Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Freddie Gets Four

Freddie Sears banged in four goals in front of Zola and Clarke as West Ham reserves beat WBA reserves 4-3 tonight. The West Ham side also featured Davenport, Collins and Bowyer in the starting eleven.

Sears equalised three times for West Ham before scoring a late winner.

Ethers is Happy

Matthew Etherington is the latest West Ham player to express his delight with Zola's new system.

"It is really suiting me," said Etherington. "I am getting more involved in the game, I am not stuck out on the wing relying on the others in getting me the ball, and it is giving me a bit of freedom. Everyone is enjoying it."

"We now look to next week's game and aim to get three points out of that as well. We were worthy of the three points [against Fulham] and were the better side.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Martin Samuels - A New West Ham Hero

Martin Samuels has quickly become my favourite football journalist. Today in The Times Samuels again tears apart the FA tribunal's conclusions.

Samuels points out that Phil Jagielka and Michael Tonge are the only Sheffield Utd players from their relegated side who are now playing in the Premier League. This hardly supports the players' case for compensation and also hardly supports the panel's findings that Sheffield Utd would have avoided relegation if it was not for Carlos Tevez.

Samuels rightly has a pop at Lord Triesman for complaining that West Ham are trying to appeal the decision. Triesman has complained that “If it goes through the courts, it is going to drag on and on”. Samuels points out that the FA are the one's to blame for this. Despite a verdict from a Premier League commission, after a process that all Premier League clubs had signed up for, a High Court hearing and an arbitration tribunal the FA decided to try and get its own back on the Premier League by allowing this tribunal to go ahead. It should simply have turned down Sheffield United's appeal and can hardly complain if West ham now take their turn in appealing.

Samuels also has little time for the bleatings of Neil Warnock, asking why, if he is such a good manager, Crystal Palace are currently 22nd in the Coca-Cola Championship. Furthermore, Samuels asks why Warnock told a local paper two days before Sheffield United collected three points against Watford that “Steven (Kabba) can’t play. I actually checked myself yesterday to make sure - you can’t afford to take any chances.” Samuels believes that such a campaigner for justice as Neil Warnock will want to clear up that little case of third party influence.

Samuels concludes by saying that his published view after the Premier League commission fined West Ham was that the club should have been relegated by the Premier League. However the revelation of other third party influence, including Sheffield United's own refusal of letting Kabba play for Watford has made him change his mind.

Diego Tristan Gets West Ham Trial

According to Sky West Ham have handed a trial to Spanish striker Diego Tristan. Tristan is a free agent and currently without clubs.

Dean Ashton's injury has left Zola short of attacking options so he will presumably be keen to see Tristan do well in the trial and negotiate a longer term arrangement.

Quashie Spotted in Birmingham

The missing man Nigel Quashie has finally been found hiding in the outer limits of the civilised world in a place the natives call Birmingham. It seems Quashie has been living under cover amongst Birmingham City players for the last few weeks and could be close to signing a three month loan deal.

West Ham go to CAS Tomorrow

Tomorrow West Ham will submit an outline of appeal against the FA tribunal findings to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne. On Wednesday the FA tribunal panel will hold a Direction Meeting, to consider the damages claim of Sheffield United and a timetable of the process.

Meanwhile Sheffield United captain Chris Morgan has said that the club's players have not held a meeting to discuss launching their own compensation claims against West Ham.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

West Ham Sunday Gossip

The News of the World say Dean Ashton could be out for the 'bulk of the season'.

The Mirror say that Zola has decided he needs to strengthen the defence so will bid for Blackburn Rovers defender Zurab Khizanishvili.

The Observer claim Sheffield United will not agree to West Ham's bid to take the FA tribunal to CAS.

The Daily Star say that if Sheffield United can get compensation from West Ham, they want to bring Michael Brown back from Wigan and also land Alan Smith from Newcastle. So presumably they have set their sites on a lot less than £30 million :)

The People claim that Neil Warnock is in talks with his legal people about suing West Ham over the Carlos Tevez affair. What a sad, sad man. Actually I hope this one happens. I'd love to see Warnock being questioned in court about his managerial abilities.

The People also claim that Zola wants Barcelona's Eidur Gudjohnsen to join him at West Ham.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fulham 1 West Ham 2

Cole made the starting eleven but Bellamy only made the bench.

Fulham started the game the strongest. West Ham consistently gave the ball away in the opening minutes leading to a Davies shot that swerved wide and a Zamora header that missed the goal by about 5 yards. West Ham did manage to create a couple of chances themselves in the opening 15 minutes but Cole and Parker both managed to put them high over the Fulham crossbar.

In the 24th minute Davies played Zamora through but the ex-West Ham man's shot was wide of Green's post. In the 31st minute Neill body-checked Davies on the edge of the box but Bullard fired the free-kick over the bar. A minute later and Bullard had another chance from almost the same spot. This time he fired around the wall and Green saved.

A few minutes before half-time Konchesky made a nasty foul on Etherington. This seemed to anger Etherington as a couple of minutes later Etherington broke through, crossed into the box, Schwarzer palmed the ball out straight to Cole and Cole fired home from 12 yards out. A minute later and Noble put Etherington clear and the winger slotted the ball past Schwarzer. A minute after that and Andrew Johnson fouled Neill and received his second yellow card. So despite being under the cosh for most of the match West Ham went into the break two goals and a player down.

The first effort in the second half fell to West Ham in the 49th minute. Noble shot from twenty yards and Schwarzer managed to palm the ball out for a corner. From the corner the ball fell to Faubert, who fired a shot in which dipped and landed on the top of the net.

Two minutes later it was Ilunga's turn to test Schwarzer. His 19 yard shot was saved by Schwarzer for a corner. From the corner Neill fired in a 12 yard shot but Schwarzer managed to punch it clear.

Now with West Ham dominating play it was Fulham's turn to score against the run of play. In the 59th minute Lucas Neill handballed a Gera header in the box and Fulham were given a penalty. Danny Murphy put the spot kick past Green to make it 2-1.

In the 68th minute Zamora had a glorious chance to equalise from a Bullard free-kick but his glancing header just dropped wide.

In the 74th minute Bellamy came on for Di Michele. In the 78th minute Zamora turned and shot from about 8 yards but the ball flew way over the bar. In the 80th minute Ilunga pulled the ball back to Bellamy, Bellamy's first shot was blocked but the ball bounced back to Bellamy who then fired over from eight yards when he should have put the game beyond Fulham's reach.

In the 87th minute Bellamy pulled the ball back for Cole but his shot from 11 yards was blocked by Hughes. As the game headed into injury time Fulham won a free kick 23 yards out but Bullard fired the ball straight into the wall. Then with seconds remaining Fulham won another free-kick 25 yards out. Bullard again fired straight into the wall.

That was Fulham's last real chance and a bad week for West Ham ended positively.

Fulham vs West Ham - Live

FSi have one link to a TVAnts stream of today's game.

Radio London have full commentary of the game on 94.9 FM.

Ashton Out Until 2009

Dean Ashton will be out until the new year. The official West Ham website has this to say on his latest injury,

"Zola will be without Ashton (for the Premier League fixture at Fulham on Saturday), who is set to be missing until the New Year as a result of his left ankle injury suffered earlier this month," said the statement.

"As announced yesterday (Thursday), the 24-year-old England international will undergo arthroscopic surgery early next week to assess the full extent of the problem. He will be on crutches for six weeks."

It looks like Ashton won't be one of the players sold in January then.

The Day Sheff Utd Killed Football

The Daily Mirror is the latest paper to pile in against the muppets of Sheffield United and the FA Tribunal, who seem intent on ruining the beautiful game. The paper says that the FA panel's judgement has opened the floodgates and that the Sheffield United players are the first to put "their grubby snouts into West Ham’s trough."

The Mirror pull no punches and say that the Sheffield Untied players who are considering suing West Ham "need to have a long, hard look at themselves this morning." What the paper doesn't say is that the Blades players will of course make a laughing stock of themselves if they go ahead with this action.

Friday, September 26, 2008

FA Panel Fundamentally Flawed

Alan Curbishley, speaking to Setanta, said that the argument that one player can be responsible for saving a side from relegation is 'fundamentally flawed'.

I think their argument is fundamentally flawed,” Curbishley told the Friday Football Show.

“Over 38 games, with the 20 teams competing against each other, to say that one player alone can be responsible for a team staying up… You’ve got to take into consideration that Carlos Tevez didn’t score for 18 games.

