Thursday, August 31, 2006
Confirmed: Malbranque to Spurs
TOTTENHAM: Spurs have won the race to sign Steed Malbranque (1306) from Fulham. With £18m burning a hole in his pocket, Martin Jol could be one of the big movers and shakers of the day. Real Madrid's Brazilian Julio Baptista has apparently been targeted while Spurs have been pursuing Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing and Pascal Chimbonda. Plus, could Jermain Defoe be leaving?
Young Keeper signs!
West Ham United have this morning completed the signing of Czech Republic under-17 international goalkeeper Marek Stech.
The Hammers have signed the highly-rated 16-year-old from Sparta Prague for an undisclosed fee.
The youngster is tipped by many as the greatest goalkeeping prospect in the Czech Republic since Petr Cech.
More details, plus exclusive reaction from Ludek Miklosko will follow shortly...
Hmmm Takeover Imminent?
OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!!!!!
West Ham United are set to pull off a major coup by the signing Argentine stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United were all thought to be competing for the duo, along with some of the continents elite including Bayern Munich and Milan.
However, The Hammers have struck a deal with Media Sports Investments (MSI) - who own the rights to the Corinthians pair.
South American sources claim Portsmouth were also in line to broker a move, but it seems MSI have decided that a move to West Ham will best serve their prize assets.
The deal is believed to be initially for a season-long loan for the duo - but it could become permanent if all parties are happy, although it remains to be seen whether West Ham could affor them with both players carrying price tags of over £15 million.
The pair are both currently already in England ahead of this weekend's Brazil versus Argentina clash at Arsenal's brand new Emirates Stadium and this has aided the move.
A statement on Tevez's website states a move to Upton Park for himself and Mascherano has been sealed.
"Carlitos Tevez along with his former Corinthians team-mate, Javier Mascherano, has signed a contract to play with West Ham United of England," read the statement.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Who are we Gonna Sign?
Rumours are suggesting that Steed Malbranque is on his way to Spurs with Danny Murphy going the other way meaning we miss out on the player we've been tracking all summer. Am I bothered? Well on one hand he would've added some quality to our right side of midfield but on the other do we really need some mercenary frog who's in for a big pay day? I think that's more Redknapp's forte than Pardew's. It may well be paying off for Harry right now but if things start going wrong then they have a nasty pay structure to lump when the shit hits the fan! We can vouch for that.
It would be nice to add some additional qulity into our squad but time is not on Alan's side. Unless he has some Irons (scuse the pun) in the fire we don't know about then I'd say we'll have to wait until January to get that big transfer that's been mooted all summer.
And I think we have a squad that can handle the demands and with Matty coming back for the next game we should have plenty of quality in midfield for the time being. Also when Deano recovers that in itself will be like a welcome new signing - especially if Marlon doesn't buck his game up soon.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Palermo worried about Irons
Club captain Eugenio Corini is also concerned about the draw, but is looking forward to it. "It will surely be a good away match even if we have been paired with the most difficult opponents of the ones that were in the pot," he said. "West Ham, like all English sides, are surely a tough, physically strong team. To get through the round Palermo will need to show real quality. The only thing that could give us the chance of qualification is maybe the fact that we will play the second leg at home."
Well, I think that physically strong comment is a bit of a jibe, but we'll take what we can get. Those Sicilians are not generally big blokes so maybe they're genuinely concerned that guys like Marlon and Danny G will outmuscle them.
* Alan Pardew still wants to get players before the transfer window closes on Thursday but admits, "It's going to be a difficult week because everyone knows there's only a limited amount of time left. Both the buyers and sellers are hedging their bets and that makes it awkward for the Premiership clubs who are trying to secure the faces that can take clubs forward and strengthen squads. We're all in the same boat and we'll have to address everything again when we get back to work on Tuesday morning."
* The rumours are still strong about Steed Malbranque. Chris Coleman has fueled the fire by saying, "There is a club - and clubs - interested [in Malbranque]. We are close to a deal with one club. The sooner Steed signs for someone else the better for this club." Sounds like Steed is taking them for a ride. Heh, heh.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Scousers Down Hammers
Now, I'm not going to pretend I actually saw much of the game - the picture was bloody awful and it was difficult to see who was who out there on the pitch. My memory of the game was that we were under the cosh for a fair bit of the game but many of the match reports I've read since seem to disagree so I won't go into a match report here.
What I might do instead is give a rough report on the night we had at the Pig n Whistle. There we were, no more than about 8 or 10 Hammers, and totally surrounded by a pub full of Reds - probably 40 or 50 of them. We were singing away and having a great time, the Reds not making even a peep. Then Z-man scored and we went nuts.
We literally sung Bobby's praises for the next 20 minutes or so, until the seemingly inevitable happened - Agger got a cracker from well outside the area for Liverpool to equalise. Well, it appeared there were a few Liverpool supporters in the pub just then as EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM turned on us and started singing and cheering. Honestly, you wouldn't have noticed them there until that moment. They even had the hide to try "You're not singing any more" - but then we started out-singing them even then with "you only sing when you're winning" and "that's the first we've heard from you". Then bloody Liverpool scored again and they started it up again - what's WITH these glory hunters anyway?
Well, what was the West Ham response? What all West Ham supporters do of course - sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" at the top of our voices. You've never seen such passionate support. We didn't stop singing right till the end of the match, getting in a "You don't even sing when you're winning" and a "You wha????". We even came up with a new one - "There's only one 'I' in Pantsil" - brilliant stuff.
A couple of Spurs supporters walked in and we started singing "Champions League, you're having a laugh" and at least one of the Reds thought we were singing at him - he was a bit confused until we pointed out the two Spurs and then he laughed and sung with us.
