Talking Point

West Ham Association membership for a pound

The West Ham United Independent Supporters Association – WHUISA has reduced the cost of membership to just £1!

The association says their aim is to provide a democratic, fully independent and self-funding structure through which all West Ham fans can voice their opinions without censure on matters that are important to us as well as express their support of our Club.

WHUISA says they are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation run by the fans for fans. They believe that by coming together under a single banner the myriad of opinion / views from all our fan base especially at this crucial time in our history they can move forward together as a strong group with a real mandate from the fans to have a pivotal influence through frank and open channels of communication, based on mutual respect and accountability, with our Club, its owners, the board and Stadium / 3rd party operators.

At the beginning of February WHUISA announced their support of action groups, a statement read:

“The committee of the West Ham United Independent Supporters Association (WHUISA) would like to formally announce its intent to support the efforts of the Real West Ham Fans Action Group (RWHFAG) & West Ham Groups United (WHGU) for the proposed protest march that is currently planned for 10th March 2018.

WHUISA has sought dialogue with West Ham United in the past and continues to do so to give representation for the fans, to the current ownership of our football club on a wide range of issues. It is disappointing that to date, there has been a lack of willingness from West Ham United to engage proactively and any communication with WHUISA only seems to be reactive to issues and situations that have arisen.

Protesting by away fans at the Watford FC away game on Sunday 19th November is one example where the club then reached out to WHUISA to attend a meeting to discuss concerns, whilst other attempts to meet had been rebuffed. Preferred media outlets and individuals are considered more important for engaging with, rather than a democratically run, fully constituted, Football Supporters Federation affiliated independent supporters association.

WHUISA has been in contact with RWHFAG & WHGU a number of times in the past month and are happy to formally support the efforts being made to arrange a family friendly, peaceful demonstration where the strength of feeling and emotion regarding the current situation at West Ham United is to be made plain for all to hear and see.

The protest march is currently being discussed between representatives of the Metropolitan Police and RWHFAG/WHGU in terms of duration, location and timings and more details will be announced once those discussions have been completed. All WHUISA members are encouraged to attend the planned protest on 10th March 2018

WHUISA Chairman Mark Walker speaking about the reduction in membership to a quid said: “We’re delighted to reduce the membership to a pound for the rest of the season and it’s something we keep under review going forward. We want as many people as possible to get involved in WHUISA. We take our affiliation to the FSF seriously and want as many people as possible to be involved, regardless of what other West Ham groups and forums they are members of.”

You can join WHUISA for a quid at https://whuisa.org/join/


The GoatyGav Column

Is 7th Beyond Us?

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Either looking up the table or down it is often dependent on recent results. In 2018 West Ham have played 7, won 3, drawn 3 and lost 1 in the Prem. Twelve points from a possible 21. When you factor in the injuries that the team have had during that period things start to look rosier. I’m just starting to turn the corner between counting the points, and places, between West Ham and 18th and the places above us.

With more players returning things are starting to look brighter. Saturday’s performance looked energised and, as the game progressed in the latter stages, despite a slow early part of the second half, more confident. West Ham, as a club, don’t get too much change out of the BBC but both Arnie and Zabba made team of the week following Obiang’s goal of the month. Without bias I genuinely believe Pedro’s strike was the pick of the bunch and may challenge for goal of the season. Then again maybe the strike seemed all the more sweet to us because of the opposition and I’m viewing it through claret and blue tinted specs. In the cold light of day, and as a footballing purist, Willian’s goal for Chelski was a thing of great beauty to me. That said I’d certainly take it if I was Pedro.

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As we look at the table today we sit 6 points behind Burnley who are in 7th. They do also have a 7 goal advantage on us however they’ve hit a bit of a sticky patch and are on the slide. It seems that, when we have key players fit, and are not too short on first team regulars, we’re putting points on the board. David Moyes, and his management team, seem to have installed a work ethic and discipline that we’ve not really seen for some time. I loved Super Slav but I think that if he’s to take away a key lesson from his time in charge of West Ham it should be the ability to motivate through a straight-forward, strong and no-nonsense approach to managing individual players. David Moyes lets every player know exactly what he expects from them with no grey areas or overfamiliar, pally-pally, methods of communication. If it works with a character like Arnie then it’s certainly good enough for me.

