Nigel Kahn’s Column

Three's a Crowd

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Wolves on Sunday is open and you can register a team until 4pm HERE. If you haven’t created a profile, please do so HERE.

Another week passes in West Ham world and another week of bitterness triumph and turmoil. Where do we start?

SATURDAY V ARSENAL

If you didn’t see the game and you believe most of the fanbase, you would be of the mind that we started with 3 centre backs, 2 wing backs, 5 midfielders of which one was playing as a centre forward. With Noble injured, the inclusion of Masuaku on the left it seems to have confused lots of fans. Many thought Moyes had changed his system and was playing 3 centre-halves with Mas left and Fredericks right side. If that was the case, where was Bowen playing, and if so that meant Moyes played 6 in midfield as we only had 1 playing upfront in Antonio.

Looking at it properly, Mas was playing left wing, Cresswell behind him left-back, typical Moyes formation recently, 451.

For me it worked. Masuaku I thought worked well as we all know he’s better when going forward then he ever is when tasked with defending. He gave Cresswell better cover than Fornal’s offers. Fornals looked better in the middle three, relieved of the defensive duties that he is tasked with when out wide.

The performance was almost like a carbon copy of the game we played in March against Arsenal where we had plenty of the play, did not look embarrassed as many an Arsenal team has done to us in the past at The Emirates stadium.

Specifically, in the second half instead of defending the point we had worked hard to get, we were the team it seems more likely to go on to win the game, and yet that it seems is West Ham’s Achilles heel. Overconfidence will always bite us, as shown by Arsenals late winning goal.

Moyes received flak for his use of substitutions, but for me, the team was playing so well, sometimes changes can harm the team once it is in the ascendency in the game.
Can you ever be pleased with a defeat? No, but you can be pleased to see that after the Newcastle performance there is a team that can play well and restore some pride to themselves that enables the fans to believe they can turn it around.

TUESDAY V HULL

It possibly sums up the topsy turvy world that West Ham inhabits when the reserve team cost more money to assemble than the first team, but that is currently what it looks like.
It almost feels like when the British Lions rugby team are on tour and they have a team for test matches and a midweek team for friendlies. We have our first team for the weekend’s Premier League and with the way the League cup is being organised this season, we now have a midweek cup team or the reserves as I call them.

Funnily though, it does look like a strong reserve team when you look at it. Randolph is an international keeper, Balbuena is an international as well. We have a former English midfield star in Wilshere, then throw in Lanzini and Yarmolenko – both represented their countries often. In fact, Yarmo is no 2 in goalscoring for his country Ukraine behind Shevchenko, so that shows his pedigree. Not forgetting the two most expensive players the club have purchased in Haller and Anderson.

Chuck in a smattering of Academy players and it is like how we all believe West Ham should line up back in the old days.

Standing back and looking at it, it seems squad wise we are well covered going forward, it’s just the defence that needs to be sorted.

In the recent as well as distant past, playing against a League 1 team in the cup would have been possibly an upset with us exiting the tournament. We have now very easily dispensed with 2 league 1 teams in the space of 8 days. I hope though that Everton are the team we face next round because as much as I will love to play the easier game I think we need to rest our reserve team against better quality to see if they are worth replacing some of the current 1st team as many fans after the Hull game seemed to be crying out for.

Haller scored another two, but the fact is, Antonio has 10 in 13 Premier League games so has earned the right to be kept as Moyes focal point in attack, and not pushed wide just to accommodate Haller.

It’s obvious Moyes prefers the 1 up top with five behind based on 2 wide players cutting in on their stronger foot, putting Haller in the middle pushing Antonio on the left upsets the balance for me, I would prefer to keep this 1st team together for another few games to see if they will get better the more they play together.

Of-course in typical West Ham style we have the positive COVID reports coming in just an hour before KO forcing out Cullen, Diop and sending Moyes home. Many thought the game should not have been played, claiming that as the affected players had come into contact with others then they should be in isolation as well. What they miss, is the same tests had been done on all players and everyone else came back negative, so I doubt calling the game off crossed any ones mind.

WEDNESDAY V TALKSPORT

I was asked last week if I knew what Sullivan wanted from the fan base, my reply was instant. To be liked. That is all he’s ever wanted from the day he walked into the club with his claims of saving it to then leading it into a new golden era in a home fit for world-class stars. He is feeling the pressure now that’s for sure and that is evident in his decision to go on Talksport to give his side of why West Ham is in the mess its in.

