Saturday, 4 November 2017

The Bookies Get it Spot On As Hammers Implode...again

The prematch odds for this evenings game at the London Stadium seemed a bit unfair placing West Ham at 4-1 against a win despite playing at home. However, once again the Hammers have looked listless and without a clear game plan. Conceding two poor goals to Liverpool in a first half that they will want to forget. For the first goal Edmilisen Fernandes half-hearted jog back to try to prevent a Liverpool break summed up the spirit in the camp.

Even the most ardent Bilic fans (and I count myself among them) must be starting to wonder if its time for a change. Our squad really isn't performing. Perhaps we over-rate the depth in quality, but Lanzini, Hernandez, Louyate and Reid are surely players that would improve most sides in the Premiership? The season is not beyond saving and if we want to hold on to our better players we need to buck up - and fast. Even worse, we are starting to look like a side that deserves to be caught up in the relegation battle.

As we slide towards another embarrassing defeat Antonio's error last week against Palace may prove a key element in accelerating Bilic's departure. After 75 minutes we are 4-1 down. The atmosphere is very sour indeed. The bookies called it right in terms of the odds of a home win, and had quoted Slaven Bilic as third favourite to be next sacked Premiership manager at 5-1 before tonight's game. You'd have to  wonder what the odds will be now?

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Don't Blame Antonio: We Were Lucky to get a Draw

After Slaven Bilic's side threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with lowly Crystal Palce yesterday the blame has focused very firmly on Michail Antonio. With the game deep into injury time Antonio passed up the opportunity to run the game out when he had possession in the opposition's corner and instead gave the ball away softly.

Palace duly took the opportunity and scored an dramatic 97th minute equaliser with the final kick of the game. Apart from the loss of 2 valuable points, the goal took the gloss off of a good week for the club where they put an embarrassing defeat to Brighton behind them with a cracking win away to local enemies Tottenham. The goal may even tilt the balance against Bilic who is struggling to hold onto his job.

However, the ire being directed towards Antonio is distracting from some pretty awful facts about the game. Palace are a poor side yet they totally dominated the second half and deserved at least a point. The Hammers had two shots on target through the whole match compared to Palace's haul of seven. With 43% possession we managed just two corners to their eleven. Joe Hart had a great game - he needed to!

The reality is that we were bosses by a very limited side who are bottom of the league and could not hold out despite having a two goal lead. That's the form that makes for relegation worries. With our current squad that seems unthinkable but we know all about getting relegated with a strong squad as the Cole-Lampard-Defoe-Di Canio etc team proved in the past.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

An Ayew statistic that will surprise many Hammers fans!

Am I alone among Hammers fans in sometimes finding myself sighing when Andre Ayew enters the fray? Often the Ghana international looks to be running down blind alleyways with his low centre of gravity and head down combining to make it look like there is an imbalance between effort and guile.

In reality, after his first season many fans were still undecided about the relative merits of Ayew and his £20 million transfer fee seemed to hang like a mill stone around his neck. Some fans feel that we should have held on to Sofiane Feghouli instead of Ayew.

However, Ayew's high energy game is starting to pay dividends as our stunning victory over Spurs in midweek demonstrates. His MOTM award was well deserved for a brace that Chicharito would have been proud of (And needs to start delivering!). But Ayew's recent good form is perhaps more sustained than many fans appreciate as in his 15 months at the club he has been involved in more goals (10 goals and 5 assists) than any other Hammer!!!

As his goal count this season mounts (currently 4), maybe he can join Michail Antonio as a double figures forward? He achieved double figures in 4 of his 5 seasons at Marseille and also with Swansea in the Premiership before joining West Ham. With Marko Arnautovic needing to prove himself and Nathan Holland waiting in the wings, the Hammers are starting to look potent out wide.

Palace today should provide the ideal opportunity to build upon Wednesday night's performance for player and club. With Palace lacking firepower going forward, surely Slaven Bilic will go with an attacking formation?

Kick off is at 3pm.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Hammers Look to Silver Lining...

After his 90 seconds of madness on Saturday, Andy Carroll will be serving a ban when West Ham welcome Brighton to the OS on Friday night. missing out on the three points that we looked destined for against Burnley was hugely disappointing, but for many fans Carroll's loss may be a bonus as it will likely mean that Chicharito will return to his favoured central role.

In truth the Mexican assassin has looked out of sorts since he was displaced from the central striker's position by Carroll's return. Never the less, he is joint top scorer for the club with three goals in eight games - compared with Carroll's zero return from 4 starts.

Perhaps even more interesting will be the opening created for Diafra Sakho - a player that is starting to look like his old abrasive self as he regains hard-won fitness after repeated injury woes. Sakho has delivered 3 goals from 2 starts (and seven substitute appearances) but clearly needs more game time.

With the Hammers at home and under the floodlights, it's surely time to go with two up front - with Arnautovic on the left and Antonio on the right. Add Lanzini in the middle and we have the prospect of goals galore. The one issue is who will fill the holding midfield role - with Kouyate and Obiang neck and neck while poor Mark Noble looks out of the picture.

