Thursday, May 31, 2007

West Ham Close in on Parker

According to the BBC West Ham are close to signing Scott Parker despite some late interest from Sp@~rs. West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury last night held talks with Parker's representatives and it is believed a fee has been agreed with Newcastle.

Parker Transfer Seems Imminent

Most of the papers today are linking Scott Parker with a move to West Ham. The Daily Mirror claim that player is already in contract talks with the club and will move if he can sort out personal terms. It seems that Joey Barton (and Viduka, according to some of the papers) is about to join Newcastle which means Fat Sam will allow Parker to move back to London.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Parker and Barton

Kumb believe that West Ham have bid for both Parker and Barton at £8 million each. They also say that West Ham have bid for Darren Bent, who is currently debating whether to move to Sp@~rs or Upton Park.

Other players West Ham appear interested in are Reading left-back Nickey Shorey, Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka and Monaco's Yaya Toure.

Transfer Speculation

Sky Sports News have reported that West Ham have three main transfer targets Bellamy (12 million), Harry Kewell (8 million) and Parker (8 million).

If true ,it is positive that West Ham are prepared to spend so much in the transfer window. Scott Parker would be an advance on Nigel Reo-Coker in central midfield. However I'm not sure Bellamy is worth the trouble and Kewell seems to spend more time injured than on the pitch.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reo-Coker Interest

The Guardian seem content to report the deluded fantasies of Nigel Reo-Coker's agent Tony Finnigan, who claims "there is a lot of interest in the player." The paper claim that Sp~@rs are likely to be disappointed as Reo-Coker chooses Champions League football with Arsenal.

Therefore it seems like Reo-Coker wants a London move but he may have to settle for the Midlands as The Mirror's report of a likely £6 million bid by Villa seems far more realistic.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Sheffield United Forget The Rules of Football

Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe has been mouthing off again. Amongst his latest stream of idiocy is this gem,

"They (the league) should be looking to accommodate us because we have done nothing wrong, nothing whatsoever."

Obviously that includes winning matches. It is time Sheffield United bowed out with the little dignity they have left. All they are doing now is making themselves the laughing stock of football.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe has been mouthing off again. Amongst his latest stream of idiocy is this gem,

"They (the league) should be looking to accommodate us because we have done nothing wrong, nothing whatsoever."

Obviously that includes winning matches. It is time Sheffield United bowed out with the little dignity they have left. All they are doing now is making themselves the laughing stock of football.

Tevez Interview

Cockney Hammer on the KUMB forum has posted the full transcript of an interview Carlos Tevez gave in Argentina yesterday.

Essentially Tevez is flattered by interest from clubs like Real Madrid but he is happy at West Ham,

"I want to play in a big club ... It was a temporary placement....still, there's nothing decided, nothing, the people of West Ham were incredible with me and that's something I'm never going to forget so West Ham have the priority, always."

Nice to see he is still not writing off West Ham but I think there is little chance we will see him back at the Boleyn next season.

Gabbidon and Collins Get a Roasting

Kevin Ratcliffe, writing for the BBC, has given West Ham defenders Gabbidon and Collins a real roasting for their performance for Wales against New Zealand yesterday. He seems to largely blame the two centre backs for Wales only achieving a 2-2 draw and picks on Gabbidon in particular, saying he drags Collins' performance down.

Gabbidon has been out for a long time with a groin injury and Ratcliffe is obviously worried that he won't be match fit for Wales' Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic next Saturday. Still you would think he would give him at least one game before laying into him so harshly.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

More Gossip

The Star and News of the World both say that Zamora's future at West Ham has been assured by the manager. Zamora had feared he would be part of the summer clear out at West Ham but has been told he is still a part of the club's plans.

The News of the World also claim that Luke Young will join West Ham this summer a year after a £5 million move to the club was wrecked by a failed medical. Young will be allowed to leave Charlton for £4 million.

The People say that Birmingham have had a £2 million offer for Paul Konchesky turned down. West Ham are holding out for £4 million. The Star say Derby County want Callum Davenport.

Blades Could Be First Club Thrown Out of League

Sheffield United could be the first club to be thrown out of the Premier League if they refuse to hand over their share next week. A League spokesman said,

"If Sheffield United do not return the share, Premier League rules mean that it will be unilaterally transferred to a promoted club and this will happen at our AGM this coming Thursday."

It was widely rumoured yesterday that the Blades 'might not' hand back their share at the League AGM next week. Obviously Sheffield United were testing the waters and now that they know they will be thrown out anyway it is unlikely that they will follow through with the threat. If the League is forced to throw them out then it is unlikely that many clubs would welcome them back in the future.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tevez Won't Play for Curbishley

The Guardian today claim Tevez will not play for West Ham with Curbishley in charge. They quote a West Ham 'insider' as saying,

"Tevez likes the club and wants to stay but he won't while Alan Curbishley is the manager. He hasn't forgotten how he was treated when Curbishley first took over from Alan Pardew. He told Tevez he didn't know what his best position was, treated him indifferently in training, and refused to play him at first.

If there was a change of manager maybe it would be different but Tevez does not think Curbishley knows what he is doing and that he's a bad manager. He wants to play for someone who can further develop his game. Curbishley recognises now that Tevez saved our season, but it's too late."

This 'insider' bloke and his friend 'an unnamed source' sure do get around. Interestingly The Guardian immediately go on to quote Nigel Reo-Coker's adviser, Tony Finnigan as saying that Reo-Coker decided to move after he was not given the right assurances over his future by the club's board.

This is the same Tony Finnigan who , as reported by Kumb today,

"In December ... claimed that Reo-Coker had received hate mail from United fans - a charge which was subsequently amended to refer to one letter the player had received via the Chadwell Heath training ground mail.

Some weeks later Finnigan claimed that the England under-21 captain had been the victim of racist abuse from home fans - once again, a claim without any evidence."

Not that I'm saying the man has got an axe to grind against West Ham or that he is the 'insider'.

Reo-Coker asks for Transfer

West Ham club captain Nigel Reo-Coker has finally handed in a transfer request. Surprisingly, despite the rumours that Nigel Reo-Coker was unhappy at not being allowed to move to Arsenal at the beginning of last season and the rumours that he was therefore going to leave at the end of the season, his 'advisor' Tony Finnigan has tried to blame West Ham for the player's departure,

"I am surprised that a 22-year-old Londoner who is captain of his club is being allowed to leave. As I said on Sky Sports in January, Nigel would get his head down and work to keep West Ham in the Premiership.

And that is exactly what he did with 100 per cent commitment. At the end of the day he never felt wanted but I am sure he will have a bright future elsewhere."

It is a shame that the club are losing a young talented English player but despite Finnigan's protestations there have been times this season when Reo-Coker has not appeared committed to the club.

However in Nigel's defence there may be some truth in the claim that the club were not prepared to give him the assurances he wanted. At the recent fans forum it was clear that West Ham saw Lucas Neill as the leader of the squad and probably next season's captain. In fact Neill appeared more like the club captain towards the end of last season and Nigel Reo-Coker may have been unhappy at what he considered a demotion of his role within the squad.

West Ham Transfer Rumours

Today the newspapers seem content to rehash old rumours rather than inventing new ones:

The Times claims that Pompey, Wigan and Aston Villa are keen on West Ham's Marlon Harewood. Now we know why Wigan are so keen to see us relegated - they want all our players.

