Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Q & A with West Ham CEO

The official West Ham website has an interview with West Ham Scott Duxbury.

Yesterday there were some raised eyebrows that West Ham failed to publish their annual accounts. Duxbury says this about the delay,

"With all the uncertainty surrounding the Sheffield United claim we have taken the opportunity to delay publication of our annual accounts until the end of March 2009."

On the prospect of the January transfer window Duxbury said,

"We have no intention of selling our best players, nor are we telling the manager to do so. Gianfranco Zola will rightly not comment on speculation but as he has said, he, Gianluca Nani and myself are working closely together and this month will be no different. It may be that some players are allowed to leave but no one will be going unless the manager thinks it is in the best interests of his team and it is right for the club."

Duxbury then goes on to say that all offers for any player will be considered individually. Saying the club had to take into consideration a player's age, his contract length, the player's desires and the sum offered.

This seems to leave him a lot of wiggle room to sell players. When asked if players have to be sold he said,

"No, players don't have to be sold but it has been clear since the arrival of Gianfranco that he is keen to have a smaller first-team squad based on quality over quantity."

Duxbury has continually said that Zola is keen to reduce the size of the squad. I have no insight's into Zola's wishes but I suspect the pressure to move players on comes from higher up the club hierarchy.

However Duxbury did say that,

"I have had several offers in excess of £12m in the past six months for one of our key players and have turned down every single approach. No one will be sold unless it is right for West Ham United."

On the current loan players,

"I should say that we have first option to sign our loan players on very good terms should we decide to do so next summer."

On potential spending in January,

"The owner will not be in a position to add funds this transfer window but regardless we believe January is not the best time to be making any significant investments."

Taking all this on face value it seems that West Ham do not want to sell any key players but will look to move on some of the squad players this January. If West Ham do receive good offers for key players the board and Zola will assess whether an offer is too good to turn down. West Ham won't be buying any players unless Zola can generate funds from sales.

West Ham Recall Tomkins

The BBC say that West Ham have recalled James Tomkins who was on loan to Derby. Sky claim that Tomkins was keen to stay at Derby and that the club were keen to keep him.

Sky go on to say that "Zola is keen to have as many bodies on board as possible heading into the New Year as he looks to maintain the club's top-flight status."

This seems to contradict the club's stated desire to reduce the size of the squad. Let's hope this isn't because of the imminent departure of any other West Ham defenders.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

West Ham Keen on Jimenez

According to his agent West Ham have failed in a bid to sign Inter midfielder Luis Jimenez.

The agent, Rocco Dozzini, says that the Serie A champions have decided not to sell Jimenez despite interest from West Ham, Sampdoria and Lecce.

"Everybody is asking about Jimenez. That is quite normal because we are talking about an excellent player, but he will stay at Inter because they have decided he will not be transferred.

“Luis belongs to Inter and there is absolutely no chance he will leave. West Ham, Sampdoria, Lecce call me every day.

Nantes after Faubert

Nantes manager Elie Baup has revealed an interest in signing West Ham midfielder Julien Faubert. Faubert has recently said he is open to a move back to France after being left out of Zola's first eleven.

Baup told French newspaper L'Equipe,

"We can improve in attack. There are names rumoured and clubs like Bordeaux and Nancy want to sell or loan players. Bordeaux's Gabriel Obertan, why not? There are Nancy's Marc-Antoine Fortune and Issiar Dia too. And why not Julien Faubert?"

West Ham Hand Trial to Pole

Sky Sports claim that West Ham have handed a trial to 17 year old Brescia midfielder Bartosz Salamon. Gianluca Nani knows Salamon from his time at Brescia. The midielder has already broken into the Brescia first team after joining the club from Lech Poznan in 2007. Sky say Zola will look at Salamon in training before deciding whether or not to pursue his interest in the midfielder.

The Sun say that Calum Davenport will be sold to Bolton for £1.5 million. Hopefully that is untrue. Davenport is worth far more than that and would be many fans first choice to partner Upson at the back.

Channel 4 claim that David di Michele will be returning to Turin. A rumour that Di Michele himself has been quick to deny,

"I have heard news regarding my return to Turin, but I am only thinking about doing well for West Ham," he said. "Anyway, it does not depend on me since I am on loan."

"Here in England I settled well and although I haven't been playing much recently I want to prove myself."

No Fire Sale at West Ham

According to today's Sun West Ham have turned down a £12 million offer for Craig Bellamy from Sp*rs. The Sun claim Harry Redknapp had a £6 million offer turned down last week and so returned with a new offer, which has also been rejected.

Robert Green says that West Ham won't be selling there top players,

"We've been assured as senior players that there won't be a fire sale from the chief executive," said the West Ham keeper.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Walker the First To Go?

Colchester United may make a January move for West Ham keeper Jimmy Walker. Walker is currently on loan at Colchester (one game left) and Colchester manager Lambert has said he would like to sign him.

"He is a brilliant goalkeeper and he has been a massive help to us since he's been at the club. His last game is on Saturday and we'll do our best to keep him."

"He is a top, top goalkeeper,
" Lambert said.

West Ham are desperate to cut the size of their squad so it is likely that Walker will be allowed to leave on the cheap.

Davenport Bust Up With Zola

According to The Daily Mail West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has said he will look to offload Calum Davenport in January. The paper claim Davenport reacted badly to being dropped today in favour of Collins.

The Mail include no direct quotes to back up their claim over Zola's comments.

The Mail also claim in today's paper that West Ham have turned down a £15 million bid from Man City for Bellamy and Parker.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

West Ham Goals

Cole's Goal
With the crowd still groaning after a complete swing and miss of the ball from five yards Cole then converts a far more difficult chance.

