The GoatyGav Column

To Break Or Not To Break?

Whether the extra break benefits West Ham players or not remains to be seen. The overwhelming weight of opinion tends towards the ‘rest is always best’ for Premier League footballers, with many campaigning for a Winter break for some time, but I hold the opposite view. Full match practice gets players fit and firing and, while it takes a lot out of them physically, they keep an ‘edge’ which, I believe, is needed to compete. Don’t believe that? Well the evidence suggests otherwise.

When you consider how English teams have performed against their mainland European counterparts over the years there is definitely a clear pattern that’s to be observed. For some teams, before a ball has been kicked in the Premier League, Europa and Champion’s League qualifiers have been played. Some would consider those teams unfortunate however the undoubted trend is that those teams tend to get off to flyers in the league. Full, competitive, match practice provides the advantage over those having had a pre-season of ‘friendlies’. Further to this there are European (I guess I can now say this without the ‘mainland’ stipulation) sides who are well in to their season when playing in the European qualifying rounds who have proven stern tests for our, supposedly superior, Premier league teams because they are more up to competitive match speed.

The other evidence to back up my point above is what generally happens in European competition after other countries have taken their Winter break. British teams who haven’t taken any time out perform far better than those who’ve been rested. Again I put this down to the ‘Match Speed’ element with French, Italian, German and Spanish teams often struggling to overcome the Brits during February and March.

It’s not all to British teams’ advantage however. The benefits of the Winter break become more apparent towards the end of seasons. These advantages can, I believe, also be evidenced by the performance of the English national team at major tournaments. I strongly believe that both injuries and stamina affect the Three Lions far more than other nations when it comes to World Cups, Euros and, in the case of the most recent example, the UEFA Nation’s League.

Back to West Ham I fear that, apart from the ridiculous level of inconvenience that our fans were handed by the Manchester officials who called off the game on Sunday, our first team will also suffer. Next up is an incredibly tough match which won’t be played until the 24th Feb. Considering our last match beforehand will have been played on the 1st Feb, and our opponents will have played the week before, it looks like the trip to Liverpool will prove an even bigger mountain to climb than it may have otherwise done. Five days afterwards we are at home to a, hugely improved, Southampton team who will have faced Aston Villa and Burnley at home the previous two weeks, and who may well find themselves going in to the game with us, not only far more match sharp but also full of confidence.

My normally optimistic tone has certainly been affected this season by the tough breaks that don’t seem to be showing any sign of letting up. I sincerely hope that David Moyes, and his newly assembled coaching team, can utilise the break to the best of their advantage but I fear for the forthcoming games bearing in mind the lack of match sharpness compared to our opponents.

Not only did our men’s first team have their game postponed but the Women’s game against Manchester City was also a casualty of the bad weather. A tough trip away to Reading awaits tomorrow night so I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing the Ironesses all the best for that.

The U23s have slightly less time to wait to play than the men’s first team with a home fixture against fourth placed Stoke City next Monday. With Mesaque Dju and Xande Silva returning to the squad after injury the team has a much needed boost following the recent loan departures. It will be a very exciting run in to see if Dan Halajko’s boys can keep their top spot. Fingers crossed they do the business against the Stokies on the 17th.

Have a good week all.

COYI!


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Man City v West Ham

Blast from the past

3rd April 1982 – the Falklands War began the day before as Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, The Goombay Dance Band were number one with ‘Seven Tears’ and Mel Gibson was in UK cinemas in Mad Max 2 as West Ham United emerged victorious from a First Division encounter against Manchester City with a 1-0 win.

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Former West Ham right-back John Bond welcomed his old club as manager of Manchester City. John Lyall’s Hammers were coming towards the end of their first season back in the top flight following promotion the previous campaign. Paul Goddard (pictured above) bagged the only goal of the game at Maine Road in front of 30,875, his 13th of 17 goals from 46 appearances in 1981/82.

West Ham would finish 1981/82 in ninth place in Division One, while City ended up level on points in tenth. Liverpool won the league title and Tottenham won the FA Cup. David Cross would be the club’s top scorer in 1981/82, with 19 goals from 45 appearances – he would join Manchester City later in 1982. Alvin Martin was voted Hammer of the Year at the end of the season, with Trevor Brooking runner-up.