The Tome also say that West Ham boss Alan Curbishley is still hopeful of signing Viduka - as well as Newcastle midfielder Scott Parker.

The Daily Mail claim West Ham have joined Blackburn and Aston Villa in the race to sign Liverpool's Craig Bellamy. The Reds want £12m for the striker.

The Sun think that Nigel Reo-Coker has been told he can leave West Ham - so long as buyers meet the £8million asking price.

Sheffield United Start Squatting

Sheffield United have confirmed yesterday's rumours that they will not give up their share in the League at next week's meeting of Premiership clubs. As part of entering arbitration the Blades had to promise that they would abide by the decisions of the panel. This latest action by the club hardly bodes well that they will accept the panel's verdict. After all they are finding it impossible to accept the commission's verdict into West Ham's breach of Premiership rules.

Sheffield United are now seriously affecting the reputation of the League and the League needs to now start asserting itself. It is time for the League to tell the Blades that if they don't hand over their share next week they will never be allowed to rejoin the Premier League.

Reo-Coker to Leave West Ham

According to today's Sun Nigel Reo-Coker is set to follow Roy Carroll, left-back Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil in leaving West Ham. However his leaving is contingent on another club meeting the £8million asking price.

Benayoun's Five Year West Ham Deal

Yossi Benayoun has now signed a new five year contract with West Ham. It seems that the clear ambition of Eggert Magnusson helped to finally persuade Yossi to stay,

"From the first moment I arrived, West Ham felt like home to me. We have the best supporters in England.

The chairman is ambitious and I want to thank him because the negotiations were very quick. He and the manager showed me they wanted me to stay."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Players Leaving

The official West Ham website today carries the following message concerning the futures of Roy Carroll, Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil.

"The Club today also confirmed that Hammers goalkeeper Roy Carroll has asked to leave Upton Park so that he can play regular first team football and has been granted a free transfer.

Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil have also stated their desire for first team action and will be allowed to leave when an appropriate transfer offer is made that is acceptable to the Club."

West Ham Reading Defender

According to The Daily Mail West Ham are preparing a £5 million bid for Reading defender Nicky Shorey. Obviously The Mail doesn't believe Eggert Magnusson when he says that West Ham will make two or three 'world class' signings this summer.

Brighton Join In

According to The Argus Brighton Albion have written to the FA questioning Carlos Tevez's eligibility to play when West Ham beat the club in January.

The club acknowledge that there is no issue if Tevez was eligible to play,

"The fact is the Premier League are insisting he was eligible. In that case we haven't got anywhere to go."

A lot of journalists have kept asking if Brighton would contest the FA Cup result and now they have got their wish. However as Richard Scudamore's letter to Sheffield United pointed out the rule over third party ownership is only held by the Premier League. No other league in the world has the rule and the English FA do not have this rule.

West Ham broke no FA rules, which is why the enquiry into West Ham's ownership of Tevez has been restricted to the League and the FA have not been involved. Of course all this information was available to the journalists if they had just done their jobs.

What Is It With These Clubs?

In light of Richard Scudamore's letter to Sheffield United, in which he made clear that West Ham were guilty of breaching a rule that most clubs were not aware of and that West Ham could easily have avoided by just wording the contracts differently, you would think that the so called Gang of Four' would now shut up.

Not so. According to The Times Fulham have now written to the League asking for,

"... for detailed information about the decision taken by the independent commission to fine West Ham £5.5 million and about the eligibility of Tévez for the last three matches of the season and asked the League whether it offered advice about what the appropriate penalty should be, for a transcript of the hearing, and whether penalties imposed for similar breaches were considered."

These are all points already covered in the letter. Which means that either Fulham officials can't read or are just two stupid to understand its implications.

Fulham have also asked that Sheffield United be allowed to attend the meeting of Premier League clubs next week.

Err no - they are not a Premier League club.

West Ham have been heavily fined for breaking a little known rule, that no over league in the world has. And as Richard Scudamore points out "some Clubs do not actually agree that these third party agreements breach Rule U18".

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The League's Letter to The Blades

Somebody on the Blades Mad board has posted the letter Sheffield United received from the Premier League. Basically it lays out in detail why Sheffield United have no case. Here is part of a summary towards the end of the letter,

"Given the complexities around this, we would ask you to step back from the detail and consider the matter in more general terms:

1. Tevez has been properly registered to play for West Ham United since 31 August 2006. The Board, under our Rules, is charged with the authority to determine this.

2. He continues to be registered with West Ham United.

3. This is a case without precedent and certainly cannot be compared with Clubs who have played unregistered players or players ineligible through suspension.

4. On 26 April West Ham United admitted to breaches of Rules B13 and U18 – for which they have been fined in accordance with our Rules.

5. The offending third party agreement has been terminated by West Ham United and therefore they are not continuing to be in breach."

The League also point towards part of the commission's judgement,

"The judgement also made comments about the Commission’s view of the enforceability of the third party contracts in question. West Ham United argued that they were not enforceable, the Commission was minded to agree, but West Ham United could not use this as a defence as they had acted as if they were enforceable in the first place ... had the Club in time made disclosure of the third party contracts to the FAPL, then, in all probability, contracts could have been entered into which would not have offended the rules”."

In other words Tevez's agents could not legally influence West Ham anyway. If West Ham told the League about the wording of the contracts they could have been reworded so that they did not beak the rules.

Basically The Premier League seems to feel that West Ham's breach of the rules was a technicality that could easily have been avoided and that any third party interference in the club could never have happened anyway.

When looked at this way it seems that a £5.5 million fine was very steep punishment.

In the end despite the accusations by certain chairmen and journalists that West Ham are cheats and should be deducted points West Ham have actually been severely punished for a technical breach of a little known rule.

It would be nice if those who have jumped all over West Ham could actually stand back and ask themselves what advantage West Ham stood to gain from allowing a third party the right to withdraw its best players in the January transfer window.

West Ham were found guilty of allowing a third party the right to adversely affect the club's performance and were subsequently fined £5.5 million. Case over.

Fans Forum

Iain Dale at West Ham Till I Die has posted a good round up of the Fans Forum.

Here are some of the highlights:

West Ham will meet with Tevez in the next 14 days, we have first refusal and hope and wish to keep him. Scott Duxbury admitted that this would be hard if Real Madrid or other top European teams come in for him.

Teddy, Newton and Mears have all left the club. More will follow but there have been no firm bids for any players.

Curbishley, Eggert Magnusson and Duxbury will meet tomorrow to discuss player signings for the new season. Expect two or three 'world class' players who are more than likely all ready in the Premiership but we will also look abroad.

I've only plagiarised a small part of this post and there is lots more of this on Iain's blog, including some interesting insight into the club's thinking on Reo-Coker and Lucas Neil. So go read West Ham Till I Die.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Magnusson Comes Out Fighting

In an almost aggressive official statement on the West Ham official website Eggert Magnusson has expressed his desire to hang on to Carlos Tevez,

"There will be a particular focus on Carlos Tevez and I want him to stay. I suspect a lot will be written about his future but the starting point is that he is a West Ham player, registered with and contracted to the club with three years remaining on a 4 year contract. Whatever happens next we will act to protect the best interests of West Ham United FC."

