Wednesday 27 June 2018

Hammers New Kit Falls Well Wide of the Mark

After all the strife of last season where the fading identity of West Ham United was called into question, all eyes are on a happier time next year with a new start and a chance for the board to reassure fans that we are moving forward.

With all the distractions of the World Cup many fans have been distracted from what is usually an exciting moment when our new kit is revealed. However a quick glance reveals that our new strip is possibly the least West Ham-like kit we have had in living memory! Where's all the sky blue gone? The home kit looks considerably more like a Burnley strip than a Hammers one!

Ironically, club legend Billy Bonds is one of our kit models but a quick look back to Bonzo's time demonstrates that in comparison to 1974, it looks more like something Leighton James and the lads up in Burnley would've been wearing!

The independent fans group voiced a variety of concerns last year but maybe one that was missing is where is our greatest ever kit disappeared to? The double claret stripe on sky blue is surely the most aesthetically pleasing kit of all time yet we seem to have discarded our bland dark blue away kit for 2018/9 shows.

We are not impressed! The identity of a club is closely aligned to its colours - something that seems to be fading in 2018/9. Whatever fan forum exists for next season might raise this issue with our club management?

Just a thought.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Key Date Announced for Hammers fans

One of the frustrating aspects of being a paid up footie supporter these days is the grip that television companies have on the fixture list. For fans who need to make travel arrangements (and keep loved ones happy with their soccer obsession) the tendency for key games to be switched to accomodate tv is a real drag. With a cracking start scheduled for next season there is a strong likelihood that a host of Hammers games will be rescheduled and today Sky revealed that they will clarify their television plans on July 6th.

In the VERYWESTHAM camp, next season will see our first outing as fully fledged season ticket holders - something that despite all the unrest around the club since our move to the London Stadium is a positive that can be attributed to the Davids reign. However, trying to work attendance around the uncertainties of television (and Stansted airport) is a real challenge!

In September the home games against Chelsea (22nd) and Man Utd (29th) look likely to get bounced to different slots. At least come July 6th we'll have an idea about actual dates and times. They are games where the Pellegrini era can kick on. Returning to the Premiership from the riches of China can only be for footballing reasons and, in all honesty, so far the board seem to be finally delivering on resources. Keeping Arnie (and Antonio), sorting out Rice and giving Hernandez a system to believe in will be key tests ahead. With Manu out for the season we need creativity in midfield but there's a whole Summer ahead to sort that out.

Next season we can finally start to live the new dream!


Revealed: The Readymade Striker who can Propel West Ham into the Top Six Next Season

Look, he's behind you!!!

As West ham up their pursuit of top attacking talent to spearhead the Pellegrini era, its worth noting the in Javier Hernandez the club already has one of the World's top strikers on their books. 

With a modest 8 goals in 28 appearances last season, Chicharito's return to the Premier League was somewhat underwhelming, with a strike rate well below his career average of approximately 0.5 goals per game. However, it must be remembered that his minutes-per-goal ratio during his time with Manchester United is among the most prolific in the history of the Premiership!

Despite that, Hernandez fell out of favour under the Moyes regime at Old Trafford as his lack of physicality did not fit in with Moyes' preferred set up of a single striker. With Moyes departing for the more offensively minded Pellegrini Hernandez' second campaign looks likely to be an improvement - an observation that is underlined by his World Cup performances to date where he has contributed 2 important goals towards Mexico's push into the last 16.

With two years to run on his contract, West ham are spared all the frustrating wheeling and dealing that capturing top talent entails these days. Consider this: if Hernandez had been at Leverkusen last year and waz only arriving at the London Stadium just now, imagine how excitex Hammers fans would be? Under Pellegrini we can finally get to see the real Chicharito in action and in a more attack minded set up my money is on him returning to his previous prolific strike rate.


Monday 25 June 2018

Surely the Image of the World Cup so far?

The weekend witnessed the world cup finally kicking into gear. For those of us attracted by the prospect of an early German exit, Tony Kroos' last gasp strike reminded us to never write off the Germans!

Meanwhile Engerland battered poor little Panama as Harry Kane grabbed surely the softest hat trick of all time with 2 penalties and a bizarre deflected goal. That Gareth Southgate's troops couldn't maintain a six goal spread to make a draw with Belgium enough to top the group served to emphasize the limitations of the side. Belgium will be a real test!

From a Hammers petspective, Chicarito reminded us how good he can be in a better system by claiming the crucial goal to send Mexico into the last 16 while Cheik Kouyate put in a decent shift as Senegal shared the spoils in a 2-2 thriller with Japan.

