Monday 29 August 2016

Who Should be our starting striker? Have your say in our new poll

As rumours continue to grow that Wilfried Bony may be switching to West ham before the transfer widow closes, Mr Bilic will hopefully soon be left with the unusual problem of deciding who is our best starting striker!

News that Andre Ayew may be back considerably sooner than was expected, along with arrival of Simone Zaza and the excellent recent contributions of Ashley Fletcher, lend themselves to a difficult choice for the canny Croat.

The options are so varied and exciting that some fans feel we should kick for touch and send for the services of Carlton Cole as a compromise candidate!

Or maybe just leave it to Dimitri Payet to bang in the goals and let the strikers get back to the real task of negotiating even bigger salaries!!!

Let us know what you think in our latest fans poll.


Oh No! What's going on with Payet now?

SuperSlaven Bilic really needs to clear up what's going on with Dimitri Payet. rested (again) for Sunday's visit to the Etihad, he seems well and fit to link in with Les Bleus for international duty! David Gold has tweeted to reassure fans that Dimitri is going nowhere (rather like the club over the past fortnight!), but pictures of Payet ready to contribute to the France squad serve to raise concerns about what is really going on - particularly since the transfer window is still most definitely open!

Only SuperSlav will settle our nerves about Dimitri - maybe it's time he admitted that he didn't think we could get a result at the Etihad and decided to spare Payet the hassle of trying to prevent an inevitable defeat? Interestingly, we had a free kick in Payet territory during the match that might have squared things before the Sterling breakaway goal...

Even more difficult to fathom - what on earth is he wearing right now? It really is Naff Naff......Mrs Payet, you need to take your man in hand!


Sunday 28 August 2016

Hammers Fans Want Sakho Back!

West Ham have endured a poor start to the new season where they have continued their underwhelmimg form from the preseason tours of the US and Austria with an early exit from the Europa League and two losses in their opening three Premiership games. A key issue has been the lack of goalscoring prowess, with a lack of an experienced striker hindering their progress.

Yesterday's team for the visit comprised of two 20 year old newbies leading the line against the £100-plus defensive unit of Man City. little wonder then that the Hammers were overpowered and lucky to avoid a proper hiding.

All the while Diafra Sakho is waiting in the background. having blotted his copybook with a petulant refusal to do the preseason tours, Sakho then failed a medical at West brom (some observers think that they realised he had more than just physical ailments and pulled the plug!) and is now working to try to get sufficiently fit to play again - for whom, however, remains a mystery!

Last week's excellent performances of Ashley Fletcher coupled with the arrival of Simone Zaza almost certainly signal the end for Sakks, but amazingly, despite his disloyalty to the club, a recent poll indicated that Hammers fans are willing to forgive with almost 2/3 (64%) indicating that they think SuperSlav should bring him back , while another 19% would take him back if he gives a clear commitment to behave himself. In fact only 2% would deny him another chance under any circumstances, while another 15% felt he shouldn't return.

Whatever the fans wishes, it seems unlikely that Sakho will play for the Hammers at the Olympic stadium as he will soon be one of six strikers. Moreover, rumours suggest that Sakho's back problems are a major issue and that the club may be lumbered with an unusable but expensive talent........again!

Next up it'd home against Watford on 10th September. The break will give us valuable time to regroup.



Defensive Madness Continues as Hammers Name Cagey Starting XI

The starting XI has been named for todays's visit to the Etihad. while many attentions will be on the selection of 20 year old Ashley Fletcher who starts up front, the side looks very defensive with three centre backs and Michail Antonio apparently returning to the right-sided defensive berth instead of Sam Byram who drops to the bench.

Playing three centre backs suggests that SuperSlav plans to keep it miserly and tight but, in truth, with limited attacking options to support young Fletcher, he will need to play a blinder to make an impact. Hammers fans will be hoping that Gokhan Tore and Enner Valencia can suddenly hit unexpected top form, otherwise it looks like a backs to the wall effort. Possession stats are likely to tell a story of City domination which, given their offensive options, makes a clean sheet a big ask for Adrian who is celebrating his recent call up to the Spanish national squad.

Worryingly, Dimi Payet is still not ready - even for the bench! The return of Manny Lanzini (starting as a sub) is somewhat positive but it's really hard to see West ham getting something from this and the bookies have quoted them at 5-1 for the draw and 11-1 to win. SuperSlav has proven the sceptics wrong many times before, but with a lightweight bench it's hard to see how we will respond if we go behind. The sensible money is being held back for another day.

Team: West Ham United: Adrian, Antonio, Collins, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble, Kouyate, Töre, Fletcher, Valencia.  Subs: Randolph, Byram, Burke, Oxford, Obiang, Lanzini, Calleri



Saturday 27 August 2016

Hammers sign the new Gazza

With the arrival of their latest capture, West ham suddenly risk the possibility of having an embarrassment of riches up front. If SuperSlav can tame Sakho, we might hit December with the choice of any from Carroll, Ayew, Calleri, Fletcher, Sakho, and now Simone Zaza!

The Italian international has arrived in a season-long loan, with an option to make the arrangement more permanent if he gels. While our rivals may well snigger as Zaza brings to mind his awful penalty at Euro 2016, Hammers fans will know him for his stunning strike against us for Juve a few weeks back; surely the best goal to be scored at the Olympic stadium so far?

