Wednesday, March 31, 2010

West Ham Seek Dubai Investment

David Sullivan has confirmed he has visited Dubai to hold talks with potential Middle East investors.

Sullivan is trying to negotiate the sale of Straumur's remaining 50% shareholding in West Ham. It has been reported that Sullivan and Gold are trying to secure a deal that sees Staumur's 50% stake sold but that leaves the pair with operational control of West Ham.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zola Fights On

Gianfranco Zola says that he will not resign as West Ham manager,

"I am determined to carry on. Losing on Saturday was emotional for everyone but I know we can turn it around and we have the ability to achieve our objectives."

"My only thought for now is to keep this club in the Premier League and that remains my goal."

"I have had time to think and reflect and we will have to work harder than we have before. I know we can get the results we need and it is just a question of making it happen."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zola Staying at West Ham

The prevailing winds seem to suggest that Gianfranco Zola won't be resigning as West Ham manager and is unlikely to be sacked until the summer.

Martin Samuel in The Daily Mail says that David Sullivan missed his opportunity to sack Zola in January. He didn't do it at the time Samuel argues because he didn't want to alienate the West Ham fans.

The Times say that David Sullivan and David Gold, the joint-chairmen, told Zola on Saturday night that they would not dismiss him. In The Mail Mido insists that the players are all behind Zola.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No One Wants to Manage West Ham

The Daily Mail say that Arsenal have been given first option to buy Carlton Cole.

ESPN say that Zola has given the players three days off and has himself gone on a three day holiday to Italy.

The Star report that Slavan Bilic doesn't want to take over from Zola.

"I love West Ham very much but that job is not for me right now. Not today. I want to qualify for the European Championships and nothing is going to change that. I am staying for all my country’s qualifiers."

The News of the World say that Glenn Hoddle and Graeme Souness have also turned down the West Ham managers job.

The Mail say that Alex McLeish is being lined up to take over (hmm, not sure he will want to leave a Premier League side for one destined for the Championship).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Zola to Resign?

Gianfranco Zola seems to be seriously considering his position as West Ham manager. Speaking to BBC Sport after today's game he said he would be considering his position overnight,

"It is very painful and I would have to think a lot about how the situation stands.

"I need to find out what is the problem - and if the problem is me. I will have to think about that overnight.

"I don't think it's that the players are not trying. The bottom line is to see whether I can help them or not."

West Ham 0 Stoke 1

West Han started with Dyer, Mido, Da Costa, Spector and Noble. It was a fairly scrappy start to the game and as ever West Ham's completely new starting eleven took a long time to get into the game.

Stoke had the better of the possession and of the goal chances in the first half hour. In the 6th minute Lawrence fired over from just inside the area. In the 8th minute Mido blocked a five yard shot from Faye at the expense of a corner. From the corner Faye then headed wide from 5 yards.

In the 29th minute Higginbotham headed wide from 7 yards. After that glaring miss West Ham then began to scrape their way back into the game. In the 33rd minute Parker played a through ball to Cole only for Sorensen to nick the ball from the striker's feet before he could bring it under control.

In the 35th minute Cole fired in shot from 20 yards, Sorensen parried the ball and it fell to Mido just 7 yards out and, with only the keeper to beat, Mido somehow managed only to fall over, rather than slot the ball home. In the 41st minute Parker made a good run to the edge of the box before passing to Behrami, wide left in the area, but Behrami's shot flew high and wide.

In the closing minutes of the half Stoke put the pressure back on the West Ham goal without managing to break the deadlock.

Diamanti replaced Dyer at half-time. At the start of the second half West Ham managed a couple of long range efforts by Parker and Cole, both of which were comfortably saved by Sorenson.

In the 59th minute Diamanti tried a long range freekick from at least 30 yrds which flew high and wide. A minute after that and Noble shot over from the edge of the area. In the 67th minute Fuller replaced Etherington. Two minutes after coming on he received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, was allowed to turn then just waltzed past Da Costa and Upson before beating Green from 8 yards.

After that West Ham never really looked like scoring. Ilan and McCarthy were brought on and West Ham ended with four strikers on the pitch but never troubled Sorensen. In the 83rd minute Spector did well to make room for himself and shoot from 15 yards but his shot flew wide. In the 88th minute Cole headed wide from 7 yards. In stoppage time Ilan shot wide and then with seconds to go Diamanti actually forced a save from the keeper from a freekick but it was too little too late.

