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FA fine West Ham £100,000 over Burnley game

The Football Association have today released their long-awaited report into pitch invasions and crowd trouble at the London Stadium on 10th March 2018 when West Ham played Burnley.

In a statement, the FA say: “West Ham United FC has been fined £100,000 for failing to ensure that its spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and that no spectators or unauthorised persons encroached onto the pitch during the Premier League match against Burnley FC on Saturday 10 March 2018. The club denied the charge, but it was subsequently found proven, and was sanctioned by an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday.

The full report can be found at  http://www.thefa.com/football-rules-governance/discipline/written-reasons

The club in response has released a statement on WHUFC.com saying:

“The Club has done everything within its power to address the issues that occurred that day, despite having no control over match-day security operations – a point which is accepted and reflected in the FA’s findings. 

 “The FA acknowledged the unique set of circumstances under which we operate. The Club is ultimately held responsible for matchday security despite the fact that LS185 the Stadium operator, hold the safety certificate,  and therefore along with Stadium landlord E20, control matchday operations.

 “Since the events in March last year, the Club has worked with its landlord and operator to ensure issues must be acknowledged transparently and the criticism from the FA dealt with promptly. 19 recommended changes have been made, of which, 18 have been completed and the last one, which requires building works, is on-going. This, together with a number of significant changes in the match day operation, have resulted in no further serious incidents in the stadium. 

 “The Club has made it clear for some time we would like to have greater control over our matchdays. We have the experience, know-how and a track record of success to oversee matchday operations.

 “It is now a matter of public record that our relationship with E20 and LS185 has improved and we are committed to working closely with all necessary agencies and authorities to ensure that safety and security measures are implemented to the highest standards. The safety and security of everyone inside our stadium is our absolute priority.”

Claret and Hugh Opinion:

The truth is, West Ham have only been fined because there is no legal way or mechanism to fine the French London Stadium operator LS185. The report clearly shows that it is the operator who shoulders the majority of the blame. Whether West Ham attempt to recover the fine from the operator remains to be seen but in light of the new relationship with the stadium owners and operators after settling their legal dispute they are likely to take it on the chin and move on.


Arnautovic returns to face the music

Marko Arnautovic has returned to training at Rush Green this morning a club insider has confirmed. It is the 29-year-old first return to the training ground since he was left out of the squad that travelled to Bournemouth with Sunday and Monday’s being days off the whole of the first-team squad.

The club insider was keen to point out that Marko has not missed a single day’s training since the story of a proposed move to China first broke and he has trained professionally throughout that period.

West Ham are preparing for their FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon this weekend followed by a Premier League game against Wolves on Tuesday evening. At this time, Marko is part of those preparations with Pellegrini insisting that the selection of his 18 man match squad is based on how players train in the week before the match.

Last week both Mark Arnautovic and Lucas Perez were dropped from Pellegrini’s squad.

Despite the news that the deal to China is off for Marko, West Ham are preparing themselves for more possible twists and turns in the Arnautovic saga before the transfer window closes.

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Hammers expect no problems from Arnie

(Photo by Avril Husband/West Ham United via Getty Images) 

West Ham insiders do not expect strike action or a cry baby reaction from Marko Arnautovic as his transfer saga continues.

The club revealed to CandH yesterday that the Chinese interest may not yet be at an end but any signs of another Dimitri Payet scenario is unlikely to be treated with kid gloves.

A top club insider – speaking to us on the phone – said: “The situation surrounding Payet were entirely different where some personal issues were involved.

“Given the circumstances, it was tough to start introducing sanctions against him as it was clear he had to return to France for a number of  emotional reasons.”

He indicated, however, that the club always had measures available, to deal with situations where a player may use the same tactics as Payet to force a move for financial reasons.

He added: “Arnie has been training and the decision not to play at Bournemouth was mutual between himself and the manager – there is no problem.”


Silva time as we head for AFC Wimbledon

Xande Silva could easily get his chance to start in the weekend FA Cup clash against AFC Wimbledon.

The young striker was involved in the defeat of Birmingham and has been a member of the first team squad for several weeks but has made only one fleeting appearance against Burnley at Premier League level.

