Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Exclusive: Hammer's New Signing in Premiership Title Pledge


Last night a packed house at Letterkenny Co. Donegal were treated to the wit, wisdom and music of top Hammer Billy Bragg.

As always, the bard of Barking treated the crowd to entertaining and thought provoking banter, including a tale about visiting the venue where Robert Johnson recorded some of his classic tunes.

The Braggmeister explained how just like Robert Johnson, he attempted to sell his soul to the Devil - in his case trading for West Ham to win the Premiership! However, The Satanic one declined revealing - that's more like a miracle - you need to talk to the other guy for those­čśť


Otherwise, Bill treated the crowd to tracks from his latest album recorded with Joe Henry that includes a series of railroad classics. However, top tunes of the night for the Irish audience were Bill's reworking of 'The times they are a changin'BACK' and a stirring rendition of 'Between the wars'.

Describing recording the album during the journey across America's train network, Bragg commented how they did not predict all the craziness that the past 6 months have brought - Brexit, Mr Trump...... and Leicester City!!!

There's hope yet for us all... Hammers for the Champions' League!!!


Hammers in Last Gasp Swoop for Jenkinson...


As news filters in that ex-Hammer Carl Jenkinson's proposed switch from Arsenal to Crystal Palace has broken down, there is time for West Ham to nail down a perfect back up for  right back - a position that has caused them so many problems this season.

Jenkinson was apparently on his way in a £35k per week deal but is holding out for more. Having offloaded Payet and Zaza in recent weeks, the Hammers are cash rich and woukd have little difficulty meeting Jenkinson's wage demands.

The recent return of Sam Byram as a specialist right back has made a massive difference to our set up, allowing Michail Antonio to play up top alongside Andy Carroll - to devastating effect!

However, despite Byram's return, we are still light on right back cover as Superslav has clearly decided that Alvaro Arbeloa is not to his liking. Former Hammer Carl Jenkinson has been mooted as a possible signing and our recent fans' poll indicates that the majority (70%) want him back at the club.

With Jenks clearly surplus to requirements at Arsenal
And the Palace deal stuttering, there is still time for a late Hammers swoop!

Dimi Dimi: Undertones that Hammers shock signing is gonna happen


Having lost one Dimi in the transfer window, West Ham may be about to rapidly bring in a replacement Dimi!!!

Reports are that Dimitar Berbatov has jetted into London for talks of a short term contract at West Ham! Unattached since the premature termination of his contract at PAOK in the Summer, Dimmi was 36 years old yesterday but could be a useful short term stop gap signing until the 'real' transfer window opens in the Summer.

Berbatov's fitness would be a concern but with a style not unlike Teddy Sheringham, pace was never the main attribute of the skilfull forward and he would be of similar age as Teddy was when he signed and went on to have a very productive two years at the club.

Berbatov would be an interesting impact substitute and even if he mostly stays on the bench he could always assist SuperSlav in the dugout smoking duties!


Let's Dance: Transfer window kicks into gear as Hammers get jiggy!


It's been rumbling along in the background for weeks so perhaps its no surprise that the Daniel Sturridge to West Ham rumours have resurfaced with just hours left in the transfer window.

Talksports Micky Quinn has leaked a rumour that Sturridge is West ham bound in search of regular first team football. Having slipped behind Roberto Firminho and Divock Origi in the striker pecking order at Anfield, Sturridge needs to kick start his career.

Injuries and a series of misundersyandings at Liverpool have blighted his progress over the past two seasons and he has managed just 2 Premiership goals in 12 appearances this season - albeit many as a substitute.

Aside from everything else, Sturridge is being denied the opportunity to show off his trademark 'jig' dance.

With gazzillions of cash to splash right now, West ham would certainly welcome the talented attacker and could give him the gametime he so needs AND in his preferred central role.

More later, hopefully!

Hammers Resurrect Rotten January


It's 39 years this month since John Lydon brought the greatest ever rock n roll band to a conclusion with the words "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

And so it is with the Hammers and our January transfer business. We bagged £27 million for Payet (a cool £17mill profit in 18 months!) While 'splashing' out a reported £17 million on Fonte and Snoddy.

Add to that offloading highly waged Payet and Zaza, while replacing them with the much more modestly waged Snodgrass and Fonte and the club really have done outstanding financial business!

However, on the pitch we have one occasionally fit striker, a developing righf back and limited cover across the pitch. With 60k capacity and the 17th richest club on the planet, there can be no doubting that the board have done a brilliant job, but it's time to stop yhe poor mouth talk and move forward into the top six.

Anything else would be just another Great Rock And Roll Swindle!


Monday, 30 January 2017

Blah Blah....BUT WHERE'S THE STRIKER WE NEED?

It's been a toxic period at fortress Hammers during January but at last the cancer has been removed. This morning 60 of the most recent 75 listings (89%) on West Ham NewsNow are about our departed Frenchman. It's time to dust ourselves down and move on - and there is a lot of work to do!

While Big Bull and Little Bull Sullivan engage in a bit of post snake-charming banter, we need to get back to dealing with the massive deficits in our squad. Most of all, WE NEED A STRIKER - NOW!!!

Andy Carroll is back and on form but we all know that it's just a matter of time before another twinge or tweak intervenes and then who do we have?