Whatever else, Friday night will answer some important questions about Bilic's intentions for our forwards and his preferred offensive style. Chicharito and Sakho will no doubt be hoping to seize this excellent opportunity to impress the boss regarding their respective claims for the central striking role.



Typical, just bloody typical! hammers fans will be amazed to hear that Simone Zaza - the guy who couldn't score at West Ham (eleven games and no goals) has won La Liga player of the month for September!

Zaza enjoyed a decent run in the latter half of last season after escaping London for Valencia - netting six goals in 20 appearances, but this season he has been on fire with 7 goals in 8 games, including a recent hat trick against Malaga!

While Hammers fans would never wish anything but the best of fortune to ex-players (with the notable exceptions of Ince and Payet), Zaza's story raises important questions about Messers Sullivan and Gold's transfer 'deals' as Zaza's failure was compounded by contractual issues that prevented him from playing sufficient games to adjust to the unique environment of the Premiership.

Whatever next? Modi Maiga to win African player of the year? Hardly, as the Mali international has endured a torrid time since leaving West Ham and has struggled to settle in the Gulf leagues managing just 9 goals in the past 3 seasons!

Would Zaza have been a success in the Premiership if he had been handled differently by the club?


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Bilic Plays Strong Hand in Claret n Blue Cup

Slaven Bilic has fielded probably the strongest attack-minded starting XI available to him for today's clash at Turf Moor with a chance for Hammers fans to see what we can do with all our big guns up front. With Sakho and Ayew on the bench, Bilic really has options to shake things up if they don't go according to plan.


West Ham: Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Antonio, Kouyate, Lanzini, Arnautovic; Carroll, Hernandez. Subs: Adrian, Noble, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Obiang, Ayew, Sakho.

Time to Repay the Bank of Bilic!

As the Hammers return from the International break with an away trip at Burnley, it has emerged that manager Slaven Bilic runs a bizarre credit rating system to support his team selections!

Speaking in an interview this week, he explained how players get credits for performances in training as well as match day performances- with the latter considered most important.

Having splashed the cash on the high profile signings of Chicharito, Arnautovic, Zabaleta and Hart, Bilic must be feeling that his signings are all in major debt to the Bank of Bilic!

Of the four, Chicharito has delivered a few much needed goals but has not yet found a rhythm within  the team. Zabaleta is a great pro but struggles against pacey opposition, Hart hasn't done anything especially wrong but has shipped a lot of goals as our defence has been porous, while Marko Arnautovic has delivered mostly in terms of his dodgy temperament rather than penetrating attacking play.

Arnie is thus the most in debt but after a decent international break in which he scored for Austria, he will be hoping to start today and lead the charge up the table. Let's hope today brings the first evidence of a growing partnership between him and the returning Manny Lanzini as our principal shortcoming so far this season has been the lack of a coherent attacking plan.

The Hammers are 15/8 but have beaten Burnley in their last 4 encounters. Burnley are unbeaten in their last 5, so something will have to give at Turf Moor today.

We reckon 2-1 to the Hammers!


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Let the dream begin...

As Slaven Bilic prepares to resume the Hammers campaign after the International break, it's an ideal time to take stock of our season to date.

After a difficult start which found the Hammers bottom of the table after four games, Bilic has weathered the storm with a series of decent rests, albeit underpinned by patchy form during which the team have struggled to discover a convincing rhythm.  In reality, the recent results have been due to good fortune and hard endeavour rather than by virtue of quality play.

Never the less, West Ham are lurching towards mid table boredom and with a full squad of players who are mostly match fit, it's surely time to unleash an attacking five comprising Lanzini, Arnautovic, Antonio, Chicharito and Carroll. With Sakho on form to replace either striker, Mr Bilic has decent options up front.

Moreover, the return of the impressive Pedro Obiang to partner Cheik Kouyate in midfield sure maintain an increasingly tight defensive unit.

Burnley, Brighton and Palace ahead in the league with an exciting opportunity to kibble the Spuds at their temporary Wembley home and suddenly it's time for some positivity.

Who knows, maybe we can push into the top half and let the dreaming begin?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Dream time ahead for Hammers

Ok, so yesterday was a repeat of the Baggies game a fortnight back where two unimaginative sides played out a turgid affair, with one exception, just as in last week's defeat to Spurs, Bilic was able to change the game with his substitutions.

Arthur Masuaku came on with Diafra Sakho and conspired to land a knockout punch just on full time. We are now out of the relegation zone and looking ahead with as close to a full squad as Bilic has ever enjoyed during his time at the club. The next three months will test just how good the Croat really is. 

With Salvo, Carroll and Chicharito all fit it's hard to remember when we last had such potential up front. The return of Manny Lanzini can spark pour creativity while the choice of any two of Antonio, Arnautovic, Ayew and Masuaku is tantalising. Put Kouyate and Obiang in front of a back four and we should be defensively solid.

