I have never wandered away from the Hammers in any of my blogs previously but as we come towards the end of a horrible week in football I feel I must put my feelings out there.
One of the most honourable men in football – Claudio Ranieri has been sacked tonight (Thurs) – just months after lifting the unlikeliest Premier League title ever.
So wrong…so disgusting … it beggars belief and does more to throw this game into disrepute than any pie eaten by a 45 year old reserve goalkeeper at Sutton.
If some had had their way Slaven Bilic would have gone the same way as the former Leicester City boss a couple of months ago – thank God our board weren’t listening whilst no doubt holding their breath.
Only last night Leicester City via Jamie Vardy grabbed a precious away goal in Sevilla which gave them every chance of reaching the quarter finals of the Champions Cup.
Ranieri claimed this was the season’s turning point – today he is history at a time when he could have started steering the Foxes away from the trouble they find themselves in near the bottom of the PL.
The fans are furious and sick – as sick as most of us would be had the same fate befallen Slaven. What has happened tonight sickens me to the pit of my guts.
Meanwhile down in Surrey Wayne Shaw – a man prone to depression – felt he had to resign after eating a pie following Sun Bet launching their new operation by offering a novelty bid that he would do just that. They got their publicity didn’t they?
The FA become involved and the result is he resigns from the club he’s loved all his life after being at the centre of a massive inquest
FA rules on betting are in place to avoid match fixing NOT BLOODY PIE EATING and if anyone is guilty of anything it’s Sun Bet for creating the issue in the first place.
Here’s the thing. I love the Hammers with all my heart and soul but were that not the case I could fall out of love with football entirely.
It is run by fools looking for a clue and at the end of this awful week you can do nothing but despair for the game at large.
David Gold has revealed that Diafra Sakho is focused only on West Ham after reports emerged that the striker may still be hankering for a move.
Speculation in the media arose that the club had told him if he wanted a move then to earn it by his performances on the pitch once he is fit again.
But David Gold replying to a fan on his Twitter account that the one time bad boy is “focused on playing for West Ham” and that “things change quickly in football”.
And the co chairman told ClaretandHugh the player is now happier than he has been for a long time as he approaches the end of a recovery period after surgery.
He told us: “Diafra has been working so hard, joined the squad in Dubai and is as happy as I have seen him. He has been relating to people and is in a good place.
“There is no question of him moving on. He is at an important stage of his career at 27 years of age. He can become a top top player at this club and all his energies are centred on returning to the first team.”
West Ham won the signature of top prospect Nathan Holland after settling the terms of the deal in talks with his Mum.
Academy manager Terry Westley has explained how the lad he compared to Ryan Giggs earlier this week became a Hammer after deciding to leave Everton.
Hollands progress stalled at Goodison Park after he had slipped out of contention for the Merseyside club’s Under-23s.
Westley told the London Evening Standard: “Players can sometimes slip out of contention, lose their way, get disillusioned. They go and ask if they can move.
“There were a host of clubs after him and we sat down with his mother and set out the plan.
“We told him that we would give him a long term contract because ‘we know you have lots more to come.’ We also told him that he would have an individual development plan, the work you need – and the time you need – to become the player we think you will be.
“I have to say it was not silly money at all, compared to what some other youngsters might be earning and there was no transfer fee involved.
“The deal is the rest of this season and three more which really gives him a platform to do his gym work, to develop physically, to start to understand the game tactically, to move inside the pitch rather than being an up-and-down winger.
“The big thing was that, when I looked him in the eyes I saw that hunger he has to become a player. We will only win if he goes on to be the player we believe he will be.
“There are no guarantees – but at least we’ve got him.”
West Ham are ready to offer leading Hammer of the year candidate Pedro Obiang a new and improved contract in the summer.
Claret and Hugh – whilst contacting our top source for information on the link between Liverpool and the midfielder – was told a new deal was on the way.
The Sun had claimed that Jurgen Klopp was looking seriously at Obiang as the deep lying midfielder he requires in the summer.
But we were immediately told: “That is the most stupid link in the world for various reasons notably the various options plus the player has and club holds plus there are three years left on his deal in the summer anyway.”
So explicit was the denials that he even scoffed at the £16 million price tag attached to the player in the report.
He said: “Why would we sell him for £16m when we paid £8m plus each of two much older players in January.
We are looking to give him a rise and extend his contract in the summer.”
As smokescreens go the one covering Slaven’s team plans for Saturday evening’s match against Watford couldn’t be much more extreme.
The Andy Carroll scenario appears to change not so much by the day as by the hour and explanations vary accordingly as the clock ticks down.
After ruling out an appearance, the manager is now saying a decision is unlikely until a late fitness test which may or may not be after the big fella has trained tomorrow.
The whole idea of course is to keep the opposition guessing until the last moment given the importance our manager places on the guy, despite a massive performance from the team last week – possibly our best of the season.
Our own information leads us still to believe that Michail Antonio will lead the attack at the start and that AC is likely to be on the bench.
That makes sense as it keep the Watford guessing game going on throughout the game as to his possible appearance!
Although Slav has mentioned the player has a small injury (groin) and David Gold had tweeted last week that he was set to play at Watford it never does any harm to build a smokescreen when circumstances allow.
However, we have been told that the injury is sorted and that it’s only a shortness of fitness which is causing a problem.
It’s an interesting sub plot to what should be an exciting Saturday evening.
The line up we’d like to see in Carroll’s absence – which we believe is the case – would be: Randolph; Byram, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Ayew, Kouyate, Obiang, Lanzini, Snodgrass, Antonio.
Slaven Bilic has to decide whether he goes with Aaron Cresswell or Arthur Masuaku at left back against Watford on Saturday.
With Andy Carroll facing a late fitness test the left back and central striker positions are the only two over which question marks currently exist.
It’s fair to assume that at best Caroll will come off the bench at some stage although the left side of defence will take some careful thought.
Cressie has resumed training after taking a knock which forced him off in the match against West Brom and suffered a dead leg as a result.
However, that is behind him and he will be competing with Masuaku for the position. The No 1’s form has been indifferent at times this season and the manager needs to decide whether this may be a good time to rest him.
Andre Ayew is also pushing for inclusion after getting two weeks training under his belt which means that only Angelo Ogbonna and Diafra Sakho remain sidelined.
Slaven Bilic has revealed that Andy Carroll will be given every chance of proving his fitness for the Premier League fixture against Watford on Saturday.
The situation on the big man took a new turn in the manager’s press conference when he explained: “Regarding the game against Watford, he’ll try to run today (Thursday) and if he’s good then maybe he has a chance to be in the squad for Saturday. To be fair I don’t think about Chelsea now.”
Having said earlier that AC won’t play Bilic declared: “I don’t want to rule him out for Watford. With Andy you never know, if he can run today and train tomorrow then maybe he will be in the squad for Saturday.
“This is not a big injury but he needs to play, he needs to be available and hopefully he will train tomorrow, whether he will be available for Saturday, that would be great but if not definitely Chelsea.
“He didn’t train yesterday but he was in the gym for an hour and a half. He’s a big lad, he gives everything and he is looking after himself.”
Carroll has been sidelined with a groin injury and was forced to miss the last game against West Brom at London Stadium.