Fletcher? Apparently on the cusp of a loan move to Leeds after one goal in 16 appearances. Calleri? Allegedly off to Spain after one goal in 12 games. Hmmm.

West Ham need a striker so, obviously, we invest in an attacking midfielder - a familiar story? Andre Ayew is NOT the marque striker we were promised in the Summer. Robert Snodgrass is a decent offensive midfielder but he is not a striker.

Bilic appears to have reservations about Scott Hogan - watching video footage of the lad it's easy to see why. He does have a knack of scoring (at least this season anyway) but there is little evidence of the pace or physicality that is required to make it in the Premiership.

With a day and a half left we look to have missed the boat. However, it has been club policy to maintain silence about potential signings and here's hoping that secretly behind the scenes we have been doing business to bring in a genuine top quality striker.

Otherwise it's fingers crossed that big Andy does not suffer a recurrence of his previous knee, ankle, groin or shinsplint problems!



 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Payet Fails Marseille Medical!

The footballing Gods have spoken!

In dramatic news, Dimitri Payet has failed his medical at Olympique Marseille!


Despite the very best efforts of the medical team and after extensive testing, they have reported back to the board their devastating findings...

They cannot find a heart!


Maybe they could give him a transplant - it's highly unlikely that he'll find any donors in the East London area!

 

Football is the Real Loser with the PAYExiT



So Dimi is gone - as he tweeted 'returned home'. West Ham have lost the most talented player they have had since Di Canio (Ed: Actually, some of us think that Dean Ashton was potentially as good), Marseille have got 'their' man.

Actually, Marseille is not really home for Payet as he isn't even from mainland France and only spent two modestly successful years there before switching to London. Marseille are seventh in Ligue 1 - an inferior League to the Premiership where West Ham are on the rise from 10th - hardly an upgrade in Footballing terms is it?

For West Ham, the whole saga has provided a much-needed bonding session, both for the team and fans. Mr Payet has provided the vital 'bad guy' to galvanise our thoughts and energies.  For the club, we have made £15 million profit on Payet in 18 months - not bad business really! 

But the real loser in all this is Footy. For so many kids the whole Payet phenomenon provided them with something to love and even worship. Some of his play was almost otherworldly and he was a key part in West Ham scalping so many of our rivals - something that we all remember seems the most important thing in the world when you are at school and mixing with fans of Arsenal, Man United etc. 

For those kids losing Payet in the way that it has happened is a horrible welcome to the world of grown-ups, where people twist the truth and often let you down. Where what is right matters much less than what works from a financial perspective. Dimitri was a hero to so many kids.

And that's why Payet should return his loyalty bonus to the club 

And the club should refund all kids who bought Payet t-shirts or got Payet put on the back of their replica jerseys - a million squids should cover the cost and would be worth multiples of that in future good will.

This is our club and, yes, there is a West Ham way. Sadly, for all his talent, that isn't the way of Dimitri Payet, Au Revoir, Mon Ami. I hope letting everybody down proves worth it, but my guess is that the football Gods may be angry with you, very angry indeed.




 

London Club Make Late Bid for Payet

Dimi Demonstrates his Free Kick Skills to his new team mates
Just as it all seems done and dusted in the war of half-truths about Dimi Payet's departure from West Ham to Marseille, a fellow London club have thrown their hats into the ring offering the midfield playmaker a chance to relaunch his floundering career.

St Bonaventure's Secondary School in Forest Gate is one of the top forces in school's football and would provide an ideal setting for Payet to maintain his fitness if the Marseille deal stalls again. Having been ejected from the first team squad and then (allegedly) refusing to play for the U23's, Payet could be forced to drop further down the order and St Bon's could be the ideal place for him to rediscover a sense of discipline and respect.

Some observers have pointed out that at 29 years of age Payet may be too old to qualify for  schoolboys football but, after his recent wantaway antics, he would easily qualify for their Under 14s under the new Immaturity Index as his petulant antics would allow him to fit in perfectly with the other moody teenagers. Moreover, some have suggested that his behaviour could be best dealt with by teaching staff who, in contrast to Slaven Bilic and Co., are trained in how to deal with childish tantrums.

Even better, St Bonaventure's is well equipped to cope with spoilt brat soccer players who have fallen foul of the Hammers faithful with their transfer demands as it includes Jermain Defoe amongst its former pupils!

Kouyate Cheiks Out of AFCON but with Injury Concerns for Hammers


In bad news for Senegal Cheik Kouyate's side were dumped out of the AFCON last night losing after ET 5-4 on penalties to a determined Cameroon side.

It has been no surprise to Hammers fans that Kouyate has had an excellent tournament - serving as captain for his country in three of their four games and winning MOTM awards for his outstanding performances.

Although there will be some sympathy for Senegal, Manager Aliou Cisse's decision to keep Kouyate on the pitch despite worrying head and wrist injuries will undoubtedly irritate the Hammers medical team. The club have previously been critical of how the Senegalese managed an injury to Diafra Sakho which many feel is at the heart of his longstanding injury woes.

Kouyate won't make Wednesday's Premiership revenge clash with Man City but should make the following game.

In the interim, the Hammers will want to get him back 'home' asap to assess the extent of his injuries.

Exclusive: Payet Spotted in America


As news is filtering in that want-away bad boy Dimi Payet has jetted out to France ahead of the transfer D-Day, we can exclusively reveal shots that the Hammers former talisman is now hiding in the remote areas of Canadia.

