Sunday, April 30, 2006

West Brom vs West Ham

James Collins, Paul Konchesky and Dean Ashton are all suffering groin problems while Danny Gabbidon is recovering from a back injury. With the cup final looming expect all to be rested.

West Brom are boosted by the return of midfielder Ronnie Wallwork. Wallwork has missed the last two games through suspension after collecting 10 bookings this season.

Other News The Mirror claim Pardew has begun talks to sign Charlton right back Luke Young. They also claim that Pardew will be given £10 million to spend this summer.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pardew Wants World Class Players

Since Pardew signed Dean Ashton the West Ham board have been saying that the majority of this summer's transfer budget has already been spent. However today Sky Sports report that Pardew "is expected to be given a hefty transfer budget in the summer." Pardew has said that with this he wants to bring in a couple of "world class" players. Whether West Ham could attract a couple of "world class" players is of course another question.

However if Pardew can bring in a couple of players who are immediate first team choices we might be able to sustain a decent European cup campaign. Mullins' suspension from the FA Cup final has emphasised the lack of depth in the Hammers' squad, which had already been exposed in the busy league and cup campaign of the last two months.

Of course at the beginning of the season I thought in April I would be worrying about relegation not whether I could get an FA Cup final ticket and whether the club had the squad for a European campaign.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Mullins Appeal Turned Down

The FA have turned down West Ham's appeal against Hayden Mullin's red card picked up against Liverpool. This means that Mullins will now be banned for three games; Monday's game against West Bromwich Albion, the final Premiership game against Spurs and the FA Cup final.

I can't help feeling that West Ham have been hard done by. Liverpool will hardly miss the diving Garcia whilst Mullins is essential to West Ham's midfield and the club have little effective cover in this position.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

West Ham to Appeal Against Red Card

Alan Pardew and Benitez joined forces last night in a bid to spare Mullins and Garcia three match bans. Referee Howard Webb sent both players off yeaterday for violent conduct, resulting in an automatic three-match ban and ruling both players out for the rest of the season, including the FA Cup final in Cardiff on May 13.

The managers held an impromptu meeting immediately after the final whistle, and emerged united in a plea for clemency from the FA for both players. West Ham and Liverpool will now appeal against the red cards.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

West Ham 1 Liverpool 2

Ashton, Harewood, Hislop and Konchesky were rested for this game. Liverpool also started without Gerrard, Hyypia, Riise, Luis Garcia and Alonso. The Reds enjoyed the better of the play for most of the first half and in the 18th minutes Cisse scored the opening goal from 25 yards.

In the last ten minutes of the half West Ham began to create opportunities for themselves and Sheringham and Benayoun both had good chances with their heads, unfortunately both missed.

However, as on Sunday, West Ham came out after the break with all guns blazing and within 15 seconds of the restart had equalised. Sheringham, from the just outside the box, passed to Zamora, Zamora rolled the ball on for Reo-Coker, who then knocked it into the goal from six yards out. Straight from the restart Morientes beat Walker with a shot, only for the ball to hit the post. Seven minutes later Cisse didn't miss, when Fowler him put through with a pass from his own half.

Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia were both sent off with 8 minutes to go and will now both miss the final. Garcia was elbowing and pushing Mullins and Mullins threw a punch at the Spaniard. West Ham had a few near misses before the end of the game, but losing Mullins for the final is far worse than losing this game.

Tribute to John Lyall

Over 30 ex-Hammers players who had the privilege of working with John are attending tonight's game and will be introduced on the pitch before the kick-off. Amongst those attending are Sir Trevor Brooking, Paul Allen, Ronnie Boyce, Bobby Barnes, Ken Brown, Paul Brush, Tony Carr, David Cross, Alan Curbishley, Mervyn Day, Alan Devonshire, Brian Dear, Bobby Gould, Paul Goddard, George Parris, Pat Holland, Billy Jennings, Kevin Keen, Vic Keeble, Alvin Martin, Mick McGiven, Jimmy Neighbour, Phil Parkes, Geoff Pike, Steve Potts, Keith Robson, Alan Taylor and Steve Walford.

Other News Schoolboy midfielder Tom Harvey will sign his first full-time contract with West Ham tonight. Harvey, who represents England at under-16 level, has been at Upton Park since the age of 10 and will join the Academy playing staff this summer. A dynamic midfielder with bags of energy, Tom has already made several appearances for the under-18 side this season and travelled with the reserve team on a number of occasions.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Trevor Brooking Next England Manager

Strange rumours abound tonight that West Ham legend Trevor Brooking is about to be named the next England manager. However Brooking will never get to manage a game as this will only be a 'technical appointment' until Portugal manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, is available after the World Cup.

This strange situation could arise because Scolari is said to be refusing to accept the job 'officially' whilst he is still manager of another country. Therefore Brooking could be named the next England manager early next week . However he will resign as soon as the World Cup finishes, before even taking up the job, when Scolari's appointment will be officially announced.

Of course this could all be rubbish and Fat Sam could be appointed instead.

West Ham vs Liverpool

Our league games are increasingly looking like dress rehearsals for our FA Cup encounters. Tomorrow night we face our FA Cup final opponents Liverpool at Upton Park.

