Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Investigation Verdict Imminent

According to Sky Sports the Premiership's investigation into West Ham's ownership of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano is expected soon.

Magnusson apparently will appeal if West Ham are found guilty, arguing that the new owners should not be punished for the crimes of the previous owners. This is why Brown has resigned as a a non-executive director.

Odds on New West Ham Manager

Ladbrokes don't hold out much hope of Curbishley remaining as West Ham manager and claim that Graeme Souness is the odds on favourite to take over the job.

Souness is 3-1
Sven-Goran Eriksson is available at 7-1
Paul Ince is 33-1
Teddy Sheringham is 33-1
and Alan Pardew is 25-1 for a shock return.

There doesn't seem much to please West Ham fans in these choices. Sheringham might be the most popular with fans but his lack of managerial experience is a worry and I'm not sure the players will be able to afford the losses at the poker table.

Paul Ince looks an interesting bet at 33-1, especially if he teams up with Glenn Roeder as deputy manager and Fat Frank Lampard as a player-coach.

Brown Out - Again

According to today's Times Terence Brown has resigned as a director of West Ham. The paper are making the obvious connection between Brown's resignation and the recent talk of the new owners suing Brown and Aldridge over the details of the Tevez and Mascherano signings.

However the paper say that Brown remains as honorary life vice-president of West Ham.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

West Ham Need a Miracle

Sir Trevor Brooking has admitted that West Ham now need a miracle to avoid relegation,

"It's difficult for me to comment. It's going to be difficult when you look at the run-in. They have to go to Spurs on Sunday and they have still to play Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.

We are all very concerned. I go to quite a few games but it is not for me to get involved - it is a new regime now. I wish them luck and I hope some miracle happens - I think they need one."

Baliff's After West Ham's Cole

Apparently debt collector's were refused entry to West Ham's training ground when they turned up to recover unpaid congestion charges from Carlton Cole. Whilst refusing to pay his congestion charge may not be as serious as Anton's assult charges or Carroll and Etherington's gambling addictions it does seem symptomatic of a deep malaise running through the West Ham squad at the moment.

Someone needs to sit these boys down and tell them how lucky and privileged they are and that they have a responsibility to the club and fans.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ashton's Return

It looks like Dean Ashton is finally ready to make his return with West Ham reserves against the Addicks reserves tonight in Gravesend. Unfortunately Wigan's win yesterday surely means Ashton will have little chance now to help West Ham survive in the Premiership.

The official West Ham site reports that Dean Ashton will not now play in West Ham's reserve match tonight. This seems to scupper the rumours that he may appear on the substitute's bench in this weekend's game.

Arsenal Play Englishman Shock!

Watching Arsenal's Under 10's rip apart Chelski in the fist half of today's Carling Cup final does make you wonder why Curbishley doesn't pick some of the West Ham youngsters. The sad fact is that West Ham will be playing in the Championship next season and that half the present squad won't be at the club, so why not give players like James Tomkins and Mark Noble some first team experience now.

Obviously it may prove detrimental to their confidence in the long run to be thrown in to the present squad but it would deny some of the present time-wasters their appearance fees.

Another idea for Curbishley (who admits to having none of his own) is to change the system. We continue to play with wingers when we have no-one at the club who can cross the ball, so why not play a 4-3-2-1 formation with three central midfielders giving Benayoun and Tevez licence to roam in front of them.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Curbishley's Post Match Interview

"I've not managed to impose myself on the team. The people I've brought in haven't managed to impose themselves on the team."

West Ham Board Give Another Vote of Confidence

Alan Curbishley has been given his second vote of confidence of the week after another dreadful result. A club spokesman issued this statement yesterday,

"Alan's future is not in doubt. Obviously everyone is disappointed with today's result but the chairman remains fully committed to Alan."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Remember Bobby Moore

On the 14th anniversary of the death of Bobby Moore we remember better players and better days.

Charlton 4 West Ham 0

West Ham played the first half like a team resigned to life in the Championship whilst Charlton played like a team fighting for their survival.

Charlton's first came in the 24th minute when Darren Ambrose strolled into the box completely unmarked and scored from 7 yards. Their second came in the 34th minute when Jorome Thomas was allowed to run unchallenged into the box, ghosted past Davenport as if he wasn't there, and slotted the ball home from 9 yards. The third came when Hasselbaink won the ball off Konchesky just in the West Ham half and passed to Bent who ran between the statue like West Ham central defence of Ferdinand and Davenport and beat Green from just inside the penalty area.

