Monday, July 31, 2006
Stop the cruelty!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Teddy off the Mark as Hammers Defeat Gills 2-1
Andy Hessenhaler celebrating his testimonial was substituted to a raptuous applause by the home support early in the 2nd half before the Gills garbbed a consolation goal.
Interestingly Harewood was used as a right winger in the first half; I hope this is not a sign of things to come because I think he looks far from his best out wide.
Hammers: Walker; Clarke, Collins (Ngala 83), Tomkins, Konchesky; Harewood (Ephraim 46), Mullins (Noble 46), Bowyer (Stokes 81), Etherington (Reid 88); Sheringham (Ashton 70), Zamora (Cole 70). Unused: Bywater.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Pards: Strikers Going Nowhere!
Marlon is the latest Striker to be linked with Newcastle and really the only reason our boys keep being linked with them is because we have 5 decent strikers and Newcastle, well they have F*%& all do they really!
Fletcher Gone to Palace
Carl gave good service to our club. I always thought he was underrated, a good, solid centre mid who fulfilled his role admirably without fuss. He scored the cracking goal I always said he would, and it was against Tottenham. Good onya, Carl, and good luck with the Eagles.
With the season just a few weeks away I thought is was time for a season preview and predictions for the year ahead for our beloved Hammers.
Last season I predicted a comfortable season for our boys in their first season back in the top flight. And how right was I? Well I said we’d finish the season on 55 points and we finished on exactly that. I also said we’d start with a 3-1 win vs Blackburn and finish with a 2-1 win over the scum – freaky! Ok so I got a few mid season results wrong but overall we were right where I expected us to be in terms of league football. What I was nicely surprised about though was our glorious cup run which took us right to the final minutes of the final itself and a heart stopping penalty shootout. The team captured our hearts and imaginations as they continued to eliminate Premier League opponent after Premier League opponent only to fall so bravely right at the death.
So onto this season.
Transfers so far:
In: Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Spector, Tyrone Mears, Carlton Cole
Out: Shaka Hislop, Chris Cohen, Elliot Ward, Yaniv Katan
I’m still hoping we can add more to the additions list before Aug 19th but although the current list doesn’t show real clout in the transfer market, the important thing is we’ve managed to hold on to some real prospects and now star names. In truth the current team does not need a major overhaul and we have strengthened some much needed areas.
6th – 63 points
Although I think this is a bold prediction, I feel the chemistry is right at the club right now and we can improve on last season’s league performance. The mouth watering prospect of an entire season of Marlon Harewood and Dean Ashton forming a deadly partnership fills me with hope of a lean mean goal scoring machine. With the quality of Carlton Cole and Bobby Zamora waiting in the wings, these two will be under constant pressure to set the premier league alight this season.
In midfield we have the work rate of Nigel Reo Coker, the speed and trickery of Matty Etherington down the left, and the guile of Yossi Benayoun on the right. Add to this the protection of the back four offered by Haden Mullins and I think we have midfield ready to take on anybody this year. With Lee Bowyer waiting in the wings we have cover for every area of midfield.
Last summer Danny Gabbidon joined the club with fellow Welsh centre half James Collins. Danny has formed a partnership of distinction with Anton Ferdinand at the heart of defence and impressed so much that he picked up the fans’ Hammer of the Year award. Ferdinand spent some of the tail end of last season injured and Collins showed is worth as deputy with some inspiring performances alongside his former Cardiff team mate. At Left back we have Paul Konchesky who also won over the hearts of Hammers fans with his first season at Upton Park. Pardew has taken measures this season to fill the void at right back left by the departure of Tomas Repka in January. Tyrone Mears comes from Preston with similar credentials as Danny Gabbidon’s move from Cardiff and if the move pays off we could have a defence to be proud of for the upcoming season.
After the performance of Shaka Hislop at this summer’s world cup I felt sure that he would be number one at West Ham this year. With his departure I believe it leaves us a little short in this position. Roy Carroll started the season well, but having made a few less appealing appearances followed by a long term injury it remains to be seen if he is up to the role of first choice keeper. As backup Jimmy Walker is much untested at this level as is Stephen Bywater.