Liverpool have won their last six games in the League and also beat Chelsea in the cup on Saturday. West Ham have failed to beat The Reds in their last seven encounters and have lost the last three. In fact West Ham have not beaten Liverpool since a 1-0 success at Upton Park on 27 November 1999.

However Liverpool have little to play for in the league, they have altready secured Champions League football, and realistically can't catch United in second place.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Harewood Goal & The Pardew Shuffle

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Boro 0 West Ham 1


Boro had the best of the first half, creating the more chances and having more possession of the ball. They put five players across the midfield and the West Ham defence were forced to knock hopeful balls over the top. Harewood and Ashton however were unable to win their fair share of these long balls as the Boro defence coped well with the arial battle. In fact the West Ham strikers only real contribution to the first half was Ashton breaking Schwarzer's cheek bone.

Apart from the loss of their goalkeeper the other regret Boro would have had was that they didn't create more. Their two clearest chances both were headed over the bar, Queudrue from a corner and Hasselbaink from a right wing cross. The best chance for West Ham came five minutes from the break, when Reo-Coker won a battle with Boateng in the Boro penalty area and the ball fell to Benayoun. But the Israeli shot his half volley a couple of yards over the bar.

In the second half West Ham came out flying. They had Boro penned back in their own penalty area for the first fifteen minutes. On the 54th minute Ashton headed against the bar from a corner and four minutes later headed straight at the goalie from another corner. On the 60th minute Reo-Coker got the ball on the left wing, beat Boateng and unleashed a shot that just missed the right hand post.

On 77 minutes the long ball finally worked for West Ham. Ferdinand knocked a 70 yrd ball forward, Ashton won the header on the edge of the box and Harewood ran onto it to shoot into the back of the net with his left foot from just inside the area. West Ham then faced a frantic 15 minutes as Boro threw everything forward.

On 82 minutes Hasselbaink ran with the ball straight at the West Ham box and Collins brought him down on the edge of the box. From the resulting freekick Hislop saved well diving to his right. On 88 minutes Macccorone shot wide from ten yards out. For some strange reason five minutes extra time was then added on. In extra time Downing shot over form a freekick from the edge of the box and Riggott had an excellent effort from five yards out with only Hislop to beat but he shot wide.

Come on you Irons!

Key Battles Today

Stuart Downing vs Anton Ferdinand / Scaloni

Stopping Stuart Downing on the left wing could be one of the key battles in today's game. I suspect Pardew will not trust Scaloni's lack of pace and that the quicker Anton will find himself at right back again. Ferdinand doesn't like the position but stopping Downing's distribution will be important.

Reo-Coker vs Boateng

Boateng is Boro's sitting defender, his job is to protect his back four and he is very good at it. He could be even more important today for Boro if their experienced defender Southgate is injured. It will be important for West Ham that Reo-Coker does enough to keep Boateng busy, this should give Benayoun more freedom when he drifts in field, and more room for Teddy drifting back if he comes on late in the game.

Rate the Players at the BBC

The BBC are trying out a new player rating system for the two FA Cup semi-final games. Instead of their reporters deciding on how the players have performed they are letting fans decide. Follow the link above and submit your marks out of 10. The aggregated scores, based on all submitted entries, will be displayed and continually updated as new scores come in.

My prediction is 10 out of 10 for all the boys in claret and blue. We haven't played well in recent games but this season we have won a number of games late on. The Boro should be physically and mentally tired after their mid-week European game, so I think we could win this one in the last quarter of an hour. Come on you Hammers!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reo-Coker and The Art of War

In an interview in today's Guardian Reo-Coker reveals that he likes to read 2000-year-old Chinese philosophy,

"The Art of War is a great book. It's such a complex book that however you want to look at it, you can look at it. For football it teaches you about respecting your enemy but knowing your enemy as well as you know yourself; trying to anticipate their next move and what they are going to do before they do it.

You can take a lot of aspects from the book into football and everyday life. It even teaches you how to be a good leader through some of the stories: how your people can be with you or turn against you depending on the things you do and how you lead them, treat them and look after them; how you have to be careful having so much power."

The player also reveals his personal ambitions in football, which are not necessaily at Upton Park,

"In all honesty the days are gone when players would spend 10 or 11 years at one club. It's really hard to find nowadays. I've always been the sort of person who's mentally ready if I have to pack my bags and leave and move. It's been instilled in me from a very young age that is what the football industry is about nowadays, especially at the top level, especially with Abramovich coming in as Chelsea's owner - money does talk now. I'm prepared for that. If I have to move and my career lies elsewhere eventually, so be it. All I know is I'm very ambitious and I want to win things and play at the highest level."

Obviously Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' doesn't mention loyalty.

Friday, April 21, 2006

West Ham vs Boro

The news is good for the Hammers, with all the players now fit for the semi-final. Anton and Gabbidon have recovered from injury and Etherington and Benayoun are also fit to return to the side.

For Boro, captain Gareth Southgate looks doubtful with an ankle injury and striker Mark Viduka is also a worry with a thigh injury.