Bigfoot Payet, who has been labelled the Abominable No-Man by Hammers fans, has decided to escalate his campaign to escape from the oppressive atmosphere at the London club.

The picture provides incontrovertible evidence that Payet is completely finished at West Ham - having been ejected from the first team squad, Dimitri has fairly piled on the pounds but is otherwise absolutely unmistakeable in his all-white Marseille training kit.

Meanwhile, back in blighty, the Pie-ay house has been described as looking like the Marie-Celeste after the entire family abandoned the place to go shopping for much-needed groceries after their supply of fresh eggs ran out despite the gererous efforts of fans to keep them well supplied.

With all this pressure, it's no wonder that Payet has retreated to the French-speaking North-American wilderness but, as the transfer window closure looms, one suspects that Marseille and the Hammers may yeti come to a deal.

 

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Flectcher's 'Bad Feet' Catch Up With Him Again

Fletch - plagued by vocational misfortune

Norman Stanley Fletcher famously revealed when confronted by the Slade prison medics about his inability to find gainful employment "with these bad feet who'd have me".

And recently released performance stats from the WhoScored system suggest that 'bad feet' are a Fletcher familial affliction as current Hammers' striker Ashley Flethcher has been ranked our poorest performer so far this season!

Having picked up a lowly average score of 6.12 in his 12 appearances this season he finds himself at the bottom of our squad rankings - although treachery and betrayal are not included in the ratings which accounts for Dimitri Payet's splendid 7.8 average score!

The last time we used this gag about the central character in Porridge, it was in terms of West Ham's bid to sign Darren Fletcher who in Jan 2015 had become surplus to requirements at Manchester United. At that point, Fletcher had amassed a mere 34 games in his previous four seasons at Manchester United.

Interestingly, we are occasionally wrong at VERYWESTHAM. In the intervening period Fletcher, having made the move to West Brom, has become club captain and has been almost ever-present for the baggies delivering a whopping 75 appearances.

However, one wonders if Darren would have enjoyed such good fortune with injuries if he had moved to West Ham where for whatever reason we seem to be afflicted by a recurring  injury-plague.

With that in mind and now in the final days of the transfer window, it's time to move on from the Payet farce and focus upon the fact that WE NEED REINFORCEMENTS UP FRONT!!!


 

Payet Links Up with New Team Mates


As the Dimitri Payet strike rumbles on it has emerged that he is also refusing to play with his current squad mates in the West Ham U23 side who played out a draw with Aston Villa last night. As a result, West Ham chiefs have been left with no option but to further demote him - to a local pub team squad!



The French Tallyman has rightly backed himself into a corner with a series of petulant antics but as they say, every cloud has a slivery lining and Essex pub league giants The Traitors' Gate Public House XI in Little Thurrock will be the lucky beneficiaries from the addition of Payet to the squad.



While Payet may not be known for promoting a sense of team spirit or loyalty to the common cause, he will undoubtedly be an asset from set pieces. Lofty John, the Traitors' main striker is said to be relishing teaming up with the French maestro as he reckons Payet can provide just the sort of deliveries that the traditional English centre forward has been crying out for.  



Locals at the pub were disappointed to learn that it's unlikely that Dimitri will around to contribute to the Thursday night open-Mic session as he is expected to be moving abroad in the very near future.



 

Here's What Happened the Last Time Payet Went on Strike


During his time at St Etienne Dimitri Payet was at different periods both a hero and villain. As a potent creative force he was loved by the fans but the relationship was not without ups and downs. He fell out with the club after an altercation with team captain Blaise Matuidi during a game they were losing against Toulouse in 2010 – Matuidi and another team-mate confronted Payet for lacking passion and commitment! Payet expressed his annoyance by striking Matuidi and had to be substituted after just half an hour of the game!

Things became complicated again during the  2010-11 season. Payet began the year in top form scoring seven goals in the first two months of domestic play and by the end of September St Etienne went top of Ligue 1 after a Payet-inspired victory over their big rivals Lyon. Not surprisingly, Payet earned the French League Player of the month nad everything seemed rosy in the garden.

Then the January transfer window opened. As the interest mounted from top Premiership clubs and PSG, Payet put in a transfer request which St Etienne refused. In an interview, Payet claimed that he was the element that would progress PSG to a higher level in Europe (sounds just like his December interview where he claimed to be the ‘missing piece’ in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal project).

He then escalated matters by refusing to train and was punished with a demotion to the club's reserve team – again a familiar train of events!

Guess what happened next?

 

St Etienne held firm and the Transfer window closed.

 

Guess what then happened…

 

Payet relented and over the following ten days made up with the club, returning to play for Saint-Étienne's against Lyon on 12 February. Later, when asked about the affair in an interview, he brushed the whole thing off as merely a matter for the past.

In the following 14 matches of the season Payet delivered five goals and three assists, finishing as St Etienne’s top scorer for the season.

At the end of the season he was let go to League Champions Lille for £6.5 Million.
As they probably say in Marseille: Plus ├ža change, plus c'est la m├¬me chose!

Friday, 27 January 2017

He Has To Go: Hammers Chief Deems Latest Payet Outrage 'The Final Straw'

Incontrovertible evidence
As it has become apparent that Dimitri Payet's refusal to play again for West Ham also extends to playing with his training colleagues in the U23 squad in their crunch match with Aston Villa tonight, other news indicates that Payet has also snubbed the club by refusing to play with a West Ham team in the crucial Tuesday night Division three DergHammer Subbuteo league.