Tristan's Winning Goal

The Spaniard cushioned and deflected the ball perfectly in the opposite direction to Sorenson's dive. Pure genius (or just maybe perhaps pure fluke).

West Ham 2 Stoke 1

After an impressive win against Portsmouth the West Ham management decided to change a winning side and brought Faubert, Collins and Boa Morte into the starting eleven. Di Michele was also brought in for the suspended Bellamy.

Stoke took immediate advantage of West Ham's unfamiliar line up. From a corner Faye was left completely unmarked at the far post for the simplest of headers from 5 yards to give the visitors the lead.

After that the first half followed a familiar pattern, with West Ham looking reasonable in possession but creating very few chances.

In the second half Stoke attempted to implode. In the 50th minute Parker chipped a ball into the Stoke area. Cole managed to control the ball and then from 7 yards spin and shoot past Sorenson for the equaliser. Then before the restart Fuller had a little slap at his team mate Griffin and was duly sent off.

West Ham then controlled possession and pinned Stoke inside their own penalty area but never looked that threatening, even with the extra man. In the 76th minute Mullins was brought on for Parker and Tristan for Collison.

Then, just as it looked like West Ham had failed to capitalise on Fuller's rush of blood, and with two minutes left on the clock, Carlton Cole shot from 8 yards out and his shot deflected off Tristan. Sorensen was caught out by the deflection and the ball rebounded into the back of the net to give West Ham three vital points.

West Ham vs Stoke - Live Streaming

This link is currently working. Password 5000.

Live Footy have a SopCast stream of today's game.

FSICrew have a link to a 'browser' stream of the game.

Live commentary is on on BBC Radio Stoke 94.6FM, 1503MW and DAB (presumably not on the internet).

West Ham vs Stoke - The Predictions

Craig Bellamy is suspended for today's game but the pundits all still expect a West Ham win. Stoke are missing Andy Wilkinson who is also suspended.

Shock horror! Lawro actually predicts a win for West Ham this week. He says that West Ham's home record is awful but that Stoke's away form is even worse.
Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham win

Sky say that West Ham were impressive against Portsmouth and despite the loss of Bellamy should still win today.
Sky predict a 2-0 West Ham win

Setanta believe Bellamy will have a key role in today's match - which suggests they haven't quite recovered from their Christmas celebrations yet. In fact Setanta name Bellamy their 'Pivotal Player', saying "When he's hot, he's hot. Bellamy was sizzling against Pompey and a repeat performance could leave Stoke chasing shadows." Unfortunately when he's not playing he's not.
Setanta predict a 2-0 West Ham win

Saturday, December 27, 2008

West Ham Rumours

A lot has happened in the last few days, not least a West Ham win!

I've been out of contact with the British media for a few days so I didn't learn of the Portsmouth result until late this evening. I did manage a brief glimpse of the official West Ham website this morning which informed me (and still says) that Portsmouth beat West Ham 4-1.

I have therefore spent today travelling back to London in a really foul mood, believing we had been thrashed by a really poor Pompey side and were no doubt heading for relegation.

Instead I find we actually won the game and that we are now in 13th position. It's so good to be home.

Except it seems that Harry has been tapping up Craig Bellamy and that Sp#rs and Man City are set to hold a bidding war for the West Ham striker. Most of the newspapers seem to be suggesting that it is no longer a question of whether Bellamy will be sold but who he will be sold to.

It also seems that recent suggestions that Dean Ashton might make some sort of return in January are wide of the mark. Comments by Gianfranco Zola seem to hint that we won't see Ashton in action this season.

So all in all things seem to be back to normal.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Gossip

The Mail claim that Kieron Dyer could be on the West Ham bench for the the FA Cup third round tie at home to Barnsley on January 3rd.

Craig Bellamy is suspended for West Ham's game against Stoke on Sunday after picking up his fifth booking against Villa.

Birmingham have extended Nigel Quashie's loan deal from West Ham into a third and final month. The third month will take Quashie to the maximum 93-day emergency loan period that any player can remain at a club.

Most of the papers are also reporting today that Zola will leave West Ham if any of his top players are sold.

Happy Christmas everyone.
I'll be back on Friday.

Zola Warns Board Not to Sell

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has repeated that he does not expect to lose his best players in January.

"They are very good players and I'm not surprised that big teams want them," Zola said today.

"As far as I am concerned they are not for sale and I don't want to sell my best players. I want to try to improve the team if I can and that's the target for the January transfer window.

"As far as I'm concerned no, they won't be going. The club have told me I won't be selling those players. I would be very annoyed if we did. They have to give me a very good reason if they do that.

"The club have been very good to me and I don't think they want to make this team weaker. If we can't make it with this team then we might make changes. Everyone wants to make this project work. We want to strengthen the squad."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday Gossip

Matthew Upson has said he is happy at West Ham, which the newspapers are interpreting as Upson saying he is off in January.

"Speculation can be flattering and is part of what's happening at the club," said the West Ham striker. " There are rumours every player is for sale but the owners haven't clarified anything.

"It's a difficult period financially and people are aware but I'm happy playing here at the moment, I am enjoying my football."

Last week Nani insisted that Behrami was not for sale. The newspapers have interpreted this to mean he will be sold to Chelsea, Juventus or Roma.

West Ham legend Frank McAvennie says the club should by out of favour Celtic winger Aiden McGeady. McAvennie believes the Irish international has played his last game for the Hoops after his bust-up with boss Gordon Strachan last week and could do worse than moving to West Ham.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Zola to Try the Impossible

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola says that he will be working with Carlton Cole to improve his shooting,

"Bellamy is playing very well and Cole is playing well too. But he needs to be more focused on scoring goals. He knows that. From Monday on I'll be working on his finishing every single day until he's fed up with it. He has to score more goals because it can change performances so much."

