28 hours 14 minutes and counting...

Taken from the official site:
”With the domestic program on hold the fan attention will obviously remain on the transfer market which will be a hive of activity ahead of the closure of the summer window. Sundays press was again full of rumour and speculation but the manager summed up that nothing would be fully known until the closing of the window at Tuesday at 17.00"

They more or less encourage us to keep a close look at the transfer market!
As “hints” or speculations like this are extremely rare at the OS it seems to me as if the Club is pretty confident that they will land the deals.
My guess is that Collins is lost and that some kind of attacking reinforcement will be seen (as we have thought all along). Please let it be a quality player.
The Savio rumour also has a credible ring to it.

The one trick pony was found out!

After seeing what we can do in the Tottenham game the performance on Saturday was utterly disappointing. I struggle to find the reason for the transition from a technically highly skilled team able to play good passing football and to produce sharp turnovers to a team that made more technical errors than a North Korean nuclear scientist.
One of my favourite theories on how this is possible is the lack of mid field movement. When the central midfielders get possession there are very few players open.
Faubert, as most of the team, started the game with some decent plays. He offered the midfielders the overlap option and looked good although his deliveries into the box were almost as lacking as they were a year ago. Defensively though he looks much better. Collison… I’m not quite sure how to rate him. He does some good stuff, but looses the ball too easily, as did quite a few West Ham players (Spector, Noble, Parker, Stanislas and even Cole). That, of course can be a secondary effect of not finding a decent passing opportunity.

When the midfield passing is not working we revert to the long ball to Cole. He did brilliantly the first half an hour and held on to balls that everyone but Carlton himself must be certain was already lost. But he lost the magic. I can’t say I blame him, the balls aimed at him were not exactly of highest quality. But the fact that the Blackburn defence knows of our one option gives them a fairly easy job – if handling Cole can ever be called easy. Three defenders that more or less can concentrate on him is too much even for Cole most of the time. The one trick the West Ham pony had at its disposal was found out – anyone even slightly awake at the game could spot that.
Jimenez looked to be the only player comfortable on the ball at this pace. His technique is brilliant also under pressure. For some reason he still does not offer a good alternative to Cole. I have a feeling that he did not get the others involved in the attack as much as against Tottenham. He looked a bit puzzled and lonely when the Blackburn defence had cut of Cole as a viable passing option.

This is the first game when I am not impressed by Stanislas. Maybe I expect too much too soon (as a matter of fact I’m sure I do), but he did not look his charging self in this game. In previous games he tried to create something almost every time he got the ball. On Saturday he looked pale and played a lot of safety balls back to Spector or Upson. It gave me the impression that the Gaffer had talked to him about the importance of being patient… In previous games he has been something of a “loose cannon” in the best sense of the expression (if there is a good sense… ah, you know what I mean!). Cut him loose again!

One thing one has got to ask oneself – is Daprela rubbish? If not, I demand that he is given a go! Zola is a good man manager and has been very successful in transforming people doubting their talent into PL players. He does not want to pull the carpet from under anybody and certainly does not want to throw anybody in at the deep end. This thinking has handed more opportunities to some players than is normally reasonable. The one that has been given more “playing time per skill quota” (can you tell I’m also into science…?) than anybody else is Jonathan Spector. He has another bad game and this influences the entire defense. He also fails to be the platform from which Stanislas can be launched. Ilunga is by his absence proving his importance. His cool is desperately missed!

And to finish my sermon I will dare to address a very touchy subject – is Noble good enough? Prince H has mentioned it earlier – he is a bit slow and the game seem to halt a bit when he gets the ball. He is also not a consistent midfield dynamo and does not create plays on a regular basis. He sometimes shows us what he can do but I don’t think it’s often enough. He is still a young player and it would be terrible if he was not given the opportunity to bloom, but I have waited for him to turn into the central midfielder we have been missing for quite some time, and to be honest I don’t see a promising trend. With a second striker on the pitch and Jimenez in a more playmaking role and Behrami back in decent form – where do we play Noble?

Can we blame all this negative stuff on the 120 minutes of battle of last tuesday?


Did the players try to win this or just make us fall asleep?

