Talking Point

Allardyce to Quit at Newcastle Post Match Press Conference

The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that Sam Allardyce will announce his departure from the club immediately after the Newcastle match, and even though Rafa Benitez has turned down the West Ham job, there is no possibility of a change of heart for either the club or Allardyce.

Read the Telegraph article HERE. It seems to be well-sourced.

The most likely replacement would appear to be Slaven Bilic, although Michael Laudrup is being increasingly talked about. Paolo di Canio isn’t.

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Newcastle United

Blast from the past

Three was a magic number on 23rd August 1978 – The Commodores were number one with ‘Three Times A Lady’ and West Ham United bagged three goals in a 3-0 Second Division victory over Newcastle United in front of 27,233 at St James’ Park.

Newcastle, having opened the 1978/79 season with a 2-1 defeat at Millwall, were making their first appearance at St James’ Park since being relegated from the top flight the previous campaign and handed a debut to former Sunderland man Colin Suggett, who had just signed from Norwich. The Hammers, meanwhile, were back in the second tier after also being relegated the previous season and had won 5-2 at home against Notts County in their opening fixture.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring through David Cross. Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson added the second against his former club before Alan Devonshire (pictured) put the seal on a fine away triumph for John Lyall’s men in this Wednesday evening fixture.

The Hammers would end the 1978/79 season in fifth position, six points off the promotion places, while Bill McGarry’s Newcastle would finish eighth.

Newcastle United: Mick Mahoney, Peter Kelly, John Blackley, John Bird, Micky Barker, Colin Suggett, Nigel Walker, Tommy Cassidy, Terry Hibbitt, John Connolly, Jim Pearson.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, Frank Lampard, Tommy Taylor, Billy Bonds, Paul Brush, Pat Holland, Alan Curbishley, Trevor Brooking (Alan Taylor), Alan Devonshire, ‘Pop’ Robson, David Cross.

Club Connections

West Ham United and Newcastle United have shared a multitude of personnel over the years. Of the current Hammers’ crop, Sam Allardyce, Neil McDonald, Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll have all been employed by the Magpies. A brief run-through of some others who have represented both clubs is best served by dividing them by playing position.

Goalkeepers: Shaka Hislop and Pavel Srnicek.

Defenders: Abdoulaye Faye, Wayne Quinn, Dave Gardner and Stuart Pearce.

Midfielders: Franz Carr, Lee Bowyer, Rob Lee, Nolberto Solano and Kieron Dyer.

Strikers: Paul Goddard, Les Ferdinand, Demba Ba, Marlon Harewood, David Kelly, Keith Robson, Vic Keeble, Craig Bellamy, Pop Robson and Paul Kitson.

Chris Hughton also played for the Hammers and managed the Magpies.

This week’s focus though is on one of West Ham United’s greatest players of the twenty-first century who also spent two years with Newcastle United. Scott Parker was born in Lambeth on 13th October 1980. A Lilleshall graduate, Parker was the 13-year-old keepie-uppie star of a McDonalds advert during the 1994 World Cup. He began his professional career at Charlton, making his debut in 1997; he also had a brief loan spell with Norwich in 2000. He joined Chelsea in the winter window of 2004 for a fee of £10m but found first team opportunities hard to come by and signed for Newcastle in July 2005 for £6.5m.

He became a regular in the Newcastle first team and was one of the few players at the club to show any consistency during an often difficult 2005/06 season in which the Magpies finished in seventh place, despite suffering a poor start under Graeme Souness. His first Newcastle goal came against his former club Charlton in a 3–1 defeat on 25th March 2006. Later that month he was diagnosed with glandular fever, putting an end to his season. The timing was especially unfortunate for Parker; he had been playing well but the illness ended any hopes he may have had of forcing his way into the England squad for the 2006 World Cup.

New manager Glenn Roeder named Parker as his captain In July 2006, succeeding the retired Alan Shearer. His first goal as skipper came against Wigan on 19th August 2006, in a 2–1 win on the opening day of the 2006/07 season. Parker scored his second goal of the season against Fulham in September but the Magpies conceded two goals after he was substituted and subsequently lost the game. Despite Newcastle’s poor form, his performances earned him a recall to the England squad in September 2006 after an absence of more than two years. In November, Parker scored in the 116th minute against Watford in the League Cup and then scored in the penalty shoot-out to allow Newcastle to progress in the competition. He scored his fourth goal of the 2006/07 season against Tottenham in December 2006. After 6 goals in 73 matches for Newcastle, Parker left for West Ham United to be reunited with his former Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley, in a £7m deal in the summer of 2007.

Injury played a large part in Parker’s early career in east London, with the midfielder unable to make his debut until a League Cup win over Plymouth at the Boleyn Ground in late September. Three days later Parker was injured again during a home defeat to Arsenal and ruled out for a further two months. His first goal for the club came three days before Christmas, the last-minute winner in West Ham’s first ever victory at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.

