The HamburgHammer Column

I know what you did last summer - try doing it again!

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If you see more typos in this article than you have been used to in my column (or even the odd factual error), I can explain this…you see, yesterday the Concordia Women’s team celebrated their second promotion in a row, winning 4:0 away at local rivals Rahlstedt (by the way, that’s the borough where Nena of “99 Red Balloons“ fame lives) and I was happy enough to celebrate this great success with them, players, staff and fans, back at Cordi HQ (home ground) and those celebrations did include a choice of beverages which may in some cases have contained traces of alcohol. Although the girls drank a lot more than I did, but who can blame them ?

How often in your career can you celebrate your team getting promoted or winning a Cup ? Exactly. So forgive me that I decided to spend Sunday afternoon worshipping local football and the women’s game, only catching up with West Ham’s exploits at Watford later in the evening, watching some very enjoyable highlights on MotD.

While we are talking personal stuff, the results of my brother’s tissue probe came back – and it’s very much a mixed bag. The bad news is they indeed found some cancerous tissue on his removed adrenal gland, likely to have sprung from his previous cancer of the oesophagus during chemo (which, according to his doctors, is very rare). The good news though is that the cancerous tissue they found was very much dead already which hopefully means it didn’t have the chance to cause any further harm. Either way, they will continue to check my brother’s blood every four weeks now to stay alert and spring into action as soon as there is the slightest sign of the big C trying to make a return. As usual, fingers crossed…

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I was tracking our game online while watching the Cordi U23s lose their game and later during the celebrations with the women’s team.
When I saw our starting XI I was pretty confident we would get a result and we sure did. It’s nice to end a season with a confident performance and I was especially chuffed with our skipper Mark Noble rewarding himself with two goals, crowning one of his best ever seasons for us with a brace.

Winning 4:1 away at Watford surely will give every supporter a positive send off into the summer and it might also help our transfer business having finished in the top half of the table.

As for the season gone by at our beloved Hammers, as expected, it was very much a transitional first season for Manuel Pellegrini and his staff. In typical West Ham fashion we had our fair share of bumps and potholes along the way, crazy games, terrible refereeing decisions, topsy-turvy performances, an ever expanding list of injuries, quite a few of them long-term, some unnecessary drama over Arnautovic’s dreams of trophies in China, in short:

Another rollercoaster season at good old West Ham. Or is that West Ham London now ? I sometimes get confused about that…

Overall I was reasonably happy with proceedings at our club. When we lost the first four games, I was mildly nervous. Then again, I have never before seen a more ridiculously difficult fixture calendar for the first eight weeks or so of a season than West Ham were given this time around. Once again we lost to teams we should have put away while winning against sides you would have expected to wipe the floor with a side like ours, expected to make up the numbers and stand in awe, admiring the big clubs with their assortment of superstar players.

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I only managed to fly over for two games this season, but both were crackers and significant in their own special way – and tying in with my penchant for being a good luck charm when travelling to watch West Ham, both games brought wins for the claret and blue cause, first the thrilling 3:2 against Crystal Palace with a stunning goal from Snodgrass and another beauty from Felipe Anderson which got the West Ham goal of the season award actually.

And later in March I felt utterly privileged to be inside London Stadium when the Billy Bonds Stand was opened prior to the Newcastle game. I was happy when Declan Rice signed his long term deal, but I was even more elated when I saw him score his first goal for the first team with a powerful header, right in front of me, watching from Section 227 at the front of the upper tier of the Sir Trevor Brooking. I don’t get to see a lot of West Ham games in person, but somehow I seem to have a talent of choosing special ones when I come over and boy, did I make those two count this season!

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I won’t mention all the negative stuff that happened to us over the course of the season (again), but will rather go and turn those into positives, with the sincere hopes that plenty of things will improve for us next season.

A) Because I’m an optimist in general. And…
B) because we are due a little helping of good fortune for once.

No way will we ever have as many players missing as many games through injury again as we did this season. Injuries will still happen of course, but I’m hopeful that guys like Wilshere, Lanzini, Yarmolenko and Sanchez will play a lot more games for us now they have overcome their recent injuries. Andy Carroll of course is no longer our problem, so let’s hope he takes his season ticket for the treatment room with him instead of passing it on to a teammate who is staying at the club.

VAR is going to help us take away at least some of the big club bias, deliberately or subconsciously handed out by the PL referees. I wouldn’t expect it to be a massive factor, but overall it should help a team like ours, rather than making things any worse really.