West Ham actually had one shot on goal in the 36th minute when Quashie tried a hopeful pile driver from 25 yards but it flew straight at the keeper.

Curbishley brought on Harewood for the second half and it made all the difference as we only conceded one goal in the half. In the 80th minute Jerome Thomas met a Darren Ambrose cross from 12 yards to net Charlton's fourth.

Things are certainly not looking good for West Ham and Alan Curbishley.

Tevez Attacks Pardew

Carlos Tevez has spoken out against Alan Pardew and praised West Ham's current manager,

"I never had a fluid relationship with Pardew. I don't know what his motives were but I think that he never had confidence in us.

My impressions of Pardew are not positive. He did not really speak much with the players. With us he was a mute.

With Curbishley, I have more confidence. Physical problems are damaging my efforts each day. From the minute of my arrival in London I have never been at 100 per cent. But the new coach is very close to the players and speaks with us all the time, he is not like Pardew."

Etherington Admits Gambling Addiction

In an interview with The Daily Mail West Ham's Matthew Etherington has admitted to a gambling addiction. The winger reportedly spent a week in the Sporting Chance clinic in Hampshire in January and continues to be counselled for his addiction.

Friday, February 23, 2007

West Ham to Gamble on Ashton's Fitness

Alan Curbishley appears ready to gamble on Dean Ashton's recovery by throwing him into a reserve game on Monday,

"Dean has started full running and it may be a question of taking a short cut with him so he might be involved a bit quicker," said Curbishley. "We've got a reserve game on Monday and he might be involved. He's been running fully for two weeks now as well as kicking a ball."

It appears that Ashton could even make an appearance on the bench against Sp@~rs and that West Ham have learnt little from rushing Lucas Neill back before he was fully recovered.

Charlton vs West Ham

Having gone into the last few games with a deluded sense of optimism another relegation clash feels me with nothing but dread. In hindsight West Ham's season could have been predicted from the meal we made of our opening game at home to Charlton. Despite finally winning the game 3-1 we were losing to the Addicks and looked out of the game until they were reduced to 10 men.

After the convoluted circumstances that saw an ex-Charlton manager become manager of West Ham and Pardew hop across the Thames to Charlton it is Charlton that have so far seemed to have benefited from the swap. Since Curbishley's opening game against Man Utd we have gone on to achieve the longest current winless streak in the Premiership of nine matches. Both clubs go into this game with an equal record of five wins, five draws and 17 defeats in the league and it is hard to admit but this game feels like an audition for the fizzy pop for both teams.

Taking West Ham's inability to win away from home alongside Pardew's knowledge of West Ham it is difficult to predict an away win for West Ham. I certainly hope I am wrong, but like our team my confidence is shot.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ashton Back for Spuds?

Some good news at last! The Times today say that Dean Ashton will return to first team training next week and even has an outside chance of playing against Sp@#rs a week on Saturday.

Although it is doubtful that Ashton will really be match fit by next weekend this news does suggest that Ashton will perhaps make some late substitution appearances soon.

West Ham Close to Inquiry Conclusion

According to today's Telegraph the Premier League could announce the results of their enquiry into West Ham's ownership of Tevez and Mascherano by this weekend.

The paper says that Tevez and Mascherano were given deals worth £1.7 million in annual wages by West Ham and that if the consortium headed by Joorbachian had succeeded then Brown was due to receive a £1.5 million bonus plus a £1.5 million annual salary while Aldridge was to receive a one-off payment of £1.1 million plus a new salary of £1.1 million-a-year.

Ex-managing director Paul Aldridge believes that although the club did not show the Premier League the contract outlining the details of the deal in September they did not breach League rules. In addition, Aldridge does not feel he can be personally held responsible for the deals and is sticking to legal advice he received in August.

The new owners of West Ham West Ham say the rules are too vague and, if charged, will challenge the League to prove that the contract "materially" influenced the policies and performances of the team. But if they were to lose that argument and West Ham were docked points, the club will appeal. They will claim that a new regime cannot be held accountable for the actions of an old one.

They will use the example of Sp@#rs, who in 1994 were docked 12 points and thrown out of the FA Cup for making illegal payments to players. Sir Alan Sugar, the chairman at that time, challenged the penalties and the FA Cup ban and points deduction were both overturned.

West Ham will also look at taking legal action against Brown and Aldridge on the possible grounds that they were legally liable for the deals in the first place.