Manchester City: Joe Corrigan, Ray Ranson, Tommy Caton, Nicky Reid, Bobby McDonald, John Ryan, Paul Power, Asa Hartford, Gary Jackson, Age Hareide, Kevin Reeves.

West Ham United: Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Alvin Martin, Neil Orr, Frank Lampard, Francois Van der Elst, Paul Allen, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire, David Cross, Paul Goddard.

Club Connections

Pablo Zabaleta returns to the home of his former club. A large group of players join him in having represented West Ham United and Manchester City. Divided by playing position, they include:

Goalkeepers – Perry Suckling, Joe Hart, David James.

Defenders – Tal Ben Haim, Tyrone Mears, Wayne Bridge.

Midfielders – Patrick Leonard, Samir Nasri, Marc-Vivien Foe, Kevin Horlock, James Cumming, Mark Ward, Eyal Berkovic, Steve Lomas, Frank Lampard Junior, John Payne, Michael Hughes, Ian Bishop, Trevor Sinclair.

Strikers – Bill Davidson, Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy, Phil Woosnam, Justin Fashanu, Paulo Wanchope, Clive Allen, Lionel Watson, David Cross, George Webb.

Stuart Pearce played for both clubs, has managed Manchester City and been an assistant coach with West Ham. Malcolm Allison and John Bond were West Ham players who went on to manage City. Manuel Pellegrini has managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though falls on a striker who joined West Ham United from Manchester City. Trevor Morley was born in Nottingham on 20th March 1961 and was rejected by Derby before beginning his career as a non-league player with Corby Town and Nuneaton Borough (where he won a Southern League championship medal in 1982) while also running a fruit and veg market stall. His manager at Nuneaton, Graham Carr (father of comedian Alan Carr), took Morley with him to Fourth Division Northampton for £20,000 in the summer of 1985. He won the Fourth Division title with the Cobblers in 1986/87.

Morley was signed by manager Mel Machin for Manchester City in January 1988 as part of an exchange deal that saw Tony Adcock move to the County Ground, the deal valuing the 26-year-old Morley at £235,000. He made his City debut on 23rd January 1988 in a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa and went on to score 18 league goals for the Maine Road club, including the equaliser at Bradford on the last day of the 1988/89 season that clinched promotion to the First Division, a point ahead of Crystal Palace. On 23rd September 1989 he put the Sky Blues 2-0 ahead in the famous 5-1 derby win over Manchester United in the First Division but, when Machin was sacked by chairman Peter Swales, his replacement Howard Kendall saw no place in his side for Morley. He played his last game for the Sky Blues in a 1-0 home win over Norwich on Boxing Day 1989 – the winning goal was scored by Morley’s future Hammers strike partner Clive Allen. Morley scored 21 goals in 82 appearances for Manchester City.

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Morley joined Lou Macari’s West Ham United in December 1989 in a deal that saw Ian Bishop also move to Upton Park, with Mark Ward signing for Manchester City in part-exchange. Morley, now 28, was valued at £450,000 in the deal. He made his debut, along with Bishop, in a 1-0 defeat at Leicester on 30th December 1989 and scored his first goal for the Hammers on 20th January 1990 in a 2-1 home defeat to Hull. Morley was West Ham’s top scorer with 17 goals from 48 appearances in all competitions in the 1990/91 season as the Irons, now under the management of Billy Bonds, were promoted to the First Division. The striker was stabbed by his wife in March 1991, missing just over a month of football including the FA Cup quarter-final win over Everton.

Morley scored only five goals from 32 appearances in 1991/92 as the Hammers suffered an immediate relegation with the bustling, hard-working striker often out of favour. Following a summer loan spell with Norwegian club Brann Bergen (Morley’s wife hailed from Norway), Morley experienced a far more memorable season in 1992/93 as he was again top scorer with 22 goals from 49 appearances with West Ham gaining promotion, this time to the Premier League. This season also saw Morley’s only sending-off in a Hammers shirt, in the Anglo-Italian Cup at home against Reggiana in November for retaliating against rough treatment from Gianluca Francesconi. It is a measure of his resilience that he won his place back despite the arrivals, over time, of Iain Dowie and Mike Small in 1991, and Clive Allen in 1992. It seemed at one stage that Morley would be leaving to join Watford in a £100,000 deal but he stayed at Upton Park, reclaimed a regular first-team place and went on to make a mockery of that proposed fee. Indeed his partnership with former City team-mate Allen played a large part in the promotion campaign of 1992/93.