With Hull winning today and now on the same points as us with a game in hand it looks like we really could be staring relegation in the face. This team seems to have no ideas going forward and also seems to have forgotten how to defend. It is hard to see how this will get turned around.

West Ham vs Stoke - The Predictions

David Sullivan has publicly stated that Gianfranco Zola will be in charge of West Ham whether he wins or loses against Stoke. However after five losses in a row West Ham can not afford to lose today's game.

For Stoke James Beattie is out of contention and Dean Whitehead is suspended. Ryan Shawcross is also doubtful with an ankle problem.

For West Ham Tomkins and Franco are both injured with Ilunga doubtful. Gabbidon and Dyer are both fit to play.

Lawro thinks West Ham can bounce back from Tuesday. He thinks we have enough players fighting for World Cup places who will be looking to raise their game.

Lawro predicts a 2-1 West Ham win

Sky note that West Ham tend to crumble when the opposition score. They say West Ham have only managed to take one point from matches in which they have conceded first this season. However they still see West Ham winning this one.

Sky also predict a 2-1 West Ham win

Friday, March 26, 2010

Zola Unsure of Job

The official West Ham website says that Herita Ilunga (tendon injury), James Tomkins (ankle) and Jack Collison (knee) will all miss tomorrow's game against Stoke. Manuel da Costa has missed the last three matches through suspension but is now free to play and will compete with Gabbidon to replace Tomkins

Gianfranco Zola says he is unsure whether he will still be West Ham manager next season. When asked if he will be West Ham manager past this summer he replied,

"I don't know but I know I am focused on giving my best for West Ham every day.

"I knew there would be times like this when I went into management and I have learned through experience that such moments make you stronger.

"This game (Stoke) is massive, we need to win for everyone here. But I will prepare in the same way I do for all the others.

"My attention will be on the players to give them what they need. That is all I have ever tried to do at this club.

"The situation has to get back to normality and three points will help. Have I ever been under more pressure as manager? No. But there is always pressure."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sullivan Apologises to Fans

David Sullivan on the official West Ham website has issued an apology to fans for Tuesday night's performance. Sullivan called the performance shambolic but called on the fans to get behind the team.

Sullivan ends the apology by recounting the names of past West Ham heroes before indulging in a little Churchillian rhetoric,

"Now we need this team to show their quality.

Now we need this team to show us their talent, their desire, their passion, their dare.

Now we need new heroes."

Can we do it? Hmm, I'm afraid David the answer is not yet a resounding "Yes, we can!"

Hoddle Lined Up For West Ham Job

The Daily Mirror think that Gianfranco Zola's days are numbered. They claim that he may be given the sack today after crisis talks are held at the club. The Mirror say he would have been fired already if Mark Hughes 'had been interested and up for the short-term appointment.'

The paper says that Glenn Hoddle now tops the wish-list of the owners' choice of new managers.

Many of the other newspapers, however, are reporting that Zola has had a 'vote of confidence' from the owners. David Sullivan yesterday said that

"We are right behind the manager and the team. But we have to play better. We're 100% behind the manager. There will be no changes."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

David Gold Post Game Interview

Benji Lanyado managed to get a quick interview with David Gold after tonight's game.


Mr Gold rather effectively avoided Benji's managerial question at the end of the interview.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

West Ham 1 Wolves 3

A really awful first half performance from West Ham was exemplified by a terrible back pass by Tomkins in the 28th minute. The ball sent Doyle clean through on goal and he beat Green to give Wolves a deserved lead.

Before that West Ham had suffered an early scare when Foley hit the crossbar from 8 yards after beating Daprela on the right wing. West Ham themselves had a few tame efforts on goal from Parker and Cole which were easily saved.

In the 35th minute Wolves should have had a chance to extend their lead when Kovac clearly took down Doyle inside the West Ham area but a penalty was mysteriously not given.

If West Ham were going to turn it around in the first half then the odds were that Parker would be instrumental and with a minute left he nearly got West Ham back into the game. Parker shot from just outside the area. He beat the keeper but his shot bounced back off the right hand post. Parker followed up and this time his shot from wide left was saved on the line.

