Nostalgia

Nostalgia Series; Ron Ticker Boyce

Ronnie “Ticker” Boyce grew up in East Ham, just a few miles from the Upton Park ground. He was part of the youth set up before signing professional terms at the age of 17. A year later, in 1960, he made his debut in a 5-2 win against Preston NE. He was a one club man and made 342 appearances which included the FA Cup final win in 1964 and the European Cup Winners Cup final the following year. Following on from his last game in 1972 he worked under John Lyall on the coaching staff during which time West Ham won two FA Cups in 1975 and 1980. His last five years at the club were in the role of chief scout, a position he relinquished in 1995. His most important goal was almost certainly the last minute winner in the 1964 FA Cup final which brought the prized trophy back to the East End for the first time in the clubs history. Ron himself said that goal was the proudest moment in his life. He also said that the greatest game he played in was the ECWC final. “They had a team full of internationals and we really had to raise our game. It was a brilliant match, with great passing and end to end football – without doubt the best game I ever played in.”

One of the most amazing goals I have ever seen was also scored by Ronnie Boyce. It was a game away to Manchester City and it was played on a mud bath. West Ham had just swapped Martin Peters for Spurs player Jimmy Greaves, plus a sum of cash in a deal most Hammer fans were more than a little sceptical about. The Hammers won 5-1 that day and Jimmy Greaves scored twice on debut. However, when City keeper Joe Corrigan moved to the right sided edge of the box and kicked clear, Ticker from 40 yards out volleyed the ball straight back into an empty City net!

Ronnie was a firm favourite with Hammer fans in the sixties. The nickname “Ticker” was given to him because of his work rate and how he blended the team together – he made the team “tick”. Ron was not a natural athlete but he was a perceptive reader of the game and an exceptional passer of the ball. When he played well, West Ham played well. He was a local lad and supported the team from behind the goals when he was a boy. He played twice for England schoolboys and was courted by Arsenal before being signed by Wally St Pier. He was one of the young players that would join the likes Of Lyall, Hurst, Peters and Joe Kirkup in Cassettari’s café to discuss football and tactics with Cantwell, Allison and John Bond.

Like many players, he liked to stick to his same pre-game ritual and he had his superstitions. He would always be first to the ground and would pop chewing gum into his mouth before he went into the dressing room. Ticker was always first to change (once he knew he was in the team), and always sat in the same spot in the changing room. He also made sure he was right behind Bobby Moore when the team ran out onto the pitch. Ron was a big worrier. He always worried before games that he would not be picked. Then later he would have trouble sleeping after games as he relived every moment of the day’s match in his head. These were all traits that had followed him throughout his life. Ron was to say; “I was such a nervous, weepy kid. I would rather hide in the garden than go to a party. My dad had to push me, get me in the car and just make me get on with it. Things could have been so different if it wasn’t for my dad. I owe a lot to him.”

In today’s game where all too often agents rule and players move from club to club, it is nice to remember “Ticker”. He was 14 when he first trained with the Hammers and it was 37 years later that he said his last goodbyes as an employee of West Ham. He never had ambitions for management but when Lou Macari’s brief spell as West Ham manager came to an end Ron did take up the caretaker manager role for a single game. A loyal servant to West Ham, a one club man, he was integral to the way West Ham played in the 60’s.


Player News

Reece Oxford Heads to Germany

It’s been confirmed that Reece Oxford is heading to German Bundesliga side Borussia Moenchengladbach for a season long loan. I have mixed feelings about this. If he gets a full season in the first team it’s obvious that will help his development, and that’s to be welcomed. However, when he went to Reading last season he only made five appearances. I struggled to understand this as he ought to have been head and shoulders over what Reading already had, but Jaap Stamm had other thoughts.

When Reece made that amazing debut against Arsenal in August 2015, where he dominated the match, I think we all thought we had found the next Rio Ferdinand. Since then, he’s only made six further appearances, something which leaves us all scratching our heads. It’s not as if we haven’t been beset by injury in the positions he plays in, yet he’s barely been given a chance. The club obviously rate him, otherwise why would he already be on £45k a week, but if he returns from Germany at the end of the season having barely played, you just wonder where he goes from there.

For me, he and Reece Burke could be real stars of the future, but they need game time. I’d be gutted if Burke went out on loan again. He looks ready to challenge for a first team place and should be given the chance to shine.


