Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A With Swansea

Another Saturday 3pm kick-off – I could get used to this! This weekend West Ham travel down to South Wales to play Swansea, for whom Andre Ayew will be trying his hardest to impress. Ahead of the game I spoke to IanABS94, PGFWhite, and Ottawa Swan of The Jack Army to discuss the match and other things.
Congratulations on your FA Cup victory during the week: Win the FA Cup and go down or get knocked out and stay up? The choice is yours?
Stay up for sure
5-4-1/3-5-2 Prediction: 1-1

Are you confident that you can make it two victories within a week against West Ham?
Optimistic, won’t be easy but home form is hard to bet against at the moment.
We’re not playing West Ham twice in a week!
Absolutely – we’ve been pretty solid at home with Carvahal.

We’ve both pressed the panic button and sacked our managers, I presume you are happy with your change? Tell us a bit about Carlos Carvalha.
Eccentric but in a good way. For the first time since Laudrup we have a manager who wants to be attacking and on the front foot.
He’s an enigma.
He’s attack-minded (sometime a little too much so e.g. Brighton) which makes it far more entertaining to watch than any recent manager and clearly has motivated the players to punch above their weight. He is adventurous with substitutions and flexible with formations to match up against the top clubs but not yet sure about the success of his tactics against the lower clubs. He’s got great turns of phrase for press conferences.

How do you rate our replacement for Slaven Bilic – David Moyes?
You needed a change but not sure Moyes is the answer. Similar to Pardew, not much to be impressed by.
He’s got experience at the highest level and should develop West Ham over the coming few seasons.
Boring and uninspired (and is presumably like that for the players).

It’s so tight at the bottom, who do you think (hope) will go down this season?
West Brom, Stoke & Huddersfield
Think: West Brom, Swans, Huddersfield. Hope: Stoke, Southampton, Brighton
West Brom, Crystal Palace and Huddersfield

Where do you think Swansea will finish at the end of the campaign?
Just above relegation zone (again)

Where do you think West Ham can realistically finish the season?
Bottom half but not relegated

Which teams will follow Man City into the Champions League?
United, Liverpool, Spurs
Man U, Chelsea,Spurs
Liverpool, Spurs and Man United

Are you happy with your transfer dealings during the window? You took back Andre Ayew from us, who no doubt tried his best for us, but couldn’t consistently show the form he did for you: are you happy with this bit of business?
He’s a quality player who didn’t seem to get a run of games for you. He was good for us but he’s a bit of a square peg in a round hole unless you’re willing to accommodate him.
Our transfer dealings have been shite for a number of seasons.
No, we failed to bring in a Sigurdson replacement and we needed a right back and a left back. Too soon to say about the other Ayew, he doesn’t seem to have as much to prove as he had when he first was with us.

Any particular memories of West Ham/Swansea games of the past?
Beating you 4-1 in what was supposed to be your final match at Upton Park
David Cross scoring for the Hammers, triggering 20 West Ham fans going crazy and getting kicked out of the North Bank. Trevor Brooking also scored in a3-1 victory at the Vetch Field. Swans winning 4-1 at Upton Park when the Hammers were chasing European football.

If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
Lanzini, #10 with quality, something we haven’t replaced after selling Gylfi.
Arnatouvic. He’s big, direct and scores goals
Lanzini – fantastic playmaker

Which other teams/players how impressed you down at Swansea this season?
Man City I guess. We’ve been pretty poor (shit) until recently at home so no team would be “impressive”.
Man City
Burnley – they really have come together as a team this year, even though they are on a bad run at the moment.

Which Swansea player(s) has played better than expected, and who has not lived up to reputation?
Jordan Ayew has been fantastic lately, he’s always had the quality but he’s had the tendency to be inconsistent. Lately he’s been nothing but consistent in delivering good performances.
Better – Jordon Ayew Disappointed – Tammy Abraham_
Nathan Dyer since he came back from injury (has still got a great turn of speed), Jordan Ayew (although he still misses the killer pass sometimes by going it alone near the penalty box) and KI who seems to be really motivated by our new manager. Mesa (now out on loan) was a dud for us and Clucas has not lived up to expectations.

How do you expect Swansea to setup against West Ham on Saturday/ Team/formation prediction?
3-5-2 with both Ayew’s up top.
5-4-1/3-5-2 Prediction: 1-1
After getting burned at Brighton with three at the back I expect us to set up 4-3-1-2

Any tips for Hammers fans making the trip down to Swansea on Saturday?
It’s gonna be f******* cold!
Wear your long-johns!
Take a very warm coat and scarf

Well thanks to Ian |(who is keeping his eyes on The Swans from Canada) and the lads for their time. Interesting how two of them would prefer to stay up rather than win the cup, whereas Martin the Wigan fan of a few weeks back wouldn’t trade their FA Cup win for anything. I think that we can gain another crucial win against a team near us in the bottom half. Hopefully they will be feeling the exertions of their mid-week game a bit and so I am putting my money on a 1-2 win to the Hammers. COYI.

Embed from Getty Images

Click here to view the leaderboard

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Swansea v West Ham

Blast from the past

Tuesday 30th March 1982 – The Goombay Dance Band were number one with ‘Seven Tears’ and West Ham United were ensuring it was the Swans who were sobbing in south Wales as the late Francois van der Elst scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over tomorrow’s opponents Swansea City in front of 20,272 at the Vetch Field.