However the paper seems to believe that the Premier League are treating the incident seriously and are not only investigating a breach of rule U18 which states that: "No club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams" but are also looking at whether rule U6 has been broken, a regulation aimed more at the power of agents. The rule states: "No person may, either directly or indirectly, be involved or have any power to determine or influence the management or administration of more than one club."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

West Ham Injury Update

The West Ham official site today reported on the progress of the litany of injured West Ham players.

Lee Bowyer and James Collins are both back in full training and Matthew Upson is expected to return to full training this week. Danny Gabbidon is expected to return to full training in the next two to three weeks. Lucas Neill is said to be progressing well and Dean Ashton 'may return' to full training soon.

From West Ham Reserves to the Nou Camp

Rafa Benitez has said that he hasn't ruled out Mascherano playing against Barcelona tonight. Whilst I can't believe that Liverpool will risk throwing him into such an important game it does highlight West Ham's complete mishandling of an obvious talent. Looking at West Ham's complete absence of a central midfield this season the mind boggles at how Mascherano was completely overlooked by both Pardew and Curbishley.

Unfortunately the only logical conclusion is that West Ham were aware that his contract with the club broke Premier League rules. Which does not bode well for the Premier League's ongoing investigation into West Ham's fielding of ineligible players.

The good news for Mascherano is that Liverpool are rumoured to have paid Joorbachian £10 million so that they own the player outright. This obviously frees the Argentinian from the idiot who got him into this mess in the first place. Unfortunately it means Joorbachian has become a very rich man from his complete mishandling of the player.

Mascherano Moves to Anfield

Liverpool have finally been given the go ahead to sign Mascherano by the Premier League but West Ham could still face sanctions for the deal that saw the two Argentinians move to Upton Park. In a pointed statement the League said,

"The Premier League is satisfied that the contractual arrangements proposed by Liverpool FC are consistent with its rules; particularly that the relationship between club and player is not subject to third-party influence.

The Premier League is grateful for Liverpool's cooperation and openness at the start and throughout the process. Liverpool also appreciated the Premier League Board were not prepared to sanction this transfer until further information on any third-party involvement in player registrations had been received from all Premier League clubs."

Reading between the lines the statement appears to suggest that West Ham may not have been quite as open with the Premier League about the ownership of Tevez and Mascherano. According to The Mail a senior football official told them that West Ham are in 'big trouble' and that,

"It's pretty hard to see how it could be a more serious breach of rule U18. It would seem they have used a player they should not have been able to register."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Curbs Gets West Ham Vote of Confidence

Eggert Magnusson today gave Alan Curbishley his 'vote of confidence' on the West Ham official website,

"To put the record straight, Alan has my 100% backing. He has had it since day one and he has it going forward. He is the right man for this job, and he will take us through this difficult stage. Talk of a three-game deadline is nonsense, I hope that Alan is here for the long-term."

Magnusson also had this message for West Ham fans,

"I have nothing but praise for our supporters. They are fantastic. The only thing I would ask is that you now stand firmly behind the players and management and give them 110% encouragement in the games that we must win in order to be where we are going to be next the Premier League."

Bilic Eyeing West Ham Job?

The tabloids continue in their hounding of Alan Curbishley. Today The Mirror claim that Slaven Bilic is keen on taking over at West Ham and that Magnussson is considering a change before it is too late.

Monday, February 19, 2007

West Ham Face Competition for New Site

Eggert Magnusson and fellow members of the Icelandic consortium that own West Ham have visited the Parcelforce site that could be the future home of a new West Ham stadium. However they face competition for the site from Newham Council who are keen to build new homes on the site.

West Ham Eye Curbs Replacement

According to the Sunday Mirror Alan Curbishley's future is under discussion and the board have their eye on Terry Venables and former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic as possible replacements.

Friday, February 16, 2007

West Ham in Double Training

West Ham´s players are being made to train twice a day by Alan Curbishley following the defeat by Watford. It is a move that has proved popular with Dailly but perhaps not with the rest of the team,

"It is certainly something I have been really enjoying but I can't speak for the rest of the team - I think everybody else is probably hating it."

In fact stories of discontent have been so rife that Nigel Reo-Coker has been forced to issue a statement on the West Ham official site denying any rift between the players and Curbishley,

"We just have to say to the fans, don't believe everything you read. The papers are speculating and they want to write negative stuff. They want negativity to spread, not just around the dressing room, but out on to the terraces.

