Wednesday, April 30, 2008

West Ham Youngsters Make England Squad

Sears and Tomkins have been named in England Under-19's squad for May's qualifying round for the 2008 European Under-19 Championship. England will play Belarus, Serbia and Poland to be one of the eight teams in the final round in the Czech Republic this July.

England's first game in the qualifiers will be Poland on the 26th May.

Curbs Confident of Green Staying

Alan Curbishley has said that he is confident that Robert Green will sign a new contract with the club. Green is reportedly a summer target of T#ottenham but the West Ham manager believes his future lies at Upton Park.

"The club will be keen to keep all the players. Rob's done very well this year and has been very consistent," Curbishley said. "I don't think there will be any problems."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Canio Says Curbs 'One of the Best'

Paolo Di Canio has said that West Ham manager Alan Curbishley is one of the best managers in England. Di Canio, who played for Curbishley at Charlton, has called for West Ham fans to get behind the manager.

"Alan is a good man, he is a great manager," said Di Canio.

"I had the chance to work with him when I used to play for Charlton. He is a hard-working man, and also I think he gives a tactical system in the way you want it and the players follow him in the right way. I think he is one of the best managers in England.

"I always follow every season of West Ham - in particular this season they have done well because I think they have a lot of injuries this year. I think they have done a good job.

"Of course I hope for the future that this club can grow and give more satisfaction to the fans. I still keep West Ham in my heart and I will forever."

Etherington Back For West Ham

According to The Daily Mail West Ham winger Matthew Etherington is back in training and could be named in the squad for Man Utd. Etherington has been one of four players out with 'abdominal injuries'.

Toon Ashton Bid

The Sun have resurrected the old rumour that Newcastle are keen to sign West Ham striker Dean Ashton. I suppose after scoring against Newcastle on Saturday it was only a matter of time before one of the rags decided to print this story again.

West Ham United winger Kyel Reid has extended his loan with Crystal Palace to cover the Championship club's potential involvement in the end of season play-offs.

Podcast With the West Ham Manager

The Times have a podcast of an interview with Alan Curbishley this week.

In the podcast Curbishley reveals that Di Canio made an appearance in the West Ham changing room before the Newcastle game. I wonder if that is why the team came out with all guns blazing?

The other new bit of news was that Curbishley says that West Ham are targeting a top eight finish next season.

Monday, April 28, 2008

West Ham After Dawson

According to KUMB West Ham are being linked with a move for T#ttenham's Michael Dawson. KUMB say that Dawson is not wanted by Juande Ramos so could be on the move.

The tabloids were claiming over the weekend that Green was Sp#rs main summer target and that they were preparing an £8 million bid for the West Ham goalkeeper.

Peterborough United have announced a friendly with West Ham on Tuesday, July 29.

West Ham to Deny Man Utd Another Title?

Not only has a Manchester United game become a bit of a banker but West Ham have more than once stopped Manchester United taking the title. West Ham have nothing to play for but pride on Saturday whereas the Manchester United players could be forgiven for being more than a little nervous. So could West Ham be the title destroyers once again?

Much will probably depend on the fitness of Upson. I can't see Neil and Tomkins keeping out the normally rampant Man Utd attack. Alan Curbishley certainly seems to be hinting that Tomkins could be in the side,

"Some of the players who have perhaps only seen [Old Trafford] on the TV might get a chance, you know it could be another learning curve for one or two of them," said the West Ham manager.

For me the game will also be one of those odd games that sometimes occur at the end of a season when you don't mind too much if your team loses because of the impact it will have on other teams. So whilst I would like to see West Ham continue their recent run of wins against Man Utd I won't be overly upset if a West Ham loss denies Chelsea the title.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Curbs' Post Match Interview

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

There are four West Ham stories doing the rounds in the Sunday papers today - only one of which isn't absolute boll#cks. There are no prizes for guessing which one.

Everton striker Andy Johnson is set to leave Goodison Park and West Ham, Manchester City and Newcastle could be interested. (News of the World)

T*ttenham boss Juande Ramos will make a big-money bid for West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green. (News of the World)

Former T*ttenham coach Martin Jol believes he is in the frame to replace Alan Curbishley as West Ham boss. (Daily Mirror)

Freddie Ljungberg is now a doubt for Sweden's Euro campaign after cracking a rib yesterday. (various)

West Ham Goals

Unlucky West Ham Lose Ljungberg

The Express say "West Ham went at Newcastle from the off" and "had the best chances to win" but for a 'fortunate' equaliser.

The Mail claim West Ham "coasted to a two-goal lead ... They outmanoeuvred, out-thought and outfought Newcastle from the start." The Telegraph say that "the home side were hugely superior.". The Telegraph also notice that "Uriah Rennie refused to award the Hammers a penalty when the ball clearly hit Michael Owen on the hand."

The Independent says that "the result didn't reflect (West Ham's) dominance.". Like The Telegraph they say that "West Ham ought to have had a penalty late in the day when Michael Owen handled in front of referee Uriah Rennie."

After the game Keegan said he would "rather be a lucky manager than a good one". Alan Curbishley must consider himself an unlucky one. Not only did he see West Ham lose a two goal lead to practically Newcastle's only attempts on goal, he saw Rennie ignore a blatant penalty for West Ham and, through Ljungberg suffering a cracked rib, he lost another player for the rest of the season.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

West Ham 2 Newcastle 2

West Ham started with Neill and Tomkins again paired in the centre at the back and Ashton up front with Zamora.

West Ham came out with all guns firing and made all the early running. In the 3rd minute Faubert curled a free-kick from the edge of the box just over the bar. In the 5th minute Ashton shot right-footed from the edge of the box but it was straight at the keeper. Three minutes later Harper came out for a McCartney cross, missed it, but Zamora headed over. Two minutes after that McCartney and Ljungberg exchanged passes on the left wing. McCartney swung in a great cross and Mark Noble slotted the ball past Harper.

That was too much fortune smiling on West Ham so fortune decided to go back into hiding. In the 19th minute Ljungberg fell awkwardly with
Taylor falling onto him. Ljungberg was stretchered off and Boa Morte came on to replace him. Fortune then decided to come out of hiding and two minutes later West Ham were two goals up. Zamora flicked the ball onto Ashton who turned and shot the ball home from 18 yards.

West Ham continued to dominate the play with Newcastle not managing a single shot or winning a single corner in the first 40 minutes. In the 37th minute
West Ham had two glorious chances to make it three after Faubert found space in the box, but his shot was blocked. Boa Morte then followed up after making a couple of yards for himself, however he drove a soft effort straight at Harper.

Then in the 42nd minute
Martins, with Newcastle's first shot of the game, lobbed the ball from the centre of the penalty area 12 yards into the back of the net. Three minutes later and Newcastle's second shot of the game by Martins was redirected by Geremi with his head into the back of the net and the score was levelled.

You have to say West Ham were extremely unlucky not to go in at half time with a sizeable lead. West Ham battered Newcastle for 40 minutes, the Toon managed two and half shots in the whole half and come away with two goals - lucky northern monkeys.

West Ham started the second half on the front foot. In the 48th minute Ashton shot from twenty yards but the ball flew way over the bar. In the 53rd minute first Ashton had an 18 yard effort blocked by Edgar then Boa Morte shot wide from the same distance. In the 56th minute Ashton fired a shot across the mouth of the goal.