“In the run-in he did score, but there were a number of contributing factors. The team was settled, only 13 players were used in the run-in for the last nine games, we kept five clean sheets, we won games 1-0. So has the back four got nothing to do with that result?

“In some of the games Carlos Tevez was substituted before the end. For the football side of it it’s fundamentally flawed to say one player is solely responsible for the team being successful.

“You have to take into consideration Sheffield United’s situation in all of this. They went on a run in their last seven or eight games where they hardly picked any points up. So aren’t they culpable as well?

“There are so many aspects of football and in the game that you cannot pin it on one player.

Fulham vs West Ham - Predictions

Tomorrow's game could depend on the fitness of Cole and Bellamy. If neither player regains fitness in time this could be a tough ask for West Ham, especially considering the team's recent away form.

Lawro says that Fulham are playing well at home and aren't Newcastle so West Ham won't be able to beat them.

Lawro predicts a 2-1 win for Fulham

Sky acknowledge that West Ham's away form is poor but point out that West Ham's last away win was at Fulham last February. Sky also point out that West Ham have not kept a clean sheet in 17 games.

Sky predict a 1-1 draw

Setanta also point to West Ham's away form, noticing that they have taken only one point from the last 24 on offer in Premier League away games.

Setanta predict a 2-1 Fulham win

CAS Turn Down West Ham Case

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced that it can not hear West Ham's appeal against the FA tribunal findings.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb has said that the court could not hear a case if it is referred to by just one party. It is unlikely that Sheffield United will agree to the case going to CAS - so it seems that the only recourse West Ham would have is going to the law courts. Such a move is not allowed by FIFA and could see English Premier League teams being thrown out of European competition.

Sheffield United Players to Sue West Ham

The ridiculous ruling by the FA tribunal panel this week was widely condemned for opening a can of worms. Those worms have today started to emerge

The BBC are today reporting that at least ten players from the relegated Sheffield United team are thinking of suing West Ham for loss of earnings. Apparently it is West Ham's thought that none of them can cut it in the Premier League.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Case against the FA Panel

The FA arbitration panel decided that as "none of the witnesses went so far as to suggest that Mr Tevez actually lost points for West Ham prior to March 2007" that they would only take into account his affect on the team in the last nine games of the season.

A post on the KUMB forum is gathering evidence from so called expert witnesses (who the arbitration panel clearly think are football reporters) that the presence of Tevez and Mascherano in a side that had reached the FA Cup final the previous season, might have actually had a detrimental effect.

Here is some of that evidence:

"Their (Tevez and Mascherano's) inclusion in the West Ham team has, however, been followed by an alarming slump in form. Both have struggled to make any impression with Tevez, in particular, appearing out of condition and finding it difficult to adapt to Premiership football."

Jason Burt in The Independent on Friday, 6 October 2006

"Pardew's side have not won since the opening day of the season and have conspicuously struggled since Tevez and Mascherano, whose influence in midfield yesterday was negligible, arrived last month. Yet he refused to use the attention attracted by the South American pair as an excuse."

Jon Culley in The Independent on Sunday

"West Ham's manager, Alan Pardew, handed full debuts to the Argentines ... their impact was not that great on an evening of searing commitment. Mascherano faded after a bright, tidy start while Tevez, for all his skill, physicality and devilment, is patently short of fitness while struggling to connect with his new team-mates."

Jason Burt, The Independent, Friday, 15 September 2006

"Hammers legend Frank Lampard Snr believes the arrival of the Argentine duo at the end of August was central to the club’s demise.

"It was only six months ago that everyone was saying how well Alan was doing," Lampard told BBC Five Live. "It seems since he brought in Tevez and Mascherano it’s all gone wrong.

It’s a shame that he’s gone but football is like that. You get your chance and as soon as you start losing games, the pressure’s on."

"The signing of Tevez and Mascherano ... marked the beginning of the club's season imploding in dramatic fashion ... Their arrival has clearly done little to promote team spirit, quite the opposite."

John Sinnott, BBC, Monday, 11 December 2006

"He (Tevez) and international team-mate Javier Mascherano have struggled since joining on transfer deadline day - and West Ham have since failed to win a game."

BBC, Sunday, 8 October 2006

"Roeder's current crop of players had thoroughly deserved their victory, with the Hammers' much-hyped Argentinian duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano making minimal contributions."

"Despite their lofty reputations, neither Argentinian has made a discernible impact at Upton Park so far."

Sporting Life

"... the Argentinians' arrival seemed to affect the camaraderie that made West Ham so united in the previous seasons under Pardew."

Henry (it was Tevez wot won it, man of the match Robert Green) Winter, The Telegraph

"Pardew, however, was not helped this campaign when he had Argentinian duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano foisted upon him by a rival takeover consortium, and their subsequent failure to shine has become symbolic of the club's sorry season."

The Telegraph (anon)

"What is now too often forgotten is that the arrival of Tevez and Javier Mascherano triggered a steep decline in West Ham's results that saw them take one point from nine games."

Tim Rich, The Telegraph, 29 Dec 2007

"After the team's recent 1-0 defeat by Reading, match reports pondered, ironically, how Tevez, supposedly one of the greatest young stars of South American football, ended up being substituted for the 40-year-old Teddy Sheringham."

The Guardian, Tom Phillips, Saturday October 28 2006

It seems that there this plenty of evidence that "Mr Tevez actually lost points for West Ham prior to March 2007." Perhaps the FA panel didn't want to find it.

Ashton Out for a Month

West Ham United striker Dean Ashton will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his latest ankle injury next week. The surgery will mean Ashton will be out of first team action for at least a month.

The club website says that Craig Bellamy and Carlton Cole are in contention (for the Fulham game) but a decision will be made on Friday. Presumably 'could be in contention' also means could be out of contention.

Zola Has Transfer Budget

Gianfranco Zola has told the BBC that he has been assured that the FA panel's attempts to destroy football will not affect his ability to buy players in January,

"It will not affect us if we want to do changes in January."

Even More Ridiculousness From the FA

I love this conclusion from the FA Tribunal's findings:

"We have no doubt that [Tevez] was infinitely more skilled than any other player in the West Ham squad at the time."

Forget the subjectivity of this judgement for the moment - just think about that adverb 'infinitely'. The FA tribunal are saying that you could combine the skills of all the West Ham players, then add all the skills from all the other players in the Premier League, then add all the skills of all the players in the Champions League and then add all the skill of all the players in all of the known and unknown universe and then add the skills of your granny.

Even then you would not reach the infinitely superior skills of Carlos Tevez.

There isn't much of this tribunal's findings which would stand up in a court of law.

West Ham Sould Never Have Been Relegated

More ridiculousness from the FA Arbitration panel's findings,

"... we also have to bear in mind that Sheffield United did over the season secure 38 points. The evidence was that in general, although not invariably, this would be enough to avoid relegation."

West Ham were relegated in 2002/3 with 42 points. Clearly we should sue the English Premier League for relegating us when we achieved the required 38 points.

The Incredible Clairvoyance of The FA Panel

In paragraph 73 of the FA arbitration panel's findings we learn that the three man team have the incredible ability to know how games would have turned out if certain players were or were not playing.

The panel has rightly come under a lot of criticism for their decision to speculate on whether West Ham would have won games without Carlos Tevez. However the panel's ridiculous speculation goes further than that. Paragraph 73 clearly states that the panel think West Ham played 29 games in that season where Carlos Tevez 'achieved little of note'. However despite Carlos Tevez having 'difficulty fitting in with a new club playing English league football' for 29 games his presence did not cost West Ham any points. In fact Carlos Tevez only had an effect on West Ham's ability to win and lose games in the last 9 games when he suddenly came good.

Incredibly the arbitration panel concede that " Mr Tevez (achieved) little of note until the last 9 games." However the panel concluded that Tevez did not cost West Ham points in the previous games, " At worst Mr Tevez’s presence in the West Ham team had been neutral until then." However in the last nine games the panel conclude that "Mr Tevez undoubtedly played a direct part in West Ham’s successful run in at the end of the season."

In conclusion the panel decided that ... "On the totality of the evidence we have no doubt that West Ham would have secured at least 3 fewer points over the 2006-7 season if Carlos Tevez had not been playing for the club."

Absolutely incredible.

Did Duxbury Lie to the Premier League?

Sheffield United and their friends The Daily Mail are selectively leaking what is still the confidential FA arbitration panel's findings. In today's Daily Mail leak (the link now doesn't work, so The Mail may have been forced to remove the leak) we learn that the arbitration panel decided that Scott Duxbury reassured Joorabchian that West Ham would honour the third party agreement they had with him over Caros Tevez.