The want-away talismanic midfield maestro wouldn't even entertain the possibility and failed to respond to two e-mails from the League Organisers inviting him to demonstrate his continued allegiance to the West Ham cause! Even worse, our investigative team have unearthed incontrovertible evidence (see pic above) that Payet is a Subbuteo fanatic but that HE ONLY PLAYS WITH OLYMPIC MARSEILLE PLAYERS!

Top DergHammers chief, Patsy McLooneyBangers, slammed the arrogant star's latest snub deeming it "the final straw" that compels him to change his vote in the ongoing VERYWESTHAM PAYExiT poll from 'Let him stay if he says sorry to the fans'  to 'Eat his liver with some fava beans'.

McLooneyBangers added that Payet's failure to engage with the long tradition of Subbuteo playing amongst top Hammers was yet another reason that he can never be a true Hammers legend.



Meanwhile, the Tuesday Night's Third Division Subbuteo competition continues despite Payet's absence with a crunch tie between Robbie's East Ham United and Trev's Upton Park Rangers. UPR will be hoping to field a full eleven players despite the recent horrific hoovering disaster that has kept half of their players out of action during midweek.



 

Who are the Best and Worst Strikers of the Gold & Sullivan Era?


As the January transfer window moves relentlessly towards its conclusion, West Ham are still mighty short on attacking resources to support a push up the table.

While there can be few who would doubt that Mr Gold and Sullivan have been at the heart of bringing our club from a shambolic laughing stock to one of Europe’s fastest growing wannabes, many would say that we seem remarkably inept at identifying strikers who can cut it at the highest level. West Ham seem to struggle to commit to the big-money signings that bring a guarantee of goals and instead have to date preferred to mostly gamble on less costly talent.

Since Messrs Sullivan and Gold took over in 2010 we have acquired 33 players who would be deemed ‘strikers’. That’s an average of more than five newbies per season! Of these, only Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have pushed on (albeit with injuriy problems) while of the rest the majority have either stalled and slipped down the leagues or moved on after journeyman stints. Jaanai Gordon, Antonio Martinez and Ashley Fletcher remain in the 'developing' category. Of the loan deals, only Andy Carroll has graduated to a full contract.
 
Ricardo Vaz Te was also undoubtedly also a successful signing, albeit that his form petered out., Demba Ba was excellent but had to be moved on after relegation, while Carlton Cole is a top geezer and despite the lack of goals was also a decent signing.

One could argue that Kevin Nolan, Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio are examples of midfielders who are so attack-oriented that they could certainly be deemed forwards, albeit not traditional 'Strikers' and each of these were successful signings for the club.
 
However, it’s pretty clear that if we really harbour top six pretensions, we need to get a whole lot better at finding forwards and perhaps it’s time to grasp the nettle that you only get what you pay for!

Here’s the list and our VERYWESTHAM ratings for each…

 
1. Ilan – free transfer in January 2010, 29 at time of arrival, 4 goals in 11 games, released in May 2010. Useful goals! 4/10.

2. Benni McCarthy – £2.2m in January 2010, 32 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 14 games, released in April 2011. Bad attitude, no discipline. Vastly overweight. 1/10 for hikarious swipe at LadyBrady who promptly squashed him!

3. Mido – loan in January 2010, 26 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 9 games, including a terrible penalty miss. Loan cancelled in May 2010. Cheap (played for £1000 per wek!) but not at the standard. 2/10 for comedy value!

4. Fr
├ęddie Piquionne £1m in July 2010, 31 at time of arrival, 11 goals in 62 games, released in March 2013. Unpopular but he did notch a few valuable goals. Languid style didn't help as he looked mostly disinterested! 4/10.

5. Victor Obinna – loan in August 2010, 23 at time of arrival, 8 goals in 32 games, loan ended in May 2012. Should have kept him but relegation intervened. Pacy and direct. 5/10.

6. Demba Ba – undisclosed in January 2011, 25 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 13  appearances, released in May 2012. Another lost to relegation. Very able striker and big personality. 8/10.

7. Paul McCallum – £60k in January 2011, 17 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0 appearances, free to Leyton Orient in May 2015. 1/10 - for scoring against Cork City in a Preseason friendly in 2013!

8. Robbie Keane – loan in January 2011, 30 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 10 games, loan ended in May 2012. Another panic buy. Awful miss against Blackburn summed up our luck in that ill-fated season. 2/10 - one for each of his goals.

9. Brian Montenegro – loan in August 2011, 18 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 1 game, loan ended in May 2012. Naughty! 0/10.

10. John Carew – free in August 2011, 31 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 21 games, released in May 2012. Nonsense. Pension-massaging money wasting. 1/10. Good defensively for set pieces!

11. Sam Baldock – £2.4m in August 2011, 22 at time of arrival, 5 goals in 24 games, sold for £1.1m to Bristol City in August 2012. The size-ist prone Big Sam underestimated Little Sam. Baldock still banging them in in the Championship at Brighton. 5/10.

12. Nicky Maynard – £1.7m in January 2012, 25 at time of arrival, 3 goals in 17 games, sold to Cardiff for £2.5m in August 2012. Deemed unfit for Premiership, probably rightly so. 3/10.

