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Young Johnson and Irons stars ease lockdown loneliness

Following a difficult year of isolation and restrictions loneliness is on the rise.

And, for Loneliness Awareness Week, West Ham United engaged with local people by checking in with supporters and community participants.

Academy of Football graduate Ben Johnson the latest to make a number of phone calls.

Since the pandemic began, alongside letters from captain Mark Noble, more than 5,000 calls have been made to the over 70s and vulnerable supporters, by manager David Moyes, England international Declan Rice and the Supporter Services team – with  friendships and bonds formed along the way.

The club says: “As part of the Club’s award-winning Players’ Project, men’s, women’s and Academy players have been speaking to community participants of all ages about how to improve their wellbeing, providing insight from their own experiences.”

Before Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček departed to represent their countries at the European Championships, they spoke to young people on the Foundation’s Post-16 Football and Education programme.

Tomas explained the steps he’s taken to settle in a new country with a young family, noting: “I arrived during the Covid-19 time which was really hard but the Club helped me settle in.

“It was my first transfer to a foreign team and everyone was there for me from the first moment, and at home I tried to learn English and tried to get to know my area. It all makes a positive difference.”

This week, 21-year-old Johnson joined in with the calls to a number of supporters and community participants with the defender encouraging people to get involved in activities and keep in touch with others, as well as answer any questions about the Club’s positive 2020/21 Premier League season which  saw them secure a place in the Europa League.

Ben said: “Our supporters and local community are really important to us at West Ham United so it was my pleasure to take some time out, pick up the phone and make calls alongside others at the Club as we continue to do what we can to help those who might be feeling isolated or lonely.

“It’s been a really tough time and everybody has their own situations to deal with. We need to remember to keep connected and reach out to others who could need that bit of extra support.”

Eileen Wade is a member of the Foundation’s Any Old Irons scheme which aims to tackle social isolation and loneliness, and the surprise call with Ben was a welcome relief after her purse was stolen earlier in the day. She stated: “This call has really cheered me up and restored my faith in humanity. And the things the Club do in the community and for supporters, with the letters and the calls and the players getting involved, it all really does make a difference to our lives.”


Another call receiver, Christopher Pearcey, told Johnson: “You will have a special place in my heart now, Ben. I really appreciate your call today and appreciate everything the Club has done for me during such a strange time. It really goes to show West Ham are a family!”

 

Claretandhugh says: We hear too much about the seamy and selfish side of football and nothing like enough bout the good works that go on behind the scenes. That young Ben and others should have been encouraged to become involved is an example of the family spirit of which the Hammers has become famously known down the years. It’s as much a part of the West Ham Way as anything that happens on the pitch. I’ve had calls from the club simply asking how I am  coping which is brilliant and a real boost during some of the low times that lockdown has brought upon us. So well done you Irons and quite rightly the media department has decided to publicise what’s been going on during some of the most difficult days we will ever have known.

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Moyes in no window rush

David Moyes is still considering his summer window striker options and as yet has made no move in any direction.

He is known to be an admirer of Tammy Abraham and Blackburn Rovers front man Adam Armstrong but at this stage there have been no decision made on where the money is going to be spent.

Josh King is right out of the question after his dreadful loan spell at Everton and Brentford have no intention of selling their main man Ivan Toney.

Moyes remains busy at the Euros following his managerial star again moving into the ascendancy after the superb Hammers season.

And we were told; “David’s never in a hurry and is aware the earlier you go in the more agents are likely to get an inflated price.”

He remains determined that there should be no leaks from the club, keeps his cards very close to his chest and has numerous options in mind.

“It would be a huge surprise if anything happened much before the middle of July. David sees no reason to rush his hurdles as agent talks continue.”

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Report: Hammers see striker bid rejected

West Ham are said to have made a loan-to-buy offer to sign Cagliari striker Giovanni Simeone according to a report from CalcioMercato 

The 25-year-old is the son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego and a striker who managed only six goals in 33 Serie A appearances

Initially joining Cagliari on loan from Fiorentina in the summer of 2019, he scored 12 Serie A goals during 2019-20.

The Hammers are claimed to have made a loan-to-buy offer worth  £900,000 up front  but Cagliari are not interested in such a deal the report concludes.

Simeone was born in Madrid while his father was playing for Atlético Madrid. His family moved to Italy in 1997, but later returned to Spain in 2003 following his father’s career club changes.

Two years later he moved to Argentina, and joined River Plate’s youth setup in 2008 when his father was appointed coach of the first team. He holds both Argentine and Spanish nationality but represents Argentina internationally.