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As for the upcoming transfer period, I understand that Pellegrini, Husillos and Sullivan will all be in transfer mode as of today, rather than booking a beach holiday or taking a flight back home anytime soon. Last summer was the right idea and I applaud the board for it. They hired a new manager and gave the guy substantial funds to start building a decent squad. We were obviously unlucky that some of those signings were out through injury most of the season (see above), but I firmly believe that Yarmolenko, Wilshere and Sanchez are fantastic players and we will get to see the best of them next season.

I know last summer was a decent transfer window for us overall and we need to keep doing it, not necessarily with the exact same level of expenditure, but similar.
Pellegrini and Husillos will hopefully unearth the odd bargain or diamond in the rough, like Balbuena, Fabianski, also Diop. But we cannot expect every new signing to be a bargain or free transfer.

Take our apparent top target Maxi Gomez. His side may or may not be relegated, that doesn’t really tell us anything about his quality as a a striker as football is very much a team sport and no one, not even Messi, can win games and trophies all by himself. Gomez is still young (which should be one of our key priorities when signing players these days), but he has already shown enough quality, scoring goals regularly with not much support from his teammates, to drive his asking price up.

It’ll be interesting to see if we will really spend around £40 million for Gomez, blowing the main chunk of our transfer budget on just one player. Pellegrini seems to be very keen on Gomez, so we’ll see. It’s good to hear they have their targets lined up, trying to sign some of them early to make sure they get a full preseason with their teammates.
Almost as interesting as who comes is the question of who will be leaving and who might be staying after all.

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Quite a few of these decisions apparently will be taken as early as this week, so as usual things will remain tense and interesting at West Ham throughout the entire summer.
As in previous summers I will continue to write my column as often as possible, provided there are enough news and transfers during the week to warrant an article throughout the hot and sunny months without any football.

Once more it’s been a pleasure writing for you guys and gals again this season and I wanna thank you for putting up with my ramblings and viewpoints. COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update:

Hamburg SV lost at Paderborn and St.Pauli shared a goalless draw with Bochum at home to eliminate any remaining morsel of hope for promotion.
Terrible for my hometown to have not a single Bundesliga 1 club from Hamburg two seasons in a row.

Concordia’s first team lost again, 2:5 away to relegation rivals Wedel and they only have other results going their way to thank for having narrowly escaped relegation. Only just. Shocking.

The U23’s haven’t helped their promotion hopes with their latest defeat, it’s still mathematically doable, but not very likely with just two games left.

The Cordi Women’s team could have lost their final league fixture 0:5 – and still have gone up regardless. Which is not the way you want to clinch promotion though, is it ?

So the girls won in style and I was happy to see them go up to the next level. It’s all they deserve really after only losing twice and conceding just nine goals all season.

They play some wonderful attack-minded football and are a great bunch of people too, the players, manager and staff. I got to talk a bit more in depth with a number of them during the promotion festivities and their skipper made a really nice point when she said that the team really acknowledged and valued supporters like me who come and watch their games regularly, time permitting – it would give the entire team a real push to perform and play well.

They genuinely appreciate the fans who support them at the games and all the players do take notice when the fans are there with them – and when they are not.

I know the ladies’ game is not for everyone, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching some bloody nice ball skills, attacking moves, combinations and goals this season, courtesy of the Cordi girls, so it’s a case really of the players and the fans feeding off each other’s effort and passion.
It’s the way it should be really.

Approaching midnight, with everyone leaving, I learned in passing that the Cordi skipper (a lovely young woman by the way and physio by trade) and her fiance live just a little more than an Antonio throw-in away from my flat, so in order to save them the cab fare I dropped them off at their front door, less than 250 meters from mine (luckily enough I had only had one pint of beer the entire afternoon/evening plus buffet food, so I was fine to drive).

That’s why I love my local football just as much as I do West Ham, but in a completely different way, as unlike the stars of the Premier League the local players (and especially the women) are normal folk like you and me, approachable, likeable and they sometimes even live two streets away from your own. I doubt many West Ham fans have recently had the opportunity to offer one of our players a ride home, unless they drive a cab of course…LOL

COYI!!! Enjoy the summer, y’all!


David Hautzig's Match Report

Watford 1, West Ham 4. Bottom Of The Top.

Much has been made about the effect money has had on football. Well folks, today at Vicarage Road was quite literally about money and nothing else. Sure, finishing in the top half would be nice. In today’s universe the two million pounds per place in merit payments are nicer. And that’s precisely what we got.

