Friday, April 30, 2010

West Ham After Quality

David Gold says that West Ham will 'push the boat' out to sign quality players this summer. David Sullivan said this week that the club will sell any of the players except Scott Parker. So it does look like West Ham could have a radically different squad next season.

"If there are quality players that we fancy then we'll push the boat out to get them", Gold said.

"We're an ambitious football club and it's time we turned the tide and started pushing forward. We will be looking to bring in some new players. We are not going to put the club's financial problems into any further difficulties, if we do this it will be with our own money."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diamanti Told He Is For Sale

The Telegraph say that Diamanti's agent, Luca Puccinelli, was called by West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady on Wednesday and told to find another club for his client.

The paper also say West Ham are offering either captain Matthew Upson or James Tomkins to Sp@rs in return for Jamie O'Hara, that West Ham will make an improved offer for West Bromwich Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans and that Avram Grant is lobbying hard to be the next manager of West Ham.

David Gold having already pissed off Fulham by lodging a complaint about their team selection against Hull is now given them even more fire to beat West Ham this weekend by calling some of their players 'ladies'.

"I think we were upset at the time and we probably reacted in haste and passion," said Gold.

"I have to say that we were very upset and that we were in such a scary position. It's horrible being right down there when you are a club of such might as West Ham.

"We were very disappointed about the decision to put that team out at the time. Let me tell you though, I would have done the same thing. I would have put out the ladies team if I had been Fulham.

"They were beaten 2-0 by Hull and you're thinking 'come on, how can that be?' but of course if you put out the ladies team then that's what's going to happen."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sullivan: Zola May Resign

David Sullivan says he feels that Gianfranco Zola may resign as West Ham manager at the end of this season,

"He did indicate he might resign at the end of the season," Sullivan told the Daily Telegraph. "But he might well have changed his mind. In interviews he has not committed his future to the club beyond the end of this season."

Zola Asks For Money to Walk

The Guardian claim that Gianfranco had decided to resign as West Ham manager after he had successfully gained enough points to avoid relegation (the paper don't say what Zola's plans were if the club were to be relegated).

However they say that Zola has now changed his mind and rather than simply resigning he will now seek a negotiated settlement with the owners. The paper say that Zola wants a settlement for the remaining two years of his contract worth £1.9m a season.

ESPN claim that after West Ham were turned down by West Brom for their approach for Dorrans the club are now targeting a summer bid for Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dorrans Bid Rejected

West Brom have reacted quickly to rumours that West Ham will make a £4 million offer for Graham Dorrans.

Chairman Jeremy Peace insists the midfielder is not for sale, saying,

"As I have stressed several times since we achieved promotion over two weeks ago, our aim now is to retain our core players and try to strengthen our squad around them.

"I want to make it clear again that Graham Dorrans is not for sale."

In other news, The Daily Mail say that West Ham defender Herita Ilunga is a £2m target for French side Paris St Germain.

West Ham Make £4m Bid for Dorrans

The Daily Mirror say that West Ham have made a £4 million offer for West Brom player Graham Dorrans. Here is the obligatory YouTube video of the 22 year old Scottish midfielder in action.

The paper say that Gianfranco Zola has given the bid his blessing. However, in another story, The Mirror say that Zola is certain to quit as he is unhappy with the new owners.

The Mirror say Avram Grant is in the frame for the manager's job at West Ham. They say that Martin Jol, Steve McClaren and Slaven Bilic are also on the short-list of possible replacements.

In other news The Sun say that West Ham have put every player up-for-sale, except Scott Parker.

Joint-owner David Sullivan said: "If we get the right bid we will sell any player, apart from Parker.

"That is the case with most teams other than Manchester United. But we have to improve the side.

"Parker is not for sale. He has several years left on his contract and has intimated on several occasions he wants to stay. He is Mr West Ham."

Finally, The Daily Mail say that Aston Villa are preparing a £10m bid for Carlton Cole.

