Slav’s defence of signings rings hollow

FeghoulilsI’m always prepared to admit that things can get lost in translation with foreign managers.

However, even allowing for that, I found Slaven’s discussion on the new signings and how they would eventually come good bamboozling to put it mildly.

Here’s what the boss had to say on the likes of Zaza, Tore, Feghouli, Nordtveidt and various others: “With some of the new players, we can say they didn’t hit the ground running straight away or they are not showing what we wanted or why we bought them in the first place.

nort“But they came to a new league, this is the Premier League, I’m not saying it’s better but it’s definitely different to the leagues they were in before.”

OK, allowances can be made on a short term basis but what we are seeing at West Ham this season is around 10 new recruits, none of whom can cut it with the possible exception of Fernandes.

Excuse me but I find it absolutely impossible to accept that they all suffered a collective loss of form at the same time – like from the start of the season – and that we will soon (or eventually) see vastly improved players.

I’m an admirer of Slaven’s honest approach to everything and I’m sure he believes that what he is saying is correct. It’s just that I completely disagree.

I would love to be proved wrong but my view is these are just poor to average players with nothing much more to offer than we’ve seen so far and it’s that which is at the root of our problems.

I still believe we will stagger through this season and escape relegation but if Slav was responsible for okaying these arrivals that really is very worrying.

For there’s no guarantee it can’t happen again is there?hr

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West Ham drop into relegation zone

tableWest Ham have dropped into the relegation zone this evening. Swansea City climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over fellow strugglers Sunderland who replace them at the bottom of the league table.

Swansea are now on 12 points which is the same as West Ham and Hull City but the Swans now have a better goal difference than the Hammers after netting 3 goals today. West Ham have a goal difference of -14 after conceding 29 league goals which is four better than Hull on -18 but two worst than Swansea on -12.  Sunderland are one point behind Swansea, West Ham and Hull on 11 points with a goal difference of -13.

West Ham have a game in hand on Swansea, Hull and Sunderland which they will play tomorrow (Sunday) evening against Liverpool away.

A heavy loss at Anfield tomorrow could plunge the Hammers further down the table to 19th place but it would have to be a catastrophic scoreline to suffer that fate. A draw would pull us out of the relegation zone back to 17th place again on 13 points and a miracle win would still leave in 17th place on the same points as Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough have superior goal differences.

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AC’s on a Merseyside mission

andy-carroll-goals-hat-trick-west-ham-arsenal-1460207136-800Andy Carroll is ready and determined to make a difference tomorow (Sun).

The striker is heading into his second game of the season absolutely desperate to come back to London from Merseyside with a result.

Speaking to the official site Carroll said: “I’ve been training hard and I’m fit so hopefully I’ll get longer on the pitch this weekend than I did against Arsenal last Saturday.

“I would like to think I could make a difference to any team. We’ve obviously been lacking goals so I would like to get back in the team and get those goals.”

Having beaten Liverpool three times last season – twice in the Premier League and once in an unforgettable FA Cup replay – Carroll says there is no reason why the Hammers cannot do so again.

“We have got the quality to beat the top teams and Liverpool are obviously a top team, so we can beat them,” he said.

“We have to stick together and we’ve worked hard in training this week. All the lads know what we need to do and hopefully we can put it together for the weekend.”



Hammers hit bottom three

The Hammers have plunged into the bottom three for the first time this season after today’s results.

Hopefully it will only be a 24 hour thing but this evening the team sit in 18th place following some fierce scuffles among the relegation threatened clubs this afternoon (Sat).

Swansea scored a big 3-0 victory over Sunderland to clamber off the bottom and into 17th place with David Moyes’ Black Cats dropping to the bottom spot.

Crystal Palace highly inconsistent spell continued at Hull where they fell behind before taking a 2-1 lead and ending up with a 3-3 draw.

At the end of it all the Hammers remain on 12 points with Swansea gaining 17th place on the basis of a 2 goal better goal difference.

The Hammers would of course go back above them tomorrow (Sun) with a draw .



Payet release clause: The Truth

payet2Reports claiming  Dimi Payet has a £15 million buy out clause in his contract are 100% false.

The story appeared in The Times this morning (Sat) saying the Frenchman could leave for the fee if the club were relegated

That was immediately denied by the highly placed Hammers Insider making his return to the scene, presumably in time for the January transfer market.

He said: “There have been reports that Dimitri Payet has a £15 million buy-out clause upon relegation from the Premier League.

“My source assures me that there is absolutely no truth in this rumour at all, and that this was never even considered when the Club re-negotiated Payet’s contract last season.”

And ClaretandHugh’s own insider confirmed that this was “a piece of nonsense” dreamed up by somebody looking for a new angle on the Payet saga.

The Insider made it clear the club would be active in the January window and said: “We hope to see two or three new faces to help complement Slaven’s already talented squad.

At this moment in time we cannot even speculate on the identities of these targets as we want to make sure we don’t alert other club’s or leave ourselves open to being held to ransom by the selling club.”



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Bilic makes case for Irons flops

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Slaven Bilic has defended the Hammers summer signing policy and believes they will all find their form.

Virtually every summer arrival has taken stick as the team has struggled, notably Simone Zaza – who has failed to find the net in 11 appearances – and on loan Gokhan Tore.

Only Edmilson Fernandes has escaped criticism since joining  in the summer.

However, Bilic insisted his latest recruits have the quality to compete in the top-tier.

“With some of the new players, we can say they didn’t hit the ground running straight away or they are not showing what we wanted or why we bought them in the first place,” Bilic told Sky Sports.