That's not the case. The lads are trying very hard, it's been a difficult time for us and it still is a difficult time for us."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Eggy Paid Too Much for West Ham

David Sullivan, who as part of a consortium fronted by Tony Cottee tried to buy West Ham United, has claimed that the Icelandic Consortium paid too much for West Ham,

"West Ham has been purchased at an enormous price and I think way beyond what it is worth."

With West Ham looking to be heading for the Championship it is hard to argue with Sullivan who reasons that the huge increases in money available to Premiership clubs next year will soon be swallowed up by players wages and agents´ fees.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Paintsil To Leave West Ham?

John Pantsil has revealed his frustration at not being played at West Ham and stated his desire to leave the club.

"I am a professional footballer and need to play frequently, but if I can't get to play at West Ham then the best thing is to move on to a club where I can have regular playing time.

After I recovered from my injury I made frantic efforts to reclaim my position but after Allan Pardew was kicked out things suddenly became very difficult for me. This is because the new coach who took over bought many players and wants to justify his purchases by giving those players more opportunities, hence making my chances slimmer and slimmer."

Injury Update

Lucas Neill will hopefully be back in action for the majority of West Ham United's remaining matches this season after a scan on his knee injury revealed only minor damage. West Ham´s head physiotherapist Steve Allen says, ´I am confident that he won't be sidelined for too long.´

Matthew Upson is expected to be fit for the Charlton game.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

West Ham News

The Daily Mirror says that Javier Mascherano is set to be confirmed a Liverpool player within the next 48 hours. They claim the Premier League have finally agreed his loan move from West Ham.

Nigel Reo-Coker will miss the Charlton and T*tenham games after picking up his tenth yellow card against Watford.

The Times say that Alan Curbishley plans to introduce double training sessions at West Ham United this week in order to prepare for the relegation clash against the Addicks.

Alan Hansen in The Telgraph argues that West Ham´s disastrous season is caused by a lack of team spirit and that "Alan Curbishley bringing in a host of players in the January transfer window smelt of panic."

Monday, February 12, 2007

West Ham Respond to Inquiry

According to The Sun West Ham have until the end of today to reveal who owns Mascherano and Tevez to The Premier League.

Meanwhile Benitez reveals his frustration at the delay in signing Mascherano
and the skill that West Ham have been ignoring all season,

"You don't know how frustrated I am. We've been waiting since January 1. Now we just want to get it done and be happy. I knew the player, and in every training session he is doing the things we knew he could do.

"He is a player with very good positional sense, he can keep the ball and pass it really well. Okay, he'll need games, but then we'll see what he's really like. The lawyers are talking, I don't know all the details but I think it will have a positive result."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

West Ham Down and Out


West Ham 0 Watford 1

West Ham have had some bad luck with referees' decisions in recent games but some times you have to make your own luck. In the first half of this game the West Ham players conspired to make all the luck bad.

As early as the tenth minute Anton Ferdinand pulled on Darius Henderson's shoulder when he was going nowhere to give away a penalty to Watford. Henderson took the penalty himself to make it 1-0.

In response West Ham started to show some urgency and carved out a couple of chances whilst still looking unsure at the back. Bobby Zamora should have scored a sitter from six yards but missed the left hand post.

In the 32nd minute the rushed back into action Neill was rushed off the field injured to be replaced by Spector. Zamora then had another chance when he nicked the ball off Foster in goal only for the linesman to deem he had fouled the keeper. On the verge of half time Benayoun had a good shot which was saved by Foster and within minutes Malky Mackay headed over with Green out of position

Another average performance from the Hammers.

Curbishley replaced Zamora for Tevez in the second half and the Argentinian gave West Ham a bit more energy and guile. In the 57th minute Reo-Coker was brought down by Mahon in the penalty box for a West Ham penalty. However there was a real sense of inevitability about Harewood's miss right of the goal.

After that, bar Tevez, the West Ham players seemed to resign themselves to life in the fizzy pop and gave up on their season.

West Ham vs Watford

There don't seem to be any live TV feeds of today's game.

Full radio commentary is available from Radio London on 765 Medium Wave.

West Ham Chairman Speaks

The West Ham official site today carries a stirring personal message from Eggert Magnusson in which he calls for the support of the fans,

"We are West Ham United and I am proud to be this club's chairman win, lose or draw. We are all in this together, staff, players and supporters.

There is an old adage we should remember at this difficult time. United we stand, divided we fall.

