McAvennie and Cottee happened by accident…is history set to repeat itself? TC gives his view as Brighton looms

TCotteeSome of the great things in this wonderful game happen purely by accident – ask Tony Cottee!

It was the toughest luck in the world that Paul Goddard damaged his shoulder during the opening 1985-85 season opening at Birmingham at St Andrew’s and when Frankie Mac grabbed two in the next game somthing bigger and bigger happened!

But the result was that whilst poor Sarge was out for six months, Frank McAvennie and TC went on a goal scoring partnership which led us into our highest ever league placing.

And with Andy Carroll ruled out of Friday’s night game Cottee told ClaretandHugh there’s got to be a chance that history could repeat itself given the options now available to the manager.

He said: “I don’t know what he will do but there has to be a chance that Diafra Sakho and Chicharito will be involved in the same team and who knows what may happen.”

Cottee refuses to be drawn into the heated debate surrounding Carroll’s absence but repeated his belief that Sakho is the best striker at the club.

He said: “Whilst I have yet to see Slaven play two up as a partnership  he may look for a different option against Brighton and Diafra has to come into his thinking.

“Antonio and Arnautovic will have to play and I’d very much like to see Chicharito through the middle with Sakho one side or the other of him.”

Cottee is convinced that all the signs from Burnley are that the team is ready to blossom and that Brighton is a game we should be looking forward to with real hopes of three points.

He said: “That would push us into mid table and then as a Hammers family we need to get behind the team and the manager as we push on. Let’s be positive about things. Yes it was disappointing that 10 men couldn’t get three points but that should tell us a lot.

“This is a top squad with great spirit which offers lots of options and we saw some very good football being playedat Turf Moor despite the unfortunate circumstances – and there’s better to come.”


Heads up…there’s great stuff happening at West Ham

tonimartinez2What do Pablo Zabaleta, Michail Antonio and Manu Lanzini have in common apart probably from being our three best players?

Answer: A combined transfer fee of £15 million – less than the fees paid for Chicharito, Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovicm and the combined value apparently of Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte.

There’s a widespread misapprehension when every summer comes around a club has to spend anything up to £40m or £50m if they are going to that famous “next level.”

Don’t believe me? Look at Everton!

Our top trio are proving the point that you really don’t need to be doing that stuff if you have a great scouting networ and youth policy operating.

AntonioAmid all the gloom surrounding the season so far I have been delighted to see not only the contribution of those three in particular but that of Declan Rice earlier in the campaign and the amazing potential being shown by Toni Martinez and Nathan Holland plus several other youngsters.

These guys are growing up with a passion for the club which is grooming them for the big time and watching the team produce some great results in the Premier League second tier after promotion is brilliant.

Yes we may well need the big priced player here and there but I can’t help feeling we pay too much heed to the cash thing.

Look a little deeper at what has and is happening at this club right now and there are many positives among the bargain buys and fine youngsters growing up in our great club.



Hammers have big chance to leap up PL

Jose-Fonte-640758West Ham’s League position may become slightly more realistic following the match against Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday night.

For the game means that we will go all square with every other Premier League team in terms of home games played and until the weekend  at least we may get a better idea of where it puts us in the pecking order.

Because of our unfortunate away day start to the season we have played just three games at the LS with all other clubs playing four on their home ground.

A win over the south coast team would lift us into 10th place and it’s a game which Jose Fonte has declared we must win.

Speaking to the official site he said: “We must move on and now we have to beat Brighton at home.”

Slaven Bilic looks certain to name another highly attacking team as was the case in the last to home games and the much desired Chicharito/Diafra Saho pairing is more likely than at any stage this season.

Fonte said: “We have great attacking players going forward, but we also know that in this division we have to do the job defensively as well. As long as we do that we will be okay.

The defender also gave his praise for goal-scorer Antonio, who netted his first finish of the season in the draw with the Clarets.

“We all know what Michail offers. He’s a powerful boy and he gives us a dimension of energy and physicality. I’m not surprised he scored. He creates problems for defenders. It’s good to have him in the team.”