Right up to the end we didn't give up hope, and a few of the Liverpool supporters came up to us afterwards and congratulated us on our passionate support, one of them even taking a photo of us (if that's you, please email it to us).
But I would expect no less from the Claret & Blue Army - the best support in the world.
Pretty bubbles in the air
They fly so high
They reach the sky
Then like my dreams
They fade and die
Fortune's always hiding
I've looked everywhere
I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Match Prediction: Liverpool
Liverpool hardly need an introduction after our famous FA Cup final 3-3 draw. Their large bank balance ensures every season they have quality all over the park and with our bargain side we will need to put up another brave performance to keep the likes of Steven Gerrard quiet. Liverpool will be eager to get their season on track this weekend after failing to beat Premiership newcomers Sheffield United at Brammal Lane last weekend. In fact they were lucky to get away with a point as only a soft penalty got them out of an embarrassing defeat. They have also been less than convincing in Europe this week, scraping past Israel’s Maccabi Haifa with our on loan Striker Yaniv Katan amongst their ranks. Perhaps this is the best time to play Liverpool. They quite often take a little while to settle into their season and get their football flowing which probably accounts for why they fail year after year to mount a serious title challenge yet have periods in the season where they are unbeatable.
Player to Watch: Steven Gerrard
A disappointing draw against Watford midweek saw the hammers momentarily grasp the summit of the Premier League for the first time in the league’s 13 year existence. However with only Manchester United making the most of their first 2 games and taking all six points we dropped only 2 places and could take the summit again should things go our way this weekend. The reality is the league table means nothing for 10 or so games and with our Anfield track record we are very unlikely to take maximum spoils here anyway. Pardew’s toying with formation cost us dear against Watford and dropping Yossi IMO was a poor decision. If we are to stand a chance we must revert back to a formation we are comfortable with and Yossi must start.
Predicted Hammers Team: Carroll, Konch, Gabbs, Anton, Paintsil, Bowyer, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Yossi, Zamora, Harewood.
Player to Watch: Yossi Benayoun
Prediction: 3-1 loss for us this time round. Without the power of Ashton to ruffle their defence and our poor record at Anfield, I feel we are on a hiding to nothing in this game.
Liverpool Game in Brisbane!
Friday, August 25, 2006
UEFA Draw: It's Palermo!
The first-round ties are to be played on September 14 & 28
Uefa Cup draw:
FC Chornomorets v Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Braga v Chievo
Levadia Tallinn v Newcastle
Molde v Rangers
Standard Liege v Celta Vigo
Maccabi Haifa v Litex Lovech
Derry City v Paris Saint Germain
Hertha Berlin v Odense
Legia Warsaw v Austria Vienna
Panathinaikos v Metalurg
Lokomotiv Moscow v Waregem
Sparta Prague v Hearts
Fenerbahce v Randers FC
FC Salzburg v Blackburn Rovers
Schalke v Nancy
Ethnikos v Lens
Slovan Liberec v Crvena Zvezda
AZ Alkmaar v Kayserispor
Rubin Kazan v Parma
Brondby v Eintracht Frankfurt
Atromitos v Sevilla
Besiktas v CSKA Sofia
Vitoria v Heerenveen
Marseille v Mlada Boleslav
Atvidabergs v Grasshopper
Rapid Bucharest v Nacional
Trabzonspor v Osasuna
FC Basel v FK Rabotnicki
West Ham v Palermo
Feyenoord v Lokomotiv Sofia
Ruzemberok v Club Brugge
Sion v Bayer Leverkusen
Partizan Belgrade v Groningen
Xanthi v Dinamo Bucharest
Slavia Prague v Tottenham
IK Start v Ajax
Artmedia Bratislava v Espanyol
Wisla Krakow v Iraklis
Livorno v FC Pasching
Dinamo Zagreb v Auxerre
The Mediterranean opponents, who ply their trade in the Italian Serie A but have never won the league, have the full name of Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo and are known as the rosanero (pink and blacks) due to their unusual team colours. They are playing in the UEFA Cup for the second time in their history and for the second season in a row, due to suspensions to the big Italian clubs that saw the Sicilians promoted to fifth place in Serie A. Former players include Claudio Ranieri, Luca Toni, and Fabio Grosso (who has just been bought by Internazionale following a superb World Cup). Australian fans will be hoping to see Socceroo midfielder Marco "don't call me Mark-O" Bresciano turn out against the Hammers - or maybe not, given his playmaking abilities.
* Liverpool have six players sidelined for the upcoming League match against the Irons: Jamie Carragher, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Gabriel Paletta, Mohamed Sissoko and Stephen Warnock.
Liverpool Game in Perth!
On the big screen, live at Floreat Athena, Britannia Road Mt Hawthorn (Litis Stadium). Free Venue.
Venue also showing Perth Glory -v- Queensland Roar live at 5 pm beforehand.
UEFA Cup Draw Tonight!
For the draw of the 1st round the 80 teams will be divided into 8 groups of 10 teams. Each group consists of 5 seeded and 5 unseeded teams. I have not managed to find out who is in our group - I've searched the net high and low. What I do know is we just missed out on being seeded.