All we need is a bit of rhythm and confidence and we can push up the table. A run of results and we can think about a top six spot...


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Baggies go for Record as Arnie returns

The Hammers will look to build upon Monday night's win over Huddersfield while the Baggies will want to move on from their saggy performance against Brighton last time out. Games between these two can often be dour affairs but last season's OS clash was a humdinger as the Baggies grabbed an injury time equaliser having previously led. The Hammers dominated that day and were entitled to feel hard done by as there were a number of poor refereeing decisions in the lead up to the goal and they will be hoping that Lady Luck favours the Irons on this occasion.

Gareth Barry will become the player with the greatest number of Premiership appearances as he is selected in West Brom's starting line up. Presuming that he doesn't do a Winston on it and get injured in the warm up! Meanwhile, Bilic persists with the Chicarito out wide and Carroll up top that was reasonably successful against Huddersfield with the returning Marko Arnautovic on the bench but surely likely to get some action. Let's hope that Michail Antonio makes that a late option with another barnstorming performance like he provided on Monday night - terrorising the poor Huddersfield defence popping up on both flanks.

You can get 5/2 against a West Ham win which is decent odds, as is Chicharito at 9/4 to score at some point. We are optimistically going for a 2-1 victory as we reckon Bilic has got it right with the three CB formation at the back for West Ham!!!

West Ham United - Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte, Collins, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Antonio, Obiang, Hernandez, Carroll.

Subs - Adrian, Arnautovic, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Player Ratings: West Ham vs Huddersfield

So, finally, West Ham picked up some points to get their season going in an entertaining game at the OS. In truth, the scoreline was a fair reflection of the action as the Hammers played all the football until Huddersfield pushed forward for a final ten minute flurry that ultimately fizzled out. Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew scored the all important goals but overall how did each member of the team rate?

Hart (7/10) Looked confident throughout and was alert to the rare occasions when Huddersfield threatened, including a decent strike from Billing mid way through the game.

Reid (8/10) Solid throughout. He remains our best defender.

Cresswell (8/10) Looked back to his old self - tenacious in defence and pushed up at every opportunity. Not bad as our principal set piece taker.

Fonte (7/10) Quiet game - always a good sign for a centre back!

Zabaleta (8/10) Was determined to push the side forward at every opportunity by leading through example. Had his best game for the club so far.

Collins (7/10) Unlucky not to open the scoring in the first half. Dependable as always.

Kouyate (7/10) Lively, if a bit wasteful at times. Great to have him back as he adds energy in midfield.

Obiang (8/10) Lucky with a deflection for the goal but a real engine in midfield, keeping things flowing and maintaining pressure on Huddersfield.

Carroll (7/10) Brilliant to have him back. Decent performance and he looked hungry for action. 80 minutes - phew!

Hernandez (7/10) Rattled the bar in the first half when he should have scored. A few decent flicks that almost opened the Terriers up. Will be disappointed to have been subbed at the hour mark.

Antonio (9/10) MOTM - all he needed was a goal to get a 10/10. Aggressive, energetic and popped up on both wings - a real nightmare to mark.

Subs - Ayew (grabbed a Chicharito-style goal from a pinballed corner: 8/10), Sakho (lively for ten minutes: 7/10), Rice (only on long enough to touch the ball twice but good to see him in the picture still N/A).

Two goals, a clean sheet and the pressure off Mr Bilic - job done!

Keep your eyes peeled for the 69th minute of action!

All eyes will be focused upon the second half as West Ham try to grab the points against Huddersfield at the OS. One fan's tweet is sure to cause a stampede amongst neutral viewers to keep an eye on the action as he has promised a bizarre pitch invasion in the 69th minute!

So far the Hammers have been in control notching 12 attempts to Huddersfield's single effort. Chicharito hit the bar early on but since then the Hammers have been dominant without opening the terriers up. In truth, Huddersfield have looked compact and so far have dealt effectively with the Andy Carroll threat.

Michail Antonio looks sharp and has roasted the Terrirrs full back on a number of occasions, while Winston Reid has been dominant at the back. An early goal would calm the nerves but Huddersfield will fancy their chances if they get to the final quarter without conceding - that's if events in the 69th don't bring the game to a halt!


Offensive Look to Bilic's Hammers as the Home Season Begins

Hammers fans will be hoping that the season will finally get going as they face newly promoted Huddersfield town at the OS tonight. As expected, Slaven Bilic has responded to all the speculation about his future by coming out fighting and with an attacking formation that includes Carroll and Chicharito up front. Kouyate is back and will partner Pedro Obiang in midfield but it's not clear who will cover the left wing area - perhaps Chicharito playing out wide with Carroll in the middle? Elsewhere, it's three at the back with Aaron Cresswell looking to impress and starting ahead of Masuaku. Young Declan Rice is on the bench but will be hoping for an opportunity to make amends for his costly slip against Newcastle. The visitors have started well to their life in the Premiership and include Tom Ince as their best known player (to Hammers fans at least!).

