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Foxes boss sends his squad a West Ham warning

Claude PuelLeicester City boss Claude Puel has warned his Foxes to expect a backlash from the Irons on Friday night!

The Hammers has been painted as a club in crisis with protests against the board, the defeat at Watford and the  appointment of David Moyes – which hasn’t received the wildest of welcomes.

But Puel has handed his squad two words of advice: “Be careful.”

He added: “West Ham fans want a reaction. We know this team at home with a new manager. We want to show good qualities.

“When a new manager arrives, it is always positivity for players to show their qualities and to try and win their place.

“It will be a strong game and it is important to keep focus to play this game. It’s a difficult game for them but also for us.”

“We are playing a crucial game for us because after losing to Manchester City it is important to bounce back in the Premier League, “ he said.

“We know it will be a difficult game. They have changed their manager like Everton did when we played them.

“It is a new challenge for us because we know the players of West Ham but they have had just one game played under the new manager at Watford.

“They can play with conviction of course but we will see the system and their ambition. The most important thing is to remain focused with good concentration on our own game.”

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Hammers will listen to offers for striker

carrollWest Ham will listen to any offer which may come in for Andy Carroll in the January window.

The player will have around 18 months left on his contract and this may be the last chance the Hammers will get some sort of fee for the £17 million front man.

There is  frustration within the club with Carroll who has seen four yellow cards and a red in seven Premier League appearances this season.

Alongside that was David Moyes’ revelation that he told him at half time during the Watford game that he would be subbing him given that he was in danger of being sent off.

Carroll’s injury record has caused constant problems but the niggling fouls that are regularly putting him at the referee’s mercy are now being seen as another growing issue.

The club know that should he be sold they will probably have to take a financial hit but would look for a fee of around £10 million plus.

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Noble begs fans to “stick by us”

 

Mark-Noble-640914Mark Noble has given a heartfelt interview in which he has begged the fans to stick with the team and told the players there must be no “talking behind backs.”

The captain – speaking to the official website – said: “The fans show their emotions, and rightly so because they’re not happy and they pay a lot of money to come and watch us.

“I know it’s hard, I know they’re frustrated, and we are too because we know we’re better than what we’re showing, but I urge them to stick by us and hopefully the good times will come back.

“As much as we’re not performing on the pitch at the minute, we need them to stick by us.”
Discussing the latest defeat at Watford he said: “To be honest, we went into the game with a lot of belief. We have done a lot of work in the last couple of weeks but we conceded an early goal and it’s an uphill battle from there.

“We had two good chances to equalise in the first half but in the end, I thought Watford were the better team. They have been together with their manager for a while and we’ve had a couple away on international duty and we’ve trained with our young lads.

“But it could have been a different if we’d finished our chances but that’s the way it’s going at the moment. There’s a bit of a lack of belief in our players and I think we showed it.

“You have to stick together and work hard and as soon as you start having a go at each other and talking behind each other’s back, it becomes hard.

“Do I believe we have got enough and will be OK? Yes, I do. ”

 

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Moyes gets Antonio boost

antonio2707abcMichail Antonio is back in training and has an outside chance of making the team for Friday night’s clash against Leicester.

The Hammer of the Year was back on the Rush Green training pitch yesterday with David Moyes desperate for his athleticism in the team against the Foxes.

We understand that he has recovered from his rib injury and is now being given a better than 50-50 per cent chance of making the team.

The midfielder was last seen as a late sub in the Palace match when a last minute error led to an equaliser for the bottom of the table outfit.

But he is desperate to return and his return to training is a big boost for new boss Moyes.

The manager will also have Marko Arnautovic available along with Andre Ayew who has recovered from illness and although he may be in the squad, James Collins is unlikely to star.

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Carroll Service Needs Shake-Up

Well that and lot’s of other tactical insights but I couldn’t resist the festive headline. Perhaps I’ve been indoctrinated by the premature Christmas music on my trip to the supermarket to grab some milk earlier today.