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Morley again spent a summer loan spell with Brann and scored his first Premier League goal on 18th September 1993 in a 2-0 win at Blackburn. The Hammers would finish 13th in their first Premier League season with Morley again the top scorer, this time with 16 goals from 49 games, including the winner in a 1-0 home win over Chelsea, a brace in a 4-1 win at Tottenham and the opener in a 2-0 win at Arsenal (his final goal for the club on 30th April 1994). Morley, by now the club’s penalty-taker after the departure of Julian Dicks, also scored an equaliser to claim a point within seconds of coming on as a substitute in a 3-3 home draw with Norwich and scored in a 2-2 home draw with Manchester United. A target man who relished a physical battle, his unstinting efforts were recognised when he was voted as the 1993/94 Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters.

1994/95 saw the arrivals of Tony Cottee and Don Hutchison as Harry Redknapp took over the managerial reigns, with Morley failing to score in 16 appearances – it was a big blow when he had to undergo a cartilage operation soon after the start of that season. His final appearance in claret and blue was on 14th May 1995 in the 1-1 home draw with Manchester United which denied the visitors the Premier League title. In total, Morley scored 70 goals in 214 appearances for West Ham United – strong and ever-willing to work hard for the team cause, his goals were scored from all angles and varying distances. 66 of Morley’s 70 goals for the Hammers can be viewed in my video below.

The 34-year-old Morley departed for Reading on a free transfer in the summer of 1995 where he spent three years before a brief spell playing for Sogndal in Norway. He later had a spell scouting for Arsenal in Norway and, in 2000, took on the manager’s role at Bergen Sparta of the Norwegian Fifth Division. Now 58, Morley currently lives in Norway, where he runs a shelter for addicts and works as a football pundit.

Trevor Morley 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 Manchester City in September 1991. I’ve been a football addict and a dyed-in-the-wool Hammer ever since, despite an awful first season which saw us relegated in bottom place – things could only get better! Morley’s personal farewell to the Boleyn Ground, recorded for Norwegian TV, can be viewed below.

Referee

Tomorrow’s referee is 51-year-old Graham Scott. The Oxfordshire-based official will be taking charge of only his tenth Premier League match involving West Ham United – the Hammers have won six of the previous nine league matches he has officiated. His first Premier League appointment with the Irons was our 3-1 win at Southampton in February 2017. He also took charge of the Hammers for our 3-0 win at Stoke under David Moyes in December 2017 – Scott’s decision to award Manuel Lanzini a first-half penalty saw the Argentine retrospectively banned for two matches. He also refereed our 2-0 home win over Watford in February 2018, our 3-1 home win over Everton in Moyes’ last match of his first spell in charge of the Hammers and our 3-1 defeat at Arsenal in August 2018.

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Scott was the man in the middle for both our matches against Cardiff last season. The match at London Stadium saw him award a penalty to the visitors which Lukasz Fabianski saved as the Hammers went on to win 3-1. He also officiated our 2-0 defeat in the Welsh capital in March 2019. He was also in charge of our 2-1 defeat at Manchester United last April, awarding the home side two penalties. Scott was also in charge for our 2-1 League Cup victory over Cheltenham in August 2013 and is pictured above sending off Callum McNaughton in the defender’s only Hammers appearance as the club were knocked out of the same competition by Aldershot in August 2011. He most recently refereed the Hammers in our 4-0 home win over Bournemouth last month.

Possible line-ups

Manchester City will be without the suspended Oleksandr Zinchenko and the injured Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, but Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy could return. The Citizens have won 11 of their 13 league games against West Ham at the Etihad Stadium, drawing one and losing one. City have lost six games already in the Premier League this season – they’ve never lost more than six in a league campaign under manager Pep Guardiola.

