Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Bournemouth

This weekend West Ham fans will travel to the south coast to see if we can follow up that great win against Arsenal with one against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday. Ahead of the game I spoke to Peter Bell of CherryChimes to discuss the game and season so far.

Hi Peter, although you are not currently getting the results that saw you reach the dizzy heights of sixth in the table at the end of October, you must be pretty happy with how your season has gone so far? What have been the highlights and lowlights?
There have been a few highlights. I would say the 0-4 away win at Watford was the most satisfying. We have always had a good rivalry with the Hornets and to do them on their own turf was a pretty good feeling.
If I had to pick a bad experience it would have to be the this recent run that the team have been on as a whole. Since beating Fulham away in October it’s been pretty much downhill all the way. usually we pick up some points against the top six, but we haven’t looked like being competitive at all when we take the field against the big guns and the injuries to Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and Simon Francis have really hurt the team’s performances.

The transfer window is yet again upon us, and the rumours are starting to fly around, is there any area of the squad that you think needs strengthening?
Well, we have brought in two players already which is great for us in the January window. I think Nathaniel Clyne is the sort of player we should be signing as an experienced international player and he’ll improve the right side. I am not sure if Dominic Solanke will be an immediate hit but we needed another striker with Defoe going out on loan. I’d like to see another central midfielder come in but I expect any further movement will be out going and may include Marc Pugh who has been a fantastic servant for the club.

I’ve seen, as no doubt you have that Bournemouth have put a £70Million price on Callum Wilson, is that a slightly overvalued price? Who would you be particularly loathe to see leave this January?
I think it is hard to justify any prices these days. How much does it cost to buy an experienced Premier League striker who is getting better and scoring regularly this season? Bournemouth can almost name their price if they really want to sell. I would say £70m is a fantastic deal, but I’ll believe it when I see Chelsea bid that much. Bournemouth would turn down anything south of £50m though as Wilson is so important to the way the team plays.

On the other hand who wouldn’t you mind seeing depart to pastures new?
If we could get better players in to replace numbers in the summer then I’d say time is up for a few players that have served the club well. Artur Boruc, Charlie Daniels, Harry Arter, Marc Pugh and Jordan Ibe are all players that I would say might be under threat come next summer. At the moment Eddie Howe won’t want to lose anyone as the squad isn’t that big.

Are you sticking with your early season prediction for Manchester City to lift the Premier League Trophy? Who are your picks for the top four slots?
I still think the title race is open. Money and history tell me that Man City are still likely to do it, but I’d be really pleased if Liverpool could win the title. I like Jurgen Klopp and would like to see Liverpool finally do it. They’ve waited long enough.
I’ll go – Champions Liverpool, 2. Man City, 3. Spurs, 4 Chelsea

Likewise you picked out Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle for the drop – any changes to these?
I can’t see Huddersfield finishing anywhere but 20th, it’s tougher to pick the others. I want Fulham to survive but Ranieri has to start winning games soon. I just can’t see them doing enough though so Fulham 19th, and I have a feeling that Newcastle will catch and overtake Cardiff to leave the Welshman in 18th place. So I reckon, I’ll have got two out of three from my early season prediction.

What do you think of Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure as West Ham manager so far this season?
He had a rough start but he has certainly got the Hammers playing well now. he had to get them to enjoy playing at the London stadium and once he had achieved that, he started to do okay. I think the signing of Felipe Anderson was key and it looks like Declan Rice has improved the solidity of the team not to get beaten. It seems a far cry from the London stadium last season with all those ugly protests. But I am sure many West Ham fans still aren’t happy.

What positions are Bournemouth and West Ham going to finish the season in?
Well pre-season I said 14th for Bournemouth and I’m coming back round to that idea now unfortunately. West Ham should be a bit stronger but I don’t think the Irons will be good enough to get above Everton and Leicester so I’ll say ninth.

How are Bournemouth going to line-up against West Ham this weekend?
It should be back to a familiar line up, although Adam Smith is still likely to play at left-back. I expect Wilson will be back for this one. We know how much West Ham fans like his hand in the goals!

Begovic
Clyne, S Cook, Aké, A Smith,
Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, Fraser
Kin, Wilson

In the Premier League era, since your promotion you are just shading us in terms of results: are you going to continue this on Saturday? Prediction for score?
I’d make West Ham favourites with the recent form with Bournemouth. But from what I recall it is only clubs from the top six that have taken all three points from Dean Court this season so I don’t see it being easy for West Ham. I’ll go for a 1-1 draw.