13. Ricardo Vaz Te - undisclosed from Barnsley in 2012. 19 goals in 61 appearances. Let go to Turkish side Akhisar in 2015. Kinda legendary in status due to winning play off goal but silly injury and loss of form scuttled his career. 7/10.

14. Sean Maguire – undisclosed in January 2013, 18 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0  appearances, released to Dundalk in 2015. Banging then in in Ireland for Cork city. Lacking physique for Preniership. 0/10.

15. Andy Carroll – loan in August 2012, 23 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 24 games, loan became permanent deal after one season. Injury prone but the real deal. 8/10.

16. Modibo Ma
├»ga £4.5m in June 2013, 24 at time of arrival, 8 goals in 45 games, free to Al Nassr in August 2015. Awful horror show wayching his confidence collapse. Merciful release ensued. 2/10 for determination.

17. Wellington Paulista – loan in January 2013, 28 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0  appearances, loan cancelled at end of season. Nonsense distraction. 0/10.

18. Marouane Chamakh – loan in January 2013, 28 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 3  appearances, loan ended in May 2013. Hilariously awful. 1/10 for subsequently scoring a winner for Palace against us!

19. Andy Carroll – £15m in June 2013, 24 at time of arrival, 19 goals in 77 appearances. Our top man - when he's fit! 8/10.

20. Danny Whitehead – free in June 2013, 19 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 1 appearance, joined Accrington on free transfer in 2015. Whoareya? 0/10.

21. Mladen Petric – free in September 2013, 32 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 4  appearances, released in Jan 2014. Journeyman gap filler. 0/10.

22. Carlton Cole – re-signed on free transfer in October 2013, 30 at time of arrival, 10  goals in 57 games, released in 2015. Top man - took a pay cut when we got relegated - are you listening Mr Payet? 7/10.

23. Marco Borriello – loan in January 2014, 31 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 2 appearances, left at end of 13/14 season. Tzzzzz. 0/10.

24. Jaanai Gordon – undisclosed in Jan 2014 from Peterborough, 19 at time of arrival, 0 goals in 0 appearances. Soon come?

25. Mauro Z├írate – free in May 2014, 28 at time of arrival, 7 goals in 29 games, joined Fiorentina for £1.6m in January 2016. Moody, greedy but a few nice strikes 5/10.

26. Diafra Sakho – £3.5m in August 2014, 24 at time of arrival, 20 goals in 52 appearances. Talented forward who has been sidelined by both body and head issues. When fit and motivated he is class. 7/10.

27. Enner Valencia – £12m in July 2014, 24 at time of arrival, 10 goals in 68  appearances, joined Everton on loan in August 2016. Struggled with physicality of Premiership. 5/10.

28. Nikica Jelavic
£2.8m in August 2015 from Hull. 30 at time of arrival, 2 goals in 15  appearances, left for £4m in February 2016. In China, where he shudda gobe straight fron Hull. 3/10.

29. Emmanuel Emenike
loan in Jan 2016, 28 years old at time of arrival, 2 FA Cup goals in 16 appearances, left in summer 16. Poor first touch. Keen but not sharp enough for Premiership. 3/10.

30. Simone Zaza – £5m loan fee in August 2016, 25 years old at time of arrival, 0 goals in 11 appearances, left in January 2017. Disastrous. 1/10 for stunner for Juve against us in our preseason OS opener.

31. Jonathan Calleri – loan in August 2016, 22 years old at time of arrival, 1 goal in 10 appearances and thata was courtesy of a lucky deflection! He looks lost and it’s clearly time to move on. South American contract weirdness appears to be main barrier to a much needed departure. 1/10 (for the goal!).

32. Antonio Mart├şnez – £2.4m in July 16, 19 years old, 0 goals in 0 appearances. Scarily good for development squad. Fingers crossed but as of yet untested.

33. Ashley Fletcher – free transfer in July 16, 20 years old at time of arrival, 1 League Cup goal in 16 appearances. Poor return but looks the part and most of his appearances have been as sub. Needs to start scoring. 5/10.
 
PHEW!!! That's a lot of huffing and puffing without a whole lotta goals! If Scott Hogan or Chris Wood does arrive in the next 4 days they don't really have a lot to live up to.
 
BTW the best signing was undoubtedly Andy Carroll, while the worst is a toss up between Benni McCarthy and Simone Zaza - on balance, neither managed a goal but at least Zaza looked like he was trying, Big Mac thus wins the WORSTEST STRIKER award!
 
COYI!

 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Are West Ham Still Slipping Backwards?

Looking back to November it was abundantly clear that our Summer transfer campaign had failed miserably. With Andy C out again on the sick list, leaving a bunch of hapless strikers who hadn't managed a goal between them and our woes further compounded by a defence that had lost its confidence after trying to compensate for a San Andreas faultline at right back, Hammers faithful took solace in the looming January transfer window and the opportunity to bring in some new recruits.

Then came a couple of (very) scrappy wins and we dragged ourselves out of the relegation zone until Arsenal and both Manchester sides delivered thorough spankings to bring us back to reality. Then Dimitri Payet went loco...

