Not Much to Write Home About…

July 30, 2008

Not much transfer gossip about is there? The one which really brightened up my day was the rumour about Sunderland being interested in Boa Morte for £3 million. And just to be clear, they would be giving us £3 million and not the other way around.

The Lazio-Ljungberg rumour has resurfaced and that’s, er, about it.

Bellamy and Ashton seem on fire in the pre season friendlies. I must say I am really looking forward to see Bellamy play some full games. I think he and Ashton could be a superb partnership.

Glad to see the Green publicity died a death.

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Read and Weep

July 26, 2008

I received this email last night, which I thought I would share.

Hi. I live in Columbus, Ohio, USA. I took my two young sons (8 & 5) with their 8-year-old friend to see the July 20 “friendly” between the Crew and West Ham at Crew Stadium. I am trying to teach my boys about the beautiful international brotherhood of football. Instead, we learned a lesson about how a few scummy, sub-human thugs can ruin the world. West Ham “fans” represented their club by getting drunk, hurling insults, and picking fights. You should be shamed to support this club. Chris D.

I suppose it is deeply ironic that I should post this immediately after launching a competition for tickets to the Cass movie, but there you are.

I cannot remember the last time I saw any violence at Upton Park, but I do know the atmosphere is very different at away games, which is partly why I don’t go to many. I find it shameful when British so-called football fans shame their clubs and our country abroad.

UPDATE Sun 5.30pm: Well I have got my balls well and truly whipped in the comments, haven’t I? However, just bear this in mind. This email wasn’t from some anonymous troublemaker. He was at the game, which very few of the people who have commented were. I don’t doubt for a moment that there was fault on both sides but should we really hold a view that says, well they may be hooligans, but at least they are our hooligans.

If I took two young kids to a football match and saw what this man saw, I wouldn’t be too impressed either. Perhaps he wrote the same email to the Canadian club too. I have no idea. But if West Ham fans did what he says they did, it is not me who should be doing the apologising, it’s them.


Win 2 Tickets for the ‘Cass’ Premiere on Monday

July 25, 2008

To celebrate the release of Cass, I am giving you a chance to win tickets to the London premiere on Monday 28th July (ie next Monday) at the Empire Leicester Square, courtesy of Optimum Releasing. The film blurb says…

CASS is the incredible true story of one man’s identity struggle and ultimate redemption. The film follows how a Jamaican orphan baby, adopted by an elderly white couple in 1950’s London, changed from being the most feared hooligan in the country to Britain’s best selling black author.

CASS grew up in a time before political correctness and as a young child, was forced to endure racist bullying on a daily basis. One fateful day the pent up years of anger surfaced in an explosive burst of violence and from then on, CASS decided he would never be bullied again. Through violence, CASS found the respect he had never had, but he’d become addicted to the buzz of fighting and the power it ultimately gave him. As a boyhood fan of West Ham United, CASS rose through the ranks to become the leader of their hooligan gang, The Intercity Firm (The ICF). Being a six feet five black man in a predominantly white social sphere, CASS was an instantly recognisable target for his adversaries and the authorities. CASS was eventually given the first long term prison sentence for football related violence, when the Thatcher regime made it their main priority to rid the country of the ‘English disease’.

Cass is out in cinemas 1st August.

For your chance to win this prize, simply answer the question below.

Q…Which former West Ham player makes an appearance in the movie Cass?

• Frank McAvennie
• Alan McKnight
• Liam Brady

And describe in 50 words or fewer your expectations for West Ham next season.

For more information on the film, please visits the website http://www.cassmovie.co.uk/

The winner will be contacted on the morning of Monday 28th July with details of how to pick up the tickets that evening. Travel and accommodation is not included.

Simply email the answer to the question and your 50 words to me at the email address on the top left hand column of the blog. Just remove the DOTs and add a proper dot, if you see what I mean! Good luck!


What do you Think of the Management?