Rory Nostradamus is going for the Hammers and a 3-1 win (Hammers are evens for a win, Huddersfield 3-1 and the draw is 12-5 with Paddy Poormaker).

West Ham United - Hart, Reid, Cresswell, Fonte, Zabaleta, Collins, Kouyate, Carroll, Obiang, Hernandez, Antonio.

Subs - Adrian, Sakho, Ayew, Ogbonna, Byram, Masuaku, Rice.

Huddersfield Town - Lossl, Smith, Billing, Kachunga, Mooy, Lowe, Van La Parra, Ince, Mounie, Zanka, Schindler.

Subs - Coleman, Malone, Sabiri, Williams, Depoitre, Hadergjonaj, Hefele.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Anyone feeling embarrassed?

During the week I had an enlightening encounter at the leisure centre. As i was packing away my gear into my claret n blue holdall a stranger asked me if it was West ham. The predictably entertaining conversation followed as we discussed all things West ham and I then invited him to join our Derghammers supporters club.

In describing the group I mentioned that we were all 'proper' Hammers - long suffering, passionate fans who enjoy decent football and even if we don't always win!

He then remarked that we sounded old school and not like the fickle new fans who have flooded social media this week with their feelings of anger and outrage - demanding that the board, manager, and various players be gotten rid of!

And all because of three bad results and only acquiring 4 top class signings during the Summer!

Now that is truly embarrassing!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sak-Go: Time to Let Diafra go if he wants

The Hammers are in a bit of a crisis already this season - bottom of the league after three games and once again leaking goals for fun!

And now Diafra Sakho is up to his old tricks after being left out against Newcastle - pulling off an Odemwingie-style solo effort by organising his own medical at Rennes! Apparently the French outfit are willing to splash out £9million on him - if so, its surely a no brainer?

Sakho has just a year left on his contract and any seasoned observer would question whether he will ever regain full fitness for a sustained period after a series of setbacks over the past two seasons.

The Hammers need attacking players but with Little Pea, Andy Carroll and the ever improving Toni Martinez we are not too badly off, while Michail Antonio is a decent second striker when needed?

Diafra had a great first season but has done little to impress since. He has stated that he wants to leave such that there seems little point in holding on to him and maybe the fee will bridge the gap in the Carvalho campaign?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

It's Make or Break Time for this Hammer

Andre Ayew has had mixed fortunes since joining West Ham for a then record-breaking £20 million from Swansea last year. His initial time at the club was spent on the injured list after a nasty thigh injury on his debut, but upon returning in October he has huffed and puffed - scoring 6 goals in 25 Premiership outings.

With the arrival of Marko Arnautovic, along with the imminent return of Michail Antonio, Ayew is under pressure to hold on to a starting berth out wide, while the much predicted arrival of William Carvalho will limit opportunities in a more central role. In short, today would be an ideal moment to find his Swansea form!

Ayew has a scoring record just short of a goal every third game whilst playing in the top flight since 1010. At 27 years of age he is entering what should be the pinnacle of his career and has put down that first bedding in year with the Hammers. His time is now...



Coddled-together Hammers travel in hope rather than expectation

For the unacquainted, Coddle is an Irish (Dublin) dish made up from leftover bacon and sausages that are cooked below boiling point with potatoes and onions. Said to be Dean Swift’s favourite dish, in reality most people find it disgusting!

Because it is made from leftovers it has no specific recipe – and thus gives rise to the term ‘coddled together’ rather like the West Ham team for today’s visit to Ye Olde Trafforde where Slaven Bilic wilkl be without Cheik Kouyate, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and, of course Andy Sicknote and Diafra Sakho.

Quoted at 11-1 against, it’s hard to see how the Hammers can pull of a win today against a Man United side that is widely tipped to challenge for the title and includes the terrifying prolific (against West Ham anyway!) Romelu Lukaku.

If Man United have a weakness, it is Jose Mourinho’s tendency to play it conservatively against sides who should be there for the taking – hence the difficulty his side had with having so many draws last season.

West Ham will be hoping that they can keep it tight at the back with what is, on paper, an impressive back five. Otherwise, Chicharito will be hoping to mark his return with a goal that, even if he doesn’t celebrate it, West Ham fans certainly will do justice to! However, we expect Bilic to go with a 4-5-1 which would require that Hernandez plays as the lone striker which is his less effective role.

Given the absentees, the main talking points in terms of selection will be around left back (we think Masuaku will get the nod over Cresswell) and centre back (Ogbonna over Fonte/Collins). Will Toni Martinez get a run out for the last 20 minutes? We hope so as he looks ready to make the transition to the first team and we still desperately need striking options.

We refuse to predict a defeat but would gladly take a point at this stage. Bilic tends to spring surprises on opening days, so fingers crossed! At the very least we will get a look at our cool new away kit.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hammers look to emulate Spurs!?!