After about 20 minutes I thought that we would produce the best game of the season so far. pacey and a strong will. With Cole as a great threat again. But then Blackburn had a strong period and after the break I was about to fall asleep, where was the ideas? Why did we allow them to put (a wak but anyway) pressure on us and why did we not try to win the game? We looked certainly tired and the midfield did not find their feet at all. ola, wake up!!! If we want to challenge for a European spot one point will be enough in awaygames, but not this play. 
We should beat Blackburn! We did not. 0-0 in a tremendously boring game. Sorry to say... I guess the players can blame the midweek game for this pale effort.

Green 6 - Not much to do. 
Faubert 6 - Quite ok, but tries too hard sometimes.
Collins 7,5 - Brave and good game. Won headers, blocked shots and even had a real chance that was just over the bar. Our readheaded warrior seems to stay with us and with this play: Great!
Upson 6 - A strange game, quite quiet. He is our captain and should be able to take care of the team more, now he seems to concentrated to his own doings. Which was ok, but not more. Lost some challenges and seemed to loose patience.
Spector 5 - Plays without confidence and even if he actually found our attackers sometimes he played without any thinking.... Should be replaced.
Noble 6 - Involved, but slow. I am not sure that he should have the role he have as he will not be our playmaker, and certainly not from the right hand side. Must play faster or leave the ball quicker to someone else...
Scott Parker 6 - Far from his best game, he did fight and tried to get us forward.
Jack Collison 6,5 - It's great to see him on the field, and (I missed the Millwall game though) he made his best start this season so far, as he was able to find teammates, and had some good runs.
Stanislas 6 - Deserved a start and will learn from this,  but was not able to produce anything at all n the second half. Good ideas in his head, that seldom materialises, but at least he is a attacking weapon with his runs.
Jimenez 6,5 - Better and better, but not good enough yet. One of few players who ran today and tried to find new positions. Should challenge even more when close to the box. 
Carlton Cole 7 - A beautiful first half where he challenged, hold the ball and had our best chance of the game when he dribbled three players all by himself and shot just wide. Did not manage to make the same impact in the second half, not only his fault....

Dyer and Kovac were not able to make any impact. Why the two gave the ball wasy so easily in the dying minutes I can't understand.
And why Zola did not challenge the 0-0 game with Hines or Nouble I do not understand.
Even if we passes the ball with patience we need to find faster play too, with the mid-midfield better to link with COle and our attacks. Not pleased today even if we deserved the point we got away from home.


We'll attack!

Let's hope that Diamanti is Carlton Cole's best friend and that they will succeed together. I do not know enough about the Livorno boy, but he seems to be a tough guy with a great left foot. Giving him a five year contract also suggests that West ham do have great belief in the 26 year-old.
To early to start with him against Blackburn though. So I will give these eleven a go:

Faubert Tomkins Upson Daprela
Jimenez Parker Collison Stanislas
Hines Cole

I guess Dyer and Ilunga still will be out. I will not play Spector anymore, so Ill give Daprela a start even if it's early days for him, but it's away and Blackburn seems to be hit by injuries - so it may be good game for him to begin with. 
Even if I'm not satisfied with his play this season so far,  I'll give Collison another game under the circumstances it will be the best for him to play. So I'll rest Noble who according to reports have a knock. Jimenez and Stanislas will give us great counter-attack ability as will Hines - who have impressed so far - and Cole together. It may be too attack-minded (and the right side look a bit weak defensively) but to win glory you can't sit and wait. Attack them!
We haven't lost to Blackburn in a couple of years now, and won't do it now either! C'mon U Irons. By the way: We should start the game with some kind of tribute to Davenport.


Care to see the goals?

The post match talk was never going to be about the score or the goals or the match.
If you, like me, rather watch football than spectators, or whatever you like to call them, here are the goals.
There is some pitch invasion too, sorry about that, but this is the only clip that I found that contained all the goals.

Fight hooliganism!

As I was unable to see this classic meeting ending up in this "classic" hooliganism I 'm sorry... I can't give you any report today and no marks either due to work... (Joppe, please feel free! I'll be back on Staruday). I'm tired of all these fighters being connected to our beloved club and this game ended (or begun) in a manner I feared already when I saw that we were drawn against them. Now the club have to start all over with these frustrated lunatics again. Most of them were probably not even born at the time of the old fights. Shame on them.
Happy win though and a great confidence builder for Hines and Stanislas.