The seedings are as follows:
1 Sevilla Spa 61,006 U 1 (TH)
2 Newcastle Eng 75,950 Int 3
3 Panathinaikos Gre 66,587 U 1
4 Schalke Ger 64,960 U 1
5 Parma Ita 63,020 U 1
6 Ajax Net 60,640 C Q3
7 Leverkusen Ger 57,960 U 1
8 Feyenoord Net 54,640 U 1
9 Auxerre Fra 53,757 Int 3
10 Club Brugge Bel 49,981 U Q2
11 Basel Swi 49,537 U Q1
12 Marseille Fra 48,757 Int 3
13 AZ Net 48,640 U 1
14 Hertha Ger 46,960 Int 3
15 Sparta Praha Cze 44,769 U 1
16 Rangers Sco 43,023 U 1
17 Celta Spa 43,006 U 1
18 PSG Fra 41,757 U 1
19 Lokomotiv Moskva Rus 41,504 U 1
20 Lens Fra 39,757 U 1
21 Besiktas Tur 38,634 U 1
22 Palermo Ita 36,020 U 1
23 Slavia Praha Cze 33,769 U Q2
24 Espanyol Spa 33,006 U 1
25 Heerenveen Net 30,640 U 1
26 Partizan Ser 30,600 U Q2
27 Rapid Bucuresti Rom 30,381 U Q1
28 Wisla Pol 29,104 U Q2
29 Liberec Cze 28,769 C Q3
30 Fenerbahçe Tur 28,634 C Q2
31 Austria Aus 27,723 C Q3
32 H. Tel-Aviv Isr 26,108 U Q2
33 Osasuna Spa 25,006 C Q3
34 Litex Bul 24,016 U Q1
35 Blackburn Eng 23,950 U 1
36 Brøndby Den 23,593 U Q1
37 Grasshoppers Swi 23,537 Int 2
38 Chievo Ita 23,020 C Q3
39 Dinamo Bucuresti Rom 22,381 U Q1
40 Livorno Ita 22,020 U 1
41 CSKA Sofia Bul 21,016 U Q1
42 Tottenham Eng 20,950 U 1
43 West Ham Eng 20,950 U 1
44 Dinamo Zagreb Cro 20,647 C Q2
45 Crvena Zvezda Ser 20,600 C Q2
46 Hearts Sco 20,023 C Q2
47 M. Haifa Isr 19,108 C Q3
48 Standard Bel 17,981 C Q3
49 Braga Por 17,533 U 1
50 Nancy Fra 16,757 U 1
51 Legia Pol 16,104 C Q2
52 Eintracht Ger 15,960 U 1
53 Setúbal Por 15,533 U 1
54 Nacional Por 14,533 U 1
55 Groningen Net 13,640 U 1
56 Artmedia Svk 13,070 U Q1
57 Xanthi Gre 12,587 U 1
58 Iraklis Gre 12,587 U 1
59 Trabzonspor Tur 11,634 U Q2
60 Atromitos Gre 10,587 U 1
61 Rubin Rus 10,504 U Q2
62 Zulte-Waregem Bel 9,981 U 1
63 Zaporizhya Ukr 9,777 U Q2
64 Molde Nor 8,921 U Q2
65 Chornomorets Ukr 8,777 U Q2
66 Mladá Boleslav Cze 8,769 C Q2
67 Salzburg Aus 8,723 C Q2
68 Kayserispor Tur 8,634 Int 2
69 OB Den 8,593 Int 2
70 Sion Swi 8,537 U Q2
71 Loko Sofia Bul 8,016 U Q1
72 Start Nor 6,921 U Q1
73 Pasching Aus 6,723 U 1
74 Ružomberok Svk 6,070 C Q2
75 Randers Den 5,593 U Q1
76 Åtvidabergs FF Swe 4,372 U Q1
77 Achnas Cyp 3,355 Int 1
78 Rabotnicki Mac 1,760 C Q1
79 Derry Ire 1,430 U Q1
80 Lev. Tallinn Est 0,880 U Q1
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Watford make a point against West Ham
West Ham were lucky to come back from Watford with a point after a lacklustre display this morning.
Pardew's 5-3-2 formation left the defending too late and by the time Gabbidon was brought off for Benayoun, the game was at 1-1 and Watford were looking dangerous.
I won't give a full match report here but Pardew took far too long to react to the game. Five at the back just didn't work - that sort of formation needs the wide pair to get forward much more than regular fullbacks and Konchy and Paintsil weren't pushing up nearly enough, leaving the midfield outnumbered and with no width. Watford were pressing heavily for much of the game and our tactics helped them dictate the play. Once we went to the 4-4-2 the game opened up more and I think if we'd done that in the first half the result may have been different. On the other hand, full credit to Watford who came out looking for all three points and they did play very well, and only missed out due to some profligacy up front.
There were some positives to be taken however. Our passing in tight spaces was brilliant at times, and Paintsil really looks sharp.
Carroll 6 - not confident but did a good job. No chance with their goal.
Konchesky 6 - often out of position, but did pretty well and put in a cracking cross for our goal.
Gabbidon 5 - out of sorts again.
Ferdinand 6 - hot and cold, nearly got an OG.
Collins 6 - steady.
Paintsil 7 - defensively sometimes caught out, but otherwise very good - top class distribution.
Reo-Coker 5 - missing.
Mullins 6 - some good passes in the first half but faded and was caught out once or twice.
Bowyer 6 - showed some class at times.
Harewood 5 - not at the races generally, but held the ball up well and is a good man to bring the ball out from defensive set pieces.
Zamora 6 - another goal and a hardworking performance.
Sheringham 6 - the right substitution to make and put some good balls about but it didn't really come off for Teddy today.
Benayoun 6 - got some chances to impress but didn't quite get a feel for the game.
Cole 6 - not much time to do anything.
Top for a day! Guess We Should Make the Most of it!