According to Wikipedia statistics Carlton Cole scores a goal every 6.33 league games for West Ham. His statistics for Chelsea were about the same I think. In way of comparison, Marlon Harewood scored every 3.02 games. Clearly Cole has never been a goal scorer and never will be.

I hate criticising West Ham players but I think Zola does now need to consider that all that work on Cole might be a waste of time and that there is another option - leaving him out of the starting eleven.

West Ham Owners Blowing Bubbles

Martin Samuel has another great article in The Times today looking at ten years of mismanagement at West Ham and the over valuation of the club by the present owners.

Well worth a read!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

West Ham Sunday Gossip

The Mail claim Zola was told when he was appointed West Ham manager that there would be no money in January. West Ham will sell Bellamy and Ashton in January and Pazzini will be brought in.

The News of the World and The Daily Star both say that Man City want £7 million Craig Bellamy. The Sunday People claim that T*ttenham boss Harry Redknapp is also planning a January move for West Ham striker Craig Bellamy.

The Daily Mirror say that Juventus will swoop for West Ham's Valon Behrami.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Too Big a Squad & Great Fitness Coaches

Tomorrow West Ham could find themselves in the relegation zone but there is no need to worry.

On Monday Scott Duxbury will make a two point announcement:

1. Our squad is too big. The fact that Carlton Cole is our first choice striker and the quality sitting on our bench today demonstrates that point wonderfully.

2. Our new fitness coaches are working wonders. Unfortunately they think that games in the Premiership last 70 minutes..

West Ham 0 Villa 1

In the first half West Ham looked reasonable going forward and fragile at the back. Bellamy in particular looked lively up front and created a couple of decent chances for himself. His best chance came in the 12th minute when he got in behind the Villa defence and from a tight angle forced a save from Friedel from 7 yards.

The main danger for West Ham came from Scott Parker. Parker has run around in so many circles over the last few weeks that he now has no idea which way he is playing. As everyone knows Parker isn't allowed to pass the ball forward. Today with Parker unsure which way he was kicking this should have worked in West Ham's favour.

However in the 26th minute Parker spotted a Young run from deep and played a pinpoint pass to put Young clear, with just Green to beat. Young rounded Green but in doing so played himself wide of the goal. His shot across the goal then clipped the far post as it rolled wide.

Late in the half Behrami had a long range effort saved from about 30 yards and Villa almost scored on a counter attack. Throughout the half Lucas Neill put a lot of trust in the fact that his lightening pace over 50 yards would enable him to beat the slow Young on the wing. He therefore got forward as often as possible leaving Young free on the wing. Unfortunately with a few minutes to go in the half Neil, unbelievably, found he couldn't give Young a 20 yard head-start and Villa really should have gone into the break a goal up. Luckily Green saved Agbonlahor's weak shot.

Parker was replaced at half time by Mullins. This seemed to be a good move by Zola as West Ham went on to dominate the first half. In the 59th minute Cole should have got the opener when Neill crossed to the far post from the right wing. Cole from two yards just needed to keep his header down but, almost inevitably he headed over.

Just as inevitably in the 77th minute Milner shot from the edge of the West Ham box and his shot deflected off of Neil's leg, looped over Green, and nestled in the back of the net.

Fortune's always hiding.

West Ham vs Aston Villa - Live Streaming

LiveFooty have these live streams of today's game, SopCast, TVUPlayer, TVAnts.

West Ham Gossip are reporting that West Ham have turned down a £10 million offer for Valon Behrami. Behrami’s agent has confirmed that the player is staying at West Ham,

At this point, Juventus, Roma, Fiorentina, and whoever else is interested, you should just all resign your interest, and begin to look elsewhere.

This doesn't stop The Mail from saying that West Ham are skint and will probably accept a £7 million offer from Man City for Craig Bellamy.

Not so say The Daily Mirror. City in fact are preparing an £8m move for West Ham's England centre-back Matthew Upson.

West Ham being skint hasn't stopped Eggert Magnusson suing West Ham and Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson for £1.2 million in unpaid severance pay.

Friday, December 19, 2008

West Ham vs Aston Villa - The Predictions

Despite playing in a reserve match this week and scoring two goals the BBC say that Diego Tristan is not yet fit enough to start for West Ham. Villa will welcome back Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Gareth Barry, James Milner and Martin Laursen, who did not feature against Hamburg in midweek.

West Ham are on the joint longest current winless home Premier League sequence with Blackburn; having gained one point out of a possible 15 at home. West Ham have failed to score in three of the last four league games at The Boleyn.

Lawro says that Aston Villa look more dangerous away from home than at Villa Park. With James Milner and Ashley Young out wide, and Gabriel Agbonlahor playing through the middle, they break with pace and power and possess a great threat. Last week Lawro said that he can't see where West Ham's goals will come from. As is the way of the Lawro this week he has completely changed his mind and reckons West Ham will score two.
Lawro predicts a 2-2 draw (something we have done in 11 games).

Sky say West Ham have not beaten any of the top eight sides this season. Aston Villa however are on a five-game unbeaten run.
Sky predict a 1-2 loss for West Ham

Setanta say West Ham blocked 17 shots last week against Chelsea, more than any team in any other game this season. Setanta say that Villa have not won at Upton Park since 1996 but Martin O'Neill's side are riding high at fourth in the table.
Setanta predict a 1-2 loss for West Ham

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dyer Now Out With Flu

There had been some speculation this week about why Kieron Dyer didn't play for the reserves against Chelsea Reserves. Well it seem Dyer is now suffering from the flu.

West Ham assistant manager Steve Clarke said,

"He played his first game last week but had to come off at half-time because he was suffering from the flu. That was last Thursday, and today was his first day back at training - so where he was this time last week, he's now further back because he's missed so much training from being ill.