West Ham started the second half with Stanislas on for Kovac and Spector on for Tomkins. However the changes did little to make West Ham more effective. It took West Ham 9 minutes to get an effort on goal, which in itself was a tame long range shot from Diamanti.

Then in a couple of minutes Wolves effectively sealed their Premiership status for the season. In the 58th minute Zubar scored from 18 yards from out right in the area firing into the opposite corner of the goal. Two minutes later and Jarvis left Upson and Spector standing and fired home from 20 yards.

In the 69th minute Parker actually put the ball in the net, but only after he had already been given offside. In the 71st minute Franco came on for McCarthy. Three minutes after coming on Franco shot high and wide from the edge of the area. In the 78th minute Franco then did really well to beat two players in the penalty box before seeing his ten yard shot well saved by Hahnemann.

In the 86th minute Diamanti fired a long range effort that Hahnemann again did well to save. In the 90th minute Diamanti again shot, this time from the edge of the area and this time just missing wide of the right hand post. Then in the 92nd minute Behrami played Franco clear and as Hahnemann rushed out Franco delicately lifted the ball over the keeper and the ball bounced into the net.

So it looks even more likely that West Ham could be relegated this season and on this performance thoroughly deserve it. Somehow I think Zola's days could be numbered.

Biggest Game of the Season - Preview

Sky report that Zola is keen for the team to cut out silly mistakes, "The Wolves game will be massive, a six-pointer," the West Ham manager said. "We have to face the match with focus and concentration, but without doing silly things."

Sky say that Wolves are set to name an unchanged side for the seventh successive match for the trip south. West Ham as usual will probably have a completely different starting eleven for this game.

Scott Parker is back in contention after a leg injury. Hopefully Carlton Cole will also be brought back into the starting line-up for this important game. Julian Faubert, Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon and Jack Collison could all be available but defender Manuel Da Costa must serve the last of his three-match ban.

Sky are predicting a 2-1 West Ham win

Monday, March 22, 2010

Zola Given Two Games to Save His Job

In a contradictory article ESPN claim that Gianfranco Zola has two games to avoid the sack at West Ham. ESPN claim that Zola has to get six points from the next two games or he will be sacked.

However the article clearly has no basis for this claim and even acknowledges that,

"Gold and Sullivan had made it clear they intended to stick with Zola at least until the summer, and possibly beyond".

On Kumb's forum someone has produced an interesting analysis of the win ratio of West Ham's managers.

Billy Bonds (43.61) 1990–1994
Charlie Paynter (41.25) 1932–1950
Alan Pardew (41.10) 2003–2006
Ted Fenton (39.75) 1950–1961
Alan Curbishley (39.44) 2006–2008
John Lyall (39.12) 1974–1989
Syd King (38.87) 1901–1932
Harry Redknapp (37.00) 1994–2001
Lou Macari (36.84) 1989–1990
Ron Greenwood (35.07) 1961–1974
Glenn Roeder (31.40) 2001–2003
Gianfranco Zola (29.17) 2008–

Zola clearly has the worst win ratio of any West Ham manager. Some of the wins for the other managers did come from games in lower leagues. However, if you only look at West Ham's performances in the Premier League, then Zola's predecessor Alan Curbishley has the best win ratio, whilst Zola still remains bottom.

There does seem to be a changing attitude towards Zola amongst the fans. So, in fact, ESPN may not be too far wide of the mark with their assessment after all. If West Ham fail to get points off Wolves and Stoke then Zola will struggle to retain the all important support of the fans.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

West Ham Want Beckham

The News of the World claim that David Gold is keen to sign David Beckham.

“David keeps on showing he still has so much to offer and if he’s available then we want to be bidding. It’s not only a case of what he can do on the pitch but what he does off it – he’d be a sensational ambassador for his home-town club.”

Considering West Ham can't afford to pay the current players there isn't much hope we afford Beckham. West Ham would also probably have to reconsider it's new policy of not paying players for their image rights.

The Mirror say that Sp#rs want to sign Green and West Ham will allow him to leave if they can sign Portsmouth's Joe Lewis.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Arsenal 2 West Ham 0

West Ham looked OK for three minutes of the game, then Clichy got in behind Spector, his cross was half cleared to Denilson, who played a quick one-two with Bendtner on the edge of the box before firing Arsenal into the lead.