The Boleyn in 3D

The Boleyn

Some of you may be aware that I run a blog called Google Maps Mania, where I write about one of my other obsessions Google Maps mashups.

Google have just added a 3D option to Google Maps that includes the above model of West Ham's ground (you may have to install the Google Earth plug-in to view the model).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gold Wants Zola to Stay at West Ham

West Ham co-owner David Gold says that he is happy for Gianfranco Zola to remain West Ham manager next season.

In the last couple of weeks the press have been widely reporting that Zola will be sacked and replaced at the end of this season. Gold does strangely hint at Zola taking a sabbatical, which may mean the speculation about a successor to Zola may not stop just yet.

"I would hope he stays. He has been through hell and back. It has been a very difficult season for him. He has had new owners, owners before who were not participating. Now he knows he is part of West Ham, whereas before he was isolated. So I hope that this moment of success we are enjoying will continue.

"I would have thought that he deserves another crack. But he’s also a man who might feel that it’s time for him to take a sabbatical. I don’t know. You would have to ask him. But I’m very optimistic that we can come together and go to the next step."

"At no time did I feel that there was any requirement for a change, for a number of reasons. I asked Franco after what was I think our fifth straight defeat, ‘Are you okay? Are you on board?’ You are always fearful that a manager may be finding it difficult. But he said he could keep us up. He’s kept his word and he’s done that. We couldn’t ask more."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

Although West Ham seem to have all but secured their Premier League status the newspapers still think that Zola is definitely for the chop.

The Daily Mirror say that Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson is high on the West Ham owners short-list to replace Gianfranco Zola.

The News of the World suggest Peter Reid is a 'shock' contender for the West Ham manager's job.

The People say that Martin Jol could be the new manager.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim that Juventus are after West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

West Ham 3 Wigan 2

In the third minute Kovac gave the ball away in midfield, Wigan broke forward and won a corner. From the corner the ball bounced off Spector in the six yard box to give Wigan an early lead.

In the ninth minute Ilan played Cole clear into the Wigan penalty area, Cole took the ball around Kirland but pushed the ball a little wide, he shot towards goal but Caldwell got back to clear the ball off the line.

In the 30th minute McCarthy tried a powerful 25 yard effort that Green managed to tip against the bar at full stretch. West Ham then broke forward, Ilan passed to Cole who drove into the penalty area, crossed the ball low across the seven yard box and Ilan ran in to grab the equaliser.

Four minutes into added time at the end of the half Cole was fouled 28 yards from the Wigan goal. From the freekick Noble curled the ball brilliantly to the top-left of the goal. Kirkland did well to get a hand to it but the ball rebounded to Kovac who headed home more or less from on the goal line.

In took Wigan just seven minutes into the second half to get an equaliser. Wigan fired another corner from the left into the six yard box where Rodallega arrived to chest the ball home from four yards. In the 58th minute Wigan won a freekick on the edge of the West Ham penalty area wide left. From the freekick N'Zogbia fired it in low and Green did well to save it at full stretch diving to his right.

In the 65th minute a Kovac header from a corner from 8 yards out looped goalwards and rebounded off the crossbar. In the 70th minute Franco came on for Ilan. In the 75th minute Parker scored a screamer from 27 yards after Franco had cushioned a nice header into his path.

In the 86th minute Wigan won a freekick 30 yrds from the West Ham goal in the centre of the pitch. Watson hit the kick straight at Green in goal. In the 89th minute Bramble tried to catch Green off his line with a long shot from his own half. Luckily, with Green caught out of position, the ball flew a few yards over the bar.

With Hull losing today it looks like West Ham might just have bought themselves another year in the Premier League.

West Ham vs Wigan

This game is of vital importance to West Ham. A win today would go a long way to securing West Ham's survival in the Premier League. Conversely a loss or draw would leave West Ham in a very precarious position.

If West Ham can't beat Wigan at home then they do deserve to go down. Therefore West Ham will be delighted with the return of Scott Parker from a two game suspension.

Wigan themselves will be pleased with the return of defender Gary Caldwell after serving a three-match ban.

