Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Harry parries Barry
After two early injuries, to Mullins and Repka, forcing both players off the pitch, Alan Pardew erred in bringing on Danny Gabbidon and the already-injured player lasted only 6 minutes before being subbed again.
Collins got himself a goal, while Dailly and Newton both missed good chances.
Full match report from TEAMTalk
Monday, December 26, 2005
Fox Sports - Hammers New Years Bonanza!
10:45pm Monday 2nd January - West Ham vs Chelsea
West Ham's Benayoun aiming for "bigger club"
By Ian Ferris - December 24, 2005
West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun has revealed he turned down a mega offer to return to Israel.
Benayoun revealed he turned down the chance to become his country's best-paid player in order to stay at Upton Park.
The attacking midfielder admits he was tempted by a mega offer from Betar Jerusalem, but says he wants to stay in the Premiership and use the Hammers as a launching pad to join a "bigger club".
The Israel international said: "I still have a lot to do in the Premiership - maybe with a bigger club."
If he has been quoted correctly that is attrocious and will bring the ire of the fans who have really taken to the little guy who shows some of Berkovich's silky skills but with a lot more gritty determination...what was he thinking when he said that? Sure he has been a good signing for us but that is partly because potentially he can get even better, rather than he is already the ducks nuts...
I'm betting he cops a tirade of abuse and comes out to try and explain or downplay it, possibly claiming he was misquoted.
Lucky for him, Yossi is out for 3 weeks following the knock against Newcastle.
Nigel Reo-Coker returns for the match against Pompey.
TribalFootball told me they sourced the story from the Sun and they "believe they (The Sun) grabbed the story from an interview with an Israeli newspaper (though not 100% on that). "
A post in the Knees Up Mother Brown forums is claiming a "very ropey" translation from an interview Yossi gave to a Haifa newspaper where he actually said "I could have earned more money from other clubs, but see my time at West Ham as very special, and the Club can go on to be much bigger."
Ahhh, I feel better now...
Key Man: Barry - Come on Bazza!
Player to watch: Barry Zamora
Friday, December 23, 2005
* Tomas Repka has said that he wants to leave the club in the January transfer window, but West Ham don't want to let him leave.
* Rumours say Alan Pardew is lining up a £7 million bid for Manchester United striker Louis Saha.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Shaka: Paolo ain't no friend of mine
C&P from ESPN Soccernet. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=352898&cc=3436
West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop feels betrayed and bitterly disappointed by the controversial behaviour of his former team-mate Paolo Di Canio.
Hislop, a committed anti-racism campaigner, indicated his friendship with Di Canio is over after the Italian was suspended for one match and fined £7,000 for aiming a fascist salute at supporters.
Di Canio, who misses Lazio's Serie A match at Lecce this evening, labelled the suspension 'unjust' and insisted his salute 'has nothing to do with with any political ideologies'.
The 37-year-old saluted his fans the same way during a Rome derby last season, and at Livorno last week. He insists it is a greeting which dates back to ancient Rome.
'I will always salute that way because it gives me a sense of belonging to my people,' he said recently.
But Hislop does not buy former Hammer Di Canio's explanation, given the straight-armed salute now stands for something entirely different.
'I am very disappointed by it. Paolo never impressed me as that kind of person when he was here at West Ham,' said Hislop.
'We got on very well. He got on well with my wife and my kids and to see him making the headlines for his actions disappoints me greatly because of what those gestures mean and the wider effect of it.
'Paolo certainly was someone I considered a friend who I liked a lot, so I am very disappointed.'
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi jumped to Di Canio's defence today, insisting the striker is not a fascist and simply misunderstood.
'Di Canio is an exhibitionist. His salute didn't have any significance. He's a good lad,' said Berlusconi.
But Hislop cannot dismiss Di Canio's behaviour as quickly and easily as that.
'I feel particularly disheartened by it. It is one thing to see someone do it and take a stand against it,' he said.
'But when it is someone you certainly felt was a friend it has a much longer-lasting effect.'
Katan Work Permit approved
Yaniv Katan's work permit application has been approved and, presumably, only awaits the outcome of a medical examination before signing for West Ham.