Parker’s second goal for the club was over a year later, from close range in a 2-1 defeat at Bolton in February 2009, by which time Gianfranco Zola had taken over from Curbishley. His season was ended by injury the following month but he had still done enough to win the 2008/09 Hammer of the Year prize. The Irons struggled in 2009/10 and were second bottom of the Premier League when Parker was sent off for two yellow cards in the 2-2 home draw with Arsenal in October. His first goal of that season was a stunning, dipping half-volley from distance to bring the Hammers level at the home of his old club Chelsea in March, although the match would ultimately be lost 4-1. His only other goal that season was infinitely more significant, the winner in a tense 3-2 victory over Wigan on 24th April which secured the Hammers’ survival – Parker’s sensational 77th-minute strike from 25 yards was followed by an emotionally-charged celebration. Two weeks later, he would become the first player to retain the Hammer of the Year trophy since Julian Dicks in 1997.

A 17th-placed finish in 2009/10 resulted in Zola being replaced by Avram Grant and the Hammers would endure a turbulent 2010/11 campaign. Parker was the bright light shining in the east end gloom as he displayed the fight, determination and character sadly lacking in many of his team-mates – he was often mistaken as the club’s captain by an inattentive national media. This was epitomised by his best goalscoring season during his time with the club, Parker opening with three goals in his first six games (the injury-time winner against Oxford in the League Cup, a wonderfully-lofted volley in a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea and a scrambled effort in a 1-1 draw at Stoke). Another three-goals-in-six-games spell followed in October/November as he scored the equaliser in a 3-1 extra-time win over the Potters in the League Cup, struck a thunderbolt in a 2-2 draw with West Brom and grabbed the clincher in a 3-1 win over Wigan.

On 9th February 2011, he became the first England player to receive his first four full caps whilst playing for four different teams, coming on as a second-half substitute for Frank Lampard in a friendly against Denmark. Parker was to score once more for the Hammers that season, a beautifully-executed effort with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the area in a 3-1 home victory over Liverpool in late February. The following month, he played in a 0-0 draw at Tottenham hours after the death of his father. He also started in England’s victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Parker would again be crowned Hammer of the Year, the only player other than Sir Trevor Brooking to claim the award three seasons in a row. He was also named as the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year, an incredible feat considering his club were relegated in bottom place. In doing so, he became the only Hammer aside from Bobby Moore to win the award.

Parker started West Ham’s 2011/12 Championship campaign, notching one goal in four league appearances, this coming in a 4-0 win at Watford. At the age of 30, Parker knew he may only have one opportunity left to play in an international tournament and, with Euro 2012 on the horizon, was aware that he would have to be playing Premier League football. With his children in school in the local area, Parker opted to remain in London and signed for close rivals Tottenham for a fee of £5.5m. Parker made 129 appearances for West Ham in all competitions, scoring 12 goals. After two years with Tottenham, he was on the move to Fulham in August 2013, for whom he still plays today.


The referee on Sunday will be Martin Atkinson; 2014/15 is Atkinson’s tenth as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed nine of our league matches, officiating in five wins for the Hammers, one draw and three defeats. This season Atkinson has been the man in the middle for the Irons’ 2-2 draw at Hull, as well as for our home victories over Manchester City, Leicester and Hull. He also sent off Morgan Amalfitano in our 4-0 FA Cup fifth round defeat at West Brom in February.

Possible line-ups

Newcastle United need to win to guarantee Premier League survival. A Hull victory over Manchester United at the KC Stadium will relegate the Tyneside club to the Championship if they fail to beat West Ham at St James’ Park due to the Tigers’ superior goal difference. The Magpies are set to be without Rob Elliot, Steven Taylor, Massadio Haidara, Cheik Tiote and Adam Armstrong but Siem de Jong could be fit for the visit of the Hammers. Mike Williamson is available after serving a two-match suspension.

West Ham United will finish tenth if they can better Everton’s result against Tottenham. If both the Toffees and the Hammers win, the side with the greater winning margin will claim the final place in the Premier League’s top half. If West Ham lose and Crystal Palace beat Swansea, the Irons could end up in 12th position. The Hammers will be without Guy Demel, James Collins, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll but James Tomkins (shoulder) and Kevin Nolan (family bereavement) could be back in contention.

Possible Newcastle United XI: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Colback; Cabella, Sissoko, de Jong, Gouffran; Cisse.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Song, Noble, Kouyate; Downing, Amalfitano; Valencia.

Enjoy the game (and the summer!) – Up The Hammers!