Anyway.  . . .  I digress. You poor long suffering Hammers fans have had enough misery during the last few days without me doing an impression of the Grinch. The Grinch for those of you who don’t know is a green goblin like creature who stole Christmas from a town of well meaning happy go lucky folk and ruined the festive season (you can probably see where this is going ).

Christmas is traditionally seen as the cut-off doom and gloom junction by which all of football sets its calendar. I’m no stats man and I’m sure there are exceptions but the gist of the theory is that if you’re bottom when Santa arrives you’re doomed. I probably don’t need to point out that West Ham are not bottom of course but the run of fixtures coming up does not bode well and it’s feasible that we’ll be down there on December 25th.

Before we all take major solice in the fact that we’re not quite as crap as Swansea or Palace it is worth noting that Sunderland were 18th in the league at turkey time last season and they still went down. Our current manager David Moyes was at the helm but could do little to stop the slide and he often opted to play seasoned pro’s like John O’Shea, Jermain Defoe and vice captain Lee Cattermole. There was a mild roll of the dice which saw him bring in Adnan Januzaj whom he’d worked with previously but by and large Moyes relied on his senior players and it failed.

We can only hope that the new West Ham manager has learnt from his recent experience because time is not on his side. Moyes had spent much of the build-up to the Watford game praising the virtues of Andy Carroll but he must have seen that plainly and simply the target man looked like a liability. Big Andy and a few others must not be indulged because they are senior players and because of the achievements of yesteryear. We don’t have the luxury of giving players five or six games to see what they can do.

It’s an oversimplification but we have 26 games remaining and probably need to win 11 of them. Clearly one can cut and slice the remaining games and reach the magic 40 point mark by throwing some draws into the mix but the fact remains that we don’t have time to adapt. If players are going to perform in the limp fashion they did on Sunday then they need to be jettisoned irrespective of reputation.

We have a striker scoring goals for fun in the reserves and a playmaker in Domingos Quina who was player of the tournament in the recent Euro championships and is coveted by Europe’s mega clubs. It’s time for a bit of bravery and a gamble from the manager, it’s one thing telling the players that you’ll only accept 100% but they are empty words unless backed up with action.

It’s time for a shake-up and after one game certainly time to ditch the Christmas pudding up front formation.

 

 

The views in this blog are not necessarily those of Claret & Hugh so make sure you blame me for calling Andy Carroll a Christmas pudding.

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Cottee should have condemned the foul mouthed abuse

cummingsFormer Hammers striker Tony Cottee recently tried to explain on Sky Sports the frustrations West Ham fans are experiencing right now – citing the move from the Boleyn and the board’s claims to move us on to bigger and better things at the LS as part of the reason.

Here ClaretandHugh Faceboook group member Allen Cummings  takes issue with TC on a couple of things he didn’t say! 

Tony Cottee is a typical favourite son of West Ham and West Ham fans.

He’s a local lad who came up through the ranks to make it big! (And he scored on his debut against the Spuds).No wonder he’s still a big favourite. He was a player. He’s now a pundit. And he’s still clearly very much a fan.

cottee-442007But I have to take issue with his attempt on Sky Sports to explain why some so called fans are reacting the way they are. TC says we’re all frustrated. We are. He says we’re angry. He’s not wrong.

But we’re not all acting like the vile, foul-mouthed morons who are spitting out their abuse at games and peddling it across social media.

In his role as a pundit, Cottee must be fully aware of what’s being put about in the name of West Ham. And in my opinion he should be condemning it out of hand. Not seeking to justify it. He had to opportunity to state emphatically the kind of vile, vicious personal abuse being bandied about has no part in the game. But he didn’t.

He chose to ignore it. He didn’t seize the opportunity to differentiate between justified criticism, of which there is plenty to say, and disgusting, derogatory personal attacks. In choosing not to make that divide clear by condemning it, he has left himself open to being accused of doing the opposite, and condoning it.