The statement seems to suggest that West Ham, having torn up the player's previous contract, now consider him their player. At the least it seems to send a message to the player's agents that if he is sold on for the tens of millions being talked about then West Ham will want their share.

I've got to say my love for Mr Magnusson grows a little stronger with every passing day.

Transfer Rumours

Eggert Magnusson has confirmed on the club website that West Ham will be looking to bring in some new players before next season,

"The team did very well this year but we still want to strengthen our team."

However most of today's rumours concern players going the opposite way. The Birmingham Post claim that Birmingham City are close to signing Konchesky for £2 million. The paper point out that West Ham conceded 14 goals in Konchesky's last three goals for the club but are keen on him anyway.

The Daily Express think that Carlos Tevez will move to Stamford Bridge in a £35 million deal.

Barnsley are keen to take Kyel Reid back on loan next season.

Green Called Up To England B

Robert Green has been called up as replacement for the injured Ben Foster for the England B game against Albania on Friday evening.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tribunal to rule on Tevez affair

The Premier League has caved in to Sheffield United's request to set up up an arbitration tribunal over the commission into the registration of Carlos Tevez.

An unnamed source close to Sheff Utd is quoted by the BBC saying,

"We received a letter from the Premier League on Tuesday telling us they do not think we have any grounds to request arbitration - but they accept it is our right to do so.

"They have said they will not appoint anyone until Friday to give us the opportunity to withdraw the request - basically they are saying we are wasting everybody's time."

The Premier League and The Blades will nominate one member each of the tribunal. These two members will then choose a chairman. The tribunal will effectively have the powers of a court and the parties will agree in advance to abide by any decision reached.

The arbitration can only look at whether the original commission was conducted properly. If the panel consider the process was faulty then they could send the affair back to the commission to review the punishment handed out to West Ham. However the league has made it clear to Sheffield United that they think they are wasting their time and money on going to arbitration.

A premier League spokesperson said,

"It can't be about the decision, only the process. The only way the decision can be overturned is if arbitration decides it was a flawed process or an unrealistic judgement and they send it back to the original commission to review the punishment.

"It will be hard for anyone to prove that this was an irrational judgement."

Transfer Rumours

The Daily Mail claim West Ham will attempt to sign Fulham keeper Antti Niemi and Middlesbrough central defender Chris Riggott.

Various sources claim West Ham, Pompey and Chelsea want Bolton defender Tal Ben Haim.

Alan Curbishley thinks that Javier Mascherano should thank him for thinking that Quashie was a better central midfielder than the Argentinian international who is now set to play in a Champions League final.

Benayoun To Stay at West Ham

Reports coming out of Israel and in today's Daily Mail are suggesting that Benayoun has agreed to stay at West Ham on an improved contract. The Israeli media say that Benayoun has agreed to stay and will now let his agents work out the details, whilst The Mail claim he his signing a new five year deal increasing his weekly salary from £23,000 to £38,500.

Monday, May 21, 2007

West Ham Pre-Season Friendlies

West Ham have announced their pre-season friendly schedule. After playing Dagenham and Redbridge on July 14th they will head off to an as yet unfinalised overseas destination for a week.

First team: Sat 14 Jul - Dagenham & R Away 3.00pm
First team: Tue 24 Jul - Leyton Orient Away 7.45pm
First team: Wed 25 Jul - MK Dons Away 7.45pm
First team: Sat 28 Jul - Southend Utd Away 3.00pm
Reserves: Sat 28 Jul - Lewes Away 3.00pm
First team: Tue 31 Jul - Norwich City Away 7.45pm
Reserves: Wed 1 Aug - Thurrock Away 7.45pm
First team: Sat 4 Aug - TBC Home 3.00pm
WHU XI: Tue 7 Aug - Welling Away 7.45pm

Tevez's Future

The Independent has an interesting theory about Carlos Tevez that again raises a glimmer of hope. The paper suggests that if neither Chelsea or Real Madrid meet Joorabchian's asking price, believed to be anywhere between £20 million and £40 million, a deal might be structured to keep the player at West Ham for another year.

There may be something in this. Joorabchian may gamble that if he does not get what he feels Tevez is worth from a major club and he can screw enough money out of West Ham it might be worth keeping him at West Ham for another year. He might just gamble that Tevez's stock can only rise and he will be worth even more next year.

We can but hope.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Gossip

According to The Mirror and The People Curbishley is planning to get rid of 12 players this summer, including Nigel Reo-Coker, Nigel Quashie, Calum Davenport, Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Etherington, Paul Konchesky and strikers Marlon Harewood and Bobby Zamora. One player who won't be leaving is Benayoun.

The other papers have us linked with:

Steve Tidwell (who will snub West Ham for Chelsea)
Andy Johnson
Tim Cahill
Scott Parker
Giles Barnes
Michael Kightly
Hameur Bouazza

Carlos Tevez is set to sign for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan and Seville.

Clubs Have Gone 'Too Far'

Eggert Magnusson has reacted to the never ending vitriol of certain other football chairmen by saying,

"Some people have gone too far. I've been disappointed at how some people have been allowed to speak about my club after the judgement of the commission. I find it very strange, other clubs commenting [like that] about their fellow clubs. For me, it's over. I don't want to say any more at the moment, but I might do later in the summer."

In his interview with The Independent Magnusson also gave a little hope over Carlos Tevez's future,

"I hope he stays. He is a terrific player and a good guy. He knows the club and fans love him, and that will stick in his mind while he is on holiday."

However The Independent did point out that Tevez left Heathrow last week with 18 suitcases having apparently cleared out his Canary Wharf flat.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Exclusive Picture of the New Anfield

Chelsea Bore to Victory

In a brilliant demonstration of the tactical intelligence that foreign managers have brought to the English game Chelsea today bored their opponents into submission to win the FA Cup.

To be fair to the fans of the plastics they played a large part in turning the first final at the new Wembley into such a tedious affair by dosing off even before the kick-off. However it is Jose Mourinho who will rightly get all the plaudits for ensuring that what could have been an embarrassingly entertaining affair was the bore-fest that Chelsea fans have come to expect.

The game began worringly for Chelsea as Joe Cole threatened to entertain the crowd by taking on players and attacking the Man Utd goal. But in a stroke of tactical genius Mourinho took off his best player at half-time to ensure that nothing untoward woke the slumbering crowd.

After the game Mourinho was quick to point out how difficult it is for a team to sustain that level of tedium over such a long time,

"It is something you dream of as boy, but you never think it possible to play two hours football and win only one corner. I like to thank my players for discipline they show, it is difficult - they want to play football but I tell them you bore everyone to the tears and we win game."

It was therefore not much of a surprise to the crowd, the Man Utd players and the watching world to wake this afternoon and find that whilst they had dropped off Chelsea had won the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley.

Argentina and then Spain?

Tevez has been called up to the Argentina team for their upcoming international against Switzerland. He has also confused Britain's press with an ambiguous statement about his future plans. Half the press have reported his remarks as a desire to leave West Ham and the other half as a desire to say. Carlos actually said,

"My priority is West Ham because since I arrived they have treated me very well and with much affection. But it excites me that several teams are considering me. I want to play for a great European team."

No Thank You Whelan

According to The Independent West Ham have turned down an offer from Wigan for Matthew Etherington. Wigan apparently offered £3 million for the winger but the offer was met with incredulity at West Ham after the ridiculous posturing of Whelan over recent weeks.