Expected Starting Lineup:
Well if Middlesborough can get to the Uefa Cup final then I don’t see why this team can’t. It remains to be seen how we can cope with fixture congestion, but with the extra strength in depth the new signings will offer we should be able to cope with a little squad rotation this year.
Domestic Cup Competitions:
I think Pardew will be taking the cups very seriously this year. He will know how painfully close we came last season to winning our first major trophy in 26 years and will want another bite at that cherry. If we are safe towards the later part of next season I would expect be seeing a different cup side to the league side in the tail end of the season. However with the previously mentioned strength in depth we should be able cope with this a lot better than last season.
Super Slav in Croatia Hot Seat!
The mighty ex West Ham defender has just been named boss of the Croatian national team. Slaven Bilic who established himself as a rock in the West Ham defence next to Julain Dicks, was a firm favourite during his days in the east end before his controversial departure to Everton.
Hammers fans felt disgruntled that a player would leave for a team who had finished lower than themselves in the league under the pretence of joining a bigger club. However he redeemed himself when he attempted to rejoin the Hammers a couple of seasons later only to fail a medical and was forced to return to his native Coratia with Hajuk Split.
Slaven was known as a more intellectual player and has a law degree to add to his football credentials. I wish him the best of luck in his latest challenge.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Yossi to be Offered New Hammers Contract!
This is good news as it not only underlines Yossi's comitment to the club but also backs up the clubs stance of fighting to hold on to our best players. To me this is a major breakthrough and could be signs that a much maligned board has learnt valuable lessons from its past mistakes.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Hammers Leave Sweden on High Note!
Another positive from this game is the form and enthusiasm of Mark Noble, who was made captain for the first time. He was instrumental in creating both Ashton and Zamora's goals. Mark barely had a sniff last season but seems raring to go and up for the challenge of forcing his way into the first team for the upcoming season. I had high hopes for him last year after hitting the ground running in the Championship in his first season as a pro. It would be good to see him rise to the challenge this year and get more appearances under his belt.
Hammers: Bywater; Mears (Fletcher 58), Paintsil, Dailly (Collins 58), Clarke (Konchesky 58); Noble (Ephraim 67), Bowyer (Benayoun 58), Mullins (Stokes 78), Etherington (Reid 67); Ashton (Zamora 58), Cole (Harewood 58).
Monday, July 24, 2006
Anton Injury Not So Bad.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
NFI against IFK!
We started brightly and went ahead early from a goal by Bobby Zamora. IFK equalised just before half time and went on to grab a last minute winner to finish the game 2-1. Positives are that Marlon got his first game under his belt and Zamora scored a well taken goal. However this is soured not only by the result but the fact that Anton Ferdinand went off after 25 minutes with a strained hamstring. He has gone home for a scan and it is not known if he will be fit for the start of the season. This is a huge blow as Danny Gabbidon is currently nursing an injury and did not travel to Sweden with the lads. Pards will have to tinker with the side a little for the final game in the tour of Sweden this week.
Also contrary to reports that James Walker has left the club he started in this game. Not sure where you got your info from Graham but Tony and I were a little confused because we swear you said he had left?
Friday, July 21, 2006
Trolls 0 - 2 Hammers
No sign of Marlon Harewood so perhaps he will feature vs IFK Goteborg this weekend. I think Goteborg will prove sturner opponents than the trolls and will be interesting to see how that match pans out. It's all about fitness at this stage though and results hardly matter so it is good to see many first teamers get some valuable minutes under their belts and come through injury free. New signings Mears & Bowyer also got given a run out.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
*sticky* A message to all the anonymous posters and lurkers out there...
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Deano: I'm flattered
Meanwhile, Deano seems to have spent his holiday recovering from the previous season. "I had quite a bit of time off over the summer because I felt really tired at the end of last season. It'd been a long 18 months for me and I needed the rest. I went to Cyprus on holiday, relaxed, and have come back feeling really refreshed."