In the 8th minute West Ham won a freekick 25 yards out and Diamanti fired his shot just over. In the 16th minute Stanilas crossed the ball from the left wing along the ground into the six yard box but Mido was a couple of yards from connecting with the ball to get West Ham back into the game.

For the rest of the half West Ham played some neat football at times but never really looked like they would actually create anything in front of goal. Arsenal twice shot wide of Green's right hand post from the edge of the area, once by Bendtner and once by Eboue. For West Ham Stanislas had a 25 yard effort that rolled tamely straight to Almunia.

Then, in the 44th minute, Franco chased a long ball forward into the area. Vermaelen was deemed to foul Franco with the player clean through on goal. Although the decision looked a little harsh on the defender, having given the foul, the ref had no option but to send him off. Unfortunately for West Ham Almunia then did well to save Diamanti's penalty diving at full stretch to his left.

Two minutes after the restart Arshavin headed over from 11 yards out. After that however West Ham began to dominate possession. In the 52nd minute Daprela made a brilliant run with the ball from his own half into the Arsenal area, where he was finally stopped by a lunging tackle.

In the 57th minute Cole was brought on for Franco. In the 60th minute Diamanti shot tamely from the edge of the area for an easy save for Almunia. In the 69th Diamanti again shot from just outside the area only to see it deflected wide.

In the 70th minute Noble was brought on for Kovac. In the 74th minute a Campbell header from 6 yards out was saved well by Green. In the 75th minute Mido was replaced by McCarthy. McCarthy almost had an immediate impact when he connected with a Spector cross only to head well wide.

In the 78th minute Coe made space for himself on the edge of the area and his shot just clipped the post before going wide. However West Ham's hopes of getting anything from the game were destroyed by the ref when, in the 82nd minute, Fabregas kicked the ball against Upson's arm from one yard and the ref gave a penalty to Arsenal. Frabregas scored from the spot to extend Arsenal's lead.

That was essentially it for West Ham. In the 89th minute Cole fired over from 10 yards but the game had already been decided.

I don't know if Cole is carrying a slight injury but for the second week running it looked a really strange decision by Zola to start with him him on the bench.

Arsenal vs West Ham - The Preview

I'm not feeling too confident about this one. A lot of teams seem to have worked out that you can get a lot of joy down the flanks against West Ham and I can see Arshavin and Walcott getting a lot of joy against our full-backs.

Add to that the absence of Parker for West Ham and the return of Fabregas for Arsenal and a heavy loss does seem possible. On a more positive note Mark Noble is back from the arm injury that has kept him out of the last two games.

The lack of pace of Campbell at the back for Arsenal should have Cole salivating. If West Ham can get the ball in behind the Arsenal defence they might have some joy.

Lawro says that Arsenal now have a bit of belief about them and sees this as a tough game for West Ham

Lawro predicts a 2-0 West Ham loss

Sky say that Arsenal are on sparkling form at home. They think they will benefit by the likely return of Cesc Fabregas. Conversely West Ham have lost three in a row now and Sky see that trend continuing today.

Sky predict a 3-0 West Ham loss

Thursday, March 18, 2010

West Ham Players Upset by Contract Breach

The Guardian are reporting that West Ham have stopped paying image rights payments to seven players. The paper says that Kieron Dyer, Matthew Upson, Robert Green and Scott Parker are believed to be among those who have received letters informing them that the payments will stop.

The Guardian claim that image rights often make up ten percent of a player's salary. So West Ham seem to have taken the very risky gamble of upsetting a number of key players by effectively cutting their wages in the midst of a relegation battle.

The players are obviously upset about this. The Guardian says that the legal and financial representatives of the players have contacted West Ham to contest the decision, which they claim breaches contractual obligations.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tightening the Purse Strings

West Ham's new owners are desperate to improve the club's finances.

The Sun are reporting that West Ham are stopping overnight hotel stays for the squad ahead of London away games in a bid to save money.

The Mail report that David Sullivan is making a direct appeal to West Ham supporters to spend money at the club,

"We have a million supporters who probably haven't seen us play in the last ten years and I bet 950,000 of them haven't even bought any club merchandise.

'We need the help now of our million armchair-supporters because we know they are just that - supporters.