1 West Ham United 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
2 Manchester United 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
3 Chelsea 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3
4 Portsmouth 1 1 0 0 3 0 3 3
5 Bolton Wanderers 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
6 Reading 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
7 Everton 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
8 Newcastle United 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
9 Tottenham Hotspur 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
10 Arsenal 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
11 Aston Villa 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
12 Liverpool 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
13 Watford 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
14 Sheffield United 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1
15 Middlesbrough 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0
16 Wigan Athletic 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
17 Charlton Athletic 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
18 Blackburn Rovers 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0
19 Manchester City 1 0 0 1 0 3 -3 0
20 Fulham 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0
Match Prediction: Watford
Watford like us have come up through the playoff system and will be eager to emulate our success this season. However they will have a tough job on their hands as they have not been nearly as convincing in the transfer market as Pardew was last summer. That is not to say that they don’t have players capable of holding their own, or the desire to compete at this level. Marlon King scored 17 goals last season during Watford’s promotion campaign and will be striving to make the step up with similar ease to another Marlon, our very own Harewood, who took our promotion in his stride last year. Aidy Bothroyd’s men came pretty close to getting their first points at Everton on Saturday and were only denied by a dubious penalty. This will only fire them up and encourage them to succeed in their quest for points in their first home game of the season.
Player to Watch: Marlon King
Deano? Who’s Deano? With our supposed 3rd and 4th choice strikers both getting off the mark in Saturday’s clash with Charton, you could be forgiven for thinking we now have the strength in depth up front only usually afforded by the so called big clubs of the league. This sets up a perfect scenario for Marlon Harewood who will now be under intense pressure to get off the mark and hold on to his starters jersey. Carton Cole scored a stunning goal after being on the field just 20 seconds against Charlton and will be keen to snatch someone’s shirt off their back should they not perform. However if anybody thrives under pressure and reacts positively it is Marlon Harewood. I expect him to come out guns blazing against Watford and ensure another valuable 3 points return to E13. My Man of the Match for Saturday Lee Bowyer will also be keen to show he is not a one match wonder and give Pardew a selection headache once Matty Etherington returns to match fitness. With the second half display by Paintsil I expect just one change to the line up in a straight swap for Mears.
Predicted Hammers Team: Carroll, Konch, Gabbs, Anton, Paintsil, Bowyer, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Yossi, Zamora, Harewood.
Player to Watch: Marlon Harewood
Prediction: 3-2 to the cockney boys!
Monday, August 21, 2006
Watford Game Live in Australia! ***Time Change***
Come on you Irons!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Hammers 3 - 1 Charlton
A cracking result to start the season on but it wasn't all sweetness and light. West Ham came out of the blocks in determined fashion and carved chance after chance before going down to a soft penalty. As early as the 2nd minute Bowyer picked out Zamora with a fantastic ball for a chance at goal. And that seemed the shape of things to come as Bowyer proved an astute summer signing terrorising the Charlton defence. I've been silently excited about the signing of Bowyer all summer but have not made my feelings known due to the mixed feelings amongst supporters. I remember a very good player a few years back and I think with Pardew's guidance he can get back to his very best. On this performance it looks like he is well on his way to doing that.
Gabbidon - victim or villain? Hard to say but our hammer of the year had a truely dreadful first half performance. In the 15th minute he leaped ahead of Jimmy Floyd Hasselwank and the ball brushed the top of his arm before going behind for seemingly a goal kick. But the linesman confirmed the touch to the referee after being consulted following Hasselwank's persistent complaints. Looking at the replays of the incident it could have been a deliberate attempt to move the ball past hasselwank so Gabbs can have little cause for complaint. Darren Bent stepped up and duly slotted home the penalty.
Until now and indeed for pretty much the rest of the match Charlton had brought very little to the game. The first half continued with West Ham pressing the Charlton goal and soon they were awarded a free kick outside the area. As Yossi stepped up to take it, the already booked Traore stuck out a leg to block the shot and was quickly given his marching orders. As if Charlton needed a reason to be negative they played out the half with all 10 men behind the ball. However Gabbidon tried to play them back into contention as he picked up the ball on the left where he was quickly closed down and decided to turn and dribble towards the goal. On the back foot he was easily dispossesed and gifted Charlton with a gilt edged oppotunity to double their advantage. Thankfully we recovered and went into the break just a goal down.
Another player who had a very unassured first half was young Tyrone Mears. He played out the half not really doing anything wrong but whenever he received the ball looked like he didn't want it and played a very simple ball. He did however crack a 20 yard shot that went just wide. Pardew must've seen the same as I did as at half time he swiftly replaced him with the very lively John Paintsil.
West Ham began the 2nd half much the same as they began the first, with Paintsil (Pantsil on the back of his shirt) making some decent runs down the right. soon enough a cross from the right eluded everybody except Bobby Zamora who was on hand to slot home the equaliser at the back post. If Bobby's first goal was unspectacular then his second came with more than just a touch of good fortune. Bobby found himself about 8 yards from goal as a pass from the left came to him with plenty of space he scuffed his shot and it bundled towards the near post, the defender miscleared it and it came off post elduing the keeper and in to the goal. 2-1, the hammers were in front.
West Ham played out the half holding on to their advantage and in the 90th minute substituted Marlon Harewood for the young summer signing from Chelsea - Carlton Cole. Just as my 2-1 prediction was looking good, Bowyer put a ball over the top which Carlton Cole took in his stride and as he beared down on goal unleashed a cracking strikers finish at the near post. Game, Set, Match! Thank you very much!
Carroll 7 - Not too much to do but handled most of his duties well.
Konchesky 5 - A poor performance out of the bottom draw. The lad can't cross - he proved that with the goal he scored in the cup final.
Ferdinand 7 - Not too much to do but stayed composed and played the ball out well.
Gabbs 5 - I've said enough, poor game.
