Friday, September 02, 2005


More on Benni & other news

* More details have emerged on the Benni McCarthy non-transfer. Said West Ham director Scott Duxbury: "Myself and Managing Director Paul Aldridge worked through the night on Tuesday and at 3am we thought we had a deal. Senior officials at Porto encouraged us to arrange a meeting with the player and his advisors with a view to concluding a deal yesterday, while they confirmed the details of the transfer with their president. Unfortunately, during the day Porto apologised but informed us that the deal was not acceptable to the president and that they wished to retain the player. During the rest of the day and early evening we frantically tried to persuade Porto to agree to a deal and this cumulated in a club record 9 million Euro [£6.15 million] bid being offered. However, Porto were adamant they would not release the player and we finally accepted defeat at about 10pm. The speculation regarding any clause in the player's contract relating to offers that had to be accepted by Porto was not correct. Porto retained the right to decline or accept any offer at their discretion."

Alan Pardew has expressed his disappointment. "Benni is an excellent player who leads the line well and is a first-class finisher. He's also a delightful man. He never wavered from his desire to join West Ham and that makes the breakdown of the deal all the more disappointing. I want the fans to know this is not the end of our transfer activity for the season. We will look for new players and make our moves in the transfer window come January. We are not taking this setback on the chin and shrugging our shoulders.

"We want to bring players of the highest calibre here," added the West Ham boss. "I am as disappointed for the fans as I am for the team. But we have assembled an excellent young, hungry squad of players here who can cement this club's place in the Premiership if the supporters get behind them. We have had so many positives from our early performances and it is important we keep that momentum going. Our young players have really taken the step up in class in their stride and our new signings have rightly earned plaudits in the media. We have top quality strikers in Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood and Jeremie Aliadiere with David Bellion still to come back from injury. So we are already well served in that department. There is a mixture of anger and disappointment at the club this morning, but we are going to dust ourselves down, work harder and give everything we have got to give the supporters the success they deserve."

* In an unusual move, West Ham have signed former French U19 midfielder Sekou Baradji from Le Mans on deadline day, and have immediately sent the player on loan to Reading until January. Reading director of football Nicky Hammond said, "Sekou is an athletic and mobile player who has trained with us for one day and looks a very good footballer. West Ham were keen to sign him but want him to gain some experience here, and I am appreciative to Alan Pardew that he has allowed him to join us. He will give us another option over the next few months." The 21-year-old is left footed and plays in midfield, but can also play in defence.

* Jimmy Walker has signed a one-year extension to his contract. "To be honest I'm really made up about the contract extension," Jimmy told the official website. "The Club have really looked after me since the injury and I'm grateful for that. Last season worked out brilliantly with us winning promotion and although I worked hard last season and helped to get us there, football can be a cut throat business and you never know what will happen. That's why I'm really pleased at the way West Ham have handled it."

Jimmy also talked about his injury and how well he's recovering. "Things are going well and I'm pleased with the progress. It's obviously still going to be some time before I'm able to play again, but it's seven weeks since the [cruciate ligament] op now and so far so good. It's a long process, but in good have been a lot worse and in many ways I was quite fortunate, if that's the right word. At first they thought I had done the lot, basically damaged the entire knee. But as it turned out it was only the cruciate that was a problem and that's what I had done in the operation. To find out that it wasn't as bad as people first feared was a real bonus and it's given me something to work towards and aim for. I'm going to see the surgeon in four or five weeks and then I'll know a lot more about how far along I am. It's a little too early to put a timescale on when I can come back but I'm still determined to get back again before the end of the season. At the moment I'm just doing different things to control the swelling. I've been wearing this huge sock around the training ground for weeks which is doing my head in. The lads all have a good laugh at it!"

* West Ham have denied an approach by Swansea City to loan midfielder Gavin Williams for the season. Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins claims the club were wanting a Championship club to come in for the Welshman. "It's a sad thing about football, players can lose a good opportunity when a manager thinks otherwise," said Jenkins. "Alan's view is strange. [Williams] has never really played at our level [League One]. It's better for someone to be playing there than not at all. If the player is comfortable moving to a club that is going forward - irrespective of the league they're in - that has to be in their best interests."

* Brisbane Hammers will be sending a contingent to the Queensland Roar vs Sydney FC match on September 23, and will be meeting in the Caxton Hotel before and after the match. At any Roar home match, look for West Ham shirts at the Caxton!

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