Let's go out there and roar the boys on to victory - thank you, on behalf of the club, for your support and your loyalty in these challenging times."

West Ham Team - Says The Times

The Times has dusted down its crystal ball and revealed West Ham's side for today's encounter. They claim that Carroll has been dropped for Green and that Matthew Etherington replaces Boa Morte. They also say that Harewood and Zamora start up front.

Friday, February 09, 2007

West Ham Podcast

The official West Ham site have started their West Ham podcast today. You can listen to a free trial of it here. In future the podcast will cost 'a little over £1.'

This week's podcast includes an interview with new signing Matthew Upson and an injury update from Mervyn Day.

The news on Dean Ashton is that he will be returning to full training in the next two to three weeks.

West Ham Team News

The official West Ham website says that Lucas Neill and Anton Ferdinand could play tomorrow after recovering from injuries. The site also says that, 'Carlos Tevez is training again after his calf injury and Carlton Cole is available for selection after a slight calf problem ruled him out of our trip to Aston Villa.'

West Ham vs Watford

This game had the feeling of three points written all over it for West Ham until a fortnight ago when Watford brushed West Ham aside in the FA Cup. Watford's away record is as poor as West Ham's in the league, having failed to pick up any wins on the road this season. However West Ham's confidence seems to be shot to pieces and practically every West Ham player has gone on record this week to state how important this game is, so expect a nervy affair early on.

Earlier in the week Curbishley appeared to hint that Ferdinand wouldn't be fit in time for this game, so expect a makeshift central defensive pairing of Dailly and Davenport with a nervous Carroll in goal behind them. This game therefore justifies the cliché that 'it's all about the first goal'. If West Ham score first then hopefully they will settle into the game. However if Watford score first I can see West Ham going to pieces.

It is crunch time for West Ham, but can they keep their nerve?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Livingstone Suggests West Ham Site

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has suggested a site for a new West Ham stadium. The site, owned by the London Development Agency (LDA), is near West Ham underground station and could give Hammers chairman Eggert Magnusson the opportunity to relocate the club away from Upton Park.

A statement from the Olympic Board read, "The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, told the board that he is anxious to assist and support West Ham's plans for developing and securing the future of the club and that, following discussions with him, West Ham are now exploring with the LDA the possibility of relocating and building a new stadium."

Anton Unavailable for Saturday

GiveMeFootball have published an interview with Alan Curbishley. Most of it is blindingly obvious stuff about us having to win games but Curbishley also seems to suggest that Anton Ferdinand will still not be fit for Saturday.

"I think Matty is going to be struggling for Watford this week. Then we get a bit of a break, so who knows? But with Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Anton Ferdinand all out, it's becoming par for the course. With Lucas being unavailable, that's practically a back four on the sidelines."

So it looks like another make shift defence for the Watford game.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Are England Worse Than West Ham?

When I first heard that McClaren had been appointed England manager I thought that it had to be a joke. Well the joke has worn very thin. Even Graham Taylor had achieved some domestic success as a manager before his appointment. On what criteria was McClaren picked?

The FA should save him any more embarrassment and sack him now.

West Ham Olympic Bid Over

The London 2012 Olympic Board has confirmed that the Olympic Stadium will be reduced to a 25,000 seater stadium after the Olympics. This means that West Ham are no longer interested in taking over the stadium after the games. Leyton Orient are still in discussions over inheriting the stadium.

Apparently Five Live have reported that West Ham are now working with Ken Livingston to find another site. The underdeveloped site opposite West Ham Station has been muted as one possibility, although the makeshift mosque currently occupying this space is also looking to develop this site.

Ashton Injury

A number of the less reliable football sites are today reporting that Ashton could be back this month. The sites all say that "Dean Ashton could be back for West Ham before March." The 'could' in this sentence seems to be based on this purported quote from Curbishley,

"The last time I saw Dean running he looked good and I hope he will be able to step up full training soon. He has had an injection to deal with scar tissue that was causing him a problem and it seems to have worked."

I can't find this quote on any of the more reliable sites and even if true makes no mention of Ashton being anywhere near ready to play. Even if he is ready to step up to full training soon it would presumably still take a number of weeks more for Ashton to be match fit.

Is Curbs the Man?

Alan Curbishley seems to be fast losing the support of West Ham fans. But no-one could accuse football fans of being fickle, could they?

