Wilshere woe again as chickens come home to roost

Sadly it’s becoming all too apparent why so many supporters shared so many reservations about signing Jack Wilshere at all – never mind on a three year deal.

If we believe what we hear, the board were among them – happy to do a 12 month contract –  but given his injury record not at all keen on three years.

Manuel Pellegrini, however, is understood to have seen him as one of the creative midfielder that he so favours and as a result he was given that deal which is slowly beginning to look more than a bit worrying.

For hidden away, almost in the small print of the manager’s presser ahead of the Fulham match, was the news that once again the former Gooner – reportedly on £100k a week – will be missing at Craven Cottage.

He has made four appearances and one bit part showing at Newcastle and has been amongst the least effective arrivals at the club.

His ankle remains a problem apparently and this is already beginning to look like Andy Carroll revisited.

Ok, mistakes are often made in the transfer market but I’m not sure we have ever seen chickens coming home to roost quite as quickly as on this one!


Pelle reckons players are enjoying life

Manuel Pellegrini believes the players are thoroughly enjoying playing the attacking game he has brought to West Ham United.

And he believes the team is getting better telling reporters at the pre-Fulham presser:: “The results say we are improving and we are scoring goals, which is not easy, especially, in this league and this season, to win three games in a row and score three goals in each game.

But we must be very careful about that because things change in football and two or three balls can quickly change the result, so we must continue working in the same way we are doing now.

In our worst moment, I always say the same. We are improving and we are in the correct way and now we must keep these good results going.

It was my mentality to try to bring an attacking approach to this club – you must try to score as many goals as you can in each game and not, because you scored one, go only in your box and try to defend.

I think the players are enjoying the way we are playing. I repeat, we must continue to be a very balanced team in both defending and attacking because all together, the more mistakes you make, the more goals you concede and the more chances you miss, the less goals you score and you are not going to win the games.

I think, overall, we are improving.”

ClaretandHugh says: Good words from the boss but he could have added, when discussing that the players are enjoying the way he is playing that, that the same applies to the fans who are witnessing a rebirth of old principles at this club. What we are seeing is an approach which we once called ‘the West Ham Way’ and which the likes of Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce, big buddies by the way, claimed not to recognise or understand. Odd really because it is simply attractive football played to feet at pace. Ah, wait, perhaps BFS  wouldn’t get that! However, having got it right at the front is one thing but it would be reassuring to see a little more solidity at the back but on what we have seen during the first 16 games of the season suggests the level of improvement will find its way into that area as well although we may have to wait until the summer.

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Injury doubts for Fulham clash

(Photo by West Ham United FC/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Jack Wilshere has again been ruled out of Saturday’s fixture with an ankle injury  and with Lucas Perez involved in a fitness race, the Irons are again on the back foot.

Speaking to reporters at the pre-Fulham presser manager Maneul Pellegrini revealed:”Jack Wilshere continues his treatment with his ankle. He will not be involved in this game.

“Lucas Perez has a pain in his instep [after being injured during the first half of last Saturday’s win over Crystal Palace]. We are reviewing it. Tomorrow we will know exactly who will be in the squad.

However, Andy Carroll is fit and looks likely to line up alongside either Perez – if fit – and Chicharito with Pellegrini saying: “He first played in the friendly game we had against Brentford and now he played 45 minutes and [won the free-kick] that allowed us to score the second goal [against Crystal Palace].

“He did a lot of good work for our team and we will see what happens with him this week.”

“I think one of the merits of this team is having six or seven injuries and winning the last three games.“e continue with the same amount of players and we know we have to play a lot of games during December and January so I hope that we continue with the same spirit with the players who are able to do it.


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Pelle backing Noble to the hilt

Manager Manuel Pellegrini is delighted that Mark Noble has been handed an extension to his current contract because he accepts that his knowledge of all things Irons is required.

The decision to give Nobes the extension came as something of a bolt from the clue but football is not a charity business and that he and the club have decided to let him carry on at the club he loves tells us all we need to know.

Many have said many times that Mark could be near the end of the line, that he’s slowed down and all the rest of it – some of that may be true but the manager clearly believes he has a role both on the pitch and in the dressing room.

He will not be playing as much as he once did as the months tick by but there are many PL clubs who would jump at signing him were he to become available.

And the boss said during today’s presser: “I think his new contract is very positive for him and for the club. Mark has made a big career here and I think he deserves the chance to finish his career here too. 

“He knows about this club. In the dressing room, I think it’s important for new players who arrive to have him. He is a very important player for West Ham and he demonstrates that every game for me.”
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Report: Former Iron set for Championship switch

Former West Ham striker Jermain Defoe is set to move to the Championship.

According to the Bristol Post, Bristol City are at the head of the queue to secure Defoe’s signature.