One good deal is enough!

Gudjohnsen, Toni, Pandev, Oddo, Chamakh, Diamantini, Samaras, Boselli, Baptista, Rinaudo, Valbuena, Nosworthy, Fernandez, Mancini, Fon-Williams, Dossevi, Balotelli, Valbuena, Basso, Mensah, Poulsen, Carroll, Bezziccheri, Obraniak, Brozek, Ferdinand, Moon, Taylor, Malecki, Lletget, Kana-Biyik, Caicedo, Lustig, Homei, Acquafresca, Richards, Fanni, Spurr, Beevers, Ledley, Arango, Orr, Bocchetti… these are among the players that have been linked with West Ham this transfer window.
None of them has signed so far – what does that indicate, that we are unable to attract decent players?

One of the things it certainly indicates is that some people make money on spreading rumors, we usually call these people sports writers or agents.
Behind some of these rumors there are at least fragments of truth. The agents may have contacted West Ham to offer their players services, or they have been on a list of potential targets in case this or that happens at the club. It would of course be malfeasance from the Clubs side if it wasn’t preparing for some reasonably probable events.
Then there are the links where we are likely to be in some kind of active bargaining situation.

In the press these rumors are handled more or less as if they were unrelated. It’s reported that one player is in negotiations with the club and after a day or two it’s said to be a done deal and then we’re told that something appeared that killed the deal. Then there is another rumor that goes through similar stages etc. etc.
Comments of the type “West Ham fail again” shows you how desperate the West Ham supporters have become. It also shows that there is little thought given to how these deals are set up.
I think the ones working these deals are a lot like jugglers, keeping all these deals going simultaneously. They need to set up deal proposals with several interested strikers while most likely needing to work with the courters of Collins (or Upson for all we know at the moment) as we more than likely need to fund the new striker with a sale. We need to take all these possible deals as to a close to final as possible while still keeping them all open if the others do or don’t work out. We don’t want to lose Collins if there is no suitable striker available, and we obviously don’t want the costs of 3 new strikers, especially if no one is around to pick up Collins.
Come to think of it, it’s a bit like juggling where all the ball are in the shape of a chicken race!
The players hopes of going to a(nother) major club must have withered before they settle for our bid and the other team must accept the thought that there are no more money to get out of this deal. But this will not happen until the time for alternative and more lucrative bids have run out – which in some cases will not happen until the dying days of the transfer window.
If you have money, this way of doing business is not as important, it may be more important that the team get their man than it’s at the optimal price. However, for a team with no funds, chasing players that may rather go to a “big 4 club”, it’s more or less necessary to get involved in this kind of deals.

Ergo: There are more than likely several deals brokered. The majority of these will “fall through” since they are mutually exclusive, meaning if one is finalized others are doomed. And hopefully one or two of these multi-dimentional, or at least multi-party puzzles are finalized this last week of agony! Let's have some faith in the people doing this.
(Inevitable comment: You are Duckers and I claim my 5 quid...)


Tott'ham were served and gifted the points.

Our first game at Upton Park for the season. We met a team which we always loses to, who have shown - in the last two games -  pace like Arsenal and strength like... eh, Chelsea. (Ups, all of a sudden I've given praise to a bunch of teams I don't want to praise). But we showed skill and strength as well against our rivals, Tottenham. We showed that we wan't to play the ball... but also that we still are the boy with no luck at all.

But: I did not expect us to play as well as we actually did today. At least in the main part of the game. I had expected Tottenham to run us down. They did not. Well in the end they did. But we controlled the midfield much better than I expected (well, we had five men there) and Carlton Cole had a great game. Expect for those three seconds. Who cost us so dearly. 
And 1-2 hurts a lot, still I think I'm in a way in better mood than before the game. Strange. 
Cole had a moment of nightmare when he from the middle of the pitch tried to reach Matthew Upson at back but instead passed the ball perfectly to Jermain Defoe who easily ran and shot past Green. That was just minutes after Carlton Cole had made one of his best goals ever and given the home crowd dreams to fly... From the moment Tottenham scored their first you could count on another slip from our team. And - sorry to say - there was of no surprise that Jonathan Spector served Lennon the winner....