Alan Pardew thinks West Ham's experience of last year's play-off final will help the players in the semi-final. He said: "If we had not won that game the future for West Ham in terms of being a big club again would have been very difficult because we were under financial pressure to win that game. There will never be as much pressure as that play-off final. It was as big as it ever will be for this football club, even if we get to the FA Cup final."

Pardew therefore believes that the players will not freeze on such a big occasion.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

West Ham and Olympic Stadium

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales has raised the prospect of West Ham eventually moving into the yet to be built Olympic Stadium,

"The only expansion you can have at Upton Park is over on the East side, but if they could move into the Olympic Stadium, well now you become one of the big clubs, maybe one of the top 20 clubs in the world," said the Mayor."

Last month London mayor Ken Livingstone stated that the IOC would not allow London to change the pledges of their bid document. In other words the new stadium would have to remain an athletic track after the games. Officials had insisted that after the 2012 London Games the new stadium would be reduced in capacity and could not be used as a football stadium. However olympic organising committee Chairman Lord Coe has now said that there are no rules against the stadium housing a premiership team. This has in turn lead to renewed speculation that West Ham could take over the stadium after the olmypics.

Sir Robin Wales statements about this prospect seem to suggest that Newham council would welcome the club moving out of Upton Park to an area that was designed for holding large sporting occasions. This would have the obvious benefit for the council of removing the huge congestion caused in a residential area on match days.

However if the stadium has to retain an athletic track it would mean West Ham fans would have to sit a long way from the pitch and the atmosphere in the ground would presumably be very stilted. So I would guess it is not a move that would be welcomed by West Ham fans.

John Lyall RIP

Just two months after attending the funeral of Ron Greenwood, his predecessor as manager of West Ham, John Lyall has also died. Lyall won two FA Cups during his time in charge of West Ham and the 1980 triumph was the club's last major trophy.

Lyall who went onto manage Ipswich after leaving Upton Park served West Ham as office boy, player, coach and manager for 32 years. He joined the club as apprentice/office boy in 1957 and had a short playing career as a left-back which was cut short by injury. He then became assistant manager to Ron Greenwood, whom he succeeded in 1974, with Greenwood remaining as general manager for three years. The pair went on to win the 1975 FA Cup and reached the European Cup-Winners' Cup final the following year. When Ron Greenwood retired Lyall continued the articulate, inventive style of football that had been established at the club and led West Ham in their 1980 FA Cup victory over Arsenal.

West Ham were relegated in 1978 but under Lyall returned to the top flight in 1981 as champions and he led them to their highest finish of third, in 1986. Lets hope the club can honour Greenwood and Lyall by reaching the FA Cup final once again this year.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gabbidon Injury

Danny Gabbidon picked up a groin injury towards the end of the match against Boro on Monday, and Pardew has admitted the player might not recover for the semi-final clash.

"Danny is touch and go for Sunday, but everyone else will be ok," Pardew reports in the club official website.

This hopefully means that Anton, Etherington and Benayoun will all be back for Sunday's game.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

West Ham Claim Boro Are Favourites for Cup

Both Alan Pardew and Teddy Sheringham admitted that Boro have the psychological advantage over West Ham going into the semi-final. Teddy said, "Middlesbrough have probably got a slight psychological advantage after this result, but I'm sure it will be a very different game at Villa Park."

Pardew spoke about Boro's success in Europe this year in his claim that West Ham go into the game as underdogs. After West Ham lost to a Boro second eleven he might have a point.

However Sheringham pointed out that yesterday's result could have been very different if the Hammers had put away their chances,

"Their keeper made an excellent save from Marlon in the first five minutes and if that had gone in, I think it would have been a different story. We then had some good chances to get back in it - I missed a header and Deano had one right at the end - and I suppose the finishing made the difference today. It hasn't been going great for the strikers lately but it's just one of those spells that pops up every now and then - hopefully it will go for us on Sunday."

The veteran player also pointed out that, "We've also got other players to come back for the semi-final - Matty, Yossi and hopefully Anton, so everyone is still optimistic and looking forward to the game."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boro 2 West Ham 0

West Ham are finding it difficult to put consecutive wins together at the moment. The Hammers started this game with Sheringham and Katan on for Ashton and Etherington. Benayoun and Etherington weren't even on the bench.

West Ham had the best chance early on but Harewood's powerful shot was saved by Mark Schwarzer at point blank range. West Ham dominated the game for much of the first half without really threatening the Boro goal. They were then punished for their lack of creation when Hasselbaink scored from a Bates cross.

Early in the second half West Ham again looked the better side but again failed to create chances. Maccarone then got the second for Boro from the penalty spot after Shaun Newton was judged to have fouled Adam Johnson in the area. Ashton and Zamora were brought on by Pardew and Ashton had a good chance towards the end of the match, but skied his shot high over the bar from close range.

This was only the dress rehearsal; the real thing comes next Sunday.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Shaun Newton's Goal

Shaun Newton's first goal for West Ham after some good work by Zamora on the left wing.

Boro vs West Ham

After a very poor start to the season Boro have hit a rich vein of form. They have won five out of their last nine premiership games and qualified for the semi-finals of the UEFA and FA Cup.