In pictures that serve to confirm his arrival, Mr Sullivan's persuasive negotiating style is laid to bear; who could possibly argue with a man who meets you to discuss terms in his boxer shorts? Where would you look? Even the most brazen soccer superstars would melt into submission and surely agree to anything to get out of there!

Meanwhile, Hammers fans have developed a reputation for top quality tribute songs for their players and the race is on to find a suitable chant for Zaza. Let's hope he scores soon so we can put our suggestions to the test....

And don't forget, Zaza rhymes with Gazza....there's simply got to be an angle there?

Friday 26 August 2016

Another Howler from SuperSlav!!!

Its been a tough week for Hammers head honcho Slaven Bilic. A host of new injuries coupled with an embarrassingexit from the Europa League have provoked a negative cloud to descend upon the Olympic Stadium.

However, SuperSlav is a fantastic communicator and in typical fashion tried to turn the issue of fans booing his underperforming side on its head.

Bilic stated that he was pleased that fans booed as it indicated their passion and sensitivity towards what is going on on the pitch. He went on to express his belief that Hammers fans love their physical stoppers as much as the Di Canios and Bishops. He bemoaned the increasing tendency for referees to punish any physically robust play explaining how football "is not ballet"

Hmmmm. I doubt if Sir Alf G would agree! Slav rarely gets it wrong, so lets enjoy a rare howler from the great one.

They are laughing at us.....for now!

An early morning hello from a Chelsea fan

The fall out from last night's disappointing result against Astra Googly carried forward into this morning as many Hammers fans woke to the ecstatic banter of rical fans.

For sure the defeat left us with a bloodied lip, but the hysterical reactions of some fans are like the sort of embarrassing hissyfits we usually associate with Johnny-come-lately followers of Man U or Chelski!

Let rival fans enjoy their moment as West Ham's Ropey League exit makes us considerably more likely to beat other Premiership teams this season.

It's time for calm appraisal of our strengths - we haven't become useless over night and Bilic hasn't suddenly become a poor tactition.

In goals, Adrian is a top keeper and Dazza Randolph would be in the starting line ups for most Premiership sides.

At the back we have three top quality experienced centre backs along with the two most exciting young defensive talents in England in the Reeces. In particular, Winston Reid is amongst the top four CBs in the league. At full back we are adjusting to the (temporary) loss of Aaron Cresswell and have captured a player who might well make Cressy have to sweat for his starting place in 10 weeks time. On the right, Sam Byram is developing at a rapid pace and starting to look much more comfortable both in defence and offensively. And mercy of mercies, Slaven looks like he has finally realised yhat the Antonio-RB experiment doesn't work.

In midfield the Noble-Kouyate-Nordtveit combination looks like a match for most. Our attacking midfielders are more than exciting. Payrt is possibly the best player in the league while Lanzini is an able understudy. Feghouli looked very snappy until he was forced out by injury. Tore looks to be starting to  adjust to the Premiership, while Antonio is an unusual talent who also scores goals.

Up front we suddenly have Zaza, Carroll, Ayew, Calleri and the promising Fletcher. Salho may yet return to add his abrasive style to the mix.

All in all, its our best squad ever and best manager since John Lyall. Laugh now boys, we are looking forward to taking more than a few scalps on our Premiership travels this year. "Smile-wipe-face-from" come to mind. Hammers fans need to take a leaf from Michail Antonio's book of loyalty right now and show a bit of belief.


What is the Solution to the Sakho Situation?

There are a mere two days remaining on the massive VERYWESTHAM fans poll regarding the future of bad boy Diafra Sakho at West Ham. Diafra marooned himself in no mans land with a series of petulant actions during the Summer before missing the departure bus to West Brom due to a failed medical. Now the question is what to do with £15 million's worth of proven Premiership striking talent?

Hanging Cool
As Simone Zaza edges ever closer to a West Ham arrival and Ashley Fletcher looks like he may well be ready to contribute to West Ham's offensive efforts, many would say that Sakho should be left to stew. However, a whopping 71% of fans who have voted so far feel that SuperSlav should put a fatherly arm around the Senegalese hitman and offer him a fresh start.

With Enner Valencia endlessly misfiring, Jonathan Calleri finding it difficult to get into goal scoring stride, and Big Andy back in sickbay, it's no surprise that many think that we should give Saks the pay rise that appears to be at the centre of the current dispute and let him do his talking on the pitch. After last night's limp display we really could do with his abrasive energy up front. 

Waddaya think peeps? Why not vote in our poll?

Oops! Hammers hit an Astra Googly!

Are we Scunthorpe in disguise?
It was really only when we reached injury time last night that it really hit home that West Ham had been done over by last night's visiting Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu. Having started in sluggish mood, the Hammers were caught on the counter just before half time allowing 35 year old ex-Baggie Filipe Teixeira to slot the ball home to give Astra the lead.

The Hammers upped the intensity for the second half but Astra keeper Silviu Lung was in fine form and pulled off a series of excellent saves in what was to end in an embarrassing defeat for the Olympic Stadium tenants.

In truth, many fans will be quietly pleased that West Ham now avoid a season of tiring midweek fixtures as recent injuries have highlighted the limitations of the squad depth. Moreover, any match where SuperSlav rests Captain Claret is clearly not of the highest priority. No doubt Dimitri Payet will also be available at the weekend and how west Ham missed his invention last night.