The paper says that West Ham do want to offload Etherington, but will want more than £3 million from Wigan. If I was Magnusson I would sell Ethers for £5.5 million and tell Whelan exactly where his money was going.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bellamy for West Ham

The Sun claim West Ham are set to replace Tevez with £8 million-rated Craig Bellamy.

They will offer the player £60,000 a week in order to tempt him to Upton Park.

West Ham Not in For Gudjohnson

Eggert Magnusson has told the Icelandic press that West Ham have made no moves to sign Eidur Gudjohnson.

The Scottish press say Rangers want Konchesky.

The Israeli press say that West Ham have offered Benayoun a new five-year contract with a significant raise. The midfielder and his agent Ronen Katzav are leaning toward accepting the offer. The two sides are set to meet again next week.

The English press say Whelen has been told to shut up by the Premier League.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Transfer Rumours

Today's Independent seems to have the most informed West Ham rumours today. The paper claim that Benayoun has a meeting with the club today in which he is likely to ask for a transfer.

The Independent claim that Benayoun was close to leaving last summer but in the end no bid was made for the player. Benayoun was then offered another contract which he has refused to sign.

Benayoun is amongst a number of players that Alan Curbishley has had a troubled relationship with. However there is now support within the club for holding on to some of the players that were once going to be cleared out this summer, such as Ferdinand and Reo-Coker.

Curbishley apparently was so angry with Benayoun at one point that he refused to speak to him. However Benayoun was restored to the first team towards the end of the season and the club may now try to persuade him to stay. Although it is unlikely that Benayoun will agree to stay.

A proposed transfer of Ferdinand to Newcastle has apparently now fallen through, and he is another player who the club may now try to persuade to stay.

The paper also claim that the number 1 target to emerge from yesterday's meeting between Curbishley and Eggy is Eidur Gudjohnsen but it is understood he is not keen on a move to West Ham.

Someone Have a Word

In a letter seen by The Times Dave Whelan has now called for the resignation of Sir Dave Richards, the Premier League chairman, and Richard Scudamore, the chief executive because of their handling of the Tevez and Mascherano affair.

So far the League has followed to a letter the procedures that Wigan and all the other Premier League clubs signed up to at the beginning of the season. Hardly matters that require resignation.

Whelan is becoming a serious embarrassment not just to the Premier League but football in general.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The League's Letter

The Premier League has sent a six page letter to all the teams in the league explaining why West Ham were not deducted points.

One part that Sheffield United need to read very carefully is the bit that says,

"At no point were West Ham United charged with playing an ineligible player".

Even today Sheffield United issued a statement complaining that they were relegated because of a team who "fielded ineligible players." The club's continual inability to understand what West Ham were even accused of seriously undermines any attempt they make to have the verdict re-examined.

The letter also says that,

"The League could not function if other clubs could effectively intervene in an attempt to overturn decisions not to their liking."

This also does not bode well for the Blade's attempt to take the decision to arbitration.

Sheff Utd Begin Arbitration Process

Sheff Utd have served arbitration procedure notice on the Premier League. The Blades' lawyers are challenging the decision to fine West Ham rather than dock them points and cancel Tevez's registration. United are calling for that decision to be set aside and for a new tribunal to make its decision "within four weeks".

However the Premier League have confirmed that only Sheff Utd have made a legal challenge, so it appears Dave Whelan's promises of support were just hot air.

If the Premier League consent to arbitration, they and United would nominate one member each for the tribunal. These two members would then choose a chairman. The tribunal would effectively have the powers of a court and the parties would agree in advance to abide by any decision. United have called for the tribunal to be established by the end of this week.

However it seems very unlikely that Sheff Utd's challenge will succeed as the League has already issued a statement saying,

"We followed our processes to the letter and we ensured to our satisfaction that the third party arrangements in relation to Carlos Tevez's contract have been terminated. We are more than happy to meet with officials of Sheffield United or any other aggrieved club to offer clarification and explanation of this and we have written to all 20 clubs with a forensic explanation of the ruling."

And if Sheff Utd's ludicrous attempts to overturn the outcome of the League's hearing into West Ham was not bad enough they are also calling for the Premier League to have 21 teams next year. Of course the extra team according to the Blades should be Sheff Utd and not Charlton or Watford. Which kind of confirms that this was never an attempt to gain justice but a pathetic attempt to avoid relegation.

In fact Sheffield United revealed their complete misunderstanding of the whole affair by issuing a statement that said,

"It is up to the FA Premier League to find a way round this exceptional circumstance where a club which has played by the rules has been relegated at the expense of one club who have fielded ineligible players."

They clearly still fail to understand that West Ham never fielded 'ineligible' players. They also seem to fail to understand that teams that play by the rules are relegated every year.

Inter in for Tevez

According to The Daily Express Inter are now the front runners to sign Tevez. The paper claims that their president Massimo Moratti has already opened talks with Kia Joorabchian.

Meanwhile West Ham are now being linked with Andy Johnson, who apparently wants to move back to London and Wigan manager Chris Hutchings is rumoured to be ready to pay West Ham United's asking price of £2.5 million for striker Marlon Harewood.

FIFA's Investigation of West Ham

Most of the newspapers are running with the story that FIFA will investigate the West Ham judgement. However the BBC claim that FIFA is "not re-examining the evidence with the aim of testing the Premier League's ruling."
In effect, as The Independent point out, Sepp Blatter was responding to a question at the end of a press conference. He said FIFA would monitor the situation and also said that,

"According to our files the transfer of Tevez and Mascherano was done correctly according to the international transfer of players."

Furthermore the Premier League is satisfied that there were no irregularities in its judgement,

"We have implemented our rulebook and processes to the letter in this matter and we are more than happy to give Fifa any assurances or explanations they need."

Wigan Guilty of Breaking Rule U18 (Summary)

West Ham were found guilty of breaking Rule U18 because clauses existed in Tevez and Mascherano's contracts that allowed Joorabchian and partners to sell the players to other clubs in the January transfer window.

Wigan signed ex-Hearts player Andy Webster on September 4th and then loaned the player to Rangers in January.

Our contention is that Wigan signed Webster on a contract that had a clause in it allowing Rangers to take the player on loan in January. Wigan therefore broke Rule U18 and should be fined at least £5.5 million and/or have points deducted.

How do we know this? Well follow this sequence of events and make up your own mind.

1. Rangers kept trying to sign Hearts player Andy Webster

2. Hearts kept refusing to sell Webster to Rangers

3. Webster becomes the first player to invoke a FIFA-adopted EU law, enabling him to cancel his contract with Hearts in the third year of a four-year deal, with the proviso that he join a club in a foreign country.

4. In September Webster joins a team in another country - Wigan

5. Suddenly in January Webster is no longer good enough to play for a team struggling to avoid relegation and is loaned out by Wigan to Rangers (and we are betting never to return).

Clearly Wigan signed a player with a clause in his contract allowing him to then move on loan in January to another club.

Wigan therefore broke Rule U18.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wigan Broke Rule U18

Dave Whelan has been calling West Ham cheats and calling for the club to have points deducted. Now, thanks to petsta on the West Ham Mad forum we can reveal that Wigan broke Rule U18 themselves this season.