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Talking Point

Sam Speaks About His Future (And His Past)

Sam Allardyce’s final column of the season with the Evening Standard is worth a read HERE

It has a slightly wistful, but valedictory tone to it. It’s almost as if he knows the decision about his future but still clings to the hope that he might have got it wrong. In some ways it’s very sad.

My future at West Ham will be decided after this weekend. I will be on holiday with my grandchildren, something I’m looking forward to immensely, but my representatives will be talking to the club. There’s nothing more I can say on that. I’m not in control of the situation so we’ll just wait and see. I would just like to take this opportunity, in this final column of the season, to look back on my four years at West Ham.

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Talking Point

Sam's backroom disbanding

The disbanding of Sam Allardyce’s backroom staff has begun with Teddy Sheringham unveiled as the new manager of Stevenage yesterday.

Stevenage officially confirmed that West Ham attacking coach Teddy Sheringham will take over as as Manager in the summer.
The 49 year old former Hammer was appointed West Ham’s attacking coach on a part-time basis back in May 2014.

Asked about the influence of Allardyce’s situation at a press conference, Sheringham said:

‘It has probably helped. ‘If Sam had been told four months ago that he was staying in the job he probably would have sorted his backroom staff to stay. The longer it has gone on, the uncertainty has left things very open. This chance has come about and it felt right.If Sam had asked me four months ago I probably would have stayed another year and seen where it had taken me.’

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Teddy later added about Sam:

“(Sam) is still hopeful that something will happen – it happened like that the last time he was out of contract at West Ham.I don’t think it’s any mystery or secret that they have been trying to look for other managers. Just because… the next contract isn’t straight at his feet doesn’t mean to say that it’s not going to happen.”

In a final twist it appears it was Sam who persuaded Teddy to take the Stevenage job

“I spoke to my family (about taking the Stevenage job) but professionally, it was just Sam. I told him I’d had an approach and as soon as I said it was from Stevenage he said ‘take it’. His endorsement was a big deciding factor.”

Chairman David Sullivan added on West Ham’s official website:

““We appointed Teddy as our new attacking coach last summer with a view to improving our forward play, and I must say he took to the part-time role with real enthusiasm and commitment, with the likes of Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia joining us and working regularly with a man of Teddy’s calibre, we know he will have helped improve their game.While we are disappointed to be losing Teddy’s services, we are happy to have played a part in developing his coaching skills and will be watching closely as he embarks on his managerial career at Stevenage.”

West Ham Assistant Manager McDonald has been linked with the Blackpool manager job recently vacated by Lee Clark. The forty-nine year-old was linked to the Carlisle United recently but chose to remain loyal to the Sam Allardyce, however this time it could be different with Allardyce’s future uncertain.

McDonald has worked alongside Big Sam at Bolton and Blackburn as well as at West Ham. He had a successful spell as manager of Carlisle seven years ago before being sacked just one game into the new season for non-footballing reasons never fully explained.

Hammers first team coach Ian Hendon has also been linked to another vacant manager post at Leyton Orient. He has become the surprise 1/2 odds on favorite?

Orient sacked Italian boss Fabio Liverani last week, following their relegation from League One. Former Italy international Liverani became Orient’s fourth manager of the season in December when he replaced compatriot Mauro Milanese. Hendon played for Tottenham, Barnet and Leyton Orient and had spells managing Barnet and Dover Athletic as well assistant manager of Gillingham before he joined West Ham in 2011.

Of course we shouldn’t read too much into all of this or the fact that Sam Allardyce moved out of his Docklands flat on Wednesday this week.

This morning Sam cleared up speculation around his moving out of his flat saying: “It’s bound to bring up speculation but the apartment was sold around two months ago, In the contract there was a two-month notice period which meant that in actual fact I should have been out on the 15th, but they extended it for me until the end of the season. The apartment has been bought and I had to move out one way or the other. I can only say what the truth is, if you want to ring up (estate agents) Morgan Randall and ask if the apartment has been sold, give them a ring.”

I understand Allardyce flies out to Spain with his wife Lynn on Monday morning so will not be present at any board meeting held on Monday. His magnificent Spanish villa on the Costa Blanca is named “Casa St James” which he paid for with the £4m pay-off he received from Newcastle when they sacked him. I wonder whether he will be buying a second holiday home called ‘Casa Boleyn’ with the estimated £10m in wages and bonuses he is thought to have earned over the past four years at West Ham?

Sam in his own words

The David Hautzig Column

Sam. Metaphorically Speaking.

While I’m going to assume most of you have been able to glean my feelings on Sam from my reports, I’ve resisted taking a stand on the matter until now. Not that journalistic integrity is of any importance to me since I’m not a journalist, I still wanted to “report” on the matches without being seen as anti or pro Sam. But now that the hopeful turned infuriating season has almost left us and the silly season will take its place, I want to have me say on the matter.