'Come to a game before the end of the season, buy something from the club shops, visit our website or use a West Ham credit card. We need everyone to do something for the club we all love.'

Finally, to try and help raise some much needed cash the Boleyn will host a boxing match. Kevin Mitchell is set to fight Australian Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO lightweight title at the Boleyn Ground, on Saturday 15 May,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Davenport Paid to Leave West Ham

The Daily Mail and The Sun say that Calum Davenport has agreed a £250,000 pay-off from West Ham to leave the club.

In the wake of Davenport's off field troubles West Ham had stopped paying the player's wages but have been ordered that they must resume paying them. The papers claim that Davenport will now be looking for a new club in the summer.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parker Aiming for the World Cup

Scott Parker says he still has hopes of making the England squad for the World Cup. Parker also says that Gianfranco Zola has the support of the whole dressing room.

"I know everyone says nice men don't make good managers but everybody in that changing room would back him (Zola) to the hilt.

"He's got Steve Clarke alongside him and they work well together. Gianfranco has that tough side. When you are so passionate about football, as he is, whether you are a nice guy or not, that passionate side is going to come out.

"I always think about England," he continued.

"When every squad is named, I think maybe I could have a chance or come in if somebody gets injured.

"But if I'm being honest, I would have thought I would have been involved a little bit more by now. All I can do is keep playing well for West Ham. If something comes of that, then brilliant."

David Sullivan still seems to be pursuing a move to the 2012 Olympics Stadium. According to the BBC, David Sullivan says that West Ham would pay half of the gate receipts for each home match played at the Olympic Stadium.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Collison to Undergo Knee Op

The News of the World say that Jack Collison will undergo knee surgery in the summer to solve a long standing knee problem. The NoW say that Collison is expected to return in time for pre-season (which seems a little optimistic to me).

The NoW also repeat the rumour doing the rounds this week that West Ham are interested in Birmingham duo Liam Ridgewell and Sebastian Larsson. Both players are out of contract in the summer.

The Times have an interview with Steve Clarke in which he says he is itching to become the manager of a football team. He says "whether it’s this year, next year, I don’t know." It does sound like he might not see out his current contract with West Ham, which is currently until 2013.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chelsea 4 West Ham 1

Zola rang the changes for this one, bringing in Ilan, Dyer, Daprela and Gabbidon and dropping Cole to the bench.

Chelsea started the game strongly and Malouda and Drogba both had early chances that they put wide. West Ham struggled to contain Chelsea and Malouda in particular had a lot of joy down the left wing. However, despite Chelsea's dominance of possession and territory, West Ham should have taken the lead in the 13th minute when Ilan missed a near open goal from 8 yards.

Eight minutes late and it was Chelsea who gained the lead. Malouda again had loads of room on the left wing to cross into the box for Alex to rise unchallenged and head home from 7 yards. A minute later and Green did well to save Upson's blushes, saving from Upson's missed hit clearance.

In the 30th minute, against the run of play, Parker scored a blinding half volley from 25 yards to get West Ham back into the game. After that it was back to the wall time as West Ham had to defend endless Chelsea attacks.

In the the 35th minute Green saved well, diving to his right, from a Lampard 20 yard drive. In the 29th minute Ferreira headed straight at Green. So thanks to an awesome Parker effort and a little luck West Ham headed into the break on even terms.

West Ham didn't learn the lesson of the first half and 11 minutes after the restart, Malouda had acres of room on the left wing again, crossed into the box and Drogba headed Chelsea's second from 3 yards. Two minutes later and Green stopped Chelsea extending their lead by diving to his left and saving Alex's header from 7 yards.

In the 67th minute Zola brought on Cole and Stanislas for Mido and Dyer. In the 76th minute Cole spun and shot from 20 yards but never troubled the goal. A minute later and Malouda created space for himself on the edge of the West Ham area and beat Green with his shot.

In the 84th minute Diamanti was brought on for the ineffective Ilan. In the 85th minute Lampard hit the post from 4 yards. In the 90th minute Lampard shot from 25 yards, Green saved but spilled the shot, and Drogba was first to the ball to get Chelsea's fourth.

With the inexperienced Turnball in goal it seemed a strange choice to play Ilan in front of Cole and Diamanti. West Ham's one shot on target in the whole game was the result.

Still ten points to go.