West Ham again seemed to lack purpose or a coherent game plan and are still playing like a team of individuals, but there were some positives. Ashley Fletcher looked very lively indeed during his 35 minutes of action and was desperately unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 70th minute before being denied the equaliser three minutes later as he sneaked into the six yard box to deflect an Ogbonna strike towards the net before Lung pulled off an amazing reflex save. Soon after, Fletcher earned a Payet-perfect free kick which Enner Valencia send goal bound only to be denied by the invincible Lung.

Thereafter, the frustration set in and it was a merciful release when the referee ended proceedings and West Ham avoided extra time!

SuperSlav was clearly annoyed at the result but one suspects that was partly for the cameras. Your-Ropey League is a dull and tepid excuse for European football and few Premiership sides have really benefitted from participation in the past (remember Fulham!). It's onwards and upwards with Man City at the weekend. Well done Astra - a much better showing than your 5-0 defeat last weekend in the Romanian League!!! having dumped us out of the Europa League for two season's running you are now well and truly West Ham's bogey team.

P.S. No disrespect intended to Scunthorpe United.


Thursday 25 August 2016

Hammers Select Starting XI of Real Intent for Astra clash

With an hour to kick off the atmosphere is a little confused as many Hammers fans are wondering with the return of the injury curse that progress to the group stages of the Europa League could prove a mixed blessing. Already the 3 games in a week cycle is stretching resources and with Man City waiting at the weekend, the Hammers cant afford to go into that game tired.

Astra meanwhile were buoyed by their late equaliser in Romania. The Europa League should provide a good testing ground for all of our emerging talent but instead is proving an unwanted burden upon an injury-prone first team squad.

With the team sheets in, it's clear that Superslav feels that group participation is desirable and he has underpinned that by selecting the following starting XI : Randolph, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Burke, Nordtveit, Tore, Obiang, Kouyate, Antonio, Calleri. (Subs: Adrian, Collins, Oxford, Browne, Diangana, Valencia, Fletcher).

It'll be interesting to see how the midfield lines out with Nordtveit, Obiang and Kouyate. With various rumours about Pedro Obiang's future, tonight is a massive chance for him to shine.

Up front, fans will be hoping that Jonathan Calleri puts his miss at the weekend behind him and gets his hammers haul up and running. The replenished Michail Antonio will be looking to further emphasise his offensive ability with another outing up front. It's a big start also for Reece Burke, who may play at RB with Sam Byram switching to LB (or vica versa!).

Let the games begin! SuperSlav says that the Hammers won't sit back and try to defend the away goal - with our recent defensive mishaps that sounds like a wise stance!

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Hammers Main Man Plays on Despite Injury

Just when you might of thought that things couldn't get much worse on the injury front at West Ham, it emerged today that co-chairman David Sullivan has today undergone heart surgery!

Having previously had a quadruple bypass, Sullivan underwent
a minor procedure and unlike his expensive sicknoters was straight back on the phone wheeling and dealing to bring new signings to the club.

We all wish Mr Sullivan a speedy and full recovery. Top man!

Monday 22 August 2016

Should Sakho be Brought Back? Have your say...

Happier times during the Noble testimonial

Yesterday's encounter with Bournemouth at the Olympic Stadium highlighted West Ham's current plight - despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, they looked toothless up front and were fortunate to grab a late winner.

Even more disappointing was the late miss by the new big attacking hope in Jonathan Calleri who fluffed a wonderful opportunity when one on one with the keeper in a late breakaway. Enner Valencia was his usual unimposing self, while Ashley Fletcher is still in the developing bracket.

In truth, despite all the efforts to bolster our attack during the Summer we are now worse off than last year! All the while there is a very decent solution (in terms of footballing ability at least!) within the ranks in Diafra Sakho.

The Senegalese hit man set the Premiership alight with six goals in consecutive games when he first arrived but has stuttered since, mainly due to injury. His frustration has boiled over into some petulant behaviour towards the end of last season and also during the preseason but few would deny that he has the edge that West Ham need up front. While not quite a 20-goal a season striker, Sakho has amassed 19 goals in 49 appearances for the club - many as a late substitute or as a left sided attacker rather than central striker.

It remains unclear whether he has rejoined the first team squad but recent tweets from David Gold suggest that the door is open. Should we usher him in? What do you think?  Why not let us know in our poll above (right)?

Sunday 21 August 2016

West Ham 1-0 Bournemouth: Player Ratings

Premiership life at the Olympic Stadium got off to a winning start today as West Ham managed to find a late winner. however, the game was a rather scrappy affair notable for the many absences in the host's line up. How did our troops fare - here's the VERYWESTHAM verdict:

Adrian: Upbeat, positive, a ray of sunshine. He also managed to maintain his concentration on a quiet day at the office, keeping out two dangerous second half strikes from Josh King with acrobatic saves. 7/10.

Sam Byram: Solid in defence if a little uninspiring coming forward> he merits a starting place in the side and is our only recognised specialist right back. 7/10.

Arthur Masuaku: Excellent throughout. Comfortable on the ball and eager to get forward. Also put in a few decent defensive challenges. He is proving to be a decent replacement for Aaron Cresswell. 8/10.

Winston Reid: Solid as ever. Picked up a silly yellow card for dissent but otherwise unperturbed. 7/10.

James Collins:  Quietly effective but also nearly scored from an unusual set piece play for a  first half corner. ginger Pele almost became our top scorer! 7/10.