“But they came to a new league, this is the Premier League, I’m not saying it’s better but it’s definitely different to the leagues they were in before.


Hammers still wait for response on striker

speaks_with_simone_zaza_338897West Ham still haven’t completed a deal which will see the removal of an appearance clause from Simone Zaza’s loan deal and are hoping Naples will take the flop off their hands.

Talks with parent club Juventus have been going on for several weeks but the club have yet to receive a definite response from the Italian outfit on a re-arranged deal.

However, with Naples showing some interest the Irons would far sooner offload the player altogether and make room in the wages bill for a winter signing.

Valencia are also believed to have shown an interest but whatever happens the player will not be retained by the Hammers on the basis of the current deal.

We were told that in the worst possible circumstances of their being no other buyer or an unwillingness by Juve to  drop the appearance clause Zaza would face a zero future.

The player has no chance of being used in 14 appearances which would see him sit the rest of the season out an- d nd that is of no use to the Italians who would see the player’s value drop dramatically.

ClaretandHugh was told: “We await a response from Juventus but our position is written in tablets of stone – there will be no permanent deal.”


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Worldwide TV match coverage piles on huge pressure

slaven-bilic-klopp-u-da-yikti-gecti-1451752420Slaven Bilic and the West Ham squad simply cannot suffer another humiliation tomorrow afternoon.

If last weekend was bad – and it was very bad – just imagine what reaction there will be given that this match is on TV and being shown across the world.

A repeat of the sort of display we saw last weekend in front of the cameras would genuinely represent a crisis of epic proportions for the manager.

Until now, correctly, the lid has been kept on all talk of a major managerial crisis but that would be impossible to maintain should things go completely and utterly wrong at Anfield.

Burnley and Hull would give Slaven and the team a breathing space but the world is watching tomorrow and judgement will be hard to escape.

I am expecting us to nick something. I am expecting a vastly improved performance  but I am ready to accept that this 90 minutes is as important as any we will have witnessed in a very long time.


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Champions Place Stones Update

StonesLast week the club announced that Champions Place outside the London Stadium is now available to visit 24/7.

The club said: “Champions Place was previously only open on matchdays – but you are now able to view your stones at any time as the club have announced that the iconic landmark at London Stadium is now fully open to the public, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Champions Place landmark is home to thousands of specially engraved supporters’ stones, inscribed with personalised messages at the Hammers’ new Stadium.”

Since the announcement many supporters have been asking how they can locate their Champions stones from the thousands already installed.

We queried this question to the newly created Supporter services department on behalf of ClaretandHugh readers.

We have been told: “Two installations have been undertaken at Champions Place. The first was conducted through the summer of 2016, which included all stones ordered from the commencing of the scheme up until March 14th, 2016. The second installation is now complete and includes all purchases from March 15th, 2016 to mid-April. The next installation will take place during the close season as published in our recent article, with exact dates to be confirmed. Naturally we have to liaise with all Olympic Park stakeholders in respect of access and installation and if these stones can be installed any earlier they will be. However, at the time of writing, we remain very much on schedule.”

“An email was sent in August 2016 to any supporters who purchased a stone by March 14th in advance of the first Premier League home match v AFC Bournemouth. We announced the full, 24/7, opening of Champions Place on Friday of last week with a plan to email any purchasers with details of their location soon after. This communication is being finalised with a further email to be sent to those stones installed in the latest section, The Boys of 86. Due to the recent poor weather this panel remains ungrouted, but this is being examined on a daily basis and will be completed as soon as possible.”

“At the point of the Juventus match, the Watson, Di Canio and Dick’s zones remained ungrouted but the integrity of the stones and their design were not comprised in anyway. All three panels were grouted fully by the AFC Bournemouth match as advertised and a deep clean is scheduled to take place at Champions Place this week”

“You’ll be pleased to know that all Boleyn commemorative bricks have been installed at Champions Place.”

“In terms of fulfilment and installation of remaining champions stones, planning permission dictates that we cannot install incrementally on a stone by stone basis and it must be undertaken at one full panel at a time.”


Bilic happy with squad’s attitude

bilic2Slaven Bilic has made it clear that he has been more than happy with the response from his players after last week’s Arsenal humiliation.

The manager said: “I’ve had a great reaction from the players. You are disappointed, angry, frustrated but you have to get over it.”

He and the players are heading for Anfield in a positive mood but he warned: “No team can guarantee they aren’t going to concede a goal, no matter who you are playing against.

“We’ve had three clean sheets, against Bournemouth, against Sunderland and at Crystal Palace. You can’t be guaranteed a clean sheet but you have to have a clean sheet mentality.

“It’s my responsibility, because we can’t crumble. For me, ‘clean sheet’ is more about mentality because their guy can score from a free-kick or a great action, so 1-0 can’t be a clean sheet but you know what I’m talking about.”

Andy Carroll is set to play a part with the manager saying he has to be careful with the striker who played competitively for the first time in the Premier League last weekend.

And he said: “That’s a long break and we have three games and we need him in all three of them, but we can’t be that greedy. I would call it ‘naïve’ to expect him to last three full 90-minute games in one week, that would be crazy, but he feels good and he is fit.

“We’re going to use him, most definitely, in all three of them, because we need him in all three of them. Is he gonna start on Sunday? I don’t know!”

West Ham kick-off against Liverpool at 4.30 pm on Sunday, with the Premier League fixture being screened live on Sky Sports 1.