Friday, March 12, 2010

10 More Points to Avoid Relegation

Gianfranco Zola believes West Ham need ten more points to avoid relegation, setting a target of at least 37 points for the season.

"Personally, I think 37 should make it for us," said Zola.

"It will be fantastic for me to win at Stamford Bridge. The situation is that we need those points. For me and my team, I think it will be a big boost forward.

"I think we have enough quality here to do it. But we have to improve our consistency."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ludo Leaves West Ham

KUMB are reporting that West Ham goalkeeping coach, Ludek Miklosko has left the club.

KUMB say that Ludo has been suffering with ill health, which may be why he has left West Ham. They also report that unconfirmed rumours claim former Mansfield and Chelsea goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcock will become West Ham's new goalkeeping coach.

Valon Behrami has called for the West Ham players to show some mental toughness.

"It was deeply disappointing for us (against Bolton). It was one of our worst games with Mr Zola in the last two years. We lost a big chance.

"If you look at the statistics, we run more than other teams - but the big thing is our mentality. So it is on our mind and our attitude. When you make technical mistakes you can work on them. Easy. You just keep working hard.

"But the problem is bigger when it is mental. It is very difficult to work on that. Time is running short. We have to change something as the situation now is not good for us.

"We can do something special but we have to all play 100 per cent. Every player needs to give 100 per cent mentally and physically. That is not so easy. If only one player gives 80 per cent we can't win the game."

"It was already hard and now it will be harder still."

Monday, March 08, 2010

Gabbidon Back for West Ham

Danny Gabbidon played an hour today for a West Ham XI in a friendly against MLS side San Jose Earthquakes. West Ham lost the game 2-0 but were able to give much needed pitch time to Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer, who also got another 60 minutes of action under his belt.

Mido and Ilan also featured in the match.

West Ham Hopeful They Can Keep Green

The Daily Mirror say that West Ham are hopeful of Robert Green signing a new contract in the summer. Green has in the past publicly stated that he is unhappy with his contract at West Ham, which sees him paid much less than some other players at the club.

David Sullivan and David Gold have spoken of their desire to reduce the wage bill at West Ham so there has been a lot of uncertainty about whether the club will retain Green and Upson in the summer. However The Mirror say that,

"Sullivan is now willing to review the club’s decision should they retain their top-flight status. And he is hopeful Green will agree fresh terms after receiving initial positive feedback about the star staying."

Dyer Reacts

Kieron Dyer has reacted to the suggestions of West Ham's new owners that he should consider retirement by saying he has turned the corner with his injury problems and can now hopefully do his best for West Ham.

"If you buy a football club and you are the owners, you say what you want. They are entitled to their opinions.

"Everyone has forgotten that I probably had a worse leg break than Aaron Ramsey and have had four operations to try to get it right. I have put in everything I can to get fit for this club but it is not enough for some people.

"It is a long road but the physios and I have got to the bottom of my problems now. So I want to do my best for West Ham and hopefully you will see the old Kieron Dyer again.

"All I can do is get my head down. I have the backing of the manager and hopefully I can get there. Hopefully I can change some other people's minds."

Saturday, March 06, 2010

West Ham 1 Bolton 2

In the first half Bolton were very effective in stifling West Ham's game, West Ham were awful in defence and Bolton looked like they might score every time they attacked.

Bolton's first goal came in the ninth minute after what looked like a foul against Diamanti in the centre of the pitch. However the referee allowed Bolton to continue and Lee made strides down the right flank before crossing into the box. Davis rose unchallenged 7 yards out to head home the visitor's first goal.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 to Bolton after a mistake by Tomkins. The defender tried to let the ball run out of play for a place kick but Davis simply ran around him, crossed into the box and Wilshire scored from seven yards.

Going forward West Ham looked largely ineffective for most of the half. West Ham's best hope seemed to come from set pieces and Diamanti came close twice from freekicks. In the 14th minute he shot just over the top right hand corner of the goal from a freekick 25 yards out. In the 24th minute from the edge of the area he managed to get the ball on target but Jaskelainen did well to save.

West Ham also got in behind the Bolton defence a couple of times. In the 39th minute Parker played Cole clean through but Cole took an age with the ball at his feet and the defence were able to get back and steal the ball off his toes. In the 45th minute Cole headed down for Parker but Parker's shot from 7 yards out was blocked.