The West Ham third kit has apparently been leaked from an Asian source and reveals how the club are again taking a conservative approach to kit management this season. The home kit is almost unchanged from last season, while the Black away kit looks snazzy in a Thames Ironworks kinda way.

The third kit looks like a white polo shirt with Betway printed on it. It seems unlikely to be a fans favourite over time as it is so bland it almost brings Spurs to mind. Yeuch!

Whatever happened to the Bobby Moore sky blue with double claret hooped design for our away kit???...surely the greatest kit of all time?..Anyone interested in starting a petition to have our greatest ever kit reintroduced?


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Chance would be a fine thing...

As the media have gotten themselves all wrapped up in whether Javier Hernandez AKA 'Chicaharito' will celebrate if he scores at Old Trafford on Sunday, they all seem to be missing the point that West Ham with their injury-ravaged squad are unlikely to have the need to ponder such issues as they are likely facing a disappointing start to the season!

With Reid, Antonio, Kouyate and Lanzini all doubtful and the usual suspects stuck in sick bay (Andy Carroll / Diafra Sakho), it will take a truly remarkable performance to beat the odds at Old Trafford.

Punters can get 12-1 against a Hammers win, with a Man United victory quoted at 1/4 by Paddy Poormaker!

You'd take a draw really, I guess, but even that's also considered unlikely at 9/2 against.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Two images that will please all West Ham fans

He's Back-ho! Diafra is training again with the first team. Fingers crossed, he's endured a torrid time with injuries. This is his make or break season.

Meanwhile, Winston Reid is preparing to return after his recent shin operation and word is that West Ham have NO interest in selling him to Everton or indeed anyone else!

Toffees Grab Winstone Read

The current speculation regarding the future of West ham's Kiwi defensive sensation Winston 'Wonderful' Reid has understandably angered many Hammers fans who feel that having made the most exciting collection of signings to date in the Premiership that the media should look elsewhere when creating speculative transfer news. Maybe try Spurs, for example, where the North London side have contributed nothing to the transfer circus apart from letting one of their best players go to rivals Man City.

The rumour is that Ronald Koeman wants a West Ham centre back - initially, it was speculated that James Collins might make the move - albeit with no apparent foundation and very much flying against Collins' own recent comments about his future: "I’d love to finish my career here....It’s been a major part of my life – I met my wife here, so my family are from the area, and I’m a very lucky boy to have been at such a good club for so long. And hopefully it can continue"


As such, tabloid interest has now switched to focus upon Winston Reid.

Just exactly why Reid would want to leave London for Liverpool, or switch from a club where he has been the lynchpin around which our continued rise has been driven, makes no sense. With Everton having lost their best player while West Ham have patiently assembled a top class squad, it seems that West Ham rather than Everton are the better bet for a top six invasion next season. Hammers fans will be calmed by the clue as to the veracity of the story highlighted by the suggested fee of £9million. Ahaaaaahaaaaa. Dream on Toffees! Reid is contracted to 2021 and has a £20 million buyout clause - both for good reason!

As the Lukaku-less Toffees try to regroup, perhaps their efforts can indeed be encouraged by a Winstone Read - but they are more likely to get a read of Ray Winstone's compelling biography than a slice of our Kiwi maestro.   

Meanwhile, Winston Reid is preparing himself for the season when his sustained efforts of recent years are rewarded with some silverware!



Hammers Finally Get Dhliwayo!

It really seems like only yesterday when David Gold and Sullivan took over the helm at a sorry West Ham. Trapped by debt, with a demoralised squad and soon to be relegated, we were on the verge of joining the list of big clubs that experienced the horror of freefall - Leeds, Wolves, Forest, Villa, the Sheffields etc.

Wind forward from 2010 to the present and West Ham are the fastest growing club in Europe with a burgeoning fanbase, 20,000 waiting list for season tickets at the most economically efficient stadium in Britain, and are now ranked 15th richest club on the planet.  

Missing from that list of achievements is 'with a squad to match their new found wealth'. However, as a current Sky News poll indicates, the Hammers are now tackling the issue of having a first team squad to compare with other clubs amongst the World elite. With the top ranked astute signing (Javier Hernandez) and three in the top 20 signings of the Summer so far (Hart (7th), Arnautovic (16th), with Zabaleta strangely excluded!), things are looking up. 

In searching for a suitable phrase (we preferred to avoid 'smarter than a shithouse rat') VERYWESTHAM went searching for quotes and encountered the impressive Matshona Dhliwayo's treasure trove of sayings. Dhliwayo has written books such as '100 Lessons Every Great Man Wants you to Know'  and '50 Lessons Every Wise Mother Teaches Her Son'...We reckon he should extend to include '20 rules for running a football club'....check these out:


 “A tree is naked, no matter how big, if it does not have leaves.”  

With the OS and a top class manager, we have the structures - now we are adding the players!