Mears 5 - Looked out of his depth.
Yossi 7 - Still providing the flair we need but we'll see better.
Reo-Coker 7 - Pretty quiet. Probably more to do with the ease of the job at hand.
Mullins 7 - As above.
Bowyer 9 MOM - Fantastic performance. Had a hand in every goal, looked lively and keen to kick off his second spell at the club.
Harewood 7 - Off his game.
Zamora 8 - 2 goal hero had a very lively game and gave his account of why he should start.
Paintsil 8 (for Mears) - Very assured, pacy, lively, keen. Looks a snip at under a mil.
Teddy 6 (For Zamora) - You can hear the bones creek.
Cole 7 (For Harewood) - Had no time to do anything, but made time with a fantastic finish to score the goal of the game.
Winning ways for West Ham
An early penalty against the run of play due to a Danny Gabbidon handball saw Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink score once again against the Irons, but a foolish second yellow from Toure saw the Addicks reduced to ten men against a rampant West Ham side. Zamora and Bowyer combined to pull the lead back and then to put West Ham ahead. A third goal from Carlton Cole just moments after he ran onto the pitch in the dying moments was enough to see West Ham pick up their first points of the season.
From what I heard on the tinny old radio, Bowyer had a storming game, and Zamora sounded very active as well. It seemed as though we were pretty dominant and had a couple of penalty claims turned down (Harewood was unfairly booked for one of them, so I'm told).
Just like last season it's 3-1 again after being behind at halftime, but this time we were competitive - nay, dominant - from the first whistle.
I love this club. Premiership? No worries. FA Cup? Been there. UEFA Cup? Bring it on!
COME ON YOU IRONS!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Match Prediction: Charlton
Charlton have made big changes over the summer most notably the resignation of Alan Curbishley. However they have replaced him with a more than able up and coming manager in Iain Dowie. This can only add spice to the game as both managers were players for the opposite teams. Dowie has done very well in the transfer market and as I write has just secured the signature of Andy Reid from Spurs. The former Nottingham Forest winger has hardly had a sniff down at the lane but he has undone us many times in the Championship and offers width against a West Ham team who will be lacking in these wide areas with the absence of Matty Etherington. They have also snapped up Jimmy Flloyd Hasslebaink who always likes a goal against us.
Player to Watch: Andy Reid
As for us it is no secret that we are mourning the loss of Dean Ashton to a freak injury whilst training with England this week. Deano's broken ankle is going to keep him out for 3 months so we have to dust ourselves down and get on with it. Marlon Harewood will be the main man whilst others will compete to play alonside him. In my mind it has to be Zamora who gets the nod and leave it to the other two to dislodge him.
Predicted Hammers Team: Carroll, Konch, Gabbs, Anton, Mears, Bowyer, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Yossi, Zamora, Harewood.
Player to Watch: Marlon Harewood
Prediction: 2-1 to the cockney boys!
So that's that sorted, then.
Paintsil fights to keep his real name
JOHN PAINTSIL is desperate to prove he is NOT Pants — after having his name spelt wrong on his West Ham shirt.
Clumsy Hammers officials put PANTSIL on all the Ghana defender’s kit and paperwork — including his contract.
But the 25-year-old says he is now ready to make a name for himself by starring in the Premiership.
Paintsil, a £1million signing from Hapoel Tel Aviv, said: "On my shirt, in the papers, on everything I see and even in my contract, I’m always called Pantsil — but my name is Paintsil. They always forget I have an ‘I’ in my name.
"It’s very frustrating but I will try not to get upset because I have only just arrived at West Ham. But my aim for this season is to make sure the fans spell my name right.
“Things have been great since I joined. The people are nice. They respect me as a footballer and as a person. The fans have also been amazing and, hopefully, I can be a great player for them.
"West Ham are a big club with a big support and that gives me a greater vigour to do well in the Premiership.
"A lot of the players at the club have huge futures, like Dean Ashton and Nigel Reo-Coker. I hope to be one of the them.
"I think I could be one of the best players in the world one day."
Paintsil revealed his Chelsea pal and fellow Ghanaian Michael Essien convinced him to join the Hammers.
He added: "Michael said I could do well at West Ham.
"He said the Premiership was the best league in the world and West Ham were a great club.
"Now I am here I can understand what he means."
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The grass is Greener at West Ham
The deal, worth a potential £2 million, continues Alan Pardew's policy of bringing talented young English players (Green is 26) to the Boleyn. "He is another young English talent who will be pushing to continue his international career this season and I am sure he can achieve that aim at West Ham United," said the gaffer. "He already has Premiership experience and is an established member of the England squad, so it is obviously fantastic to have him here in our squad. At 26, he still has his best years ahead of him and we are all excited about what he can bring to the club. We now have a stronger pool of goalkeepers than we had last year, with Roy Carroll and Jimmy Walker also competing for the first-team jersey, and it can only be healthy for the squad. I've no doubt that Robert will relish that challenge and it will hopefully take all three goalkeepers to a higher level."
* Danny Gabbidon has spoken to reporters about the devastating injury to Dean Ashton on the eve of the new season. "I'm gutted for Dean. When I heard he was in hospital after being injured in training I just prayed it wasn't serious. Sadly it is, [and] that's devastating," he said. "He has looked really sharp in pre-season, scored some goals and looked really good. It's so disappointing, he was so excited about being called up for England and that had underlined how well he has been doing. This will be a big blow for him and us. Let's hope we can get him fit quickly and back into the team. These things happen, it's unfortunate, but that's the way it is with internationals at this time of the year. He's a massive player for us and we need him so I wish him a speedy recovery so he can get back scoring goals."