Well thanks to Peter for his time, for my part I think we shall even up recent results between our two teams, and will go for a narrow 1- 2 away win. COYI

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Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Bournemouth v West Ham

Blast from the past

In today’s preview, we travel back the very short distance to 12th January 2016: Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’ topped the charts; Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in UK cinemas; David Bowie had died two days previously with Alan Rickman to pass away two days later; and West Ham United beat Bournemouth away from home for the first (and currently only) time ever.

Super Slav’s Hammers picked up a 3-1 win in front of 11,071 spectators for a Tuesday night encounter at the Vitality Stadium. Andy Carroll was forced off through injury after just 15 minutes, with Nikica Jelavic entering the fray in his stead. Within two minutes of the switch, the Irons were behind when Cherries midfielder Harry Arter, former Hammer Scott Parker’s brother-in-law, fired home from 25 yards to give his side their first goal in four league games. The hosts’ new signing, striker Benik Afobe, squandered two glorious chances to extend Bournemouth’s lead, heading over from six yards and being denied by Adrian after hesitating when clean through on goal.

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West Ham were much improved after the break and the equaliser arrived with 23 minutes left to play, a sublime free-kick from Frenchman Dimitri Payet, making his first start in over two months after recovering from an ankle injury. Just seven minutes later, the visitors were in front – substitute Carl Jenkinson’s quick throw-in found Payet who squirmed between two defenders before cutting back for Enner Valencia to slam the ball home. The Ecuadorian (pictured above) claimed his second in the 84th minute, cracking a stunning free-kick over the wall and beating Artur Boruc at his near post to claim his first Hammers brace.

The victory equalled a club-record eighth match unbeaten in the Premier League and took West Ham above Manchester United and into fifth, within a point of Tottenham in the final Champions League position. The Hammers would end the 2015/16 campaign in seventh place in the Premier League, while Bournemouth would finish 16th. Leicester won the Premier League, Manchester United won the FA Cup and Payet was named Hammer of the Year, with Michail Antonio runner-up.

Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Charlie Daniels, Dan Gosling, Andrew Surman, Harry Arter (Glenn Murray), Matt Ritchie (Juan Iturbe), Junior Stanislas, Benik Afobe (Lewis Grabban).

West Ham United: Adrian, James Tomkins (Carl Jenkinson), James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Pedro Obiang, Mark Noble, Michail Antonio, Dimitri Payet (Alex Song), Enner Valencia, Andy Carroll (Nikica Jelavic).

Club Connections

A decent number of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Bournemouth. Ex-Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere is now at West Ham; Jermain Defoe (currently on loan at Rangers) and Hammers Academy product Junior Stanislas are currently on Bournemouth’s books while Carl Fletcher played for both clubs and is currently youth team manager with the Cherries. Ex-Bournemouth midfielder Paul Mitchell, who made one league appearance for the Hammers in 1994, is back with the Cherries as a correspondent for Opta Sports. Other players to have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeepers: David James, Stephen Henderson and Marek Stech.

Defenders: Everald La Ronde, Bill Kitchener, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Brignull, Reg Parker, Keith Miller, Keith Rowland, Elliott Ward, Bobby Howe and Horace Glover.

Midfielders: Trevor Hartley, Bobby Barnes, Tommy Southren, Jimmy Neighbour, Emmanuel Omoyinmi, Tony Scott, Anthony Edgar, Scott Mean, Matty Holmes, Dale Gordon, Jack Collison and Patsy Holland.

Strikers: Nicky Morgan, John Arnott, Mark Watson, Zavon Hines, Steve Jones and Ted MacDougall.

Former Hammers player John Bond went on to manage Bournemouth, while Harry Redknapp played for and managed both clubs. Jimmy Quinn played for both clubs and also managed the Cherries.

Today’s focus is on a classy Hammers midfielder who also represented the Cherries. Ian Bishop was born in Liverpool on 29th May 1965 and began his career at Everton, joining straight from school and making one appearance for the Toffees. A loan spell with Crewe was followed by a permanent move to Carlisle, for whom he played for four years.