Today I came across a poll by the Newham Recorder undertaken after Pardew's sacking, when West Ham fans were asked who they wanted as a new manager. Interestingly Curbishley is by far the most popular choice garnering over twice as many votes as his nearest rival Harry Redknapp, three times as many votes as Trevor Brooking and over four times as many votes as Phil Scolari (who is now saying he wants to manage in the Premiership).

Alan Curbishley 34.6%
Harry Redknapp 16.6%
Trevor Brooking 10.6%
Sven Goran Eriksson 10%
Phil Scolari 8%
Terry Venables 6.6%

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Eggy's Olympic Dream Set To Be Denied

The future of the 2012 Olympic Stadium is due to be announced this week and the predictions are that Magnusson will be denied his dream of moving West Ham to the new stadium.

Statements from Seb Coe in the last two weeks seem to suggest that the Olympic committee want to spend millions building an 80,000 seater stadium that will be used only for a few weeks and then spend more money tearing down what they have built to leave a 20,000 seat stadium. This means that Leyton Orient are now the favourites to inherit the stadium after the Olympics.

West Ham Internationals

Nigel Reo-Coker should play in tonight's Under-21 England international against Spain. Yossi Benayoun plays for Israel against the Ukraine tomorrow.

Wales manager John Toshack has not been able to call up Danny Gabbidon and James Collins and is obviously concerned that the two won't get much first team football when they do recover,

"I am particularly worried about James and Danny at West Ham. They have been injured and West Ham have signed two new centre-backs. That concerns me because the pair have not progressed as well this season, they have run parallel with West Ham, not that good at all."

You can't really argue with that.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How Good Are West Ham's New Signings?

The Daily Mirror in a scathing article on West Ham's new signings obviously feel Curbishley has made a pig's ear of the transfer window.

Admittedly Curbishley has had some bad luck with injuries to Neill and Upson but his other signings have failed to set the world alight.

Calum Davenport although at fault for the first goal in the Liverpool game has looked OK at the back and we have needed him there with injuries to Ferdinand and Gabbidon. Davenport was signed for an undisclosed fee so the jury must remain out on whether he is worth what we actually paid for him.

Nigel Quashie has looked reasonable in midfield and has got stuck in when needed to. I'm not sure he gives much more to the team than Mullins. At a cost of £1.5 million he gives West Ham other options in midfield. Verdict: a reasonable buy but was never going to be the player to keep us up.

Kepa Blanco has yet to play a full game for West Ham. In the Liverpool game he came on and scored with his first touch but against Villa he failed to make much of an impression. Kepa obviously needs decent service from the wings which is not going to happen much with West Ham's current side. However as a loan signing he looks like a good addition to the team and we have the rest of the season to see if he is worth buying.

Which leaves Luis Boa Morte. Boa Morte was also signed for an undisclosed fee but on present form what ever we paid was too much. In the last two games Boa Morte has been a passenger. Against Villa I can't remember Boa Morte successfully completing a pass and McCartney made more runs down the wing and made more crosses into the box. On present form I can't see how he is keeping Etherington out of the side. Verdict: where did we put the receipt.

Curbishley is quickly losing the support of the fans and in his defence the fans have to realise that in our present position we were never going to attract the big names to The Boleyn. However Curbishley's decision to sign players with experience of the Premiership now looks to have been a mistake. If Curbishley had looked abroad for players could he have done any worse?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

West Ham's Missing Defence

It appears that Matthew Upson could be out for up to three weeks with his calf injury. That now makes five West Ham defenders out of action, as Upson joins Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon, Lucas Neill and James Collins in the treatment room.

The good news for West Ham is that Ferdinand and Tevez are expected to be fit for Saturday's game.

West Ham's Mascherano Troubles

Both The Sunday Mirror and The News of The World today attempt to continue the controversy over Mascherano's ownership.

The Sunday Mirror claim that Eggert Magnusson and the new West Ham owners are prepared to take legal action against Terrance Brown if the club are fined or deducted points over the deals that brought the Argentine stars to West Ham. However the article carries no direct quotes from Magnusson nor cites any sources for its story. File under: 'typical tabloid fabrication'.

The News of The World take a slightly different angle and claim that although until recently third party ownership of players was illegal the rules have recently been relaxed by both FIFA and and the Premier League.

They claim that Premiership chairman will now meet to discuss making the rule far clearer.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Upson Out of Watford Game

Alan Curbishley believes Matthew Upson's calf injury will keep him out of the Watford game. However there is one last straw for West Ham to clutch onto. After the Watford game there is a two week break before the next game by which time West Ham will be hopefully back to full strength for when we face Charlton away.