70. Nevertheless, at the same time as West Ham was maintaining towards the Premier League that it had terminated and was having nothing more to do with the private agreement, Mr Duxbury (with Mr Magnusson) was having discussions with Mr Joorabchian and his solicitors as recounted at paragraphs 39 – 46 above. The object of those discussions was to reassure the rights owners that, irrespective of the formal position which West Ham had had to adopt, everything which the private agreement required would be realised in practice. Mr Tevez would be transferred on request in the next transfer window and the cost of insuring him would be reimbursed by West Ham. Nothing could be put in writing because of the position taken by the Premier League, but Mr Duxbury wished to reassure the rights owners that they need not in reality be concerned about the notice of termination which West Ham had only served because of the Premier League’s demands. The Premier League was, of course, not told anything about what was being said to Mr Shear and Mr Joorabchian.

The leak also reveals that Sheffield United claimed that West Ham "made an agreement with Mr Joorabchian to pay him £4.7 million in return for Mr Joorabchian securing that Mr Tevez play for the club in the remaining crucial games of the season." However the panel were not convinced that "a binding contract was in fact concluded."

The panel nevertheless "do consider that West Ham was in breach of its duty to behave with the utmost good faith towards the Premier League in the way in which Mr Duxbury conducted his discussions with Mr Shear and Mr Joorabchian immediately following the notice of termination and in not disclosing those discussions to the Premier League. "

We also think that the Premier League would have suspended Mr Tevez’s registration for West Ham for the last two games of the season if it had known about the discussions with Mr Shear and Mr Joorabchian following the Commission decision."

Cole Arrested for Drink Driving

According to The Daily Mail Carlton Cole was arrested for drunk driving at 4.30 Tuesday morning this week. The Mail claims, "Cole's breath-test reading was just over the legal limit of 80milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood."

Premier League Side With West Ham

The FA arbitration panel, according to yesterday's Daily Mail, have decided that Scott Duxbury lied to the Premier League when he claimed that West Ham had torn up Tevez's contract with MSI after West Ham were fined £5.5 million.

According to today's Guardian the English Premier League seem to disagree with this finding,

"Despite the fresh findings of Griffiths, the Premier League insist that it strictly enforced the revised terms of Tevez's contract, which had no third party ownership in it, and it points to the subsequent legal battle between West Ham and Joorabchian as evidence that the club were true to their word."

The Guardian are also the latest paper to come out strongly against the FA arbitration panel, after Martin Samuel's excellent article in The Times yesterday. The Guardian point out that Henry Winter "who insisted Tevez's performance against Manchester United (he scored in a 1-0 victory) was the reason the London club stayed up ... in his report named goalkeeper Robert Green as man of the match?"

The Independent are also highly critical of the panel's verdict,

"The tribunal's findings do appear to be based on a subjective and – some would say – emotional judgement."

There definitely seems to be a tide of opinion quickly turning against the arbitration panel's decision.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

West Ham Go To CAS

West Ham have issued a statement to confirm that they are drafting an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland in relation to the case involving the club and Sheffield United. The statement draws attention to the arbitration panel's conclusion that Carlos Tevez single handily saved West Ham from relegation.

"The club can confirm that while we respect the judgement of the FA arbitration panel, we do not accept that one player's contribution can be placed over that of the team as a whole nor used as the basis for judging the results of a 38-game season.

This ruling undermines the significant efforts of our entire playing squad and coaching staff over the duration of the 2006/07 Premier League season and does not take sufficient account of the performances of the other 19 clubs in the competition."

Fot the Attention of Henry Winter

Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph apparently persuaded the FA Tribunal that West Ham would not have beaten Man Utd without Tevez. The arbitration panel seemed to accept that amazing clairvoyance on Winter's part and also ignore the fact that West Ham would have stayed up anyway without Tevez's goal.

Obviously Winter and the arbitration panel ignored the fact that West Ham picked up more points when Tevez wasn't playing for the team than when he was.

West Ham without Tevez:
P12 W4 D3 L5 Points per game: 1.25

West Ham with Tevez:
P26 W8 D2 L16 Points per game: 1

According to the BBC West Ham are planning to approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport about the tribunal's ruling. The BBC claim that West Ham can actually do this. By agreeing to the arbitration (in fact West Ham could do nothing but agree) West Ham are not able to appeal the decision in a court of law. CAS is not a court of law so West Ham are able to appeal the decision there.

The BBC say this move by West Ham is likely to delay the tribunal's compensation decision, which was probably going to be announced early next year.

Sheffield United's Third Party Influence

Martin Samuel has an excellent article in today's Times outlining how Sheffield United seem to have destroyed the game of football for ever. As well as ridiculing how the FA tribunal seem to have magical powers that allow them to determine how games might have turned out if teams fielded different players he also points out that Sheffield United exerted third party control over a player in the same season.

"(Sheffield United) won only a single match in the last five, against Watford, when Steve Kabba, a former player, mysteriously did not play for their opponents ...

Kabba is the sort of figure who could become hugely significant now that matches can be played in the minds of lawyers. He is on loan to Blackpool, was formerly a Sheffield United forward who had been loaned to Watford, with the deal then made permanent. Before Sheffield United and Watford met on April 28, 2007, Warnock, and match preview articles published on both official club websites, stated that Kabba could not feature because of an agreement as part of his transfer.

Kabba had played in 14 of the previous 15 matches for Watford and all of the previous eight. Any arrangement regarding his deselection would be illegal and a case of third-party interference. When the statements about Kabba were brought to the attention of the Premier League, it launched an investigation and Watford provided contract details showing that no pact had been put in writing. “There may be gentlemen's agreements between managers that, in fairness, clubs know nothing about,” McCabe said.

Yet Warnock was quoted in a local newspaper confirming that he had checked the issue and had been told that Kabba could not play, so it was not the manager's work. The most plausible explanation, therefore, is that a private deal was struck between clubs. To believe otherwise is to accept that an official information outlet of Sheffield United would carry false information uncorrected for several months, coincidentally replicated at Watford. Kabba-less, Watford lost 1-0.

And here is the rub. Who is to say that those three points for Sheffield United were any more, or less, significant than any match won by West Ham, with or without Tévez? And if West Ham could countersue, hire private investigators and subpoena everyone involved in the Kabba transfer to get to the bottom of it, would football have to peer deep into the brilliant mind of Griffiths and friends so that they could replay that match, too?"

West Ham Guilty of Fielding Eligible Player

The FA's arbitration tribunal has yet to publish its findings so it is impossible to know on what basis they have come to their verdict.

However, according to yesterday's Daily Mail, the verdict does say this,

"We think it more likely than not on the evidence we heard that even over the final two games of the season West Ham would have achieved at least three points less overall without Mr Tevez."

Carlos Tevez was correctly registered with the Premier League to play in those final two games. West Ham had been in lengthy consultation with the Premier League after the league had fined the club a record £5 million to ensure that Tevez's registration was correct for the remainder of the season. The Premier League had informed West Ham that Tevez was eligible to play in those final games.

According to today's Daily Mail "the Football Association's independent tribunal have found that Duxbury verbally assured Kia Joorabchian, the part-owner of Tevez, that the third-party agreement still existed even though he had informed the Premier League that it had been terminated so that the Argentina striker could play in West Ham's remaining games."

Therefore the tribunal must have evidence of this verbal assurance by Duxbury or they are basing their decision on hearsay. If the panel do have this evidence then that is the second time in one season that Duxbury has been found to have lied to the English Premier League. If true Duxbury's position at West Ham has become untenable.

West Ham in Talks Over Olympic Stadium

According to the BBC West Ham are set to hold talks with the government in October to discuss a possible move to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games.

Part of the problem in the past has been the Olympic committee's crazy determination to build an 80,000 seater stadium for the Olympics and then tear most of it down after the games, so it only has 25,000 seats. Apparently there is now a proposal to destroy a smaller proportion and leave a 50,000 seater stadium.

Zola Not Angry

Gianfranco Zola has refused to blame his players for West Ham's defeat to Watford yesterday.

"Freddie has done very well," Zola said. "I can't be too demanding with him but I was pleased with the way he tried to play and he is going to get better. I am sure he has got a future."