But undoubtedly the most uplifting image of the tournament to date was that of former Columbian players Rene 'scorpion kick' Higuita with Carlos Valderrama rejoicing in Colombia's sensational performance against Poland.

There's a lot of good footie to come!

Sunday 24 June 2018

Felipe Anderson: Arnautovic or Feghouli?

As the Summer transfer period trundles along in the background of the World cup, the biggest target in West Ham's sight is Lazio's Brazilian talent, Felipe Anderson.

Lazio and West ham are locked in a game of wits regarding a transfer fee with personal terms of 80k per week agreed with Anderson himself. Lazio are holding out for an alleged E40k while the Hammers have offered 30k.

However, a deal seems likely as Anderson is mainly employed in a substitute role by Lazio and although a real attacking force when on form, he is prone to inconsistency. Therein lies the principal factor that has limited his game time at Lazio and that explains his absence from what looks a pretty modest Brazilian World Cup squad.

40 million for a player who doesnt make the World Cup and more often than not fails to make the starting XI at a club that finished a modest 5th in Serie A last season? You can see why the Davids sometimes take a cautious approach to the transfer market where its easy to waste hard earned resources!

That said, Anderson is now 25 years old and ready to push on. His ability in terms of skill is not in doubt as he has earned a host of accolades as the best dribbler in Serie A (!) And has in impressive assist and goalscoring record in what is a defensive league. His speed, ball control and positional versatility make him an ideal player to fit into the attacking berth created by Manny Lanzini's injury, while he is equally capable as a winger.

So, Arnautovic or Feghouli? The Lazio coaching team have commented on how Anderson is a confidence player who needs game time. With Mario gone and Lanzini out of action, it looks like the Brazilian may get a decent opportunity to strut his stuff at West ham.

If the clubs can agree a fee it looks like a good deal for all concerned!

Saturday 23 June 2018

Tantalising Pre-season Schedule awaits in July

With all eyes fixed upon goings on at the World Cup, its hard to think that the Premiership kick off is just seven weeks away! Between now and August 11th there will be much excitement in Russia but also the prospect of seeing Pellegrini's side take shape in a series of Pre-season friendlies. 
Already with some top signings already in the bag in Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop and Lukasz Fabianski, and with a host of tantalising rumours about additional signings, this years preseason could be the most interesting since the Curbishley-Icelandic era! Add to that the desire to see how we line out tactically under Pellegrini, many fans will want to take an early look at the latest iteration.
The Pre-season training starts in earnest with an 11 day trip to Austria during which the club have so far confirmed a single fixture against FC Winterthur, (Venue unconfirmed) on Sunday 8 July at 3pm (CEST). Other Austrian games seem likely but are not yet confirmed.
The Hammers first game back in the UK will be against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday 14 July at 3pm. 
A week later they travel up to Deepdale to face Preston North End on Saturday 21 July at 3pm giving Jordan Hugill a chance to play against his old club while ex-Hammer Sean Maguire will have the chance to remind us again of the talent that we let go.
Four days later we take on Aston Villa at Walsall's  Bescot Stadium on Wednesday 25 July at 7.45pm. Who knows what Robert Snodgrass' circumstances will be by then!
Three days later the Hammers trip up to Portman road to take on Ipswich Town on Saturday 28 July at 3pm
One suspects that there are likely to be further games between then and the 11th August when the Premiership kicks off against Liverpool at Anfield. 

Monday 18 June 2018

Lanzini Injury has a regrettable upside

The football world has been out in sympathy with West Ham's ace midfielder manuel Lanzini after his heart breaking injury sustained in training prior to a World Cup that many had predicted he would be a major success at. Unfortunately, the worst fears have been realised as it has emerged that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and thus faces 6-9 months on the sidelines. Despite the significant advances in surgical technique of recent years, many ACS injuries are career changing but with the very best of care and a careful unhurried rehabilitation journey, Manu will be back to his best for the second half of next season's campaign. Currently recouperating in Barcelona where the surgery was done, Lanzini is reported as upbeat.

For West Ham the injury is an obvious setback but many had feared that the club would be unable to hold on to their little Argentinian after the World Cup with a host of clubs apparently interested. Having developed such a potent relationship with Marko Arnautovic, fans really want to see the pair spearhead Pellegrini's side next year. perhaps Lanzini's injury will be a factor in that being possible, but the momentum behind a possible Arnautovic exit seems to be gathering pace. Fortunately, Austria did not make the finals and as such Arnie will be out of the shop window and one might expect that attentions will be diverted elsewhere once the action really gets going over the coming weeks.  

Either way, we wish Manu a full recovery!