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Fourth place may not be enough

West Ham could finish fourth and miss out on the Champions League!

The Hammers are close to securing qualification for Europe this season and currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, one point behind Leicester after beating the Foxes on Sunday.

But a new report from The Daily Star has revealed that fourth-place may not be enough to see the club into Europe’s elite club competition.

A maximum of five Premier League clubs can qualify for the Champions League each season.

So, if the top four remains as it is, and Arsenal win the Europa League while Chelsea or Liverpool win the Champions League, fourth-place would NOT qualify for the competition.

Arsenal drew the first leg of their Europa quarter final with Slavia Prague 1-1, while Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 away from home in the Champions League in the first leg of their quarter-final. Liverpool face an uphill battle, as they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Chelsea and Liverpool are currently fifth and sixth, respectively, while the Gunners are ninth.

The Hammers may need to focus on finishing THIRD, if they want to be sure of their European dream next season.

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Lingard makes Manchester return

Jesse Lingard returned to Manchester on Monday for a night out with best pal Marcus Rashford!

The attacking midfielder is on loan at the Hammers from Manchester United and has been in unbelievable form.

On Sunday, alone, he scored twice against Leicester as the Irons won 3-2 to move within a point of third-place in the Premier League table.

The Daily Mail reports that the England international went back up north to meet with Rashford, who has enjoyed an excellent season at United, scoring 10 goals and providing nine assists in 31 league games.

The pair were socialising at The Ivy, as they took advantage of the newly-relaxed lockdown that allows people to meet outside, provided social distancing is adhered to.

It’s unlikely the pair will be back together next season at United, with the Irons looking odds-on to keep the eight goal attacking midfielder despite the regular usual reports to the contrary.

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Soucek admits Irons are playing a dangerous game

Tomas Soucek is more than a little irritated with the team playing for only an hour or 70 minutes and insists it has to stop.

The last three games have seen us surrender a three goal to Arsenal and nearly the  same in the following two games.

It may be exciting but it’s too much like the old days when we were perched on the edge of our seats for far too long.

Oh for a game when we can relax and cruise through 90 minutes with absolutely no threat to any lead we have established.

When Tomas talks you know it’s coming from the best possible guy – a player who cares passionately about his team and himself.

Hopefully we will see the boys beat Newcastle and Chelsea with a degree of comfort – blood pressure levels are too important for what we’ve been through recently.

Commenting on the situation to West Ham TV he said: “It’s true, the last two, three or even more games have been really tough for us physically and psychologically, because the last three games we were winning 3-0 and every game was very crazy in stoppage time!.

“In the first game against Arsenal we made a draw, but we were able to hold off the danger and win the last two 3-2, so it’s great that we have another three points but we have to play for the full 90 minutes, not only 60 or 70 minutes.

“I think it’s a mentality in our heads because last season when we fought relegation we played like this, for example [in the 3-2 home win] against Chelsea, when we stayed only in our box because we wanted to win too much.

“But it’s dangerous. It’s so much safer if we play with the same style [as we started the game], we press them high and we want to keep the ball. That’s much safer, so we need to change our mentality to this way.

“The first 60 minutes was incredible. We were winning 3-0 and we could have had more goals and I don’t remember them having a chance, so it was very good from us offensively and defensively. We need to carry on in this way for the whole 90 minutes.”

 

Souček scores at Newcastle in July 2020
Tomáš Souček scored in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United in July 2020 (Courtesy www.whufc.com)

However, the Czech Footballer of the Year is confident that the Irons have the strength in depth to maintain their challenge near the top of the Premier League table.

“It’s great because not only here on a matchday but every day at Rush Green it’s the same – we have a very good spirit and we fight for each other every minute,” he confirmed.

“When someone loses the ball, the second one wants to take it back, so our mentality is great and this way is good because we can look and see it in the table.

“We only need to carry on like this and we may have lost players to injury, but I trust our team that we have not only ten, eleven or 12 players, but more than 20 very good players and we are one team.”

“It’s true that we will go  there ( to Newcastle) confident because we won on Sunday and we are higher in the table again and we are going there for another fight.

“There are still many games to the end and we have to go to Newcastle and do as well as possible and I trust that we have the strength to beat them and stay as high as we want in the table.”

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Good news for Cresswell

Aaron Creswell has been boosted by the news that his hamstring injury is nothing like as bad as was initially feared.

The left back came off against Leicester in the 53rd  minute with what was immediately confirmed as a problem in that area.