"I spoke to him today, and he's not so chipper because he's recovering from the flu and is a bit down. He's been out a long time, and I think any player who's been out a long time starts to feel a little bit down."

Collison Signs Five Year Deal

Jack Collison has signed a new five year contract with West Ham.

Collison said on his new deal,

"It has been a really good year for me, it is a nice Christmas present and a good way to end the year after making my debut for the senior team at Arsenal at the beginning of the year. I now want to claim a regular place in the starting eleven if I can and really push on now.

"I am delighted that the club wants me here for a long time. It gives you security and now it is sorted, I can just concentrate on my football. I have worked my way through from the youth team to the first and want to be a regular part of it all. The new manager has come in and given me the confidence to show what I can do and now I am aiming to make the most of all my opportunities on the pitch."

West Ham Sale Moves Closer

The Independent say that the sale of West Ham has been boosted now that the club has been advised that the compensation to be paid to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tevez affair is unlikely to be more than £10m.

The Independent say that Gudmundsson is expected to include a commitment to cover the cost of the Tevez case in any deal with potential buyers of the club.

West Ham and Sheffield Utd are due to meet an arbitration panel in March next year but The Independent says discussions are already under way on the amount of compensation and the clubs are moving towards an out-of-court settlement.

West Ham maintain that the true value of losses suffered by Sheffield Utd is somewhere between £5m and £10m. Not the £50 million being banded about by the northern club.

Neill Denies Pay Rise Claims

Lucas Neill has denied he has asked for more wages and says he wishes to remain at West Ham when his current contract finishes in 2008.

"Inside the dressing room you can take it straight from me that no one's thinking about leaving. I've had assurances from the manager that he wants me to stay.

"I can't speak from a financial or board point-of-view but from a player or coaching point-of-view, the squad needs to stay together.

When asked about accusations that he has threatened to leave on a free if the club didn't offer him more money Neill said,

"My reaction was to laugh it off. Obviously because it's clearly untrue, but for 40,000 West Ham fans there is a different reaction. The first one is 'how dare he?' and 'how greedy'.

"I know the situation with the club and the way things have gone. I love the club. I love the role that I have. I relish the challenge. It's just for me now being 31 in March, it's about being able to play as long as I can."

"There's been no talk of how long, how much. It's just been a case of me saying I want to finish my career at West Ham. When the time is right and when the time is right for the club, because it's not their priority at the moment, then we'll do it. (sign a new contract)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

West Ham for Sale - No Careful Owners

Court papers filed in Iceland state that Hansa, West Ham's holding company, want around £250m for the club, in effect confirming that club is for sale.

According to KUMB Gudmundsson is in the process of discussing a possible sale with a consortium of British businessmen, who are also in the process of negotiating a settlement fee with Sheffield Unite.

Deano Back and Then Off

Dean Ashton could be back in early January according to West Ham manager zola,

"Dean is in rehab and seeing his physio. He’s doing very well but I don’t know how long he will be out for,” Zola says.

Hopefully it’ll be the very beginning of the New year.

However according to newspaper reports Aston Villa, Spurs and Manchester City are all after West Ham's £10m-rated striker.

West Ham Reserves 4 Chelsea R 3

Diego Tristan scored twice for West Ham Reserves and Freddie Sears and Tom Harvey also each bagged a goal.

Tristan's first was a rasping 20 yard effort and his second a diving header. Sears scored form close range from a cross from Lopez and Harvey scored after a nice move involving Lopez, Sears and Tristan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spector Pushing For a Recall

Jonathan Spector says he needs one more reserve match then he will be fighting for a place in the first eleven,

"I am certainly happy to be back after being out for such an extended period of time. It was definitely nice to have that vote of confidence and I was just excited about playing more than anything else."

"I need at least one more reserve game before I feel fit enough to be in with the first team - but I will certainly be pushing myself to be back as soon as possible. I think the manager has only seen me in training up to now so it was nice to do that and show him a little of what I can do."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hurst Says Zola Lacks Experience

West Ham legend Geoff Hurst says that Gianfranco Zola lacks experience as a manager and worries if is equipped for relegation dogfight,
"I admire him as a fantastic player, one of the best, if not the best that we've had in the Premier League. But my overall view is that if you go in to the position of a manager in a major business or football club you have to have some experience," Hurst told The Guardian.

"Capello managed under-16s and under-19s in Italy. He took six years to do that, learning his trade. Now at the top end you have people like Harry Redknapp who is over 60 years of age when you're probably at your best.

"You need to have that experience in the game and for people to come from where Gianfranco has come from, managing the Italian under-21 side, it doesn't really equip him to be in a dogfight at the bottom end of the Premier League."

"We've got the January transfer window coming up and there's a big concern on whether we're going to sell our best players." "It's a hell of a prediction before Christmas but you're looking at five clubs [in the relegation battle] West Brom, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Stoke City and ourselves, any three from those five.

"I think Sunderland will get out of it, I think Spurs will get out of it and even though Manchester City are down there, I think they will get out of it. It's going to be a dogfight right to the end of the season, I don't think there's any question about that."

Chelsea vs West Ham - The Verdicts

Two weeks ago, when West Ham held Liverpool to a draw at Anfield, the newspaper reports hardly gave West Ham a look in as they bemoaned Liverpool's failures to wipe the floor with the minnows from London. This week however the press actually acknowledge that there were two teams on the pitch yesterday and most single out Scott Parker for special praise.

The Daily Mail say West Ham had "a much-deserved first-half lead" with " the ubiquitous Scott Parker dismantling almost every Chelsea attack before sparing Robert Green's blushes by clearing his colleague's misplaced punch off the line."