The 23-year-old Bishop was signed by manager Harry Redknapp for Second Division Bournemouth in 1988 for a fee of £35,000 and made his Cherries debut on 27th August 1988 in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland. He scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 home win over Ipswich on 29th October 1988, with his second and final goal coming in a 3-0 home win over Bradford on 11th March 1989 – the Bantams had been interested in signing Bishop when he left Carlisle the previous summer. Bishop’s last game for Bournemouth was a goalless home draw with Plymouth on 13th May 1989. After scoring two goals in 54 appearances in his one and only season for the Cherries, Bishop signed for First Division Manchester City in the summer of 1989. When manager Mel Machin was sacked by chairman Peter Swales, his replacement Howard Kendall (who had sold Bishop to Carlisle when he was Everton manager) saw no place in his side for the midfielder.

Bishop joined Lou Macari’s West Ham United in December 1989 in a deal that saw Trevor Morley also move to Upton Park, with Mark Ward signing for Manchester City in part-exchange. Bishop, now 24, was valued at £650,000 in the deal. He made his debut, along with Morley, in a 1-0 defeat at Leicester on 30th December 1989 and scored his first goal for the Hammers on 4th April 1990 in a 3-1 win at West Brom, by which time Billy Bonds had taken over the managerial reigns. His first goal at Upton Park came seven days later in a 4-1 win over former club Bournemouth.

A creative midfielder easily distinguishable by his long hair, Bishop scored six goals from 49 appearances in all competitions in the 1990/91 season, captaining the Irons to promotion to the First Division and the FA Cup semi-finals having taken over the skipper’s armband from the injured Julian Dicks. His first goal of the season came in a 3-1 home win over Ipswich on 19th September 1990 and he bagged the only goal of the game in a home win over Blackburn the following month. A knee ligament injury kept him out for six weeks over Christmas but he returned with two Upton Park goals in the FA Cup, one in a 6-1 third round replay win over Aldershot and the other in a 5-0 fourth round replay victory over Luton, both in January 1991. He scored from the spot in a 1-1 Good Friday draw at Oldham on 29th March 1991 before notching the winner with a stunning strike from distance in a 1-0 triumph at Port Vale eight days later. ‘Bish’ also won an England ‘B’ cap against Switzerland at Walsall at the end of that campaign.

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It was around this time that ‘Bish’ played a particularly key role in my own history as a West Ham supporter. My Dad has been an ardent Hammer since the early 1960s but I had shown little interest in football until a chance moment in the summer of 1991, when I was eight years old. Gillingham is my local team and, whilst we were out driving one late afternoon, my Dad pulled up next to a car with huge logos on the side – this was in the days when footballers had their cars sponsored with their names often emblazoned across the vehicle (I remember giant goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko driving a tiny sponsored Skoda!). The car we pulled up next to contained Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley, who were lost on the way to Priestfield for a friendly against the Gills. My Dad gave them directions and, starstruck, I suggested we go to the game. Bishop and Morley also sent signed photographs to say thanks for the directions which took pride of place on my bedroom wall throughout my childhood! I seem to recall we lost that friendly heavily (possibly 4-1?) but, interest piqued, my first visit to the Boleyn Ground followed a matter of weeks later against another of Bishop’s former clubs, Manchester City, in September 1991. ‘Bish’ remained one of my favourite Hammers throughout his time at the club and was certainly a player who I modelled my own style of play on as a youngster.

Bishop scored two goals from 51 appearances in 1991/92 as the Hammers suffered an immediate relegation; he scored in a 2-1 Full Members Cup semi-final defeat at Southampton on 7th January 1992 and was also on the scoresheet in a 4-0 home win over Norwich on 11th April 1992. A 1-0 win at Luton on 18th January 1992 even saw Bishop manfully play on with broken ribs after both substitutes had already been used.

Redknapp, his former manager at Bournemouth, joined the club in the summer of 1992 as assistant to Bonds but Bishop experienced a more difficult season in 1992/93 as Peter Butler and Martin Allen claimed the central midfield spots for most of the campaign. Along with several other players, he was placed on the transfer list in December 1992 as the club tried to cut its wage bill in the wake of the ill-fated Bond scheme. Having maintained that he had no wish to leave, the likeable Scouser’s loyalty was rewarded when he returned to the side as West Ham gained promotion, this time to the Premier League. Bishop made 24 appearances in 1992/93; he only scored one goal in the campaign but it was a critical strike in the run-in, a late winner in a 2-1 triumph at Birmingham on 3rd April 1993.

Having been on the brink of joining Southampton, West Ham reacted by signing Bishop to a new three-year contract in September 1993. The Hammers would finish 13th in their first Premier League season and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Bishop – back to his stylish and graceful best – scored twice in 45 games, both in 3-2 away defeats in March 1994, at Luton (in the aforementioned FA Cup quarter-final) and Sheffield United.