In the 68th minute Cole was brought on for Zamora. In the 71st minute Ashton collected a McCartney back heel but shot straight at Harper from the edge of the box. In the 75th minute Ashton volleyed from 12 yards but shot wide. In the 79th minute McCartney fired a shot way over the bar. A minute later and Ashton fired in another effort and Harper did well to tip the ball over the bar.

In the 83rd minute Michael Owen hand-balled in his own penalty area right in front of the referee but Rennie decided to ignore the Hammer's pleas. In the 85th minute Noble had an 18 yard effort saved by Harper.

In the 90th minute Newcastle finally managed a 3rd shot in the game and with West Ham's recent luck the crowd were delighted to see Green save.

Alan Curbishley will now probably spend the week wondering how the fans can be happier with him after a draw than after a win.

West Ham vs Newcastle - Live Streaming

LiveFooty have a SopCast stream and a TVAnts stream.

FSiCrew currently has one TVAnts link for TrueSport 5.

Live radio commentary is available from BBC London DAB Digital Radio & Sky channel 0152.

Curbs on the Defensive

'Curbs on the defensive?' - well there's no change there then.

According to Sky Sports Alan Curbishley is 'determined to win over the fans'. Which is strange when all he seems to do in the interview is slag off West Ham fans.

"Whatever I (would have) done, they would not have been amused," said Curbishley. "It seemed a bit pre-meditated.

"That is the way that it is at the moment - there is no use crying about it at the moment.

"Whatever happened on Saturday I have not been subject to before.

"I don't think that many people have. Winning 2-1 at home and getting booed.

"But it is there and I have to get on with it. It is not going to stop me wanting to be as successful as I can and I think that West Ham throughout the years has been a bit volatile, the crowd, whoever has been in charge.

"It is up to me to turn it around."

I still think Curbishley has done a good job this season with limited resources. He deserves to be given the chance to prove he can put out a team that will play attractive football, when his flair players are fit.

However his belligerent attitude to criticism is winning him few friends and it has got to a stage where he needs to win back a lot of the fans. Criticising them is obviously not the best way to go about it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

West Ham Sign Hólmar?

West Ham have signed 17-year-old Icelandic centre-half Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson according to the Icelandic press. The papers say that West Ham have agreed an undisclosed fee with Eyjólfsson's current club, HK Kópavogur.

In February Eyjólfsson spent a week on trial at West Ham. He also spent a week on trial at Hertha Berlin in August while Bayern Munich have also shown a keen interest in the player. At 17 years of age he is already a regular in the Iceland Under 21 squad.

Update: Having a quick skirt around some of the bulletin boards it appears that West Ham have made an offer. That offer has been rejected and Eyjólfsson's agent has made a counter offer. The deal is expected to be completed in the next couple of days.

West Ham vs Newcastle - Predictions

Tomorrow's game will be West Ham's 500th game in the Premier League and Alan Curbishley's 500th day in charge. A win in this game will all but guarantee West Ham a tenth place finish.

However with Newcastle second in the form table at the moment and West Ham floundering along at the bottom of the form table it should be a tough test for the Irons. Newcastle are also one of West Ham's bogey teams as we have not beaten them since 2001, when Don Hutchison, Paulo Di Canio and Freddie Kanoute scored the goals in a 3-0 victory.

Key to West Ham's success tomorrow could be the fitness of Upson and Ferdinand. Whilst the pairing of Neill and Tomkins looked reasonable against Derby they would surely be tested by Owen, Martins and Viduka. Sky Sports say that Ferdinand is doubtful for the game. Ashton, however, has been back in training this week and could feature.

Lawrenson believes that Newcastle under Keegan look better defensively and with three strikers look good going forward. He says that West Ham have looked unconvincing of late.

Perversely, after praising Newcastle and deriding West Ham, Lawro predicts a 2-2 draw.

Sky Sports also go with a score draw. They say it will be a 1-1 draw.

Setanta go with the form team and say it will be a 1-2 loss.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hammer of the Year

West Ham fans attending this Saturday's game will be able to vote for the Hammer of the Year award.

The winner and runner-up will be announced before the final home game of the season against Aston Villa on Sunday 11 May.

Hammer of the Year for the past five seasons:



For me it has to be between Green, McCartney and Upson.

Noble and Mullins have both had solid seasons and could be contenders. Cole has done well to respond to the booing earlier in the season and has won most of the fans around.

Sears and Tomkins are both players who will be in contention in future seasons but who emarged too late this year.

West Ham News Round-Up

George McCartney has spoken out in defence of Alan Curbishley,

"You give fans that improvement and people always seem to want more. Some of us have played 40 games this season and now it starts to catch up on the whole squad.

I think you have seen in that in the last few weeks.

Robert Green has also called for support

"The Derby performance wasn't great - don't get me wrong - but you'd appreciate some understanding that we're not playing the best we can," Green stated. "We've got a lot of guys who have been out of the side and come back in again. for the West Ham manager." say that Craig Bellamy is the fifth worst signing of the season. Apparently they had Upson down as the worst signing of last season - that mistake surely should have taught them not to be such muppets.

James Tomkins has backed Junior Stanislas and Jordan Spence to be the next of the youngsters to break into the West Ham first team,

"There are a few coming through. The next one might well be Junior Stanislas. He is scoring a lot of goals in the youth team and playing in the reserves already. He is going to be impressive while Jordan Spence is doing very well and is captaining England at youth level."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ashton and Green to Sign New West Ham Deals

According to The Sun West Ham are set to offer Robert Green and Dean Ashton new contracts worth £40,00 a week.

The Sun acknowledges that Curbishley has been told to trim the wage bill but says that club want to keep hold of Green and Ashton so are prepared to offer them increased deals.

The Sun also carry an interview with Robert Green today, where, amongst other things, he discusses his planned summer climb of Kilimanjaro.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

West Ham's Defensive Attitude

The Actim Index of Premier League players features four West Ham players in the top one hundred. Perhaps not surprisingly not a single West Ham midfielder or striker makes it into the top one hundred Premier League players.

Only Robert Green from West Ham is currently in the Actim Top 50 of Premier League players this year. He just sneaks in at number 47.

Three more West Ham players make the top 100. George McCartney is the next most effective player, according to Actim at number 68. Lucas Neill is at 75 and Matthew Upson is at 86.

Glossing over the recent three 4-0 losses in a row then West Ham's defence has probably been the most positive aspect of the season. It is disappointing that not one West Ham midfielder of striker is in the top 100 Premier League players.

Dare one say this is perhaps a reflection of the style of play adopted by the club this year.

West Ham Reserves Season Over

West Ham Reserves finished this season's campaign with a 2-0 loss against Arsenal. Arsenal's goals came from Rui Fonte and Jack Wilshere.

West Ham will now finish either second or third in their league depending on the results of Reading's remaining two games.

West Ham to Keep High Earners

Scott Duxbury has rubbished claims that West Ham are about to ditch the club's high earners. Duxbury announced last week that Curbishley had to reduce the size of the squad which led many to speculate that players such as Neill and Ljungberg would be shown the door.

