Talking Point

Poll: Who should manage West Ham next season?

Who would you like to manage West Ham next season from this shortlist of five candidates?

David Moyes the former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager comes to the end of his six-month contract with a win ratio of 26.32%. He fulfiled his target of keeping West Ham in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez joined Newcastle after getting sacked by Real Madrid, he previously turned down West Ham in the eleventh hour to take the Spanish champions job. He has a 46.34% win ratio with the Magpies after 82 games in charge with 38 wins, 18 draws and 26 loses to his name.

Unai Emery has the best win ratio in Ligue 1 of any other PSG coach, triumphing in 77.78% of his league matches in charge. Only Blanc has recorded a ratio higher than 70 percent at the club previously. His contract with PSG finishes this summer.

Thomas Tuchel left Borussia Dortmund in 2017 with a record of 68 wins, 23 draws, and 17 defeats in 108 games, with an impressive win ratio of 62.96%.

Marco Silva the former Hull City Watford manager was sacked by the Hornets in January with the club citing the “unwarranted approach by a Premier League rival” that caused “significant deterioration in both focus and results to the point where the long-term future of Watford FC has been jeopardised” He managed a win ratio at Hull of 36.4% and just 30.8% at Watford from his 26 games in charge winning 8, drawing 5 and losing 13.

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UPDATE: I see some people in the comments are trying to cause a stir by suggesting that Sean posted this poll without my permission. On the contrary. I saw it on C&H and emailed Sean to suggested he cross-posted it here. You’re welcome. ID


Tony Hanna's Musings

Surviving in the League of Fourteen

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Piece of cake! I am not sure what all the fuss was about and why many Hammers fans were getting so anxious. Even at the Burnley game the fans were lobbing money at the owners to help with next seasons Premier League war chest. They knew. Two more wins this week and we will break into the top half of the division. Seriously though, I had a little play with the PL table predictor and two more wins would probably put us 10th. We did actually look like a decent side again at Leicester, not dissimilar to the performance at home to Southampton. Both these teams weren’t at their best but often that can be put down to how well the opposition performs. I know some of you understand the bookies odds I post quite often on things like relegation and transfer markets, but I realise it goes over the top of the heads of others. But the one thing you get from the bookies, especially on things like the relegation markets, is an unemotional professional opinion based on stats, data and the most likely probabilities using a plethora of computer based information. They don’t always get it right but they are generally more accurate than the fan who has that emotional attachment. The bookies have had the Hammers at 14/1 (6.5% chance) and longer in the relegation market for several weeks now, whilst I would guess that at least half on here (50% chance) had us going down over the same period. It is the reason I like to post the bookies odds on a regular basis, to bring some perspective. However, even I must admit to doubting the bookies at times during the back end of this season. Looking at some stats before the Leicester game it showed we had only won two out of our last twelve games. However, if you ignored games played against the top six we had 4W 3D 3L in our past ten and after the weekends result you can now make that 5 wins from our past 11 against the league of fourteen.

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Over the weekend I listened to the Leicester and Everton fans singing for their current managers to, well to put it mildly, leave. Both clubs were in peril early on in the season. In particular, Everton had spent large chunks on improving their squad with the money gained from the sale of Lukaku and together with Leicester were under achieving compared to club and fans expectations. Like us, they both decided to part with their managers prior to the New Year with Puel replacing Shakespear and Allardyce replacing Koeman (although in between former player Unsworth was given a trial run in the job). Everton and Leicester currently sit 8th and 9th whilst we have now avoided the drop after replacing Bilic for Moyes. For those two teams to now be sitting in the top half of the league and their fans not being satisfied just goes to show how tough a task it is for any manager to appease the modern day fan. Whilst we have the inequality of the super power top six and the bottom feeding league of fourteen it will remain the same. The fans of the clubs that have been in the league of 14 the longest will demand more –and that includes us. We want good football as well as results but in this league of fourteen, three teams will be relegated every season. That is a just over a whopping 20% turnover of clubs every season. That’s pressure! Everton fans hate the football being dished up by Sam but forget the hole they were in when he took over. On the flip side you get a side like Burnley. Happy to be in the PL but from a neutral point of view they are dire to watch. They remind me of Stoke when they were first promoted. Happy with any dross served up as long as they remain in the top flight. However, given a few seasons of success in retaining their PL status they will turn on the manager unless the style changes and in a couple more seasons they will probably be just where Stoke are now.