 

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Ferdy comments dubbed ’embarrassing and disrespectful’

Rio Ferdinand’s punditry skills – or should it be lack of them – have been slammed by a former former Scotland international.

Leanne Crichton has labelled them ’embarrassing’ after what proved to be some entirely ludicrous comments from the former Hammer ahead of the England v Scotland bore draw.

His inflated view of the team’s abilities was laughable following the dreary 0-0 draw which showed the Three Lions at their worst.

Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand was heavily criticised after his England vs Scotland predictions

Predicting a win it could easily be claimed that he sowed a distinct lack of respect towards the scot who – on the night were the far better side against ‘sideways and backwards’ England.

And it all left Leanne seriously annoyed at his dismissive attitude towards the Scots and not afraid to say so.

Ferdinand had said:  “I can’t see anything else, I’m telling you. I’ve never been this confident about a game in a major championship.”

England then mustered just one shot on target all game with the nation’s expectations crashing back down to earth.

And Crichton laid into Ferdinand, saying on  BBC Scotland :saying “Some of the things that Rio Ferdinand has said are genuinely embarrassing. It’s so disrespectful.

“Scott McTominay plays for Manchester United. Billy Gilmour could probably walk into any other team bar Chelsea.

Leanne Crichton was heavily critical of Rio Ferdinand

“They need to have a bit of realism about where their money and resources actually takes them.”

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Lingard personal terms – the truth!

Reports that Jesse Lingard wants a major pay upgrade to join West Ham are some way wide of the truth despite various pundits weighing in with their view of such claims.

It’s even being suggested that the Manchester United midfielder will need to become the top Hammers earner to decide on making a move to the London Stadium.

But agents close to the deal have made it clear to CandH this is simply not the case and the Hammers themselves found it “refreshing” when the 28 year old was happy to remain on the same wage when he arrived at the club on loan.

As we understand it Jesse is currently on around £80k a week at Old Trafford and won’t be looking for a £30k rise which would be needed to make him the best paid Hammer – a position currently held by Andriy Yarmolenko.

Given the current financial scenario surrounding the game such a rise would be entirely impossible and it’s more likely he would receive a small rise on his basic pay and enhanced appearance payments.

Negotiations are still to start with Manchester United over a possible deal but we understand – as is usually the case – agents are busy on discussing the nuts and bolts of it!

 

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Declan warns Three Lions

Declan Rice has warned the Three Lions will need to up their performance against the Czech Republic in tomorrow night’s Euro clash.

The match will give Irons fans a fascinating opportunity of making a comparison between the Hammers captain – in Mark noble’s absence – and his midfield partner Tomas Soucek.

But one thing is for sure a much better performance than that against Scotland will be required if England are to get a victory over a very good team!

As things stand England need a point from the game  to secure second place in the group and a round of 16 against the Group E runners-up – Sweden, Slovakia, Spain or Poland.

England were ok against the Croatians but have managed just ione goal in two games with captain Harry Kane looking way off colour and Declan himself playing a sideways and backwards passing game against the Scots.

And commenting at uefa.com on what will be required Declan said: “I think these are games where we’re at home and we should be winning and we as players know that, but credit to Scotland,”

“We need to improve, we need to keep trying to get better and analyse it and obviously the Czech Republic game on Tuesday is massive.

 

Declan Rice in action for England against Scotland

 

“We work every day on how we want to play and what we want to do, but Scotland nailed their game plan and they nullified Harry Kane, who is a world-class goalscorer. We want to get the ball to him and we want him to score our goals because he’s a top player.

“We need to stay positive and not be too negative and down on ourselves. Now maybe in the press, on social media and with the fans, there might be an overreaction and stuff, but we need to stay focused, get back to the drawing board, analyse and get ready for the Czech Republic game.”

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Thousands ignore London Stadium protest

A handful of anti-vaccination protesters outside the London Stadium led by Piers Corbyn and former nurse and fellow Covid conspiracy theorist Kay Allison Shemirani failed to stop thousands of young people from being vaccinated this weekend.

Most of those getting vaccinated said they found the protesters to be figures of ridicule and that they weren’t to be taken seriously. A group of football fans even chanted in the protesters’ direction, singing ‘we got the jab.’

East London young people queued patiently at the London Stadium with 15,000 jabs available to be given out.

The event was one of a number hosted by football clubs across London on Saturday, with Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Spurs Stadium, Charlton Athletic’s The Valley, and Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park also welcoming local people aged 18 and over. Full details of who can get the vaccine are on the NHS website here.