Aston Villa 1 West Ham 0

From West Ham's first half display it is difficult to imagine them playing in the Premiership next season. They looked inept in possession and could hardly muster an attack.

The only positive from the half was that they looked reasonable in defence whilst Upson was on the pitch. In the first half hour Villa were forced into only long range shots. Their best chance falling to Young, in the 13th minute, just inside the area, forcing a good save from Carroll.

Then on the half hour mark Upson jumped for a header out near the touchline and fell awkwardly. The result was him having to be substituted for Dailly. After that it only seemed like a matter of time until Villa scored. In the end it only took five minutes as Carew was put through and shot from just outside the area beating a poorly positioned Carroll.

Despite it seeming impossible West Ham then began playing even worse, it was almost as if as a team they had decided they weren't helping Villa enough so decided to actually start passing the ball to them.

West Ham showed a little bit more bite in the second half but never really looked like scoring until the last five minutes. In the 88th minute Etherington shot from five yards and Sorenson did well to palm it over. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Davenport but his five yard shot was saved again by Sorenson. Then a minute later Etherington had a three yard header deflected up onto the underside of the crossbar. But it was too little too late for West Ham and with Wigan winning it looks like this is the game that has sealed our relegation.

Brady Accuses West Ham

Karen Brady, of Birmingham City shame, accuses West Ham of making an illegal approach for Matthew Upson,

"So what are the FA doing about illegal approaches to players? Sweet FA. They say we should make a written complaint to them but the evidence is out there for all to see."

Of course, in a very long article for The Sun, she offers no proof for her allegations.

If Birmingham had been a bit more intelligent they could have sold Upson before the last day of the transfer window and bought adequate cover out of the money they extorted out of West Ham. Or they could have not sold Upson. The greedy, money grabbing, ungrateful, lying Brummies.

Brady and Bruce for God's sake shut up get over it!

Friday, February 02, 2007

West Ham vs Aston Villa

Yet again West Ham come up against a club suffering from a poor run in the league. Villa currently lie fourth from bottom of the form table, and have won only once in 13 Premiership outings. However so far this season West Ham have failed to capitalise against the struggling sides and as everyone knows their away record is abysmal. Villa however have failed to beat West Ham in the last five meetings of the sides and victory for West Ham is almost a necessity to start a late surge in the league.

Villa will look to hand débuts to Carew and Young up front whilst Upson is a certainty to start for West Ham. Davenport is likely to partner Upson in defence as Gabbidon, Ferdinand and Neill are all still out with injuries. Up front midweek goal scorer Blanco may get the chance to start. Other than that Curbishley is unlikely to make any changes.

A number of live streams of the Aston Villa vs West Ham game are available here.

Live radio commentary is available from Radio London DAB (Channel 0152 on Sky).

And The Good News Is

According to The Guardian Eggert Magnusson has promised that the Icelandic consortium that owns West Ham have the funds available to ensure West Ham bounce straight back if relegated. The £18 million spent in the January transfer window is within a pre-planned budget and there will be more money available in the summer whether West Ham survive or are relegated,

"When we bought the club we looked seriously at the possibility that we could go down. I don't believe we will go down but if the worst case scenario happens we will have funds available to go straight back."

West Ham Official Statement

West Ham have issued an official statement in response to the Pemier League's attempts to clear up players' registration.

"West Ham United FC is fully co-operating with the FA Premier League in response to their recent letter to all Premier League clubs on player registration.

The Club is in the process of providing the relevant documentation as requested and is confident that this matter will be settled in the very near future."

Brown Deal Could Take West Ham Down

The Daily Mail are reporting today that a number of Premiership clubs are questioning whether West Ham and Portsmouth have fielded ineligible players this season. Rule U18 says that teams can't field players owned by a third party and it appears that the Tevez and Mascherano deal with West Ham and the Manuel Fernandes deal with Portsmouth could be in breach of the rule. If the clubs are found to be guilty of this it would probably result in a points deduction.

The Tevez and Mascherano deal has always looked suspicious and as soon as The Premier League yesterday delayed over Mascherano's move to Liverpool it began to look like there might be some kind of investigation into the real ownership of the Argentinian underway.

This could be the final nail in a disastrous season for West Ham and Terence Brown's last little crap all over the Hammers.