Alan Pardew said, "He can play left side of three up front, on the right and through the middle. He is quick and has got bags of experience for a 24-year-old."
However, Pardew said the Israeli will have to fight for his place. "He's coming into a big pool. I made it clear he won't get an automatic start."
"I know he is a sound character through Yossi, so that helps and reassures you. I think he will settle quickly and Yossi will help him," he said. "If Yossi was having problems settling here the Katan deal might not have happened. Yossi has been fantastic for us. Katan is a different style of player, but if he can make the same sort of impact it would be great."
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Katan set for Upton Park
Israel and Maccabi Haifa striker Yaniv Katan has agreed terms with West Ham United, and awaits only a medical and work permit before making the final move on 1 January.
Should all go well the 24-year-old will be reunited with his former teammate Yossi Benayoun at Upton Park, who recommended the talented hitman to gaffer Alan Pardew.
"We are delighted to have secured the signature of Yaniv Katan and we expect him to become an important member of our squad," said Pardew. "The chance to sign a player of his quality was a great opportunity for West Ham and one that we could not miss. His signing represents a good deal for the club and will give us the resources to further add to the squad when the transfer window opens in January."
Katan looks forward to his new challenge. "It's a great moment for me," he said. "One of the things which made me want to come and play for West Ham was the presence of Yossi as we've been talking about playing together again for a while. Now it's up to me to prove my worth. I know I have no promises regarding playing time and that I will have to work hard. I realise that I'll be playing clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea soon, so I have tons of motivation."
Katan has been with Maccabi Haifa for fifteen years, rising quickly through the youth system as a prolific striker. By the age of 17 he was a regular in the side, and in the '00-01 season scored a hat-trick in the Champions League against Finland's FC Haka. He also scored twice against Manchester United in the Champions League in the following season.
He has been capped 20 times, making his debut at age 19, and has scored four times for his country.
Katan looks set to sign until the end of the 2008/2009 season.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Mugged - by 30 million pounds worth of strikeforce!
But look at the 2 teams and I know who I'd rather be supporting right now. It's exciting times at West Ham at the moment. Rarely would you concede 4 goals yet thoroughly enjoy a performance full of heart and carachter. Yet Newcastle on the other hand would be in the depths of the league but for their 17M purchase of Michael Owen prior to the closure of the transfer window. They offered nothing in terms of flair, and consistently tried to pump balls to the prolific strike pairing of Shearer and Owen.
If some of our chances had gone in then it could have been a different game. The fact that they went 3-1 up totally against the run of play when we looked more like getting an equaliser, meant the 2 goal margin finally proved a gap to far to bridge. At 3-2 we looked far superior and tried all our efforts to produce but when Roy went up the other end to offer his skills up front we were caught on the break and Owen dealt the killer blow whilst securing his hatrick.
Positives to come out of this game:
Well lots really
I beleieve in this side. They have heart, the will to win and even though like today they will sometimes get caught out they will always entertain and will not let their heads drop. They are a testament to Pardew and the West Ham way of playing attractive decent football. So we lose this week - Bring on next week I say!!!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
West Ham climbs to seventh
Monday, December 12, 2005
Blackburn 3-2 West Ham
Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood each got a goal against Blackburn on the weekend but it was not enough to prevent Rovers from winning their first match in over a month.
In other news, your humble scribe is, surprisingly, more adept with a nail gun than he is with a remote control, and failed to record the televised West Ham match yesterday. You can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth when, after a long and hard weekend's yakka building a fence, I sunk into the beanbag and pressed "PLAY", only to see that I'd managed to tape 3 hours of - of all things - the Weather Channel. And you can imagine my further frustrations when I discovered that Foxtel was replaying the Manchester United vs Everton match no less than FIVE times in the coming week, but was not replaying the West Ham game even once!
So, I'll leave it to you, and the links on the right side of this page, to find news about the match! (Or you can write one yourself, and put it here as a comment.)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Bad Karma for Bruce
West Ham may have finally shaken off the ghosts of relegation after a hard-earned 2-1 win over Birmingham City on the weekend.