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Which brings us to us. Several months ago most of us would have settled for safety. We have got it. A week ago there seemed to be a divide in the dressing room. Now we have photos of player camaraderie all over social network sites – overjoyed with what it meant to them to secure our spot in the Premier League for another season. We started the season with three consecutive away games because we don’t own our own stadium anymore which put us on the back foot right from the start of the season. We have sacked a manager, only the 15th in our history. We have had organised protest marches cancelled and there have been organised pitch invasions carried out. It has been quite a roller coaster season. One I personally will be glad to see the back of. Stoke are relegated and almost certainly West Brom – one of Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield will join them. Should Swansea survive 10% of the PL will be Welsh next season.. Oh the fun and the thought of watching a Burnley v Cardiff match makes me cringe. Whether Moyes will be manager next season may well depend on how the players play out the last two games of the season. The owners need to make their decision on this position as soon as possible. After the season we have endured as fans I think the players owe us two ripping performances. There is no pressure now and if we meekly cave in during these two games I would be seriously questioning whether Moyes is the right man for the job. We have a World Cup looming in a few weeks and this year the summer transfer window will close before the start of the season leaving much less time for transfer deals to be completed. A good idea in my opinion and over the next few months I will occasionally be writing up my transfer market “bookies updates” for the site.

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The HamburgHammer Column

The Noble escape - relief beats frustration

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Never in doubt! I speak in jest! I suppose most Hammers fans were a bundle of nerves on Saturday, with bums making a noise resembling more than moderate squeaking.

Personally I was confident as Leicester had been in self-destruct mode in the past few weeks. But when it comes to West Ham things of course are never that easy.
We have a tendency to give teams momentum who haven’t won in ten games. Goalscorers with a bit of a barren spell cherish playing us while defenders far too often this season got an easy ride from us.

Saying all that I was mightily relieved to find Leicester still in “kicking a ball casually about on a beach” mood. By now most of you will know about my West Ham watching routine when I follow our games from the comfort of my living room: Screwdriver at the ready to give the nervously wrangling fingers something to hold onto.
“London Calling” blasting from my stereo a few minutes from kickoff (only for home games though).
And a strict rule to enjoy a cold beer (or two) after the game, but only if West Ham have won.
Looking at our stats this season you can see I’ve virtually lived the life of a teetotaller in the last 10 months for that reason. But not on Saturday!

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It was a decent away performance from the lads, minus some shocking individual errors, Cresswell’s moment of handling stupidity the most glaring one. Other than that all players put in shift in, Adrian chipped in with some confident takes and solid saves and overall we did enough to deserve the three points on the day. And how vital those three points were! And wasn’t it just poetic justice that Canning Town’s best footballer ever scored that crucial second goal ?

And no, it wasn’t your regular Noble penalty kick or a ball deflecting in over the line via Captain Fantastic’s magic shin, it was a belter of a volley, textbook technique, with the ball flying off his foot like a homerun off the sweetspot of a baseball bat. Struck with power and precision. I suppose only Noble himself was more surprised than his teammates and the fans it went in like that. Sure, guys like Messi, De Bruyne or Salah probably score these five times in every training session and several times a season in competitive games, but Mark Noble ?

Yes, people keep telling me his legs are gone and he passes only sideways. But if he was to pass more balls into the far corner of the net like this next season, I won’t be complaining too much!

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My first thought when waking up on Sunday morning ? No, not “I need to go to the Khazi” or “I smell bacon from the neighbour’s flat, it must be Sunday!”.
It actually was “West Ham are staying up! Another season of Premier League football!”

Which of course means our club hierarchy now can and HAS TO begin making plans for next season, transfers in, transfers out, Moyes to stay or new guy to come in.
A brutally honest analysis of what went wrong this season, a straight up assessment of who messed up and what can be done so it doesn’t happen again.
Make no mistake: We have been incredibly lucky with staying up this season. We simply cannot rely anymore on three other teams being worse than us.

We’ve been over this numerous times. But our club needs to be run more professionally on and off the pitch. Spending a bit of money is one part of the solution.
But other clubs who have only spent moderately still have been far more successfull on the pitch than us this season, sides like Burnley or Newcastle.
So they must be doing something right. Or at least better than we seem to do.

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The next few weeks surely will be highly interesting for all of us and it should give us a bit of an indication if next season will be more of the same or if finally some changes may be afoot. As fans I feel we do deserve a bit of good fortune after one shambles of a season. The fans who have been supporting us for more than ten years know we have no sense of entitlement at West Ham, not in terms of trophies or top positions in the table anyway.