The HamburgHammer Column

A goalkeeper's tears, this transfer window's fears and a Hamburger in Bremen

My duties as an uncle, especially when West Ham and Concordia football are on their dreaded summer break, sometimes require me to take my passion for the game to a whole new level, literally. It was my little nephew Daniel’s annual school footie tournament and the one thing that 8 or 9 year old kids need most for such events is the honest interest and genuine enthusiasm from the so called grown ups – with parents, uncles, aunties and teachers showing up and rooting for the kids as if it was the FA Cup Final.

It had all been organised with a lot of heart and of course your stereotypical German efficiency by all the moms, dads and volunteer coaches. There were 13 different teams/forms with funny names like The Blue UFOs, Superkickers, Red Sharks (???), Owls and such like, moms had created some beautiful banners, designed football shirts and all kinds of gadgets for the crowd, there also were homemade cakes and muffins while the shrewd guy with the icecream van had set up his base pitchside for the duration of the tournament, in short it was all set up to be an entertaining four hours or so on what was a perfect summer day.

As soon as we arrived I was dead jealous. Remember when we played football as kids on hard dirt fields or clay pitches, shedding and bruising skin on our shins and knees in every game ? (I don’t remember a single summer as a kid where my knees weren’t bloody or scurfy.)
Here in June of 2017 the kids were running (and falling over) on training pitches of plush green grass courtesy of the local club side. Not just that, but also proper goals with nets and everything, about 4 meters wide and pretty much the height of regular goals you might find in the Premier League or Bundesliga.
Not to mention proper referees in full kit complete with whistle and cards watching over proceedings in every game (although no video or goalline technology yet).

My nephew’s team were the Teufelsstürmer/Devil Strikers (meaning attack minded devils, not boys from hell on strike) and they very much had, unfortunately, a Man United thing going on with one mom acting as the official devil mascot and everyone cheering them on had been asked to wear something bright red for the occasion (alas, no claret allowed).
As my wardrobe offered only limited options in that respect, I simply wore my red England shirt. (Don’t look so bloody surprised!)
I saw a parent wearing a Premier League shirt as well and no, it wasn’t West Ham but the uninspiring blue of Chelsea. Being polite by nature and with kids in the vicinity, I didn’t tell her where to stick her blue flag though.

My nephew was playing in goal and let’s be brutally honest here: In that age group, guarding a goal of the above mentioned dimensions you are in a no-win situation.
Here’s a lad half as tall (or short rather) as the height of the crossbar, then you have opposing teams boasting several players who have been playing in proper football junior teams for two or three years resulting in a certain ability to control a ball, run with it, pass it and strike it too with both power and accuracy.

Little Daniel’s team had the lowest number of regular footballers. Hence we lost every single game. Once the boys (and girls) got tired (running about in scorching sunshine on a big pitch will do that) the opposition just had to run past them and fire shots at goal from all angles and at a certain height so that Dan more often than not could only helplessly watch the ball flying into the top corner time and time again. Kids at that age don’t accept defeat gracefully and there were many heartbreaking tears of disappointment and frustration (which thankfully could be dried after a while by paying a visit to the icecream van). I had to tell my nephew that not even Manuel Neuer could keep clean sheets with three opponents running at goal with no defender in sight.

Talking of which my favourite player was one of our “defenders”, a stout bulky lad with jet black hair and a winning smile (but slow legs). Why was he my favourite player I hear you ask ?
Because his name was Adrian (blindingly obvious West Ham link) and on top of that he was Croatian too, like our Slaven!

I’ll tell you what the most wonderful thing was in all that footballing misery. Our team was the worst on the pitch, granted!
But the boys and girls played every game with heart and passion and that was reflected and honoured by the support from the moms, dads (and uncles) on the sideline.

We were by far the noisiest, most vocal, most supportive group out there (which was rewarded later with a generous cash donation from the organisers into the coffers of my nephew’s form for future school trips and the like).

Why do I tell you all that ? Because it was just like being at a West Ham game at times. Being brutally outclassed, outplayed on the pitch in every way imaginable, yet no wavering in support from the fans. On the contrary the support seemed to get louder and more defiant with every goal conceded.

And I was happy to see the tournament being played out in good spirits overall.
No bad fouls, no pitchside arguments between overly excited parents, no kids blaming their teammates for letting in a goal between their legs or hitting nothing but air from three yards out. Pleasant to see.