In a nutshell West Ham were found guilty of signing players on contracts that gave third parties the right to terminate said contracts in the January transfer window. Because of this West Ham were found guilty of breaking Rule U18, which makes it illegal for clubs to allow third parties to materially influence its policies or the performance of its teams.

Now compare this to the case of Wigan player Andy Webster (although when we say Wigan we really mean Rangers). Now Andy Webster used to play for Hearts but Rangers liked him so much that they kept trying to sign him. Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov however kept saying no and refused to sell the player to Rangers.

Andy Webster got annoyed with this so he therefore became the first player to invoke a loophole in Article 17 of a FIFA-adopted EU law, enabling him to cancel his contract with Hearts in the third year of a four-year deal, with the proviso that he join a club in a foreign country and that sufficient notice be given to his former employers.

Andy Webster then supposedly became a Wigan player on September 4, 2006. Then come the January transfer window Andy Webster is suddenly loaned by Wigan to Rangers.

Now do you remember the proviso that Webster had to move to 'a foreign country'. It seems abundantly clear that Rangers have used Wigan to enable Webster to break his contract with Hearts. Either that or we are supposed to believe that Andy Webster is good enough to play for Rangers but not good enough to play for a struggling Wigan side.

It is obvious that Wigan have signed a player with a clause in his contract that another club (a third party) can then loan him in January. This is almost eerily similar to what West Ham were themselves found guilty of and it is clear that Wigan have allowed third parties to materially influence its policies and the performance of its team and that Wigan are guilty of breaking Rule U18.

Therefore at the very least Wigan deserve to be fined £5.5 million. However because of Whelan's protestations against West Ham at a time when he was guilty of exactly the same offence I would suggest the punishment should be far more severe.

What would seem most just is a one point deduction. After all that is over two points less than Whelan has been claiming West Ham should be deducted.

FIFA to Investigate West Ham Case

According to the BBC FIFA is to investigate whether West Ham should have been docked points.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said, "We will look at this. We will ask for the file once it has been decided how and why the decision was made. If we feel something was wrong then we have to open our file."

However West Ham should be OK as Blatter went on to say that according to Fifa's files the transfer of Tevez and Mascherano from Brazilian side Corinthians to West Ham had complied with international transfer regulations.

Meanwhile Sheffield MP Clive Betts is set to waste Parliament's time by tabling an early-day motion about the case. Some politician's will do anything for votes.

West Ham Transfer Rumours

The transfer rumours have begun in earnest today. West Ham have been linked with free agent Mark Viduka, Watford striker Bouazza, Benfica striker Nuno Gomes and Charlton's Darren Bent. The papers must think we are losing a forward.

In the opposite direction Etherington is linked with Portsmouth, Manchester City and Derby and Reo-Coker with Sp~@rs and Everton.

Tevez Rumours

The Sun see Tevez off to Real Madrid for £30 million, The Daily Mail say Man Utd and Mark Noble says West Ham,

"Anyone would love Carlos to be in their team. He's set up all my three goals this season and he's a joy to play with. I am sure he will think seriously about staying."

Joorabachian is claiming that two of the biggest clubs in the world are after Tevez but that the player hasn't ruled out staying at West Ham yet.

West Ham Shake-Up

Alan Curbishley will meet with Eggert Magnusson tomorrow to begin planning next year's campaign. It is being reported that Magnusson will hand Curbs a war chest of around £30 million, although whether that includes the money raised from the expected exodus of players is not certain.

Comments that Reo-Coker made after Sunday's game seem to suggest that he believes his future lies elsewhere and the same is probably true of Ferdinand. It appears that Arsenal are no longer keen on Reo-Coker. It will therefore be interesting to see if he and Anton Ferdinand feel that a move to Sp~rs or another middle of the table team is a better proposition than staying at a clearly ambitious West Ham. Unfortunately the treatment Reo-Coker and Ferdinand received from the fans this season will probably help them to decide their futures lie elsewhere.

Marlon Harewood, Paul Konchesky, Carroll and Hayden Mullins all seem to be out of first team contention and may well also decide to up sticks and move on. The rumours seem to suggest that Benayoun is not completely happy under Curbishley and will also seek another club in the summer. Today The Evening Standard quote Matthew Etherington as saying, "I’ve had four great seasons at West Ham but perhaps I need a change." And in the last couple of weeks Teddy Sheringham has also been indicating that he will leave West Ham (without Carroll and Etherington to supplement his wages there isn't much for him to stick around for anyway).

So who does Curbishley want in? Barcelona's Gujohnson keeps getting mentioned in connection with West Ham and would be more than an adequate replacement for Harewood. The Times today suggest that Curbs will also try to sign Scott Parker (despite the fact that Parker ended up refusing to play for Charlton when he wanted his Chelsea move). Parker would be another good signing, Martins aside, he has been the only consistent player in an average Newcastle outfit.

Which brings us to Carlos Tevez. Should Alan Curbishley blow the majority of his kitty on one player? I think if you are a West Ham fan (and if you aren't why are you here?) the answer is an emphatic 'YES!'. Unfortunately I suspect that despite the passion Tevez has shown for the club he will soon be watching his friend Mascherano playing in a Champions League final and will decide that his career would advance better elsewhere.

However even if Tevez does leave I suspect West Ham won't be struggling next season. And of course there is the return of Dean Ashton to look forward to.

Protest Effectively Over

Whining Whelan yesterday finally admitted that the 'gang of four' had no legal case against the league or West Ham. He then changed tack and started asking for proof that West Ham had changed Tevez's contract.

The BBC's Inside Sport last night confirmed that it had seen the letter that West Ham sent to the League proving Tevez was able to play for the club.

The letter clearly states,

"We hereby notify you that the private agreement (as so amended, varied, modified or replaced) is hereby terminated with immediate effect and shall cease to have any further force of effect."

Of course Whelan is still going to moan that he hasn't seen a note from Tevez's mum allowing her son to play, but as the clubs clearly haven't a leg to stand on Whelen should go quiet over the next couple of days and Sheffield United should eventually learn to accept their deserved fate.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Whelan Changes Tack

Dave Whelan had finally admitted he doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as the commission's verdict is concerned so has decided to change his angle of attack,

"We cannot reverse the decision the commission came out with. It is impossible - they were appointed by the Premier League and all the clubs agreed these people would take charge of the case.

But now we are saying he (Tevez) has been registered illegally for a second time. Who owns him? Where will this £30million be going we are told he is now going for?"

Redknapp Predicts Gang of Four Break-Up

Ex-West Ham manager Harry Redknapp predicts that the so-called 'gang of four' will break-up now that the relegation positions have been decided. Dave Whelan has been claiming today that at least three other Premiership clubs will join their challenge against West Ham. So he will be disappointed that far from gathering support his campaign is quickly becoming a laughing stock.

"Do you know what will happen now, all those clubs will disappear.

Sheffield United now will be saying ‘Where are you, where are you? You were going to appeal and you were going to appeal’, but suddenly they will all disappear because that is how the game is. Everybody looks after themselves in this game.

It was a great result for West Ham and it is amazing how it turns but I say good luck to them."

Whelan Determined to Rain on West Ham Parade

Dave Whelan has lost no time in claiming that support for some kind of action against West Ham is growing. Whelan today claims that Boro have joined Fulham, Charlton, Wigan and Sheff Utd in the campaign against West Ham's record fine. Whelan also claims they will be joined by two more Premier League clubs.