I was also very encouraged when I posted my first 11 on Iain’s thread this week. When I looked at the potential match day squad, of 18 players with everyone fit, it was strong. Now I’m as fed up as the next supporter with the ‘bids’ that have gone in for Defensive Midfielders over the last few seasons but if you were to add a Carvalho or a Dendoncker we’d really have tremendous balance in the team. So I’m going to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. If Moyes and his team stay, we sign a top quality CDM and add another good striker or two, this Summer then we’ll know that Mr Sullivan’s video wasn’t lip service alone but had substance and intent.

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Last time out, against Watford, I saw one of the most encouraging things I’ve witnessed this season. Antonio looked like he was getting back to his old, dynamic self. Apart from the great ball for the first he gave Janmaat a torrid time – numerously beating him for pace. With Arnie playing well, Antonio in the mood, Lanzini on his way back, Kouyate returning to form in central midfield, Nobes putting in the sifts he’s put in since he had a two game break at the end of 2017, Chicha chipping in with goals and creating space with his movement off the ball, Oggy & Collins looking solid at the back (Ginge is great when he has a pacey partner at CB) and Mario really starting to find his feet, as I think he seems to be settling well and looks like he’s enjoying himself, I’m hugely optimistic of a strong last quarter of the season.

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Liverpool away will be tough but they shouldn’t underestimate us. We might get a tonking as they’re seriously potent when they’re on it but I might have a cheeky little punt on that one.

Don’t get me wrong, a 7th place finish this season would be a stretch, but if we can get more players back and suffer no further key injuries I think we’ve got an outside chance of it. Top half would be great.

Blue sky stuff, perhaps, but “I’m Dreaming Dreams, I’m Scheming Schemes.”

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COYI! West Ham 4 The 2019 Cup!

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Talking Point

Millwall fans rally to West Ham cause

Millwall fans have raised over £4,500 for West Ham fan Isla Caton to demonstrate that football has no colours when it comes to cancer.

Millwall fan Tony Munday is planning to run a half marathon in a full West Ham kit to raise up to £3,500 for little Isla Caton.

Tony writes on his Justgiving Page:

‘Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a Millwall supporter to the core and that West Ham are the team I love to hate.But when it comes to children and cancer, rivalries and colours become insignificant and we all pull together as one. I’m running the Brentwood Half marathon on March 18th to help raise money towards this brave little girls target that she needs to reach.I’ve put the target at 500.00, but if it reaches 1000.00 I will run wearing a West Ham shirt. I expect this to pull in plenty of extra money as it’s the only way I’d ever do it. If it reaches £2,000 I will wear the full kit’

At the time of writing, Tony has raised £2,711 and has upped his target again saying “I’m raising the target again to £3,500 where I will do the Hammers sign on completion of the race in the West Ham kit”

Tony was asked how much it would take for him to have a permanent West Ham tattoo to which he replied £200,000

Tony’s page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tony-munday3

Another Millwall fan called Nick Hart who is a member of the Millwall AMS supporters’ group plans to walk to raise money for Isla. He has raised £1,248 so far

Nick writes:

“Like all Millwall fans, we were very touched to read of young Isla Caton’s appeal for funds to visit the USA for vital cancer treatment, not available on the NHS. So to lend my support, I am joining the #teamIsla walk from the West Ham United training ground, to the London Stadium in Stratford on April 14th 2018. Which as a lifelong Millwall supporter, is an unusual thing to do to say the least …Cancer knows no colours though and some things go way beyond any football rivalry. I am proud to lend my support to this cause on behalf of all Millwall fans.”

Nick’s page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/achtungmillwallforisla

Finally, another Millwall fan called Jay Pearce has raised £557 so far after being inspired by others

Nick writes:

‘Following the inspiration of a fellow Millwall fan, I’m going to do the same! I’m running the big half in March, which goes through south London! The Brighton Marathon and the Victoria Park half too. If I can raise £500 I’ll Wear a WHU shirt in the big half, £1k I’ll wear it in Brighton too, any more and I’ll wear it in the Viccy Park! All of which I planned to run in my Millwall shirt! Come on Guys, CANCER HAS NO COLOURS!’

