Rice decision is bad news

Declan Rice’s decision not to even consider swapping alleigance from the Republic to England is a blow for Gareth Southgate and whoever follows him into the international manager’s job.

Assuming I can find a stream, I’ll be tuning into the Republic v Turkey game tonight hoping Dec will be playing as I consider him the best thing to come out of West Ham in many years.

Basically a central defender, he has played right and left of the back four plus moved into midfield when injuries have intervened this season.

I want to see how he adapts to international level and should Martin O’Neill select him it will be another testimony to the lad’s’ promise.  

He is currently experiencing  his first involvement with Martin O’Neill’s side proper, having previously trained with them before last year’s trip to America. England boss Gareth Southgate said in January he was keen on London-born Rice, who can play in midfield or defence.

But the 19-year-old said: “There’s no decision to be made. I have not had a call from the FA and England have never wanted me at under-age level — it’s always been Ireland. Asked if he would meet Southgate for a chat, Rice added: “No, not at all. I’m fully focused on Ireland.”


Moyes reckons he’s here for the long haul

David Moyes has settled in for the long haul at West Ham – seemingly regardless of which division we are in.

The Hammers boss has dropped his heaviest hint yet that he will be here next season and is currently deciding where pre-season will be condcuted.

Speaking to the official site he said: ““I’m actually going to use the end of the week and over the weekend to go and visit the pre-season sites for where we’re going to pre-season, so I’ll try and go and get that done correctly.

En route, I’ll take in a game or two and see if I can see some of the players play in international games. I want to do it myself and make sure that we get things right.

There are things that I’m doing that I’ve done in the past and I’ve got to go and see two or three training sites and I’m going to spend this weekend going and looking at pre-season camps and getting everything in place for the start of next season, really.”


Who is your Hammer of the year?

We are getting to that point of the season when the club usually asks supporters to choose their Hammer of the year The inaugural Hammer of the year award  in 1958 coincided with West Ham winning the Division Two title and clinching promotion to the top tier. For the first award the selection of the winner was chosen by the Stratford Express newspaper. From 1959 onwards the Hammer fans voted for their favourite player. Until recently the trophy was presented by the West Ham United Supporters’ Club which was retained in their clubhouse at castle street but recent years it has been part of an awards dinner Last season the Hammer of the year selected by supporters was Michail Antonio with Manuel Lanzini picking up the runner-up spot.

Tell us your Hammer of the year below in the Claret and Hugh poll:

If you have problems voting click here http://poll.fm/5xm8h

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Arsenal away is moved

West Ham’s  Premier League trip to Arsenal will now be played on Sunday 22 April, with a 1.30pm kick-off.

The Hammers were originally due to make the short journey to Emirates Stadium a day later for the Sky Sports-televised game, but the London derby has now been rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the Hammers’ home match against Manchester City will remain on Sunday 29 April at 2.15pm, unless Pep Guardiola’s side qualify for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

In that scenario, the game would be played on Saturday 28 April with a 12.30pm kick-off. The game would still be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

The lastest re-schedule means all of the Hammers four games in April are set to broadcast on Sky Sports.

West Ham’s games against Southampton in two weeks time and an away game against Leicester City remain the only games to be played at the traditional 3 pm kick off on a Saturday.


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Collins sweats it out

James Collins is facing a scan on a possible hamstring injury this afternoon after leaving the action against Dagenham and Redbridge in last night’s friendly at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

‘Ginge’ has appeared to become particularly injury prone this season but left last night’s action seemingly as a precautionary measure.

He is understood to have ‘felt’ the injury after half an hour last night and decided to leave the action immediately, not wanting to take any chances that he would make himself unavailable for the Southampton game.

We understand that he is off to the hospital this afternoon but although there is optimism that he may be available for the Southampton match, the scan will determine the outcome.

Should he be unavailable for the Saints match it seems likely that Declan Rice will be drafted into the back line alongside Angelo Ogbonna assuming he comes back from international duty fit and ready for action.

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West Ham may have found their game changer at last

Nathan Holland showed enough last night at Dagenham to suggest he can make a big difference to the Hammers even before the end of this perilous season.

Last night’s was only his second game back since a serious injury and whilst there is no chance of him starting against Southampton, a place on the bench looks a real possibility.

Yes, I know it was ‘only’ the Daggers but flair and ability shows at any level and even after such a long while away, young Nathan appears to have that in abundance.

He showed a regular ability to go by defenders on the outside or in – a gift that is a dying  in the modern game and although the final ball was missing last night that will come.

I believe the lad has a limited role to play over the next few games and that should things be running the wrong way he can be used to come on as a sub who clearly has the ability to change things.

It maybe an appearance as short as ten minutes or so but it could make the difference in a season where we need a game changer.

It’s a lot to ask of a teenager but should things not be going well I feel convinced this this is the one player at the club who really could take even Premier League clubs by surprise.

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Westley assesses his kids at Daggers

Academy director Terry Westley was at Dagenham and Redbridge last night and taking a special interest in his young protegees as they attempted to impress manager David Moyes.

Here he assesses five of the youngsters on display for ClaretandHugh:

Alfie Lewis: “I thought he had a good game. In terms of technical ability he has a lot going for him and always took the ball nicely and used it well.”

Josh Pask (right): He did really well at central defence which is a difficult position against Dagenham as they have two very lively strikers. If I was him walking into training today I would have my chest puffed out.”

Nathan Holland: He’s had a very long injury lay off and did really well in the first half but not unnaturally, tired in the second. However, he showed what he’s got.”