That was my very personal and outside the box fix of football last weekend.

On the West Ham front, yes, there are still rumours flying about and anytime soon the big transfer charade should begin in earnest. Teams playing tag, sending players here, there and everywhere on loan, in part exchange, with view to buy or buy back clauses inserted, with players nearly signed subject to a medical. Or subject to obtaining a work permit. With club negotiators maybe haggling over the odd million or two to be paid upfront or preferably a year down the line.

I mentioned in a comment on Saturday that bringing in two or better three strikers this window would be of utmost importance for West Ham.

I can see three different levels of striker incoming:
A really expensive buy like Giroud or Iheanacho (who will cost between 20-26 million or so), then a much cheaper striker on the side like Braithwaite or Onyekuru who could both be goers for around 9 or 10 million and the compulsory loan deal with option to buy (or option to bust more likely), Batshuayi maybe as pie in the sky material or a yet unknown Italian/Colombian/Polish ace in the hole type, the proverbial Sullivan Special (with chips and peas for me please).

As West Ham fans we have all had more than enough practise of feeling let down, disappointed, hopes and dreams shattered on the altar of being merely one of the also rans, making up the numbers. For what it’s worth by now everyone for sure must have realised what our squad needs are. We needed a RB badly, we finally got one.

We also need several reliable and halfway decent strikers, even the tea lady, Bubbles the Bear and the One Pound Fish man know it!
Which means that Gold and Sullivan probably know it as well. Which is all that matters really.

I read a rumour yesterday that G&S would even ditch their regular summer holiday in Marbella in order to focus on their task of bringing some strikers to Stratford, now that sounds like it could become a common phrase in future: Bringing strikers to Stratford which is pretty much the direct opposite of carrying coals to Newcastle! But I digress.

If it was me I would go for Giroud, Onyekuru and Batshuayi which would be a decent mix of experience and youthful hunger, giving us three guys, each with a point to prove one way or another. If we get Batshuayi on loan all three could come in for 35 million or so which isn’t a bad price these days for getting three strikers who should instantly raise our attacking options to unprecedented levels. A situation where we no longer have to hope and pray for Carroll or Sakho being available will be a blessing.
It’s nice to have them available of course, but it’s even nicer if you no longer have to rely on them two alone.

Other players have already left the club (Stephen Hendrie, that’s the left back, not the snooker player) or are rumoured to be on the way out. Enner Valencia appears destined to become a tiger, not at Hull, but the Mexican version at Tigres. Havard Nordtveit will almost certainly go back to the Bundesliga with clubs like Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen all circling to sign him up. While third goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel is on the verge of joining a club in Belgium (probably to get promoted to the status of backup goalkeeper which at least would constitute a step forward). And there is Robert Snodgrass of course who in my book is a fairly decent option as a squad player, but as there are probably several takers out there in the Premier League who will play him as a starter nine times out of ten, I’d happily see him leave to free up some more dosh to put into our transfer kitty for strikers.

I am happy enough to confirm that I will have at least two West Ham games in the bag before the new season begins. As most of you will know the West Ham team will spend a few days in a preseason training camp in Germany, in Rotenburg/Wuemme to be precise, a small town located somewhere in the wilderness between Hamburg and Bremen at the end of July. This will culminate in two games being played over two successive days in two different places against the same opposition, the Boys in Green from the River Weser, Werder Bremen.

So it very much looks as if Bremen will act as the most convenient basecamp for numerous travelling Hammers fans and I have actually decided to also spend a night in a Bremen hotel as frankly the ground in Lohne is too much bother to travel back home to Hamburg from after the game and some post match festivities in the middle of the night.

I have posted the links over the last few days allowing you to buy tickets for both games online and I reckon tickets will be flying off the shelves quickly what with capacity being fairly limited at both grounds.

www.adticket.de/SV-Werder-Bremen-vs.-West-Ham-United/Schneverdingen-Osterwald-Stadion/28-07-2017_18-30.html

https://werder-eck.reservix.de/events

The game on Friday evening (July 28th) will be in Schneverdingen about 50 miles from Hamburg or Bremen and that ground holds just 4.000 (all standing).
The game on Saturday afternoon (July 29th) will then be in Lohne (Oldenburg) which is about 130 miles from Hamburg, but only 50 miles from Bremen, and the stadium in Lohne holds 7.000 (with 700 seats available).