Big Martinez decision looming as U23s roar on

westleyWest Ham’s under 23s lifted themselves into third place behind the merseyside clubs Liverpool and Everton in Premier League 2 with their great 4-2 win over Manchester United yesterday (Sun).

And given they have been without inspirational skipper Declan Rice until yesterday the newly promoted Hammers can be delighted with their brilliant start.

They have collected 13 points from their seven outings; Everton are on 16 points from seven and Liverpool 18 from six.

Yesterday’s win left Manchester United rock bottom with just five points from seven games accompanied on the same points tally as Sunderland and Spurs.

Academy boss Terry Westley claims that a top six placing at the end of the season would be an outstanding performance from the squad.

He said: “I always had a lot of confidence in this group but they are excelling themselves. What needs to happen now is to keep collecting points until Christmas hen we will have to make decisions about the loan possibilities of such as Domingos Quina and Martin Samuelsen.

The win over United was achieved without either of them and Sead Haksabanovic which is exciting as of course is the exceptional form of Toni Martinez.

He has scored seven goals this season and there’s a big decision to be made on whether he stays with us or goes out on a Championship loan. Either way he is giving all the indications that he will be a great player for this club.”


Carroll told: “Your game belongs to the 80s”

Image result for Tony Cascarino images

Tony Cascarino has told Andy Carroll his style of play belongs in the 80s!

The former striker was very similar to the Hammers hitman in his heyday but claims he is a throwback to the 80s in his latest column in The Times.

He said: “Andy Carroll is playing a game that belongs in the Eighties. I was a big centre forward myself and had a no-nonsense style of play, but it’s impossible to get away with playing like that now.

“You can’t be a Premier League striker and play the way Carroll does, the laws of the game just don’t allow it. He picked up two bookings in 99 seconds in the first half of West Ham’s draw against Burnley on Saturday for two stupid challenges.

“You can’t play with your elbows out and make those fearless challenges that he does. It feels like he has had so many injuries that he’s got braver and more daft, like he’s trying to make up for lost time.

“In his whole career the 28-year-old has only started 162 league games, which averages 15 games a season. He’s played the career of a guy who should be about 24, 25.”


Bilic’s onwards and upward message

bilicSlaven Bilic doesn’t believe there is any comparison to be made between the Turf Moor point and the way the team has performed in earlier games.

And he is looking forward to Brighton and beyond with serious optimism so long as the lads can continue to play in the same way.

He said: “If you are comparing how we played in the last game with how we played on Saturday, especially when it was eleven against eleven, we were much better on Saturday.

“We were dangerous, we were attacking with many players and that’s why we had really missed players like Lanzini and Antonio, who is now back to his fitness and everything. It was really good and we have to build on this.

“I knew we would have a difficult start, because we had to play three away games, but more than that we were playing without three or four important players for us, especially if we’re talking about the players who are game-changers when we have the ball.

“Now, with Lanzini back, with Arnautovic back and with Michail Antonio getting into his really good fitness after a long break, it is looking much better.

“We are really looking forward with a lot of optimism, if we continue to play like this and work like this, then we should get many, many points.”

But he remains very unhappy with Andy Carroll saying of his sending off: “OK the first one can happen, but the second one, he has experience and he cannot go into that challenge, especially when you are playing away from home, two minutes after you got booked.

“I’m very disappointed with what he has done. It is important, but at the end of the day it’s not very important if it was deliberate or not, but you can’t do it with that experience that you have.”


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Former Hammer hero relives gambling horrors

hartsonFormer Hammers striker John Hartson has told how his one time massive gambling problem all but wrecked his marriage.

Hartson will be eternally grateful to Gambler Annonyous for freeing him of a habit which was destroying his life and should serve as a warning for those who enjoy a bet – it can lead to real trouble.

The big striker joined the Irons in 1997 remaining until ’99.  In his first season, he scored five league goals from eleven games and was instrumental in helping West Ham rise from 18th  to 14th position.

The next season saw him finish, with 24 goals in 42 games in all competitions, as West Ham’s top scorer

Writing in the Daily Mail he says: ” It’s when you start opening accounts with the betting firms that the roof starts falling in for people, like me, who are addicted gamblers. It’s like Monopoly money then, because it’s all on account. You’re not holding the notes in your hand. You’re not seeing it go.

