunity at right back when Carl Jenkinson departed.

O'Brien will be fondly remembered for his important contributions during the first two years of the Allardyce era when he played over 30 times during each of the promotion year (2011-12) and Premiership bedding down year that followed. All in all, he accrued 101 appearances in all competitions.

O'Brien perhaps suffered for his versatility, switching between right and left back but also with some appearances at centre half during that awful injury crisis of the season before last. Defensively tenacious, Joey perhaps lacked the nous coming forward that Bilic desires from his full backs. At 30, O'Brien still has plenty to offer but will be hoping to stay injury-free - something that has eluded him both at West Ham and Bolton, and limited his Republic of Ireland appearances to 5 turn outs.

No doubt the bookies will cite Big Sam's Sunderland as a likely next destination for O'Brien. Farewell Joey and the very best of luck with the next chapter.

Ugly Scenes as West Ham Travel Away

One of my fantasies is to invent a time travel machine and go back and snuff out those responsible for ideas and inventions that persecute us in modern life BEFORE they express their ideas. When the machine is complete the inventor of the automated telephone switchboard, self scan shop checkouts and speed bumps can all expect to face the justice they deserve.

And you can add to the list the vulgarian who suggested that the Hammers away kit should be white instead of the classic sky blue with double claret hoops. Somewhere in the last decade somebody decided to ditch the classiest kit in soccer history for a bland Tottenham-like white top for our away trips. Why oh why?

And so here we are again with the insipid white thing. It'd be interesting to see how sales vary for our away kits when the colour changes. Grrrrr!

Monday 6 June 2016

The Eagle Has Landed: Hammers First Big Signing Arrives

After intense speculation that has persisted for months, reports emerging today from Turkey appear to confirm that Slaven Bilic has finally captured Gokham Tore. Tore was a key player for Bilic during his time at Besiktas with the Hammers manager making no secret of his intention to bring the Turkish international to East London.

Tore is pacey and competitive. He played an important role in Besiktas (also known as the Black Eagles) winning the Turkish top flight last season. He prefers the right wing but is adept with either foot. He is more of a maker than taker of goals, with a modest strike rate. He wont be appearing in the Euros due to a two game ban that essentially ruled him out of the crucial opening fixtures.

Tore should adjust well to London, having been a youth at Chelsea between 2009 and 2011. He might well qualify for the infamous 'Troubled Bubbles XI' having previously been involved in a 4am nite club incident that ended with his being accidentally shot in the shoulder! Other reports have linked him to another firearms incident involving two international team mates!

Obviously Slaven Bilic knows what he is getting. It'll be interesting to see where he fits into plans as he would seem to pose direct competition to Michail Antonio. With a reported fee of £13 million, Tore will hardly be sitting on the bench but it's hard to see him slotting straight into the Hammers side as it stands.  

Interesting times!

Transfer Update: Crafty Chairmen Seal Real Deal

Let's wind back to last July. As the start of the season beckoned there was an almighty stampede to sign a striker. Charlie Austin seemed to tick all the boxes and was patently too good to stay at relegated QPR. All sorts of crazy figures were suggested, including £16 million.

Then out of nowhere David Sullivan scuppered West Ham's hopes by voicing a damning verdict upon Austin's merits - both in terms of injuries and even goal scoring ability! Citing dodgy knees, a high percentage of goals via penalties and Austin's modest performances against West Ham, Sully seemed to have shot himself in the foot.

Wind forward to Christmas, Sullivan looked even more foolish as Austen came up for grabs at a cut price £4million as a desperate QPR succumbed to the need to reduce their wage bill (nice work Harry!). Having notched 10 goals in 16 games, Austin looked a steal as Southampton snapped him up.

Six months down the line Austin has not delivered for the Saints and has been poor value even at £4 million! A single goal in 5 appearances in a spell that has been blighted by injuries.

Meanwhile, while all the speculation was being played out about Austin, the Hammers were focused upon the (apparently)  less glamorous signings of Payet, Lanzini, Randolph and Antonio. There's a reason why West Ham are now the 17th richest football club in the world. Those wise old owls at the helm know how to run a business - a far cry from the 'circus' that prevailed before they arrived!

So, while all eyes are presently looking to Lacazette, Batshuayi, and  Bacca, Hammers fans would do well to watch the quieter arrivals - already we have snapped up Havard Nordtveit , Antonio Martinez and Domingos Quina.

As the old adage goes: Keep your eye on the ball!!!

Two Words on Walcott to West Ham

The rumour mill is in full flight with a variety of half-baked and speculative claims of transfer deals in the making. Theo Walcott to West Ham? At first airing it sounds half plausible, but after the briefest of analysis has to be rejected as nonsense.

No doubt many Hammers fans would love to see Walcott decommissioned from the Arsenal set up as he has enjoyed disproportionate success against West Ham over the years. However, these days Walcott would struggle to get into Bilic's first team. Although he has repeatedly sought a central striking role, his conversion rate is simply too low to justify such a berth at a top club.

After eleven seasons in the Premiership, Walcott has only once made double figures for goals scored - back in 2012 when Arsene Wenger switched him from his usual position on the right wing to take up the central role.

However, this was only a lukewarm success and Walcott did not kick on to become the sort of clinical finisher that top sides demand. Overall, Walcott's strike rate in the top flight is less than one goal every four games - hardly breath taking stuff! Also, with his current wages at £140k per week, his arrival could unsettle some of our existing squad who are on considerably lower wages. 