* England beat Greece 4-0 overnight while Australia ensured their qualification to the Asia Cup with a 2-0 defeat of Kuwait in a rather ho-hum game.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Dean Ashton out for 12 weeks!
Alan Pardew told the club's official website: "We are absolutely devastated. It's a massive blow for Deano and his family, and for everybody here at West Ham United. We are extremely disappointed by the news but, on a positive note, we still have four quality strikers at this club, which will suppress the blow somewhat. We look forward to a speedy recovery from Deano and hope to see him back in action very soon."
We can only hope that the other strikers can fill the void for these long three months - and pray that nobody else gets injured.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Green Fee Agreed!
When I saw the reports yesterday that Charlton were looking to bring Green to the Valley I immediately thought why on earth is Pardew not going in for him. So it is pleasing to see that he knows a bargain when he sees one and that one of best goalkeepers in the country could be on his way to Upton Park. Hopefully Green will be followed hot on the heels by a new winger which is an area we desperately need to add depth.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Harewood's goal vs Olympiacos
Hammers Draw in Greece (er... at Upton Park)
The season hasn't yet begun but already we're suffering injuries. Thankfully there is cover for most positions but the potential loss of both Etherington and Konchesky is almost too much to bear.
Thankfully two-footed Yossi Benayoun can play on the left and I think Dave's right that we'll be seeing Bowyer on the right wing for the first couple of games. Harewood and Ashton's partnership is just too good to resist for Pardew I'm sure!
* West Ham have lost their second goalkeeper of the off-season, with Steve Bywater heading to Derby on loan with an agreement to a permanent move in a couple of weeks. The fee has been undisclosed. I feel a bit sorry for Steve - after his £300,000 move in 1998, spending so very long in the reserves and on loan he proved himself (I felt) in the Championship but has since repeatedly lost his place. He has a great potential. Good luck Steve.
* Here's a good article.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
England Squad Announced!
Steve McClaren has taken the bold decision to omit former captain David Beckham from his first England squad, while there is a place in the party for West Ham striker Dean Ashton.
Beckham, who has 94 caps to his name, stepped down as skipper following the World Cup finals and his position in the team was immediately called into question.
It was believed that he would be included in the squad to face Greece, but McClaren has opted against selecting a player he worked with during their time together at Manchester United.
Beckham stated at the time of his decision to step down as captain that he planned to make himself available for selection and he will hope his last act in England colours will not be to limp off injured during the quarter final defeat to Portugal.
Ashton has been rewarded for his fine efforts for West Ham last term with a place in the party, with some seeing him as the man to act as the foil for Wayne Rooney.
Sol Campbell and David James were key figures for Sven Goran Eriksson, but they have been axed in favour of Ben Foster and Michael Dawson.
Phil Neville has, though, returned from the international wilderness, while Shaun Wright-Phillips has also been given the nod by the former Middlesbrough manager.
Robinson (Tottenham), Kirkland (Liverpool), Foster (Man Utd); Bridge (Chelsea), Brown (Man Utd), Carragher (Liverpool), A Cole (Arsenal), Dawson (Tottenham), Ferdinand (Man Utd), G Neville (Man Utd), P Neville (Everton), Terry (capt, Chelsea), Young (Charlton); Downing (Middlesbrough), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jenas (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Lennon (Tottenham), Richardson (Man Utd), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea); Ashton (West Ham), Bent (Charlton), Crouch (Liverpool), Defoe (Tottenham).
Friday, August 11, 2006
This is a huge loss for the Irons at the start of a new season and it leaves Pardew with some difficult decisions to make. He could shift Konchesky up, but I think it would be better to play Yossi there, with Deano and Zamora up front and Marlon wide right. Alternatively, I really think Zamora is a shot at left wing as I think that kind of position suits him well, so we could have Deano and Marlon up front and Yossi on the right.
Whatever side he chooses, we'll all be grateful that our strength in depth is immeasurably greater than it was last season.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Why None of Our Boys Signed for Newcastle!
Hammers 4 England
With a number of injuries to ‘regular’ England players and Steve Mclaren wishing to stamp his authority on team selection it is quite possible that West Ham will be well represented, once again, at National level.
My memory goes back to the 1960’s, when Bobby Moore lifted 3 trophies in consecutive years at Wembley and West Ham won the world cup. A hat trick from Geoff Hurst and a single from Martin Peters assured England of world cup victory, and what a time it was. For West Ham, who followed the ’64 FA cup final win, with a ’65 cup winners cup final win, it was heady times. Success was blowing around East London like bubbles themselves, but sustaining this success proved very difficult indeed.
The seventies saw a number of new caps in the England team for the Hammers. The most notable of these was Barking born Trevor Brooking, a true gentleman. Fat Frank Snr earned his meagre amount of caps in the seventies, as did Bonzo .Alan Devonshire, the Yossi look-a-like also won his few caps in the seventies but the team itself seemed to stagnate. West Ham never really went on to become the force its fans wanted , we lacked the killer punch, consistency and a self belief.
Let me skip to the noughties . Here we are, pre season 2006/7 and the paper talk in the UK suggests at least one of our players are in danger of call up to the full England squad for the friendly Wednesday week against the Greeks. There is a possibility that 4 players will receive call ups, those being Deano, NRC, Matty and Anton. That maybe a stretch, but the talent at the Hammers is certainly coming through.
Here’s the rub. Will history repeat itself and lead to individual success, not replicated at club level, or will the talent in the club shine both domestically and Internationally .