July 24, 2008

A reader, Rob Shirley, just sent me this…

As the summer has progressed and since the departure of Eggy ( i’ll call him that as his name always escapes me) I am becoming more and more impressed with the way the business management at West Ham is carried out. Everything is, it seems, done in a calm manner with no media frenzy, statements are put out in a very business like ” believe what you read in the Sun..if you like, but these are the facts”. I quite like it, it seems to elevate our club into a superior level. The way they dealt with Kia and Brown was, lets just sort it, get the problem out of the way and get on with running the club, no big deal, no mass media reporting just cool and calm. I think this is the reason that the media is getting fed up with West Ham and putting out stories such as mass exodus and financial problems, it really is that the management hold their own council and refuse to get drawn into a media free for all like last years Tevez saga.

I reckon he makes a good point. What say you?


Robert Green is Right. So is Scott Duxbury

July 19, 2008

I fear for the West Ham future of Robert Green. His outburst in The Sun yesterday was uncharacteristic and can be interpreted in a number of ways. Either it was to alert other clubs to his discontent or it was a genuine attempt to alert the club to his unhappiness. I am afraid I fear it was the first.

West Ham’s official response was brief and to the point. He only signed a five year deal a year ago, with the promise of a review in 2009.

On the face of it, little has changed since Green signed his contract a year ago. At that tome there were many more highly paid players than him, yet he was willing to accept the situation then. Or if he wasn;t, he and his agent showed a remarkably weak sense of their negotiating position.

Since then, the only thing that has changed has been Green’s emergence as Hammer of the Year. There’s little doubt that he was our best player last season.

The Club’s response showed little recognition of that, merely pointing to the facts of the situation. It would have been very easy to flush Green out and say, while we are fully aware the agreement was due for review in 2009, we recognise Rob Green’s superb performances last season and if he has concerns we are happy to listen to them and do what we can to demonstrate that he remains an integral part of our long term plans. Instead, a door was shut in Green’s face, and if he genuinely was unhappy and didn’t feel loved, that situation was certainly made no better by what Scott Duxbury said.

The truth is, I suspect, that Duxbury is under orders from the Board to cut the wage bill. We already know he wants to cut the size of the squad to about 26 or 27 from nearer 40. Fringe players like Quashie and Davenport need to go. But you also have to keep happy those who are left. If it had been Hayden Mullins uttering these comments, most of us would be saying that he can bugger off. None of us want Green to go and if his state of mind is genuinely off base, then it doesn’t bode very well for his performances next season.

I am afraid the result of the last two days is that the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and others may well be sitting up and taking notice. We all know that goalkeepers come comparatively cheaply, and there are several Premier League clubs in need of a good goalkeeper at the moment. We need to keep Green, almost whatever it takes.


Sunday Paper Transfer Rumours

July 12, 2008

I have just been doing the newpaper review on the BBC News Channel and have had a chance to rifle through some of the Sunday paper back pages. There are some weird and wonderful rumours, the most unlikely of which is that we will be selling Anton to Newcastle and taking Damien Duff in part exchange, with Matty and Boa Morte also being flogged elsewhere. Spurs want Matthew Upson and we are also chasing Joe Mattock of Leicester City.

There doesn’t seem to be anything new regarding Zamora and Pantsil’s moves to Fulham. Fulham are now also trying to get Andy Johnson.

There are also now rumours that Sunderland are trying for McCartney and Carlton Cole for a joint fee of £10 million. While I don’t want to see Stella go, that’s not bad money.

Rumour is that Stephen Carr, who is out of contract at Newcastle, has been training at Chadwell Heath this week. He’s a decent player who would be good cover at right back. However, Faubert can play there too, so I am not sure we need another one.

There, is that enough to be going on with? 🙂


Bobby Z and Johnny P off to Fulham?

July 9, 2008

At last something to write about. Tonight the club have given Fulham permission to talk to Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil. In some ways it is a sad day, as Bobby Zamora really is one of us – a Hammer through and through. And John Pantsil is certainly the kind of character we all love at Upton Park. But if we are honest, are either of them good enough to be a first team fixture in a side which aspires to a top eight finish? I fear the answer is no. So while I will be sad to see then go, I’ll certainly give them both a rousing cheer wheb they return.

I would hope we’d get a combined fee of somewhere approaching £5 million, but I fear it will be closer to £3.5 million. If so, Fulham will have got themselves an absolute steal.