Green 6 - Did not have a lot to do at all. Two shots well saved, but no chance at the goals and actually a suprisingly quiet afternoon. I do not know if I'm that fond of his long kicks all the time though. I thought we were to play differently.
Faubert 7 - Trés bien Monsieur! Most crosses was good, lost his area two or three times but came back strong with well timed tackles. Had some rackets with Defoe, which I didn't mind except for the one in the end which cost us a dyin minute to push forward.
Collins 6 - I did not expect him on the field today, but there he was. His ordinary self. A decent performance I guess, as Keane and Defoe was not to be seen in the box at all.
Upson 7 - Good game, it's not easy to have Spector out there on his flank and should maybe have helped him off a couple of times more.
Spector 4 - Started well and found Cole with a terrific pass, seemed quite good goin forward. But then and once more he looked like a schoolboy and plays likewise naive. It was not his first mistake - and everyone does from time to time -  but I can't understand how he could give Lennon that ball. (And Tottenham the victory). But sorry to say I can't understand why he is on the field at all.
Jimenez 8 - The big surprise! So this is the player we've been waitin for. Played really well and kept the ball to his feet, fought hard, won headers and should maybe have had a penalty when pushed by A-E. Played smart at right mid or right behind Cole. Could have scored if not Collison had taken the ball - after great trickery by Jimenez - from his feet and tried his luck himself (not a good one!)
Noble 6,5 - Fought hard as always, and contributed well with some nice defensive work, some good passes but the play stops - or slows down - every time he has the ball. Even if slow himself he still must learn how to make the play more fluent.
Parker 7,5 - Good game, harder than hard. You must love this man!
Collison 5 - A bit better today, but still not involved enough and easy to beat. During the last part of the game he fought hard and tried his best though.
Stanislas 6,5 - Does never look afraid and always tries to challenge. I like his spirit. He had to help Spector a lot (should maybe have done so even more) but still had the time to make an impact goin forward. As the good passer and crosser he is, he still have to learn how to find his temmates more. For a period of twenty minutes in the beginning of the second half I had to look twice to see if he still was on the field, but came back strong.
Carlton Cole 8 - Even with that terrible pass which probably cost us the points, he was my MOTM today. So strong that even Ledley King looked like a junior beside him, fought with two men all the time, but even had the confidence to dribble and never - or seldom - lost the ball. And that goal was a stunnder, absolute wonderful!! Then he had his inexplicable nightmare, but came back quite strong. But when the final whistle came he just fell down inconsonable (?).

Subs: Kovac (subbed Jimenez who had a knock I was told), Hines and Nouble all played very few minutes, No marks.

Bitter yes! You got to be after this cursed game, but I'm still hopeful. Jimenez will be a great asset for us and I do like Zolas strong belief in his players. They grow (most of'em) and will be able to give us a lot of points this season.. with (yes please!) och without reinforcements. At the moment I'm more worried about our lack of depth in our squad. We surely missed Ilunga today, and I keep my finger crossed that Dyer will be fit very soon as his body seems to be very fragile. We will be much better off with Behrami and - if, if  ever - Ashton. Zola said after the game that he still think our striker will be out there on the field sooner or later, in contrast to earlier reports this weekend which said he would retire. He also stated that things looked a little bit better for Davenport than first reported. At least that's good to hear.

Millwall next!

Same old headlines

Dean Ashton seems to retire...
Chamakh snubbs the club who seems unable to get any more power to their attack before the transfer window closes...
Davenport is stabbed...
New injuries...
The players who we can and want to sell don't wanna leave....
West Ham owners can't spend a penny...

It looks like we'll have the old West Ham back, with the same kind of headlines we usually have when the season starts. Not even Zola and his happy-go-lucky-attitude seems to be able to stop that. And the fans will be sarcastic and embittered... once more? Well, a point today would certainly change that. But I doubt it....


Our thoughs today goes to Calum Davenport! 
Some guys have no luck.... 
Be well soon.


Defoe is back

So after Defoe have scored five goals in one and a half game you must say: I'm impressed. I could have coped with him still here. No doubt about it. At one time he seemed to come back, but few of the fans had forgiven his young foolish inquiry of a transfer from the Academy the day after we went down in 03/04. (Even if later apologized and blamed his agent.) So I guess he did not dare. So sometimes we fans are counterproductive and show stupid hatred. I think. 