Defoe spent five years with the Hammers between 1999 and 2004, and also played for the likes of Tottenham, Portsmouth, Toronto and Sunderland prior to a move to Bournemouth.

However, he has struggled for game time under Eddie Howe, making seven appearances this season.

He has yet to score a goal thus far this season, but Bristol have identified the ex-England international as a potential target.

The likes of Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest are also reportedly interested.

CandH’s view

This would be a sensible move for both parties. Despite the views of many I have a lot of admiration for Jermaine and forgave his departure from the Irons a long time ago. Young men are allowed to do things they wouldn’t dream of doing when they become a little more mature and he was clearly ill advised when causing a storm by his Hammers exit. And of course he earned a special place in many people’s hearts when he formed that very special relationship with stricken cancer victim Bradley Lowery.Yes, he’s now past his best and there was never a chance of him returning to West Ham but were he to ply his trade in the Championship he is likely to score a hatful in the second tier.He is a proven top-level goalscorer, and has been prolific at every club he has joined.Age is clearly slowing him down, but a move to a club where he could become a hero in a promotion season would be best for the 36-year-old. January is certain to be interesting for the forward.

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PL survey reflects well on Hammers

West Ham United claim that over 50 per cent of  supporters pay below the Premier League average for their match tickets.

In a statement on www.whufc.com the clubs reveals that a  Premier League study found the average price of a Premier League seat at the 20 grounds up and down the country this season is £31 – down £1 from last season.

And WHUFC say that 29,000 fans and 3,000 visiting fans pay less than £31 for their seat at every London Stadium game.

The  official site statement says: ‘West Ham has, for the third season in succession, the cheapest season tickets of any London Premier League club at £289 for adults – more than £100 less than the next lowest.

And the club’s  affordable family football [policy  means thousands of children are enjoying Premier League football for just £99 for the whole 2018/19 season.

Further, a recent agreement with London Stadium landlords E20 to increase the capacity, initially to 60,000, means thousands more supporters will be able to experience top-flight football in east London in spring 2019 from just £16.67 per match for adults and £5.56 per game for Under-16s.

Joint chairman David Sullivan said: “We have always been and remain committed to providing affordable, family football for our supporters and we are delighted that statistics illustrate that we are putting this plan into action.

“ I think it is clear that our supporters are seeing the benefits of that strong commitment.

“As a Club, we consider our ticket pricing structure very carefully and are always pleased when we can show our prices are among the most competitive, not just in London but across the whole Premier League.”

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Noble’s “you have a chance” message to kids

Mark  Noble has been discussing his life long love affair with the Irons after being handed a new deal at the club which will surely see him end his career at the club.

An in an in depth article on www.whufc.com he said:  “I’m 31 – going on 32 – and I’ve been here at West Ham all my life. I remember getting a call-up when I was in school, from Glenn Roeder, to come train in half-term with the first team, with the likes of Joe Cole, Jonny Moncur, Steve Lomas, Paolo [Di Canio], Trevor Sinclair and Michael Carrick.

“I was only a young kid at the time. I still remember that excitement of being in the indoor gym at Chadwell Heath and training with those players. When I was young it was Joe Cole, and Michael Carrick. At 15, that’s who we watched out for. You’d see them coming through the Academy.

“I don’t care what anyone says. When you’re in the Academy and you get close to the first team, and you see the likes of Joe and Michael come through, you think: ‘I have a chance at this club’.”


Noble and Cottee

He added it was a pleasure to be involved at the club even when rested by manager saying:  “Obviously you’re going to be upset when you don’t play. But what am I going to do, throw my toys out of the pram?

“I know a lot of players do and that’s why they end up all around the world, in lower league football, or go elsewhere and don’t play. They move their families all around the country and they aren’t happy. As I said, it’s not just in my nature.

“I’ve been really lucky with injuries. I’ve stayed pretty injury free over my career, and to play 30 odd games a season for 13 years is pretty special.”

Noble signs
“Stepping out on that pitch is the best feeling in the world. That feeling… you look around on the pitch and you go through stages. And some of those stages are so hard. And I’m on Declan and I’m on Grady now to let them know that this is not a smooth ride.

“You have to be so mentally strong to be able to cope. Especially now with social media and the pressure of actually being a Premier League player. It’s immense. It’s not through ability most of the time, it’s being able to cope with the pressure of being able to win.”

“I hope that the club keeps moving in the right way, and hopefully I can be a part of that.

“To be honest, I haven’t done my coaching badges. Football is so intense now that when it gets to the summer, I like to spend it with my kids and the wife. I’d love to be involved somewhere though.

“I think there’s no better person than me at this club to know the morals and ensure the foundations are kept with the young players and staff members.”