"West Ham were excellent, an impressive combination of determination and defiance and so much better than they were against Tottenham six days earlier. Green again made some crucial saves, Matthew Upson and Calum Davenport were terrific in defence and, as well as Parker, young Jack Collison shone in midfield."

The Daily Telegraph say that, "From back to front, Zola’s players were filled with fortitude. Robert Green made stunning saves from Lampard and Didier Drogba in particular. Matthew Upson and Calum Davenport dealt well with Chelsea’s aerial threat. Parker was magnificent in turning Zola's tactical instructions into reality, strangling the life out of Chelsea’s midfield. Alongside Parker, Mark Noble and Jack Collison ran their young bodies into the ground for the cause, giving hope for the present as well as the future.

In attack, in a real tale of the unexpected, Carlton Cole dragged Terry through an assault course of mind and body."

The Guardian were also impressed with Scott Parker who "was tough and effective."

The Independent says, "The heroes for Zola were his centre-back Matthew Upson, Scott Parker in midfield and Robert Green in goal. They could easily have collapsed after conceding the equaliser on 50 minutes but West Ham held it together. If Carlton Cole had kept his nerve with just Petr Cech to beat in injury time this would have been a historic, if slightly undeserved, victory."

The Times says that "for once their (West Ham's) big earners justified their pay packets. Scott Parker was outstanding, Bellamy used his pace to give John Terry a difficult afternoon and Lucas Neill was flawless."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chelsea 1 West Ham 1

The presence of Noble and Collinson in the West Ham side seemed to give West Ham a bit more guile going forward this week and Noble played an important part in the opening goal.

West Ham won a throw deep in Chelsea's half. The ball was thrown to Noble who did well to get to the byline and cross the ball back to Bellamy on the edge of the six yard box. Bellamy controlled the ball with his chest and fired the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal.

West Ham then defended well, forcing Chelsea into hopeful long shots and went into the break a goal to the good. Drogba came on for Chelsea in the second half and it only took the home side four minutes to equalise. Lampard chipped a ball onto Anelka who ran in between Upson and Davenport to fire in from 7 yards.

Both sides then had chances to win the game. In the 49th minute Cole had a very good chance from 7 yards but completely missed the ball. Two minutse later he received the ball on the edge of the area, turned Alex brilliantly and then shot just wide of the right hand post.

In the 90th minute Behrami won the ball on the half way line, beat a couple of Chelsea players and passed the ball to Cole running into the area. Coles' shot however was saved by the keeper. a point however was just enough to stop West Ham falling into the relegation positions.

Chelsea vs West Ham - Live Streaming

LiveFooty TV has links to SopCast, TVUPlayer and TVAnts streams.

FSi has links to Sopcast, TVAnts, Veetle, TVU Player streams.

BBC Radio 5 Live
has live radio commentary of the game.

West Ham Sunday Gossip

The News of the World and The Mail both say that Zola has told the West Ham board that he will quit if they go back on promises that they have made to him.

The People say that West Ham are actively trying to sell Dean Ashton in January.

Football Rumours has the best tinfoil on head theory of the day. They say West Ham have learnt their lessons of a few seasons ago when everyone knew they were cash rich because of new owners and therefore West Ham were forced to pay way over the odds to sign players. So, the theory goes, West Ham are using the 'credit crunch' to pretend they are skint and Zola actually has a large list of players he will be trying to buy.

So the collapse of the Icelandic economy was engineered by Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson so that West Ham could save a few million when buying a couple of football players.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

West Ham Saturday Gossip

The Independent say that Joe Kinnear wants to make West Ham's Matthew Upson his first signing at Newcastle United - but it will take over £6m to sign the defender (and a better club).

The Independent also say that Zola has plans to slash the West Ham squad from 34 players to 21 plus three goalkeepers. The Independent say favourites to go in the West Ham fire sale are, Julien Faubert, Luis Boa Morte, Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie, Daniel Gabbidon, Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Spector (who recently signed a new contract).

In The Times Zola says "I know I have to improve ... So many things have happened on and off the pitch, but I'm not going to complain."

The Telegraph says "Gianfranco Zola appears to be too nice to be West Ham manager."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chelsea vs West Ham - The Predictions

All the 'experts' are in agreement this week that West Ham are going to lose. With West Ham's current goal scoring record then it looks like the only way the side will get anything out of this game is by performing a similar job to the one at Anfield two weeks ago. So expect West Ham to be firmly camped in their own half on Sunday.

Bowyer is doubtful for West Ham. Matthew Etherington, Freddie Sears and Jack Collison are all named in the squad. For Chelsea Ricardo Carvalho and Juliano Belletti are unlikely to be risked against West Ham, while Didier Drogba could start.

Lawro really has nothing to say about either side this week apart from West Ham are having a torrid time and that Zola will probably have to sell his best players in January.
Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham loss

Sky say that West Ham have notched up just three goals in more than 13 hours of football and are therefore unlikely to score against the league's tightest defence.
Sky predicts a 2-0 West Ham loss

Setanta say West Ham are as finacially unstable as Woolworths. That's about all they have to say on the game as well. That and there all eyes will be on Zola on his return to Chelsea.
Setanta predict a 2-0 West ham loss

West Ham in for Hamsik

According to The Daily Mirror West Ham are keen on Napoli’s 21-year-old midfield sensation Marek Hamsik. The Mirror say West Ham's Director of Football Gianluca Nani has hailed him “the new Steven Gerrard”.

I think his characteristics really suit the English championship,” said Nani.

I got to know him at Brescia and I feel he is the strongest young midfielder around and he could become a great champion."

The Daily Mirror has spent all week trying to suggest that West Ham will have to sell their entire squad in January so this is a bit of a U-turn by the newspaper. They also claimed today, a mere 24 hours after Nani said West Ham were not interested in Pazzini, that West Ham were interested in him.