I listened to the interview and much of what he says is true.

The club has no money at the moment to waste on big signings. We need to strengthen the defence and to do that the club needed funds. The only player that could be sold was the only player anyone wanted to buy.

He went on, blaming Pellegrini, Hussilos and he gave the fans what they wanted by appointing those two.

I agree with all that but what DS does not say, ever, is the fact we have got to those positions because nearly every major decision he has made at the club has brought us to this position. The fault lies with him, and him alone for the mess the playing side is in.

We all are waiting to see what becomes of the so-called American bidders waiting to pounce but I doubt they are waiting if they were real at all they have decided to wait. The car crash is still in progress, the value of the club is still possible on a downward slide so its possible they may just sit back and wait for the final crash.

What DS ever thought it would achieve I’m not sure but there is no way back for him and a majority of the fanbase, Unlike DG who it seems, is playing the Its not me Guv game by the looks of the defence of him on Claret & Hugh.

Lastly, a couple of things

I’d likes to wish Nicky Hawkins of West Ham fan tv all the best as he has/is in hospital. At times we as West Ham fans disagree and fall out, but the love of West Ham binds us together in the end, and I have the utmost respect for what the WHFTV boys have achieved and having got to know Nicky better this year he is a proper decent person to boot.

Tonight is the last gameshow in this series on Russ Buddens YouTube channel My hammers XI, they have been fun recently to watch and have raised a good fair packet for the Newham food bank in conjunction with the Irons fans foodbank run by John Ratomski. With us not being at games donations from the irons fans were in danger of drying up so this was a great initiative to have fun and raise money. So if you can tonight at 9 pm have a look on Youtube My Hammers XI channel and you may even recognise 1 or 2 of those taking part tonight.


The GoatyGav Column

Rough Ride From The Media

A short one from me this week due to work commitments.

There have been many reactions on the various West Ham forums about Jim White’s dismissive comments about fan protests against the board. Although a minor shift seems to have occurred more recently the Glaswegian’s, fingers in the ears, “la, la, la, la, la I’m not listening to you!” approach to the Hammers faithful’s grievances appeared to be reaching boiling point.

Personally I stopped listening to, or watching, White after a Talk Sport phone in that left me without any respect for him. The on-air discussion was about away fans who get abused when they sit in home areas of grounds. White was disgusted with home fans throwing verbals at opposition supporters getting behind their teams while seated in home areas. This after an away fan ‘felt uncomfortable’ seated in a home area.

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For those of us who’ve been there there’s a certain etiquette nowadays. You don’t give it the bigg’un as you’re very likely to embarrass the home fans who’ve allowed you to use their tickets or have, indeed, gone with you to the game. Admittedly I have almost come a cropper in the past. The company I used to work for were a well known sponsor of Manchester City. Sitting in one of the box areas, in the Kippax Road stand, I vociferously urged Paulo Di Canio to “SWITCH IT!” to Joe Cole on a swift counter attack. Around two thousand angry looking faces turned to face me which, in all fairness, was completely justified. Did I whinge about ‘feeling uncomfortable’? Certainly not.

Frankly I would have expected a different attitude from a man who grew up in a city with Celtic and Rangers in. I wonder if White would expect to see a blue shirt in amongst the green & white hoops of the stands of Celtic Park? Yeah right…get real!

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Another Scottish football media man waded in over the weekend in response to David Moyes’ formation set up in the Arsenal match. Graeme Souness opined that DM was wrong to change formation from four to three at the back in game-week two. Has to be said that this was quite surprising punditry to read considering the two, contrasting, performances. Obviously Mr Souness knows far more than I do so I’m clearly missing something here.

I’m not going to get in to any conspiracy theory about sections of the media ‘having it in’ for us. All boiled down everyone has their viewpoint however I find the positions taken by some very surprising and their arguments often weak, one sided and inconsiderate of the opposing views.

As for me I simply vote with my feet. Whenever Jim White comes on the air, be it on screen or radio, I simply switch over or switch off. Quite easy really.

Back to business as usual with the women and youth team’s reports next week. Until then…

COYI!


Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Hull City

West Ham v Hull City
Carabao Cup 3rd Round
London Stadium
KO 7.30pm
TV: None
Radio: WHUFC.com & talkSport2

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Hull

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Hull City tomorrow is open and you can register a team until 4pm HERE. If you haven’t created a profile, please do so HERE.