"We are going to bounce back because we are going to improve ... What can I tell [the players]? I saw them, they tried their best. They couldn't do any more than that so it is worthless getting angry with them. I am going to get angry when I need to. I have to be fair, they did everything they could."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

West Ham to Sue Ashton and Green

West Ham have decided to sue Robert Green, Lucas Neill, James Collins, Anton Ferdinand, George McCartney, Yossi Benayoun, Nigel Reo-Coker, Mark Noble, Luis Boa Morte and Bobby Zamora for £30 million.

An FA arbitration panel yesterday ruled that these ten West Ham players contributed nothing to West Ham's 2006/7 season and that Carlos Tevez single handily saved the Irons from relegation.

Clearly if Tevez had received even a little help from the rest of the team West Ham would have qualified for Champions League football. Consequently West Ham say they have little choice but to seek compensation from the players for the loss of earnings incurred by not qualifying for European competition.

Watford 1 West Ham 0

West Ham put out a strong side. Sears came in for the injured Cole, Mullins for Parker and Lopez for Ilunga.

In a fairly even game Watford probably created the better opportunities and did enough to deserve their win.

West Ham fell behind in the second half to a Mullins own goal. After the goal West Ham roused themselves and finished quite strongly but were unable to get an equaliser.

West Ham Official Statement

West Ham have responded to today's rumours by saying that the club will take time to consider the full findings of the arbitration panel and to consult with the lawyers. However the club have responded to speculation about the sale of players over the summer, claiming it had little to do with the verdict.

The Daily Mail this morning claimed that West Ham were touting Bellamy, Green and Ashton around other clubs this summer. The West Ham statement says that far from touting players around they were turning bids down for a number of first-team players.

Club comment on summer transfer activity

With regard to the club's transfer activity this summer, we made no assumptions in terms of the arbitration panel and were only informed of the ruling on Friday. The only considerations taken into account were our previously stated aims of improving the first team with top-quality players committed to the future and a reduction in the size of the squad, in turn raising additional revenues for the club.

We are delighted with the signings made in Valon Behrami, Jan Lastuvka, Walter Lopez, Herita Ilunga and David Di Michele, along with several talented young prospects recruited for our Academy. Furthermore, the club were able to reject a number of significant bids for first-team players during the summer.

Our transfer policy continues to be based on sound football and business principles with the aim of taking West Ham United forward under new manager Gianfranco Zola. All at the club will not be deterred in this regard and we are fully focused on our ambitions in the cup competitions and the Barclays Premier League.

Watford vs West Ham

I don't think there are any live streams of today's game.

BBC London 94.9 FM is providing full commentary of the game. You can listen on analogue radio or on BBC London DAB, Sky channel 0152, Freesat channel 718, Virgin Media channel 930 and on the BBC London website.

Compensation Announcement Next Year

The BBC have produced a web page trying to explain the inexplicable tribunal decision today. As part of their explanation the BBC say that the tribunal will probably not announce the compensation West Ham are due to pay until the beginning of next year.

So that looks like West Ham are screwed for the next transfer window as well. West Ham won't be able to buy any players as they won't know how much compensation they will have to pay. And other clubs will be looking at West Ham thinking that we have to offload players on the cheap. So we will be screwed if we want to sell.

You have to ask is this tribunal doing everything it can to screw over West Ham.

Tevez - Six Goals in a Season

Sheffield United seem to be crowing about the FA arbitration panel's findings before it has made any announcement, clearly in breach of the panel's rules. Because McCabe is breaking the rules in this way we know that the panel's official announcement will say that,

"We have no doubt that West Ham would have secured at least three fewer points over the 2006-07 season if Carlos Tevez had not been playing for the club. We think it more likely than not on the evidence we heard that even over the final two games of the season West Ham would have achieved at least three points less overall without Mr Tevez."

This judgement is perverse in the extreme and seems to completely misunderstand football. As a striker for West Ham Carlos Tevez scored six goals in the whole season, so in no way can it be argued that Carlos Tevez saved West Ham from relegation.

Because the panel has not announced its findings Sheffield United are also clearly breaking the terms of arbitration.

The Sheffield United website currently states:

"Sheffield United have been told they have been successful in their claim for compensation against West Ham over the Carlos Tevez affair."

As the panel have not made their findings public yet this is clearly in breach of Rule 6(b) of Arbitration.

"Except with the prior written agreement of the parties to the arbitration, no disclosure shall be made to any third party of the existence of the proceedings, the contents of any documents or other evidence produced in the arbitration or any procedural decision of the Tribunal or its Award, or any part of them save and to the extent that disclosure may be required of a party by legal duty, to protect or pursue a legal right or to enforce an award."

West Ham Consider An Appeal

West Ham United are refusing to comment on the result of the arbitration panel but seem to be considering appealing the guilty verdict.

"We need to digest the full findings of the arbitration panel and will consult our lawyers on the next steps we might take before making any further comment," a West Ham spokesman told the BBC.

Unfortunately for West Ham the FA released a statement this morning saying that

"There is no further right of appeal under FA rules."

According to the BBC however West Ham are still considering an appeal and could decide to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The FA panel are expected to begin deliberations next week about how much money the Championship club can expect to receive in compensation. Sheffield Utd are asking for £30 million.

West Ham Found Guilty

According to The Daily Mail West Ham have been found guilty by an independent tribunal over the Carlos Tevez affair.

According to the Daily Mail, the judgement reads:

"We have no doubt that West Ham would have secured at least three fewer points over the 2006-07 season if Carlos Tevez had not been playing for the club. Indeed, we think it more likely than not on the evidence we heard that even over the final two games of the season West Ham would have achieved at least three points less overall without Mr Tevez. He played outstandingly well in the two wins West Ham secured in those last two games."

This judgement seems to wilfully ignore the number of games that West Ham lost with Carlos Tevez and Mascherano in the side whilst they became acclimatised to the Premier League. The fact that West Ham were battling relegation should alone have persuaded the judges that the Argentinians did not have a positive effect on West Ham's season.

Sheffield United are claiming £30 million in compensation and from the fire sale undertaken by West Ham over the summer it seems likely that West Ham know they face a heavy fine. This is despite the fact that Sheffield United were themselves investigated by the Premier League for breaking the same rule that West Ham United were penalised for in regard to the transfer of Steve Kabba to Watford. As Kumb point out the Blades also attempted to force another former player - Lilian Nalis, who they sold to Plymouth in January 2006 - to sit out a game a month after the transfer took place; both clear cases of third party influence.

As part of taking part in the tribunal it is believed West Ham now have no right to appeal. Which hardly seems fair as Sheffield Utd have appealed and appealed until they finally got a judgement to go their way.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cole Out of Cup Tie

Various reports are suggesting that Carlton Cole has picked up a slight foot injury and so will be rested for tomorrow's Carling Cup tie against Watford. With Ashton and Bellamy both also injured it looks like Sears might get a start.

Di Michele Wants to Make a Name for Himself

West Ham maanger Gianfranco Zola has compared Di Michele to Di Canio but Di Michele says he is no Di Canio.

I told David he can do unbelievable things but he needs to improve his finishing - which shows he listens to me,” said Zola.

I saw him in Italy many times doing unbelievable things, then missing in front of the keeper. I hope he can do as well as Di Canio did for these supporters. He has everything in his bag to be successful for West Ham.

"I am just David Di Michele," West Ham's new striker replied.

"Paolo Di Canio was a great, great player for West Ham and he has to be respected for what he did for this club. My hope is to do well and make a name for myself at such a big club. I will give my all to do this."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

The Guardian say that West Ham are likely to hear the final verdict this week on Sheffield United's compensation claim over the Carlos Tevez affair. United chairman Kevin McCabe insists relegation cost his club up to £50m, leaving West Ham facing a potentially huge pay-out if the FA-appointed independent tribunal finds against them.

The Sunday Mirror says that new West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is convinced the lessons he learned from Diego Maradona at Napoli will help him instil a culture of entertaining football at Upton Park.

The People claim West Ham's Nigel Quashie has been told he needs to get fitter before Birmingham will sign him on loan.

Quashie has been out injured for a year and Blues' boss Alex McLeish said: "I would like something to happen but he still has a little more fitness to find."

The People also claim that West Ham are looking to sell more players in January. Bellamy, Neill and Ashton could all leave if West ham receive the right offers.

Zola Delighted With West Ham

Gianfranco Zola is delighted with his first West Ham win and acknowledges the players and Alan Curbishley.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zola On His First West Ham Game

Gianfranco Zola spoke to the BBC ahead of the Newcastle game:

"We need to improve on last season. That is our main target although I have just stepped into the job and I have to work on the team, so I can't say what the possibilities are. But I am sure that if the players carry on working as they have been, with spirit and attitude, then we can do a good job.