It was at St. Andrew's that West Ham were relegated three seasons ago, after Birmingham manager Steve Bruce admitted that he wanted his club to send the Londoners down a division in misguided retaliation for celebrations held by a completely different set of players a decade before.
But if there's such a thing as Karma, then it's caught up with Bruce when West Ham fought back from being a goal down to win the match, and Birmingham needing to make three first-half substitutions due to injuries. West Ham are now sitting pretty in ninth position in the Premiership table and with pundits tentatively discussing the possibility of a place in Europe, while Birmingham face relegation, languishing in 19th place above Sunderland.
Birmingham started well, but only took eight minutes for their first injury. That counted for little though as within three minutes Emile Heskey put the home side in front by rounding Roy Carroll and slotting home from a tight angle.
Ferdinand, Gabbidon and Carroll all could have done better for the goal, with the former claiming offside rather than attempting to win the ball, and the Welshman failing to head for the near post. But it was very well taken by the ex-Liverpool man, and West Ham had work to do.
The visitors had several attempts on target but the first one that counted was an absolute corker. Bobby Zamora, whoooaaaoooh, flicked the ball over a defender's head, evaded about four tackles with some lightning footwork, and slid the ball between the goalkeeper's legs to put his name in the hat for Goal of the Month, and maybe of the Season too. A wonderful exhibition of skill and a goal that will live in my memory for a long time.
In injury time, Etherington just managed to cut the ball back before it crossed the by-line - despite protests from Birmingham that it had actually crossed - and the ball evaded Birmingham's defence and fell to Yossi Benayoun. The Israeli could not really control the ball but managed to push it in the direction of the unmarked Marlon Harewood, who belted the ball home with aplomb.
The second half was mostly uneventful, with Birmingham pressing for a goal and West Ham creating few chances for themselves. Towards the end Emile Heskey was booked for punching the ball in the net when it might have been easier just to use his head (literally and figuratively), but somehow West Ham held on for all three points.
Carroll 6: A couple of good saves, but not great on crosses.
Konchesky 6: Some errors including a suicidal "pass" to Heskey just outside the box. Defended well aside from that.
Gabbidon 6: Too willing to pump the ball long, and a little indecisive with the ball at his feet. However, the defence kept the Birmingham strikers at bay for most of the match.
Ferdinand 6: Seemed to stray out of position once or twice but was the more reliable of the centre-back pairing. Good to see him telling the midfield to get out of his face and let the defence get on with their job.
Repka 6: Struggled a bit, most attacks came down the right side. Not given much support though. One or two times his experience paid off.
Etherington 6: Good work for the goal, and tried hard.
Mullins 7: Got involved.
Noble 7: Had an excellent 30-minute spell during which he got stuck into everything and put in some great passes and tackles, but faded out of the game at other times. Could well be England's best midfielder in a few years' time.
Benayoun 7: Ran his little legs off and covered the whole pitch, but to what effect? It wasn't his job anyway. Tried very hard though and showed glimpses of his skill.
Zamora 8: Fabulous goal. Had already earned his starting place - Sheringham's injury or no - and deserves to stay there.
Harewood 8: Tracked back and won the ball whenever he could, and got himself a goal.
Bellion 7 (on for Zamora): Brought an interesting new dimension to the team.
Dailly 6 (on for Noble): The only thing I remember him doing is a stupid pass.
Newton 6 (on for Benayoun): On to kill time and to give Benayoun's legs time to grow back to their original length.
Other comments: We need an old hand, who can control the pace of the game. Too often West Ham were in a hurry to get up front when it would be better to slow the game down. Birmingham, for the most part, dictated the pace of this game and West Ham very nearly paid for it. Sheringham, to some extent, helps us out here but at whose expense should he play? It's difficult for Pardew, and perhaps it might be worth playing a different formation (e.g. 3-5-2) to accommodate the players that we've got.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Buy, not sell
Alan Pardew has adopted a strategy of investment for the immediate future of West Ham.