West Ham United have Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko on the injury list but Felipe Anderson could return. New boy Jarrod Bowen could make his Hammers debut. West Ham have won just three of the last 25 Premier League meetings between the two clubs, drawing four and losing 18. The Hammers have lost 20 of their 23 Premier League matches away to a reigning champion, with their only victory coming against Manchester United in December 2001 under Glenn Roeder. Sebastien Haller scored three goals in his first three Premier League appearances but has scored only three more in the subsequent 21.

Possible Manchester City XI: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Mendy; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Bernardo Silva.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Snodgrass, Rice, Soucek, Noble, Antonio; Bowen.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!


West Ham Women

Gilly Flaherty: "I Told My Mum I Would Never Ever Do It Again... But It Will Never Leave Me"

Suzanne Wrack, Women’s Sport Writer for The Guardian, has conducted an interview with West Ham Women club captain Gilly Flaherty, in which Gilly speaks for the first time about the attempt to end her own life aged 17 and why it’s important to talk.

“It was the unknown,” says West Ham’s Gilly Flaherty. “I didn’t know what was going to happen when I went to hospital. If it would change my life.” It has been more than a decade since the tough-tackling centre-back tried to take her own life and was found by a housemate. Flaherty has not spoken about it publicly since. She has not even talked about it privately with that housemate, nor until recently with her family, who if they referred to the incident at all would mention “that thing you did once”.

Yet here she is, at West Ham’s Rush Green training ground, feeling as if she is “sitting in the Big Brother diary room”. Flaherty grins but, much like her hard persona masks a soft centre, the smile hides trepidation about an interview – released on Thursday on Time to Talk day and before the Football Association’s Heads Up weekend – that almost didn’t happen.

“Last week I wasn’t going to do this,” she says. “When I’d made the decision not to do it I went on Twitter and someone had taken their life. The day before they had sent out a tweet saying: ‘These letters are the hardest letters to write.’ Then they passed away. And I thought: ‘I have to do this.’”

Flaherty’s career is packed with trophies. Seven FA Cups, eight top-division titles, a Champions League win as a part of Arsenal’s quadruple winners; few have had such success. “I think I could have gone through my whole career not having mentioned what I’ve been through,” the 28-year-old captain reflects. “I’m a different person now to the person I was back then – I’m stronger now. But what’s the point in going through stuff if I don’t think I can benefit someone from it?

“People will probably be shocked. They won’t be expecting it from me because I’m such a bubbly person and I’m always happy. And I am now, but back then I wasn’t and there’s a reason why I wasn’t.”

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It was moving away from home, from Millwall’s youth teams, and going to Arsenal’s academy, that started the spiral. Flaherty is fiercely sensitive and close to her family. She struggled to cope with being separated from them, and with the death of her grandmother and great aunt. At the same time she was struggling with her sexuality.

“I say to my mum now that I wish I’d never gone. That’s nothing against Arsenal but I just wish now that I would have stayed at home, gone to college and learned a trade and come out with something. I was in the academy Monday to Friday. Now my mum will have a go at me when I don’t pick up the phone and ring her. Families have WhatsApp groups but when I was younger, I’d go Monday through Friday and I wouldn’t talk to them all week. I wasn’t doing well in college, I wasn’t interested. I was going through things … I knew I was gay. I had known I was gay for a long time but as you get older you start to think about relationships, you’re talking about taking things a bit further than just liking someone or thinking someone’s nice looking.

“And it’s all of the unknown. OK, I’m gay but what do I do? Do I go to gay bars? There’s no education about it when you’re younger. How do I find gay girls? Where do I find a partner? I did think when I was growing up that I would be this silly old woman with 100 dogs. And you worry about how your parents will react. You don’t want to disappoint them.”

Then there was the football. “I was with Arsenal’s first team but I wasn’t playing. I was on the bench. With the team they had it was no surprise but I don’t think I handled that well and I don’t really think I had the right guidance as a younger player.” She was cripplingly lonely. That was the context, the cocktail of emotions, that fuelled the attempt to take her own life aged 17. “I just wish I’d been educated about it. Read something. Or had someone grab hold of me. It’s hard because some people have no one.”