I came to this club to work as a team. If we need to improve certain things I'm sure there will be backing. "

Friday, September 19, 2008

West Ham vs Newcastle - Predictions

With Newcastle in turmoil it seems a good time to meet them. However West Ham are again facing serious injury worries. It looks like Ashton and Bellamy will be missing up front and some reports suggest Zola will change things around at the back. There are rumours that Zola will drop Davenport and move Neill to the centre.

Lawro thinks that despite Newcastle's problems West Ham will be affected by their lack of fire power up front.

Lawro predicts a 1-1 draw

Sky aren't so worried about West Ham's attack - mainly because they are under the impression that Di Michele scored for West Ham last week (seriously do any of these pundits actually watch football at all).

Sky predicts a 3-1 win for West Ham

Setanta think that Damien Duff will return for Newcastle but that Martins will still be out.

Setanta predict a 3-2 win for West Ham

Ashton and Bellamy Injury Doubts

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has confirmed Dean Ashton's injury and raised doubts over Craig Bellamy's fitness. The good news is that Zola thinks Ashton could be fit by next weekend and Bellamy may even be ready for this Saturday.

"Dean unfortunately won't be available this week," said Zola.

"He will have to rest but I think he will be ready to start again next week. We will monitor his condition but at the moment he needs one week to recover.

"He already had a problem and the ankle got sore when we were training so we had to stop him.

"Craig Bellamy also has a problem. We don't know yet whether he is going to be available for Saturday."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ashton Out For a Month

Dean Ashton has suffered an ankle injury in Zola's first training session with West Ham. Ashton said of the injury,

"I was just showing the new manager what I do best - get injured"

OK, maybe he didn't. According to The Sun Ashton did say,

"Unfortunately I’ve picked up another injury.

I sprained my ankle in training on Monday and I’m looking at spending the next three to four weeks on the sidelines. I just went over on it. It happens to a lot of players.

It’s not too serious but it will take a few weeks to heal properly. I’m looking at about three weeks and then it’s the international break. Hopefully I’ll be back after that."

Selling Zamora to Fulham when you know both Bellamy and Ashton are likely to miss a lot of the season is already looking like a ridiculous move.

Curbs on Newcastle Radar

It seems that ex-West Ham manager Alan Curbishley is one of the favourites for the vacant Newcastle job. However, it is rumoured that after his dodgy relationship with the board at West Ham Curbs is less than keen to put himself in a similar position at Newcastle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

West Ham to Wear Bobby Moore Fund Logo?

There is an on-line petition to encourage West Ham to use the Booby Moore Fund logo on their shirts for the rest of the season. The campaign has already been noticed by The Daily Mail.

Someone has done a mock up of what it would look like here and it looks pretty good.

West Ham News

Ex-West Ham full back Stuart Pearce has told the BBC that West Ham are bold to appoint Zola manager,

"He's been a fantastic ambassador to this country, playing for Chelsea. I think everyone will wish him well. People speak very highly of him. Hopefully he'll be successful there. It's a fantastic club that he's involved in. I only spent two years there but I enjoyed every minute of my time at West Ham and time will tell whether he's successful."

The Daily Star claim that West Ham, Blackburn and Ipswich are all chasing 16-year-old Australian striker Joe Gibbs from Manly United.

Anyone know what is happening with Bellamy or Appiah?

Bellamy has dropped off PhysioRoom's radar - does this mean he is fit to play against Newcastle?

Appiah said he was considering offers from West Ham and Arsenal, Arsenal said they weren't interested, Appiah hasn't signed for West Ham.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Posts Today

There are no West Ham posts today because I've been busy all day at a Google conference at Wembley Stadium.

I was hoping to shoot some video, particularly of the pitch and the Bobby Moore statue, but so far I've been thwarted by some over zealous security guards. After checking a number of locked doors I managed to finally find a door that wasn't locked and gave me access to the stands overlooking the pitch. Unfortunately as soon as I got my camera out I was pounced on by two security guards.

A different guard wouldn't let me out to video the Bobby Moore statue, despite my pleading that he was my boyhood hero etc. etc. So I went outside and up the ramped walkways and got up to the statue that way. Only for the self same guard to spot me and come running out to thwart me in my tracks again.

Oh well, at least I've been able to sit in the Bobby Moore room all day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Clarke Joins West Ham

Steve Clarke has been appointed first team coach at West Ham.

Scott Duxbury said of the appointment,

"We are very pleased to welcome Steve Clarke to the club. Steve is rightly regarded as one of the top coaches in Europe and his experience and knowledge will be a huge asset to us. He recognises what we are trying to achieve at West Ham United and wants to be a part of that. We have worked very hard to bring him on board and are confident we now have the perfect coaching team."

Chelsea were asking for £5 million compensation for Steve Clarke but it is believed they have settled for a lot less.

Cole Not Licking Zola's Arse

Gianfranco Zola takes charge at West Ham today. Ironically, based on Saturday's game, the attack minded Zola will need to pay some attention to the West Ham defence.

Carlton Cole, however, is very excited at Zola's arrival,

"He wants to put his style of play and all of his experiences into how we play and these are exciting times for West Ham. I've got so much respect for him. I'm not licking his bum, I'm just saying everyone knows he's a model pro.

I don't see his lack of managerial experience as a risk, he's been through all levels of football and I think he'll do a great job here.
" (presumably Cole only licks the arses of those who doesn't respect)

One man who won't be joining West Ham today is Steve Clarke. Even Fat Frank Lampard thinks that Chelsea are mugs for treating one of their most loyal servants in this way,

"He has been an important member of the back-room staff for what we've done over the last few years. But if he feels he wants to go and do something different - I know he has intentions to be a manager in his own right - you can only wish him all the best."

Another Court Case for West Ham?

According to The Guardian West Ham are prepared to take Chelsea to court for the services of Steve Clarke. However The Guardian don't go so far as to say what West Ham would actually take Chelsea to court for.

The paper says that Jose Mourinho was the one who told Zola to get Clarke. Unfortunately Chelsea are holding out for £5 million for one of their longest serving employees with only two years left on his contract.

Not for nothing are Chelseas the most hated team in football.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

The News of the World say Chelsea are demanding £4.8 million in compensation for Steve Clarke. A friend of Clarke's say they are treating him with utter contempt'.

The Guardian quote Gianfranco Zola as saying the West Ham job is a 'risk' for him but that he feels he is capable of doing the job. He says he wants respect from the players but will get nasty if he has to,

"Trust me, to have authority or respect from players you don't have to shout all the time as long as you prove that what you're doing is for the goodness of the team. I'm sure they'll understand you and respect you. If it is going to be necessary for me to become a little bit nasty then I will become nasty, it's not a problem for me."

The Guardian also report the rumours yesterday that Dubai Investment Capital have made preliminary enquiries about buying West Ham.

The People report that Julian Dicks would be happy to return to West Ham under Zola. He says that he and Di Canio both have passion and you need somebody who 'cares' for the club.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

West Brom 3 West Ham 2

What happens when you sell half your defence? Inevitably you leak goals.

Before this game West Brom had managed just one goal this season. Today James Morrison, Roman Bednar and Chris Brunt all managed to get the best of a poor West Ham defence.

Even worse for West Ham Dean Ashton picked up his usual injury and was forced off after only 17 minutes. Di Michele came on for Ashton and looked lively. He played a big part in Noble's goal, meeting a Davenport cross with his head. Carson kept the shot out but Noble tapped in the rebound to equalise after an early West Brom goal.

In the 36th minute West Ham then took the lead when Neill converted a corner. The lead didn't last long however as almost straight from the restart Green was deemed to have brought down a West Brom player in the box. Jason Roberts then knocked home the penalty.

West Ham held on for most of the the second half but with five minutes remaining Brunt got the winner for the home side.

West Ham in Takeover Bid

According to The Mirror West Ham have been sounded out by Dubai Investment Capital about a possible buy out.

Dubai Investment Capital, the private equity fund of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are, according to The Mirror, desperate to own a Premier League club. The Mirror claims their first target is Liverpool but that they have also been talking to West Ham.

Curbishley Speaks

Alan Curbishley has explained the events leading up to his resignation. He says that after the sale of Ferdinad he was promised there would be no more players sold. He then told the players this, as they were becoming worried and also the press after the Macclesfield game. When the board went ahead and sold McCartney it kind of made Curbishley's position untenable.