ClaretandHugh says: A few months ago another ‘legend’ – and I accept the word is thrown around too loosely, but not on this occasion – James Collins made it clear he didn’t believe there was much of a future under Manuel Pellegrini. Sorry Ginge but that is that one put to bed. Instead the skipper will go on and remain the dressing room ‘guvnor’ where everybody says his influence is immense – one of the major reasons in extending this Hammers deal. It will be a big encouragement for those within the academy to hear him saying that as a kid when he saw the likes of Joe Cole and Michael Carrick coming through he had the immediate feeling that he knew he could break through. Mark may have his indifferent games – which of them don’t – but it would be impossible to think of him serving any other club than the Hammers and CandH send him the very best for now and the future.

Images via www.whufc.com


Zaba brings good news

Everybody associated with West Ham will  be delighted to hear that Pablo Zabaleta has absolutely no intention of retiring just yet.

Despite previously dropping heavy hints that his Hammers days maybe coming to a conclusion at the end of the season he appears to have decided that he will be be going on for a bit yet.

And although he initially indicated that may be in the middle east, such is his tone that it seems another year at the London Stadium is in no way out of the question.

It’s terrific news for a fan base that has seen the former Manchester City man becoming a hero at the club where he is always a seven out of 10 performer and a genuine role model for the club’s younger players.

And it will be a big boost for the boss Manuel Pellegrini who has worked with him two separate occasions now and clearly trusts him implicitly.

Talking on Sky Sports when asked by reporters if retirement will be an option at the end of the season he said: “No, no, no. I will be 34 in January and I love football so much.

“If I continue to play in every game it means I can go on for a few more years. When you are in your thirties you cannot think about long term but I’m not thinking about retirement. If I can go on for  another few years I will because I have so much love for football.”

Zaba has now played 13 of the 28 games required for him to trigger an automatic extension of his Hammers contract.


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West Ham’s new London Stadium rent deal revealed

West Ham has agreed to pay London Stadium owners E20 Stadium LLP another £250,000 per year to increase their capacity to 60,000 it has been revealed today.

The increase will take the Hammers rent to around £3.25m per year next year when index-linked and other current add-0ns are included with West Ham paying around £83 per year for each of the extra 3000 seats.

The Hammers will need to pay another £83,000 per year to take capacity to 62,5000 meaning the cost of each of the 2,500 seats drops to £33 per year and another £115,500 per year to reach the maximum capacity of 66,000 again costing the Hammers £33 per seat per year for the remaining 3,500 seats.

West Ham has also agreed to pick up any direct licensing, planning and physical improvement costs required to increase capacity at the London Stadium.  Those costs to increase capacity from 62,500 to 66,000 are thought to be as high as £10m in extra facilities costs.

The previously confidential agreement reached out of court in November has been revealed in a letter from West Ham United and E20 to the London Assembly.

Gareth Bacon AM, Chairman of the Budget & Performance Committee said: “We’re pleased that peace has broken out between the London Stadium’s key players. We saw first-hand how fractious the relationship had become between the London Legacy Development Corporation and West Ham – but we also sensed a way forward was still possible. Both parties want the London Stadium to succeed but both had become trapped in a toxic stalemate. It made no sense for the LLDC to squander more taxpayers’ money on legal costs to break the deadlock, especially when talks held in a spirit of goodwill could achieve the same result.

“In October we called on both parties to pull back from the brink and seize a common sense solution. We’re glad this amicable settlement quickly followed our intervention.”

The letter can be read HERE


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West Ham to commission new statue for London Stadium

West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady told members of the West Ham United Supporters Board that the Champions Statue at Barking Road would now not be coming over to the London stadium, so a new statue will now be designed and commissioned. Part of the process currently being discussed is what that statue or statues will consist of, but whatever it is will definitely pay homage to a player or players from the history of West Ham United. Brady clarified it would not be a replica of the Champions Statue in Upton Park.

Back in October a Claret and Hugh poll revealed that supporters believed the club should commission a replica of the World Cup Champions Statue if they can’t move the real thing to Stratford.

With 1,190 voting in the poll 20.67% (246) thought that a replica of Bobby Moore, Sir Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in the World Cup pose would be the most fitting statue. A statue of Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds together was a close second with 16.97% (202) votes.

A statue of Bobby Moore on his own pulled in 15.38% (183) votes and a statue of Billy Bonds on his own pulled in 12.44% (148) possibly due to news he is soon to get the East Stand named after him. Sir Trevor Brooking came in fourth place with (8.4%) 100 votes.

Others included John Lyall 6.22% (74) Sam Allardyce 5.04% (60) Ron Greenwood 4.03% (48) Dimi Payet 2.27% (27) West Ham Board 1.6% (19)

The European Cup Winners Cup 1965 team pulled in just 2.35% (28) the 1980 FA Cup team 1.68% (20) 1975 FA Cup team 0.08% (1) FA Cup 1974 0.6% (7)  The remaining 2.27% (27) decided none of the above should get a statue.