Since then we have circled the wagons and found a couple of decent results, but the cracks remain. At right back Sam Byram has returned and so far looks decent, but he's inexperienced and we have no back up plan apart from the Michail Antonio crazymadness option. Hmmm. Up front we got rid of Zaaaaaaaaza and Calleri may possibly depart (let's face it - his breakthrough goal came by virtue of a fortuitous deflection) leaving just Ashley Fletcher as back up to Andy Sicknote. Again, Fletcher is a prospect but he's still a kid.

Still we look to have captured Robert Snodgrass - a decent signing but hardly up to Payet standards. And then there's Jose Fonte - clearly recruited to allow Angelo Ogbonna to get a much-needed operation. In reality, we have fallen further backwards in the past month and have done nothing to address the screaming deficits at right back and striker positions.

Still there's 5 days still to go before the curtain descends. David Gold tweeted today that you never know what you might get before the fat lady sings.......Take your time you oversized chanteuse, we've got work to do!

Marseille Finally Get Their Man at a Knock Down Price

Some bloke gave this to me - said he'd give his right arm to play for Marseille!
 
Olympique Marseille have finally captured their man by signing veteran left back Patrice Evra. The 135 year old was released from the final 18 months of his contract at Juventus and as such his signing will not eat into the rumoured E200 million that Marseille have at their disposal to attract much needed new talent.

Evra may help to tighten their defence but is not the same force any more going forward and as Marseille languish in seventh in Ligue 1, a full 18 points behind leaders Monaco, they will still need offensive recruits if they are to improve on their miserable 24 goals in 21 games which is the main problem that currently hinders their progress.

However, left-sided players who can score and create goals are very scarce indeed and typically cost about £35 million to bring from the bigger leagues such as the Premiership! As they compete with financially endowed rivals such as PSG, Monaco and Nice, Marseille will need to get better at splashing the cash or else remain mid-table for all of eternity.



Meanwhile, West Ham's development squad are preparing to make a major charge for the U23 Premier league where they are currently in 5th with 24 points from 15 games. The recent long-term signing of a talismanic midfielder who can both score and create goals is expected to inspire them to push up the top of the table!





 

Payet Latest: Star Looks Set to Stay Until the Summer

The media has been alive with all manner of 'expert' opinions about the Dimitri Payet situation with the majority of observers highly critical of the how the player (and his agent) have dealt with the situation while conceding that West Ham would be better off to get rid of the toxic star.

Ultimately, the ball is now firmly in the club's court as to what they decide to do with Payet - cut and run or hold out for a better deal. It's also still possible that he might return and play until the end of the season just as happened when he staged a similar campaign at St Etienne seeking a high profile move to PSG in January 2011.

So far, the Payet problem has had a galvanising effect at West Ham as the team have played visibly better without him and with back to back wins have essentially ended any relegation fears and solidified Slaven Bilic's place as manager for the foreseeable future.

In the past some fans have been critical of David Sullivan's bullish approach to transfer business accusing him of being overfocused upon getting a good financial bargain rather than the best players. With over 30 strikers having been signed for the club over the past 5 years, only two have really made the grade (Sakho and Carroll) with most of the rest readily forgotten (Jelavic, Emenike, McCarthy, Maiga, Carew, Piquionne etc etc).

However, our fans poll has revealed some fascinating findings about what you think the club should do with Payet!

By far and away the most popular option (40%) is to hold out for the full £35million asking price and refuse to sell him if the fee isn't met!

Next most popular is to hold tight until the last day of the transfer window and offload him for the highest bid (26%).

Almost one in five (17%) of fans reckon we should take the sadistic option of letting him rot in the reserves until the Summer!

13% reckon we should take Marseille's current cash offer and put it down to experience.

(5) Just 7% believe we should forgive and forget if he apologises and bring him back into the first team squad.

(6) While we believe that our poll has been infiltrated by non-fans with one vote each for 'Offer him more cash' (Probably Peter Odemwingie's vote we reckon) and 'offer the distressed star counselling' (Payet's agent, no doubt!).

Of note, taken together these results imply that two thirds of fans believe Payet should (be made to) stay at the club until the Summer! Only a fool would doubt the wisdom of our fans so we reckon Dimitri is gonna have to stay a Londres for a while longer!

Keep voting - there's three more days to have your say.

COYI!!!





Snoddy goes Claret and Blue - But which club?


Unlikely to ever paly on the same team?
It is clear that Hull have agreed a £10 million fee for their top goal scorer and tormentor-in-chief Robert Snodgrass. Reports indicate that both West Ham and Burnley have agreed to meet the fee which essentially leaves it down to the fine detail and Snodgrass' own preferences to determine where he will move to.

The smart money is thus on a move south as with Dimitri Payet almost certainly on the move and Sofiane Feghouli still an uncertain force, West Ham clearly have room for attacking midfielders who can play out wide.

For Hull, in one sense the transfer is a good deal as Snodgrass has only 6 months left on his contract and at 29 is no spring chicken. However, Hull will need to find reinforcements quickly if they are to avoid the drop as they will miss Snodgrass' goals having only managed 11 goals outside of his 9 strikes this season.

Both Burnley and West Ham will see Snodgrass' arrival as further insulation against any lingering relegation worries. With the current Table it seems likely that 38 points will easily be enough to ensure safety which both clubs should reach with ease as they are 10 points (Burnley) and 12 points (West Ham) above the drop zone at present..