Lawro says West Ham laid down and died against Liverpool. He says the team didn't look committed. However he does predict West Ham to be strong enough to win this one, with the warning that Wigan can be unpredictable and did well to come back against Arsenal last week.

Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham win

Despite Wigan picking up just one point in their last six away games Sky think West Ham will lose today.

Sky predict a 1-2 West Ham loss

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pardew to Return as West Ham Manager?

Various reports claim that Aston Villa are targeting Carlton Cole as a replacement for John Carew, who the club are resigned to losing to Fulham.

The Daily Express say that West Ham have two shortlists for replacing manager Gianfranco Zola. They claim Steve McClaren heads the list of replacements if West Ham avoid relegation. However if the club don't escape the drop they will be turning to ex-West Ham manager Alan Pardew.

The paper say that Slaven Bilic and Mark Hughes are also on the club’s radar.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

McClaren and Huges Snub West Ham

The Mail claim that Mark Hughes and Steve McClaren have both turned down taking over the manager's job at West Ham.

The Mail say Hughes wouldn't become West Ham manager because the club wouldn't match his personal demands or permit the huge backroom staff he wanted to bring with him.

The Mail claim McClaren has turned the job down because he was West Ham's second choice behind Hughes.

Boa Morte has got a full 90 minutes under his belt for the reserves against Tottenham Reserves. West Ham have also made clear that Carlton Cole's substitute against Liverpool was precautionary and he will be available to play at the weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Mail Appoint McClaren

The Mail claim that they have been informed that Gianfranco Zola will be sacked and replaced with Steve McClaren. This will apparently happen only if Zola avoids relegation as McClaren will come to West Ham only if they are still in the Premier League.

Does this mean Zola will be sacked if he keeps West Ham up but will be safe if he gets us relegated? Come on The Daily Mail we deserve to be told.

Jose Callejon for West Ham

Sky are reporting that West Ham have sent scouts to watch Jose Callejon, Espanyol's 23 year old striker. Apparently the Spanish club rejected a €4million (£3.5m) offer for the player in January but have stated that they are willing to sell the player in the summer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Liverpool 3 West Ham 0

West Ham started with the same line up for the second game running for the first time in an age.

There was an early scare for West Ham in the 3rd minute when Maxi forced a save from Green from wide right in the penalty area. In the 7th minute Gerrard caught the West Ham defence napping with a quick free-kick form the right wing which saw the ball evade three Liverpool attackers with the defence nowhere in sight.

However West Ham then seemed to settle and on the whole looked comfortable and were even beginning to edge the possession when in the 19th minute Spector made a needless foul on the left. Gerrard again fired in a low, quick free-kick from the Liverpool left and Benayoun got in behind the West Ham defence to chest the ball in from eight yards.

In the 21st minute Cole got West Ham's first shot on target from wide left in the penalty area but Reina made an easy save. In the 28th minute however Liverpool increased their lead when Ngog shot from deep inside the penalty area high into the back of the net.

After that the play was nearly all one way as Liverpool began to pass the ball with confidence. In the 38th minute Gerrard fired a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar. In the 42nd minute Kuyt fired in a long range shot which Green just managed to edge wide at full stretch.

At the start of the second half Zola brought on Franco for Stanislas. However the change made no difference. Liverpool at a stroll took 13 minutes to extend their lead. Again a free-kick from the left wing by Gerrard evaded the whole West Ham defence and Kyrgiakos ran in on the far post, struck the ball which then bounced first off the post and then off Green into the back of the net.

After that it was even more of a stroll for Liverpool. In the 72nd minute Cole was brought off for McCarthy and in the 80th minute Daprela came on for Spector. They were about the only real exciting moves by West Ham in the second half.

The most worrying thing about this performance wasn't that West Ham were so outplayed but the complete lack of passion. It wasn't until the 80th minute that Faubert dived into a tackle and won himself a yellow card. I think any of the other teams down the bottom of the Premier League would have probably come away with a few more yellow cards and have left a few more bruises on the opposition.