"I went to a meeting on September 1 — the last day of the transfer window. It was a continuation of a conversation which began the previous day with Gianluca Nani and Scott Duxbury.

On the Sunday I told them we must keep McCartney and if that meant no players coming in then I was happy to stick with the squad I had.

But when I arrived at 1pm I discovered that George was already at Sunderland having a medical. I told them that we needed to get a defender in because having sold half of my first choice back four — Anton and McCartney — we needed cover.

Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira was mentioned and I agreed on a move for him as he is a versatile player and that’s what we needed.

Both Di Michele and Ilunga were mentioned to me. However, I told Nani and Duxbury that I had never seen either player play. And for that reason I couldn’t comment on them. And I stressed again the necessity of getting a defender in.

They went ahead and signed Di Michele and Ilunga and had I stayed on, then I would not have known them on the training ground.

Walter Lopez — who was also signed on loan — had been on trial with us for nine days but, along with the coaching staff, we opted not to take him and he was sent back. Then, mysteriously, he’s been signed for a year as well.

It’s important to me that I make it very clear I had nothing to do with those players. I hope they are good players and help West Ham but I want people to know they were signed without my input or permission and that’s unacceptable.

When Ferdinand was sold to Sunderland, Scott Duxbury told me that he was the last player out.

The other players were becoming a bit anxious at what was going on and I reassured them by telling them what I had been told. Then, on the Tuesday ahead of the Carling Cup game with Macclesfield, I said the same thing publicly in my Press conference.

Again the subject of selling players was raised after the Blackburn game at home and once more I stated that no one else would be sold. Then, of course, the following Monday McCartney was sold and I’d been completely undermined making my position untenable.

Friday, September 12, 2008

West Brom vs West Ham - The Predictions

With all the talk of Zola everybody seems to have forgotten about Bellamy. West Ham had to persuade Wales quite vigorously not to pick Bellamy for last week's internationals. I had assumed then that Bellamy was close to fitness. However no one seems to be suggesting he will be in the West Ham squad this week. West Ham could however have three debutants tomorrow. Walter Lopez, David Di Michele and Herita Ilunga are all fit and available for selection.

Lawro is fine form once again predicting a West Ham win because Zola's "impact in the dressing room in his first game in charge will be immense." It's a shame he doesn't take charge of the first team until Monday then Mr Lawrenson.

Lawro predicts a 1-2 win for West Ham

Sky are aware that Zola doesn't take charge until Monday but realise he could still have a big impact on the game even if he is only watching from the stands. "The Baggies now know they will be facing a side full of players desperate to impress Zola and avoid being culled by the new regime." Sky also note that West Brom "have lost six of their last seven top flight fixtures and have gone 16 Premier League games without a win."

Sky predict a 0-1 win for West Ham

Setanta note that West Ham have a good record against The Baggies winning the last three Premier League encounters, including two trips to The Hawthorns. However Setanta are also under the illusion that Zola is in charge. They think Zola won't make any changes to Curbishley's last eleven. No, he won't becasue he isn't in charge.

Anyway, even if you don't know much about football, West Ham's brilliant start to the season and West Brom's awful start should make this one fairly easy to predict. Nope, not a bit of it ...

Setanta predict a 0-0 draw

Chelsea Refuse Clarke Resignation

Chelsea have refused to accept the resignation of assistant coach Steve Clarke and declined to give permission for West Ham United to talk to him. So despite Clarke being sidelined under Scolari Chelsea are refusing to let one of their longest and most dedicated employees move elsewhere.

How gracious of them. Almost 15 years service to the club as both a player and as a coach and this is how they repay him - undermine his position and refuse to let him get another job. It's hard to understand why Chelsea are the most hated team in football.

West Ham Sponsors Bankrupt

West Ham shirt sponsors XL have gone into administration. The club's owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's Icelandic bank Landsbanki had invested heavily in XL, so it looks like West Ham could lose twice over.

Zola Will Have Money

Scott Duxbury has claimed that Zola will be given the chance to build a team, which presumably means the club are prepared to let him buy players.

"It's about building a team around him and that's what we will do. So it won't be the cheap option because we will be building this team around him to move the football club forward. The style of football and what we can achieve with Gianfranco is going to be superb."

Meanwhile Zola continues to promise entertaining football,

"My first target will be to make it as enjoyable as possible for the players and once that happens I'm sure their performances will be better.

"Then the crowd will get the best of them. That is my philosophy. This club is ambitious and I am too. I want this team to get better and one day get into the Champions League. And it will be quicker than you think because once the players realise what I want they will feel the freedom."

And Then Steve Clarke

The Times are reporting that Steve Clarke has quit as Chelsea’s assistant first-team coach. He is now expected to take up a similar position, working with Gianfranco Zola, at West Ham.

The Times says Clarke "has agreed a three-year contract at Upton Park and his appointment will be announced in the next few days, once the club have agreed a severance package with Chelsea."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Appiah Next

Stephen Appiah said yesterday,

"I'm moving to London, I have two offers from Arsenal and West Ham and I will choose the better offer."

Today Arsene Wenger has categorically denied that Arsenal are interested in signing Stephen Appiah.

I guess that leaves West Ham.

Zola is West Ham Manager - Official

West Ham held a press conference this afternoon (4.30 pm) in which they unveiled Gianfranco Zola as the new West Ham manager.

First off Scott Duxbury welcomed Zola to the club,

"The board is very pleased that Gianfranco Zola has joined us. He was the board's unanimous choice. He has signed a three year contract."

Zola then introduced himself and answered questions from the media,

"Im very delighted. This is a great honour for me. It is a club with tradition. This is a great club. I couldn't say 'no'. This is a great opportunity. I'm going to do my best.

I'm not the most experienced manager around but I have been in football many years. I trust my knowledge of the game.

My first duty is to develop the players and develop the team. I'm going to play with ten defenders ... no! ... my philosophy is to play offensive football. We have to make it enjoyable. The idea will be to play offensive football.

I will being in a fitness coach, Antonio Pintus, who has worked with Chelsea, Juventus and Monaco and I will start working with Kevin Keen."

West Ham Press Confernece Called

West Ham are holding a press conference at 4.30 pm today.

I wonder what that can be about?

Steve Clarke the New No.2 at West Ham?

Chelsea No.2 Steve Clarke is being widely tipped to be West Ham's assistant manager.

Kia Joorabchian, who worryingly seems to have become West Ham's unofficial spokesperson recently, has revealed that Steve Clarke is Zola's preferred choice as assistant.

'He is more defensively-minded than Gianfranco so he brings good balance. I think that is what he is going for,' he told Sky Sports News.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Zola to Sign Three Year Contract

Gianfrance Zola has agreed to sign a three year contract to become the new West Ham manager. Zola is due to fly to the UK tomorrow to put pen to paper on a deal that will see Zola unveiled as manager before the weekend.

A club source told the BBC,

"Gianfranco was our first choice. We were very comfortable with the three options we had - Zola, Donadoni and Collins - but Gianfranco came out on top.

His English is very good and he can talk about football with English players and inspire them. He has a record of developing young footballers, which is very important to us, and was obviously a world-class player.

Experienced players like to have a manager they can respect as a footballer.

Etherington Death Threats

The Daily Mail claims West Ham have paid off £300,000 of Matthew Etherington's gambling debts because he has been receiving death threats. The paper says a 'source' told them,

"Matthew has been a very worried young man. The club decided they had no choice but to help. They know how much courage it took him to come to them. It is not a conversation you want to have with your club."

A West Ham spokesman said they had given the player "full support" and added: "We are working to support him through it. Matthew knows he needs professional help and accepts it is a priority in his life."

Zola Appoints Himself West Ham Manager

Gianfranco Zola, speaking to The Daily Mail, has more or less confirmed himself as the new West Ham manager and has promised exciting football.

This is an opportunity in the Premier League and an opportunity I didn’t expect, but it’s an opportunity I can’t turn down,’ he said. ‘The hardest thing was to say goodbye to those players in the dressing room. Everything has to be agreed with the federation, but I am confident that it will be resolved when I return to Italy. There are still talks, but I am sure they will go well.

I only know one way to play: on the floor, attacking football, the way things should be done.

I want to excite people, that is why we play, isn’t it? This is a new era, a new chapter for me. I was an offensive player, who only knew one way to play. That is how my teams will always play.

I know there is a rivalry between Chelsea and West Ham, but that is not a problem. My playing career is in my past.