Anyhow, we'll see him at Boleyn ground this Sunday. So how to stop him and the ever-complaining Keane? Well, we got to stop them earlier, we got to stop Palacios and Modric to play those dangerous balls and stop Tottenham to have that fluent play they have shown during the first games of the season. So it's up to the whole team. but maybe more than others Noble and Parker. I surely miss our long-term-victims Behrami and LBM, those two players had been good in a game like this. 
Once more I doubt that Collison is a good answer to my prayers... to stop their midfield to create, and still be fast enough to create counterattacks (which I presume we'll have to do with even if at home). Dyer and Stanislas should play at the flanks. Kovac, if match-fit should help the middle of the park and Jimenez start on the bench (but be ready!)
One of our box-men will certainly be Upson. But Collins? Don't you misunderstand me, in many games I think Collins have been our best player. (In others not). But with the transfer in his mind I doubt he can do himself justice. So as I don't know if Tomkins still have a knock or not, from my point of view (and what do I know?) this will be the time for Gabbs to prove himself not only fit but also good enough to cope with their fast men. Gabbs is faster than Collins, no doubt. And if in form will be able to do well even against their top men (and Pavlyuchenko if playin)
I hope and pray that Ilunga is ready to play again. Cause I do not want to see Spector against Lennon. And to let ur new young boy Duprela start this game... that could ruin his career. 
So please Ilunga: Be fit!
Which is a prayer Carlton Cole as well, I do still not understand why he wasn't substituted earlier against Wolves. But I understand that he will be able to win battles even against their har men at the back.
The last time WH and T met at Upton park we lost and had a dreadful game, maybe because I was sitting in Dr Martens upper?
This time I have less hope, but still think we can snatch a point. After all, Liverpool played dreadful and was unlucky to have a blind referee on the field and Hull? They continue where they ended last season, but this time will go down.....

Bordeaux, and another claret for Collins?

Villa in for Collins?

That sounds like good news if I thought I could trust it.
I’m sure that Collins would much prefer to play in Birmingham to Stoke, making him more inclined to go and, as I said in a previous post, this may be the deal that makes it all fall into place.
It could enable us to make the bid for Chamakh more palatable to Bordeaux by offering more money “in cash” but without increasing the total.

To me it also sounds as we will have another club within our reach this season (if we do get that decent striker). To face Collins in the center of defence at Villa Park does not feel that daunting. Also, even if I know it won’t happen, it would be OK for me if Villa and Stoke were overbidding each other for his signature.

But this also makes me feel a bit like a backstabber. Hoping to see the back (!) of a good player that wants to play for us as much as anybody (with the possible exception of some academy players) is an uncomfortable feeling. It actually serves as a good example for a discussion on loyalty and club-feeling.
Please Ginge, no hard feelings?


Another deal to fall through?

According to THIS article in the french mag L’Equipe this morning Bordeaux wants eight million euros for Chamakh or he will stay at the French Club.
Chamakh himself is stated saying he wants to anounce this on Monday.

Strange this... it may as well be another try to up the price but as the player will leave on a free transfer in a year they seem to have a lot to lose if they push this too far.
The involvement of Chamakh in the rumour, however, seems to indicate that he'd rather see a move to another club - otherwise why would he want to do a public statement before transfer deadline? On the other hand, if he was certain a move to West Ham was not going to happen why wait until Monday?

Or are l'equipe hiring journos from the Mirror now?


Collins out increses the squad strenght!

According to BBC Collins to Stoke is a done deal.

Sounds good to me. Don't you get me wrong, I think Collins has been great for us and certainly always has done his best, but if this is true it does indicate that one of my major fears - cashing in on Upson - is not going to happen. We can do without one experienced full back, but not two, and the Club know it.

One could also hope that this indicates that a move for a striker is going to happen during this transfer window. But don't you take that for granted. Last window we sold Bellamy for a lot of money and did not reinvest much of it. It could be, even though I doubt it, that this money is needed to keep the banks off our backs.

Hopefully the holes in our economy is smaller now and it is possible for Zola to use the Collins-money.