The opening minutes were all Watford. On twenty seconds Deulofeu broke in and beat Fabianski low to his right, but the flag went up. Two minutes later the former Barcelona man again found himself in a dangerous position but likely took his shot a bit early and Fabianski made a routine stop. Five minutes later the pressure continued, with Watford earning a corner. Hughes tried a YouTube worthy bicycle kick but didn’t catch it fully and Fabianski made the save.

West Ham had their first opportunity at the ten minute mark when Antonio won a free kick on the left side of the Watford eighteen yard box. Lanzini stepped up and drilled it right into the first two rows behind the Watford goal. The word “wasteful” came to mind, as well as out of the mouth of Tony Gale on television. At least the ball was on the other end of the pitch for a few minutes.

The last few weeks have seen a rebirth of sorts from Mark Noble. Fantastic performances against both Spurs and Southampton had to quiet the naysayers for a little bit. In the 15th minute, he began a run with a quick give and go with Antonio. When Noble got the ball back thirty yards from goal, the most likely scenario was The Captain looking for a run by Antonio or perhaps Anderson. Going at it alone wasn’t on anyones mind. Other than Noble, that is. A little shoulder dip to his left opened him up for a shot. Which he took. And it beat Foster. It might have been the best open play goal I’ve ever seen Noble score.

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Watford 0
West Ham 1

Watford pressed for an equalizer, and again it was Deulofeu at the heart of the attack. He was on the receiving end of a cross from Pereyra, and did well to create space for himself inside the box to send a left footed shot at Fabianski that didn’t trouble our Hammer Of The Year. Moments later it was Pereyra inside the box that received the ball, but his low shot was right at the Hammers keeper. A minute after that Pereyra broke in on goal after Zabaleta slipped but his shot was blocked out for a corner. The first did nothing but create a second. The second created a throw. The throw was cleared out by Balbuena. But if the tide continued that way West Ham would be in danger of being washed away.

Remember at the start of the pre-season it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Antonio would be sold? Crystal Palace wanted him supposedly. Now, the idea of him leaving is almost unthinkable. He has the ability to use his brute strength to get out of crowded situations when he has no earthly right to do so. In the 39th minute, Noble sent a perfectly weighted ball over the top for Antonio to run onto. He did just that, but his first touch was off. No problem. He just made a new opportunity out of it, fighting his way through a crowd to get off a great shot that clanged off the bar and directly into the path of Lanzini. Thank you very much said the Argentine.

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Watford 0
West Ham 2

The Hornets came oh so close to a goal in the final seconds of the half when a corner kick came to Kabasele, who headed the ball back across the face of goal where Deeney met it. But Fabianski dove down to his right and made a point blank save. “Save of the season” was the text from Nigel.

Halftime
Watford 0
West Ham 2

Zabaleta doesn’t make too many completely boneheaded errors. The start of the second half brought just that. On the opening kick he made an awful attempt at a back pass to Fabianski and instead laid it on a silver platter for Deulofeu who strolled around the keeper and rolled it into the open net only nine seconds from the start.

Watford 1
West Ham 2

Before I could finish the annoying paragraph above, Antonio ran onto a long ball and was brought down by Holebas. The linesman immediately got the attention of the referee, and out came the red card. Harsh if I’m being honest, but I’ve lost all ability for opposition sympathy in my advanced years. West Ham did nothing with the free kick, and Watford came storming downfield. Deulofeu beat Zabaleta, and if he had gone down it could have been red for the Argentine right back. Instead he tried to find Doucoure but Anderson did his defensive work and intercepted the pass and cleared it over the bar for a Watford corner.

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Which team was a man down again?

West Ham tried to reassert their authority by keeping hold of the ball and make Watford run around a bit. Noble eventually made a pass to Arnautovic at the top of the box, and Marko tried a turnaround shot but it went over the bar.

In the 60th minute, Zabaleta again made a horrific mistake in the box that should have cost West Ham a goal. Doucoure grabbed an errant ball from Zabaleta and passed to Gray in front of Fabianski. Masuaku got in the way, Gray went down, and every West Ham supporter likely expected a penalty. It didn’t happen. West Ham broke on a counter attack, with Anderson putting a lovely through ball for Arnautovic in the box. But when he should have shot, he tried one more move. That allowed Cathcart to make a great tackle and clear the ball from danger.

The Hammers should have finished it off in the 68th minute when Antonio headed a ball into the path of Arnautovic, but his shot had no pace and was from a tough angle. Foster had very little trouble.