Havard Nordtveit: Solid part of a midfield that dominated Bournemouth without managing much on the creative side. 7/10.

Mark Noble: Never gave up even though the game looked to drivelling to a stalemate. Tireless in his efforts to keep the Hammers engine ticking over. 8/10.

Cheik Kouyate: Probably our best player on the day. Not just a physical force at the back but the source of our best attacking moves with his pace on the break , one of which brought the second yellow for Harry Arthur that tilted the game in West Ham's favour. 9/10.

Gokhan Tore: Had a busy day - with mixed results. On the up side he supplied an excellent cross for Michail Antonio's winner but otherwise does not look up to full speed and his set piece delivery was very modest in comparison with the absent Mr Payet. 7/10.

Enner Valencia: Typical performance from the Ecuadorian. He loses possession so often and seems to still be struggling with the physicality of the Premiership. 6/10.

Michail Antonio: Not at his best until he switched from the left to his natural right-sided wide attacking position where he thrived. He deserved the goal for all his loyalty and courage during the right back experiment which hopefully is finally over. 8.5/10.

Subs: Calleri looked lively in a useful 30 minute run out but will be disappointed with failing to net a one on one during injury time. Obiang and Fletcher were not involved for long enough to warrant critique.

Word is that Payet will be available for this week's Europa League second leg but SuperSlav will probably hold him back on the bench unless circumstances warrant his intervention.


Fans Poll: Should Bilic Bring Sakho Back?

Right now the biggest question for West Ham's management is whether Diafra Sakho should be given another chance to lead the line. While his behaviour during the Summer has been disappointing, he is a real talent and as a wise man once said "needs must".

What do you think? Why not have your say in our poll.

Sakho to Return as Striker Solution at West Ham

The dream is on again...
Disaster has struck again at West Ham with emerging news that new striker Andre Ayew has been joined in the treatment room by Andy Carroll. As West Ham seek an urgent solution it is worth bearing in mind that the squad already includes a proven Premiership striking talent in Diafra Sakho.

Saks has done himself few favours with his disrespectful antics over the recent past by demanding a transfer and refusing to join the preseason tour of the US and Austria. A botched escape to the mighty Baggies has left the Senegalese hitman stranded on the fringes at West Ham. However, many Hammers fans have expressed a hope that SuperSlav can find a way to tame the unruly Sakho and recent statements from David Gold suggest that a return is still possible.

at the centre of the dispute seems to be two things; firstly Sakho feels he should be the lead striker at the club and secondly he wants a pay rise. The first is hardly a big issue as by default it is the case. No disrespect to new lad Jonathan Calleri, but he is unproven at Premiership level where the physicality of the game is too much for many (take Enner Valencia as an example!). As for the wages, the likes of Wilfried Bony will cost 100k or more per week as a short-term replacement.

Another relevant issue is that Bilic has tended to employ Sakho on the left side of the attack rather than in the central striking role from which Sakho set the Premiership alight two seasons ago. A return to that central striking role would provide Sakho with the opportunity he clearly craves to show that he is our number one striker.

With Sakho now a fortnight back into training maybe he can play a part today against Bournemouth - ideally from the bench. Many Hammers fans will be of the view that it's time for SuperSlav to show just how good he is by directing Sakho's energies towards the good of the club.

Slaven's recent call for 'flexibility amongst the squad may well also apply to the management team - let's have some leniency and forgiveness....after all, everybody deserves a second (and seventh) chance!


West Ham down to the bare Bon-y

Having huffed and puffed their way around Europe all Summer in search of a 20-goal a season striker, west Ham ultimately settled for Swansea's finest in Andre Ayew. Having shelled out £20million, Ayew managed just half an hour of Premiership action before limping off for an estimated four months on the sidelines.

Cue Andy Sicknote to lead the line and finally deliver upon his potential. No, sadly not! Already it seems Andy's injury riddled frame has caved in under the pressure and West Ham are down to Premiership newbie Jonathan Calleri and young Ashley Fletcher. And then there's the Sakho situation.

Not surprisingly, the Hammers are rumoured to be hot on the trail of Man City reject Wilfried Bony. The Ivorian is now 27 years old and prior to joining the Man City financial bonanza / career-ending reserve ranks (depending on how you look at it), Bony enjoyed a fine strike rate across Europe with Sparta Prague, Vitesse Arnhem and Swansea scoring a very respectable 94 goals in 178 appearances, at a rate of 0.53 goals per game.

The Man City style of pressing football clearly did not suit Bony where lack of regular football resulted in the disappointing haul of  just 10 goals in 46 appearances. Under Bilic, the counterattacking style would surely suit him better. With China beckoning, a loan stint until Christmas where the Hammers cover his £100k per week wages would suit all parties?

Bring it on!

More injury woe for Hammers as Carroll, Kouyate and Payet all out

Ask any Hammers fan and they will confirm how we have had more than our fair share of injuries over the past few seasons. Last season, Slaven Bilic even moved the squad away from Chadwell Heath for a period in an effort to address the seemingly endless injury woes at the club.

Now, as the club face into a bumper season of combined domestic and Europa League commitments, the injury list is already bulging. Marque signing Andre Ayew managed to last less than the first half of his Premiership debut before joining Aaron Cresswell on the long-term injury list. 