Blast from the past

West Ham United have met Hull City on just one previous occasion in the League Cup, with the Hammers currently holding a 100% record over the Tigers in the competition.

Today’s focus takes us back just over 50 years to that game, on 9th September 1970. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles were number one with ‘Tears Of A Clown’, Michael Caine was in UK cinemas in Too Late The Hero and Neil Young released his third studio album, After the Gold Rush, ten days later. The First Division Hammers, meanwhile, welcomed their Second Division visitors for this League Cup second round tie in front of 19,160 on a Wednesday evening at the Boleyn Ground.

Ron Greenwood’s West Ham went into the game in 18th place in the First Division and without a win from their first seven league games – indeed the Irons wouldn’t win a league match until early October, at the eleventh time of asking. Hull, led by recently-appointed player-manager Terry Neill, took advantage of the Hammers’ poor run of form and frustrated their hosts for 85 minutes. Their brave resistance was finally broken with five minutes of the game remaining when Geoff Hurst’s quickly-taken corner on the left found Frank Lampard – the left-back, who turned 72 on Sunday, crossed for Clyde Best to nod down and 26-year-old Yorkshireman Peter Eustace (pictured below) shot home the game’s only goal from 12 yards.

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Billy Bonds was sent off with three minutes remaining – his shot brought a fine save from the visiting goalkeeper and Bonds was pushed when he turned away from goal. He was dismissed for his retaliation. The Tigers staged a late push for an equaliser against the ten-man Hammers but could not find a way through, the Irons holding out to secure a 1-0 victory. Bonds would go on to be voted Hammer of the Year, with Bobby Moore runner-up.

West Ham United: Peter Grotier, Billy Bonds, Bobby Moore, Alan Stephenson, Frank Lampard, Harry Redknapp, Peter Eustace, Bobby Howe, Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Greaves, Clyde Best.

The Hammers would lose their third round tie 3-1 at First Division rivals Coventry. Tottenham went on to win the League Cup Final of 1971, beating Aston Villa 2-0 at Wembley. Hurst would end the 1970/71 season as West Ham’s top goalscorer with 16 goals from 41 appearances.

Club Connections

Former West Ham midfielder Grant McCann is currently manager at Hull. Robert Snodgrass and Jarrod Bowen welcome their old club to east London, while former Hammer Martin Samuelsen is now with the Tigers. Hammers captain Mark Noble had a loan spell with Hull early on in his career. A small collection of players join them in having turned out for both West Ham United and Hull City:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll and Stephen Bywater.

Defenders: Dennis Burnett, Jack Dowen, Robbie Stockdale, Tommy Brandon and Abdoulaye Faye.

Midfielders: Nolberto Solano, Mohamed Diame, Richard Garcia and Alf Fenwick.

Strikers: Alan Taylor, Cliff Hubbard, Nikica Jelavic, Stuart Pearson, Ricardo Vaz Te and Tony Weldon.

Iain Dowie had two spells with West Ham before going on to manage Hull.

Today’s focus though is on a current Hull player who started his career at West Ham. Born in Newham on 2nd September 1996, Reece Burke joined the Hammers at the age of nine and made his debut as a 17-year-old substitute under Sam Allardyce in a 5-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Nottingham Forest on 5th January 2014. A centre-back standing at just over 6’2 tall, Burke made his home debut for the club in a League Cup second round match against Sheffield United on 26th August 2014, playing the whole match as the Blades knocked the Hammers out on penalties.

Burke made his Premier League breakthrough at the end of the 2014/15 season, helping the Irons to a clean sheet on his league bow in a goalless draw at QPR. He played in all five of the final matches of the campaign, starting four of them. He was also a starter in Super Slaven Bilic’s first match in charge, a 3-0 home win over Andorran side Lusitans in the first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round on 2nd July 2015. Burke featured twice more in the Europa League that season, in the away leg against the Andorrans and in the first leg of the third qualifying round, a 2-2 draw with Astra Giurgiu, before completing a season-long loan move to League One Bradford where he would win their Player of the Year award.

Burke featured in both legs of the Europa League first round, again against Astra Giurgiu, in August 2016 – he started the first leg in the unfamiliar position of left-back after injury to Aaron Cresswell and the ineligibility of Arthur Masuaku. The Hammers were knocked out 2-1 on aggregate. Burke joined Championship side Wigan on loan for the 2016/17 campaign – the Latics would be relegated at the end of the season.