For this dress rehearsal for next Sunday's game West Ham will again be without Anton Ferdinand (now looking doubtful for the semi-final). Boro may welcome back Viduka and Hasselbaink, who were rested yesterday. However Boro's two semi-final clashes against Steaua Bucharest sandwich the West Ham game and McClaren will have to rest players at some point, the league fixture against West Ham is the least important game out of the four, so we can expect some changes

West Ham go into this match in seventh place and Pardew has stated his ambition to finish seventh or above, so the Hammers will not want to give anything away in this game. Hopefully the Boro players' minds will be on their upcoming UEFA game and West Ham can capitalise on this.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

West Ham 1 Man City 0

Shaun Newton got his first goal for West Ham on the 14th minute scoring from 18yrds from a Bobby Zamora left wing cross. This was not a convincing win against a weakened and out of form side. City had the ball in the back of the net twice, only for both goals to be disallowed for offside. Sinclair had a shot seemingly heading for goal only for an offside Micah Richard to stupidly run onto it and get a touch (the ball may also have been over the line when he touched it). Vassell also had a late strike disaallowed.

In the second half City piled on the pressure, particularly towards the end of the game and West Ham were lucky in the end to hang on for the win. However a win is a good start to the week. We now face two games against Boro. A nice away draw and then a win in the semi-final and we will all be happy Hammers again.

West Ham vs City - Radio Live

There doesn't seem to be any live tv feeds of today's game.

Here is a live radio feed. It is working now (half an hour before the game).

Barthez Linked with West Ham

Sky Sports are today linking Fabien Barthez with West Ham. Barthez' contract with Marseille runs out in the summer and the club are refusing to match his current wage. With Carroll's injury problems and Hislop's age Pardew is believed to be interested in picking Barthez up on a free. However if he leaves Marseille for money reasons it is unlikely that the player will fit into the pay scale at West Ham.

Dean Ashton Wants to Recapture Form

West Ham striker Dean Ashton, speaking to Sky Sports, says he is keen to emulate his last game against City.

"I haven't scored since the City quarter final. It was a great night for me and the team and I hope tomorrow will be the same. It would be really disappointing for everyone if we just faded away now and finished with an average season in mid-table. We really want to push on. I am a harsh critic of myself, every player should be, it's how you improve - and my performances in recent weeks haven't been up to my expectations.

I need to get back on track and it would be great to score a couple of goals before the semi-final. I have only been here two and a half months and I only really felt fully settled at Norwich just before I left. It takes a year to be fully settled in but the trip we made to Dubai last week was really good for me. Being a new player it gave me a chance to bond with the players and get a bit of sun on my back."

Friday, April 14, 2006

West Ham vs Man City

City have yet to pick up an away point in 2006 and have lost their last five games. Joey Barton is out of the game and fellow midfielders Claudio Reyna and Antoine Sibierski are also both doubtful for the game. David James has conceded more goals than any other keeper in Premier League history (to be fair - he has also played the most games). So this should be an easy home win, however West Ham's recent form has only been marginally better than City's.

Anton Ferdinand is not named in the West Ham squad but Nigel Reo-Coker and Matthew Etherington have recovered from slight knocks and are both included. Also named in the squad is 18-year-old left winger Kyel Reid, who has impressed at reserve team level recently.

Teddy Sheringham could reach another personal milestone. If he gets a game it will be his 500th appearance in English top flight football.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pardew Attacks Europe on Two Fronts

Alan Pardew says he wants West Ham to qualify for Europe through the league and through the cup.

“The two routes into Europe are still open to us and there are not many teams who can say that,” said Pardew.

Victory against Boro in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park a week on Sunday will secure West Ham a place in next season’s UEFA Cup. However Pardew also wants West Ham to finish at least seventh in the league.

Pardew has set a target of four points from Saturday’s game against City and Monday’s trip to Boro. This could prove a tough ask for West Ham as they have looked pretty jaded of late. The City game should be a banker but Boro have been on good form lately. Pardew has said he wants the players to put, "the semi-final at the back of their mind. We don’t want it to cloud the fantastic opportunity we have of seventh place in the Premiership, which I do believe is European qualification.

Ferdinand Nominated for Young Player of Year

Anton Ferdinand's excellent first year in the premiership has been recognised by the PFA who have nominated him for Young Player of the Year. The other nominees are Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent, Cesc Fabregas and Aaron Lennon.

PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor says: "I'm really impressed with the way Anton has adapted to life in The Premiership, just as West Ham have done as a club. I'm glad he's reflecting West Ham's success because he deserves that...and he's certainly going some way towards reaching the heights of his older brother."

Other News Stuart Pearce says he won't risk Joey Barton against West Ham. Barton is suffering from an ankle injury. Claudio Reyna and Antoine Sibierski are also doubts for City.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Roy Carroll Out for Rest of Season

Alan Pardew claims that West Ham goalkeeper Roy Carroll will be out for the rest of the season. Carroll picked up his current injury during West Ham's win over Fulham and had to undergo surgery on his back.