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There was a heavy helping of luck involved in her survival. It was lucky the lock on her door was broken, enabling her housemate to find her and get her to hospital, where she was put on a drip. “Jayne Ludlow and Ciara Grant, Arsenal players at the time, worked in the academy and were sort of the on-call leaders. They came to the hospital and I remember saying to Jayne: ‘Please don’t call my mum or dad, I don’t want them to know.’ And she was like: ‘Gilly, how can I not call your mum and dad? We have to tell them.’

“I just didn’t want to be told off for doing it. I don’t want people to judge me now on that because I’m a completely different person to the person I was then. My mum said to me the other night: ‘I really worry when you go quiet. Whether it be on social media or the WhatsApp group. Because then I wonder.’ And I said that I would never ever do it again; it would never even come into my mind to do it.

“Back then I didn’t talk to anyone but I also didn’t think about anyone else. I didn’t think about my mum and dad, I didn’t think about my family. Whereas now there’s no way I would even consider leaving those people behind.”

Providing help and support is key. “You’ve got people out there you can talk to but something is stopping people from actually doing it. That’s what is hard. With suicide there’s no second chances. If it’s debt problems, gambling, addiction, struggling with your sexuality, is it bad enough that you want to end your life or is there an alternative? We need to make sure we have as many outlets and alternatives as possible for people.”

Coming out to her parents months helped to lift a weight. “My mum and dad knew that I was gay, even if I hadn’t told them.”

Though she never hid her relationship with her partner, Lily, coming out publicly with the Rainbow Laces campaign in 2018 further lifted the weight. Now, talking about the attempt to take her own life is a part of her owning something she thinks about daily. “It will never leave me,” she says.

It is an experience, though, that has made her better able to deal with struggles and manage her feelings. “I now know to talk. When I was younger, during that time, I was never allowed to show emotion. Crying on the pitch was a no go. Because if you cry on the pitch people will think you can’t handle it. Whereas now I cry watching everything on the telly. I’m not going to hide it. I’ll cry over everything.

“I’m an emotional person and I’m a loving person. I’ve gone through so much worse than that now. But I just think: ‘No, I’m not going to bow down. I’m not going to let anything defeat me.’”

In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

This piece originally appeared in The Guardian and was written by Suzanne Wrack.


Video

Introducing Jarrod Bowen

Looks quite a player!


Talking Point

Good News On Brexit Day

For me Brexit isn’t good news. I always was in favour of Remain and of a second people’s vote, but the answer was “We already had one”, and Boris would “get Brexit done”.

Now as of 1st of February, the UK really is no longer part of the EU. Will Britain now get great again? Sorry, it will not. But the EU will also struggle, and maybe the block should have been more flexible to better accommodate the diversity of the continent and keep the UK on board. So for me, the only good news from London last Friday was the signing of an other new player for West Ham United.

In the brilliant book “Rule Britannia. Brexit and the End of Empire” the authors argue that the vote to leave the EU was the last gasp of the old empire working its way out of the British psyche, fuelled by an unrealistic vision of Britain’s future. I wish the UK well in the upcoming negotiations with the EU, but I fear it will be a tough match and in the end the outcome will not be satisfactory. Well, that reminds me of how things panned out at football club West Ham United after leaving the Boleyn (which by the way happened at the same time as the referendum whether to leave the EU).

With the move from Upton Park to the Olympic Stadium the West Ham faithful were promised golden days ahead, the Board was even talking of Champions League football within some years. But we’ve got the second relegation battle within three years instead of.

Even when the owners decided, after fan protests inside and outside the unloved new stadium, to invest a notable amount of money into the squad and hire a decent manager in 2018, it seems we were deluded in some way.

It was not only me who thought that with Manuel Pellegrini, a very successful manager with his former clubs, who was the highest paid gaffer in West Ham’s history, a “revolution” would start and bring success to a club where fortune’s had been hiding for much too long.