Among others, Claret and Hugh recently held an online auction of items kindly donated by West Ham legend Billy Bonds which has raised £2,150 so far at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/billybondsauction

The overall fighting fund for Isla stands at £205,436 at the time of writing with a revised target of £400,000


Book Review

Kieron Dyer: Craig Bellamy, Lee Bowyer & My Injury Hell

Kieron Dyer’s autobiography, Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late, is currently being serialised in the Daily Mail. Passages relating to former Hammers Craig Bellamy and Lee Bowyer, and Dyer’s own time in east London have been collated here.

Craig Bellamy

“There was one game where Sir Bobby Robson brought Craig Bellamy off early because he thought the game was won and he wanted to save Craig’s legs. When we got back to the changing room, Craig was cursing about how he was always the first one to be hooked. Sir Bobby grew exasperated and said: ‘Will you shut up.’ Craig kept jabbering away about the injustice and finally Sir Bobby snapped. ’I’ll squash you, son, like an ant.’ Craig looked a bit taken aback but after a brief pause, started complaining again. ‘Who are you?’ Sir Bobby said. ‘Ronaldo, Romario, Stoichkov, Hagi, Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Gascoigne: these are the people I deal with. And who are you?’ The changing room went quiet. Even Craig went quiet. And then Craig looked over at me and said: ’He’s got a point, hasn’t he?’”

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“We had played Charlton and Graeme Souness had substituted Craig Bellamy. The TV cameras caught Craig muttering ‘f****** p****’ in his direction as he walked off. Souness didn’t see or hear it, but when he was shown footage, he was livid. Craig had been warned by Dean Saunders, Souey’s assistant, not to answer back, but it wasn’t in Craig’s make-up to keep quiet. He started protesting that there hadn’t been any argument. ‘See, this is the problem,’ Souness said. I could see he was about to go. He mentioned a few of the trophies he had won and some of the clubs he had played for. ‘And then someone like you calls me a f****** p****,’ he said to Craig. ‘I’ll f****** knock you out.’ He tried to grab Craig by the throat. ‘In the gym now,’ he said. ‘Let’s sort this out like men.’ Alan Shearer had to pull Souness off him. That was the first time in my life I’ve seen Bellers completely speechless. They never made it to the gym, but it knocked the stuffing out of Craig. Souness had put down a marker.”

With Souness and Bellamy’s relationship reaching breaking point (and after David Gold talked up a potential move for Bellamy to Birmingham in January 2005, saying personal terms and a medical were a mere formality), the Welshman joined Celtic on loan. After spells at Blackburn and Liverpool, Bellamy joined the Hammers in the summer of 2007; his nine goals for the club can be viewed in my video below:

Lee Bowyer

Dyer famously had an on-pitch brawl with Bowyer in April 2005, during a Newcastle match against Aston Villa at St James’ Park. Bowyer had played for the Hammers in the second half of the 2002/03 campaign and returned to Upton Park in the summer of 2006, departing for Birmingham in 2009.

“I could see him marching towards me, eyes bulging. Graeme Souness was shouting ‘don’t do it’ from the touchline but Lee Bowyer kept on coming. I grabbed him by the shoulders and the neck to keep him off me and then he started raining in punches. It was like slow motion. When the punches were hitting me in the head, I was thinking: ‘I cannot believe he is hitting me in front of 52,000 people. What the f*** is he thinking?’ I was trying to let him punch himself out. I thought it was just going to be handbags. It’s the kind of thing that might happen in training but not in a match. No one in their right mind would do that — but Bow had lost his mind. I think he hit me four times. The punches didn’t hurt but by the time the fourth punch came in, I thought ‘f*** this’ and launched one back at him. Gareth Barry rushed in to restrain Bow and drag him away. Bow’s shirt was ripped down to his chest and he was still snarling and snapping and trying to get himself free. I was relatively calm, but I looked over at Bow again and he was frothing and raging. I didn’t realise that you could get sent off for fighting your team-mate. The referee came over and showed me the red card. Then he sent Bow off, too. The crowd had been on our case because we were 3-0 down at home to Aston Villa. On the pitch, tempers were fraying. Bowyer had come to show for the ball. He was available, but I thought there were better options and passed to another team-mate. Bowyer went crazy. ‘F****** pass me the ball,’ he screamed. ‘What are you talking about?’ I said. ‘You never pass me the ball,’ he said. I told him to do one but he chuntered a bit more. A few minutes later, he wanted me to lay it square to him. I thought there were better options. It wasn’t personal. Bow went absolutely nuts. ‘F****** hell,’ he yelled, ‘you never pass me the ball.’ ‘The reason I don’t pass you the ball,’ I said, ‘is because you’re f****** s***.’ His whole demeanour changed. He had gone and I knew he had gone. I’d always got on well with him. I still do. The media have portrayed him in a certain way, and sure, he had his moments.”