Nathan Barrett: This lad has had awful problems for 18 months with shin splints. That’s involved him having sugar supplements and injections so it was great to see him perform so well.

Anthony Scully: Excellent when he came on – he’s another exciting prospect for us.


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Hammers at Dagenham: How they all rated

The Hammers did their bit for nearly skint Dagenham and Redbridge last night who are in desperate financial straits.

We rook a decent side to the Chigwell Contstruction Stadium and finally ran out 3-1 winners via goals from Michail Antonio (2) and Jordan Hugill.

The Daggers played their part in an entertaining game although there was still a bit too much sideways and backward movement from the Irons.

However, Antonio looks to be coming back to better form whilst young Nathan Holland gave a taste of what we can expect with some exciting runs on the right.

And personally I thought we looked a better team at the end of the game when we had more of the academy boys on the pitch!

Here’s our ratings:

Adrian: A couple of great stops – nothing wrong with that performance 6

Zabaleta: What you see is what you get as ever – no complaints 6 (Johnson – did ok, a player ro keep an eye on 5),

Collins: Off injured almost on the half hour – saw a lot of ball – scan today 5 (Pask: Very good player and superb pass for second goal 7),

Cresswell: This isn’t the Cressie of old with too many crosses going astray 5 (Powell Strong in possession 6)

Evra: Did nothing wrong but it all happened in slow motion 5 (Akinola 90),

Holland: He really does look an exciting prospect but lack of match action took toll in second half 6

(Scully: Very neat and tidy, received the ball well and always looking forward  6),

Noble: Decent no frills performance 6

(Barrett No complaints – kept things moving 5)

Lewis: Very good performance indeed – went past players and can really pick a pass 7

Masuaku: Lots of the quick feet stuff without creating a big opening but he needs games 6

Antonio  Two goals and always a threat but still waiting for that blistering pace of old 7

Hugill: First game and not a lot of show to be honest – lack of control a worry but late goal may help him 5






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We got the best deal with West Ham we could get

The West Ham concessionaire agreement for the London Stadium was labelled “too long” and laden with “too much detail” London Assembly members were told yesterday. With only West Ham at the negotiating table, former LLDC deputy chairman David Edmunds explained that the corporation were left in a very weak position.

“At the end of the day, this was the best deal we could get. I think we were in a negotiating position that you never like to be in, in life. Where there is only one person the other side of the table, who has the option not to do the deal,” said Edmonds.

Former LLDC Chairman Neale Coleman said: “The form of the concession agreement was largely determined by the legal advice that we received at the time from Allen & Overy. Bearing in mind we knew there would be litigation… rightly or wrongly we did what the lawyers told us to do in terms of framing the concession agreement, I don’t think we had any choice.The structure of the agreement and the way that it worked was determined by the legal advice we received at the time.”

Edmonds added: “I think the contract was too long. I think there was too much detail in it. I think West Ham were very tough negotiators.

Coleman insisted yesterday, however, the accord was not “crock of gold for West Ham”.

Edmonds said: “There is a mentality inside West Ham that sees litigation as the first port of call. There was a time when we were receiving a legal letter a week.[The future partnership] a bit of a shift in attitude in the behaviours of the West Ham side of the partnership.”

Allen & Overy global head of infrastructure Dave Lee told  City AM:

“LLDC were our Client and like all of our clients, we advised them (the commercial team, who in turn reported regularly to their board) on the legal aspects of the deal. LLDC then made its decisions based on the commercial outcome they were seeking to achieve.

“For this deal, like every other we work on, any commercial decision taken by a client is only taken after receiving all sorts of detailed advice (legal, technical and financial) over a lengthy period and in the light of the circumstances being faced by the Client at the time a deal is struck (here, as LLDC is a public body, following a public competition and giving appropriate weight to the selection criteria, including legacy objectives).

“Our role ended some years ago and so we have no knowledge of any of the current disputes referred to in the media and so cannot comment on how they relate to any agreement with West Ham.”

The full two-hour committee meeting can be viewed at https://www.london.gov.uk/budget-monitoring-sub-committee-2018-03-21

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Antonio reckons he has the goals to keep us up

Michael Antonio grabbed a couple of goals in last night’s fund raising friendly for Dagenham and Redbridge and then declared: “I’ve feel I’ve got the goals in me to keep West Ham up.”

The striker is arriving back at his best form and also believes the trip to Miami has helpd the lads explaining that ‘going away got the boys to gel together and kind of bond.’

And he added: “Every day you come to training and not really speak to players and there was be a bad vibe going around as we’re not winning games.

“The gaffer thought to take us away and change the mood, get a bit of sun into our systems and play a couple of bonding games and then we could come back and kick forward.

“The atmosphere is good. We went out there and we’ve come back in a good place. All the boys are enjoying and hopefully we can go out there and show what we can do.”

His message to the fans is simple: ‘Don’t give up on us’ as in the situation we’re in, we’re going to need them. It’s not just us or just them in this situation, we’re all in this situation together so we’ll keep fighting and keep pushing together.”

“To be honest, it was a decent game. They turned up and they tried to play a bit of football, so it was all positive, there was a nice vibe and we enjoyed it.

“I feel I’ve got the goals in me to keep West Ham up. I’ve got nine goals in each of the last two seasons and this season hasn’t been going well for me as I’ve had quite a few injuries.

“But I’ve come back now and scored two goals in the league and got a couple today, so hopefully I can keep pushing forward.”