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Burke remained in the Championship for the first half of the 2017/18 season, joining Bolton in another loan deal until January, alongside fellow Academy product Josh Cullen. He returned to east London with new manager David Moyes now in charge and started at right-back in a goalless FA Cup third round draw at Shrewsbury. Burke’s finest moment in claret and blue came in the replay on 16th January 2018 when he scored his only goal for the club, smashing high into the net after a Toni Martinez cut-back to give the Irons a 112th-minute winner in a 1-0 victory. This goal can be viewed in the video below.

Burke made his final Hammers appearance in the next round eleven days later, a 2-0 defeat at Wigan in the fourth round. He returned to Bolton on loan for the remainder of 2017/18, helping the Trotters to secure survival by just two points. After scoring one goal in 15 appearances for West Ham United, the 21-year-old Burke departed for Championship side Hull in the summer of 2018 having been sold by new Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini for a fee believed to be in the region of £1.5m. He made his Hull debut in a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa on 6th August 2018 and made 35 appearances as the Tigers finished 13th under Nigel Adkins.

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Burke made 38 appearances last season under new manager Grant McCann (a fellow former Hammer) and even captained the side in a 3-2 FA Cup third round win over Rotherham in January of this year – the Tigers were relegated at the end of the season. Burke has played every minute in three of Hull’s four matches to date this season (missing only their penalty shoot-out win over Leeds in the previous round of the League Cup) and has made 76 appearances in total for the club since signing for them just over two years ago.

Referee

Tuesday’s referee will be Wiltshire-based Simon Hooper, who will take on only his fourth Hammers appointment – his only other matches involving West Ham were the 1-0 Championship home win over Coventry in January 2012, our 3-0 League Cup third round win over Bolton at London Stadium in September 2017 and, most recently, our 2-0 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth in January 2019.

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Hooper has refereed one match so far in 2020/21, that being Stoke’s 1-0 League Cup win at Wolves last week – he issued one yellow card in that game.

Possible line-ups

David Moyes is likely to hand a start to ex-Tiger Robert Snodgrass, while Jarrod Bowen could be in the squad to face his old club too.

Former Hammers midfielder and current Hull manager Grant McCann takes on West Ham for the first time as a manager. Ex-Hammers Reece Burke (the featured player in the Club Connections section above) and Martin Samuelsen could turn out for Hull. The Tigers have beaten Sunderland and Leeds, both away from home and both on penalties, to reach this third round tie.

The winners of this encounter will face a trip to either Fleetwood or Everton in the fourth round.

Possible West Ham United XI: Randolph; Johnson, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Cullen, Snodgrass; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Hull City XI: Ingram; Coyle, Burke, Jones, Elder; Batty, Docherty; Scott, Honeyman, Samuelsen; Wilks.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


The HamburgHammer Column

Close, but no cigar! Gunners with lucky escape as Hammers dominate

NOTE FROM IAIN: The Predictor League for Hull City tomorrow is open and you can register a team until 4pm HERE. If you haven’t created a profile, please do so HERE.

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Guys and gals, what did we learn on Saurday then ? I guess it’s that NEARLY is the posh cousin of YOU LOST, GET OVER IT!
I’m beginning to type this down straight after the final whistle of our game against Arsenal.
I don’t feel like over-analysing this game, I also don’t feel the need to moan too much (okay, I’m still shaking my fist at the clouds with the football gods in them and a fairly angry expression on my boat) because, frankly, it was a near flawless performance from West Ham under the circumstances.

If we could only have played half as good as this against Newcastle we’d already have points on the board. If we can somehow bottle up the effort, endeavour, guts and desire from this one and uncork it all again for our upcoming league games, I will be nowhere near as worried as just a few days ago. Our team really worked their socks off on Saturday. The stats will back this up, we gave Arsenal an almighty scare, we played some tidy football, we created numerous opportunities (but weren’t ruthless enough) and at least the first of Arsenal’s two goals was borderline offside, the little-toe-might-have-been-offside variety, but still. We deserved a point out of this, maybe even more. When your team is on a good run, things tend to fall into place for you. Right now we just don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green. That’ll hopefully come if we continue to fight and play hard.