He's finding West Ham's regime to be pretty strenuous, but controlled as well. "I did a bit of work before I came back for pre-season training to make sure I was in OK shape, but I'm still not enjoying it at all. I hate the running! It's my first pre-season at West Ham, and the main difference from what I've experienced at other clubs is that it's much more technical and there is a lot more biomechanics involved. It's not a case of 'there's a hill, run up it'. Here, we are all linked up to monitors all the time, and our oxygen intake and heart rates are constantly being measured. I'm happy at West Ham. I've enjoyed it here for the last six months."
He added, "I'm really looking forward to next season. It'll be the first time I've begun a season in the Premiership and that's something I'm really excited about. And the main thing for me is to be consistent at this level next season. That's what I want. Playing in Europe is just a bonus. Hopefully the team can push on from last season's achievement and possibly earn a place in Europe through our league position. We've certainly got the squad for it. We've not lost anyone, we've added to it in fact, and things are really looking up."
Pantsil Agrees Terms
Apparently he will go on the preseason tour of Sweden and sign next week when Paul Aldridge (the West Ham GM) returns from vacation.
Finally we look like we have a right back AND cover.
Alan Pardew is understandably livid about this breach of his trust. "It infuriates me to hear of drug-use in any sport - there is absolutely no place for it," he said. "It is a belief I have always held, so for it to occur at West Ham United is something that hurts and saddens me. Myself and my sports scientists, Niall Clarke, feel very let down. Although we will continue to help and support Shaun through this difficult time we are also acutely aware of our responsibilities as a club and he will face internal disciplinary action."
However, the West Ham boss will not be following previous examples such as those of Mutu and Bosnich, who had their contracts cancelled by their clubs. Newton will see out his one-year contract and the club will help him through this difficult time.
Pardew said, "I can say now that, as a football club, we will stand by Shaun throughout this difficult time. West Ham United has always had a reputation as a family club and our belief here is that when a member of your family is in trouble you look after them. Our instinct is to support Shaun and his young family and give them all the help and encouragement we can. We will work with him to help him get through this period, and ensure that he comes through the other side. I have seen at first hand the emotional and personal hell that Shaun Newton has been through in recent weeks, and our priority must be to help him - not abandon him. I hope his experience serves as a lesson to any sportsperson."
Newton, who has an otherwise excellent disciplinary record, has put forth a public apology. "I have let down my family, my friends, the club and its supporters - and for that I am truly sorry," said the winger. "It was an isolated incident but I must face up to my responsibilities. I in no way condone the taking of drugs and hope that my experience will act as a deterrent to others."
Newton will be available for the Premiership game against Fulham on December 23 after the FA back-dated his seven-month ban to May 20.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Piss off, Newcastle!
Apparently Pardew's looking at John Pantsil, a 25-year-old Ghanaian right-back. He plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv and the touted price is £750,000. He played in the World Cup apparently but I can't remember him. Sounds like he's either a bit of a wind-up merchant or a bit naive going off the following exerpt from TEAMtalk: "Pantsil, a committed Christian, caused controversy in Germany when he produced an Israeli flag during a goal celebration against the Czech Republic - a gesture that provoked protests from certain parts of the Arab world like Palestine and Egypt. The Ghanaian FA was forced to apologise, with Pantsil claiming he only wanted to show his appreciation to Israeli fans who had supported him in his career." Pantsil has joined West Ham on their tour of Sweden.
Speaking of which, technical director Niall Clark is insisting that the three friendlies against Swedish clubs are just training-ground run-arounds. As we all know Pardew places a lot of emphasis on physical fitness and this paid off last season with the team getting more points coming from behind than anyone else in the Premiership. The Swedish tour is intended to get the team in peak condition for the coming season. "This isn't a holiday," said Clark. "The lads will all be working very hard, and the matches certainly won't be spectacles of entertainment or flowing football - they are arranged purely to monitor and gauge the players' fitness levels. We will be picking the team and making substitutions based on how many minutes each individual player needs according to their current physical condition. As the week goes on, we will study the amount of football each have played, and adapt their programmes to ensure they continue to progress in the correct way. It's really not until the last couple of pre-season friendlies that we begin to seriously study performance and tactical issues. The players are out in Sweden solely to continue their fitness programme, and the trip will play a very important part in their development ahead of the new season."