Curs Wants £3m Compo

Alan Curbishley is claiming £3 million from West Ham for constructive dismissal'. Curbishley believes he is entitled to the two years wages that remained on his £1.5 million-a-year contract.

Curbishley claims he was forced to resign as the club sold off his players in the summer without his agreement. West Ham claim Alan Curbishley was at meetings where the need to sell players was decided upon and claim they have the minutes to prove it.

Dyer & Spector Back in Action

Kieron Dyer and Jonathan Spector both played Thursday afternoon in a West Ham XI against a Major League Soccer select squad. Dyer played for an hour before being substituted (it was decided beforehand for him to play only for 60 minutes).

Freddie Sears scored twice in a game that the West Ham side won 3-2. Matthew Etherington, Walter Lopez, Jack Collison and Diego Tristan all featured for West Ham as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Behrami but no Pazzini please

West Ham's director of football Gianluca Nani says West Ham have no interest in Giampaolo Pazzini and will not be selling Behrami in January.

"These days there are many things coming from Italy that I get calls about," Nani told Violanews.

"The truth is that Pazzini does not interest us, he is absolutely a player that does not enter our plans."

"Behrami is a very important player for us and he is not for sale. The story is totally unfounded and Behrami, without a shadow of a doubt, will remain with West Ham.

"I will also say that that our intention is not just to bring Italian players to England

West Ham Transfer Rumours

The Daily Mirror has stepped up its campaign to sell all of West Ham's first team by January. Today the paper claims that Manchester City are interested in buying Craig Bellamy.

The Telegraph, not to be outdone, claims Manchester City are actually after Matthew Upson. They say Hughes will offer £10 million for the West Ham and England defender.

Elsewhere various papers are resurrecting the month old rumour that Celtic are keen on buying Bellamy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Neill Demands West Ham Pay Rise

According to The Times Lucas Neill has apparently asked West Ham for more than his present £70,000 a week wages to sign a new contract.

The Times say that West Ham will offer Neill no more than £30,000 a week and if he rejects the terms he will be allowed to leave on a free transfer next summer. Neill, who turned down the chance to play for Liverpool because West Ham offered higher wages, will presumably refuse any attempt to sell him in January and will hold out for the free transfer.

Pazzini says 'Come and get me!"

Giampaolo Pazzini has issued a come and get me plea to English Premier League clubs, whilst claiming that Zola and West Ham are interested in his services.

"The Premier League is a great league and any footballer in the world would love to play there," he said. "I know Zola very well and I am not surprised that he is interested in taking me to West Ham. My future is my responsibility and I am ready to leave Fiorentina if it is for a great club and a great project."

Pazzini is the third choice striker at Fiorentina behind Gilardinho and Mutu. His stats suggest a scoring record of around 1 in 3 starts but don't look so good when you include games when he has come off the bench.

West Ham to Sell Bellamy

According to today's Daily Mirror West Ham have put Craig Bellamy up for sale and want £6 million for the striker.

Hmm - a new five year contract for Carlton Cole whilst selling Bellamy.

The paper says the club would rather sell Bellamy and hold on to Green and Upson. This of course contradicts The Daily Mirror's own 'exclusive' of just a few days ago, which claimed Upson and Green were two of six players West Ham were going to sell in January.

Am I being naive or do you think these papers just make these stories up?

Redknapp in for Green and Upson

Our friends at The Daily Mail claim that Herry Redknapp will make a £16 million swoop for Robert Green and Matthew Upson in January. I'm just hoping that this is just another attempt by The Mail to torture West Ham fans.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Time to Panic

Gianfranco Zola says that West Ham will not panic over the team's inability to score goals. Carlton Cole has not scored since early October, while Craig Bellamy has managed one goal this season and has yet to score under Zola.

"We will try something, obviously," says Zola. "We will be working on the strikers' confidence. We have to put it right because that is what we need right now.

"We were conceding too many goals. Then we got to the point where we were not giving too many goals away but now we have to improve on our scoring. We are going to be working even harder than we have been doing. We won't panic, we have faith in ourselves.

The obvious solution for West Ham is to spend around £10 million of the money raised over the summer on a new striker. However it seems to me that the club's owners have already decided that they will gamble that the team can survive this season with the players we already have, minus two or three who will be sold in January.

In the short term Zola has to work with what he has. There are no obvious replacements for Cole and Bellamy. Di Michele and Sears have looked no more likely to score this season and Zola still obviously has concerns over Tristan's fitness. However it could well be time to gamble on Tristan.

It is in midfield that Zola really needs to change things around. One reason that West Ham have not been scoring is that the midfield are not creating chances for the forwards and Faubert and Behrami are not crossing the ball into the box. Behrami can't cross with his left and Faubert's confidence seems completely shot. The obvious solution then is to drop Faubert and move Behrami to the right, where he will be able to cross.

Which gives the team a problem on the left wing. For me Etherington, despite his inability to cross a ball is the obvious choice. Etherington is about the only West Ham player who actually runs with the ball and attacks defenders, rather than playing safe little square balls across midfield or balls back to the defence.

In central midfield Mullins and Parker can't play together. One of the two has to be dropped for a player who will occasionally try a through ball and will occasionally get in the box himself. Noble or Collison has to be brought in for either Parker or Mullins.

Finally, Bellamy has to stop taking corners. It is criminal that with Collins ability in the air we are not scoring from corners. We need someone who can beat the first defender with his corners.

Monday, December 08, 2008

West Ham 0 Sp#rs 2

Two embarrassingly poor sides were on show tonight. West Ham despite dominating much of the early possession in each half just look impotent going forward.