Challenged directly, I’m sure he would claim that isn’t the case at all. But if that’s true then why didn’t he make that crystal clear? He had an opportunity to establish a line between what’s acceptable and what’s not. I’m hugely disappointed he chose not to take it!

The views expressed here are solely those of the blogger and are not necessarily shared by ClaretandHugh

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London Stadium report to be delivered to Mayor

mayorThe long-awaited report into the finances of London Stadium will be delivered to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s desk by the end of this week and will be published in early December.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London previously told Claret and Hugh:  “The Moore Stephens review is investigating decisions made about the construction of the stadium and what contractual commitments were made for the stadium’s conversion and operation – all of which has involved Moore Stephens speaking to a number of decision-makers that are no longer with the relevant organisations, which in some cases no longer exist, and that has taken some time. It is expected that Moore Stephens will provide their report to the Mayor by the end of November and we fully intend to publish their findings before the end of the year.”  

It is understood that the long overdue report will blame the ‘onerous’  99-year agreement the public body entered into with West Ham. Claret and Hugh understand that Moore Stephens did finally speak to West Ham in the past week before finalising their report.

Moore Stephens was paid £140,000 to produce the independent report on the narrative explanation of the history of the London Stadium, understand key decision points and investigate the ongoing financial viability of the stadium.

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Newham discusses London Stadium ownership in secret

walesNewham council is tonight discussing their continued part ownership of the London Stadium. The Newham cabinet led by West Ham fan Sir Robin Wales is holding the cabinet meeting at Newham townhall this evening which started at 5 pm.

On a packed agenda is item No.17 to discuss Newham Legacy Investments which owns 35% of E20 stadium in return for a £40m investment loaned to them by Newham council.  The two-page secret report reveals only that it is an update on NLI and possible options going forward. The details are classified as restricted and are not available to the public as part of a bumper 1,215-page meeting pack. The public is also excluded from that part of the meeting.

 

Newham finds themselves between a rock and a hard place, they have seen no repayments of the £40m they loaned the Investment vehicle and face the situation where they could be required to contribute more taxpayers money to cover ongoing stadium operating losses if they don’t want to forfeit their share of the London Stadium.

Majority stadium owners London Legacy Development Corporation claim they will need to inject a further £21.1m of working capital into the stadium and therefore Newham, in theory, could be asked to contribute 35% of that sum which is around £7.3m.

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Youngsters handed big chances

westleyAcademy boss Terry Westley will send out one of his youngest teams in tonight’s Premier League International Cup clash against Benfica at Billericay.

Two fifteen year olds, Will Greenidge and Josh Akotcha, will be handed a chance to impress in a game although the  Hammers  cannot now advance to the later stages.

However, Benfica can, and that means the youngsters will be put to a stern test.

Westley told CandH: “We have a busy programme over the next few days with Arsenal on Friday at Borehamwood and a Checkatrade Trophy game at Wycombe Wanderers next Tuesday.

“Tonight’s team will include the two under 16 year olds and three under 18s as I keep an eye on the match against Arsenal. It’s a very big opportunity for them as this is the Benfica B team and are extremely talented.

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Boo…hiss – where the board have got it wrong!

Larger me

ClaretandHugh is delighted to welcome Mike Manera of ‘Mike on Monday’ fame as our latest exclusive blogger. Mike is claret and blue to his backbone and in his first piece for us, addresses the burning issues facing the club. Welcome aboard Michael!

Boo! Hiss! Naughty people our board. They are very far from prefect…. But have they destroyed / ruined our club? Do they really deserve the vitriol being lashed down on them from the away end at Watford? And does booing and jeering Andy Carroll achieve anything positive, other than making you feel better for doing it ( that is quite a positive).

Personally, I don’t believe the board have ruined our club. They are far from perfect though. But before I have a closer look at what I think they have got wrong and right, let me explain where I am coming from. I am a season ticket holder in the cheap seats, three rows from God in Block 228.