Significantly, as yet, no spokesperson from Boro has confirmed Whelan's claim. Also, despite the papers' claims that Whelan is pushing ahead with a legal challenge, he actual now seems to be talking about a review of the case by the league,

"It has to be done quickly because the longer this goes on the less likelihood of the league reviewing it at all."

The Premier League have clearly stated that only West Ham can appeal the hearing's judgement. The League has also already informed the gang of four that they have no grounds to ask for a review.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Great Football Club

"This is a wonderful moment for a great football club. I feel so much joy and also pride in the team and our fantastic supporters. We have shown that this is a Club with a great fighting spirit and a group of players who know how to win.

"To have won seven out of the last nine games is a genuine achievement and should not be forgotten as people reflect on the Premiership season. I pay tribute to Alan Curbishley, who has provided real leadership since he took over as manager. To the players, for the way they have performed in recent months, to all the staff at the Club, and to the amazing fans.

"Once again, our supporters showed here at Old Trafford just what this Club means to them and what they give to the spirit that we have. Now we can look ahead to moving forward as a club and building on what we have achieved this season.

"Of course I feel sympathy for the clubs no longer in the Premiership but in the end I believe it is right that football matters be decided on the pitch."

- Eggert Magnusson

What a Season, What a Team

And what a manager. Well done Alan Curbishley, Eggert Magnusson and the whole squad.

Come on You Irons!

I couldn't even begin ...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Man Utd To Rest Players

According to The Daily Express, despite Alex Ferguson's assurances to the contrary, Man Utd are set to rest Ronaldo and Rooney tomorrow, with both players starting on the bench.

Dave Whelan and Al Fayed were reportedly spotted wandering off into the distance mumbling something about the Free Masons, Prince Philip and the Illuminati.

West Ham vs PNE

Well, I found it inspiring.

Tevez Wants to Stay at West Ham

Well at least that is what Kia Joorabchian is saying, although he of course also doesn't rule out a move away from the club as well. Jooabchian, responding to reports that because Tevez ended his English lessons he must be leaving West Ham, said that,

"Reports saying Carlos is leaving West Ham because he stopped taking English lessons are just not true. Carlos stopped having lessons because he is returning soon to Argentina and does not know where he will be playing next season.

He could be at West Ham but he doesn't know yet because we have done nothing about his future. We will talk to West Ham and any other interested parties. Carlos loves playing for West Ham and has a great relationship with the supporters.

He would like to stay if all parties can agree a deal between them."

Friday, May 11, 2007

League Again Clears West Ham

The Premier League has once again been forced to defend West Ham from the increasingly desperate claims of Wigan, Sheffield United, Fulham and Charlton. Yesterday the whining gang of four sent a letter to the League demanding to know how West Ham could have the audacity to play Carlos Tevez.

The League has responded by informing the clubs in words of one syllable that Tevez can play for West Ham.

In fact the league confirmed that documents proving the club's decision to unilaterally terminate the problematic third party agreements had been signed off by Premiership officials the night before West Ham's 3-0 victory over Wigan on Apr 28.

So there is no problem!

However this response from the league has only resulted in Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe throwing the mother of all hissy fits. Here is his response to the League's latest statement,

"Why are they treating us like lepers? It's as if we're the ones doing something wrong. Why should we be isolated and described as moaning?"

Which of course can only be answered in one way, "Because you are isolated and moaning like a little girl."

Get over it already!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Teddy's Off

Teddy Sheringham has confirmed that he is looking for a new club. He told Sky Sports,

"I think we can safely say I won't be staying at West Ham but I want to carry on playing football. It is a great way to earn a living so let's hope I do."

It is a shame that we need the points this week, it would have been nice for Teddy to play his last game (in all probability his last Premier League game) at Old Trafford. As it is it looks like he has already played his last game for West Ham.

Eggert Magnusson Interview

BBC London have an interview with West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson on its website. You can listen to it here.

Wigan Call West Ham Liers

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has written to the Premier League asking for proof that Argentine striker Carlos Tevez is eligible to play for West Ham.

West Ham say they have ripped up the contract between the club and Joorbachian that broke Premier League rules. Whelen claims that the contract can only be cancelled with the agreement of both parties and is now asking for proof that the contract has been cancelled by both.

This will of course be good news to Chris Riley, who was sacked by JJB Sports for striking over pay. Chris Riley can now go back to Dave Whelen and inform him that whilst Whelen tore up the contract between them, Riley didn't and therefore Riley still has a job and Whelen owes him six months back pay.

I have a feeling that Whelen has now realised that he has no chance of winning a case in court and that this is the last desperate throes of a man who can't accept defeat.

Dave Whelan - possibly the worst loser in the history of sport.

Gudjohnsen Allowed to Talk to West Ham

El Mundo Deportivo say that Eidur Gudjohnsen has been given permission to talk to other clubs. This presumably means the Icelandic striker will be on the move in the summer. Manchester Utd and West Ham are both thought to be keen on Gudjohnson. Sounds like an easy choice to me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sports Minister Tells Weasly Four to Shut Up

Now the Sports Minister Richard Caborn has added his advice to those seeking to take the Premier League to court over its fine of West Ham. In short - Don't!

"My advice to the clubs involved is to resolve this internally inside the Premier League and whoever is relegated should be a decision made on the pitch and not in the courts.

"Football is able to govern itself. With power comes responsibility and I'm sure this can be resolved inside the family of football."

Caborn, is a Sheffield United supporter and a former director of the Yorkshire club. Hopefully his comments will have some effect on United chairman Kevin McCabe who was still whining on about the judgement today.

West Ham Club Statement

West Ham United today issued a statement that the club would not be "exercising our right of appeal against the penalty imposed on the Club by the Premier League's recent Commission of Inquiry."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has also said that the commission's decision is final, "As far as we are concerned that decision is final and the only people who can appeal against that are West Ham."

So that should be the end of that, although somehow I don't think it will be the last we hear of it.

Tevez Targeted

The Daily Mail claims that Tevez has become a target of both Liverpool and Chelsea. They also quote Tevez as saying,

"If I can play at West Ham in such a difficult position, it’s easier to play for a bigger club with players such as Rooney, Ronaldo or Drogba. I could play for any English team because the English game is no longer a problem for me."

Alan Curbishley however also says that, "I would like to see him at West Ham for the next few seasons."

League Tells Clubs They Have No Case

The Premier League has written a letter to Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, Charlton Athletic and Fulham, which it has also copied to all other clubs warning them that any legal threat is doomed to failure.

The letter states that any challenge by them "would fly in the face of the disciplinary structure that the clubs themselves created and we consider would, as a matter of law, be bound to fail". The letter also points out that all the clubs agreed to the procedure of the hearing into West Ham before the hearing took place.

According to The Times this should ensure "that relegation will be decided on the pitch rather than in the courtroom."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

League to Reject Hearing Complaints

The Daily Mail say that the Premier League is today preparing to reject the complaints of clubs threatening legal action because of West Ham's record fine.

The paper say the League will issue a statement confirming their confidence in the hearing's verdict. They will also say that Tevez's contract now does not allow the possibility of any external influence over West Ham, so the clubs have no case against his continual presence in the West Ham team.

Man Utd vs West Ham Live

Sky Sports have confimed that the Manchester Utd vs West Ham game will be live on Sky Sports One. The Sheff Utd vs Wigan game is live on Sky Sports 3.