In truth however it was Bolton who looked the more likely to score again. Their best chance fell to Elmander 8 yards out who, with the goal at his mercy, managed to fire the ball over the bar. The only consolation for West Ham going into the break was that they weren't more than two goals down.

West Ham started the second half quite lively. In the 47th minute Dyer, on for Faubert, got onto a Cole headed flick and fired over from 7 yards. In the 60th minute Upson nearly scored an own goal, heading just over his own crossbar from 7 yards.

In the 66th minute Parker was found in the box seven yards out from a long ball forward. Parker rolled the ball back to Franco who blasted over from the edge of the area. That was the last kick from Franco as he was then replaced by Mido.

In the 70th minute West Ham were given a way back into the game when Cohen was sent off for a second yellow card. In the 73rd minute Cole headed straight at the keeper from 7 yards. In the 81st minute Stanislas fired just over from a freekick from just outside the area.

West Ham finally got a goal in the 88th minute when Diamanti curled a brilliant goal from the right of the penalty area into the top left hand of the net. Bolton then almost extended their lead again when Davis hit the crossbar from 7 yards.

West Ham were given five minutes to get the equaliser and came tantalisingly close in the 94th minute when Stanislas fired a half volley from the edge of the area that fired back off the crossbar.

However it was too little too late for West Ham and they once again look like they will be struggling to avoid the drop.

West Ham vs Bolton - The Predictions

Gianfranco Zola has denied accusations that he is being frozen out at West Ham. Yesterday he said,

"Is my position being undermined? Either I am dumb, didn’t notice it, or it’s not true."

Zola's position at West Ham should be strengthened by a win today against Bolton.

Lawro is convinced that West Ham have enough to beat Bolton. He says West Ham are much better at home than when playing away and have the nucleus of a decent team.

Lawro predicts a 2-1 West Ham win

Sky point to West Ham's recent home form and note that West Ham have not conceded in their last four Premier League games at home. They say that Bolton's form has taken a knock since the turn of the year as the optimism around Owen Coyle's appointment continues to fade.

Sky predict a 2-0 West Ham win

Friday, March 05, 2010

Mail Says Zola is Considering His Position

West Ham's friends at The Daily Mail have returned to form with a story in the paper today suggesting a rift between Zola and David Sullivan. The paper claims that the rift has grown because of a clash over a contract offer for Valon Behrami that has left Zola considering his position at West Ham.

The paper claims that Behrami had been expecting to sign a five-year deal at the beginning of February. However, as Behrami still has three years remaining on his current contract (which The Mail even acknowledges in the article), it seems unlikely that the pair would be arguing over a new contract for the player at this time.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

West Ham Publish 2008/09 Accounts

West Ham have finally published their accounts for the 2008/09 season and have a posted a link on the club's website for fans to download the 35 page document.

The figures show wages totalled around 80% of West Ham's annual turnover in 2006-2007 and highlight the excesses of the previous owners.

Financial Director Nick Igoe has pointed in particular to the signing of Ljungberg and Dyer. Between them the two players started a combined total of 32 matches for West Ham and will cost West Ham a staggering £34m over the term of their contracts.

Monday, March 01, 2010

West Ham Planned Fire Sale

David Sullivan says that West Ham's owners had plans for a player fire-sale if the club had not been sold in January.

"In case there wasn't a takeover ... we were told that it meant that £8 million worth of players had to be sold in January, which would have meant a player like Scott Parker or Carlton Cole going, or maybe even both.

"Then in the summer, the club would have needed to sell £16 million worth of players to carry on surviving, having budgeted to finish 10th in the Premier League, but it might have been more like £20 million if they had been relegated.

"It would have reached the stage where the club would have had no one left of any consequence, but when people are desperate they had to design desperate measures. For West Ham it wouldn't have been long before they would have run out of players to sell.

"We have already trimmed that down to £95 million, as we have paid off some of the debts with a few little deals, so slowly we are making some progress.

"But we have to look at the situation in realistic terms. This club had lost £20 million, £40 million and £20 million in the last three years and there are another £20 million losses this year.

"Ultimately we have to break even, but that is going to take some effort as we are heading for £20 million losses this year again. So, you can see the first big task is to stabilise the club to give it a brighter future.

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