 “Talk less. Do more. Fear less. Achieve more.”

Err, I guess the board have read this one and had a quieter but more effective transfer campaign this Summer!


“The early bird gets the first worm, but the wisest bird gets the fattest one.” 

With Chicaharito ranked as the best signing of the Summer, we look to have followed this wisdom! 


“One bright star is better than a thousand dull moons.” 

No more taking a punt on unproven talent, all four of our signings to date are proven Premiership quality.  

"Keep your friends close, keep your money closer"

For all the disappointments of last season's transfers, the unsuccessful players were mostly on loan deals while Fernandes and Masuaku stand out as decent acquisitions and we are likely to recoup the Feghouli fee.


“The pen is mightier than the sword; it should never run out of ink.”

Great work so far but we could still do with another striker and a midfielder with oodles of pace! If you want to play a front two and Lanzini behind them in midfield, our defensive midfielder really needs to be mobile.


“Whether your glass is half full or half empty, hope can fill it up.”

Good try Mr Dhliwayo, but 'Forever Blowing Bubbles' captures this philosophy much better!


“Don’t strive to be superior to others; strive to be better than you were yesterday.”

Errr...but what about Spurs - it's hard not to smirk at their lack of activity to date - losing Walker to Man City and no arrivals :-)


“We all come into the world rocks, but the enlightened leave it diamonds.”

Bloody hell, our kids are suddenly shining again - hats off to Rice, Holland, Martinez, Burke and Cullen. We simply must give them more opportunities in the first team squad rather than sending them out to endure the unsophisticated brutality of the lower leagues - League Two doesn't make diamonds, just tougher rocks!

But as a final thought, let's not let Mr Dhliwayo hog the thoughtfest - with a truly exciting season to look forward to maybe Carl R White captures our sentiments best just now:

“Belief is a wonderful way to pass the time until the facts come in.” 


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Lineker so right once again...

Well able for anything the Germans might throw at em

As Gary Lineker once remarked "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."

And so it was in the Betway cup yesterday afternoon where a youthful Hammers side dominated a lively encounter before ultimately going down 3-2 on aggregate. 

However, there were many talking points from the two legs as injuries to key players forced Slaven Bilic to field a side that was dominated by players who are on the fringes of the first team squad and, by and large, the youngsters took their opportunity to shine.

Top of the list was young Declan Rice. The Irishman may only be 17 years old but he already looks the part and put in two highly assured displays to build upon his Premiership debut at the end of last season. He seems to have jumped ahead of the two Reece's but only time will tell. With rumours that James Collins may be about to depart, maybe there is room for Rice in his preferred CB spot?

Nathan Holland also shone with his direct style that added considerable excitement to proceedings. At 19 he has plenty of time to make his full break through but on the basis of his preseason performances so far things could happen sooner rather than later. The departure of Sofiane Feghouli and continued disappointing form of Robert Snodgrass add weight to such a possibility.

Toni Martinez has been banging in the goals for the U23 PL2 team for some time and got to open his account yesterday with a delightful headed goal from Andre Ayew's delightful cross. Martinez is now 20 and is surely close to transitioning to the first team squad - that Ashley Fletcher was let go despite the continued injury issues with Carroll and Sakho suggests that SuperSlav may well be thinking of promoting Martinez this season?

Otherwise, Josh Cullen and Reece Burke also enjoyed decent performances, while amongst the more senior players Marko Arnautovic looks sharp and scored on his full debut. Hart and Zabaleta look to be settling in well, while at left back Arthur Masuaku seems to be winning the contest with Aaron Cresswell for the left back berth for the Premiership opener on August 13th against Man United. In midfield, it's good to see Pedro Obiang back to his energetic best and also assuming leadership responsibilities as Captain.

Next up it's off to Hamburg to face minnows Altona 93 where one assumes we can expect to see more of our developing talent and possibly a debut for CHicharito?  With our current injury situation whereby Lanzini, Noble, Kouyate, Reid, Antonio, Carroll and Sakho are all absent, we may well need some of the youngsters for the Old Trafford tie.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The big Issue West Ham need to address in order to become a top six club

West Ham: A club plagued by injuries!
West Ham have sent out a strong message to their Premiership rivals with their activity in the Summer transfer window to date. On paper, the Hammers can put out a match day squad to match almost any side BUT a new report highlights a major barrier to the club progressing to the next level - INJURIES!

The JLT sports injury index provides a detailed analysis of the extent and impact of injuries upon Premiership clubs and their report for the 2016/7 season reveals a fact that Hammers fans are only too aware of - we are a VERY injury-prone club!


The Hammers are ranked 4th highest in the significant injuries count, with a horrific tally of 50 (behind Arsenal and Man United on 51 each, and Sunderland with 58), West Ham have the highest count for total days lost at 2,223!!!