Friday, July 14, 2006
Hammers to Sign Aussie Star?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Scaloni Wants to Come Back!
As a person I think he's great. He's lively in the dressing room and wants to do well. But his footballing abilities are very limited and he had alot more bad games than good last season. Fair to judge a player on six months of football? Maybe not but I think I've seen enough. IMO we should spend the money elsewhere.
* Reports have resurfaced regarding Liverpool's interest in Yossi Benayoun. Yossi has been talking in the Israeli press of their interest and saying that if they made an effort to sign him their overtures would be hard to resist. Sounds to me like you're trying to engineer a move Yossi me old son. I've always thought he'd be a judas as soon as a big club somes sniffing and I still hold that reservation. I really hope he stays because he engineers so much that is good through the current West Ham team. But if we're expecting loyalty I don't think we're gonna get it here.
** Pards insists Bobby Z is not for sale - in fact none of our strikers are. AP has stated that all 5 strikers will start on an even keel at the start of the season and all will have a roll to play throughout the season. Makes sense as the 4 we had on board last season had their golden moments.
*** We have taken on Alan Curbishley's right hand man at Charlton, Keith Peacock as Senior coach. Pards has been well documented with regards to his eye for a good backroom staff so again we must trust his judgement here.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Back to normal
Zidane has been named the player of the tournament, which goes to show what a joke this "honour" really is. He went missing for the first few matches, then had two superb games, and then a very average final, topped off by a foolish and in-character send-off. Cannavaro, on the other hand, was superb for the entire competition and did not even pick up a single yellow card. Is it a coincidence that Zidane and the Golden Ball award are both sponsored by Adidas?
Anyway, here's a bit of fun. Now, let's talk about West Ham..
Zamora is rumoured to be leaving, but I doubt it's true. The official site has published this denial, and I think he'll stay. Sheringham is hardly first choice any more and I think Pardew will want to create a Zamora/Cole partnership.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
LED Display Advertising Boards at Upton Park
"Some supporters think they can be distracting but I can assure them it won't be and it allows us to talk to brands that we have never been able to even get into a meeting with before."
The Recorder also has some interesting info in this article about West Ham commercial director and now board member Scott Duxbury who was responsible for bring the new advertising boards to the Boleyn.
"From the playing side the team was almost at the end of what I call the
'fat cat' era where money was just swamping into football and I don't think you had to be particularly prudent commercially or indeed with your players' contracts - the money was always there," he reflected.
"We had a big squad with lots of players who, in my opinion, were earning a lot of money but weren't at the top of their game. So there was a massive wage bill and then the team got relegated...."
Does Pardew Sleep???
Transfer News - Loads of it!
** Wigan have rejected our 4M bid to land Chimbonda as out of hand. They have hinted the size of the fee does not match their valuation leaving the door ajar for a return bid. Come on Pards up your money before the yids come a sniffin'.
*** We are beleived to be in talks with Preston over Tyrone Wears. Personally I've never heard of him but many Preston fans say he's the ducks nuts whilst others remain unconvinced. I trust Pards' instinct - that's why he's on the banner. :-)
**** Shaka has left Upton Park!!! This is a great shock to me as I thought he'd be number one this year after a fantastic world cup with the Carribean minnows Trinidad. He has left for America's MLS. So is Pards to bring in a new keeper??? Will flappy Carroll be number 1? ooooh let's see.
***** In other news Lee Bowyer has been fined by the courts for his behaviour on the pitch when he was involved in that altercation with Kieran Dyer. 600 quid - bet he's devastated ;-)
Carlton Cole in; Shaka out
Not a bad move - worth the risk IMO. We needed another striker to partner Zamora - Teddy, bless 'im, just won't last the distance next season with all the games we'll be playing. I like the way Pardew has played the forwards in partnerships - Harewood/Ashton and Zamora/Sheringham. Football's all about partnerships and I can see Cole playing very well alongside Zamora. It's a risk, yes - he might not perform, but it's a calculated risk and we could well have another star on our hands. I was impressed by Cole a few years ago when I saw him play - haven't seen him much since though.