Under Pardew West Ham have an energy about them that was missing in earlier decades. We have a steely determination, a self belief and a balance across the club that was not present earlier. We have an educated and professional backroom staff, sports psychologists, dietary specialists and fitness guru’s that elevate the players to a different level. We have a superb and well envied academy, true to West Ham tradition and a stadium that does its loyal fan base proud. In Pardew we have an inspirational man-manager, tactician and task master. All in all we are in great shape to take the next step. Can we take it, will this season be the decider as to whether or not West Ham United can reach the elite level in English football, or continue to be just another pretender to English football supremacy.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
[Insert lame Beatles joke]
However it'll be a while - at least 10 weeks - before we see the 25-year-old Northern Irish left-back in action after his knee was injured in a pre-season match.
McCartney becomes the fourth defender to join the Irons over the summer transfer window in addition to midfielder Lee Bowyer and striker Carlton Cole.
Sunderland manager Niall Quinn said that the Black Cats had wanted Clarke to replace the injured McCartney, with West Ham insisting on McCartney as part of the deal. "We searched for a replacement for George as soon as he got his injury. It cropped up that West Ham would allow us to take Clive, who was our number one target, to come here but only if George went the other way. We weighed up the options and it was attractive for us because we've got a player who is ready-made to come into our team now, when we need him."
Clarke barely played for the Hammers but seemed to be a good player - seeya, Clive, and thanks.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Yossi named Israel Skipper!
It will be very interesting to see Yossi line up against England. It is also very pleasing to see many hammers getting the international recognition they deserve.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Message from DPL
The 2006/2007 EPL season beckons and I just can't wait. For the first season in living memory WHU have NOT sold a player from our top 20. I simply cannot remember a time when that has been the case!
This means that not only have we retained our brilliant team from 2005/2006, it also means that we have strengthened through our defence and mid-field additions. AND I hear that there are more to come!
I am pleased to announce our Sydney OZHammers Venue for the season and hope that other states and countries can arrange their own gatherings:
Saturday Night 26 August - Back to the Future!
Whilst we are not live on Fox for the opening fixture at home v Charlton, this season managed by former Hammer Iain Dowie, we have a FA Cup Replay:
Liverpool v West Ham
9.45 pm KO - Saturday 26 August
I hope you can join me at:
The Hakoah Club
61-67 Hall Street
BONDI NSW 2026
Tel: 02 9130 3344
The venue is confirmed and once again its FREE!
There are already 2 other WEST HAM games announced LIVE on Fox:
Monday September 11 - West Ham v Aston Villa - KO 1am
Saturday September 16 - West Ham v Newscastle - KO 11.55pm
Other LIVE matches are advertised at http://www.hakoah.com.au/default.aspx?pageId=12
On Thursday 14 September (night UK time), West Ham play the first leg of their EUFA Cup match. We wont know the opponents, time nor venue until 25 August so its hard to predict if we can show this match live. HOWEVER, I have commenced relevant discussions and if it is possible (that is if the KO time 'works') we will have this match on LIVE at selected venues.
forever blowing bubbles
PAOK 2-1 West Ham United
C+P from the official site:
One of the most encouraging things to come out of the evening was the sight of Roy Carroll back between the sticks for the first time since he got injured back in January
The rest of the team consisted of: Tyrone Mears, James Tomkin, James Collins and Matty Etherington making up the back four, Carlton Cole was up front on his own which left a five-man midfield of Bobby Zamora, Dean Ashton, Hayden Mullins, Kyle Reid and Hogan Ephraim.
The game once again started slowly in 30 degree heat and it was PAOK who had the first chance in the 11th minute when Reid's clearance only made it as far as Zegarra who attempted a chip from 30 yards out but it was easily caught by Carroll.
A minute later PAOK took the lead when Yiasemakis rounded Carroll as he went to ground but only managed to hit the post but Rebosio was ready and waiting to side-foot the ball into the open goal.
Five minutes later and the home team had a chance to double their lead when Gonzalez floated the ball in towards goal from the right but it just went wide of the far post.
Two minutes later and PAOK were on the attack again when Yiasemakis cut the ball back for Salpingidis who's powerful volley from 25 yards just went wide.
On 26 minutes, West Ham equalised with a well worked goal. Hogan made a good run down the right and his cross into the box was met by Cole who headed it down for Ashton to slot the ball home from 12 yards.
As the first-half drew to a close, Konstantinidis had an adventurous shot on the volley from 35yards out but Carroll pushed it out to prevent the Greek side taking the lead.
Half-time: PAOK 1-1 West Ham United
There were no changes for the second-half but the Hammers did switch to a 4-4-2 formation with Zamora joining Cole up front and Ashton staying back in the centre of midfield.
Four minutes after the break, PAOK took the lead in impressive fashion when the ball dropped to Zegarra in the box and he scissor-kicked it into the top left corner leaving Carroll with no chance of saving it.
Two minutes later and West Ham had a good chance to equalise when Cole cut the ball back for Mullins who put Zamora through to stike it first time but the 'keeper did well to block the shot.
On 55 minutes, Harewood came on for Zamora.
Nine minutes later the Hammers were on the attack again when Cole made a mazy run into the box and cut it back for Ephraim but Rebosio blocked the ball well to send it out for a corner.
On 73 minutes it was the visitors again, this time Marlon made a run into the box and cut the ball back for Ashton who shot from 18 yards out but the 'keeper made a good low save on the line.
A minute later, Teddy came on for Cole and joined Marlon up front.
PAOK had a good chance to extend their lead in injury time when Iliadis had a shot from point blank range after beating the 'keeper but Tomkins was on hand to head the ball away off the line.
Full-time: PAOK 2-1 West Ham United
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Deano for England!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Lampard - Ungrateful Wanker!