Karren Brady, Vice-Chairman of West Ham was proud to see the Club play its part in the drive to vaccinate local people against coronavirus.

She said: “Getting as many people vaccinated as possible will save lives and is the best way for us to beat COVID-19. 

“The football family has pulled together throughout the pandemic in support of our local communities and West Ham United is proud to continue our strong partnership with our local NHS trusts, assisting with this event as part of the national effort. This is an important step on the road to once again all of us enjoying the things we love doing together.”

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Moyes needs help with scouting

Journalist Alan Nixon claims that David Moyes will be recruiting some extra scouts this summer

Speaking on Twitter Nixon said “West Ham. Moyes wants to bring in a handful of new scouts for his transfer team. Short in that department.”

During Manual Pellegrini’s term as West Ham manager, the Hammers employed six full-time scouts including Pellegrini’s son Juan and the director of football’s son Mario Husillos Jr. A former mate of Husillos from Malaga, Juan Carlos Valdivia, was also employed as a scout as was another old mate of Pellegrini and Husillos, Claudio Carsi also arrived at West Ham scouting department.

The one scout who survived the Pellegrini era is Jordan Miles who has been credited with the recruitment of Tomas Soucek.

He is said to be supported by a number of scouts within the Academy and a number of freelance scouts.

Last year Sky Sports presenter Geoff Shreeves was forced to issue a lengthy apology on Sunday Supplement to West Ham and their co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan admitting they had spent £1.5m on scouts in the last 12 months.

David Moyes is known to be obsessive with his own due diligence spending up to ten hours a day on WyScout watching videos and analysing stats, he also attends as many games as he can in person.

He is unlikely to bring in a director of football just yet instead relying on his mate Alan Irvine in his new role as technical advisor and strengthening the video analysis and full-time scouting department to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to scouting.

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Ex-Man Utd ace claims Moyes wanted him!

Former Manchester United ace Odion Ighalo insists that David Moyes tried to sign him in January!

The striker enjoyed a short spell at Old Trafford in the 2020/21 season.

In total, he made 23 appearances for United and scored five goals.

And the former Watford star has now revealed that Moyes tried to bring him in to the club in the January transfer window, when they also signed Jesse Lingard from the Red Devils.

Ighalo opted against the move, though, and is now playing for Shabab in Saudi Arabia, where he has been in genuinely brilliant form.

He has made a total of 13 appearances and scored nine goals in that time, while also laying on three assists.

In quotes carried by Hammers News, Ighalo told Elegbete TV Sports: “I got an offer from two Premier League teams – West Ham and West Brom – who were ready to pay but what am I going to do in the Premier League again after playing for Manchester United?

“What other team do I want to play for to fulfill my dream? I have already fulfilled my dream, played in Watford and did well, played in Manchester United.”

In total, the Nigeria international has made 67 appearances in the Premier League and has scored 17 goals, while also laying on a total of six assists.

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Rating those Irons window rumours

It started in May when 70 were named as Hammers targets  and it has been continuous through June with media outlets desperate for something – anything – to write about!

But just how realistic are the rumours of who will and won’t be joining the club.

Most will be excluded from this piece as they are all entirely unrealistic and the reality is, that apart from talking to certain agents, little has been done to bring players in and won’t be whilst agents are holding out for their biggest possible deal ion a bad covid hit market.

Here we take a look at the likelihood or otherwise of there being a positive outcome to the speculation doing the rounds.

Goalkeepers:

Sam Johnstone: This is not seen as a priority position this window although come the January ’22 market place it could be one to which Moyes gives a more serious look! 0/10

Defenders:

Junior Firpo: The Barcelona left back’s name has been regularly cropping up but apparently there’s competition out there but as we understand it this is not a position high on the boss’ list 4/10

Duje Ćaleta-Car The Croatian is being regularly named as a central defender highly rated by Moyes but Marseilles apparently want around £30 million and with no leaks escaping from the Hammers beyond an “he’s liked” we can only go straight down the middle 5/10

James Tarkowski: As was the case last year the Hammers may try again but in this market they won’t be paying anymore than £20 million 6/10

Midfielders:

Jesse Lingard: Still a  strong possibility of him arriving despite all the media chat to the contrary 7

Strikers:

Tammy Abraham: Once considered Moyes’ main target but that can change as the manager starts to seriously study his various options. At £25 million or less there’s a reasonable chance 6/10

Ivan Toney: No chance of newly promoted Brentford selling their main man 0/10

Adam Armstrong: If he does arrive from Blackburn  it will be only as a support striker 5/10