But after a scan we understand he has pulled the hammie rather than torn it and looks likely to be back within two to three weeks.

It’s decent news for the player, boss and squad as we go into a series of games that will decide our Champions Leagues hopes.

In the meantime it seems likely that we will see young Ben Johnson in the position for the games against Newcastle this weekend and Chelsea next.

Angelo Ogbonna has been in full training for over a week now with the first team boys and is fully expected to be in the squad for the weekend game in the north east.

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Gold’s historic Champions League tweet remembered

Daily Telegraph journo Jason Burt has dared to go where where angels have feared to tread in the past this morning in raising a defence of Hammers owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

That’s not gonna stop the anti brigade presumably continuing to give it large of course but at least there’s some balance being presented into a campaign that has been rowdy and unpleasant over the last three or four years.

In opening his defence of the pair Burt declares: “Historic tweets are usually dredged up to cause embarrassment. But there is one from David Gold that, well, might just be pure gold for a far more positive reaction by the end of this season.

“There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be playing in the Champions League in the next five years,” the West Ham United co-chairman declared… in September 2016 when they moved into the London Stadium.

The mention of such lofty ambitions which notably excludes the word promise has been used a stick to beat the 84 year old over and over again ever since.

On one occasion a totally disgusting Twitter response came in the shape of telling him to start believing in euthanasia. It gets no worse than that!

Burt continues in his piece: “This time last year West Ham were fretting about ‘points per game’, curtailment and whether they had enough to stave off relegation. It was more about the Championship than the Champions League.

They finished in 16th place on 39 points and came out of a transfer window in which the fans – and players, with captain Mark Noble tweeting – were furious about the sale of Grady Diangana. For the fans that was compounded when hopes of a big signing in central defence was followed by the arrival of Craig Dawson on loan from relegated Watford.

As ever the anger was directed at the board or, more specifically, Gold, co-chairman David Sullivan and vice-chair Karren Brady who had sold off Upton Park and taken West Ham to the soulless Olympic Stadium with the promise of something better only to end up like this.

He adds: “We said goodbye to our history for nothing,” as one fan wrote..

He adds that the return of David Moyes was key to everything that has happened since and admits that the owners will readily admit they got lucky in the manager’s return.

He says: “Moyes has put standards in place. Little things like taking the players and their wives out for meals during the gap between lockdowns but at the same time being very clear on discipline and imposing hefty fines on those who are late for training. West Ham are no soft touch under Moyes who has also organised them superbly on the pitch to maximise what he has got.

He argues that the Irons owners are now living with some reflected glory and adds: “After all nobody expected that tweet of David Gold’s to come back and haunt him.”

You can read the full piece at https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2021/04/12/west-ham-owners-will-deserve-credit-fanciful-champions-league/

 

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Gold family £40m letter of support for West Ham

Gold Group International, a company owned by David Gold and his family has agreed to underwrite financial support to West Ham of up to £40m.

Accounts published at Companies House this week that the Group provided a letter of support to West Ham’s holding company W H Holding agreeing to loan up to £40m. That letter expires on 11th August 2021.

The accounts confirm that the company received £2m in loan repayment and interest from West Ham but  Gold’s company paid back double that when he paid £4m in a shares rights issue late last year.

Gold Group International shareholding of West Ham remains at 13.45% of the club with David Gold’s total shareholding remaining at 35.1%

The Gold company is owed £23.5m by West Ham in shareholder loans for which it is receiving 4% interest, inturn the Gold Group International has taken out a loan itself against money owed to it for £26m which is repayable in 2024 with interest set at 5%. This indicates Gold family is losing money on the shareholder loans. The financial facility can be extended to 20230 if required accounts claim.

The Gold group reveal it disposed of a number of assets including four properties and an aircraft for £18.7m  Presumably the aircraft sold for £800,000 is Gold’s last remaining helicopter.

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West Ham Podcast: Seven cup finals to go

Episode forty of season ten of the popular West Ham podcast Moore Than Just A Podcast is now available to listen to online or download.

Join Claret and Hugh associate editor Sean Whetstone with fellow podcast presenters Nigel Kahn, Canning Town Len, John and George Bucci discussing West Ham’s narrow 3-2  victory over Leciester City on Sunday afternoon at the London Stadium.

We give an injury update on Declan Rice, Michail Antonio, Angelo Ogbonna, Darren Randolph, Manuel Lanzini and Yarmolenko, Aaron Cresswell and Mark Noble and talk about the real prospect of Champions League football next season and whether Jesse Lingard will be staying. We also answer questions from our collective audience whether they be on Facebook or Twitter.