The manager also said that Christian Dailly has a chance of making it back before the season's end, but Anton Ferdinand, who missed Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge with a recurrence of his thigh injury, may also miss this weekend's game against City.

"Anton aggravated his thigh injury when he came back for the Charlton game and I think he is less than 50/50 for the weekend," revealed the boss.

Pardew also commented on the rumours this week linking Reo-Coker with Manure, "It is very flattering and I expect to hear that sort of story about my players, just as when Anton was linked with Barcelona. They have both done terrifically well this season, they are both on long contracts, they are both very happy here, so it is not something that I need to worry about."

West Ham vs Man City

After our poor league form of late we need to get back to winning ways, so who better to face than City who are in a run of even poorer form. After West Ham outclassed them in the quarter-finals their players have been playing like their season is over.

Both West Ham and City go into this match coming off poor results last Saturday. City lost at home to a Middlesbrough side who fielded seven academy players, resting senior players for tonight's FA Cup clash against Charlton. Both West Ham and City have won only two games out of their last eight league games and West Ham have won just two more points than City from these games. However this should be an easy home win for West Ham.

Other News

Middlesbrough and Charlton's FA Cup replay is live on BBC tonight. The winners of this game will play West Ham in the semi-final.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

West Ham Defend Dubai Trip

West Ham director Paul Aldridge has defended the club's trip to Dubai. He said:

"The trip to Dubai had been planned in principal from very early on, and once a date was agreed we discussed the destination with Yossi and Yaniv and, although they did not wish to travel with the squad, they were insistent that the plans were not altered. We were keen to ensure that the benefit we believe the squad will gain from the break was enjoyed by all the players. We therefore arranged a similar break for Yaniv and Yossi in Spain, where they had the advantage of being able to be with their young families.

Surely, this trip was partly intended to be a team building exercise so why did the club decide to go to a country that two of the players couldn't visit? Aldridge seems to be passing the buck onto Yossi and Yaniv, but not only does Israel advise its citizens not to travel to Dubai but Israeli citizens are not allowed into the United Arab Emirates. This had nothing to do therefore with the players' 'wishes'.

Yossi and Katan Not Taken to Dubai

The Guardian reports today that Yossi Benayoun and Yaniv Katan did not travel to Dubai with the rest of the players but were sent to Marbella in Spain. When asked about his feeling at being left behind the paper reports Katan as saying that "Sometimes the best thing is not to react". The paper also claim that Benayoun looked unhappy with the decision of Alan Pardew to substitute him on Sunday.

Israeli citizens are not allowed into the United Arab Emirates and the Israeli Foreign Office advises them not to travel there. So it begs the question why the trip was booked there in the first place. Even Brown can't be stupid enough to have done this on purpose, so it must have been a horrible mistake. However once the mistake was realised surely an alternative venue could have been found. Benayoun is a young man who has left clubs in the past because of home sickness and this will hardly have made him feel at home.

So West Ham arranged a shambolic trip away which was then followed by a shambolic performance on the pitch. Great mangement.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Pardew asks Board for £15 million

Both and all3points report today that Pardew has asked the board for a transfer budget of £15 million. After yesterday's performance it is obvious we need two or three more good players. One of the problems Pardew has in games is that he only has substitute options up front.

He said: "I have already told the board what I want. The figure I have talked about is pushing them again. I have a good relationship with them - they have been very good to me. I have to keep putting success in front of them and, if I do that, then I shall get what I want."

Pardew has already spent most of the transfer budget earmarked for the summer on Ashton so it is unlikely that the board will give way to his demands.

Pardew on Yesterday's Game

West Ham manager Alan Pardew reflected after the game on how a ten man Blues side can work harder than eleven men.

"We scored the goal and then they were reduced to ten men - and we switched off at that point. We went away from what we're about - the exuberance and positiveness that we've had all year. We kind of drifted out of the game unfortunately, and we gifted them goals. It was a tough afternoon for us - and a tough afternoon for West Ham fans.

The trip to Dubai was designed to lift the players. Bolton made the same trip and went on to beat Arsenal 1-0, so we were hoping the trick was going to work for us - but it didn't today. We'll have to look at ourselves as a squad - and staff - and make sure that next week we're better prepared, and ready for it. On our side, I think we just thought 'well okay, we can keep playing as we are and we'll be alright' - and that wasn't good enough. Ten world-class players pulled themselves together, worked twice as hard and came away with a great victory for Chelsea. They're still an excellent team, we knew we had a challenge today. They've had a lot of criticism - some of it unfairly. But they answered their critics today - and we bore the brunt of that."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Chelsea 4 West Ham 1

West Ham tried to copy the Chelski's line up by playing five in midfield, with Harewood on the right and Benayoun in the middle. The Blues however started with a 4-4-2 formation, with Crespo and Drogba up front. Although Benayoun looked good in the middle of the field being a more effective passer than Reo-Coker the Blues started well and looked in control of the game early on.

However Harewood on 10 minutes won a corner on the right wing and Collins scored with a near post header. Straight from the restart the Blues had two good chances, Gabbidon just cleared a cross between two Blues attackers and Essien headed over an easy chance from six yards out. Then a minute later Maniche hit the bar from five yards out. It was beginning to look like West Ham were going to have to defend for 80 minutes.