Injury Hell

The 28-year-old Dyer signed for West Ham United on 16th August 2007 in a deal believed to be worth in the region of £6m. He played the full 90 minutes in his first two games in claret and blue, a 1-0 win at Birmingham and 1-1 home draw with Wigan, but disaster struck at Bristol Rovers in a League Cup second round match when Dyer broke both the tibia and fibula of his right leg following a tackle by Joe Jacobsen.

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“Breaking my leg in 2007 was the beginning of a long, debilitating, dispiriting process that killed my career. It led to the West Ham hierarchy trying to shame me, because I played so few games for the club. I’d tell any young injured player to get the best person available to look after you. West Ham didn’t feel it was necessary to do that. I wish I’d taken control and stuck up for myself. You start to hate yourself because you can’t get back to doing the thing you love – and you get slammed by the press, owners and fans.”

Dyer made his return just over 16 months later as a substitute in a 3-0 FA Cup third round home win against Barnsley. He didn’t start a match until April 2009. He didn’t score in 35 appearances for the club and donned the claret and blue for the final time as a substitute in a 3-1 League Cup semi-final second leg defeat at Birmingham in January 2011.

“After I left West Ham, joint chairman David Gold said I had cost the club £16million in fees and wages. That was a classy touch. When Gold and David Sullivan bought the club they talked about the extraordinary wages West Ham were paying and how one player who had barely played ought to have the decency to retire. The arrow was pointing right at me. West Ham fans would say what a waste of money I was. I didn’t score a goal for them in four years and didn’t play four or five games on the trot, ever. But you know what? Every time I went out there, they were brilliant with me and I will always remember that. It kills me that they didn’t even see a fraction of what I once was.”

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Dyer goes on to discuss how he became embarrassed to say he had an injury, saying that he had played on after suffering an injury on more than one occasion to avoid the “shame” of walking off the pitch.

“Later at West Ham I felt my thigh pop with my last kick of training. My heart sank. I was in pain but it was nothing compared to the dread, disappointment and embarrassment flooding over me. I couldn’t tell the physio so I said my thigh was tight, even though I knew I’d pulled it. I was trying to convince myself too. On the morning of our first game of the 2009/10 season [at Wolves] we did a fitness test in the hotel corridor. Stabbing pains were shooting through my thigh with every stride I took but somehow I passed and played with a grade one tear in my thigh.”

Dyer had a loan spell at Ipswich in 2011 as the Hammers struggled vainly against relegation and moved permanently to QPR on a free transfer in the summer of that year.

“After QPR, I knew it was over. I wasn’t sad when I stopped. People ask if I miss playing and the answer is that I don’t. Not because I didn’t love the game, but because in the last five years of my career, I was never fit and always doing rehab. It was miserable. I got used to missing football. It’s not like it all came to a sudden stop. I was delighted that I didn’t have to feel embarrassed in front of my family any more. I was relieved I didn’t have to feel embarrassed about myself in front of the fans any more. I was delighted I wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the physios any more. I’d had enough of letting people down. When people pour scorn on players like Darren Anderton, Michael Owen and Daniel Sturridge because of their injury record, I don’t think they realise how much embarrassment there is when you injure yourself.”

Dyer, now 39, retired after a short spell at Middlesbrough in 2013.

Adapted from Old Too Soon, Smart Too Late by Kieron Dyer with Oliver Holt, published on February 22 by Headline at £20. As serialised in the Daily Mail.

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The Blind Hammer Column

Why Are West Ham The Most fouled against team?

Blind Hammer investigates why West Ham players suffer most, by a staggering margin, from fouls.

There has been a lot of noise from Manchester city about the rough treatment their hugely expensively assembled Galacticos attract. Guardiola appealed to Referees to protect his stars whilst both Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva complained of butchery and targeted violence.

Whilst city has endured their share of injuries it is a pale shadow of the squad shattering injuries West ham have endured. The FA Cup squads West Ham prepared only had a passing resemblance to a Premier league outfit. These injuries, including Carroll’s fractured ankle, suggested that they may be attracting as much, if not more, rough play.