Carlton Cole Statistics:
Style: Full Strength Lager
Carbs: 2.7 grams/100mL
Energy: 155 kilojoules(37 calories)/100mL
Standard drinks: 1.4 per 375ml
Available: 375ml bottles
Appearance: Clear and bright, with no bubbles.
Aroma/Bouquet: Nutty, skunky aroma.
Taste: Medium intensity, nutty taste with a funny aftertaste.
* Shaka Hislop is moving to America. The T&T keeper - who we all count as equally English, if not more - is retiring to DC Dallas. I really wish him the best of luck - a fantastic keeper, one of my all time favourites, and a top bloke as well. "This is an exciting new challenge for me," said the big fella. "I went to school in the United States and have a lot of respect for soccer [sic] in the country. I look forward to bringing my experience to a great organisation and help FC Dallas win championships in America." FC Dallas is currently at the top of the MLS Western Division "ladder" (table) midway through their season.
* Wigan have rejected a reported £4 million bid for Pascal Chimbonda. I can't see Pardew paying any more than that, so he's hopefully eyeballing someone else.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Young Enough to Stay at Charlton!
*In other news, Pardew has made clear that any attempts to sign Marlon Harewood are futile as he is a hero at West Ham and is going nowhere.
**Now the World Cup is over (we'll just pretend that's the case) I thought I'd design a new site banner. Pards is the main man these days and I think he deserves centre stage. :-)
***Apparently Wayne Rooney is appealing his red card vs Portugal. That in itself says to me that he did not intentionally stamp on Carvalho. I actually feel sorry for Rooney in this instance - he is a grade A arsehole at the best of times but I think this latest incident is a joke.
Monday, July 03, 2006
It's all gone quiet...
They were, and are, a fantastic team and I personally lay the blame at the feet of Sven Goran Eriksson. Despite five-odd years of having the power and (you'd think) the brains to craft some of the world's best players into a world beating squad, he has turned them into a very, very ordinary side.With a decent manager, and the same players, England could have won the World Cup, but time and again Eriksson has cost them by pissing about with the squad, tactics, and maybe the biggest talent killer of all, motivation. Until it was too late, they had no spirit or drive. It looked like they had no trust in each other or Eriksson.
One of the most regretful things the Swede has done is fail to curb Rooney's temper. The youngster's petulant display on the sidelines would prompt most coaches to take him into a soundproofed room and beat the living snot out of him with a length of rubber hose. Not Eriksson, who continued to sing his praises as the saviour of English football and conveniently ignore his outbursts. Sure enough, as everyone predicted, Rooney's temperament got the better of him and it cost his team a big, big match. Unfortunately, his team this time was England, and it was the biggest match they've had in years.
Right now the English media (and many fans) harbour deep resentment towards Cristiano Ronaldo, who of course protested Rooney's actions to the referee. It's a shame that few are worrying about the fact that once again Rooney has let the red mist cloud his vision and viciously stamped on an opponent. Ronaldo was understandably defending his teammate. His Portugal teammate. If the roles were reversed and Ronaldo had stamped on, say, Gerrard, Rooney would have decked him there and then. (By the way, ignore the biased reports, such as the shameful Reuters one on theworldgame.com.au, that Ronaldo had run 40 yards to protest to the referee. At the time he was less than 10 yards away. I'm no fan of Ronaldo's but you can hardly blame him for defending his mate.)
Rooney stamped on a player's balls, and he got sent off. Fans would be right to crucify him as they did Beckham in 1998. It would be a miscarriage of justice if Ronaldo were persecuted out of the EPL just because of it (the league needs all the flair it can get at the moment anyway).
Rooney's talent is remarkable - this is the wakeup call he needed. Let's hope it's the one that he heeded.