"We only plan to sell players that are not close to getting into the team," said the West Ham CEO.

"We have a very young talented team and experienced star players like Freddie [Ljungberg], Craig Bellamy and Lucas Neill are very important in helping those talents develop."

Monday, April 21, 2008

West Ham After Emana

Sky Sports are reporting that West Ham are interested in Toulouse midfielder Achille Emana. Sky say Emana is regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe and claim that West Ham and Newcastle had scouts watching the player over the weekend.

Emana is apparently a target for many European clubs, including Sevilla, Almeria, Fiorentina and Udinese but is said to want a move to the Premier League.

Sunderland After Ashton

The People say that Sunderland boss Roy Keane is planning an £8 million bid for West Ham striker Dean Ashton. The People claim Keegan did want Ashton but is now happy with his strike force, leaving Sunderland "in the box seat to snap up the England hopeful."

With West Ham expected to undergo a summer clear out we may be faced with a long summer of just this sort of wild speculation. Indeed if you believe Carlton Cole some of the players have already begun to worry,

"We're all disappointed that we haven't been able to push higher up the table and there could be a few worried people at the club this summer," admitted Cole yesterday.

"We're all fighting for our futures. It's up to the manager who goes and who stays, but I'm contracted to West Ham for another two years and I want to stay here."

West Ham Reserves in Action

West Ham Reserves are in action tonight against Arsenal at Barnet. It is the reserves last game of the season. They have an outside chance of winning their league but must win tonight and hope Villa lose their remaining two games and Reading win no more than one of their two remaining games.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

West Ham Goals

That Mears chap looks a tidy finisher.

Curbs 3 West Ham Fans 1

The chants of "You don't know what you are doing" and the boos at the end of the game receive more column inches today than the action on the pitch. On the whole West Ham manager Alan Curbishley seems to have impressed the papers more than the fans.

The Express notice that West Ham were forced to make seven changes from the last game and it took "time to settle down - but they finally gelled well enough". They say that although "Curbishley was verbally abused ... when he replaced Freddie Sears with Carlton Cole ... he was vindicated two minutes later when Cole finished off a run and cross by Freddie Ljungberg."

The Daily Mail say that at "the final whistle, the East Enders greeted victory with a cacophony of boos, clearly rating narrow victory against relegated Derby as disgraceful." The Mail also say that "Slaven Bilic, the Croatia manager, is being tipped in his own country to take over at Upton Park next season".

The Telegraph clearly feel the fans were unjust in their treatment of Alan Curbishley, "West Ham fans appear to be a breed apart in terms of expectations." They also say that his decision to bring on Cole for Sears was "vindicated as Cole knocked home Freddy Ljungberg's cross." The paper says that there "was no excuse for the way the fans turned against the players at the final whistle. West Ham have suffered more injuries than any other Premier League side this season. Indeed, not once has Curbishley been able to field the same 11 twice in succession."

The Independent thought that West Ham's win was due "in no small part to the second-half substitution by manager Alan Curbishley, who was booed when he replaced Freddie Sears with Carlton Cole late in the day."

I make that three papers in support of Curbishley versus The Daily Mail's almost inevitable stirring of the pot.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

West Ham 2 Derby 1

An injury ravished West Ham started with Pantsil, Tomkins, Neill, and McCartney at the back. The supposedly rested for the rest of the season Faubert started in midfield with Noble, Parker and Ljungberg. Sears and Zamora started up front with Ashton, reportedly, ill with tonsillitis.

West Ham came out pretty fast and applied some early pressure. The best of the early chances were a Noble free-kick in the 8th minute and a Parker volley in the 14th minute. However Noble hit his free-kick rather tamely from 30 yards straight at Carroll and Parker's volley from the edge of the area flew way over.

In the 17th minute Noble crossed into the box from the right and Tomkins got his head to the ball but couldn't keep his effort down. The ease with which Tomkins got to the ball was a warning to Derby and just four minutes later McCartney curled a free-kick from the right and Zamora easily slipped away from Leacock before heading home from six yards.

After the goal Derby began to apply a little pressure of their own. In the 28th minute Mears broke to the byline on the right wing and cut the ball back but no-one from Derby anticipated his ball. A minute later Mears again got a cross in from the right. This time the ball was cleared to Savage on the edge of the box but Parker closed him down well before he can shoot.

Two minutes later Derby won a corner which found its way to Kenny Miller who shot left-footed from the centre of the penalty area from twelve yards but his shot flew wide right.

In the 37th minute Zamora broke free and stroked the ball into the back of the net with his left foot but was given a dodgy offside. Two minutes after that Savage's head connected with a left wing Jones cross which Green did well to tip over the bar.

Derby continued to apply some pressure and won a few corners for their efforts before the ref finally blew for half-time.

The second half started lively. In the 47th minute Mears won a free-kick on the edge of the West Ham area. The free-kick was blocked and West Ham quickly broke leading to a Sears cross that slid right across the goal. In the 49th minute Parker had a low left footed effort from the edge of the box pass just wide of the left post.

In the next five minutes of play Derby forced a number of corners, which West Ham dealt with reasonably well. However in the 64th minute Derby broke quickly from a West Ham corner and Mears was played clear and managed to shoot home from the edge of the penalty area.

Pretty soon after that the inevitable boos began. In the 69th minute Ljungberg was played clear and then seemed go down a little easy on the edge of the Derby box with Savage at his back - the ref gave nothing.

In the 70th minute Zamora received a cross from the right wing about two yards out but scuffed his shot and missed when it looked easier to score. After that a couple of unforced errors by Zamora and McCartney led to chants of 'you don't know what you're doing'.

That seemed to spur some of the players into action. In the 76th minute Ljungberg passed the ball to Noble and Noble slipped the ball inside a Derby defender, Ljungberg ran onto the ball and crossed the ball into the box for a simple tap in for Cole.

Derby failed to respond to West Ham's second goal until the 91st minute when first Savage headed over from six yards and then about a minute later Miller turned and shot weakly at Green from eight yards.

In the end it was an unconvincing win for West Ham, which will have done little to appease the Curbishley doubters.

West Ham vs Derby - Live Streaming

LiveFooty have a SopCast stream and a TVAnts stream.

Maybe more later ...

Neill Staying at West Ham

Since West Ham announced at the Fans Forum this week that Alan Curbishley is under pressure to reduce the size of the squad Lucas Neill has been one name linked with a move away from the club. Neill's high wages has ensured that he has been mentioned alongside Freddie Ljungberg as a player West Ham might try to sell in the summer.

However according to his agent it is all rubbish.

"We have not been approached by West Ham in regards to that, reviewing his contract or taking a pay cut," Paddy Dominguez said. "It doesn't make sense that a manager who only 14 months ago brought Lucas to the club and has installed him as captain would look to sell him.

"It would be very strange. Lucas' relationship with Alan is good and he is relishing the role of captain. Seeing that it's come from the British tabloids and no quote from Curbishley or West Ham, I wouldn't give it too much credibility."

West Ham's Wright Remains a Saint

West Ham goalkeeper Richard Wright has had his loan deal with Southampton extended until the end of the season. Wright has conceded just two goals in four games at the Saints and with first choice goalie Kelvin Davis out with a dislocated finger Southampton have moved to ensure Wright stays for the rest of the season.