Then on 15 minutes Scaloni went diving into a tackle and Maniche stamped over the ball and caught Scaloni. Maniche was sent off. West Ham now had five midfielders against Chelsea's three and were able to keep some possession. Just as West Ham were beginning to control the game though, on 28 minutes, Drogba beat Collins in the chase for a long ball and equalised for the Blues. Two minutes later Crespo scored from a Drogba cross to give the Blues the lead.

West Ham then seemed to forget they had the extra man and began to let the Blues dominate possession. On 42 minutes Shaka saved well diving at Drogba's feet when the attacker latched onto a cross and found himself one-on-one with the keeper. Just before the break West Ham had their first chance for a while when Lumpard pulled back Benayoun on the edge of the box. Etherington however shot into the wall.

On 53 minutes West Ham failed to clear from a corner, Gallas shot and hit the bar, and Terry scored from the rebound eight yards out. On 60 mins Harewood glanced a header wide from a free kick from Konchesky on the left wing. From a free kick, won by a Robben dive, Gallas scored the Blues fourth. On 70 minutes Sheringham replaced Benayoun and on 87 minutes he had a shot cleared off the line. But the chances for West Ham were few and far between.

None of the West Ham players came out of this game with any credit. We were thrashed by ten men and didn't have a shot on goal for half an hour after the oppostion had a player sent off. West Ham haven't played well in two months, except in the Man City FA cup game, and what looked to be a promising season is now petering out. We have the FA Cup semi-final to look forward to but morale in the squad must be getting lower and lower. God I'm pissed off. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to avoid relegation and we have achieved that but we have looked a poor team of late.

Chelski vs West Ham

I've been feeling negative about this match all week. Despite the Blues' recent dodgy away form they have continued to win at home and Mourinho has pointed out that they only have to win their remaining home games to win the league. Added to that have been rumours that Anton Ferdinand has an injury.

However now the hungover morning of the match has arrived I feel much more confident. The Blues have been looking tired recently, especially fat Lamps and Drogba's recent cheating antics means that the ref probably won't let him get away with anything. Hopefully Ashton will still be smarting after being subbbed at half time against Charlton and feel that he has something to prove today.

A win is still a long-shot but I think we can get a draw from this game.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Streaming TV Chelski vs. West Ham

Chelsea vs West Ham live TV streams:


If these links don't work there are many more here, but you have to register.

Potter Pardew

Alan Pardew has revealed that one way he judges players has been borrowed from the pages of Harry Potter, in which JK Rowling's teenage wizard is terrified by beings with the power to suck out their victim's souls.

He said: "I surround myself with strong characters, winners and people who I like to think have good, sensible morals. I include all my staff and players in that, and if I don't see it in an individual, then I get rid of that person. I don't like people who drain my time and energy. If you've seen the Harry Potter films, we use the term 'dementors' - people who can draw the life out of you in terms of your energy."

Anton Injured?

West Ham returned yesterday from their trip to Dubai. On the club web site asisstant manager Peter Grant says the trip was just what the players needed. "It's been great. One thing you are looking for at this stage of the season is a spark - something to lift the players and push them on for the final period.

We've had a lot of games in a short space of time recently, plus a lot of travelling that has taken its toll, and at times we looked a little leggy against Charlton on Sunday.

"So it's good for the players to get away, have a bit of sun on their backs and spend some time together. They have worked hard this season, no-one can dispute that, and this is a nice gesture by the Club ... I'm sure they will all come back with a spring in their step."

However West Ham Fans Org claim West Ham arrived home with "an injured Anton Ferdinand." I can't find any comfirmation of this anywhere else and I hope it isn't true as I fear Joe Cole could run Scaloni ragged at right back tomorrow.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dubai Break

West Ham are just the latest of a number of football teams to take advantage of the warm Dubai weather for a mid-season break. West Ham have been training at the Jebel Ali International Centre of Excellence, the sports training facility of Jebel Ali International Hotels.

The core of the sports academy at the Centre of Excellence is a grassed area under floodlights that holds two full sized football pitches and associated changing facilities. These incorporate two changing areas dedicated to teams and two treatment rooms.

In an interview with the Dubai press Pardew talked of West Ham's “high hopes of winning the cup”.

Let's hope the break has reinvigorated the team as they face a tough match on Sunday against the Chelski.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Chelski vs West Ham

West Ham visit Stamford Bridge for what could be a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup final. The champions have been faltering of late in their push for the league title, however the blue's home form remains solid. They have dropped only two points from a possible 48 at home, and have won the last four home games.

The last time we played at Stamford Bridge West Ham won 2-3 but Mourinho's men have already won 1-3 at Upton Park this season. Our history in the league is good against the Blues, West Ham have won 34 games, and Chelski 26. Since the start of the Premiership honours are even at 9 wins a piece.

Pardew Wants Ronaldinho

Pardew revealed today that the player he would most like to sign is Barcelona's Ronaldinho. So all we need now is to qualify for the Champions league and for Brown to cough up £70 odd million for the transfer fee.