The under 23 hitman impressed on his London Stadium appearance and is being freely tipped behind the scenes to play a part this weekend.

It would be a big ask for him to become the main man and we will need to wait and see whether Marko Arnautovic will be involved this weekend as he was when the youngster played so well against the Blues.

Adrian is expected to be back in goal and it will be interesting to see if Ryan Fredericks – now recovered from his injury problems – takes over at right back from Zaba and Masuaku looks nailed on to step in for Cressie.

CandH’s team: Adrian; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Obiang, Nasri, Diangana, Silva, Antonio.


After all these years the Irons don’t understand the C word


By CandH blogger Allen Cummings


CONSISTENCY!  The 11 letter word that appears to have eluded every West Ham team I can remember in my many years of supporting the Hammers.

This is no new phenomenon. It’s clearly as frustrating now to the new breed of supporters, as it has always been to us older Hammers.

Even when we had the cream of English football in our side in the 60’s – Moore, Hurst and Peters, and later with some of the country’s finest young talent at the end of the 90’s in the shape of Ferdinand, Cole, Carrick and Defoe – that word ‘consistent’ appeared not to be in our vocabulary.

Yes we were thrilled by some exciting football at times but equally were often embarrassed by disappointing lapses. Sound familiar?

Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth was another of those days. After the euphoria of victory over Arsenal we were looking to cash in on the faltering fortunes of the Cherries. But it didn’t happen. So what is it about our club? Why does the same thing keep happening over and over again? The managers change. The players change. But the unpredictability goes on.

Will it ever end? Of course no-one knows for sure but I believe under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini we have a very real chance of getting closer to that ultimate goal of consistency than ever before.

Pellegrini has regularly insisted he is trying to instil in his players a big team mentality, a confident mindset, a belief in their own ability. He has succeeded to a degree, illustrated by the fact that after a very shaky start we now occupy a comfortable and creditable mid-table position.

But it’s a work in progress, a jigsaw that still has a few pieces missing. He’s having to make do with a few players who wouldn’t necessarily be his first choice if others were available to him and it  now looks unlikely we’ll see any new faces in the January window.

But come next summer I’d expect to see more of ‘Manuel’s Men’ arriving and that I believe will give us a greater than ever chance of achieving our aim.

Until then of course, we have the rest of the season to see out. Hopefully ‘Arniegate’ can at least be laid to rest for the time being. Like it or not, we ARE a better side with him in it.

We have an excellent chance of progressing in the FA Cup. We don’t have the distraction of constantly looking over our shoulder in the Premier League, with the threat of relegation never far away.

The foundation for genuine progress is already there. I fully expect Pellegrini to continue to build on that. And next season who knows – maybe that old ghost of inconsistency can finally be laid to rest!


Irons don’t believe Arnie transfer saga is over

West Ham do not believe the Marko Arnautovic  Chinese transfer drama is over!

Despite the deal with Guangzhou Evergrande being thought to have collapsed, the Irons are still in a state of readiness believing that the second placed club in the Chinese Super League will be back.

They also believe that nothing is set to happen this week but that an improved offer of closer to €50 million could arrive in over the last few days of the transfer window.

The heat is off for the time being as with the FA Cup clash against AFC Wimbledon coming up this weekend it’s likely that rising star Xande Silva will get a chance.

And although the Chinese transfer window doesn’t close until the end of February the Hammers fully expect Evergrande to test their resolve in the last few days of the domestic window.

ClaretandHugh has established that various talks between Arnie and manager Manuel Pellegrini have taken place and that the boss left the player out of last Saturday’s game at Bournemouth after the pair agreed the striker was not in the right frame of mind.

We were told by a top Hammers source by e-mail: “It’s been suggested Arnie refused to travel but that’s not the case – he and the manager agreed he was not in the right frame of mind.

“Beyond that, we don’t believe the transfer situation is over and expect Evergrande to come back closer to the end of our window.”


Fabianski admits the Bournemouth truth

Once again consistency was the problem on Saturday at Bournemouth as the Hammers followed a fabulous victory over Arsenal with a less than average performance.