It now seems as the deal fell through, maybe because of Ginge's personal terms.
Can't blame him if he turned down a deal he wasn't happy with, and he is certainly good enough for our squad. This was alwys a lesser of two evils choice but now I'm back feeling as uneasy as I did before.


A happy start!

To meet a team just promoted to PL at their home turf in their premier is not easy. And this was not an easy win either. But I was impressed by the way we handled the pressure and took control of the game. West Ham started this season with a win and a good game. 2-0 at Molineux is not bad at all. Alright, Wolves missed their new recruitment and finisher Doyle (from Reading) but it's hard to see anyone to score today against MOTM Robert Green. Still, our goalkeeper was not the only one who impressed me today. Still, it will be so much tougher from now on.... the pressure on the midfield will increase a lot when we meet better teams and I could also see some small crack's to repair before we continue our journey this season.
After the game we could read that young Spence will go out on loan to Scunthorpe. Even if just for a month, I guess it will mean that Faubert stays put. And why not? He was certainly one of our better players today.

Green 8 - MOTM. The three saves he did in the beginning of the second half was crucial for our victory. Plays with big confidence and if he continues like this noone will be able to snap his ticket to South Africa. 
Faubert 7 - Even if Matt Jarvis found some space behind the Frenchman at some moment I was never really worried as he had a good game defensively. But let's talk about his offensive play, running down the flank and putting in dangerous cross after cross. Most of them top quality. If he continues like this he must be voted "most improved player of the season". Or is this the same player?? Please, do not have Neill back....
Collins 6 - If his distribution was really poor throughout the whole game he was (with one exception) solid at the back. Noone sacrifices himself like Collins do.
Matthew Upson 7 - Did what he had to do and did it really well. Even scored an "easy" one and he was as happy as a child. Zola says Upson will stay so I guess he will.... If Collins will as well, what does that mean to Tomkins and Gabbs? Well, that's not a question for tonight.
Herita Ilunga 7 - Very compostured, well he always is but defenisvely he was really top notch. Had to leave the field after an hour and a head collision. Zola indicates that he will be back soon. It better be already next game, cause we'll need him against Lennon.
Luis Jimenez 6 - Probably his best game for us so far. He'll do better still, but moved well and found his teammates today. Played a part in Noble's goal.
Scott Parker 6 - Grew during the game but I expect him to be the guy who can loose the pressure when (a team like) wolves put all their horses gainst us. Didn't affect the game as he can.
Mark Noble 7,5 - Told us this week that he wants to score more goals. And this was certainly a good start. A beautiful and clever shot past Hennessey. More involved in the attacks this game, and less in the defense, it may a tactical move by Zola. 
Kieron Dyer 6,5 - Oh, he looks better and better running on that pitch, sometimes looking like a dear (o dear).
Jack Collison 5 - It may be someone in the team who runs around and looks like a hen, but instead covers the grass someone has to cover. It may have been Collison. But I doubt it. Even if I really like to see him mot of the times, I have not been impressed in the pre-season games, and was not today either.
Carlton Cole 6 - Strange game. His first 30 was easy read by the Wolves defence who won every duell (they may have the las international on dvd). But after a knock he started to limp... and at the same time play extraordinary well. I shouted in front of the telly: "Zola whu don't you make a substitution. Take Cole off the field". But he did not and Cole begun to win everything, and show what he can do (well, I did not say he scored did I?).

Spector 4,5 - No, o no.... Had a shocking start when he came on, Happy they did not score when he lost the ball.... the first time (three out of three).
Stanislas 6 - Had a few minutes and showed exactly why he should start.
Nouble (-) - 45 sec on the pitch. Well. it's a debut after all!


Chamakh could be a nice smack

I'm not fond of all the speculation - about which player to play where - goin' 'roud the media world these days. And not fond to write it here and repeat it one more time. But I raised my eyebrows when I saw L'Equipe this morning (thanks to Indiehammer). According to the French paper Chamakh can be in East London this Monday. If frenchspeking, read HERE.

It would be a really good reinforcement and I think a good complement to Carlton Cole. Chamakh - born in France, but playin for Morocco - is maybe not the golden goalscorer every fan is looking for (13 goals last season, pretty OK), but he is fast, he is smart, is an excellent friend with the ball and an air ability like Michael Jordan. So to see him together with Cole (and Dyer, Stanislas and Jimenez) would be something. And he is sooo much younger (25) than the other guy's the media world is trying to plant at the Boleyn ground these days. Not that I would mind them either, but this would be a better move. I think. Let's see if the speculation continue or if the guy actually will show up at London airport next week....