The natural rivalry between the two Northern harbour towns of Hamburg and Bremen has been going strong for hundreds of years and it applies to every aspect of life: Business, culture, tourism and of course football. I will do something here which may get me in trouble with mates and my fellow Hamburgers, but let me tell you that Bremen is a really nice place to visit.

If Bremen is your basecamp and you are lucky enough to have some time to spare, venture out and discover the charms, beauty and atmosphere of the Hanseatic City of Bremen. Of course you will find numerous pubs, bars and restaurants there as well. Hamburg in my view is still bigger, better and more beautiful than Bremen, but for a few days Bremen should be a decent enough town to visit for any football fan.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing my team play some games close to home for a change (will we finally have some more signings by then?) and I also can’t wait to meet some of my readers (again) who may travel over for the occasion (at least two of which I’m already aware of). As for the transfer window of course there will be disappointments ahead. This is West Ham after all. We won’t see every rumoured player sign for West Ham over the summer, otherwise we’d end up with a squad of 284 players in September.

But we will surely sign a few new faces and some of those I reckon will actually turn out to be good players for us. Some might not though and the sun will still come back up again the next morning (I hope…LOL). There just is no point fretting over the transfer window or being terrified like a cat in a kitchen full of cucumbers (watch some of those videos on Youtube if you are confused by that statement).

To quote the famous words: “Whatever will be, will be.” But I will pass on the opportunity of going to Barnsley if I may please. Wembley maybe, one day…COYI!!!


Tony Hanna's Musings

What the Bookies Say

When the bookmakers make a market on any event they are normally well informed and have done their homework. Well, that was certainly the case in years gone by when they were very profitable and had the money to hire teams of analysts and experts in most fields. Scouring data and using their contacts they were ahead of the field. With their profits being erased by smarter punters and competition in the modern era they now often just follow the exchanges like Betfair where most of the “smart money” is placed. Any punter placing a large bet on a market they (the bookmakers) are not on top of can cause chaos and often lead to customer bet restrictions. Such is the case with the bookies making their markets nowadays on football transfer betting. In a nutshell, they offer their odds on this market but the prices can take huge changes based on relatively small wagers compared to what they take on large markets like horse racing or the Premier League match results. The pool on any transfer market can be very small and a large bet is obviously not desirable in balancing their books.

However, as a starting point their prices do afford us a glimpse of what is more likely to happen than not in the football transfer market. So, with many names being linked to West Ham let’s have a look at how the bookies rate the chances of any of them happening. Some of you may not understand bookies odds so I will also translate the odds into the percentage chance of the transfer taking place. I have not included any player rated at 12/1 (7.69% chance) or worse. I have also not included Adama Traore as the bookies have suspended betting on this market. Read into that what you will but it generally means the deal is close but as we know, player transfers are rarely straight forward. This Traore by the way,( there are so many Traore’s and Dembeles), is the Middlesbrough player who had such a fine game against us at the Riverside last season. On the downside he has played in relegated sides two seasons running now, playing for Villa the season before last.

Aaron Cresswell and Robert Snodgrass Firstly, I will start with the two players they have priced up with the potential to leaving West Ham. The only deal they see as being realistic for Cressy is a move to Liverpool. On this one they make him 2/7 to stay at West Ham. That is around a 78% chance of staying. Snodgrass is 2/5 (71%) to stay at West Ham next season with quite a few clubs showing some interest.

Das Bost . Rated at 4/1 (20%) to join West Ham, he is favourite to stay at his current club Sporting CP and Newcastle are ahead of us if he does make any move. The Dutch forward, plying his trade in Portugal at present, has made 15 appearances for the Netherlands scoring one goal.

Bertrand Traore . The Chelsea forward looks nailed on to go to Lyon as that move is priced at 1/10 (90%) and the Hammers are at 10/1 (9%).

Chris Smalling Even money (50%) to stay at Moanchester United and we are the shortest price of any other club if he does move. Bookies price him at 11/4 (26%) to move to West Ham.

Jack Wilshere The bookies rate him 8/13 (62%) to stay at Arsenal although that does include him being loaned out and not actually being transferred from Arsenal. West Ham are just 2/1 (33%) to sign the midfielder. It would not be surprising to see us move in with a loan deal for the former England International.