I think Zola has introduced some sort of fine system for players putting the ball in the opposition's penalty area. It must be about ten games now since a West Ham player has crossed a ball into the box. Surely the only reason they can be scared of crossing is because they get fined if they do it.

Against Gomez, a keeper who is awful with crosses and whose confidence is shot, and with Cole, a player who has some presence in the air you would have thought West Ham would be peppering the Sp#rs box with crosses. But West Ham just played everything through the middle.

Even when West Ham got freekicks in the Sp#rs' half Parker, instead of putting the ball in the box passed the ball back to West Ham's own half and back to the West Ham defence. Why, why, why?

Sp#rs on the otherhand, even though they were up against Collins and Upson, who are good in the air, seemed to realise that you don't get goals without putting the ball in the box. So despite having about a third as much possession as West Ham, when they did get the ball they put it in the box and were therefore always the more likely to score. And guess what - they opened the scoring when Lennon crossed for Bent.

At least when Noble came on some of the West Ham corners and freekicks were actually crossed into the box and some actually managed to beat the first man. It was from a Noble corner that Di Michele might have snatched a draw but somehow Gomez and the Sp#rs defence managed to hold out and promptly went up the other end of the pitch and scored.

All in all a shocking performance from a team looking bereft of passion and ideas.

West Ham vs Sp#rs - Live Streaming

LiveFooty have two streams of today's game. A SopCast stream and a TVUPlayer stream.

has a number of streams of today's game.

BBC Radio Five live also has live coverage of the game.

West Ham vs Sp#rs - The predictions

Lee Bowyer is back in contention for West Ham. For the visitors, Luka Modric faces a late fitness test ahead of the game. Ledley King may also be back for Sp#rs and Jenas may also be in contention for a start.

Guess what, Lawro is still losing hair worrying about West Ham. Bless his little cotton socks he is no longer worried about West Ham's defence, over which a mere three weeks ago was giving him sleepless nights. Now he is worrying about West Ham's attack. He can't see where West Ham are going to get goals from, and then quickly predicts that West Ham will score today.

Lawro predicts a 1-2 West Ham loss

Sky are impressed with West Ham's three match unbeaten run. At the same time Sp~rs have lost two out of their last three games. However West Ham have won only one game in nine, whilst Spurs have won eight out of the last eleven.

Sky predict a 1-1 draw

Setanta note that West Ham have won none of their last four home matches and Zola’s side have scored just three goals in their last eight Premier League matches. So#rs on the other hand have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 Premier League away games and have won only one and lost four of their last seven Premier League away trips.

Setanta go for a 1-2 West Ham loss

Sunday, December 07, 2008

West Ham Sunday Gossip

The News of the World report that Luis Boa Morte is unhappy at not starting for West Ham,

"I can’t hide from the fact that I would like to play in more matches,” said the Hammers midfielder.

"I don’t understand why I’m not playing and although I’ve come on as a substitute, I’ve not really started. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to Portugal yet as I’ve not really had any discussions because I’ve not had permission from West Ham.

"But I won’t rule anything out that’s for sure

The People say Harry Redknapp is worried about the reception he will get at West Ham now he works for the enemy.

The News of the World say Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood is a £4million target for Stoke City.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

West Ham Gossip

The Daily Mirror believe that West Ham will face big problems if they sell their best players - OMG I'd always thought selling your best players was a recipe for success.

Sky Sports reports that West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola claims West Ham will not be selling 'the best players'. ignore all West Ham's financial problems and instead choose to live in a land populated by fairies and little pink ponies. They say West Ham will bid £10 million for Fiorentina striker Giampaolo Pazzini.

Former West Ham manager Alan Curbishley has thrown his hat into the ring for the Sunderland job.

The Independent ask Bobby Zamora about his 15 starts for Fulham and his one goal. "There are other parts of my game which have been good, which I've been pleased with, holding the ball up, putting a lot of work in on the defensive stuff," says Zamora.

West Ham Third

According to Opta West Ham have the third best defensive record in recent games, behind Liverpool and Man Utd. West Ham, who had previously gone 24 games without keeping a clean sheet have now not conceded in three games (or 273 minutes). If Sp#rs are goaless on Monday it will be the first time that West Ham have gone four games without conceding in the Premier League.

The problems for West Ham are now at the other end of the pitch. West Ham have failed to score more than one goal in a Premier League game since their win over Fulham over two months ago.

So despite West Ham's recent improvement in defence West Ham manager Zola has some way to go to match his predecessor in the job. Alan Curbishley won 37% of the games he was in charge of at West Ham.

Zola's win ratio is currently 27%.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Second Rate Club Keen on Ilunga

Zola has defended West Ham left back Herita Ilunga, who called 'West Ham' second tier on his personal website and Zola said he is keen to sign the player on a permanent deal,

"He is totally committed to what he is doing here and his answers were taken in the wrong way," said Zola.

"He's happy to be here and is looking to sign a contract with the club. He is a player I will try to sign."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ilunga Aiming Higher

Herita Ilunga has revealed that he wants to use West Ham as a springboard to another Premier League club.

"Without being pejorative, West Ham are a second-rate club. We cannot lie to ourselves, we are not Arsenal, Manchester United neither Chelsea. But West Ham have values and a history. They educated Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. People from the club know football.

"And once you have proven yourself within this club you can aim higher. But there is a top atmosphere, even if there are only few French-speaking players – [Julien] Faubert, [Valon] Behrami and the Portuguese [Luis] Boa Morte."

"I stay with West Ham or join another English club. I really want to continue this adventure in England.

West Ham and SBOBET

West Ham have finally signed up a new shirt deal with SBOBET.

Unfortunately the new sponsors are not rumoured to be involved in any far east betting scams. On a more optimistic note everyone is being very tight lipped over the money involved.