I like metaphors. They are, after all, a very easy and convenient way to make a point. And I have not one, but two for ya.

Número uno. Before I met my wife, I made some…how shall I say it….crappy decisions on women. The common theme with each lousy relationship was that I stayed in them long past their sell by date. While all of my good friends, two of whom were clinical psychologists, were telling me I was bonkers for staying with someone that made me miserable I stuck with it. Why? Because at the time, for whatever reason, the idea of being single was far worse to me than the reality of staying with someone I didn’t like. And to that end, I have to wonder if the people who advocate giving Sam a new deal actually want him to stay or are afraid of him leaving? Those two notions are very different from each other, with the latter being patently unhealthy.

Número Dos. Maybe you know this, and maybe you don’t. I’m in the wine and craft spirits business. I spend my days driving from wine shops to restaurants and back again with a car full of yummy, alcoholic beverages. As much as I like my retail customers, it’s restaurants where I get my jollies. And my enjoyment of food and restaurants isn’t limited to my work. I’ve been fortunate enough to dine at some pretty stunning places, both in New York and in London. Le Bernardin, Bouley, Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park over here. Gordon Ramsay, Petrus, Maze, Chez Bruce and The Square over there. Let’s pretend that West Ham is a restaurant and Sam is the chef. He’s a very competent cook who consistently puts out solid food, all while keeping the costs at a percentage the owners are very happy with. And to top it off, the staff like him. But now the owners want to step it up by going for a prized Michelin Star. As solid and predicable as Sam is, they have serious questions as to whether Sam is the chef to lead them on their quest. And so they decide to make a change.

Neither of these metaphors are rock solid, particularly the second one. My mate, the ever reliable ExWHUemployee, challenged the second one by pointing out that changing chefs and the entire theme of the restaurant could also alienate many loyal customers who are happy with the stuff they are consuming. Understood. With any change, there is an element of risk. The key is making the kind of change that both offers the opportunity to improve, as well as minimizes the risk.

Sean did a great piece yesterday laying out all of the names linked with us. Some fill me with excitement, others terror. Bielsa scares me because his requirement to run a full marathon every match might cause problems, not to mention cardiac arrest. Bilic has somehow become a legend despite his brief time at Upton Park, but doing well in Turkey may not equate to doing well here. I think Rafa is a bit overrated. Give him the 10th best side in the country and he will have them fourth. Give him the 2nd best side and he will have them fourth. And both scenarios would be very expensive. After spending something like 200 million pounds at Liverpool, he told the media he needed more funds for players. Klopp has only gotten a mention because he’s going to be unemployed the same time Sam could be, although I wouldn’t kick him off the touch line for eating crackers. To be honest, Klopp would be wise to look at us as an English version of Dortmund, the kind of place that he could build in his own image.

To say that Sam Allardyce is a bad manager is, quite frankly, absurd. You may not like him or his football, but that doesn’t make him the imposter some make him out to be. We’ve lived through Glenn Roeder and Moron Grant. We know bad managers as well as anyone. Virtually every neutral pundit thinks we would be mad to let him walk. And until recently, the pragmatic notion of keeping Sam was acceptable to me. But I’ve been a sports fan for a long time, and I have never seen a coach/manager divide a set of fans like Sam. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one talked about as much as Sam. For that reason alone it might be imperative we make a change. Which is unfortunate on some level. Where did it all go so wrong? I remember screaming with delight watching Sam jump into Neil McDonald’s arms two years ago after Maiga put us up 3-1 over Chelsea. I remember laughing heartily as Russell Brand planted a wet one on Sam’s cheek after we beat Citeh. This was his real opportunity to leave a positive legacy, not just on a club but on himself. But hubris and animosity got in his way. One day, maybe while sipping a nice Burgundy with his pal Fergie, he will look back and realize he could have made it work and he had only himself to blame for it falling apart.

Which leads me to the final name that has made the rounds, David Moyes. To my somewhat risk averse way of thinking, he provides what we need. A fresh look at things all the while being as safe a pair of hands as Allardyce. I’ve read many a tweet and comment that oppose the idea almost as fervently as they oppose Sam, saying it’s no more than a sideways move. Yet for all we know his edict while at Everton was to play a style that made the Toffees hard to beat, and that if asked he could switch things up. And it’s not like Van Gaal has had an easy time at Man U, leading me to believe Moyes was given a raw deal at Old Trafford. Until recently I thought him joining us was pretty close to a dead cert. Tony Henry is on board, he has a release clause to join an EPL team if asked, Etc. But after his interview with Sid Lowe in The Guardian it’s more dead in the water than nailed on. Which I’m very disappointed about. I think David Moyes has a lot to say about what kind of manager he is.

I hope he changes his mind and let’s West Ham United hand him the microphone.

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