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I have to congratulate our team and manager for a very decent performance (at least until Arsenal scored their late winner), it was a great game to watch with plenty of goalmouth action, so I really don’t see a strong case for complaining furiously about this one. Two quick points though:

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This formation worked really well for us – I have to admit, I didn’t understand our line up at the start of the game, however, after watching our performance and the shift put in by the players, it totally made sense. Even players that had their cards marked as potential weak spots in our team, Fredericks, Cresswell, Masuaku, actually looked alright in their adapted roles, all doing their bit on the day for the cause.

What I still fail to grasp is Moyes’s unwillingness to make changes before the 78th minute. I get it that you sometimes keep your starters on if either your team is playing REALLY well or you simply don’t have options on the bench. I am not saying we wouldn’t have conceded again if only we had made some substitutions around the hour mark.

What I’m saying though is that it’s borderline insulting to put on players like Yarmolenko, Haller and Anderson for 10 minutes or less and expect them to magically have an impact. I would have thrown Anderson, Haller and Yarmolenko on much earlier. If only because Arsenal looked fairly shaky at the back as our stats for shots on and off target would illustrate.

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All we needed was someone to tuck these opportunities away and in that respect I would have loved to see Haller from the start (or at least for 45 minutes) whose confidence should have been boosted by his goals in the Charlton game. But it wasn’t to be and we are still on zero points. Hard to take and the games are not only flying in thick and fast now, they are also not exactly getting any easier, maybe with the exception of Hull tomorrow in the Carabao Cup.

Whatever may or may not happen with regard to a potential sale and takeover of the club, well, that’s out of the hands of our fanbase really and certainly out of the hands of our staff of writers here on WHTID.
Whatever will be will be, as the famous football anthem by Doris Day goes.

All the players and the manager can do right now is to work hard on the training pitches and prepare for the next games. And then start to earn themselves a bit of good fortune on the pitch, their fair share of the rub of the green. Maybe even get the odd unexpected draw or win in the upcoming fixtures.

Try to stay positive, try to run, sweat and fight for your teammates out there and get some confidence back into your bones and brains.

It’s still early in the season and our team is good enough to eventually win games. We could do with a bit of help from the transfer market. But that’s one for another article closer to Deadline Day. COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: The Bundesliga season is back! Including Bundesliga 2 of course with the two Hamburg clubs hoisting the footballing colours of my beloved hometown.
Hamburg SV managed a hard fought 2:1 victory in their home opener against Fortuna Düsseldorf who got relegated from the top division in the summer. So a positive start for Kevin Keegan’s former club! Their local rivals from the red light/harbour district St.Pauli kick off their season this evening with a tough away fixture at Ruhrpott club Bochum, the slightly poorer and less successful neighbours of Dortmund and Schalke, who also count plenty of (former) miners and steelworkers amongst their fanbase.

My lovely lower league love, Concordia Hamburg, started their campaign on Friday evening with a 5:2 home win (after being 0:2 down after 30 minutes), in front of 80 socially distanced paying customers. You can sense that a lot of people are still skeptical about going back to watch football, hence the low numbers. For the time being there seem to be different rules for different clubs, in accordance with the facilities on offer at the individual grounds.

Cordi will be able to welcome a maximum of 200 fans, some clubs may not allow away fans in at all while other teams may be able to play in front of 500 fans. It sure felt good to meet some of the regular Cordi faces again and chew the fat about football. They were even selling stylish Cordi facemasks with the club crest and in the red and black team colours!

Also on Friday evening the Under 23s won their cup game 1:0 away to Wentorf (just around the corner from where my brother lives). The Cordi Women’s team also had a cup fixture to maneuver, against the previous season’s cup winners Walddörfer SV who also play another level above the league the Cordi girls have just been promoted to.
So it was always going to be a big ask, considering Cordi’s best player Michelle Hille was out of the game after doing the ligaments in her ankle in the final preseason game last weekend. She was already smiling again before the game, as is her usual habit.
That smile unfortunately turned into a rather frosty expression quickly as a stunned Cordi team lost the game 1:8. Yes, EIGHT! Terrible game to watch, men against boys, sorry, this should maybe read women against girls.
A gulf in quality, Cordi with a 90 minute blooper reel of passes going straight to the opposition with the away side gratefully playing themselves into a attacking frenzy, like sharks feeding on a shoal of sardines.
Lovely weather though. At least the girls can focus on the league now…


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