I think that more or less confirms things.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

West Ham Reserves Friendly

West Ham reserves beat Norwich 4-0 in a behind-closed-doors game last night. This was the reserves final friendly before their season starts on Monday against Chelsea.

West Ham won the game with two goals from Jack Jeffery, a goal from Sears and one from Zavon Hines. James Tomkins also featured in the match and, if he comes through Monday's game OK, may be available for first team selection a week Saturday.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Zola Gets the Job

Kia Joorabchian has told Sky Sports that West Ham will make an announcement on Wednesday or Thursday concerning the new West Ham manager,

"They [West Ham] are moving quite fast because they are sensitive to the fact that they want to get someone in. Within 48 to 72 hours you'll probably get some news coming out of them."

However most of tomorrow's newspapers seem to think they don't have to wait until the announcement and claim West Ham have appointed Gianfranco Zola.

So it seems West Ham are set to replace an English manager with huge experience in the English Premier League with an Italian with no experience of club management. I guess only time will tell how risky a gamble that will be.

It certainly seems that West Ham were not able to tempt Bilic or Roberto Mancini and I can't help wondering if that was because the board were unwilling to tempt them with a sizeable transfer kitty. There have also been rumours that Nani has been keen on Zola as he sees him as someone who will not threaten his position at the club.

One thing that does seem certain is that Zola is not the fans' preferred choice. A survey by Kumb of West Ham fans had Zola in last place out of the candidates for the West Ham job with just one per cent of the votes.

Laudrup Out of the Running

Michael Laudrup seems to be out of the running for the West Ham manager's position. Spartak Moscow claim that Laudrup is about to become their manager,

"The contract hasn't been signed yet but I think this will take place on Tuesday or Wednesday," says Spartak executive director Valery Karpin.

Laudrup himself seems to be keeping his options open, 

"I cannot say that everything is settled.  The final decision I will make in the next few days. But the chances are quite high though I prefer to wait till all matters are settled.

The first problem is football itself. It is important to understand what the team have and want."

That last sentence suggests that West Ham have no chance of signing Laudrup unless they promise to give him a hefty transfer kitty. Judging by the noises coming out of West Ham that sounds unlikely.

Bilic Says No to West Ham

Slaven Bilic appears to have ruled himself out of the West Ham job, after the director of the Croatian FA claimed the English were using dirty tricks ahead of this week's international.

Bilic said,

"West Ham is my club, I have feelings for them but I won't go. And I won't go to Newcastle.

"My answer is clear. No, I wouldn't go as things stand. I had many offers in the period between our win at Wembley last November until I signed a new deal in May.

"I decided to stay. Whether that's good for me only God knows."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Zola and Bilic Are West Ham Favourites

According to The Independent West Ham are considering allowing Bilic to continue coaching Croatia on a part-time basis. They say that Nani has fears that he will be forced out of the club by Bilic if he is appointed.

The Mail on the other hand say that Zola is the favourite for the West Ham job. The paper says he had a second interview in Rome Sunday and that club officials are set to recommend him to the board today. The Mail also say that Nani and Duxbury are interviewing Michael Laudrup today - which kind of pisses al over their own story. Unless they think Nani and Duxbury are just interviewing Laudrup for a laugh.

Zola & Donadoni Impress

West Ham director Mike Lee has been talking to BBC 5 Live and revealed that Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Donadoni "really shone" in their interviews for the manager's position. He also revealed that West Ham plan to talk to Michael Laudrup and Slaven Bilic this week.

More worryingly Lee also seemed to hint very heavily that the new manager won't have much money to spend. Lee repeated the board's recent mantra that West Ham have a very strong squad that doesn't need strengthening. Never mind the fact that half that squad are crocks.

Bilic the Last to be Interviewed

The Times say that Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani have been in discussion with Slaven Bilic’s camp to meet the Croatia manager in the next 48 hours and before Croatia's game against England. The paper claim he will be the last of the seven short-listed candidates to be interviewed.

Roberto Donadoni and John Collins were interviewed on Friday, followed by Gianfranco Zola yesterday, while face-to-face soundings with Gerard Houllier, Roberto Mancini and Michael Laudrup will be completed tomorrow. The Times say that Bilic approached West Ham last month through an intermediary to tell them he was interested in becoming the next manager.

The Independent claim that Zola and Donadoni have both impressed the West Ham board. The paper says that West Ham have now whittled down the short-list to Zola, Donadoni and Bilic.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Olsen Added to the West Ham Short-List

The Guardian say West Ham have a short-list of seven: Bilic, Donadoni, Roberto Mancini, Morten Olsen, Gianfranco Zola, Gérard Houllier and John Collins.

The Daily Express say that former Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini, is due to fly in for an interview with West Ham today.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Donadoni and Collins Interviewed

According to many sources Roberto Donadoni and John Collins were interviewed for the West Ham manager's position today.

However a number of newspapers are reporting that Bilic is still a favourite for the job but West Ham will have to wait until after the Croatia game on Wednesday to speak with Slaven.

West Ham Sign Walter Lopez

West Ham have signed Uruguay left-back Walter Lopez on a one-year contract. The 22 year old was a free agent after leaving River Plate so is able to sign outside the transfer window.

Lopez has already played in a practice game with West Ham and did enough to secure a year's contract. West Ham caretaker manager Kevin Keen said,

"Walter is a very attacking full-back who can get forward. Like David Di Michele, he is another West Ham-type player who will hopefully show everyone at the club what he can do."

Apparently Lopez like to get forward and can also play on the left of midfield.

Mancini Emerging As Favourite

The odds for Roberto Mancini becoming the next West Ham manager have been slashed by all the bookies with at least one now refusing to take bets.

Is this because the bookies are in the know or because Mancini has emerged as the fans' favourite (based on a few polls I've seen on West Ham boards) and they have all been slapping their money on Mancini?


Since lunchtime the money seems to have been piling on Donadoni. Bet 365 have slashed his odds from 20/1 to odds on. 

West Ham Manager Latest

Speaking to Croatian sports daily Sportske Novosti, Bilic says he wants to see out his contract with Croatia,

"I've always said West Ham will be my choice when I return to England - however, my contract with the Croatian FA expires in 2010 and I am intending to lead Croatia in this period."

The Mail say that the Croatian FA are confident that Bilic will stay with Croatia. The Independent however say that Bilic is interested in the job but that West Ham will have to wait until after the Croatia vs England game next Wednesday.

According to The Mirror Zola has told West Ham he would accept the job.

The Star make fools of themselves by saying Alan Pardew is in the frame for the West Ham job. They also claim he bought Darren Bent for £2 million (honestly they live in a completely different world from the rest of us).

Various reports suggest that John Collins and Michael Laudrup are also on West Ham's short-list (see previous post). The Mail say ex-Udinese boss Serse Cosmi is also on the list.

The Express say West Ham may have to pay Curbishley £2 million in compensation.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

West Ham Manager Short List

Kumb claim West Ham met today to draw up a shortlist of six possible managers. They claim that five of the six are:

Slaven Bilic, Gianfranco Zola, Gerard Houllier, Roberto Donadoni and Roberto Mancini. Kumb say the sixth name is being kept confidential.

No, Your Lying George!

The West Ham board has reacted to George McCartney's claim that the board lied about him handing in a written transfer request by saying that it is McCartney himself who is lying.

In a post on the official site West Ham claim that McCartney handed in a written request on Monday 1st September. They even go as far as printing what they say is a quote from the request, "due to private, family reasons I wish to accept the offer to move back to Sunderland AFC".

West Ham Contradict Curbs - McCartney Doesn't

West Ham vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson has told the BBC that the club reject Alan Curbishley's plans that their transfer decisions over the last two weeks represented a 'breach of trust and confidence'. Fridgeirsson said that,

"Alan agreed with the plans, but was then reluctant to reach all the difficult decisions about the squad."

Unfortunately for West Ham George McCartney has also been talking to the BBC and has exposed the board's lies to the fans,

"I have seen on the West Ham website I handed in a written transfer request. I never did anything of the sort. Probably the board at West Ham are trying to cover their tracks.

"I did propose that for family reasons I would like to move back North. But the manager said 'no' I wasn't leaving and just to concentrate on West Ham.

"I was happy to stay. That was on the Friday and I played my part in the Blackburn game on the Saturday. The thought of leaving was finished as far as I was concerned but then something changed. I got on an indication on Sunday that I could be on my way.