From dizzy heights to sheer mediocrity – that’s the Irons too often this season although there was an excuse this weekend and it hardly needs mentioning.

There is little question that the absence of Arnie hurt because as has been mentioned many times Andy Carroll is nothing near being a like for like striker and was particularly poor at the Vitality.

However, despite that, hands need to be put in the air with an acceptance t that on this day a team which had been on a very poor run of results were better than us and the lack of chances we created was a testimony to that.

Lukasz Fabianski always gives a pretty accurate assessment of what went wrong and reckons the Cherries were value for their two goals which could have been more but for a couple of stupendous saves on his part.

Hard to disagree.

Speaking to www.whufc.com Fab said: “It’s a completely different emotion from last week. We’re really disappointed with the result and with the performance, as it could have been a lot better.

“We knew what to expect from Bournemouth because they are a team who always play with high intensity, especially at home, where they try to put you under a lot of pressure. 

“It was a game that when the first team scores, they usually win it .It was a quality strike and they caught us a bit on the break. We have to give them credit because they finished the chances that they had.

“ Bournemouth worked their luck. It was a difficult ball for him to strike and the way he put it away was brilliant. We ended up losing 2-0, which I think was a fair result.

You have to stay consistent, especially mentally, because it’s a very demanding league. “You can’t dwell on things mentally.

“The main thing is to make smart conclusions and work out what we did wrong and what we did well and focus on the things we have to improve.

“There are still lots of games to play and we have to push and get as much as we can from them.”




Sam Allardyce wades into Arnautovic debate

Former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has waded into the Marko Arnautovic telling the owners they should cash in now rather than face another Payet situation.

The 64-year-old was a Guest on Sky Sports Goals and told viewers “H’s the type of player that, when he wants to leave, you’re better off cashing in. His mentality will change. If the money is what they’re willing to take, they’re better taking it. Otherwise, he might be one of those that’s switched off. You don’t want another situation like Payet.”

The club have made it clear that West Ham’s joint top scorer is not for sale and even if he was available the Chinese bid of £35m is no-where near their valuation to allow the 29-year-old to leave in this transfer window. Manuel Pellegrini wants to send a clear message that he is in charge and this is not a Dimi Payet and Slaven Bilic where the club were forced to sell their star player on the cheap.  The board are happy to back their manager and allow him to make decisions on Arnautovic’s future.


Hammers update the striker hunt

West Ham’s hunt for a new striker is becoming a serious headache for Manuel Pellegrini.

And it suggests that he will be required to use all his managerial skills to reintegrate Marko Arnautovic into the squad following the collapse of his move to China.

A host of names including  Callum Wilson, Maxi Gomez , Timo Werner, Edin Dzeko , Michy Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud , Mario Balotelli and Josh Maja  have been linked with club as our striker crisis deepens.

However, based on information received this morning from a senior source by e mail, there are  problems in finding another striker in this window.

Responding to an inquiry from ClaretandHugh on how the hunt was going we were told: “It’s difficult because those we really want are not available until summer and the others are low on the list anyway.”

The manager has sole control over who is signed but – short of a dramatic change of heart among one or two clubs – new arrivals up front look unlikely .

Our source added: “We will be working on it up to deadline day.”


Poll: Time to forgive and forget Arnautovic?

The deal for Marko Arnautovic to move to China has collapsed for now and West Ham faces the prospect of trying to integrate their striker back into the team for the remainder of the season.

The Hammers rejected a bid from China which would see them net just over £30m on the simple grounds they couldn’t fund a replacement for the same amount in the current transfer window.

Despite the statement from Arnautovic’s brother through TalkSport Manuel Pellegrini has refused to sanction any move this January and claims he dropped him from the squad at the weekend as his head was on other issues.

Although there might be a few twists and turn remaining in this tale Pellegrini, for now, faces the challenge of persuading his top goal scorer to knuckle down, train hard and score some goals for his team he used to kiss the badge and make the crossed Hammers sign.  Arnie must also repair his relationship with his teammates and the supporters if he is to stay until the summer.

In today’s Claret and Hugh poll we ask whether you are prepared to forgive and forget the antics of the Austrian striker assuming he is professional and gets on with the job he is paid handsomely to do.