Download or listen online at https://play.acast.com/s/moorethanjustapodcast/

This two-hour and 15-minute episode was recorded on Monday 12th April and it is available on all popular platforms to listen online or download including Acast, TunedIn, Player.FM and ITunes

Now also on Spotify too at MOORETHANJUSTAPODCAST

Join the discussion on the MTJAP Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/moorethanjustapodcast/

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So, how many goals for Lingard by season end?

Jesse Lingard is on track to score double digits for West Ham this season.

The Manchester loanee is in terrific form scoring eight goals in nine games for the Hammers and if he continues at the rate of 0.88 goals per game there should be six more in the remaining seven games which could easily see him become the club’s highest goalscorer.

The mere stats present an astonishing picture of the transformative impact the guy has had on the Hammers.

And should he score another half a  dozen before the end of the campaign it will rate as an incredible achievement.

He is already joint highest scorer at the club with Tomas Soucek and 16 goals between them is pretty brilliant stuff for a team with an injury stricken striker.

And one has to give all the credit to David Moyes who was determined to bring the player into the club and who will undoubtedly be the major figure involved should he become a permanent signing.

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Claret and Hugh buys important piece of Hammers history

A historic presentation keel hammer – an important of the history of our founding company Thames Ironworks & Shipbuilding Company – has been sold at auction.

This is one of the few remaining connections to West Ham forefathers and their proud ship building heritage and has been bought by ClaretandHugh.

That was the keel hammer that formally laid the keel of HMS Thunderer which would become the last major ship ever launched by this famous company and the last Royal Navy ship ever built on the River Thames.

The hammer has a solid wooden handle with a silver-plated head. The beautiful engraving on the head reads:

“PRESENTED BY THE DIRECTORS OF THE THAMES IRONWORKS, SHIPBUILDING & ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED TO Mrs Arnold F. Hills ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAYING OF THE KEEL PLATE of HMS THUNDERER. 13TH APRIL 1910”.

The Hammer was made Maplin & Webb. Sadly HMS Thunderer was to become the last major ship built by Thames Ironworks and the company went bankrupt in 1912 bringing to an end an illustrious era of Thames shipbuilding. In 1926 she was sold for scrap for £66,150 and demolition was completed in April 1927.

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Some want us to shut up shop – how IRON…ic

 

By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings

 

As West Ham supporters we’re well used to living our football lives on the edge. It’s what we’ve done repeatedly for almost all the years I’ve been supporting this club.

In truth it’s more often been an ‘edge’ a lot lower down the league table than the one we are currently occupying. The last three games in particular have surely aged every single one of us.

Nine goals and seven points have been our reward, but those bare facts do little to tell the real story of the most recent 270 + minutes of football action. And what action it has been!

The early criticism of David Moyes was that his style of management was more about caution than action! Defence rather than attack, a philosophy based on playing it tight and not giving anything away.

The doubters claimed he went into games with limited ambition – happy to settle for a single goal victory or even a draw at times.

Some people were even moved to claim they’d be happier to accept defeat in a 4-3 or a 3-2 (the old West Ham Way) if it meant Moyes showed a more attacking mindset.

How many now I wonder would swap the nail-biting and heart pounding of recent weeks for something a little more calculated, controlled and less stressful?

Now some of the post-match comments even talk of a need to “shut up shop” and place a greater emphasis on “game management”. How IRON..ic is that?

We’re on a roller coaster of emotion right now. It’s the ride of their West Ham lives for many younger supporters. While there might well be some who want to get off and catch their breath, the rest of us are soaking it up and loving every minute.

How will it all end? Who knows! But whatever happens over the next seven games we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact this season has been our most exciting for over 35 years.

Not since those remarkable boys of ’86 have we, as West Ham fans, enjoyed such a thrilling campaign.

I was fortunate enough to experience those heady days of Cottee, McAvennie and the rest – when we had a very real chance of winning the old first division – but actually ended up finishing third.

No social media then of course to nitpick over every detail. Everyone it seemed was 100% behind John Lyall and the whole team every step of the way. That’s the same kind of spirit we need now – our full support for every player who pulls on a claret and blue shirt to do a job.

They can’t all be a Jesse Lingard or Declan Rice, but they are all doing their very best for the team and we need to recognise that.

No recriminations either I hope if things don’t quite work out how we’d wished in the end.

Whatever happens, this season has been a massive success. A huge step up and stride forward for our club – something I’m convinced we can build upon for the future.