With Redknapp taking over as manager in the summer of 1994, Bishop made 36 appearances in 1994/95, scoring once in a 3-1 home win over Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Eve 1994. Two goals in 41 appearances followed in 1995/96 as the Hammers made the top ten – Bishop scored both his goals in 3-0 wins, against Bristol Rovers at home in the League Cup second round second leg in October 1995, and at Bolton the following month. ‘Bish’ made 36 appearances in 1996/97, scoring his final goal for the club in a 1-1 home draw with Derby on 23rd November 1996.

The arrivals in 1997 of Steve Lomas and Eyal Berkovic resulted in reduced game time for Bishop and he played only four games in 1997/98. His final appearance in claret and blue was on 14th March 1998 in a 2-1 home win over Chelsea. In total, Bishop scored 17 goals in 304 appearances for West Ham United before returning to Manchester City at the age of 32 after just over eight years in east London. My video below contains 16 of Bishop’s 17 goals for the Hammers.

After three years back at City, he went on to play for Miami Fusion, Barry Town, Rochdale, Radcliffe Borough and New Orleans Shell Shockers. Now 53, Bishop currently lives in Florida and has served as the Technical Director for Evergreen FC, in Leesburg, Virginia.

Referee

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

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Hooper has refereed four Premier League matches so far in 2018/19 – he has dished out ten yellow cards in those four games and awarded two penalties.

Possible line-ups

Bournemouth will be without the injured Simon Francis, Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke. Reported West Ham target Callum Wilson is a doubt; Wilson has scored five goals in his five league games against West Ham. Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over the Hammers in August’s reverse fixture was only their third win in the 12 games they have played against West Ham in all competitions. The side scoring first has only won two of the seven Premier League meetings between Bournemouth and West Ham.

This weekend’s match will be only the fifth time Bournemouth and West Ham United have met on the south coast for a league fixture – the Hammers’ only win away to the Cherries, in 2016, is detailed above. Manuel Pellegrini continues to be without Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko but Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito are available.

Possible Bournemouth XI: Begovic; Clyne, Ake, Steve Cook, Rico; Ibe, Lerma, Brooks, Fraser; King, Wilson.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Antonio, Nasri, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Talking Point

Chinese Super League

I’ve got some bad news for you. If you think Brexit is bad, then contemplate what will happen when China goes into financial meltdown. Take one statistic. The UK’s debt, which we hear so much about, is 87% compared to GDP, whereas in China it is 299%. You don’t need to be a financial guru to understand where that is heading.

This is a preamble to some understanding about the Chinese Super League, which has come into focus with the debate regarding Arnautovic. This league comprises 16 teams with an average attendance of 24,000. The bid for Arnautovic comes from Shanghai SIPG, who are the current league champions. They paid £60 million for Oscar in 2017 Their annual revenue is about £30 million, compared to West Ham’s £175 million.

So, we can conclude the whole thing is nuts in financial terms. But, everyday we buy things from China and can’t work out how it is so cheap when you try to calculate how the manufacture, the transporter and retailer can make a profit. The answer is that Chinese companies take on huge amounts of debt and when companies can’t pay the loans back, they are called non-performing loans. Such loans increase at a rate of £20 billion per year and stand at about £1 trillion in total.

The owner of Shanghai SIPG is the Shanghai International Port Group, which has a monopoly on the ports in Shanghai and in turn, their majority share owner is the Shanghai Government.

So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out where the money is coming from. Debt, debt and more debt.

President Xi Jinping has deemed that China is to become a major super power in world football and this is to be achieved at any cost. They want 50 million adults and kids to be playing football. We have 8 million. They want 20,000 training centres and 70,000 football pitches.

One problem may be that the average height of a male in China is 5 feet five inches, whereas in the UK , it is 5 feet nine inches. However, if they start feeding the population a massive amount of red meat, this could change. Or, if we are reduced to eating vegetable because of climate change, then the reverse may be possible. By the way, Chinese condoms are smaller, so Arnautovic better take a supply with him.

Shanghaiing used to mean kidnapping men by press gangs to serve in the navy. Now it means paying someone £300,000 per week. Times have changed.


The Blind Hammer Column

West Ham and Accessibility

*Blind Hammer reports back from the Disabled Supporters Advisory Board(DSAB).

The latest DSAB met with Karen Brady and staff from West Ham on Wednesday 15th at the London Stadium.