Bayern Target West Ham's Cole

Gianfranco Zola claims that Liverpool rely too much on Torres and Gerrard,

"Gerrard and Torres are massive players, when they are on the pitch it makes a big difference to Liverpool," he said.

"It's a pity they haven't been available for the whole season because of injuries and Liverpool's problems lie within that.

"Liverpool don't have the same number of players as Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea. When they are in good form they can be a really good team. They can stand with United and Chelsea.

German newspaper Bild, say that Bayern Munich are lining up a list of potential summer transfer targets, including West Ham striker Carlton Cole.

On the other hand West Ham striker Ilan says he is hoping to stay at Upton Park.

"In my mind I feel I can get the goals to help the club," Ilan told the Daily Mirror.

"I am happy with my contribution considering the minutes I have played. And at 29, I feel I am in my prime and ready to do well and stay here."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Liverpool vs West Ham

West Ham are expected to start with Mark Noble in again for the still suspended Parker.

Liverpool are expected to be without Torres, Insua and Aurelio.

Liverpool have an away game against Atletico Madrid on Thursday and, with their chances of qualification for the Champions League realistically now over, they may now be prioritising this European game over the West Ham match.

The record books however point to the huge task facing West Ham, who haven't won at Anfield since September 1963.

Lawro notes West Ham's improved form in the last two games but believes Liverpool's home form should see them win this game.

Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham loss

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

The People claim that Martin Jol is a shock contender to take over at West Ham this summer. The People say that Zola is certain to leave Upton Park at the end of the season,

The Sunday Mirror say that Robert Green is on Wenger's shortlist for the goalkeeping position at Arsenal.

The Mirror also say that Zola is confident that Mark Noble can fill Parker's football boots at Anfield.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Torres out of West Ham Game

The Guardian claim that the Icelandic volcanic cloud has prevented Fernando Torres from returning to Spain for a scheduled check-up on his knee. The paper claims that this means he will not be in the Liverpool squad for the game against West Ham.

West Ham number two Steve Clarke says that West Ham are focused on the Liverpool game,

"I'm confident, but then I was confident when we weren't four points clear. Obviously, the last couple of results were good for us and we have to build on them. The finishing line is in sight and we have to keep going.

"It's been a difficult season right from the start, but we're still in there fighting. We have to achieve the objective of staying in the Premier League and we're all confident we can do that."

"The best thing to do now is to get the points that we require. We're not sure what the points tally will be, so we go to Liverpool, we give a good account of ourselves and then we take stock on Tuesday. We see where we are, and build for the next game after that.

"We're focused on the next game. That's as far as we look. At this moment in time, it would be foolish for us to look further ahead, so we look at the next game and getting the points required to keep West Ham United in the Premier League."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boa is Back

Luis Boa Morte got half a game under his belt for the reserves on Tuesday night. Boa Morte has been out of action all season with a knee injury picked up in a pre-season game.

Boa Morte played the whole of the first half in a game West Ham Reserves lost 4-1 to Wolves Reserves.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tevez Wants to Play for West Ham Again

The Daily Mail today have an interview with Carlos Tevez. The Mail obviously relish the idea that Tevez could relegate West Ham on the last day of the season. The Mail asked Tevez what he would feel if he relegated West Ham,

"It is unthinkable that I will score a goal that will send West Ham to relegation," he argues passionately. "Their supporters feel football; they are passionate, these people invested great support in me. I wish to play again for West Ham before I finish my career. I have some unfinished business there. To score such a goal against them would change my history with them

"When the game comes, I hope City have already secured fourth place and West Ham are safe. That is the best I hope for."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

West Ham in the Sunday Papers

The People say that West Ham want to sign Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford on a free transfer. The paper claims that David Sullivan and David Gold have set up the move for the 26-year-old, who will quit Elland Road when his current deal runs out in the summer.

The Daily Star say that West Ham are keeping tabs on FC Twente coach Steve McClaren as a replacement for Zola in the summer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

West Ham 1 Sunderland 0

Ilan, Stanislas and Behrami started for West Ham.