Snodgrass has been a consistent performer over the years for Leeds, Norwich and Hull with his direct style bringing an average of just over a goal every five games. Moreover, his ability from free kicks will be a big asset for West Ham in the post Payet era.

Overall, this looks like a decent signing for the Hammers, albeit at an inflated January window price.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Transfer Odds for PAYExiT and Hammers targets - Downing to return?

The bookies are always right in the end, aren't they? As we enter the crucial phase of the January transfer window its worth taking a look at Paddy Poormaker's odds about Mr Payet's future - Top of the list as his next club (purchase or loan) at 4/6 on are Marseille, followed by PSG at 13/5. Then come Premiership rivals with Arsenal (14/1), Chelsea (16/1) and Man United at 20/1. After that it's Juventus (20/1), Any Chinese club (25/1) and Barcelona at 33/1. Despite their widely reported interest in the Summer, Real Madrid are at 50/1. 

If you're betting on this you've got a gambling problem
Payet's fascination with a return to Marseille is strange - particularly when one considers that he was only there for two years and did not enjoy anything like the success he has found at West Ham. Moreover, the fans have mixed feelings about a return.  

Otherwise, West Ham are reckoned to be in the hunt for quite a few players  before the window closes - Robert Snodgrass at 4/7, Joe Hart at 10/11, Cesc Fabregas at 6/4,  Jermain Defoe at 6/4, Daniel Sturridge at 3/1, Bojan Krkic at 9/2, Moussa Dembele at 7/1 and Marouane Fellaini at 10/1.

In one interesting possibility, Stewart Downing - our last player like Payet to want a transfer back home  - is quoted at just 2/1 to return as he has dropped well down the pecking order at Middlesboro. However, unlike Payet, Downing managed his departure with dignity and is fondly remembered by fans.


 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Hammers Cannot See Wood for the Bees


As all eyes seem fixed on Brentford's star striker Scott Hogan, a glance across the Championship's top scorers list reveals a much more attractive option in Leeds United's Chris Wood.

While Hogan has banged in 14 goals in 26 appearances this season for the Bees, Wood has been even more prolific with 19 in 30 appearances.

For many, there are concerns about Scott Hogan's injury history and a quick glance shows that his form this season is a vast improvement from previous seasons where knee injuries have hindered his progress.  

In Wood's case, he has blossomed since moving to Leeds in 2015 and averages almost a goal every second game. In addition, as Winston Reid's vice captain for New Zealand he has considerable experience at international level with 19 goals in his 42 appearances.

Hogan is a traditional poacher who scores most of his goals from close range while at 6 foot 3 Wood is a much greater physical presence who can contribute much more than just goals and who would be unlikely to struggle with the physicality of the Premiership.

Brentford and Leeds have both valued their respective striking assets at £15 million which is well within West Ham's purchasing power and with Hogan 24 years old and Wood 25 years there is little to separate them.  

As the Hammers efforts to finalise a deal with Brentford trundle on, maybe its time to look next door at Wood?

Payet to Stay as Snodgrass switches to Marseille!

More evidence of a conspiracy
Ok, so maybe it's a crazy thought! However, consider this - Marseille deny that they have had any part in unsettling Payet and are merely in the market for an attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Hammers fans are becoming increasingly irritated by their transfer antics as it is widely believed that Marseille area  cash-rich club who could readily afford the asking price for Payet. The latest rumour is that Marseille are creeping towards the required £30 million and are preparing a fourth offer. C'est ridiculeuse, n'est pas?

Actually, no. Spare a thought for poor old Hull fans. Just like Olympic Marseille, West Ham are preparing a fourth bid for Robert Snodgrass as they edge towards his £10 million valuation. Clearly the Hammers have the cash having dodged the Zaa Zaa compulsory £20 million purchase clause, but are playing scrooge with Hull - a club who will desperately need reinforcements if their top scorer leaves and will want any business concluded in time to allow for a replacement to arrive.

West Ham and Marseille - perhaps not so different? Maybe Snodgrass should just go to the French side while Payet can make his apologies and earn the £1 million loyalty bonus he received only a few months back. If he starts banging in a few goals then one suspects that many fans would forgive him (Ed: actually that's unlikely as only 10% of fans would keep him in our PAYExiT poll!).

The other trouble with this theory is that with the way we are playing at the moment Dimitri wouldn't get back into the side!



 

Payet Plays the Perfect Pupil despite Post-truth Propaganda

Poor Dimitri Payet - no seriously! Having made the bold step of demanding a transfer back to France he finds himself in an impossible situation. Having essentially terminated any hope of playing again for West Ham - a club he is contracted to until 2022, Marseille have decided to try to take advantage of the situation and are refusing to meet West Ham's quite reasonable £30 million valuation of the talented player.

Meanwhile, the media are having a field day with a variety of stories that are Trump-esque in their flimsiness. It was revealed that his car had been vandalised - with the strong insinuation that it could only have been done by angry Hammers fans despite no evidence of same and a host of other parties who have a considerably greater vested interest in Payet's future.

This was then followed by reports that Payet had arrived late for training and stormed off early - both of which have been strongly denied by the club. Through all of this Payet has maintained a dignified silence but in the modern climate failure to manage the media generally results in their filling the gaps with speculative misinformation.