This is a brief report on some of the highlighted issues.

All at the meeting agreed that West Ham had made progress in meeting the needs of its Disabled Supporters.

The club had produced a Video to highlight awareness of Disabled West Ham Supporters and attempt to generally increase understanding of their needs. This can be viewed on the website.

An outstanding issue remains with TFL at Stratford. Supporters referred to situations where they had arrived at Stratford Station only to find that no ramps had been organised to allow Wheelchair Using West Ham supporters to alight appropriately. Karen Brady committed West Ham staff to offer their support to TFL, if they could not provide appropriate ramps the club would be determined to provide these themselves.

In terms of website accessibility for visually impaired supporters, whilst work remains to be done, an Action Plan had now been agreed. The club will meet with me soon to monitor progress .

The Insightful Irons who organise an Audio Commentary Service for Blind and Visually Impaired Supporters are planning to extend the services they provide. They will be developing Podcasts for playing over the commentary headsets both prior to the game and at half time.

Further ideas to be investigated include having a number for Visually Impaired Supporters to text the Commentators with comments and questions during the match.

Another idea is to set up an Insightful Irons email list so that Visually Impaired Supporters can get to know each other and comment on all matters West Ham.

The point here is that Blind and Visually Impaired Supporters can walk within inches of each other and not be aware of each other’s presence. It is hard for Visually Impaired Supporters to meet and form a West ham “community. However there are always exceptions, as happened to me once. My Guide Dogs decided to say hello to another Guide Dog, precipitating a meeting for me with another Blind Supporter.

Finally in this brief report back the Club announced that they planned to open a Sensory Room, hopefully from next season, to assist Supporters who require it, including supporters on the Autistic spectrum.

The club also welcomes feedback from the “Access to All” website which plans to offer “Trip Advisor” type feedback on the experience of visiting football stadiums for disabled supporters. In addition the details of the Premier League Disability Advisory Group – Away Fan Survey was circulated.

Fuller minutes of the meeting will be available on the Club Website in due course.

Before the meeting, a Supporter, on this Website, asked me if I thought that the service West Ham provided was “Fair and Reasonable.

The short answer is that I feel there is a commitment. West Ham are committed to making fair and reasonable access to Disabled supporters. The spectrum of disability is vast however, which is why the Club need an Advisory Board to advise it.

As technology and knowledge increases the support for Disabled people can be improved further. What is possible now may not have been possible 5 or even 2 years ago. The important thing therefore is that the Club, listens, consults and then is serious in its commitment to improve services.

West Ham certainly appears to be amongst the leaders in providing Accessible Services compared to other PL clubs.

What my experience of the DSAB has done is increase my awareness of West Ham behind the scenes. There is a lot of cynicism expressed about West Ham, even by our own supporters. I do not support all the directions and policies of the Club but I do feel that the staffs behind the scenes are good people doing their best to do a good job. Personally I am proud of their attempt to keep the “Family Ethos” of West Ham alive in sometimes difficult times.

COYI
David Griffith


Transfer Gossip

Hammers Heading for Striker Crisis

Having for the first time in many years a striker lineup which everyone is satisfied with, that coul change very quickly. Marko Arnautovic wants out and is pushing for a move to China. Javier Hernandez is pushing for a loan or permanent move to Valencia, with whom he is rumoured to have agreed personal terms. The club would bite off the hands of anyone prepared to pay £12 million for Andy Carroll, while Lucas Perez might also be moving to Spain.

OK, not all of those moves will happen. Indeed, none of them might, but it might be that by the end of the month we only have Carroll, Perez and Xande Silva left to choose from. Getting replacements in the January transfer window is not easy and I doubt very much we would be able to sign a better player than the players we are likely to lose.

Today we are linked with Maxi Gomez, a 22 year old Uruguyan international striker from Celta Vigo, for whom he has scored 25 goals in 48 games. Also the Chelsea striker Oliver Giraud, whose best days are behind him. In fact, we’re being linked with everyone.

Arnautovic fits into this team like no other striker. The team has been formed around him and if he leaves it will really disrupt us. Yet I detect no real will to persuade him to stay. Perhaps his reasons for leaving are insurmountable. Let’s face it, the only reason is the money, and West Ham cannot compete with the sums apparently being offered. If we can get £45-50 million I think most people think we should accept that, but the current offer of £31 is not enough.

In my view, if that deal comes off we need to get a temporary loan replacement and then go all out to buy a top striker in the summer.

What say you?


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