Sunderland started the better of the two sides. West Ham had an early scare in the 11th minute when a Sunderland corner fizzed across the six yard box and Campbell just failed to connect from six yards out.

West Ham however got better as the half progressed and had the better of the goal chances, without ever really troubling Gordon in goal. West Ham's best chance came in the 36th minute when Cole found Ilan in the penalty area but Ilan's shot from ten yards out was blocked effectively by the Sunderland defence. Before that in the 15th minute Behrami had managed to force a good save from Gordon with an effort from just outside the area.

West Ham also had a couple of long range efforts from Kovac (well over) and from Cole (well wide). At the other end Bent fired a long range effort straight at Green and Bent also saw a chip from 8 yards beat Green but also fly over the bar.

In the second half West Ham had another early scare when a Kovac back pass in the 47nd minute almost put Bent clean through but Da Costa got back to save the midfielder's blushes. In the 50th minute a long freekick forward from West Ham's own half was met by Cole with his head on the edge of the area and Ilan poked the ball home from six yards.

After the goal Sunderland responded really well and West Ham were forced to defend for much of the rest of a nervy half. In the 64th minute Jones' first touch of the ball played Bent clean through on goal but luckily for West Ham Bent fell over and therefore missed a golden opportunity to get Sunderland back on equal terms.

In the 77th minute Henderson forced a good save from Green from a freekick from out wide on the left wing. Apart from continuing to pressure the West Ham penalty area that was about it for their goal chances. At the other end Cole hit the side netting in the 90th minute from the edge of the area and Franco thought he had wrapped up the three points in the 94th minute but his goal was disallowed for handball.

In the end then it was a vital win for West Ham and with Hull losing as well things suddenly look a little brighter for the Irons.

West Ham vs Sunderland - The Predictions

Having got a well deserved point away to Everton last week hopefully the tide has turned for West Ham. However one point from the last seven games hints at some fundamental problems in the West Ham side. Perhaps the only constant positive in West Ham's recent performances has been the form of Scott Parker.

There is no doubt that Parker will be missed today. Conversely Sunderland's last seven games has seen just one defeat- of the two sides they are definitely the team in form.

In West Ham's favour is the fact that Sunderland have not won away from home since the opening game of the season.

Lawro thinks that West Ham can build on last week's performance and overcome a Sunderland side who's Premiership survival is now secure.

Lawro predicts a 2-1 West Ham win

Sky predict a 1-1 draw

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Palermo Still Interested in Behrami

Serie A outfit Palermo say that they are keen on Valon Behrami but also say they have not made any fresh offers to buy the West Ham midfielder. Palermo did make some enquiries in January which were turned down by West Ham.

Palermo's sporting director Walter Sabatini now says,

"I understand that the British press are keen to report the Palermo interest in Behrami, because of the contacts made in January, but at present there is no open discussion.

"Behrami is a player we like, I like him very much.

"Our coach (former Lazio boss Delio Rossi) knows him well, as he helped him to grow, and he also likes him. At the moment there is nothing, in the sense that nothing is concrete, but Behrami is a player we like."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A Small Matter of Life and Death

Gianfranco Zola claims that West Ham will give their all in the remaining games of the season. Zola said yesterday,

"I wouldn’t say the last five games are a matter of life or death but it is very close. We know what football is like. We are determined to fight until the end."

However West Ham will start the five game run-in without talisman Scott Parker. Parker is suspended for the game against Sunderland on Saturday and the trip to Liverpool on April 19. The official West Ham website says that the club is hopeful that Diamanti and Behrami will both have recovered from knocks to be available on Saturday.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Everton 2 West Ham 2

Everton dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes. West Ham looked to be lacking ideas going forward but seemed to be coping fairly well defensively.

Despite their possession Everton were not creating chances. In fact their only sniffs on goal in the opening twenty minutes came from a couple of 30 yard freekicks. Baines hit one straight at the wall and Saha smashed the other wide. For West Ham Stanislas and Parker both had long range efforts that both flew wide.