And just as the Hammers ponder whether they need additional striking options, the latest news is that Andy NHS is back in the sick bay! In a story broken by the, citing insider information, it is suggested that the big man is crocked again and even worse, that Cheik Kouyate is also injured and was named on the bench in midweek simply to hide the fact that the club didn't have enough numbers to manage otherwise! In what amounts to a truly depressing litany of woe, the report even suggests that Dimitri Payet has picked up a knock and will miss today's Premiership debut of the Olympic Stadium.

The reports have yet to be confirmed but today's encounter with Bournemouth will be very revealing indeed. Let's hope that these rumours are incorrect but in case they aren't, here is our predicted starting XI for today's clash.


Thursday 18 August 2016

Hammers Name Exciting Side for Astra Clash

Tonight's Europa League Clash has been billed as a revenge match after Astra dumped an inexperienced Hammers side out of the competition at the same stage last year. Either that, or the desire to engage properly with the tournament real, SuperSlav has selected a fascinating side with Antonio up front along with new signing Jonathan Calleri, while both Reece's line out with Byram and Ogbonna at the back.

There are all sorts of worrying rumours about Cheik Kouyate who is not named in the starting side having allegedly picked up an injury, but he is on the bench. Obiang and Noble form the central midfield.

Carroll, Fletcher, Reid, Collins, Browne, Adrian and Kouyate are on the subs bench.

Let the games begin!!!

Costa looks to God to protect him from the unfair targeting

20 minutes: Diego ACTUALLY DOES get a yellow card as the horrible referee singles him out for punishment for simply showing a little healthy dissent about a penalty claim - some fans think Oscar should also have been booked for the obvious dive but they are just being unfair on the gentle little Chelsea chappies!

34 minutes: Oops, Diego accidentally bangs into referee Anthony Taylor. strictly speaking that's another yellow card under new rules but we wont be that harsh on cuddles Costa!

68 minutes: Dear dear me, Diego slips as he tries to tackle Adrian in the West Ham goal and in his efforts to avoid colliding with the goalkeeper raises his foot and unfortunately clatters into the West ham netminder. Adrian totally over-reacts and even refuses to shake hands with Diego. In typical fashion, lots of people who like to pick on Diego suggest that it was a straight red card offence, but they are just jealous of Diego's strength.

89 minutes: Diego scores a late winner but the begrudgers highlight that his celebration, which included running into the crowd, also deserved a second yellow. Spoilsports!

Post Match: Diego wins everybody over with his insightful honesty explaining how "Here I'm marked by referees, I'm going to be honest...if I do anything, it's different to what any other footballer does, and we need to see this because people marked me and I have to deal with it and ask God that these things don't mess me up or take away opportunities of the game that happens with suspension."

God was clearly on duty to protect Diego on Monday night. However, away from Stamford Bridge and the ineffectual Mr Taylor, Mr Costa may find that other venues and referees actually enact the rules of the game.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Defensive Madness Set To Continue!

One of the most enduring negative images of the Allardyce era was that of a young Hammers fan in tears as a youthful West Ham side were thrashed 5-0 by Notts Forest in the FA Cup. Similarly, the look on Michail Antonio's face as he was substituted on Monday night after another disappointing display at right back represents the most negative moment of Slaven Bilic's reign as west Ham manager.

Fans have repeatedly condemned the misuse of Antonio as a defender as it is glaringly obvious that he thinks like a (very capable) attacker in terms of positional sense and tackling style. For many, the silver lining in Monday night's showing was that it seemed to surely end the 'experiment'. 

However, with Arthur Masuaku cup-tied, Slaven Bilic may well persist with Antonio at right back and play Sam Byram at left back for tomorrow night's Europa League clash with FC Astra Giurgiu in Romania. Other options include to play Angelo Ogbonna as a left back and Byram in his natural RB position or use Reece Burke as a right back and keep Byram at Left Back.

Let's hope Slav makes a switch as for many fans it's becoming an agonising spectacle. Please stop this madness NOW!!! Even better, with Feghouli at al out why not reward Michail for his loyalty and commitment to the cause by playing him on the right wing?

C'mon Slav, you know it makes sense!


Monday 15 August 2016

Kante, Conte and.....Diego Costa!

About time!
It's a tough opener for SuperSlav's men but many would say that it's a good time to take on a revitalised Chelski at the Bridge. In many respects the pressure is mostly on Antonio Conte's men as they will be expected to make the running. Such 'underdog' status usually suits Bilic who will alomost certainly play it tight to frustrate Chelsea before bringing on Mr Payet for the final quarter.

Chelsea fans are expecting to see N'Golo Kante debuting in the midfield holding role and his battle with Noble and Kouyate will be key to deciding this match. Equally, West Ham have an obvious weakness at right back where the in form again Eden Hazard will be hoping to announce his return as chief terrorizer of Premiership defences. If Sofiane Feghouli starts in right wing position he will need to drop back to assist Michail Antonio, unless Bilic starts with new signing Arthur Masuoku at left back and switches Sam Byram to his more natural RB position.

As always the loveable Diego Costa will lead the Chelsea attack where Reid and Ogbonna will expect to match him for physicality. For West Ham, Andy C looks ready to finally deliver on his potential and will look to develop on his excellent pre-season form. We expect Andre Agew to be sprung from the bench with Payet on 70 minutes to lead the Hammers to victory and revenge for Chelsea's very very fortunate late draw in the corresponding fixture last season.