Joe Hart West Ham lead a huge posse of clubs that may be interested in signing the Manchester City keeper. We are priced at 6/4 (40%) which seems very short considering we are most likely to spend our transfer funds in other areas of the field. My bet would be we may sign a second or third choice keeper and our money will be spent on two forwards, a winger and another central defender. Any other signings will be loans.

Josh King Rated at 1-4 (80%) to stay at Bournemouth, the Hammers are 9/1 (10%) to sign the forward. If, as many predict, we fail to secure our big money targets, it may well be that Josh King is the sort of player we will throw money at in a last minute flurry before the window closes.

Jota 15/8 (35%) to stay at Brentford the odds of him coming to West Ham are 7/1 (12.5%). Don’t you just love these players with one name? The attacking Spanish midfielder, Jose Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo is one I must admit I have never seen play before and is an interesting one?

Kelechi Iheanacho Already tagged on this site as “Nacho”, this is the one signing I would love to happen out of all the current rumours. This player will score goals wherever he plays and is young, has quick feet and bags of potential. He is 6/4 (40%) to join us although apparently Leicester lead the chase at even money (50%).

Mitchy Batshuayi Considering he is apparently one of our main targets it is initially surprising to see him priced at 7/1 (12.5%) to join the Hammers. Newcastle lead the chase but the 6/4 (40%) favourite is he is likely to remain a Chelsea player. This is of course because the most likely event is “Bats” will probably be loaned out next season and remain one of the plethora of players Chelsea have on their books but are loaned out elsewhere.

Olivier Giroud The ITK’s suggest this player is the main target for West Ham this window and we are prepared to match any offer? West Ham are 5/1 (16%) for his signature and he is 2/7 (78%) to stay at the Emirates. Perhaps the bookies feel that the most likely scenario here is that he will be loaned rather than sold? I find this unlikely though as they would get upward of 20m pounds for the player and at aged 30 that would be a terrific return for them.

Ross Barkley 4/1 (20%) to join West Ham, we are 3rd favourites behind Spurs and the player remaining at Everton. Personally, for reasons stated before, I just don’t see us spending the amount of money it would take to bring the midfielder to West Ham. I am sure our money will be directed towards other priorities.

Daniel Sturridge There was a lot of rumour some months ago about West Ham making Sturridge our big signing this window. It has all gone a bit cold and we are 8/1 (11%) for his signature now. He is 2/9 (81%) to remain at Liverpool.


Talking Point

Beware of the Arsenal Cast Off

Blind Hammer looks at the history of aged and injured West Ham Signings from Arsenal

The signing of Olivier Giroud to West Ham appears to be becoming an ever more likely prospect. Arsenal’s apparent willingness to offload this 30 year old striker for £20 million has caused some prickles to arise on my neck. I have had discussions with Arsenal supporters who cannot wait to receive the transfer money and see Giroud off. Phrases like paying for the Taxi are often heard. I can’t help feeling I have been here before. The signing of John Harston is the only transfer I can remember from Arsenal during my life that I have welcomed and which has helped develop the club. Tellingly Hartson was only 22 and injury free when he arrived at Upton Park for a then record transfer fee. This is not the normal state of affairs. Players tend to arrive either at the end of their careers or with unsustainable injury records.

We have a dismal list of Arsenal cast off who have drifted across from North to East London in the twilight of their careers. Arsenal has consistently trumped us in achieving unwarranted transfer value. In none of them would Arsenal ever have regretted their decision to cash in at West Ham’s expense, sending their players to the local “retirement home”.

A few examples.

John Radford

John Radford was a centre forward who was at times prolific for Arsenal. . He actually made his debut against West Ham in 1964. He also became Arsenal’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer when he bagged 3 against Wolves in 1965 when only 17 years old.

There followed a distinguished Arsenal career with Radford leading the line, scoring 149 goals in 481 games.

He moved in 1976 to West Ham for the then not inconsiderable transfer fee of £80,000,
In contrast to his form at Arsenal Radford proved that he was no longer up to the task of being a centre forward for West Ham. Despite his record at Arsenal he never managed to score a single goal, and after 28 appearances we cut our losses by releasing him to second division Blackburn Rovers.