8 out of 11!

As some of you already have pointed out: There were EIGHT (if you include John Terry) - former or present - West Ham players on the field for England, when they (in their half) were able to beat Holland by 2-0 (well it ended 2-2):
Green, Johnson, Ferdinand, Terry, Carrick, Lampard, Defoe and Carlon Cole.

 Has that ever happened? I doubt it. Very impressive. 
Could we please buy Milner, Wright-Phillips and (well maybe not) Ashley Cole please. Our Cole - Carlton - had a terrific game and would certainly be prefered by Capello for a spot in South africa now, before names like Crouch and Heskey. 
Keep up the good work! Start this Saturday please!


Tomkins, Stanislas and Sears...

... represented "the Academy of Football" in an England U21 game against the Dutch tonight.

Tomkins and Stanislas started in a game that the orange boys looked closest to winning. Stanislas played wide right in a 451 formation in his U21 debut and looked very much up to it. He got a lot of time on the ball and was very active. The England team on the whole had a lot of possession but rarely broke through to create many clear cut chances.
Tomkins had an U-21 game in the meaning that he mixed great work with pretty horrendous stuff, something he didn't do in the last games of the last campaign. Let's hope it was because of the unfamiliar environment.

With 10-15 minutes or so remaining, Freddie Sears, that also played U21 for England for the first time, came on for Stanislas but failed to make an impression. He was obviously played out of position and therefore didn't get the balls he need to use his speed. He got the same kind of balls Stanislas did and in that kind of position and in this kind of game Stanislas is so much better. But again that is a bit unfair to Freddie as it is not what he is good at.

Go and become a great player at Palace, Freddie, and then come back home and shine!

Kyle Naughton caught my eye. He should do a Nouble and cross town to play in a decent team.

The England side tonight:

1 Scott Loach, 2 Micah Richards (c), 3 Kieran Gibbs, 4 Jack Rodwell, 5 Michael Mancienne, 6 James Tomkins, 7 Junior Stanislas, 8 Lee Cattermole, 9 James Vaughan, 10 Fabien Delph, 11 Danny Rose
Subs 12 Kyle Naughton, 13 Frank Fielding, 14 Ryan Bertrand, 15 Chris Smalling, 16 Jack Wilshere, 17 Andy Carroll, 18 Freddie Sears, 19 Daniel Sturridge

"No change in transfer policy"

Yesterday Scott Duxbury aka the Duck, felt obliged to issue an official statement on the official site. The reason is the growing rage among fans fueled by rumours that the desperate creditors of Straumur (owners of West Ham holding etc…) has ordered the Club to sell Mathew Upson to the highest bidder (i.e. Man C). According to the rumours most of the money will not be available for the Club.
Ducky’s story is that “there is no change in transfer policy”. That is an enigmatic statement in its own right as we do not really know what the transfer policy has been.
In January the Duckman issued a similar statement in a similar situation so we can take a look at that transfer window and see what his words are worth.

In January I wrote this about the transfer/credibility storm surrounding Duxy:

With the exception of Bellamy, no player that has been considered essential to the team has left. If you think of the doomsday scenario that most papers presented in November and most of December, that is not bad, especially when it turned out that we got £14 million for him. Dux seem to have done a good deal there and as I said in a previous post HERE Bellamy was also kind enough to take any burden off Duxbury by trying to force a move to T-Ham. Talk about subtle intuition how to get every fan as your enemy. In comparison, even Duxbury seemed like a trustworthy bloke.
But how about improving and using funds?
The £14 million was used to buy Savio (undisclosed but said to be no more than £7.5 million up front, additional costs later) and to sign Ilunga on a permanent deal said to be worth around £1.4 million. So no more than £9 million of the Bellamy money was probably used in this transfer window. A pretty big publicity stunt was made of the fact that against common understanding (what was said in the tabloids), Zola was given any funds at all.
I do NOT mean that a spending of a lot of cash is always a good thing, all I’m trying to do is to compare the actual moves to Duxbury statements.