Basically we want to see a team of players in claret and blue, busting a gut in games against superior opposition, leaving blood, sweat (and sometimes tears) on the pitch.
Most of us are happy with us giving it a go, especially in the cups, but also watching characters like Arnautovic, hard grafters like the Ginger Pele or Noble, young Hammers like Rice and Cullen.

And I’m sure as fans most of us would like to see some better treatment from our board overall, some signs of goodwill, of a genuine desire and effort to improve us as a club and a team. If we are customers now, surely customers deserve better service, care and communication. But again, this has been debated on here already over and over again.

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As you will know by now I will be coming over next weekend for the Everton game, a fixture which now no longer holds significance apart from playing for pride and getting one over our former managerial mastermind. I am still in a bit of a pickle though, I know my way will lead me to the ticket office eventually and I will have to make a decision there and then, maybe a rather spontaneous one too:
Will I renew my season ticket or downgrade to a mere club membership ?

There are two trains of thought here. On the one hand I would like to put my e-cash (club cash) to good use as I am aware it will be lost if I do nothing (I have nearly 100 quid). It pains me to give more money to our owners than necessary, so a club membership would still give me a shot at watching selected games next season.
On the other hand I feel that as fans we have been there before and we will still be there (at least most of us) once GSB are long gone and merely a rather frustrating chapter in our club’s history.

If I give up my season ticket now, God knows how many years it’ll be before I could get another one. And my trips to London, meeting up regularly with some of you good people, still are dear to me and the football on offer doesn’t really change my general happiness when meeting up with fellow fans on matchdays or on a day before or after a matchday too.

So, who knows what’ll happen in the next few days until that moment I will finally face the West Ham ticket office staff in Stratford.

It is “West Ham Till I Die“ after all. As our own Longtime Lurker so eloquently put it, there are no conditions attached to that phrase regarding ownership, manager or transfer budget. So I have an inkling what could happen down that ticket office…

I hope to see out the season in style by sharing a beverage or two with some of you guys on Everton matchday, hopefully basking in some glorious London sunshine while cupping our collective ears to the Dudley dinosaur.

COYI!!!

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Finally, for those of you interested, a quick update on the footballing situation in my hometown:

Hamburg SV have a very small chance of staying up on the last day of the season next weekend. All they have to do is beat Moenchengladbach at home while having to pray that already relegated FC Cologne can nick an unlikely win at fellow strugglers Wolfsburg. Not impossible of course, but very unlikely though.

FC St.Pauli have won their home tie against Bielefeld, guaranteeing them another stretch in Bundesliga 2 (where they are likely to meet their hated crosstown rivals Hamburg SV next season). Concordia’s first team lost away to Niendorf 0:3 in a meaningless game, I didn’t attend as half the team are leaving in the summer and it shows in their recent performances. A season to forget as Concordia were expecting to challenge at the top, now they will be lucky to finish in 7th place.

Instead I once again attended the Cordi U23’s game, away to Guelzow, out in the countryside (not far from that zoo I mentioned in my column last week actually).
A 60 mile roundtrip, but lovely sunshine all around and a 3:1 win made the trek worthwhile. Cordi’s U23’s promotion was of course already confirmed the previous Sunday, the only question now left is if the lads will be promoted as Champions (likely) or runners-up.

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The Blind Hammer Column

Proud Hammers Hunt Down Foxes.

Blind Hammer reflects on a proud victory which guarantees PL Football next Season

I was a nervous man on Saturday morning. For me this was the crucial fixture in our run in. It was the fixture most likely to deliver the points needed to survive. Manchester United on Thursday will be tough despite recent results and I dreaded having to garner crucial points against an Allardyce led Everton with a point to prove. Anything can happen in pressurised final games.

If we could have selected the team we most wanted to play at this moment it would have been Leicester, yet frequently this season we had somehow conspired to allow teams woefully out of form to come good against us. We are one of the tiny numbers of teams that Southampton have won convincingly against. So you could take nothing for granted. Moyes was right in pointing out how much pressure all players were under before this game. At last we can be proud of how they responded in this challenge.

We can all be proud of not only our team but our fans. Southampton felt hard done by at Everton but despite offering subsidised coach travel and concessionary tickets their fans stayed away in their thousands. In contrast, as Jack Collinson predicted,, the West Ham faithful delivered the support our team needed.

We have had a chastening couple of games, but Leicester, have been in even worse straits. They were missing nine players, and last time out was taken apart by Crystal Palace. At least we were demolished by Manchester City. The respective levels of confidence showed

Equally important was the positive team selection by Moyes who rejected the ultra-cautious approach of recent games and reintroduced Arthur Masuaku, to provide much needed pace and penetration on the left.