I have never met any member of the board, or been anywhere near an executive box. I’m just a supporter, who happens to have been a stand-up comedian for many years and does an “entertaining” Vlog show called Mike On Monday. What I’m saying is I’m no board mouthpiece. I’m a mad keen Hammers supporter with no axe to grind, other than wanting the best for our club.

So with that in mind, here is where I think the board have got it wrong…

·         They Oversold the Stadium Move:

Personally, I like the new stadium. Yes, it has its flaws, but the move essentially means more West Ham fans get to watch their team play. Mind you, with some of the football we’ve had to watch that is more of a curse than a blessing. Still, the idea is a good one.

But… “World class football in a world class stadium”, “Next level”, “Champions league in five years” etc etc etc. It doesn’t matter that they never “promised” those things. They actually said they would work towards it. It doesn’t even matter that those quotes aren’t strictly correct. Those quotes are what I heard because as a fan, that’s what I wanted to hear.

People always take a rough approximation of what is actually said, and apply what they want to hear. It happens all the time. That is the only reason that The Conservative Party win elections. The board know this. They are clever people and have their own advisers who also know this. And they were happy to let us think it because it suited them at the time.

·         David Sullivan:

Oi, David. A word of advice… Dude, you are doing way too much. You can’t be the owner, director of football, chairman, CEO, a scout, PR bloke, senior tweeter, contract negotiator and Lord knows’ what else all at the same time. I can’t think of another club with such a hands-on owner. Even if you don’t do all of those things, it seems to us that you do. You come across as a control freak. As owners go you are not actually that bad, but you need some senior executives and a bit of distance mate.

·         PR:

Karen Brady’s factually incorrect spouting in a newspaper, numerous tweets and media quotes from DS. I fully expect the West Ham PR manager to die early or at least to be seriously burned from all the fires he has to put out. Please think before you tweet/write/open your big mouth. The collateral damage from constantly shooting yourself in the foot is killing you.

The problem with the verbose outpourings is they hide what the club DOES manage to do. Lady Brady’s piece on transfer spending was factually wrong, which means that us fans don’t believe it. But if you use the same calculations that are used to disprove her, then you will see that we HAVE spent a lot of money over the past three years. Just not as much as she said we have. But that point has been lost due to our Lady’s bombast.

We have a half decent team on paper (though sadly, not on the pitch), the board are trying (unlike the team), they just lack direction. Yes, they need a much better dialogue with us supporters. They need to back chuckling David Moyes with some serious dough in January. But ask yourself this… Do you really want a change of owner?

Name another Premier League club where the owners have a genuine connection with the club? Or a genuine connection with the area? Have you seen what’s happened at Nottingham Forest? At Leeds? Or even at Birmingham since our two sold up? They were big clubs once. And let’s face it, the same thing has already happened to us with the Icelandic bankers. Fortunately, we were saved from that fate by… Oh, you know.

SACK THE BOARD?

I won’t be singing sack the board on Friday. It’s an empty gesture. The owners are the board, they will never sack themselves. All you are doing by singing that is a) making yourself feel better and look good in front of your mates, and b) digging an opinion trench. And as everyone knows, if one side digs a trench, the other side digs a trench as well. And then there will be no hope of dialogue or movement. We need dialogue, we need movement.

Do we need change? Yes, we really do. I know “Employ a sporting director” hasn’t got the same ring to it, but that’s what needs to happen. For us as a team and a club to move forward we need we need some serious football professionals on that board, and helping to run the club along with the Davids. We need direction.

We need to apply pressure in an organised way. Try joining the West Ham Independent Supporters Association (enquiries@whuisa.org) or any other supporters group and apply pressure that way. If enough of us do, they will listen. Just don’t start protesting at games. Instead, support the team, they need us.

The views expressed here are solely those of the blogger and are not necessarily shared by ClaretandHugh