I had accounts with seven or eight different companies in the end.  If one account runs down, you can use another. And the accounts mean you can hide what you’re doing very well. You can place a bet while you’re sitting down to dinner with your family or having a conversation with your wife.

In my case, that’s Sarah — the woman who kept things on the road for us in the most challenging times you could imagine eight years ago. I’d been diagnosed with cancer and while I was in hospital, in and out of consciousness after major brain surgery, she was the rock of our little family.

She was pregnant, she looked after the children, she ran the household and then — despite everything she had done — I came out of hospital and carried on with the gambling. This was a man who earned millions. My wife couldn’t pay the bills.

It was because of Sarah that I stopped in the end. She’d had enough of my walking in from trips, ignoring her and the girls, going straight to the TV and turning on a cricket match, golf tournament or horse race I had £5,000 on.

She made a decision to pack her bags and leave me. ‘I won’t put my girls through this,’ she said. I remember those words like it was yesterday.

So the penny dropped then. I ended up at Gamblers Anonymous and it’s saved me. I’ve found other ways to protect myself, too. I do football TV analysis work week-in, week-out, and every single penny goes into my wife’s bank account.

It’s six years this month since I last placed a bet and the effect of having kicked it makes me feel free and alive. We’ve just bought a beautiful piece of land south of Edinburgh, where we’re creating a home. The children are settling into their new surroundings.

For more information go to www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk



Carroll gets ‘soft’ fine for red card

Andy Carroll will be fined around £45,000 for his red card against Burnley at the weekend.

Reports that the striker will be hit with a two week wage fine are incorrect and the Geordie’s indiscretion instead will be hit with a fine which represents a pretty lenient punishment given the severity of the crime.

There is real fury inside the London Stadium at the way Carroll decided to launch a second offence so soon after the first which had even team mate Pablo Zabaleta condemning him as ‘nasty.’

But there is a standard punishment for yellow and red cards and Carroll escaped the full ONE week wage fine which he would have received for a straight sending off.

We have learned that the standard fines written into contract amount to a week’s wages for a straight sending off and half a week for two yellows.




Zabaleta slams Carroll elbowing as “nasty”

zaba2Pablo Zabaleta has slammed Andy Carroll and branded after his double elbowing at Turf Moor as ‘nasty.’

The Hammers right-back has had no hesitation in joining the attack on the big centre-forward who now misses the match against Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday.

Carroll got the rocket from Zaba for the elbows on James Tarkowski and Ben Mee which left us battling with 10 men for over an hour at Turf Moor.

Zaba fumed: “I think Andy’s challenges were a bit nasty. Andy is a big man. He always goes 100 percent for the ball in the air.

“From my point of view, it looks aggressive, especially the second one when he knew he was on a yellow already.

“We need to try to play 11 v 11 for the whole game, especially when you are winning 1-0.

“You can’t give an advantage to the other team.

“We were 1-0 up and we need to be a bit more clever in these situations.”


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Obiang turns out for West Ham Ladies

OBIANGPedro Obiang showed his support for the West Ham Ladies this afternoon as they took on Coventry Ladies at Rush Green stadium.

The West Ham midfielder was a surprise supporter standing by the side of the pitch flanked by two security guards. However, the security guards didn’t need to bother as the crowd of around one hundred supporters were there to watch Ladies football and many didn’t know who he was and no-one bothered him.

Obiang explained he had planned to go to the London Stadium to watch the Under 23’s but instead came to Rush Green to show his support for the West Ham Ladies.

West Ham Co-Chairman David Sullivan and West Ham Ladies managing director Jack Sullivan were also present at the game to show their support. On a delightfully warm and sunny Sunday afternoon the girls went one nil down on 20 minutes only to pull it back to one all by half-time thanks to a goal by Ezekiel-Meade. Despite a gutsy performance, the Hammers Ladies lost 2-1 to Coventry by the full-time whistle.

The next West Ham Ladies game at Rush Green will be played on Sunday 29 October at 2pm against Crystal Palace. Entry is free for West Ham Season Ticket Holders, Members and U16 with Adults charged £2