There had been some question about whether a midfield containing both Mario and Lanzini could flourish. This performance went some way to reassuring on this point. Whatever the criticisms of Mario he has now scored a couple of crucial openers, his goal here accompanying his equally vital strike against Southampton at the London Stadium.

This was not a lucky win. West Ham controlled the game with more menace. They also dominated possession with 57%. The main anxiety was the number of chances missed. There is always a risk that this profligacy would come back to haunt us.

Arnautovic’s made up for several missed chances by setting up Mario but was also a constant threat, rattling the crossbar. He did little to dent his status as our Star performer this season though Moyes was desperate for him to involve other attackers. Then again he has scored enough crucial goals to allow some leniency.

Before the game Danny Murphy claimed that he would retain only 5 of the current West Ham Squad and ship out the rest. This was journalistic hyperbole but you could see his point. You can also see why he insisted that West Ham still needed Mark Noble in the 5 retained. If anybody is to define pride in wearing the West Ham shirt it is Mark Noble.

Noble received a lot of stick last season when he played, hiding an injury, performing through the pain barrier. This season his leadership in difficult circumstances has been critical. He is not only Mr. Reliable from the penalty spot but also has a spectacular goal from time to time. I remember his goal in the Payet inspired comeback at Everton. Here he provided a vicious, swerving volley from 25 yards into the right of Hamer’s bottom corner. This was the stunning coup de grace which finally defused any chance of a dangerous Foxes comeback. It allowed the faithful to relax,. For once, it allowed a calm procession to victory.

For the first time this season we can now approach two games without the overhanging pall of negativity which has blighted so much of this season. The setup against Manchester United will be of particular interest. Pressing, hard work and organisation will be needed, for sure. Yet equally surely there is no need now to park the bus and surrender possession in relentless funneling back. . How Moyes and this squad tactically respond may just give some clues to developments in the weeks ahead.

COYI
David Griffith


David Hautzig's Match Report

Leicester City 0, West Ham 2. Deep Breath In, And Noooow Breathe Out.

This is kind of off topic. But the truth is I wasn’t too bothered to think about today’s monumental match when I woke up this morning. I don’t know why, either. I think maybe the last few weeks have brought a clarity to my frustration and fury, and I couldn’t get past that. It started with the Burnley match when I was over there for work. And the match itself wasn’t the seminal moment for me. It was the early lunch at Nathan’s with Nigel, his son in law, and one of my bosses, followed by the wonderful West Ham Way event at the East Ham Working Men’s Social Club, ending with a walk up Green Street to the train. I live in upstate New York for gods sake, and I felt palpably sad. I couldn’t shake it for days, even though I had a great rest of my stay in my favorite city in the world. Thankfully my wife, she of two Masters Degrees, was able to sum it up for me. She had been to Upton Park twice, including a game on our honeymoon, and other than Paolo Dicanio couldn’t name a single player that has ever worn our shirt.

“You can live with lousy players and bad teams. But what these owners did was destroy a community and fabric of life. For that they should never be forgiven.”

Amen.

Then, in what could only be described as spooky, I took a break from writing the paragraphs above to scan some fan sites, only to read the horrible news that Nathan’s would close later this month. If Liquor were blood, our board would have plenty on their shameful little hands.

So as we began what could end up being our last week in the Premier League for the foreseeable future, I tried to be excited about the starting eleven names as they were released on Twitter. Unfortunately when I saw them excitement is not how I would describe my reaction.

Overall we started the brighter side. But when you have chances to take an early lead in a match of such importance you simply have to take them. Lanzini found himself in the box after some decent interplay in the 6th minute, but his shot was deflected wide into the path of Arnautovic. He tried to play it back to Noble in the box, but Leicester were able to clear the ball from danger. A few moments later Arnautovic tried to chase down a sloppy back pass to Hamer. The Leicester keeper lost control momentarily but Arnautovic was unable to capitalize. Minutes later Lanzini got on the end of a Masuaku cross but his low shot was deflected out by Arnautovic for a goal kick.

Leicester looked a lot like us the last few months in the first twenty minutes or so. They sat back, barely moved, and allowed us to have as much of the ball in midfield as we wanted. It wasn’t so much that we bossed the center of the pitch. Leicester conceded it. Yet my mate Jon texted me and predicted a Leicester City goal against the run of play, and every nerve in my body felt obliged to agree.