Hammers Take the Long View

Affordable football is a phrase that is bandied about with abandon by many but few clubs actually deliver. Not so West Ham United where the board promised that a decent percentage of seats would be on offer at the price of £289. One suspects that the price was deliberately selected to be the least expensive in the Premiership, but Hull City's promotion pushed the Hammers to second place for in the cheapest tickets league listed in the Daily Star.

However, the move proved an excellent way of mobilising the Hammers support with a waiting list of somewhere between 20-30,000 fans hoping to get the call at some point. This is a truly remarkable achievement given that the increase in capacity at the Olympic Stadium compared to Upton Park is more than 25,000. With a waiting (priority) list so long, one wonders if the board may be wishing that they asked for more? However, in keeping with their preference for taking the longer view, garnering interest and a tangible connection to the club in its new era probably took priority over any short term financial gains from higher season ticket prices.

Having sold 50,000 season tickets and gained permission to increase capacity on matchdays to 60,000, the Hammers are hoping to further increase the seating, which one suspects will ultimately approach 65,000. There have been a few quibbles about the quality of the view in these band 5 seats, but at an average of £15 a game, it's hard to complain too much. As a comparison point, the cheapest season tickets at Arsenal are almost four times the price!

Sunday 14 August 2016

Palace To Sign Billy the Fish!

The Rumours are just a cod

Reports over the 24 hours indicate that Crystal Palace are planning a £15 million raid to capture West Ham's Andy Carroll! Not surprisingly, the news has spread wildly despite the fact that there is virtually no evidence to support it!

Carroll has endured a stop-start career at West Ham over the past 4 years but genuinely looks set to deliver on his potential this season. Last week's brace against Juventus underlined his aerial abilities, where on his day he can be virtually un-markable. Add to that his defensive contributions at set pieces and the value of the Big Man to West Ham becomes apparent.

While the £15million that West Ham paid to take Carroll to Upton Park on a permanent basis was a club record at the time, it's a measure of the state of the market that even for an injury-prone player, it would take a considerably higher figure to raise West Ham's interest.

Having given up on their drawn out pursuit of Carlos Bacca, West Ham captured two strikers last week in Andre Ayew and Jonathan Calleri. However, they may still be short on attacking firepower as Diafra Sakho's apparent return to training seems more likely to be aimed at preparing him for sale rather than a return to the first team. Most observers  see little way back for him after his recent tantrums.

Similarly, Enner Valencia's likelihood of remaining at the club after this transfer window appear limited as he has been linked with a variety of clubs in Italy and Turkey. while West Ham may have an abundance of young talent coming through but these are mainly defenders and midfielders. As a consequence, Slaven Bilic is very unlikely to give the nod to the departure of any of his other striking talents.

All of which makes the Palace rumours difficult to understand. In truth, the small South London club look more likely to sign Billy the Fish than Andy C.

Then again, who would have predicted that they'd capture James Tomkins?


Hammers Rising Star Described as "Zidanesque"

After a decade where relatively few young players made the transition from the academy to the full team, suddenly West Ham have more rising talents than the squad can handle! As last week's clash with Juventus demonstrated, Slaven Bilic has a host of younger players hovering on the margins of the first team and is working hard to find ways to facilitate their continuing development.

Twenty year old central midfielder Josh Cullen is one such talent. Having won the Dylan Tombides Award for academy player of the season in 2013-14, he notched up three appearances in last year's Europa League campaign before making his Premiership debut in last season's 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool at Anfield.

Since then opportunities have been hard to find in Slaven Bilic's set up and he enjoyed a highly successful 4 months loan period at Bradford last season playing in 15 games. His good form continues and he did not look out of place against a star-studded Juventus last weekend. With competition for first team places so intense at West ham right now, he has returned on a five month loan to Bradford.

Cullen made his second debut for the Bantams yesterday and was singled out for particular praise for his "outstanding" performance throughout. The official Bradford City report went on to highlight a moment in the second half when Cullen produced "a Zidane-esque spin which was even applauded by the home crowd; it summed up a real eye catching display in central midfield".

Happy days for young Cullen but where to next for him and the growing band of emerging talents at West Ham - Oxford, Burke, Page, Samuelsen, Fletcher, Quina....and the list goes on! Superslav will certainly have his work cut out to keep everybody happy but it's worth recalling that his promise to put more emphasis on developing younger talent (than his ultra conservative predecessor) was one of the key attributes cited in Bilic becoming West Ham manager. The experience of Slaven and his backroom team with the Croatian U21 team should equip him to manage all these riches.

However, for Cullen the option of game time in the Europa League and Cup competitions has been put aside in favour of League Two experience with Stuart McCall's Bradford City. At 20 he still has plenty of time to get back into the West Ham set up and also will be hoping to graduate from the Republic of Ireland U21 side to the full squad as Martin O'Neill looks to build for the next World Cup campaign.

Keep it up young man!


Saturday 13 August 2016

Fifty Four Minutes to Savour for Hammers Fans

Aaaagh! The new season is underway and already there's been loads to chuckle about. Hammers fans may be left twiddling their thumbs waiting for some action until Monday night, but many will have enjoyed the 54 minutes this afternoon when Tottenham Hotspurs were rock bottom of the Premier League!

Upon going behind to a Ross Barkley strike in the 5th minute of their match against Everton, mathematically they were below all other 19 clubs.....oh for a timefreeze machine!