"These are strange times at West Ham and no-one really knows what is going on at boardroom level. They have not been behind Alan Curbishley since the start of the season. It was a difficult time for him - they did not trust him with any money to spend.

"I cannot understand how a manager can be under so much pressure. He saved us from relegation and we finished 10th last year. This season has been the club's best start for years.

"I loved my time under Alan Curbishley, got on well with him and never had any problems with him. West Ham was the place to be and I loved my two years there."

Pierpaolo Bisoli for West Ham Job?

The Times printed this back in May,

"Gianluca Nani, the club's Italian technical director, has earmarked Pierpaolo Bisoli as a potential future manager of West Ham. Bisoli came to prominence for taking Foligno, a little-known team, into the play-offs for promotion to Serie B, the Italian second tier."

Bisoli worked as assistant coach at Fiorentina during the 2004–05 season. He then became head coach of Serie C2 team Prato, where he worked for two seasons. Since 2007 he has been head coach of newly-promoted Serie C1 side Foligno.

No One Wants West Ham Job

According to The Sun Harry Redknapp does not want the West Ham job because he does not want to work for a board that will make player decisions above his head,

"Players are bought and sold without the manager’s consent. How can you do the job like that?"

Slaven Bilic seems to be the favourite for the West Ham job but on Monday said

“I signed a new contract to coach Croatia and that's all I can say. I will continue my job as national team coach until the end of World Cup 2010.”

Now there actually is a job at West Ham he may well change his mind, although The Times think he will stay as manager of Croatia.

Paolo Di Canio has recently acquired his coaching badges and over the summer spoke of his dream to manage West Ham one day. I have a feeling however that the board will want someone with more managerial experience.

There is another name being linked with the West Ham job. However I hope if I don't say his name he will go away (Fat S#m). Hopefully the board will realise that his appointment would be the final straw of a very bad summer for West Ham fans.

Curbs To Have One More Battle with Board

It appears that Alan Curbishley may be due some hefty compensation from West Ham. It has been apparent for a while that the board at West Ham were desperate for Alan Curbishley to quit so that they wouldn't have to pay him any severance. So, when Alan Curbishley quit, the board were only too happy to accept, delighted in the thought that Curbs would miss out on his big pay off.

However, according to The Daily Mail, Alan Curbishley had a clause in his contract saying that he had the final say on who was signed or released. So since resigning Curbishley has been very clear in claiming that the sale of George McCartney without his permission was the reason he was forced to resign and, according to The Mail, he was with his lawyers yesterday afternoon to discuss what he clearly considers a breach of contract.

According to The Daily Mail the West Ham board are now arguing that Curbishley was present at the board meeting when it was agreed to sell McCartney and nodded his head in agreement. I wonder how that will appear on the minutes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It Was the Selling of George

Alan Curbishley, talking to Sky Sports, revealed that the selling of George McCartney behind his back was the final straw,

"It was the culmination of events over the weekend. The transfer of George McCartney, which I was vehemently against, with the injuries to other defenders, with the sale of Anton Ferdinand. It was that more than anything that got to me.

On Sunday morning I went into a meeting with Scott Duxbury to discuss perhaps bringing some loans in. I was told I wouldn't be in that position unless someone left the club. I said let's go home then because I don't want anyone to leave."

When the club brought in Gianlua Nani it was emphasised that the manager would still be in charge of the players he wanted to bring into the club and those he wanted to leave. This is clearly no longer the case. 

It would be interesting to know who now makes the decisions over which players to buy and sell. Is it Duxbury, Nani or BG?

And how attractive a postion will the West Ham manager's job be when candidates will know they will have little input into which players will play for the team?

Keen Takes Charge

Kevin Keen has been named as caretaker manager of West Ham following the departure of Alan Curbishley. The club says the process is already under way to draw up a shot-list of potential candidates for the West Ham manager's job.

One man who seems to have ruled himself out of the job is Slaven Bilic,

"I can't say anything about West Ham United."

"Now that the game with England is getting closer, they will write more about me coming there. I signed a new contract to coach Croatia and that's all I can say. I will continue my job as national team coach until end of World Cup 2010,"

Curbs Blames Board

Alan Curbishley has released a statement concerning his resignation in which he blames the board for taking decision about the squad without his agreement.

"I started my West Ham United career when I left school in 1974 and have remained a lifelong fan. I have been incredibly proud to manage such a great club and my decision to resign has been very tough.

"The selection of players is critical to the job of the manager and I had an agreement with the club that I alone would determine the composition of the squad. However, the club continued to make significant player decisions without involving me. In the end such a breach of trust and confidence meant that I had no option but to leave. Nevertheless, I wish the club and the players every success in the future."

Alan Curbishley Resigns

Alan Curbishley has resigned as manager of West Ham. Slaven Bilic is the early favourite to replace him.

West Ham issued the following statement:

"We can confirm that we have accepted Alan Curbishley's resignation as we feel it is in the best interests of both parties. We wish Alan all the success in the future. A short-list of candidates is being drawn up and an announcement will be made in due course about the new West Ham United manager."

As is becoming customary with West Ham official statements this is rather ungracious, with no thanks given for Curbishley's service to the club, particularly his help in helping the club avoid relegation just two seasons ago. It seems particular ungracious considering the board's manoeuvring over the last few months to force Curbs to resign.

Curbs and Neill Bust Up

The Independent today ran with a story about a dressing room row after the Blackburn game. The Independent quotes Curbishley as saying,

"It was a bit lively in the dressing room afterwards. We were a little frustrated that we got ourselves in a decent position, and it felt as if we helped Blackburn on their way back into it. We know we can play better."

The journalist obviously has picked up on some of the rumours on West Ham discussion boards that Lucas Neill had a go at Alan Curbishley's lack of leadership after the game and that there was a 'row' between Upson and Bellamy. In the current discussions over Curbishley's future at the club it is obvious which of the two rumours the papers are going to repeat.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

West Ham Turn Down £10m for Cole

The Times are reporting that West Ham turned down a £10 million offer for Carlton Cole from Sp~rs. However The Times say that West Ham were holding out for more than £12 million for Cole. 

West Ham After Curbs

Our friends at The Daily Mail are reporting that Alan Curbishley has 'indicated' that he would accept a severance package from West Ham if it was offered. The paper claims that Curbishley has told 'friends' that he was humiliated by the club over the sale of McCartney and that Curbishley believes he is just keeping the seat warm for Bilic.

The paper is in effect just printing rumours that have been floating around on West Ham boards all day and actually doesn't add much to the discussion. However the club have clearly not let Curbishley sign any of his targets in the summer transfer window and conceivably have stored up a large transfer kitty for a new manager to spend in January. 

If the board want rid of Curbishley it looks like they will have to spend part of that kitty on Curb's compensation.

West Ham Make Two Loan Signings

West Ham have announced the signings of David Di Michele and Herita Ilunga on year long loans. David Di Michele is a striker and Herita Ilunga is a left back. Di Michele arrives from Torino and Ilunga from Toulouse.

West Ham have also confirmed that they are still in discussions with Stephen Appiah. Appiah is a free agent so can move outside of the transfer window. Finally West Ham also announced a year long loan signing of Hungarian youth international striker, 17 year old Balint Bajner.

Cue grainy YouTube footage:

David Di Michele

Herita Ilunga (possibly not the right one)

West Ham Still io for Appiah

The Sun (and various other sources) say that West Ham still have a chance to sign Steven Appiah. Appiah is a free agent so can still move clubs. However one reason Appiah refused to move until after the transfer window seems to have been to raise his market value. Appiah will presumably now demand a very high wage, which could therefore rule West Ham out of any deal.

West Ham Official Excuses

West Ham have finally confirmed that George McCartney has left the club for a 'substantial fee'. The club say they had no choice but to sell McCartney after he handed in a written transfer request because his wife could not settle in the area.

This means that West Ham have taken in the region of £13-16 million in the last week in transfer fees with no concurrent outlay. It also means the club are left with no recognised left back.

Monday, September 01, 2008

West Ham Announcement Soon

Sunderland have confirmed that George McCartney has signed a five-year contract with the Black Cats for the usual 'undisclosed fee'.

West Ham are due to make an official announcement some time after midnight. Kumb are suggesting that Chelsea's Portuguese full-back Paulo Ferreira will probably have agreed some kind of deal with West Ham (possibly a loan).

Kumb also report that there are rumours that an announcement over the the Sheffield United arbitration case may also be forthcoming. If true I assume that means West Ham have been stung with a huge fine and there has been an agreement to keep it quiet until after the transfer window closed.

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