In his latest outburst he has recalled a time when he broke his leg as an 18 year old at Villa Park. I was at that game and I remember being part of the crowd who clapped him off the field that day and many felt very bad for him. I for one remember feeling very sorry for him and could see the pain in his face as he signalled to the bench he had a problem. Yet Frank remembers it differently. Frank recalls that a section of the away support cheered and applauded when he was on the ground injured. It's funny that Frank would hear differently to me as he was on his arse on the half way line whilst I was behind the goal at the far end of the pitch with those very fans he is now accusing. All I heard was anguish and concern. Could it be that the ungrateful bastard actually heard the villa fans who were after all alot closer to him at the time? Frank was eventually stretchered round past the fans to an applause and chants of there's only one Frank Lampard. And people including myself shouted out things like, get well soon Frank, you'll be ok mate.
Maybe 1 or 2 fans did shout something that I didn't hear but to hold bitterness and resentment in this way because of 1 or 2 people is disgusting and ungrateful for the chance he was given at our glorious club.
And wasn't it a chance he was given?
Let me tell you what the real reason why a section of the supporters disliked Frank Lampard Jnr. The fact that time and again, crap performance after crap performance he was allowed to keep his place in the side because of the family ties. Fantastic for your development Frank, but maybe not the best thing for our club and our season at the time. In my opinion there were better youth players not given the opportunity of a 40 odd game run of poor form to learn and flush out their mistakes. Lee Hodges is a classic example. If Lee had been given the chace that Frank was I think he would've been class. Instead he had to make do with a few meagre substitute appearances before being farmed off to Scunthorpe to try and resurrect his fledgling career.
So I quote "I remember when Joe Cole first came to Chelsea he would turn away in disappointment if West Ham lost. I would smile. That's how deeply I felt. I wanted West Ham to lose. Now I don't even look for their results." Yeah you're a really big man aren't you Frank, you're really over the bitterness aren't you now you don't even look for our results? That's why you're still sticking the knife in, time and time again and have to splash this crap all over your book and ultimately the papers.
You're just a fat Paul Ince!
Aris 2 -2 Hammers
Here's the goals from youtube courtesy of Daimeles:
Team: Walker, Konchesky (Ephraim), Tomkins, Collins, Mears, Etherington (Reid), Sheringham, Mullins, Noble, Harewood (Cole), Zamora.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Ashton: "Top six at least"
He said, "Next season I think we should be looking for a top six finish, to do well in Europe and another good cup run - and that's the minimum. Obviously losing the FA Cup was a big disappointment but getting to the final and playing so well proved just how far we had come. We could all look back and say there was nothing more we could have done to win the cup and in the end it was one great player who beat us. That performance and our league position proved what we believed at the start of the season - that we were good enough to compete in the Premiership."
Deano has also said that the competition for places up front for West Ham will only spur the club on. "With the arrival of Carlton Cole we now have five forwards competing for places in West Ham's starting line-up and that has to be good for the club. I think Carlton Cole is a very good signing and I really hope that everyone will want to stay and fight for place because that sort of competition is great and can only help us push on and be more successful than we were last year. Of course we are aware that all of us can't play and there are going to be unhappy players when they're not in the side, but that should act as an incentive and to show the manager you are too good to be left out. Once you are in the team you have to play well to stay there."
Ashton is sorry to see Carl Fletcher leave but is glad that all other major players have stayed. "Carl Fletcher has left us and that is a shame because he showed what a fine midfielder he was and he was a really good bloke to have around the place. But the move to Palace was a great one for Fletch and I wish him all the best there. Apart from that we have managed to hold on to most of the lads and that has to be good news for the club. We were a bit worried about Anton Ferdinand being injured for the start of the season but he looks like being alright now and so it's all looking good."
And so Ashton sees a rosy future for West Ham. "We're off to Greece this weekend for a couple of games against Aris FC and PAOK FC and then we face another Greek outfit Olympiakos. With West Ham playing UEFA Cup football this year it's important that we get a bit of experience of continental teams and we're all looking forward to facing a different style of play. We're all really looking forward to the kick-off against Charlton and running out in front of the fans at Upton Park. They were amazing all season and absolutely fantastic in the FA Cup final and we hope to give them more to cheer about this year. Our success last year has put pressure on us for this season, but it's the sort of pressure you want to be under."
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Cambridge United 0 - 4 Hammers
In defence 16 year old Ryan O'Neil made his first senior appearance at right back whilst James Tomkins kept his place in the side alongside James Collins. Paul Konchesky was the final piece in an otherwise inexperienced back four which held its own well in this encounter.
Cole and Ashton formed a good partnership which will please Alan Pardew as he increases his options for a starting front pair. Indeed it was Cole who supplied Ashton with his goal and Ashton who returned the favour for the newly signed youngster from Chelsea.
As for Cambridge I was suprised to learn that they are currently fighting it out in the Nationwide Conference. I remember West Ham playing against them in the league, in fact I'm sure they beat them 2-0 at home in order to get promtion the the Premier League in 1993 I recall. What a turn of events for them to have dropped 3 leagues over the course of 12 years.
Paintsil Deal Sealed!
I would expect him to be back up primarily to Mears but he can play anywhere along the back four according to reports. This now gives us pleanty of options at the back with Collins, Clarke, Spector and now Paintsil waiting in the wings to dislodge any one who drops in form or picks up an injury. This depth could be vital for our long season ahead.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Piss off, Newcastle!
Those annoying rumours about Ashton becoming part of Roeder's claret and blue army (at least when they're away.. check out their new away shirt) just won't go away. The price is still £10 million but Pardew said, "He's settled in well and has just bought a house. I can guarantee he will be going nowhere."
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."