Lies, Liers & Damned Lies

The Daily Mirror were doing so well. Just this week they attacked Sheffield Utd for their double standards (West Ham and the Iain Hulme attempted murder) but now they've ruined it all.

The Daily Mirror today claim that West Ham will sell seven players in January. The Mirror says the seven to go will be:

Dean Ashton Nigel Quashie, Lee Bowyer, Luis Boa Morte, Calum Davenport, Danny Gabbidon and Jonathan Spector.

Where in lies the obvious flaw in The Mirror's story.

Who is going to buy a one legged Dean Ashton? How much for a spineless Danny Gabbidon?

Birmingham City took five months to decide on a one month loan deal for Nigel Quashie. Are we now to believe there are clubs queueing up to buy him.

Mind you I hear that Barcelona and Man Utd are keen on Boa Morte.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Green for England

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola says that Robert Green is ready for an England recall.

"I have told Robert that if he continues to perform the way he is, he will be back in the England squad," said Zola.

"The England manager Capello knows what is the right thing to do, and Green knows he must continue to perform every week like he is now, and then he will be rewarded. I am delighted with Robert. He is looking very comfortable now. He was getting some stick but now he is getting the rewards he deserves.

He is working very hard during the week and I am very pleased with him."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Liverpool vs West Ham - The Reactions

The newspapers are unanimous this morning that West Ham were awesome in defence last night and some of the papers even feel West Ham were unlucky not to sneak all three points.

For The Express "Upson and Collins stood firm like oak trees." If "Craig Bellamy’s first-half blockbuster not rattled the woodwork, or Carlton Cole’s header not gone into the side netting, West Ham could even have celebrated a landmark victory."

Even The Daily Mail say "West Ham deserve some credit for securing a share of the points." Although you can almost hear The Mail journalist chewing his arm off as he forces himself to say it.

The Mirror praise "a resolute West Ham". In fact The Mirror say West Ham had "a comfortable stroll to a point that could even have been converted to all three, given their energy late in the game."

The Telegraph were impressed by the awesome Green, "West Ham’s outstanding keeper certainly ensured that Liverpool’s step on to the Premier League summit was a hugely painful affair." There is also praise for Upson, Collins and Bellamy, "James Collins and Matthew Upson made headers, blocks and tackles, as Craig Bellamy buzzed around like an angry bee."

The Guardian were also impressed with the West Ham keeper, saying it was an "inspired performance in the West Ham goal from Robert Green." In the end The Guardian feel West Ham were unlucky not to take all three points, "only two errant offside decisions against Carlton Cole late on, plus a wild miss from the substitute Luis Boa Morte, prevented Zola's plan of containment and counter from working to perfection."

The Independent were impressed by "giant performances from Robert Green and Matthew Upson."

The Times say that "if Luis Boa Morte had held his nerve at the death, they (West Ham) might even have won."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Liverpool 0 Some Other Team 0

Liverpool failed to beat some team tonight (whose name must have been mentioned on Setanta when I went to the bog because I didn't catch it).

It was a shame they weren't mentioned because their striker Craig Bellamy came the nearest to scoring in the first half. He took on the Liverpool defence on his own and the defenders continued to back away from him so he chanced his arm from 25 yards. The ball clipped the inside of the post and then ran across the box.

Obviously it looked better than it actually was because according to the Liverpool Setanta pundits the best striker on the pitch in the first half was Keane. Apparently his inability to touch the ball in the first half was a masterful demonstration of positioning. It is something that Bellamy chap should have a look at, as he just ran around with the ball beating the opposition at will and nearly winning the game for his team.

Early in the second half Bellamy played Cole clean through. Cole was given off-side. The decision was clearly wrong, but we didn't get a chance to check it on the replay because Setanata had spotted a Liverpool substitute was wearing a funny hat. Hilarious.

The unnamed team also seemed to have a good goalkeeper. He kept them in the game in the 55th minute when Benayoun fired a rocket from 8 yards and Green did superbly to tip the ball other.

In the end the unnamed team had by far the better chances. Late on Cole was about 8 yards onside but ran clear only for the Liverpudlian running the line to give him offside again. Then with two minutes left Boa Morte had a good chance from 8 yards but weakly fired wide.

However according to Setanta we should be happy because Liverpool are top of the league.

Liverpool vs West Ham - Live Streaming

Today's game is live on Setanta. There is also live radio commentary on BBC 5 Live.

LiveFooty only has one Sopcast link at the moment.

Dyer Eyes Christmas Return

Before playing in a behind doors friendly this week Kieron Dyer says he is aiming for a return to first team football over the Christmas period.

"It will be great to get that first game under my belt. I'm not going to say I'm going to be thrown straight back into the first team.

Ideally I will have three or four preparation games and then be ready, perhaps for the Christmas period. Every day I feel sharper and I do believe now I need to make up for lost time.

My 30th birthday is coming up later this month and some players start to look toward the end of their careers when they reach that milestone. With the amount of football I’ve missed though, I feel I have a good five years still left in me."

Daily Mirror Off With the Fairies

The Daily Mirror in an 'exclusive' today claims that West Ham's owners have turned down three offers for the club. The paper claims that West Ham have turned down the offers because they don't match Gudmundsson's £120 million valuation of the club.

For some reason the paper fails to even hint at one name or consortium who may have made a bid. Like a small child who has been caught in an obvious lie the paper quickly changes the subject and moves on to discuss today's game.

On which subject, Zola says,

"We are going to play our own match, the way we normally play. We're not a team who can got there and sit back and wait and wait, we have different qualities."

"The defensive side is going to be vital because when you play a team who are better than you. You have to look after more the defensive aspect of the game, which is what we have been focusing on this week."

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