West Ham Reserves Fifth Defeat in a Row

West Ham reserves lost 3-0 to Watford reserves to make it five successive defeats. The West Ham side contained some of the Under 18 squad. 15-year-old Jordan Spence, who signed his first contract with the club on Sunday, played in the centre of defence for the second half. The recent poor performance of the reserves does reveal the lack of squad strength at Upton Park.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Zamora to Everton and Anton to Arsenal

Today's transfer rumours are linking Zamora with Everton. Moyes is said to have been a fan of Zamora since his Brighton days. Zamora has been relegated to the bench since Ashton's arrival but with Teddy likely to play an even more peripheral role at West Ham next year it is likely Zamora will stay and fight for his palce at the club he has always supported.

Arsenal are rumoured to be considering a £10 million bid for Anton Ferdinand. Arsenal could probably only afford that figure if Henry is sold and their young defence seems to have bedded in since West Ham beat them at Highbury. So a bid seems unlikely from the Gunners.

The Times West Ham Special

In today's excellent Times West Ham special the paper reveals some more interesting inside stories from Upton Park.

  • Club doctor Ges Steinbergs was hauled away from the West Ham dugout by security men at Upton Park during West Ham's game against Manchester United in 1996. West Ham United had just equalised and Steinbergs "gleefully hammered at the dugout and stuck two fingers up at Alex Ferguson." Steinbergs claims he was just relaying the 2-2 score to the Manure manager.
  • Suffering concussion, Ian Pearce, the defender, was lying in the bath at Maine Road when 16 players came in for a shower. “He didn’t recognise one of them and had a panic attack,” Steinbergs said. “When I told Harry Redknapp that Ian didn’t know who he was, he said: ‘Tell him he is Bobby Moore and get him playing next week’.”
  • The players are forced to wear tights to assist muscular recovery after matches. “We had all the usual ‘oh, you look nice in yours’ at first, but not one of the boys protested,” Niall Clark says. “Some keep them on in bed at night, but I don’t know what their wives think about it. And, no, they don’t have to wear high heels and suspenders as well.”

  • Pardew Criticises Reo-Coker's Consistency

    Nigel Reo-Coker has come under fire from some West Ham fans for his recent form. In The Times West Ham special Pardew acknowledges that Reo-Coker has to become more consistent,

    "We lack a little bit of smartness and knowledge, but we are gaining that. Nigel Reo-Coker has lulls. I tell him that to be a top player he has to produce every week. He tends to produce against the best teams, but against some of the lesser teams he is not as effective. If Roy Keane was playing against Colchester he would be the best player on the pitch. Nigel needs to get that mentality."

    At only 20 years of age the West Ham captain is obviously at the beginning of his career and can only get better. Personally I'd like to see him improve his final ball and shooting.

    Pardew also reveals in The Times his vision for West Ham, which stems from watching Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs rampaging down the flanks for Manchester United in the early 1990s. “I want us to be exciting, to play with exuberance,” he says. “I want people to say, ‘Aren’t West Ham good — they are all about winning, (but) they are trying (to play attractive football) and having a go.’ We have produced that on sporadic occasions.

    Pennant and Johnson

    West Ham and Spurs are both rumoured today to be after Birmingham's Jermaine Pennant and Chelsea's Glen Johnson. If Birmingham are relegated Pennant could be allowed to leave for around £3 million and Johnson, who has hardly featured in the Chelsea first team this season, could also cost around the £3 million mark. West Ham are continously linked with Johnson in the press and with Scaloni seemingly out of favour it seems likely West Ham will be looking for a new right back this summer.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    The Times Hammers' Special

    The Times are this week running a week-long behind the scenes look at West Ham. Times' reporters spent last week at Upton Park with the West Ham players and staff and are reporting about it all week in the paper. This exclusive access has resulted in some unique insights into the club.

    In today's installment kit man Eddie Gillam reveals “Julian Dicks used to put a Mars bar down his sock to nibble during the game and we used to throw Alvin Martin chocolate from the dugout.” They also reveal how at Old Trafford "A United official ... sweeps a device over the clothing and equipment, checking for bugs." The other exclusive insight reveals the difficulties faced when Geordie, Michael Carrick arrived at the club, “He couldn’t understand us and we couldn’t understand him."

    It is hard to know how much of this is tongue in cheek.

    West Ham in Dubai

    West Ham have taken the players off for a break in Dubai this week. After our tired performance against Charlton this mid-season break looks to be well timed. Let's hope the players are nicely rested for the tough game against Chelsea on Sunday. Chelsea have looked tired themselves in recent games but after Manchster Utd gained ground on them over the weekend we can expect them to be even more determined to get a result against West Ham.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Pards Attacks Referee

    Alan Pardew has attacked Rob Styles' handling of the West Ham vs Charlton game, believing the referee allowed Charlton to time waste,

    “I went to see Rob and we had a discussion about the responsibilities of all of us to put entertainment on. I felt he didn't encourage Charlton to get going today. Not once. In the second half we were attacking the game and trying to force the goal. There were goal-kicks and throw-ins and he could have encouraged the game and helped the fans as well. He didn't make a single gesture towards that and I just made that point. I think he accepted my argument. It was a nice conversation."