Southampton manager Nigel Pearson says,

"He (Wright) has made some outstanding saves and has looked confident and composed and he has been a big presence for us while Kelvin is sidelined. I am delighted Richard is able to stay with us until the end of the season. He has done well for us and has enjoyed his football."

Friday, April 18, 2008

More News From the West Ham Fans Forum

West Ham Till I Die have posted more details from the West Ham Fans Forum held this week with Scott Duxbury.

Here are snippet's from one fan's recount of the forum (there is a lot more at West Ham Till I Die):

The Parcelforce site is in a bit of a limbo because of the proximity to the gasometers - the club are waiting on an appeal from Surrey Cricket Club against a health & safety embargo on them extending their ground because of gasometers. The club also don't seem to have given up on the Olympics Stadium. The thinking seems to be that as costs soar the stadium will be seen as a white elephant, like the Dome, and the Olympics committee will have to reconsider.

Land for the new training ground will be bought in the next two weeks.

Whilst there are plans to reduce the size of the squad if a big name player becomes available there would be nothing to stop Curbidhley from signing them.

Next seasons expectations are a top 6 finish and a European place.

Sheffield Utd's appeal will be settled in June, there are no further avenues they can take. West Ham are confident the panel will rule against Sheffield United, their claim is misplaced and we have done nothing wrong.

There will be no ground share with Tottenham!

West Ham vs Derby Preview

West Ham have held on to their top 10 status for all but one week since the middle of November. But a loss tomorrow could see West Ham fall into the bottom half of the table.

Hopefully the return of Lucas Neill, Freddie Ljungberg and Mark Noble will bolster the side enough to stop a fourth successive defeat. If West Ham need their confidence bolstered further they just have to think back to the last time these two teams met. West Ham won at Derby 0-5.

The Predictions

Lawro says 'West Ham are going nowhere', which is hard to argue with at the moment.

However Lawro still predicts a 2-0 West Ham win

It is a reflection of how poor we have been recently that Setanta actually predict a win for Derby. Setanta says that "a desire to avoid the ignominy of being officially the worst team in Premier League history should be inspiration enough".

Setanta predict a 0-1 loss for West Ham on Saturday

Sky believe that Jewell will make whole scale changes to his side after last week's defeat - but on that logic he would be fielding a completely different starting eleven every week. Sky believe that Carroll and Darren Moore will be amongst those dropped by Derby.

Sky predict a 3-0 West Ham win

Who Will West Ham Show The Door?

There are no surprises that today's newspapers have picked up on the news that Curbishley has to sell players before he can buy. There are also no surprises that the papers think that the large wages of Neill and Ljungberg make them favourites to be sold.

What is surprising is that most of the papers are also including Dyer in their list of favourites for the chop. An injured player that no one is likely to buy until he proves he has recovered by getting some first team action. Yes I'm sure he'll be put up for sale.

Of course our friends at The Daily Mail are suggesting that West Ham will also be looking to sell their top players like Green and Ashton. The Mail will of course be writing an apology in September if the players are still at the club.

Season Ticket Rise

The club also announced today that season tickets will rise by around 5% next season.


Yesterday Google released an update for Google Earth. If you download the updated version of Google Earth you will find a new layer written by yours truly. My layer is in the Sky part of Google Earth (access via the planet at the top of the screen) under the 'Education Center' folder. The layer is called Virtual Tourism (one of my other blogs) and is really just a replication of what you can see at my Star Viewer website (lots of videos of stars and stuff).

Apart from including my work - which of course was a brilliant move by Google - the updated Google Earth is great fun. It now includes day and night lighting effects, faster loading of 3d buildings and street view imagery. Enough to keep anyone amused for half an hour.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

West Ham - Some In, Some Out

Alan Curbishley has been told by the owners he must reduce the size of the squad before he can purchase any more players.

The first team squad has to be reduced to about 24 players. Which means that Curbishley will have to sell around six players in the summer and also means that if we have the same injury problems next season West Ham will sometimes struggle to put out a side.

Hmm - six players out. I know at least three I'd choose.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spence Captains England to Glory

West Ham's Jordan Spence captained England Under 18's in their 2-0 friendly win over Austria last night. Defender Spence helped England keep a clean sheet and came close to scoring with a volley at the end of the first half.

England's goals came from Man Utd players Welbeck and Drinkwater.

West Ham Transfer Rumours & Other News

According to The Daily Mirror West Ham will battle with Plymouth and Manchester City to sign 20-year-old Barnet midfielder Albert Adomah.

Almost daily now West Ham are being linked with a £2 million move for Chelsea's Steve Sidwell.

Scott Parker says, that despite all signs to the contrary, the West Ham players are trying their hardest:

"Results have not been good but we are eager to change that as much as anyone. I can assure everyone who is involved around the club that we are trying our hardest and are trying our best to turn things around. We need to rally around and pick up points in the next game."

Hayden Mullins attempts to outdo Parker in the fantasy football stakes by arguing that losing to Bolton shows that West Ham are ready to push on to European qualification next season:

"We can build and this time next year we will be looking at a European place. If everyone stays fit, we can be looking at a top six place, which is what we are all aiming for."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Curbs In

Kumb have a good post today where three KUMB readers defend Alan Curbishley's reign as West Ham manager.

I particularly like the argument that Curbs brought players to create a counter-attacking team but has had the tactic undermined by injuries to West Ham's quickest players.

It is well worth a read.

Update: I was a little unobservant and didn't notice that KUMB also carried a Curbs Out post as well.

Ljungberg on Way Back For West Ham

Freddie Ljungberg has not torn a hamstring as originally suspected and could even be in contention for a game on Saturday. Scans have revealed that the 30-year-old instead suffered an inflamed nerve in his leg.

"The injury was a little weird, especially since it was quite painful," said Ljungberg.

"It was quite hard for the medical team to diagnose but I've been told it was an inflammated nerve. Thankfully I am getting back to full fitness very quickly."

"Luckily the hamstring is not injured, which is great. It is likely I will be fully ready this coming week and available for this weekend game."

"I am lucky it wasn't a hamstring injury, and I have been told that the extra work I put in this winter, in the gym, is the reason I am in good shape."

"Despite being in some pain due to a nerve root inflammation, the hamstring itself is fine and there is no sign of a pull or strain.

West Ham Medical Team Phone in Sick

Yesterday's Evening Spamhead claims that West Ham "are set to make major changes in the rehabilitation and treatment of injured players", after Anton Ferdinand became the latest to join the club's lengthening list of non-walking wounded.

The paper says the board has been concerned not just with the number of players injured but with the length of time it has taken some players to recover. The Times say that West Ham have ordered a team from London's Roehampton University to investigate the club's medical facilities and rehabilitation programmes.

The Times also reveal that West Ham have e-mailed other Premier League clubs about Rule U18. In preparation for its defence against Sheffield United's claim for compensation Peter Barnes, the West Ham secretary, sent an e-mail to his counterparts on April 10 asking them if they were aware that Rule U18 prohibited third party ownership.