It was not until Eric Lamela equalised in the 59th minute that they hauled themselves off the bottom of the league on what turned out to be a cagey day for results, where three of the six matches concluded so far ended in draws and the remainder all decided by a single goal.

Meanwhile, in more good news, Manny Lanzini should return to the action in 3-4 weeks. No doubt Sofiane Feghouli will be planning to have nailed down the second lockpicker role in the Hammers attack by then and the competition between these two talented attacking midfielders looks set to be a fascination all season!




Hammers Already Pointed Towards Top Four Glory!

With only one match played already the mighty Hammers are forcing their way up the table in a push for ultimate Champion's League glory. 

Hammers fans will be hoping to kick on from where they left off last season but already early results emphasise that this is a different ball game and nothing should be taken for granted.

Leicester, who were seemingly unbeatable last year, followed up last week's Charity Shield defeat by losing today to relegation favourites Hull City!

Despite getting (yet another) dodgy penalty decision in their favour, the hapless foxes conceded twice to a Hull City side that looks suspiciously like the one that was relegated two seasons ago.

Leicester are thus now BOTTOM OF THE LEAGUE!!!

Quoted at 14/1 for relegation in the preseason, those odds will surely be slashed to 10/1 or less. Oh how the mighty have fallen!


Hammers Annual Relegation Battle Begins

We are bottom of the league, we are .....

Although it's an alphabetical anomaly, but any year that Wolves are outside the Premiership West Ham begin the year at the bottom. However, after last years lightning start, Hammers fans will be hoping that their new squad can push on further from last years 7th placed finish.

The Leicester story has undoubtedly fuelled a thousand dreams of unlikely Premiership success amongst fans of all clubs, but realistically the big six are likely to dominate the upper echelons of the league with Man City favourites at 21/10, followed by a revitalised Mourinho-led Man United at 7/2 with Paddy Poormakers.

Meanwhile, current champions Leicester are quoted at 33/1 but without N'Golo Kante they may struggle to repeat last year's stunning successes.

The Hammers are an outside bet at 80/1 that could get interesting if Dimitri Payet continues his form. Moreover, with a solid defence and combative midfield, if Andy Carroll could deliver on his potential and Andre Ayew connects well with Payet, it could get very interesting!

Perhaps the best value is Spurs at 10/1 but their longstanding potential to choke when it really matters will discourage all but the most fervent fans to part with cash.

In terms of relegation, rudderless Hull city are favourites at the mildly insulting odds of 13/6 on! Burnley are evens while the dream of Tottenham going down is an outside bet at 375/1 against.

At 33/1 the Hammers history of relegation yoyo remains a factor that observers consider relevant but in reality, the current Hammers squad is far too strong to get sucked into relegation issues. Moreover, the Olympic stadium, and it's revenue stream, will surely insulate the fastest growing club in Europe against such disasters.

However, good and all as the current squad is, are they really that much better than the 2003 side that got relegated? Moreover, the robust defence upon which west Ham built last year's successes looks much more porous on the flanks with a shortage of experienced natural full backs in the squad.

Astute fans will point to the abilities of SuperSlaven Bilic as a definite distinction between the two squads and its hard to see the calm Croat panicking if the team and supporters struggle to settle in at the new stadium.

Moreover, the good news that Aaron Cresswell is recovering more quickly than expected, along with the signing of Arthur Masuaku and the continued development of Sam Byram should tighten things up. the arrival of another right back before the transfer window closes would be reassuring!

Finally, perhaps the most meaningful odds to consider are the much-coveted Champion's League top four spots. At 8/1 against this might be the best Hammers value of all as Bilic's men came much closer than their final position suggested last year and but for a series of unfortunate refereeing gaffes would have been competing very strongly for fourth place. What goes around comes around, so maybe this term the decisions will go their way?

We reckon £30 on a top four finish will earn you the cash for a season ticket in 2017/8.


Friday 12 August 2016

Sak's Back!

The arrival of Andre Ayew and Jonathan Calleri has bolstered West Ham's confidence that they can score enough goals to make their first season at the Olympic Stadium a success. However, many fans were disappointed when Diafra Sakho looked to be on his way to West Brom - until a failed medical scuppered his plans.

Sakho enjoyed a fabulous start to life with the Hammers scoring in six consecutive games at the start of the 2014-5 season. Unfortunately, things have been stop-start ever since while there have been a series of off-field problems and disturbing visits to social media. Never the less, there can be little doubting that Saks has an edge and that his pace and aggression creates space for others.

As a result, many fans hope that he will rediscover his focus and return to the fray. In encouraging news today club chairman David Gold revealed that Sakho is back in training and that the door is definitely open for a return to the first team squad.

All of which makes you wonder how he managed to fail the medical at the Hawthorns? With Andy Carroll's injury-proneness combined with Calleri's lack of Premiership experience, having Sakho and Ayew both available would be a real boost as we face an exciting season.


Payet Won't Start at Stamford Bridge

Slaven Bilic has revealed his thoughts ahead of Monday night's Premiership opener against a revamped Chelsea. Questioned about the potential involvement of Dimitri Payet, Bilic confirmed that he would be involved but "not for 90 minutes". It seems certain that Payet will start from the bench as Bilic commented how Payet is the type of player you want to have involved in the final 15 minutes.