    Personally I think it was Charlton who ruined the game. They had two shots all game and obviously came to defend, but that's hardly against the rules. Charlton have made a habit of 0-0 draws recently. After their mid-season slump Curbishley obviously believed that shoring up their defence was his priority.

    Whilst Charlton were tedious yesterday I don't remember any excessive time-wasting and West Ham seemed flat themselves.

    Other News Tottenham and West Ham are both rumoured to be interested in young Leyton Orient central defender Gabriel Zakuani. The nineteen year old Congolese player has played a big part in Orient's good form this year and despite being under contract until 2008 he is believed to have attracted the attention of a number of clubs.

    Pardew Praises Defence

    Alan Pardew looking at the positive from the Charlton game has praised the West Ham defence,

    "It was a very tight game and the defenders were terrific today against strikers who have been terrific all season."

    Coliins has looked at ease since replacing Ferdinand in the centre and Scaloni seems to be out of favour at right back. Scaloni has often looked off the pace in the Premiership and Ferdinand may now be forced to play in a position he isn't fond of.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    West Ham 0 Charlton 0

    West Ham started with their normal line-up, except for Ferdinand replacing Scaloni at right back and Collins keeping his place in central defence. Ashton had an early chance from a long throw, hitting it over from three yards. A few minutes later Harewood had a shot from outside the box defelcted just wide. On the 22nd minute Ashton had a header on goal, from a Ferdinand cross, but was too far out to really trouble the keeper. On the 40th minute from the left of the penalty box Ferdinad just shot into the side of the net. Then two minutes later Harewood struck a sweet volley from the edge of the area but straight into the keeper's hands.

    On the 44th minute Charlton managed their first shot, Darren Bent shot from a long way out on the left wing, and missed by a few yards. Neither side dominated the half and both defences looked secure. West Ham edged it though on the few chances they managed to create.

    Teddy Sheringham started the second half on his 40th birthday in place of Ashton. Three minutes after the restart Benayoun began a move on the half way line, played a nice one-two with Harewood and shot just wide. Charlton then managed to create some pressure for the first time in the game and won a number of corners in a row. West Ham defended these well and then, on the break, won a free kick thirty yards from the Charlton goal. Collins smashed the free kick just over the bar. On 67 minutes Hughes had a good chance for Charlton from a corner, but shot wide from a couple of yards out. On 71 minutes Benayoun pulled a ball down out of the air in the box but his snap shot went wide.

    West Ham created their best two chances of the half from corners. On 78 minutes Zamora had a header headed off the line from a corner. Four minutes later from another corner Sheringham has a shot saved well by Myhre. Benayoun nearly got through twice right at the death. Kishishev blocked his first shot and then a couple of minutes later Benayoun headed over from a corner.

    Both sides seemed a bit flat in this game and the crowd seemed strangely muted. In the a draw was a fair result for both sides.

    Pardew Picks the Pocket

    West Ham have been linked with a number of right backs this week. However it seems that the Hammers won't be splashing out too much this summer. Alan Pardew has revealed that the £7.25 million acquisition of Dean Ashton will affect the club's transfer budget this summer.

    Pardew says that the money spent on Aston came from this summer's transfer budget, "I don't think anyone will be surprised to know that the acquisition of Dean Ashton in January was partly funded by using some of next year's money. We haven't got a massive pot for the summer as things stand at the moment. However, we will have sufficient funds to improve the squad, and just one or two additions could make all the difference to this team."

    Other News West Ham schoolboy defender Jordan Spence will sign his first full-time contract with the Hammers today. Spence is captain of the England under-16 team and can play as a central defender or midfielder. He has already made a number of appearances for the under-18 side this season.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    West Ham vs Charlton

    In what could be a dress rehearsal of our FA Cup semi-final West Ham have a good chance of getting our first win against the Addicks since 6th April 2002, and revenge for the 2-0 loss away in the reverse fixture on New Year's Eve.

    Charlton have a fully fit squad, whilst Dailly and Carrol are still injured for the Hammers. With Darren Bent in excellent form this season, having scored 18 Premiership goals and third highest goalscorer in the league this year, only three behind Ruud Van Nistlerooy and Henry, it will be interesting to see if Ferdinand regains his defensive slot in place of Collins. Expect Teddy to make a late appearance in the second half on his 40th birthday.

    The game is live on Sky 1.
    A PPlive stream of the game is available here.
    A TvAnts stream is available here

    Practice Your Ball Skills

    Luke Young Linked With the Hammers

    Today West Ham are linked with another right back, Charlton's Luke Young. That's at least three right backs we are buying in the summer then.

    Twenty eight year old St Etienne goalkeeper, Jeremy Janot, seems to be trying to get the Hammers' interest. He claims West Ham United Football Club are keen to sign him.

    "I have known about West Ham United for some time. It pleases me to know that good clubs are very interested in me. But my priority remains St Etienne, I am happy here - but one never knows what can happen in this game, it can all happen very quickly."

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