“Our legal team have asked me to see whether you would be prepared to assist with a written witness statement which they can help you to prepare to aid our case,” Barnes wrote. “The question is: 'When you were involved in transfers in Season 2006-7 did any of you other than referring to the Sections K, L and M ever consult or have need to refer to Rule U18 or indeed ever really know of its existence?' I confirm if you agree to assist it would only involve a written statement and not an appearance at court.”

It seems a poor defence to me. I thought even school children were aware of the cliche that 'ignorance is no defence of the law'

Monday, April 14, 2008

Curbishley Destroying a Century of Tradition

In a hard-hitting review of the Bolton game in The Echo, Rob Pritchard accuses Alan Curbishley's defensive approach of ruining a century of slick, passing, attack-minded football at West Ham. Pritchard claims West Ham under Curbishley are actually attempting a poor imitation of Bolton and that it flies against the traditions of the club built by such managers as Greenwood. Lyall and Redknapp.

Many West Ham fans accepted the dire football the team have played this season because the team were at least picking up points. Since Christmas, however, the fans have had to watch the team playing poor football and getting thrashed by good sides and beaten by poor ones.

Alan Curbishley has pointed to the injuries to West Ham's flair players but it is actually hard to determine who he is talking about. Etherington's pace is admittedly a lot more exciting than Boa Morte's day-dreaming on the left wing. Bellamy also seems to show more passion and desire to win than most of the players on show on Saturday and hopefully, if Dyer ever recovers, he will also demonstrate some pace down the right.

However in the summer Curbishley sold the two players at the club who could consistently unlock defences, Tevez and Benayoun. Obviously once both players publically declared their desire to leave there was little Curbishley could do to stop them. However it has become apparent that they have not been adequately replaced.

Let's hope the Icelandic economy recovers enough by the start of next season to allow the owners to make available a sizeable transfer kitty. West Ham are in desperate need of a couple of flair players.

West Ham fans have never called for success but have always expected attractive football.

Ferdinand Out For the Season

West Ham's Anton Ferdinand is set to undergo scans on his hamstring but Curbishley thinks he is out for the rest of the season.

It looks like Anton will be out for the rest of the season," Curbishley said.

"His injury just sums up the kind of problems we have been having. It was a blow for us so early in the game. But we just have to get on with it."

Jordan Spence's will captain England Under-18s against Austria Wednesday night (although there seems to be some confusion here - the FA say Wednesday & the West Ham official site says Tuesday.)

The game is a friendly and kicks off at 7pm at Victoria Park, Hartlepool United FC.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

West Ham Reserves Win, Tevez Says 'Hey Mista'

Under 18's

West Ham Under 18's finished a great season with a 5-0 thrashing of Birmingham Under 18's. Despite the absence of James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears, who were all in Bolton with the first team the Under 18's made sure their season ended on a high note. Triallist Ahmed Abdulla scored twice, Connor Okus, Ashley Miller and Tom Harvey got West Ham's other goals.

Carlos Tevez

The People report that Carlos Tevez made Alan Pardew play him, although it actually sounds like it was the fans who persuaded Pardew.

"Alan Pardew didn't play me at West Ham, even though the fans were calling for me," said Tevez. "I didn't say anything at first but one day, I had had enough and decided to do it.

"I was on the bench and the fans were shouting my name. So I got up, tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Mister, they are all chanting for me.'

"He brought me on - I made a name for myself and we saved ourselves from relegation.

"Now I have a better knowledge of the way the game is played here, the movement and the players. Last season was tough. I had won the title with Boca Juniors and with Corinthians in Brazil, but then I came to the Premier League and I was like a nobody."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bolton 1 West Ham 0

West Ham nearly managed to make it until the third minute before picking up an injury. However in the second minute Ferdinand pulled a hamstring and had to be replaced by Pantsil.

With West Ham already missing Neill that made a back four of Pantsil, Spector, Upson and McCartney. In midfield Collison was handed his first start alongside Boa Morte, Parker and Mullins. Ashton and Zamora started up front (Solano didn't even make the bench - is he injured now?)

Bolton had the better of the possession and territory in the first half and forced West Ham to clear off the line twice. The best of these chances fell to Davies in the 29th minute. Davies met a corner with his head and Parker was forced to clear the ball from his own goal-line.

In the 38th minute Bolton actually put the ball in the back of the net. Campo took a free-kick and the ball was flicked on and fell to Diouf at the far post. Diouf poked the ball home but was correctly judged offside.

West Ham's only real chance fell to Ashton in the 36th minute. Ashton made a good run and shot left-footed from 18 yards, forcing a save from Ali Al Habsi.

The second half started disastrously for West Ham. Thirty seconds after the kick-off Taylor took an in-swinging corner, the ball found its way to Davies six yards out and he fired home with his right foot. West Ham almost replied ten minutes later when first Boa Morte's shot was blocked by Steinsson and then Ashton tried an overhead kick which Al Habsi was forced to tip over.

Bolton thought they had killed the game off in the 65th minute when Nolan put the ball in the back of the net but, for the second time in the game, they had a goal disallowed for offside. Sears was then brought on for Zamora. Ashton, almost immediately, shot left footed from a tight angle and forced another save from Al Habsi.

In the last ten minutes West Ham managed to apply some pressure on the Bolton area for the first time in the match. In the 83rd minute Parker shot right-footed from the centre of the penalty area and Al Habsi saved diving low to his left. In the 87th minute Mullins shot from 30 yards but his shot was blocked by Nolan. In the end though it was too little too late from West Ham.

Another bad day at the office for the Irons, with another loss and another player out for the rest of the season. Derby County are already licking their lips at the prospect of facing West Ham next week.

Bolton vs West Ham - Live Streaming

FSi have a link for a UUSee stream.

LiveFooty has a TVAnts stream.

And that seems to be it for today's game.

Radio Commentary from TalkSport

West Ham Linked With Bees Winger

Sky Sports claim that West Ham are among a host of Premier League clubs interested in Barnet's Albert Adomah.

The 20 year old winger was discovered playing football in his local park by Harrow manager
David Howell. In January he signed for League Two side Barnet. Since the end of January he has scored in five league games which has brought him to the attention of more than one Premiership club.

Bolton vs West Ham - The Predictions

The Curse of Lawro is upon West Ham this week. Lawrenson says Bolton were crazy not to replace Anelka and have collapsed since his departure.

Lawro predicts a 1-2 win for West Ham.

Sky seem a little less confident about West Ham's chances. They point out that West Ham have conceded "a whopping 17 goals in their last seven league games." Sky also notice that Bolton have lost just one of their last seven league games against West Ham.

Sky predict a 1-1 score draw

Setanta point to West Ham's five losses in seven games and say that they were very 'lacklustre' against Portsmouth. However they also point out
that Bolton have no wins from their last eight matches.

Setanta predict a 1-1 draw

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bolton vs West Ham

Looking at the form table for the last six games - only Derby and Bolton lie below West Ham. This means we might actually have a chance of winning a game. Although history is against us - West Ham have won just once on their trips to Bolton in the last thirteen years.

A lot for West Ham could depend on whether Matthew Upson is fit. The official site claims he is available for selection. But they do seem to make that claim a lot and then players never appear in the squad.

In midfield the official site says Noble might return but the absence of Jack Collison from Wednesday's reserve game suggests he may be on stand by as replacement for Parker and Mullins.