"I Hope West Ham Survive"

After Charlton suffered relegation manager Alan Pardew expressed his hope that West Ham survive,

"I'd love West Ham to stay up because there are a lot of people there I love. The league table speaks for itself, there's no politics involved, no court cases, this is where it's at."

Monday, May 07, 2007

FIFA Against Court Action

According to The Sunday Times England could be suspended from international competition and English clubs could be banned from international competition if the Wigan chairman continues with his ludicrous attempts to sue the Premier League or West Ham.

According to Article 62 of the FIFA statutes, "Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the Fifa regulations. To ensure the foregoing, the associations shall insert a clause in their statutes stipulating their clubs and members are prohibited from taking a dispute to ordinary courts of law and are required to submit any disagreement to the jurisdiction of the association, the appropriate confederation or Fifa."

Rubbish in the Papers

The News of the World claim West Ham will bring Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen to Upton Park next season. Gudjohnsen is not guaranteed a place in the first team at the Nou Camp and Barcelona are said to be ready to do business for £8 million.

However the NoW also claim that West Ham are after Darren Bent. Curbishley tried to sign the Charlton striker in January but a relegated Charlton may be forced to sell.

The Star rehash the rumour that Villa are keen to sign Reo-Coker whilst the NoW regurgitate the theory that the midfielder is off to Sp@~rs. The paper also claim that West Ham had a verbal agreement with Arsenal that he would move to the Emirates for £10 million in the summer but that Wenger is no longer interested.

Roeder Resigns

Glenn Roeder has 'resigned' as manager of the Barcodes, presumably a matter of hours before the appointment of Big Fat Sam (as opposed to Little Fat Sam, the Bolton manager).

Despite the Barcodes not having scored a league goal at St James' Park in over eight hours of playing time, Roeder's management of the club has been an unqualified success, well in as far as he managed to avoid relegation for a whole season.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jewell Shows Sense

It marked contrast to his chairman, Paul Jewell seems to have accepted that Wigan's position in the league owes nothing to the Premier League's decision to impose a record fine on West Ham. Jewell says,

"If rules have been broken they (the Premier League) have dealt with it and whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant really. We can't blame Carlos Tevez or West Ham for being in this predicament.

We haven't got 35 points because of Carlos Tevez - it is down to us."

In related news West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson has told the other clubs at the bottom of the Premier League to put up or shut up,

"I believe that that is up to the Premier League. I can understand in a way but I cannot understand going everyday to the press and saying this and that. If they are going to make a legal challenge they should come out when they decide to do so. That's my opinion."

Clubs Aim to Bankrupt West Ham

The Observer today claims that a third of Premiership clubs are ready to go to court against West Ham, a move which could bankrupt the club.

It appears that the clubs are unable to sue the league. As the other Premier League clubs had no part in the league's hearing they have no right to appeal it's decision. However it appears the clubs feel they have a case against West Ham. As West Ham were found guilty of breaking rule B13, which states that 'each club shall behave towards each other club and League in utmost good faith', the clubs feel they can sue West Ham privately. Muppets.

West Ham's Goals

Could these be the goals that keep us in the Premiership?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

West Ham 3 Bolton 1

Two goals from Carlos Tevez and a wonderful volley from Noble gave West Ham a comfortable first half lead. Tevez's first came in the eleventh minute from a free-kick he won himself twenty-five yards out. His left footed shot left Jaaskelainen standing as it flew into the top left corner of the goal.

Tevez's second came ten minutes later when he slotted home a square pass from Boa Morte from seven yards out. Tevez also had a part to play in West Ham's third, as it was his cross across the penalty area that Noble ran onto and volleyed home from eight yards.

In the first half Bolton looked dodgy at the back and their only attacking tactic was to pump long ball's forward in blind hope. However in the second half they managed to reorganise at the back and began to bite in the tackle a little more.

This effort paid off in the 67th minute when Bolton managed to pull one goal back when Anelka played a square ball for Speed just inside the West Ham penalty area, which Speed hit into the bottom right corner of the net.

West Ham themselves never looked as threatening as in the first half but did manage to create a few chances. In the 78th minute Benayoun passed to Tevez in the area but his 9 yard shot was straight at Jaaskelainen. In the 82nd minute Harewood had a shot from about the same position which Jaaskelainen saved at his near post.

West Ham's best chance of the second half came in the dying minutes when the Irons hit Bolton on the break. Benayoun passed to Tevez on the right wing, Tevez crossed for Harewood but the forward was just beaten to the ball by Meite.

So overall a very good afternoon for West Ham that could have been better if Liverpool Reserves hadn't lost to Fulham. However Wigan lost so it looks like it is going to be between the Latics, the Addicks and the Irons.

West Ham vs Bolton

Radio Five has live commentary on the internet.

Radio London is providing full commentary of the game on 94.9FM, DAB Digital Radio, Sky Channel 0152 & 765 Medium Wave.

Re-live streams of the game are being shown at 5.30 on a number of channels. Links to the channels can be found here.

LiveFooty claims that it will have live links nearer kick-off.

Whelan's Record of Shame

Dave Whelan's attempts to sue the Premier League and / or West Ham seems to be proving popular in a large section of today's back pages. This is rather surprising as you would imagine that sports journalists would be aware of Whelan's previous underhand attempts to avoid relegation for the sports teams that he owns.

This time last year Wigan Warriors found themselves in a similar situation to where Wigan FC find themselves this year. In short they were facing relegation.

Now I obviously don't won't to be sued for libel, but I think it would be fair to say that at the time there was a widely held belief that a certain chairman was attempting to buy off the National League champions (the promoted side) in order to preserve his club's Super League status. Once this attempt failed (and you have to admit it is at the most ridiculous and the most corrupt attempt to avoid relegation in the history of sport) rumours then began to emerge that the Super League was being pressured by certain quarters to enlarge to 13 teams so that the bottom club, Wigan, would miraculously avoid relegation.

Now this year Wigan FC find themselves staring relegation in the face. So it should be of no great surprise that Whelan again reverts to desperate measures to save his team. It is patently obvious that Dave Whelan has a history of making ridiculous and laughable attempts to try and help his teams avoid relegation. Why certain journalists can't see the man for what he is (a fool) is beyond me.

And just in passing - Dave Whelan is not only the owner of Wigan FC and Wigan Warriors but is also the chairman of JJB Sports. As chairman of JJB Whelan is renowned for paying his workers the bare minimum wage. In fact whilst JJB workers were on strike over their £5.35 per hour wages Whelan sold the best part of a £3 million stake in JJB commenting that the sum was "peanuts". Whelan then argued that his workers' demands to earn a living wage was tantamount to 'communism'. And of course whilst his workers were on strike for a living wage Whelan had no problem in employing scab workers.

Curbs Attacks Whelan

First the real news - Alan Curbishley is confident that Lucas Neill will play against Bolton tomorrow. There had been rumours that Neill, who picked up an ankle injury against Wigan might miss tomorrow's game. Carlos Tevez, who also picked up an ankle injury in training this week, should also be fit. So, arguably our two most important players are fit for our most important game.

And now the continuing bollocks of the Premier League hearing - Alan Curbishley, in a thinly veiled attack on the whining chairman of certain other Premiership clubs, has drawn attention to the loan system that allows some teams to influence the selection policies of others teams,

"Look at the system which allows Premiership clubs to loan out influential players."