Pellegrini’s first season wasn’t bad. After a slow start with four defeats the players seemed to understand the new way of attacking play the Chilean tried to instil, there were glimpses of a fine style of play dubbed the “West Ham way” in former times, and a number of good results with lots of goals scored were achieved. Sometimes it seemed the squad had developed a formerly unknown “winning mentality”, and they accumulated more wins in a single month than ever before in Premier League history (in December 2018). Last season on my travels from Austria to the London Stadium I was lucky enough to attend four consecutive wins (Burnley 4-2, Crystal Palace 3-2, Arsenal 1-0 and Southampton 3-0). Unbelievable!

And when the Irons started very well this season, things looked bright and again it wasn’t just me who thought that West Ham had one of the strongest squads in recent years, and that they would go on to finally win something after many, many years without silverware. This year it is forty years that the Hammers have won the FA Cup, it’s “time to be great again” this season, isn’t it? That’s what we thought after the 2018/19 “transitional season”, which now would surely be followed by one more step forward for the Club.

But then our seemingly talismanic goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, the fabulous shotstopper and Hammer of the Year 2019, got injured, and West Ham suddenly found itself in a downward spiral with Manuel Pellegrini unable to stop the decline. His substitute goalie Roberto who had been brought to West Ham by Pellegrini and his director of sports Husillos, instead of former fans favourite Adrian, proved completely unable to cope with the task of playing in the Premier League. Being a factor of highest uncertainty he unsettled the defenders in front of him, West Ham’s defence was (and unfortunately still is, though Roberto now has left the club) a complete shambles, and the Hammers ship goals after goals! Our exit from the League Cup was followed by a dismal run of seven league games with Roberto in goal without a win, until Pellegrini decided to hand the club’s third keeper his Premier League debut.

It was the best moment of this season so far, when 33 year old David Martin found himself between the sticks against Chelsea and made a dream start by keeping a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge. He helped West Ham win 1-0 away against the Blues and, breaking into tears after the final whistle, he then sprinted up the stairs of the stand to celebrate the win with his father, West Ham legend Alvin Martin, who was a member of West Ham’s Cup winning team of 1980.

But these heroics are long gone, and were a short-lived upturn in West Ham’s fortunes, followed by just one win within the next five games. Pellegrini seemed utterly clueless, he looked an old man in the dugout who had completely lost the dressing room, being unable to coach his team, and making strange substitutions which nobody could understand…

Instead of a step forward the Club now made one back, fired MP after an other defeat to Leicester City by the end of December, and reappointed David Moyes who had saved the Hammers from relegation in 2018, but then had not been found good enough to remain the Club’s manager.

After an all but perfect start into his second reign at the London Stadium with that 4-0 home win over Bournemouth, things haven’t went so well for David Moyes so far, as the shape of the squad he inherited is simply not good enough to restart a season which really has been a desaster so far. We’re out of the FA Cup, eliminated by former Hammers coach Slaven Bilic’s West Brom, and the disastrous home record this season could really turn out to be West Ham’s most lethal problem: the Hammers have won only three games out of fourteen at the London Stadium so far this season.

Therefore it was good news from London last Friday that West Ham had signed another player on transfer deadline day (which coincided with Brexit Day), bringing in versatile attacker Jarrod Bowen from Hull City where he had scored 54 goals and added 14 assists in 131 matches.

After having already welcomed Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek (24) from Slavia Prague on loan within this window, David Moyes hailed the 23-year-old Bowen: “I think he could be a big success. When you score goals like he does, and in the numbers he does, in the Championship, it will give you a great chance of scoring goals in the Premier League.”

That seemed to be good news from London on Brexit Day at last, albeit quickly followed by a severe setback when West Ham slipped into the relegation zone on the Saturday. Well, this season won’t get great again – let’s hope David Moyes and his squad at least will achieve the only aim that’s left: to turn the corner and succeed in the relegation dogfight ahead of us.

As half of the clubs of the Premier League may be involved in the relegation battle this year, there are still plenty of other clubs that could go down. But it will get tough and could really go down to the wire. And well, I’m sure that will also be the case with the upcoming negotiations to get a free-trade deal with the EU. Let’s hope the outcome of both of these battles will be a good one!

Come on you Irons!


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