Up front Curbishley is actually spoilt for choice. Ashton, Zamora, Cole and Sears are all fit and I suspect, as with Tuesday, all four will be named in the squad.

For Bolton team captain Kevin Nolan will return after the midfielder sat out the last two matches through suspension but Irish international Joey O'Brien is a doubt. Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ricardo Gardner and Nicky Hunt are all out for the rest of the season.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Upson Fit for Bolton Game

Matthew Upson is available for West Ham's Saturday game against Bolton.

"Matty Upson should be back," said Alan Curbishley at his pre-match press conference. "He has trained all week. We just felt Tuesday was a little bit too early. He is back this weekend. We will see how Mark Noble is today (Thursday) and the same for Lucas Neill. He turned his ankle over near the end on Tuesday."

Reserve team captain Jack Collison was rested for Wednesday's reserve game, which might be a clue as to the chances of Noble being fit for Saturday.

West Ham Linked With Sagnol

West Ham are being linked with French full-back Willy Sagnol. West Ham have limited back-up in both full-back positions and are said to be interested in the 31-year-old Bayern Munich right back.

Sagnol has in the past expressed a desire to play in the English Premier League and is being tracked by a number of clubs, including Villa, Spurs and Everton. It is believed that a bid as small as £2 million could capture the Champions League winner's signature.

Sponsor Steve Potts

Having given Robert Green's fund-raising trip to Kilimanjaro a couple of plugs in the last week it seems only fair to mention Steve Potts' run in the London Marathon.

Potts is running to raise money for leukaemia research. You can sponsor him at BMYCharity.

West Ham News Roundup

Despite rumours linking West Ham left-back George McCarney with Milan and Rangers the Northern Ireland international says he is happy at West Ham,

"I am really happy with how things are going for me personally but it is disappointing that the results haven't been as good as what they were earlier in the season."

"It is up to the players, the coaches and the manager to prepare for Bolton on Saturday and make sure we give our fans a good end to the season."

If you want to get to know West Ham keeper Robert Green a little better why not join him on his climb of Kilimanjaro. To sponsor the team, visit

There is room for 10 people to join him on the climb, but you need to raise £4000 in sponsorship. If you are up for the challenge, physically fit and can fund-raise a minimum of £4,000 between now and June then get in touch with AMREF UK's fund-raising team on 020 7269 5520 or email Further information is available on

Or if you just want to sponsor Robert Green go to

Alan Curbishley has revealed that he and the players will only receive bonuses for the season if they finish in the top ten,

"Everything this year, especially bonuses, is geared to finishing in the top 10," he said. "There is nothing for not being in the top 10.

"So for people to believe we have switched off is wrong. We need to be in that top 10 to take anything from the season."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

West Ham Reserves Win

West Ham Reserves beat Derby Reserves 2-1 last night.

West Ham opened the scoring early in the game. In the 8th minute Faubert set Stokes clear behind the Derby defence and he was brought down for a penalty. Stokes converted the spot kick.

In the 27th minute Simmons equalised for Derby. However in the 38th minute Stanilas restored West Ham's lead. Faubert was replaced at half-time.

The reserves now have one game remaining this season, an away trip to Arsenal.

West Ham Would Be Relegated Without Etherington

If you look at the statistics of West Ham's results when Matthew Etherington plays compared to the results when he doesn't play it becomes obvious just what a vital role he plays for the team. If Matty played every game of this season we could have qualified for the Champions League, if Matty hadn't played any games for us this season we could have been looking at relegation.

This season Etherington has made 15 starts in the league. West Ham have also played 18 games without Etherington in the starting line-up.

Of the 15 games that Matthew Etherington has started West Ham have won 8 and scored in all but two of those games.

Of the 18 games when Etherington hasn't started West Ham have managed just 5 wins and have not scored in half of those games. West Ham have picked up just 19 points when Etherington hasn't started. If you extrapolated that to a whole season that would be the equivalent of 38 points - or the number of points Sheffield Utd were relegated with last season.

Conversely West Ham have picked up 28 points in the 15 games that Etherington has played in. Extrapolate that for a season and that comes to about 68-70 points and an almost cast iron guaranteed Champions League place.

I think this underlines how much we miss Matty's pace when he is not in the side and the team does seem to be slow and ponderous without him.

When / if all West Ham's players are fit we will look quite strong down the right hand side but looking at West Ham's results this year underlines the need for cover down the left wing.

Zarate Linked With West Ham

The Daily Mail say West Ham have been ordered to cut the wage bill by Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. Gudmundsson's Icelandic bank Landsbanki, like most major financial institutions, has been hit by the credit crunch in recent months.

Alan Curbishley has also said that it would be unfair on the injured players if West Ham brought in more new players in the summer. Mind you who knew that football was about being fair.

Talk of tightening the purse strings however has not stopped The Sun claiming that West Ham are about to splash £18m on Argentine striker Mauro Zarate. The 21-year-old, currently on loan at Birmingham from Al-Sadd in Qatar, has impressed in the last couple of matches leading him to be linked with a number of Premier League clubs. It looks like today is West Ham's turn.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

West Ham 0 Portsmouth 1

With Portsmouth looking tired and with West Ham forced into changes the first half of this game was rather disjointed. The West Ham players looked like they were unused to playing together and the spine of the side was made up of pairings (Spector and Ferdinand, Mullins and Parker and Ashton and Zamora) who just haven't had much time together this season.

West Ham's best chance of the half fell to Zamora. In the 16th minute Solano played a through ball that sent Zamora free. Zamora dragged the ball around James in goal but forced himself a little wide and then scuffed his shot across the face of the open goal.

Portsmouth's best chance fell to Nugent, when a Mendez flick gave him space on the edge of the box. Nugent's shot however flew two yards wide of the right hand post.

Late on in the half Ashton forced James to palm the ball out for a corner with a rasping 25 yard effort. Two minutes later Solano had a free-kick from about the same spot but his shot deflected off the wall and wide of the right hand post.

Whereas West Ham were only poor in the first half, in the second half they were awful. The general tactic seemed to be to stroll about passing the ball across the back-line with the occasional pass into midfield to be passed straight back to the defence, who would then dawdle on the ball until they hoofed it aimlessly up field where Distin or Campbell would head the ball clear.

Because West Ham were so awful Portsmouth decided they might as well wake up a bit and have a few pot shots at goal. West Ham allowed Krancar and then Johnson twice to have space to shoot from around 25 yards. Whilst those efforts missed it didn't need a degree in rocket science to see that West Ham were losing the midfield battle and needed cover in that space in front of the defence.

Curbishley brought on Sears up front for Zamora.

Three minutes later Krancar strolled off the left wing into that space in front of the West Ham penalty area and shot from 25 yards into the bottom left of the goal.

Mullins and Parker were completely overrun in midfield defensively and were creating nothing going forward but Curbishley decided to leave them both on for the whole game. Consequently I don't think West Ham created one chance in the second half.

As I said, awful. In all honesty against a stronger, more alert team that could have been another thrashing.

West Ham vs Portsmouth - Live Streaming

Live Footy TV has a SopCast link for today's game here and a TVAnts link here.

FSi has two TVAnts links here for TrueSport 1 and TrueSport 5 channels.