Remember that match two years ago against Hull when they hit the woodwork four times, and the post was given Man Of The Match? Well, Mr. Lumber was good to us today, except on the attacking end. Zabaleta crossed the ball to Anderson, who volleyed it off the far post. Arnautovic was the first to react, and he dove to get the ball where it needed to be.

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Watford 1
West Ham 3

The visitors should have made it four when Antonio got on the end of a long ball from Anderson. He tried to lob the ball over Foster, but didn’t quite put the ball high enough and Foster grabbed it. But moments later, Fememia clattered into Antonio inside the box and the referee pointed to the box. Noble stepped up and drilled it into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

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Watford 1
West Ham 4

Serious question. What did the club see in Sanchez last summer? Let me know. Thanks.

Final Score
Watford 1
West 4

“Finish joint 7th with the five points we earned but we’re not awarded. Not bad.” was the text I got from my best mate Jon. Usually when I make such complaints to him he says there’s no way we could ever know. All I know is that relegation was not a realistic fear at any reasonable time this season. To that end, along with some very good wins, a top half finish, and a lot of positive play, it can be considered a season of progress. The last time we felt progress was at hand, well, we were given Sofiane Feghouli. But that was then, and this is now. Which means it could be a different approach. I hope so.

I wish all of you a great summer, and I will be back on my sofa in August with my IPad, hoping for greater heights for West Ham.

Cheers.


Book Review

Match Thread: Watford v West Ham

Watford v West Ham
FA Premier League
Vicarage Road
KO 3pm
TV: None
Radio: WHUFC.com

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


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Watford v West Ham

Hello and welcome to my 43rd and final match preview of an ultimately decent season for West Ham United, one which closes with the chance of a top-half finish. If I may, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my parents a Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary for tomorrow (Sunday). I’m also delighted to announce that my wife and I are expecting our first baby, due before the start of the new season.

Blast from the past

Harry Redknapp’s West Ham United arrived at Vicarage Road, the home of this weekend’s opponents Watford, for a Premier League fixture on 4th March 2000 in front of 18,619 while en route to a ninth-place finish. Madonna was number one with ‘American Pie’, Toy Story 2 topped the UK box office and the UK had just deported Augusto Pinochet to Chile to face trial.

The Hammers took the lead on three minutes when Paulo Wanchope embarked on a run deep into Watford territory before playing the ball into the penalty area for Frank Lampard to cushion a pass into the path of the on-rushing Steve Lomas who struck his only league goal of the season (his other goal in 1999/2000 had been in a 3-2 League Cup win at Birmingham).

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The Hornets fell further behind 32 minutes later when 26-year-old captain Lomas’ lofted ball forward found Costa Rican striker Wanchope who used his strength to shield the bouncing ball before hooking into Alec Chamberlain’s net. The Irons had their advantage halved 16 minutes after half-time when Icelandic forward Heidar Helguson slotted home a rebound after Nordin Wooter’s effort was blocked by Scott Minto. The goals from this match can be viewed in my video below.

Harry Redknapp’s West Ham would end the season in ninth position, while Graham Taylor’s Watford would finish bottom and be relegated. Manchester United won the league title, Chelsea won the FA Cup and Paolo Di Canio was voted Hammer of the Year, with Trevor Sinclair runner-up.

Watford: Alec Chamberlain, Nigel Gibbs (Paul Robinson), Steve Palmer, Mark Williams (Neil Cox), Robert Page, Alex Bonnot (Richard Johnson), Micah Hyde, Peter Kennedy, Heidar Helguson, Allan Smart, Nordin Wooter.

West Ham United: Craig Forrest, Rio Ferdinand, Igor Stimac, Stuart Pearce, Steve Lomas, Marc-Vivien Foe, Frank Lampard Junior, John Moncur, Scott Minto, Trevor Sinclair, Paulo Wanchope.

Club Connections

Former Hammer Domingos Quina is now on Watford’s books. Others to have represented both clubs, divided by position, include:

Goalkeepers: Billy Biggar, Ted Hufton, Perry Suckling, Manuel Almunia, Joe Webster, Jack Rutherford.

Defenders: Jon Harley, Calum Davenport, Lucas Neill, James McCrae, Chris Powell, Colin Foster.

Midfielders: Henri Lansbury, Alan Devonshire, Alessandro Diamanti, Stuart Slater, Jobi McAnuff, Jimmy Lindsay, Joe Blythe, David Noble, Jimmy Carr, Mark Robson, Valon Behrami, Carl Fletcher.