West Ham had another opportunity in the 32nd minute when Lanzini ran past Morgan and rolled a pass to Arnautovic in the box. Hamer came out to cut down the angle, and Arnautovic had nowhere to shoot so he tried to get the ball through the keepers legs but Hamer played it well. Moments later the West Ham leader got a quick shot off in the box that clanged off the crossbar. Just as the fear of missed chances started to overwhelm me, Masuaku sent another cross that Arnautovic played back in front of goal, and that’s where Mario was to put it in the back of the net.

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Leicester City 0
West Ham 1

Leicester gave the visitor section a scare in the 39th minute when Zabaleta tried to intercept a pass to Diabate and missed, giving Diabate some space to move forward and have a go. But his low shot rolled wide, with Adrian watching it the whole time. Minutes later a similar theme played out when Cresswell made a terrible mistake when he tried to grab a pass to Mahrez on the right side of the West Ham box and missed by a time zone. Or two. Mahrez marches into the box but his cross was deflected to safety by Ogbonna.

Halftime
Leicester City 0
West Ham 1

I never liked that movie Forrest Gump. In fact, I’ve always been bitter about the awards it won. That year also had Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, and Paul Newman’s epic performance in Nobody’s Fool. And Gump was judged to be the best? Really?

Back on topic.

When Cresswell tried to be too cute when a simple back pass to Adrian would have been more than sufficient, the words “stupid is as stupid does” came to mind. Cresswell went to ground, Vardy looked enraged as he tried to go around the fallen defender, and the look on the referee said red card. Thankfully it was yellow. Leicester didn’t do anything with their free kick, but a new tone was set. Leicester started to chase down balls and pressure West Ham, and we looked anxious.

Moments later Mario sent Arnautovic into the box with a rolled pass, but when he had a chance to shoot he looked for the extra pass. That did not end well, and Leicester cleared the area. In the 60th minute Mario waited a moment too long to roll a pass to Arnautovic and the Austrian was flagged offside. A second goal should have arrived from those chanceschances, but did not.

The 63rd minute saw Hammer hearts rise precipitously into the esophagus when Maguire got on the end of a deflected Vardy shot and sent his own from the top of the box that caused Adrian to dive to his left, but the shot went over the bar.

Set pieces are always a reason for the supporters of the side taking them to at least relax for a second or two, if not get a bit excited. When Mario stepped up to send the ball into the Leicester City box, it was in a good enough area for us to pay attention. When Maguire headed the delivery out of the box, another lobbed effort back in was all I was looking for. When Noble struck it on the volley, the angle of the TV camera was perfect. The ball looked tethered to the far post, and quite possibly the best shot I’ve ever seen our captain strike followed that line past the keeper and into the net. Poetic that Noble may end up being the guy that saved our season, don’t you think?

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Leicester City 0
West Ham 2

West Ham thought they had a penalty shout in the 70th minute when Noble went down in the area, but the referee waved it off. Rightfully I might add. A minute later Arnautovic did all the work needed in the box to get a good shot off but Maguire got a crucial touch in to send the ball out for a corner.

So. Moysie. Arnautovic is on the pitch in discomfort. Andy Carroll is going to come on. Obviously for Arnie. But wait. Lanzini came off. Like for like in hair color, or maybe choice of hair gel based on the sheen in the sun. But football? Not that sure. Especially when Arnautovic came off seconds later for Fernandes, a move that made me a little antsy. This had better work or you will need Mel Gibson with blue face to save you from an East London mob.

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Gray had a good chance to get Leicester back in the game when he beat Zabaleta down the flank, but his cross was perfect if Adrian was the intended recipient. Then, ten minutes later, Silva registered the home side’s first shot on target and Adrian handled it well.

Leicester could have made the extra time interesting in the 89th minute when Benlouane got his head to the ball at the far post, which forced Adrian to make either a good save or a crucial interception, depending on whether Benlouane’s header was a shot or an attempt to get the ball in front of goal. Regardless, Adrian smothered it.

Final Score
Leicester City 0
West Ham 2

As the old saying goes, credit where credit is due. West Ham showed up today. The tactics worked. Even the questionable substitutions worked. The players chosen did their jobs and did them well. They gave Leicester City enough of a hard time with every ball that the home side collectively looked to throw in the towel. And at the time of writing, our position in the league looked a million times better than it had three hours earlier. We might even end up mathematically safe by dinnertime. Yet unlike other years when I was naive enough to think the board would learn from their ways and we would not continue this hamster run of relegation fights, I have no such illusions. We may survive this year. We will be promised things. Some may even hope.

And I will still never forgive them.

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