Full radio commentary is available form BBC Radio 5 Live (online). The commentary is available only in the UK.

Green to Climb Kilimanjaro

West Ham shot-stopper Robert Green plans to climb Kilimanjaro in the summer.

"I have never been much of a beach person," said Green. "So this summer I will be travelling across Africa to raise funds for AMREF.

"It has over 600 people working across the continent to improve the lives of people in some of the harshest and poorest climates in the world.

"One of the highlights will be the chance to climb up Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

You can sponsor Green by going to:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Curbs Scouting Italian Targets

The rumours linking West Ham with various players currently plying their trade in Italy have been bolstered by a flying visit to Italy by Alan Curbishley over the weekend. The West Ham manager took the opportunity of the club not having a Premiership game this weekend to meet up with new technical director Gianluca Nani and watch three Italian games.

"I went out there because obviously we need to have dialogue," explained Curbishley. "The opportunity arose so I saw three games in all in the time I was out there.

"I went out there Friday and came back Sunday morning and was here for training. It's an easy situation to get on with and we're obviously having dialogue all the time - but it's much easier face to face."

"We discussed a lot of things. I got to see players who could be on our shopping list," he added. "I was looking at a couple of games, but the main purpose was to have some dialogue.

"Nani came over last week as well to watch the reserve team game and came to the training ground and met everybody so it's obviously an ongoing situation."

Defoe Out of West Ham Game

The biggest news ahead of tomorrow's clash is that Jermain Defoe will not be playing for 'family reasons'. Defoe, who was cup-tied for Portsmouth's FA cup semi-final game, has scored eight goals in seven games since joining the south coast side and would surely have relished extending that record against one of his previous clubs.

Hand-ball expert Milan Baros is also rated as doubtful for the game.

Sears, Zamora, McCartney and McCartney have all been back in training and are in contention for West Ham. Matthew Upson was in training over the weekend but tomorrow's game is probably too soon for him to feature. Spector will probably deputise in defence but Tomkins must also be in contention.

West Ham Linked With Gers Striker

West Ham are being linked with Kris Boyd of Rangers. The striker has scored 66 goals in 72 starts but still doesn't get a regular first team place. This season he is Rangers top goal scorer but has been given only 19 starts.

This has led to speculation that the player may try to move south of the border, with West Ham, Everton and Villa all said to be keen on the 24 year old.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Milan after McCartney

George McCartney, who many West Ham fans considered a weak link before the start of this season, is apparently now a target for Milan. McCartney recently dismissed a move to Scotland after it was rumoured that Rangers were about to launch a bid for the left back.

Now, according to Channel Four Milan are set to swoop for McCartney.

West Ham Sunday Gossip

Just the one bit of news this morning, from The Sunday Mirror. They say that West Ham are chasing Cagliari star Pasquale Foggia. He is currently on loan at Cagliari from Lazio.

The 24-year-old can play on either wing or behind the strikers and his form for Cagliari earned him his Italy debut against Georgia earlier this season.

Its funny how since the announcement that West Ham are to appoint Nani as technical director we only get linked with Italian players.

Leicester City U18 2-0 West Ham United U18

West Ham U18's seemed to have blown their chances of winning their league campaign after losing by two goals away to Leicester yesterday.

Craig King opened the scoring for Leicester in the 15th minute. Sappleton got the second in the 40th minute.

Arsenal Under 18's have now gone top of the group, after beating MK Dons 3-0. It means Arsenal are a point ahead of West Ham, in second place, and have two games in hand. West Ham must now win their remaining game, at home to Birmingham, and hope that Arsenal lose their remaining three matches.

The only glimmer of hope for West Ham is that Arsenal's three games are all away from home and as a club they are practised in blowing seemingly unassailable leads.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Upson Could Be Back Tuesday

Setanta reported two days ago that Matthew Upson was set to miss the rest of the season. However the official West Ham website says Upson is a possibility for Tuesday.

Although West Ham's poor luck with injuries means that the official site's 'possibilities' never actually happen this does presumably mean Upson will be back sooner than later.

The official site also says that Sears, Zamora, McCartney and Pantsil are all in contention for Tuesday and that Ljungberg will return to training next week.

West Ham Under 18's Must Win Game

West Ham Under 18's are in action today, away to third placed Leicester. West Ham are top of their league but Arsenal, two points behind have two games in hand. West Ham will probably need to win today's game and then their final game next week at home to Birmingham to have any chance of winning the league.

The winners of the four Academy League groups will go forward to the semi-final stage, taking place at the end of April.

Friday, April 04, 2008

West Ham in For Italian Crock

According to Today's Times West Ham have made an enquiry about Brescia right back Marco Zambelli. The player is valued by Brescia at £10 million.

What gives this rumour the taste of authenticity is that the 22-year-old has missed two years of his career having had four knee operations, two on each leg. He is just the kind of crocked player that West Ham seem to favour.

West Ham Meet Targets

Tony Cottee says that West Ham have met their targets for this season.

"I think the expectation this time around was quite simple - to finish around mid-table - and you would have to say it would be an improvement on the disastrous season last time.

"A good finish could even push them up to about seventh or eighth which would make it a very decent season."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Upson to Miss Rest of Season

Setanta are reporting that West Ham's Matthew Upson may miss the rest of the season because of a calf injury he picked up against Liverpool. Setanta claim that scans show this it is a recurrence of an injury that kept him out for the final three months of last season.

The West Ham official site has asked anyone attending Tuesday's game to bring their boots as there is a chance you will get a game.

West Ham vs MLS All Stars

The West Ham summer game in Toronto against an MLS All Stars team has finally been officially announced.

The game will be on Thursday 24 July at 7pm local time. If it truly is an MLS All Stars team then it should feature David Beckham, although I suspect Beckham has a clause exempting him from such exhibition games.

The official West Ham site are calling this game the 'climax' of the North American tour, so the club obviously have plans to play other friendlies in the US.

US Players Visit West Ham, the official website of the US United Soccer Leagues, has a two part article on a week long visit by 12 young American players to West Ham. Apart from continually calling football 'soccer' it is a good read. What is particularly heartening is that the players went to White Hart Lane and spent the match in the home end cheering for the opposition.

In Part One Manager, Brandon Morris describes their week so far,

"On Sunday we woke up, had breakfast and went to West Ham’s Academy matches. They played three games, all at the same time in the U10, U12 and U14 division. The size of some of the kids was very impressive. They looked like they could have easily been U17 players. The overall ball control the West Ham Academy players possessed was amazing. For that age group, it was above and beyond what you would expect to see in the United States.

That evening we went to an English Premier League match between Newcastle and Tottenham. Our players seemed really excited for the match, which Newcastle won 4-1. Our seats were in the upper deck, but they were in the second row and there is not a bad seat in that place. A few of our guys were Newcastle fans. I don’t think a lot of people in our section liked the fact that they were cheering for the visitors. They were pretty annoyed, actually.

If I had to compare the atmosphere of the match to something in the US, I would say it was like an NFL grudge-match with very hardcore fans. People were out in the streets hours before the game even started. They were singing their songs and wearing their jerseys.