Strikers: James Reid, David Connolly, Mauro Zarate, Jack Foster, Roger Hugo, Billy Jennings, Peter Kyle, Bertie Lyon.

Len Goulden played for West Ham and managed Watford, while Malky Mackay played for both clubs and went on to manage the Vicarage Road club. Glenn Roeder played for the Hornets and managed both clubs; Gianfranco Zola has managed both the Hammers and the Hornets.

This week’s focus though is on an England international goalkeeper who represented both clubs. David James was born in Welwyn Garden City on 1st August 1970 and grew up as a Luton supporter. He signed for Watford though and, after helping the Hornets win the FA Youth Cup, made his full debut on 25th August 1990 at the age of 20 in a 2-1 home defeat to Millwall. His strong physique and impressive athletic abilities helped him settle into senior football; he won the club’s Player of the Year award in his debut season as the Hornets finished 20th in Division Two. James’ 98th and final appearance for Watford came in a 5-2 home win over Bristol City on 2nd May 1992, with Watford ending the 1991/92 campaign in tenth place – he also earned ten caps for England Under-21s before moving to Liverpool for £1.25m in the summer of 1992. James was inducted into the Watford Hall of Fame in 2008.

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James won the League Cup in 1995 and received an FA Cup runners-up medal the following year before making his England debut under Glenn Hoddle in a friendly against Mexico on 29th March 1997. He signed for Aston Villa in the summer of 1999 and was once again on the losing side in an FA Cup Final, this time in 2000, the last Final to be played at the old Wembley.

James signed for Glenn Roeder’s West Ham United in July 2001 for £3.5m but a serious knee injury picked up in a collision with Martin Keown whilst playing for England against the Netherlands at White Hart Lane would keep him out until late autumn. The 31-year-old finally made his Hammers debut in a 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham on 24th November 2001 – he went on to keep ten clean sheets in 29 appearances in his first season, a campaign which saw no other Premier League team win more matches at home than the Hammers. The club finished seventh but were to nosedive the following season, culminating in relegation. James was an ever-present in 2002/03, keeping nine clean sheets in 42 appearances during a season in which he became England’s first-choice goalkeeper, replacing David Seaman.

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James remained with the club for the first half of the First Division campaign of 2003/04, seeing many of his team-mates depart in a fire sale and playing under three managers – Roeder, caretaker boss Trevor Brooking and Alan Pardew – as the Hammers adjusted to life in the second tier. ‘Jamo’ kept ten clean sheets in 31 games before returning to the Premier League with Manchester City in a £2m deal in January 2004. He had made 102 appearances for West Ham in all competitions, his final match being a 2-1 home defeat to Preston on 10th January 2004. James had retained his position as Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England number one but his return to the top flight all but secured his place as England’s goalkeeper at the upcoming Euro 2004 tournament in Portugal. My video below is a compilation of some of James’ saves in a West Ham shirt.

After two and a half years with City, James returned south to join Portsmouth in the summer of 2006. While with Pompey, he won the FA Cup in 2008 and broke the Premier League record for clean sheets and consecutive appearances. He stands fourth in the all-time Premier League appearances list with 572 games played – only Ryan Giggs, Gareth Barry and ex-Hammer Frank Lampard have played more. James moved to Bristol City in the summer of 2010 having captained Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final, James again picking up a runners-up medal after defeat at Wembley to Chelsea. The goalkeeper also played three of England’s four matches at the 2010 World Cup, having lost his place to Paul Robinson during qualification for the 2006 World Cup – former Hammer James replaced then-Irons custodian Rob Green in the tournament held in South Africa after Green’s unfortunate error against the USA, while future Hammer Joe Hart was the third goalkeeper in the squad.

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The 42-year-old James was released by Bristol City in the summer of 2012 and signed for Bournemouth in September of that year. His final appearance for Bournemouth, and in English football, was against Walsall in a 3-1 defeat at the Bescot Stadium on 19th January 2013. James went on to play in Iceland for IBV, teaming up with former team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson in order to gain coaching experience.

James was also player-manager of Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters, owned by Sachin Tendulkar, in 2014, helping the side to runners-up position in the inaugural campaign of the ISL. James played 956 matches during his career and later returned to Kerala Blasters as manager in January 2018 – he was sacked last December. Now 48, James has also been a regular pundit on BT Sports.