Hammers fans could be forgiven for feeling that the media have it in for the club ever since we were awarded the Olympic Stadium. As yet another investigation has commenced the media seem only too delighted to give air time to various parties who were unsuccessful in their bids. Even Auntie Beeb ran a feature with the more than a little tiresome Barry Hearn indulging in another sour grapes-fest.

It's open season on the Hammers just now, but at least the team are putting in some decent performances that have pushed us into mid-table obscurity! As the club are trying to bring back our old Upton Park stewards to the London stadium and fans are starting to adapt to the largesse of our posh new home there can be no doubt that things are definitely improving in what has been a trying season. Meanwhile, as Hearn and Co. persist with their whingeing, we look set to add another 3000 seats to the match day capacity. West Ham are a VERY big club now and there can be no doubt that the future will bring lots of players who are vastly more talented than Payet to the club.

Upwards and onwards - but definitely without Mr Payet!
 

Monday, 23 January 2017

PAYExiT Moves Closer As Hammers Eye Croatian Star

With £30million or more likely to arrive in the next week for want-away midfielder Dimitri Payet, it's no surprise that the Hammers are being linked with a host of (apparently) available replacements. One such player is Croatian attacking midfield star Ivan Perisic - currently at Inter Milan where he has scored seven goals in 15 starts this season.

Both L'Equipe and La Gazzetto Dello Sport are reporting that Perisic is available as Inter try to put together funds to capture a top striker. West Ham may have an advantage as Perisic, now 27 years old, received his international debut under Slaven Bilic and is a graduate of the famed Hadjuk Split academy where Bilic also learned his trade.

Mainly left sided, Perisic would be an ideal replacement for Payet if and when the troubled star leaves the London Stadium. However, West Ham will need top fend off competition from Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool - all of whom are reportedly interested in the Croatian star.

Perisic sounds like just the pick me up Hammers fans need after the disappointment of the Payet betrayal and it would send out a strong signal that the club is starting to push forwards again after a difficult first few months at their new stadium.

Meanwhile, in our PAYExiT Poll most Hammers fans reckon that we should hold out for £35 million for Payet - why not cast your vote (see top right).

COYI!!!

PayEXIT: Fans have their say about Dimi's future

By far the most interesting business of the January transfer window has been the Dimitri Payet controversy at West Ham. Although some observers have expressed sympathy for the want-away Frenchman, the vast majority have condemned his behaviour as unacceptable and even 'disgusting'.

Meanwhile, the team have found an extra gear and do not seem to be missing their 'talisman' one bit as they are now charging up the table with a new found resolve! Currently in tenth position, West Ham can afford to take a longer term view of things as another ten points would see them well clear of any relegation worries. 

So far, most fans feel that Slaven Bilic and the board have managed the whole affair as best as is possible, but with just over a week left in the January transfer window, the pressure is mounting for a solution to what is essentially a £30 million dilemma.

The options range from holding him to his contract and making an example of him to rolling over and taking Marseilles knocked-down offer. What do YOU think the Hammers should do? Why not have your say in our fans' poll - see top right to vote.


 

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Ref Watch: Consistency is the Key ...or is it?

Good old Mike Dean is having a pretty torrid time since his dreadful performance in the recent West Ham versus Man United game. Having incorrectly sent off Sofiane Feghouli the decision was rescinded and Dean is now relegated to Chumpionship duties.

But Dean is nothing if not consistent - consistently awful! In this weekend's big Yorkshire derby between Bradford City and Leeds United he managed to mess up yet again by awarding a penalty for a handball that clearly occurred outside the box!

Dean has been besieged by controversy for much of his career and was previously demoted in 2010 but bounced back. However, on his current trajectory he looks destined for the non-leagues pretty soon!

 

Hammers Sign Talented Attacking Midfielder


In news just in, West Ham have signed Everton academy graduate Nathan Holland on a three year deal. Holland is a left sided attacking midfielder who has impressed for England U17s but is also eligible for Barbados.

Interviewed soon after signing, Holland explained the move "the attacking football that the Academy play is outstanding and hopefully that will fit my style" before adding “I like to be direct. I like to get assists and get at people and just try and dribble and combine with other people. Hopefully I can add more strength to the team.”

At 18 years of age, Holland will hope to build and who knows, could ultimately fill that Payet role on the left flank!



 

David Gold Gives Update on Andy Carroll's Groin



Hammers head honcho David Gold has taken to twitter to reassure fans that Big Andy Carroll simply has a bit of a stiffy and his substitution after demolishing Middlesboro yesterday was merely a precaution.


Let's hope that the Chairman is correct but Hammers fans will know only too well that Andy's history is of what initially appear to be minor knocks dragging on into prolonged absences.

With the Hammers now in the top half of the table but well adrift of the European spots, it looks like they can relax a little and maybe pencil this season down as one of consolidation. The problems offloading poor Summer transfers highlight the need to be cautious during the January window where most of what's on offer comes with a health warning.

The Deal for Scott Hogan looks stalled for now and with Jonathan Calleri belatedly discovering some goalscoring form maybe the Hammers will decide to hold back on the cash until the Summer. However, with over a million extra prize money for each Premiership placing each victory from here in has aconsiderable financial worth and would cover much of the cost of new recruits.

Meanwhile, the capture of Jose Fonte makes much better sense with news that Angelo Ogbonna needs major knee surgery and will be absent for the rest of the season.

Let's hope Big Andy makes it to the Summer without any further injuries.