In recent years Slaven Bilic has moved the training facility to Rush Green in an effort to reduce injuries but as our pre-season campaign demonstrates, we seem to be worse off than ever with Lanzini, Antonio, Kouyate and Reid all absent along with longstanding sicknoters Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. As such, it seems unlikely that we will get to field our strongest matchday side as we seem to have chronic injury problems.

Thankfully, all of our new arrivals have decent previous injury records and in all honesty Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are major factors in our injury absence rankings, but perhaps the difficulties reflect more ingrained issues? While there is nothing to suggest that our medical team is any less effective than other clubs, the increasing focus upon fielding experienced players and failure to progress our youth talent into the first team squad has resulted in our squad becoming older and older, with an associated increased issue with injuries.

The performances of our 'kids' in preseason give some cause for hope that we might see the likes of Josh Cullen, Toni Martinez, Nathan Holland, Reece Burke or Declan Rice figuring during our Premiership campaign this year but the sceptics will point to similar false dawns during previous years whereby our youngsters have all eventually gone out on loan to lower league sides. Moreover, the year-long loan of Reece Oxford to Borussia Munchengladbach serves to highlight the gap between the U23 set up and penetrating our first team squad.

While we all want to see West Ham push to the highest possible position in the Premiership, one characteristic that has always defined the much-fabled 'West Ham Way' is the club's determination to give home grown talent a chance to blossom. Our injury statistics highlight a good reason to consider the balance between experience and youth in our squad.


We DON'T Predict a Riot

After all the joy of purchasing new players, attentions have turned to the terror of potentially losing our existing stars. Just now there is a focus upon Manny Lanzini, with speculative reports that he is set to move to Anfield as a replacement for Barca-bound Coutinho. Some enraged Hammers fans have expressed their disapproval in the strongest possible terms - even threatening to riot if Lanzini departs!

However, there is little likelihood that Hammers fans will be needing to stock up on milk bottles and the like just yet as West Ham have made it clear that Lanzini is central to our future plans and, importantly, is only a year into his current 4 year contract. Quite simply, there is no reason to sell our main playmaker - if anything, we need an understudy.

In reality, West Ham fans can expect these type of rumours to continue all Summer - brace yourselves for 'Antonio unsettled', 'Kouyate bust up' ...deblah blah..Messrs Gold and Sullivan may have toned down the media speculation about our transfer activity of late but as the quote from the Wire goes 'play or be played' and that sums up the determination to find media fodder.

Lanzini to stay and lead our charge into the top six next year!



The Princess and the Little Pea: It's Hans Christian Anderson Time at West Ham

When West Ham left Upton Park this time last year it was a poignant moment, softened by the belief that we would be moving to bigger and better things. The expectation was that we would no longer have to sell on our best young talent and would be a buying rather than a selling club. Our recent transfer activity indicates that we have made that transition and with a host of quality arrivals we are ready to launch a genuine attack upon a top six place in the Premiership. 

Fairy tale stuff, perhaps, but if we are to enjoy that kind of success our offence needs to dominate games more than in previous seasons. Chicharito - the Little Pea - certainly has the poaching ability that we have lacked since Jermain Defoe while this season will surely be the one where Andy Carroll's destiny is finally decided. If he fails to deliver - for whatever reason - his time at the club will be deemed a failure, while if he can link up with Hernandez and provide a 30-goal partnership then all the patient waiting will be deemed worthwhile!

With that in mind, Hammers fans will be hoping that SuperSlav doesn't have one of his tactical blind spots (yes, we are referring to the crazy right back experiment of last season) and recognises that Chicarito delivers best from a two man attack. With Big Andy creating space and winning possession, Antonio and Arnautovic powering down the wings and the Jewel weaving his wand in the middle, we have an attack that looks genuinely scary. 

—– Hart —–

— Zabaleta — Reid — Ogbonna — Cresswell —
—– Kouyate —–
—  Antonio — Lanzini — Arnautovic

— Hernandez — Carroll —

Fairytale or nightmare for opponents? Time will tell!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

How Bizarre, How Bizarre!

It's a laugh a minute at West Ham right now - with the arrival of a host of top signings, fans are now finding amusement in some of the sad efforts of our Premiership rivals to steal some of our Jewels on the cheap!

First up - The Jewel- is reportedly wanted by Liverpool as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho. While that would make for a good deal for Mr Klopp and Co., it's hard to see why the Hammers would undo all the good work of the transfer window by selling their principal playmaker. In short - No, No, No...go away Liverfools!

Staying in Merseyside, it has also emerged that Everton are looking to sign James Collins as a replacement for the injured Ramires Funes Mori. Happily, in a recent interview Ginge made it clear that at 33 years old he expects to see out his career at West Ham and, as last season demonstrated, he still has plenty to offer when called upon. Moreover, although the Reece's and Declan Rice are all top prospects, they are not quite ready to step up to first team football on a regular basis.

And then the most amusing of them all - Palace want Adrian for a mere £3million!!! NO, apparently that's not a season long loan fee but a full transfer bid. With Darren Randolph departed it would make NO sense to let Adrian go, especially for a comedy fee!