Referee

The referee tomorrow will be Christopher Kavanagh. The Manchester-born official has refereed the Hammers on seven previous occasions, most recently for our 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last month. Prior to that, Kavanagh officiated our 2-0 home win over Newcastle in March, a game in which he awarded the Hammers a penalty for a foul on Chicharito which was converted by Mark Noble. He had previously been in charge for our 2-2 home draw with Brighton in January, our 1-1 draw at Huddersfield in November and our 1-0 home defeat to Wolves in September.

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Kavanagh was the man in the middle for our 2-0 win at Leicester last May and also issued Arthur Masuaku with a red card for spitting in an FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wigan in January 2018. He has been the man in the middle for 23 Premier League matches so far in 2018/19, issuing 74 yellow cards in those games and one red, and awarding four penalties.

Possible line-ups

Sebastian Prodl and ex-Hammer Domingos Quina are out injured for FA Cup Finalists Watford but Miguel Britos and Etienne Capoue are expected to be fit – a booking for Capoue would mean he equals the Premier League record of 14 yellow cards in a season. Hornets boss Javi Gracia has stated he will resist the temptation to rest players ahead of the Wembley showpiece six days later. Watford could do the league double over West Ham for the first time since the 1911/12 season.

For Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Robert Snodgrass, Felipe Anderson and Samir Nasri are available but Winston Reid, Andriy Yarmolenko and Andy Carroll remain out. West Ham have lost only two of their last 14 league matches at Watford. The Irons could win three consecutive Premier League games without conceding for the first time since February 2014.

Possible Watford XI: Foster; Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucoure, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Rice; Antonio, Noble, Lanzini, Anderson; Arnautovic.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Time for the West Ham United Hall of Fame

We all have our heroes, probably those we loved watching as a kid when football is such an easy game to watch. In later years we marvel at the players that may give their heart to the cause but maybe never get the glory – our heroes are our personal choices, many though are shared by us all. Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking, Bobby Moore must make the top 3 of our all-time greats, but that reason is because those of us alive witnessed them, worshipped them, adored them. Even if we couldn’t get to the game or were born years after they played, they were in the TV era so we can always see just how the great they were. But what of the players that came before? Should they not be recognised in some way as, without the players that came before, we may not have had the Bonds, Devonshire’s or Pop Robson’s come and join us? Just imagine if the club had not been promoted in 1958 with the goals of Vic Keeble. Would we have progressed to the point where six years later the club embarked on the most trophy-laden period in its history?

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Every Cup West Ham has won was won in just a 16 year period. If you through the prism of achieving our highest league standing then its 22 years, a period though that defines this club still today, and made a majority of the players from that time, not just heroes, but legends.

So what can be done to honour all our players that have contributed to the history of this great club? Well, we’ve had the failed museum but we know there is nowhere at the athletics stadium to house another. The club has taken to putting up history boards around the ground but the problem with that is, they are all temporary as they have to be removed when athletics take the stadium and if you can’t get to all parts of the stadium you are stuck at looking at just the piece you see every game.

For me the answer is simple, THE WEST HAM UNITED HALL OF FAME.

When you look at other clubs and see how they revere their history and not just the successful era’s but their whole history, all the players that have played for them, not just the clubs chosen few, and to that end a dedicated hall of fame that inducts players from all eras that have contributed to the success of the club, as without Keeble’s goals, Bobby Moore may not have played top flight football for West Ham. Without the saves of Ernie Gregory, the goals of Vic Keeble would not have made the difference.

West Ham is approaching 125 years of existence if you include the Ironworks era. According to the West Ham Stats website this equates us to using 1233 players and yet we are invariably asked to choose our top 11. So much of our history is now unknown or not spoken about. Players that did so much for the club are ignored now and I believe a hall of fame will bring much of that back into life.

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The way I see it working is somehow we draw up a short list of inductees from each decade of the club’s history. Players that played in more than one decade would be put into the decade they made most appearances. Each player would have a bio as to why it’s believed they should be added to the Hall of Fame. That shortlist is then put to the public vote. They would vote one player from each decade into the hall of fame. Naturally, the 60s & 70s and 80s may need to have more than one inductee every year, but it would allow the unrecognised or unknown players from the past that all contributed to the club being what it is today getting recognised. The hall of fame would then have a permanent home on a website so everyone could then see and read the stories that make up the legends of our past.

There is already a national hall of fame for football, which has a permanent home at the National Football Museum in Manchester and I have found that some other premier league clubs have their own hall of fame as well. I must admit the Everton hall of fame I came across is the one that I liked the most when researching this article.

So what do you think you good folk of WHTID world? Shall we give it or go, or is the past as they say, best left where it is?


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