Now, the amount of money in deals are always hard to find out. Some say that the Savio money was no where near £7.5 million. There certainly was no strengthening of the squad but still, there was no fire sale during the January window.

So there is no change in transfer policy compared to theJanuary window… That would mean, I guess, that we may sell a player that is worth a lot of money but who is not considered absolutely essential for the Clubs survival in the Premiereship. Zola will be allowed to “strengthen the squad” by finding a cheaper player that either is a “football project” prospect or fills an immediate need. Last time out we secured Ilunga, this time we got Kover Kovac on a permanent basis. Last time we got Savio, this time we will get something other than a starlet, I think. The desperate need of a mature, and reliable striker is recognized by all and is most likely the Clubs priority target.

We will not sign a high profile striker on a permanent basis, but my gut feeling tells me that we may well get one on loan. Last season Zola filled some desperate needs by gambling on DiMichele and/or Tristan to find some form – neither of them did, but it does tell us how Zola/Nani/Duckers operate. This time they have more time to find the right player and maybe, at least in my dreams, Toni fits an improved version of this “MO” of the triumvirate.

The Club is describet by Dux as being “self sufficient”. There must be, however, significant worries about how much money the gates/fan-products will generate this season during these economically worried times. The season tickets were made cheaper for this season to”give something back to the fans” (or was it possibly to fill the seats and secure an good atmosphere – a very important aspect of the “product” Ducky the businessman is selling), so a bit of a buffer is more than likely needed to make sure that no desperate actions are need to be taken during the season.

If you, for some reason, hope for a significantly strengthened squad you will be disappointed, but if you are afraid that we’re on a highway to hell with an evil/incompetent driver, you are as wrong. Unless a filthy rich new owner steps out of the shadows we will have another season of fighting for a decent mid-table position.


Nah, Napoli

As I was unable to see the game against Napoli today (my son Aron's 9th birthday! - a true Hammer) I hope someone else on here will tell me how the game was, and which players you were impressed by.
Just a week to go now....


Good Luca with that!

Agents words aren't to be trusted. The problem is that the (good-) news-hungry West Ham fan swallows every bait that is thrown in his direction. I usually consider myself too good for that, but when Toni's (we're not on first name basis yet) agent Jose Alberti says "I think it will happen" I have a hard time to stay silent.

There are so many cons in this story that it's hard to fit a list into the space of a blog entry so I'll focus on the pros.
The only one I can think of is that Toni does want to play (for us/Zola), and may be willing to take a substantial pay cut for an opportunity to play at the highest level and impress Lippi.
If you visit lucatoni.com you can convince yourself that the national team, and success there, is his number one priority. In an ideal Toni-world the big clubs would stand in line to tempt him with juicy contract proposals and guarantees that he would get lots of time on the pitch. But since that is not an option, he probably prefers to go to a mid table club with as little potential surprises (that concerns him as a player) as possible, compared to waiting for a chance at the Airbag Arena in Munich. The Zola/Nani connection, people that he go back a long way with, may be what reassures him.
There have been some worries on forums that to have a player with that kind of connections with the managing staff may be problematic... let's cross that when we get there!

The most obvious stumbling block is that Bayern Munich most likely wants to get payed to let a player go that has 2 years to go on his contract, and we just don't have any money...
Can Dux find a solution?


Silence is golden

"Silence is golden" was a number one hit in the 60's for the band The Tremeloes. I hope it can be for West ham as well. The clock is ticking and we still have no new names in our squad (besides Jimenez). I'm not worring foremost for our lack of a decent RB as I think Zola will find a way to fill the gap after Neill (I hope he stays away now, after trying to persuade every team to get him, I can't see him being welcome here anymore.) 
No, of course what we need is some gifted and mature striker (or 2) to help Cole in the attack. Jimenez and Dyer can be there, but not as a permanent solution. Hines can be a man for some games, he seems to be a talented goalscorer, but will be uneven in his play and will hardly rock a defense like Liverpool's... yet. So we do really need someone NOW! The names mentioned like Luka Toni or Balotelli are out of our reach. The last big gun mentioned, Gudjohnsen is not. And as we haven't heard a whisper with his name mentioned in 4-5 days now... I hope - like the old hit that - "Silence is golden". 
If not, we'll have a long season to go....