Then in the 24th minute Baines found acres of space on the left wing and crossed into the box. Spector made a real hash of his headed clearance, only clearing the ball to eight yards out. Cahill headed the ball back into the six yard box and Bilyaletdinov had an easy headed goal from 5 yards out.

In the 36th minute West Ham had a golden opportunity to draw level. Parker played Cole clear into the penalty area and Distin brought the striker down. The ref ignored the straight red card for a foul by the last man but did give the penalty. Mido then passed the penalty kick to the left of the goal for an easy save for Howard.

In the 40th minute Bilyaletdinov had a shot from outside the box which flew wide and that was about it for significant first half action.

It was a much better performance from West Ham in the second half. West Ham had much more possession than in the first half. In the 59th minute Noble hit the crossbar with a ten yard chip. The ball was eventually bundled out of play for a corner which was rewarded when Da Costa managed to bundle the corner home with his left foot 5 yards out. West Ham then had a couple of long range efforts from Cole and Parker which didn't trouble Howard in goal.

Somewhat against the run of play however Everton managed to regain the lead when Yakubu headed in Baines' cross from close range in the 85th minute. For once however West Ham had a bit of passion about them and rather than giving up almost immediately got back on level terms. In the 87th minute Faubert crossed the ball from deep on the right wing and Ilan scored with a diving header from 9 yards.

This was a much better battling performance from West Ham. The corner stats of 8-2 in West Ham's favour reflects the pressure that West Ham managed to apply to a team with a very good home record. A few more performances like this and we might actually avoid relegation.

Everton vs West Ham - The Predictions

West Ham have lost their last six games. Everton have won their last seven games at home. You don't need a degree in Lawromics to predict that West Ham could be in real trouble today.

Mikel Arteta and Joseph Yobo are both injury doubts for Everton and Dan Gosling is definitely out.

For West Ham Jack Collison, James Tomkins and Herita Ilunga could all be in contention. No surprises that Kieron Dyer is doubtful to be fit.

Sky point to West Ham's poor record against Everton (one win in eight), West Ham's recent run of defeats, Everton's seven wins on the spin at Goodison Park and come to the not unsurprising conclusion that West Ham will struggle to get anything out of this game.

Sky predict a 2-1 West Ham loss

Lawro also points to West Ham's six consecutive defeats and says that Everton are the Premier League's in form team.

Lawro predicts a 2-0 West ham defeat

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Zola Defends Fulham

West Ham's official complaint against Fulham fielding a weakened side against Hull seems to have been derided by almost everyone. Now West Ham's manager Gianfranco Zola has indicated that the complaint was a huge mistake by the owners.

"I didn't know it was happening. As far as I'm concerned a manager can play his best team.

"I've no doubts Roy Hodgson is doing his best for his team. He's a person I respect and I have no complaints. He decided to do that and I'm sure he did the right thing for his club. Plus, I read the reports and I think Fulham were on top, so it's no problem.

"I want to be successful on the pitch and that is my only concern. I like to get my points on the pitch by playing and beating the opposition."

Zola's response further demonstrates the gulf between the management team and the current owners. Whether West Ham avoid relegation or not this season it is certainly looking like West Ham will have a new manager next season.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Clarke to Replace Zola

It was difficult to ascertain which of yesterday's West Ham stories were meant to be April Fool's jokes. The Daily Mail story of next season's West Ham kit being modelled on an Ann Summers outfit clearly wasn't to be taken seriously.

I was hoping the news that West Ham had lodged a complaint against Fulham fielding a weakened side against Hull might have been a joke. But it appears to be true and stands no chance of being upheld.

The Daily Telegraph's story about Steve Clarke being lined up to take over from Zola was also not intended to be a joke. The Telegraph say that if West Ham remain in the Premier League then Steve McClaren is the man the owners want to replace Zola.

However if West Ham are relegated then Steve Clarke will be asked to take over.

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