With that in mind, we predict the following starting XI: Adrian, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble, Kouyate, Feghouli, Antonio, Valencia, Carroll.
We can expect Payet and new signing Andre Ayew to appear in the final quarter, esp[ecially if Paddy Power's odds of Chelsea at 4/6 on and the Hammers a decent bet at 9/2 against for the win.

Hammers no longer Kneed replacements

With eight new signings having arrived during the Summer SuperSlaven Bilic's squad is looking strong ahead of a busy campaign that will hopefully include sustained participation in the Europa League.

There has also been good news on the injury front with their three players idelined with knee injuries all making good progress. Aaron Cresswell is now weight bearing again, Manny Lanzini is running, while Gokhan Tore is back in full training.

It remains to be seen whether a right back will arrive to compete with Sam Byram for the starting berth, but many Hammers will be hoping that Michail Antonio will be liberated from his makeshift duties in defence. Reece Burke put in a decent showing at right back against Juventus last weekend and provides another option.

Up front, the arrivals of Andre Ayew and Jonathan Calleri should allow for the exit of either or both of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. Reports suggest that Valencia may go on loan to either Italy or Turkey, while Sakho may yet make peace with the club having failed a medical at West Brom.

With the season's opener at Chelsea on Monday, wepredict the following starting XI: Adrian, Byram, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble, Kouyate, Payet, Feghouli, Antonio, Carroll.

Yes, that's Andy Carroll to heap more disappointment on Chelsea after last season's winner at Upton Park with new signing Andre Ayew starting on the bench.

Thursday 11 August 2016

Hartson recalls 'that' incident

The continued health and prosperity of Big John Hartson is something that all football fans find inspiring. Having survived a life threatening battle with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain, he serves as a testimony to the powers of recovery with his amusing an astute contributions as a media pundit.

Last night saw Hartson appear on Newstalk FM in Ireland where he revisited various highs and lows from his career. Many listeners would have been surprised to hear how Hartson scored the winning goal in 4 consecutive old firm derbies! When asked about the biggest game in his career he replied 'all the big firm games'. When the interviewers asked him to select one Celtic-Rangers clash in particular he replied 'all of them'!

In terms of low points, he was quick to identify the 1998 training ground incident with Eyal Berkovic as 'the biggest regret of my career'. john explained how a rush of blood to the head caused the incident but was quick to point out that although very physical in a targeted way, he was never 'dirty' and lamented how much it affected his reputation and subsequent career.

He also joked how after apologising and making peace with Berkovic, he had returned home with the assurance that the incident would be kept quiet. however, his bedtime tea and KitKat (!) was spoiled by his wife summoning him to see himself featuring on the news at ten as the footage had been released and gone viral! 

Why not visit the John Hartson Foundation and support their battle against testicular cancer:  

There's lot's of information about how you can reduce your risk from testicular cancer.

Meanwhile, Big John continues as an inspiration to us all - and a refreshingly forthright and humorous commentator on all things footy.


Monday 8 August 2016

Wham Bam...Thankyou West Ham

Yesterday was not just the official opening of the new Stadium but also DergHammer Supporters Club first experience of the ground and its environs. For sure, it's sad to leave Upton Park but for accessibility and overall experience, the new ground has a lot to offer the international fan. Check out our day:

5.15AM: Up and a quick shower then into the car bound for Shannon airport.
6.25AM: Arrive at Shannon for the 7:05 red eye to Stansted.
8.15AM: Touch down in Stansted. We catch a coffee and jump on one of the many buses heading on a 40 minute journey to Stratford.
9.30AM: Arrive in Stratford. Breakfast and then we head for a look at the stadium. It's been nicely Hammerified with gigantic pics of our heroes and there are loads of good photo opportunities.
10.30AM: We head to the Olympic Aquatic Centre for a nice morning swim to clear the cobwebs and relieve any pre-match tension.
11.30AM: Meet with friends and then do a Jamie (Oliver). Decent nosh and reasonable price too. It's pretty clear that Stratford has embraced the reality that West Ham are here to stay and it seems that fans are welcome everywhere. One suspects that the pubs will become more Hammers-friendly pretty quickly.
12.15PM: We head for the stadium. Great atmosphere and endless positivity. In we go...
12.30PM: Nice opening ceremony with tributes to Bobby and Uncle Trev. Lots of fireworks.
1.00PM: We're off. The view is decent. The atmosphere is good but not quite Boleynesque. Maybe that needs time. We go two down but then Andy C pops up with two great headers and it's even steven.
2.43PM: Payet enters the fray.......YESSSSSSSS! We concede a late goal to an excellent Simone Zaza strike. Poor Reece Oxford had a learning moment!
3.00PM: It's time to leave. The club shop is jammers so we head for Pigbelly's coffee house. There's a chick playing Radiohead songs on an acoustic guitar.
4.15PM: Back to the shop which is very manageable now. Jerseys etc and we are ready to depart.
5.15PM: Bus back to Stansted for the 19:50 flight.....loadsa time to grab some grub in the surprisingly excellent Leons.
10.05PM: Home!....and a celebratory beer.

There can be no doubting that the Olympic Stadium opens up matchday adventures for a much greater circle of fans - including anybody living near an airport that has connections with Stansted.

We had a marvellous day that was made possible by the convenience and accessibility of the new stadium....Thankyou Mr Gold and Mr Sullivan.....but still and all, there's a part of us that misses UP.