Ian Wright

Ian Wright had a famous and glittering successful Arsenal career. He scored 185 goals for Arsenal in 279 starts. He had an impressive ratio of a goal average of more than 1 in every 2 games.

He scored his final goal for arsenal against West Ham in a League cup Quarter Final in January 1998.

However Wright’s later career at Arsenal was increasingly dominated by injury and his failure to force his way back into the team. Wenger decided to offload Wright to West Ham in 1998 for £500,000.

Wright was never in the Radford league of West Ham calamity but whether his signing represented value for the £500,000 is certainly questionable. This was not a small transfer then. Wright only played 22 times for the Hammers, representing poor return for the investment. It reminded me of the acceptance of another faded genius, Jimmy Greaves a generation earlier. Both players briefly excited before the reality of their age and physical limitations set in.

Against that Wright did score a respectable 9 goals in his 22 appearances. He was clearly in the wind down retirement phase of his career. In the end he offered nothing to West Ham’s squad development. It was one of those series of ill-advised speculative investments into aged players, which would eventually drain the club and make them vulnerable to relegation.

Davor Suker

Talking of ill-advised speculative investments into aged players, which would eventually drain the club and make them vulnerable to relegation, we cannot forget to mention Davor Suker.

Suker’s wages at West Ham were reported to be enormous, allegedly equivalent to all the income of the then East Stand for a season. Suker was already a fading force at Arsenal before joining West Ham, appearing only 22 times but scoring 8 goals. A performance strikingly similar to Wright’s during his time at West Ham. However this modest performance at Arsenal seemed Stella when compared to Suker’s return at West Ham. With us he managed only 11 games and contributed only 2 goals. This was in the days before Blind Accessibility support at West Ham and after I had lost my sight so I never saw Suker in the Flesh. I hope the fans in the East Stand appreciated the 2 goals he did score given what they had paid for them.

Freddie Ljungberg

Ljungberg was signed by Arsenal in 1998 for £3 million. He was an influential and successful player for Arsenal. He starred particularly in Arsenal’s 2001-2002 double winning side.
However towards the end of his Arsenal career he became increasingly plagued by injury. Arsenal started to look to off load him. He signed for West Ham in 2007, again for £3 million. . West Ham rapidly realised that they had signed an injury prone player who could not perform at the highest level, a fact already obvious to Arsenal. Rumours emerged that West Ham were desperate to try and withdraw from their expensive contract with Ljungberg. Although this was initially denied, Ljungberg eventually agreed to tear up his 4 year contract after only one year for a payoff reported to be £6 million. He must rate as one of our most expensive players ever when considered against the game time provided.

Stewart Robson

Stewart Robson shared and odd symmetry with John Radford’s in that he made his Arsenal debut against West Ham as a 17 year old teenager. In Robson’s case this was in 1981. Robson showed glittering promise for Arsenal and in 1984 he won their Player of the Year Award, whilst only 19. Robson advanced into the England team and seemed a player for a generation. Equally adept in either midfield or defence he was a bit like a reincarnated Billy Bonds with his spirit, skill, and tenacity.

By 1985 though Robson’s physical fragilities, particularly in relation to groin strains and hamstring injuries were obvious. In 1986 George Graham looked to offload him.

In 1987 West Ham paid Arsenal £700,000 for Robson. Arsenal probably could not believe their luck.
Robson’s talents were obvious but so were his physical limitations. He did manage to become West Ham’s Player of the Year for 1988, the one standout season relatively free of injury but the abiding memory of Robson’s stay at West Ham was his continuing injury problems, particularly to his pelvis. He played only 8 times between 1989 and 1991.
Lyall later confessed that West ham signed him off the treatment table at Arsenal and he was never really fit for playing at the top level for West Ham. In effect the club gambled on his fitness, a gamble that ultimately failed and re-enforced Arsenal’s assessment of the player.

So over the years we have been stung pretty royally in our transfer dealings with Arsenal. I cannot recall a single transfer where we have eventually achieved value to the extent Arsenal would have regretted their decision to sell. Too often over the years they have seen us coming. We have to ask ourselves the most relevant question – what on earth would be the motive for Arsenal to transfer quality out of their squad to London rivals West Ham? We cannot compete economically with Arsenal so each transfer will generally be a gamble that our assessment of a player is more accurate than theirs. Too often over the years they have won this gamble at our expense. So I am most definitely on my guard.

COYI

David Griffith


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