"I am sure other clubs will be interested in Anton Ferdinand. I am sure they will be interested in Danny Gabbidon and Paul Konchesky and a few others," said Pardew in a recent interview. "I think I will get some calls with big bids but they will get a simple answer - I will knock them back. It would be ridiculous to sell. That is why I signed my new contract, because I had assurances from the board that I could do that. I would consider a bid I feel I could enhance the club with - but I can't see that happening. Hayden Mullins has perhaps been our best player this season with Paul, Danny, Anton and Nigel Reo-Coker. That little pool has been fantastic for us."
Pardew wants to concentrate on finding inbound players for the January transfer window. "The only reason I have trepidation about the window is if we don't secure anybody, especially after losing out on our man from Porto [Benni McCarthy] on the last day. That is one fear I have - but we have been attacking it vigorously for a number of weeks now and we will continue to do that right up until it shuts."
Rumours say that Pardew is also lining up a £5 million bid for Crystal Palace's Andy Johnson, with the aim of securing a projected £25,000+ a week deal for the striker. There are also reports that he plans to renew negotiations with Porto for Benni McCarthy.
* West Ham are lined up against Norwich at Carrow Road for the third round of the FA Cup, to be played on 7th January. Coincidentally, the two sides met at Upton Park last season in the FA Cup third round, in which a Marlon Harewood goal was enough to ensure the Irons went to the fourth round.
Norwich - Again!!!
I expect us to have a tough fight on our hands and may have to take a replay at Upton Park, but I fully expect us to be in the hat when the 4th round draw is made!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
NRC: Anton and Mark are destined for great things
Injured West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker has sung the praises of Anton Ferdinand and Mark Noble after their recent performance against Manchester United.
He told website icons.com, "I think Anton has proved himself to be one of the best young players in the country, and he is definitely one of the best young defenders in England. Some people had doubts over him before, but he's shown them that he is good enough to play at the top level. I reckon Anton can achieve great things in football providing that he remains level-headed and continues to work hard. If Anton can stay focussed he has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him.
"Anton had the job of trying to shackle Wayne Rooney and overall I thought he did excellently. Wayne Rooney was unbelievable against us. He proved just what a world-class player he is with that performance. When a striker of his calibre is on fire and on top of his game there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them. Wayne was nothing short of brilliant. Anton's performed superbly all season since making the step up to the Premiership and he won't have a harder task than he had last weekend. He was up against two of the best strikers in the world in Rooney and Van Nistelrooy, yet he still played very well.
"Another youngster that's impressing everybody at the club is Mark Noble. For his age he is frightening! Mark has so much ability it really is ridiculous. The best thing about him is that he doesn't have one best strength - he's a genuine all-action midfielder who does a bit of everything, and he does it well.
"The lad can score and create goals, he can tackle, he can pass and he also has a flair for attempting tricks. He really is going to be a fans' favourite! Like Anton, I firmly believe that Mark Noble is destined for great things during his career. His potential is enormous.
"It just goes to show that the famous West Ham youth academy is back to its best. There are so many quality kids coming through at the moment. It's fantastic."
Of course, Mark Noble's big chance came after first choice Reo-Coker fractured his ankle, leaving Alan Pardew with limited choices in the centre of midfield. Understandably, the injured midfielder is anxious to get back onto the field.
"My recovery is going excellently," he said. "The cast comes off for good next Wednesday morning and I hope to begin training with the team straight away after that. I might have to break myself in gently, but I expect to be training at full pace within a fortnight. I'm feeling fine and am walking without pain so I don't foresee being out of action for too much longer.
"That's brilliant, because I can't wait to get out there with the lads again. It was very frustrating to miss last weekend's match at home to Manchester United, but I have to say I thought it was a really entertaining game to watch from the stands. Both sides gave it everything and I thought it was a good advert for the Premiership.
"Even though we lost 2-1, I still think West Ham played excellently. Unfortunately for us we caught Manchester United on a good day when they showed everybody the quality they possess. They were outstanding at times, playing some superb stuff, but we matched them for long periods, which has to be a positive. The lads were gutted to lose, but I think they know deep down that they had nothing to be ashamed of."