As the Otaro Millionaires Club remarked in their 1995 hit - 'How Bizarre'!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Is It Boomerang Time For The Striker That Got Away?

With the arrival of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez we are reminded just how 'unlucky' Messrs Sullivan and Gold have been with previous strikers - with more than 90% of their previous three dozen or so acquisitions failing to get anywhere close to reaching even double figures in their periods at the club.

During that time, the Hammers signed a young Irish talent to their development squad - Sean Maguire. Arriving from Waterford United in 2013, he was tipped as a potential Cottee-Defoe type striker, but never quite made the grade and returned to Ireland in 2015. Since then he has topped the League of Ireland goal scoring for two consecutive seasons netting an incredible 52 goals in 68 appearances for Cork City.

Still only 23 years old, Maguire has just returned to England, having signed for Preston North End and last night signalled his intentions by scoring an excellent individual goal on his debut against Burnley. Picking the ball up some 40 yards from goal, Maguire carved open the Burnley defence before coolly slotting home from just inside the penalty area - classy!

Maguire looks set to get a call up for the Republic of Ireland senior squad in the near future which will give him an opportunity to demonstrate his talents even further. Who knows. perhaps a return to the Hammers at some point in the coming seasons is on the cards?   

Arnautovic Update

The Hammers new winger in full flight!

The arrival of a host of possible new fan favourites during the Summer window has put West Ham fans under considerable pressure in order to find suitable nicknames for the new arrivals. In particular, Marko Arnautovic poses a real challenge as Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez comes with a ready made label.

So far, fans have suggested 'Arnie' after that famous Austrian actor / politician Arnold Schartzenegger, but given that his most famous role was playing a Sci-Fi version of Julian 'The Terminator' Dicks playing space soccer, that would unacceptably impinge upon an existing club legend.

Amongst the Schwartzenegger alternatives would be 'Predator', but that might cause all manner of confusion as the football boot of the same name have been discontinued since 2015 and there is also the appauling spectre of unnecessarily awakening the image of Craig Johnson and Co. in their 1980s pomp - yeuch!

No No No

Other Schwartzenegger options include 'Conan the Barbarian', 'The Running Man', the Hammers appropriate - 'Pumping Iron' or, if he succumbs to the Tore-Feghouli-Snodgras syndrome, 'Raw Deal'.

However, given the focus upon Marko's Austrian-ness, maybe we should look towards the second most famous Austrian of all time - Bruno. Whatever else about the faux-Austrian model, he has a consistently cutting edge that we will be needing next season if we are to realise our top-six aspirations! 


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Home and Away: These are the West Ham formations that can bring a top six finish next season

With the arrival of Javier Hernandez there is a sense that West Ham are now truly ready to push for a place amongst the big boys of the Premiership! A key issue for Slaven Bilic will be how best to employ his resources to bring the necessary results - both home and away.

Last season, West Ham initially struggled at home and found it hard to break visiting teams down. Where a team decides to park the bus we need to be able to open them up and the addition of Chicarito and Arnautovic adds the kind of offensive quality that will bring goals - even against the most determined and well organised visitors!

Playing the Carroll - Chicarito two up front card is an absolutely mouth watering prospect (if Sakho gets fit then he would add another dimension to this) and with the intensity of Antonio and Arnautovic down the wings while Lanzini waves his wand in the centre it looks hard to see how opposition defences will cope! Obviously, some visiting teams (Chelsea/Man City / Arsenal) require that we play a less open formation and for these sides perhaps Away option A is better suited even though we will be the hosts.

Away from home, we can play a tighter formation with just one forward and keeping Big Andy and / or Sakho as game-changing substitutes (or maybe start with Carroll as he is also so useful from defensive set pieces). Away option B includes three centre backs which emerged towards the end of last season as an effective defensive set up where we want to suffocate opponents. This is likely to be even more effective with the added pace to our counterattacking that Hernandez and Arnautovic will bring.

Obviously, for the formations below one can readily substitute Noble for either Kouyate or Obiang, Masuaku for Cresswell, Fonte for Ogbonna and Adrian for Hart.

Exciting times - it looks like we have the squad to match our stadium and aspirations. This will be a big year for SuperSlaven - he needs to deliver upon what we have been patiently moving towards over the past five years. This year can be the one where we finally break into the top six.

Home Option
—– Hart —–
— Zabaleta — Reid — Ogbonna — Cresswell —
—– Kouyate —–
—  Antonio — Lanzini — Arnautovic
— Hernandez — Carroll —
Away Option A
—– Hart —–
— Zabaleta — Reid— Ogbonna  — Cresswell —
— Obiang — Kouyate —-
—  Antonio — Lanzini — Arnautovic
—– Hernandez —–
Away Option B
—– Hart —–
— Zabaleta — Fonte — Reid— Ogbonna  — Cresswell —
— Kouyate —
—  Antonio — Lanzini — Arnautovic
—– Hernandez —–