The irregularities appear to have come to light because of difficulties in Fernandes' move to Everton and Mascherano's move to the Reds. It seems The Premier League were aware that there may be problems and this week privately contacted the 20 top-flight chairmen reminding them that,

"No Club shall enter into a contract which enables any other party to that contract to acquire the ability materially to influence its policies or the performance of its teams."

The League went onto say that they were "giving clubs the opportunity" within 14 days of producing details of any such contracts that were not disclosed when players were registered and once The League receives any responses "the board will consider relevant disclosures and then decide on appropriate action, if any."

The Daily Mail, in its article, seems to be hinting that some of the clubs in the relegation zone are particularly keen to force this issue. They mention Wigan by name but don't mention Charlton, whose manager Alan Pardew would of course be one of the few individuals outside of West Ham who would know of any irregularities in Tevez and Mascherano's contract with the club.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

West Ham Spoilt For Choice

With all the new arrivals at West Ham and not much movement the over way there is added pressure on the players to perform. Whether West Ham stay up or not there is likely to be a cull of players at the end of the season.

The arrival of Kepa Blanco should put a firework up Harewood, Cole and Zamora. If he performs on the pitch West Ham will presumably take up their option to sign him permanently and even if, as most expect Tevez leaves at the end of the season, I'm sure Curbishley will be looking to offload at least one out of those three. So the pressure is on them now to perform.

In defence the arrivals of Neill, Davenport and Upson also suggests some of the present incumbents won't last the summer break. Based on Curb's recent choices and past history Konchesky looks a certainty to leave. Mears, who has been loaned out for the rest of the season, has youth on his side and may well be retained.

What does the future hold then for Ferdinand? With Upson's arrival I think we can expect to see Anton returning to right back, a position he doesn't want. Again Ferdinand has youth on his side and hopefully the club will want to keep hold of him. The future however doesn't look so promising for Paintsill, Spector, Dailly and Collins. And will Gabbidon be content to stay, presumably as a permanent substitute?

Things aren't so competitive in midfield, especially with the likely departure of Mascherano. However Etherington seems to be out of favour.

So given that Boa-Morte and Quashie are Curb's players who do you think he is likely to sell come the summer?

Upson To Leave West Ham?

Matthew Upson appears, like Lucas Neill, to have a get out clause in his contract in case West Ham get relegated. When asked about whether his contract included such a clause Upson replied,

"That's something in my contract that's quite private and I'd like to keep it that way."

So that's a big yes then.

Masherano Still A Hammer

The saga of Javier Mascherano continues as it has emerged this morning that the Premier League is still considering whether to allow West Ham's Javier Mascherano to join Liverpool. Although FIFA gave the Reds special dispensation to sign the West Ham player it appears the Premier League wants to "take time to satisfy itself with the proposed arrangements".

Happy Birthday to Hammered

Yea! Hammered is now over a year old!

And what a roller-coaster ride the last year has been. This time last year West Ham, after starting the season well, were going through a bit of a drop in form and had lost four out of their previous six games. We then managed to sign Dean Ashton in a record breaking transfer for the Hammers. Ashton then proved instrumental in helping West Ham to the FA Cup final. After the summer break we signed Tevez and Mascherano ..... well you know the rest.

Anyway in the past year this site has had over 60,000 hits, 80% of whom are returning visitors, which suggests there are a few of you who keep coming back for more punishment. So a big thank you to all of you!

And if you are looking for good omens the first ever match result given on this site was a 2-1 win over Villa away. Come on you Irons!

Macherano Sad To Leave West Ham

Javier Mascherano was surprisingly gallant on his leaving of West Ham today,

"I am sad that it didn't work for me at West Ham. I came with great hope and I don't know why they didn't pick me. Every day I was there, training hard, just in case. I didn't complain, but I accepted that I was not in the plans of Alan Pardew or Alan Curbishley.

My time at West Ham wasn't what it was meant to be, I was excited to be joining the club. They haven't won much and I wanted to help to change that - and I feel bad that I couldn't.

Today I went and said goodbye and the players wished me good luck. I have to take a positive from this; I have never been at a club where I was not wanted in the team, where I wasn't an important player. It is an experience I would not wish to repeat."

So even Mascherano doesn't know why the two Alans refused to pick him. Surely someone knows.

West Ham Loan Out Mears

The last action of the transfer window for West Ham was the loaning out of Tyrone Mears to Derby for the rest of the season.

Now that's all out of the way we can look forward to our first away win of the season against Villa.

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