Martin Samuel this week in The Times highlighted the case of Everton not being able to field Tim Howard against Man Utd. This is of course of no interest to Charlton, Fulham, Sheffield United and Wigan, who are all reported to be seeking legal advise over West ham's punishment.

So on the eve of the most important Saturday of the season our rivals are concentrating on the courts leaving us to worry about what happens on the pitch - Muppets.


Friday, May 04, 2007

West Ham vs Bolton

After the resignation of Fat Sam Bolton will be managed by Sammy Lee for the West Ham game. Lee will have to make do without El Hadji Diouf, Tal Ben Haim and Nicky Hunt who all injured. However captain Kevin Nolan could be available following an ankle injury, while Stelios and Abdoulaye Faye face late fitness tests.

Bolton have not won in four games. Last week they earned a good draw away at title chasing Chelsea but in their previous two games lost to Reading and Arsenal. Bolton are still chasing a UEFA cup place so this game is important to them, with Portsmouth and Sp#@rs only a couple of points behind them.

Whilst Bolton's form has been falling off as the season comes to a finish West Ham's has suddenly improved. West Ham are playing for a third successive win and their sixth in eight games. With only Man Utd away remaining after this game this is a must win for West Ham if they are to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League.

New West Ham Google Gadget

I have created a Google Gadget for those of you who use the Google personal home page service iGoogle. The gadget loads West Ham news from NewsNow, brings you the latest posts from this blog and the latest forum topics from KUMB and Hammers Mad.

To add the gadget to your iGoogle page click here Add to Google

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Now Brown Threatens to Sue West Ham

Terence Brown is the latest to join the queue to sue West Ham. Apparently Brown is furious after receiving a letter that terminates his contract with the club. When Brown sold the club he was given a contract that guaranteed him £1.5m until 31 May 2009, directors' box seats and the job of honorary life time vice-president.

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose says now that "has all gone and he is furious and threatening to take legal action."

Obviously the loss of a free £1.5 million a year is a big blow but this may just be a warning to West Ham's new owners who have been considering suing Brown for the £5.5 million fine imposed by the Premier League.

Whelan Reveals His Ignorance

Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan is threatening to sue the Premier League, West Ham and any team that beat them this season (OK the last bit is made up). In a statement Whelan claimed that West Ham,

"... broke the law, told blatant lies and should have got a 10-point penalty. If we can sue West Ham or the Premier League, I am sure that will happen."

Of course West Ham broke no laws, but Whelan is unlikely to let the facts stand in the way of his misguided ranting. As I've said before all Whelan achieves by spouting on like this is to create a culture of defeat at Wigan. It as if the chairman has already decided that the club is down, his whining has now been picked up by the manager and in effect between them they are telling the players that they have little faith in their ability to avoid relegation on the field.

Whelan now claims however that he has the support of other clubs for his ludicrous campaign,

"The chairmen and chief executives have all spoken and two, maybe three clubs are in the process of taking legal advice, Wigan being one of them."

God forbid that the relegation positions should be decided on the pitch.

Blanco to Getafe

Sevilla have accepted an offer from Getafe for Kepa Blanco. Blanco, who has not featured much for West Ham since joining the club on loan, wants to keep his options open. From what Blanco has said it sounds like he would like a permanent deal with a Premiership club,

"I am not closing any doors. Even though I have not played much for West Ham lately, I like it here and I like the style of football. It is more physical and the stadiums are always full, something that does not always happen in Spain."

In other gossip, West Ham are reportedly plotting a £3million summer swoop for Watford defender Danny Shittu regardless of whether we stay up or not.

Al Fayed After West Ham

According to today's Tines Al Fayed has instructed his lawyers to examine the ruling into West Ham's signing of Mascherano and Tevez. Fulham are among a number of clubs that are said to be unhappy at the lack of a points deduction against West Ham.

Whilst paranoid fans of smaller clubs have hinted at conspiracies to rival those of Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' Al Fayed may be the first to notice the behind the scenes meddling of Prince Philip, MI5 and other members of the Royal Family into the League's investigations.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Teams Breaking Rule U18

The Times today has an interesting article about a number of Premiership clubs who have in effect allowed a third party to materially influence the selection of players. This is of course in breach of rule U18, which West Ham were last week fined £2.5 million.

The Times point out that a number of Premiership clubs have loaned players from other Premiership clubs with clauses that says they can't play against the club that owns them. This is clearly in breach of Rule U18. For example Tim Howard (on loan from Man Utd) was not allowed to play for Everton against Man Utd at the weekend. His deputy Iain Turner let in four goals.

Of course Everton are not the only club to have done this. Watford in three matches against United this season (including an FA Cup semi-final), have fielded Richard Lee, the second choice goalkeeper to on loan Foster, and he has conceded ten goals. Clearly Watford have also allowed a third party (Man Utd again) to influence the selection of players.

Acrington Stanley Come to West Ham's Defence

Acrington Stanley chairman Eric Whalley has jumped to West Ham's defence after Paul Jewell joined his chairman in whining about West Ham not having points deducted against them. Whalley says,

"I've read what Paul Jewell has said and it's absolutely ridiculous. He does not know what he is talking about. The West Ham decision was done by a body that has nothing to do with the Football League. It is something separate.

If I was him, I would concentrate on keeping Wigan in the Premiership rather than criticise other clubs."

Whalley's defence of West Ham may have something to do with the fact that Stanley were fined £12,000 in March by the Football League, with half of that sum suspended, for fielding ineligible players.

Fulham and Wigan fans have criticised the fact that Acrington Stanley did not have points deducted. They say that the League only issued a fine because Acrington Stanley are 'a big club' and if it had been Wigan or Fulham then the League would have deducted all the points they had won since the Premiership started.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Aldridge Seeks Legal Advice

Former West Ham chief executive Paul Aldridge has said he is seeking legal advice about the accusations made by the Premier League hearing. In their judgement on West Ham's signing of Tevez and Mascherano the three man panel directly accused Aldridge of lying to the Premier League and of deliberately acting dishonestly.

Aldridge is upset that his "personal and professional reputations have been besmirched" even though he was not called as a witness, invited to provide a statement or notified in advance of the allegations against him.

Tevez Plays On

Sporting Life says that depsite claims in The Sun this morning there is no impediment to Carlos Tevez playing for West Ham in the final two games of the season. They quote a West Ham spokesman as saying that,

"He is a registered player with West Ham and nothing has changed since he played against Wigan on Saturday."

The same spokesman also said that dialogue is taking place about Tevez's future beyond the end of the season.

Tevez 's Days As An Iron Over?

According to today's Sun Carlos Tevez may miss West Ham's last two games of the season and never play again. The Sun claim that West Ham have not come to an agreement with MSI over Tevez's employment and MSI will not let him play for West Ham until an agreement is reached.

What makes me think this is a typical piece of conjecture journalism is when The Sun says that "Joorabchian is concerned over a number of legal problems after the new paperwork was sent by West Ham to the Premier League enabling Tevez to play in the 3-0 win at Wigan on Saturday."

West Ham issued a statement before the Wigan game that Tevez could play for West Ham because "The actual registration of Carlos Tevez has not been called into question and he remains a West Ham United player approved by the Premier League." Therefore no new paperwork was needed so no new paperwork would have been sent.

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