In terms of the right-sided role, two words sum up his chances - Michail Antonio! Having established that Antonio is not a right back, and with the Summer to find a top quality replacement for the disappointing Karl Jenkinson, Antonio will surely be given the right wing position next term.

With a healthy goal tally (almost one in every three games) and an impressive capacity to shake up opposition defences, Antonio will hardly be quaking in his boots at the prospect of Walcott arriving. Also, unlike Walcott, Antonio has an impressive presence at set pieces.

Finally, £25 million has been quoted - quite a lot for an impact substitute methinks!


Sunday 5 June 2016

Sak-No! to Slumberland Switch

It's a measure of how little is going on at West Ham right now that the main story of late has been about a possible switch to Sunderland for Diafra Sakho. With Sunderland reported to have tabled a bid of £11 million he speculation has grown. However, Hammers fans will hardly be losing sleep about these rumours as the whole episode makes little sense.

Firstly, Sakho is on a four year contact until the Summer of 2018. Secondly, £11 million would be a total steal for a striker with proven premiership quality. Thirdly, having moved on Emannuel Emineke and Nikica Jelavic the Hammers have lots of space in their attacking department. Fourthly, Enner Valencia continues to struggle to find consistency and would seem considerably more likely to move elsewhere in the Summer. Fifthly, although Sakho experienced some issues in his personal life during the season, it was clear that Slaven Bilic wanted to support his talented striker rather than freeze him out in the way that Morgan Amalfitano was managed.

Finally, Bilic is way too smart to let out most abrasive attacking talent leave. Although Sakks only scored 7 goals last season, this was from a wider role than previously as Andy Carroll spent less time on the injury list. In that role Sakho is a constant nuisance that unsettles opposition defences and creates the confusion and space in which the likes of Payet and Lanzini can thrive.

No, No, No. Complete nonsense. Move on, there's nothing to see here.

Friday 3 June 2016

Bilic's Man-Management Coming Under Scrutiny

The rise and rise of Hammers 19 year old Norwegian sensation Martin Samuelsen continued this week with his debut appearance for the full Norwegian side. Samuelsen came on as a second half substitute provoking the free kick that resulted in a winning goal for Norway as the game ended 3-2. Although Norway wont be competing at the Euros, they have a series of friendlies this Summer that can provide further opportunities for Samuelsen to shine.

Samuelsen has enjoyed an impressive first season at West Ham. After the action of the Europa League, he spent most of the season at Peterborough where he notched 20 appearances scoring two goals in the process. One of these came against our old mates at Sheffield United and understandably drew comparisons with a certain Mr Lionel Messi...take a look below!

Samuelsen also got to notch a trophy as he returned from the Posh to appear for the Hammers U21 side as they seized the Premiership title last month. Right now things look mighty positive but how will he fit into manager Slaven Bilic's plans next season and how will West Ham accommodate the growing needs of their other rising stars such as Reece Oxford, Reece Burke and Josh Cullen?

With a talented squad already at his disposal and instructions to bring in some players who can immediately slot into our first team, Bilic has an embarrassment of riches. Oxford managed 12 appearances last term, but if the rumour mill is anything to go by, may be tempted elsewhere in search of more first team action. Burke and Cullen enjoyed successful loan spells at Bradford City.

All of which points towards the merits of taking the Europa League more seriously this year. These starlets need more experience while a glance around the rest of the team also raises cries for more first team action - Darren Randolph can only be kept on the sidelines for so long, the fact that James Tomkins couldn't get a CB berth highlights the quality in defence.

In midfield, where Cullen and Samuelsen will be hoping to contribute, there is already has a host of top performers both creatively (Payet, Lanzini, Antonio) as well as in the engine room (Noble, Kouyate and Obiang).

Samuelsen is tall (almost 6'3") pacey and has quick feet. He can play either centrally or out wide. This versatility will undoubtedly be an important asset as he tries to force his way into the first team.

He can also play a bit of guitar...maybe that will further endear him to our rock star manager!

Exciting times ahead. Let's hope we can keep all these talented players on board and happy!


Wednesday 1 June 2016

Mass Hysteria Descends Upon the Boleyn

In the late Summer of 1985, just as McAvennie, Cottee & Co. were getting ready to set the top flight alight, the attention of the International media was focused upon the tiny village of Ballinspittle in Co. Cork where locals alleged that statues had started moving!

The events were seen as evidence of divine intervention and provoked a frenzy of over 300,000 visitors arriving to witness the goings on. Pretty soon there were moving statues all over the West of Ireland as the nation engaged in mass hysteria!!!

And so, winding the clock forward, statues are threatening to move again - but this time on East London's Green street. It has been rumoured that the much loved statue of Bobby Moore and the lads holding up the World Cup may be joining the Lyall gates and various other Upton Park fixtures in shifting to the Olympic stadium.

However, on this occasion locals are not impressed by the movement of statues and have launched a petition to keep the statue at the junction of Green street and the Barking road. Not unreasonably, they have suggested that the statue can serve as a reminder of the connection between the club and the West Ham locality.

Given that suggestions to convert the Upton Park turf into a playing pitch for the local area were rejected in favour of a lucrative conversion into apartments, maybe its not so much to ask that the statue remain where it is. As the 17th richest club on the planet, West Ham can surely afford to commission a replacement for the Olympic Stadium site?