Fascinatingly this theory was born out by the BBC’s investigation into City’s claims of fouling martyrdom. Using Opta statistics the BBC compiled a League Table of the teams suffering most. City’s claim for targetted treatment was not born out. The Table is reproduced below.

Pos Team Fouled against
1. West Ham 324
2. Bournemouth 291
3. Man UT 287
4. Chelsea 280
4. Burnley 280
6. Crystal Palace 276
7. Tottenham 275
7. Swansea 275
9. Watford 269
10. Stoke 267
11. Southampton 261
12. Man City 258
13. Arsenal 257
14. Newcastle 255
15. Huddersfield 253
16. West Brom 247
17. Everton 242
18. Leicester 236
19. Liverpool 207
20. Brighton 195

Whilst statistics can invite as many questions as they answer, these figures are dramatic. Teams are not all of a muchness and there is extensive variation in records. West Ham is not only the most fouled against team, they attract more fouls by a comparatively massive margin. West Ham in first place suffers 33 more fouls than Bournemouth in second. This is easily the biggest gap between teams. In contrast Bournemouth leads a pack of clubs with very similar records. They have attracted only 4 more fouls than Manchester United, whilst Chelsea is only 7 further behind. In fact the gap between West Ham and the rest is startling. To reproduce the gap between West ham and Bournemouth you would have to cover the records of a further 10 PL Clubs, ironically then you would arrive at Manchester city who suffer a paltry 258 fouls, a huge 66 fouls less than West Ham. city are in fact very average in this table of suffering, alongside Arsenal, another complainant despite these statistics. Liverpool who also make similar complaints suffer a staggering 117 less fouls than West ham.

This table gives insight into why West Ham are also consistently high in the injuries table. There is a widespread myth that match impact injuries are cleanly separated from muscle strains. This leads to the inaccurate belief that West ham’s strain injuries must solely realate to poor training conditions. In fact muscle strains can be just as related to match trauma, uncontrolled forced falling, the wear and tear of consistent rough treatment and the direct impact of muscle weakening impact. I have personal experience of this. For the last 2 years I have a history of hamstring problems. This arose initially after a silent electric car, undetectable to a Blind person, pulled out to strike me whilst I was crossing the road. THE UNPREPARED FALL CAUSED ME TO PULL MY HAMSTRING. West Ham players endure these forced, uncontrolled falls more than any other in the League.

These bald facts cannot be ignored. They can of course always be qualified and refined. Fouls could be graded in terms of seriousness; they could be graded in terms of where they occur on the pitch. However these margins alone insist opponents deploy a premeditated fouling tactic. The sheer torrential volume of fouls West Ham suffer require some explanation.

Theory 1. – The High Press
I believe it has been a conventional wisdom that it is possible to dominate West Ham with a high press and encamp them in their own half. Watford attempted this last weekend. Such an approach has the advantage of forcing defensive mistakes in vulnerable areas, certainly a feature of our earlier season form. Of course the risk of the high press is that teams are vulnerable if they lose possession. The recourse then is to foul as soon as possession is lost, if possible in a niggardly way which does not attract referees attention, if necessary, in a cynical way whilst high up the pitch to minimise any threat from the resulting free kick. The crucial aim is to break up play and allow midfield and defenders to recover, retreat, and prevent any break on their goal.
Theory 2. West Ham’s Main offensive Threat Comes from runners.
Theory 2 is connected to Theory 1. In the face of the high press West Ham rarely deploy intricate passing, instead relying on forceful runners to releive pressure. The main weapons in this regard have been Arthur Masuaku, Antonio when fit, and of course Marco Arnautovic. Lanzini is also likely to have attracted more brutal attention. it is a high probability that these players would figure most highly on any breakdown of most fouled against.
Theory 3- West Ham Midfield is Pedestrian
A more unflattering explanation is that it is relatively easy to foul West ham midfielders. This focusses on the sometimes slow play involving players such as Noble and possibly Obiang. These players are fouled more simply because they are easier to track. The run of injuries to other faster players would exacerbate this problem. There is no doubt that Noble becomes much more effective when able to release a pass to a player like Marco Arnautovic, Lanzini and more recently Mario.

So over to you. The facts are clear. Why do teams foul West Ham more than any other team?
COYI
David Griffith


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