This morning we had our first training session. We showed up and West Ham provided all the players with new gear to train in. After a short warm-up, the players worked on a few drills focused on awareness when receiving the ball. The exercises were led by West Ham Academy Coach Paul Hilton. The kids were joined by two West Ham Academy players who had performed the drills before and were familiar with Hilton.

The players broke into a 6-v-6 scrimmage following the drills. They were joined there by the two keepers (Cody Mizell of the Atlanta Silverbacks & Cody Cropper of Bangu Tsunami) who were training with the West Ham Academy Goalkeeper Coach throughout the practice.

The atmosphere [of our first practice] was very laid back and the coach provided our guys with a basic idea of what they expected out of them this week. Our players seemed to fit right into the scrimmage. The West Ham Academy players stood out in the fact that they were very tall for their age, but as far as the level of play was concerned, our players were on the same level [as the West Ham Academy players].

During lunch, West Ham Academy Coach Paul Heffer introduced us to the “West Ham Way.” The basic idea of the classroom session was to get the players to ask whatever questions they had regarding West Ham. For the most part the players wanted to know their playing opportunities within the club. John [Hannan] asked a few questions about the style of coaching and the specific details of the “West Ham Way.”

The most important part of the trip this far is that the training this morning went so well. We took the players sightseeing in London once or twice already, but they did not seem too interested in the fact that they were in a historic city – they are here to play soccer."

In Part Two Ryan Lehman, one of the youth players, discusses his experiences,

“On Monday we played with a 15-year old and a 20-year-old player from the academy,” said Lehman. “They are better than our group at certain exercises, mostly because they have been in the academy for three years already, but there are also things we are better at. We are better on the ball. Over here, they call it “tricks and flicks,” but it just means the technical ability of a player. The West Ham guys are very good at playing the ‘West Ham Way.’ They look to get the ball down and play one or two touch right away. They also play a very strong possession game and rarely turn the ball over.”

“I can notice the tactics West Ham stresses in training on the field in the West Ham Academy matches and in the game between Newcastle and Tottenham,” added Lehman. “Everything at the academy is about getting your head up and playing one or two touch soccer.”

“The biggest difference I have noticed between soccer in the US and soccer in England is the speed of play. The players also have a lot more discipline in their training. Where a few kids would tend to slack off back home, everyone here is focused on what they are doing and what the coach is saying.”

“The trip has been great so far,” added Lehman. “We are staying in a hotel that overlooks the stadium [Upton Park]. Everything is just amazing. Heading over here, I knew it would be fun, a once-in-a-lifetime experience – but it has gone far above my expectations.”

West Ham's Ljungberg Out For Six Weeks

The Daily Mirror say that Freddie Ljungberg 'has been warned' he could face up to six weeks out after pulling a hamstring in West Ham's last game.

If true it probably means we have seen the last of Freddie for this season and also that he will be struggling to be fit for Sweden's European Championship campaign.

Players' Salaries

A Portuguese site called Futebol Finance has posted a list of the top 150 earning players in football.

Two West Ham players just creep onto the list in joint 146th place. Carlton Cole and Lucas Neill are on a reported 200,000 euros a month or 2.4 million a year.

This works out at about £157,767 a month or £1,893,250 a year. In the 20 odd months Cole has been at West Ham I think he has scored 5 league goals. I think that equates to something like £600,000 a goal.

Not bad work if you can get it.

Mind you it is funny how West Ham came under criticism last summer for inflating the salary structure of the Premier League when Portsmouth, Everton, Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal all pay players higher wages. In fact that puts us tenth - somewhat relative to our league position.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

West Ham's New Training Ground

Rumours suggest that West Ham's next training ground will be Ford Sports Ground in Romford. Which I think is this:

View Larger Map

McCartney Hopes to be Fit for Pompey

George McCartney has revealed that he has been carrying a hamstring problem for a number of weeks but hopes he will be fit for West Ham's game against Portsmouth,

"To miss out now would be very disappointing," he said. "I want to play in every game. I've been carrying the injury for the last four or five weeks but things just came to a head on Saturday.

"It (hamstring) is not that bad once it is warmed up and that but at Sunderland it was a bit worse than what it has been. But fingers crossed, with a few days with the physio, I should hopefully be back in training by the weekend and fit enough to play Portsmouth."

Upson Reveals Source of West Ham Injuries

The Daily Star claim that West Ham defender Matthew Upson bought a car he couldn't fit into. The Daily Star printed this 22 minutes after April Fool's Day, so I suspect it is as genuine as any of their stories (or maybe more).

I was sitting around at my mum’s house after an injury," said Upson. "I was watching a lot of Top Gear and for some reason I decided to buy a bright orange and black Lamborghini.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit into it. It was beautiful, but I only did about 400 miles in it before I had to sell. It was killing my back. My family seemed to think it was hilarious.

So now we know the source of West Ham's injury problems - it's all those baby cars the players have been buying.

In other news:

West Ham loanee Zavon Hines scored a reputed 'left foot stunner' in Coventry City's draw with Sheff Wed last night.

Ex West Ham striker Paolo Wanchope has become manager of Costa Rican side Herediano, replacing the sacked Javier Delgado. Wanchope said on his appointment,

"It is a very important challenge for me. I know the risk is big, but I was born in Herediano and my love for this club was bigger than risks. I know the squad, the players and I'm sure there are a lot of things we can improve on."

Kyle Reid, currently on loan at Crystal Palace, seems to want to leave West Ham. Here is what he has said on his recent loan move and his plans for the future,

"At the end of the season I'll sit down with Alan and see what his plans are for me and then have a talk with my agent and think what his opinion is on what I should do. I will hopefully listen to whatever clubs are interested as well and probably hear what the gaffer has to say here and see whether he wants me to stay.

"I'm pleased to come here because it's still in London and not far for me to travel or my family. I think Palace is a good club as well.

"I've been playing reserves for four or five years now and it's not really challenging me anymore. I just wanted to get out there and play first team football either in the Championship or Premier League.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bondz N'Gala Signs New West Ham Contract

Eighteen year old defender Bondz N'Gala has signed a new contract with West Ham. Tony Carr said on the new deal,

"Bondz has signed a professional contract and at the moment the youth team and the Academy are having a good little spell. We are getting players into the first team and the boys are still getting good results.

Things couldn't be better at the moment. I am really pleased with the way things have gone in the last couple of months. We have got Jordan Spence also who is maturing into a fine centre-back. We have got more to come we hope."

West Ham Injuries says West Ham have 15 players out injured. That's nearly four times more than any other club.

PhysioRoom says that nine of the players should be back for West Ham's next game. However that seems to contradict what Alan Curbishley said after the Sunderland game.

"I don't think we'll see any of the players who were already out again this season. I think it's got to a chronic stage with us. Freddie Sears should be ok for the next game. He nearly made it but we didn't think he was worth risking."

To my mind that sounds like the only one of our injured players likely to recover for the Portsmouth game is Freddie Sears.

Chelsea 3 West Ham Reserves 0

A strong Chelsea reserve team , featuring Steve Sidwell and Pizarro, beat West Ham reserves 3-0 last night.

To make matters worse Villa reserves beat Birmingham last night to leap frog West Ham at the top of the league. Villa have two games in hand over West Ham so these results more or less guarantee them taking the title.

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