Embed from Getty Images

Belgian attacker van der Elst (pictured above) scored twice for Anderlecht against West Ham as we lost the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final 4-2 in 1976. He signed for the Hammers from the New York Cosmos in January 1982 and this strike at Swansea was his fifth goal in ten games. He scored 17 goals in 70 appearances for the Irons before returning to his homeland to sign for Lokeren. He passed away just over a year ago, on the 11th January 2017 at the age of 62.

John Lyall’s Hammers would finish ninth in the First Division in 1981/82, while Swansea would end the campaign in sixth having led the table more than once in their first season at the top level. Alvin Martin won the second of his three Hammer of the Year awards, with Trevor Brooking voted runner-up. Liverpool won the league and Tottenham won the FA Cup.

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

Swansea City’s Andre Ayew could face his previous club. A small number of players join him in having worn the shirts of both West Ham United and Swansea City. These include:

Goalkeeper: Noel Dwyer.

Defenders: Andy Melville and Shaun Byrne.

Midfielders: Frank Lampard Junior and Matthew Rush.

Strikers: Tudor Martin, Frank Nouble and Lee Chapman.

John Bond also represented both clubs, playing for the Hammers and managing the Swans.

Today’s focus though is on a player who turned out for West Ham before representing Swansea later in his career. Jimmy Carr was an outside-left who was born on 19th December 1893 in Maryhill, Glasgow. He joined Watford in 1908 at the age of 14 and made his Southern League debut as a 16-year-old. The 20-year-old Carr moved to West Ham United in 1914 and made his debut in a 1-1 home draw with Swindon on 26th September 1914. With the perfect build for a winger at 5’7 in height and weighing in at 10st, he scored his only Hammers goal in his sixth appearance, a 2-0 win over Plymouth at Upton Park on 5th December 1914. His ninth and final appearance for the Irons was on the 30th January 1915, in a 1-1 draw at Swindon, the same opposition and result as his debut.

During World War One, Carr was enlisted into the Army as a Private and played as a guest for Portsmouth and Kilmarnock in the Wartime Leagues. After the cessation of hostilities, Carr joined Reading in 1919, spending four years in Berkshire and making over 100 appearances for the club before moving to Southampton (he is pictured during his Reading days). Three years at The Dell (where he would be an FA Cup Semi-Finalist in 1925) were followed by the 32-year-old Carr’s switch to Swansea Town, as they were then known, in May 1926.

Carr scored one goal in seven appearances for the Swans but, with the end of his career approaching, he took the unprecedented step of placing an advertisement in the Athletic News, stating that he would ‘assist a club outside the League in exchange for a business’. Carr was soon playing for Southall and running The Red Lion Hotel in the town. Jimmy Carr passed away in Harrow on 26th June 1980, at the age of 86.


The referee on Saturday will be Martin Atkinson, who refereed our 1-1 home draw with Leicester in November and was also in charge of our 3-0 home defeat to Brighton in October and our 4-0 opening weekend defeat at Manchester United on 13th August. 2017/18 is Atkinson’s 13th as a Premier League referee. Since West Ham United achieved promotion back to the top flight in 2012 Atkinson has refereed 20 of our league matches, officiating in nine wins for the Hammers, three draws and eight defeats.

Embed from Getty Images

Atkinson is pictured above in his most recent Hammers match, our 1-1 home draw with Bournemouth in January. He also refereed the Hammers’ FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford in March 2016, when he turned down appeals for a penalty after Marcos Rojo appeared to have tripped Dimitri Payet and failed to spot Bastian Schweinstieger’s block on Darren Randolph as Man Utd equalised late on. He refereed last September’s 4-2 home defeat to Watford and October’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, when he controversially sent off Aaron Cresswell for two very harsh yellow cards in quick succession. His other Hammers appointments last season were our 3-1 win at Middlesbrough in January and our 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in April.

Possible line-ups

Swansea City right-back Angel Rangel, midfielders Leroy Fer and Renato Sanches and striker Wilfried Bony are out. The Swans are unbeaten in their last six home games in all competitions, scoring 18 goals in that run.

David Moyes is without the suspended Arthur Masuaku, as well as the injured Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes and Andy Carroll but Patrice Evra should be available. West Ham have won one and drawn three of their last four trips to the Liberty Stadium.

Possible Swansea City XI: Fabianski; Naughton, Mawson, Bartley, Fernandez, Olsson; Dyer, Carroll, Ki, A Ayew; J Ayew.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Antonio; Arnautovic, Chicharito.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!

P.S. from the WHUISA Committee: still want to march pre-Burnley? Give @WHUISA2017 a follow on twitter or join the WHUISA Facebook group and let WHUISA know your thoughts.

Click here to view the leaderboard

Guest Post

WHUISA Ticketing Survey Results

Guest Post by WHUISA Committee

The WHUISA Committee are pleased to share the results of our recent ticketing survey.

The survey collated the views of more than 1,400 season ticket holders, asking those polled to respond to twelve questions relating to the club’s ticketing policies. The following findings were recorded:

- Over 80% of supporters polled have been frustrated in their attempts to purchase tickets for an away fixture.

- Almost two-thirds believe away matches that are a considerable distance outside London during midweek should generate more points than more ‘local’ away games.

- Over half of those surveyed believe that supporters should not re-sell tickets they have purchased.

- Just over half were in favour of ID checks at away grounds to ensure those who purchased the tickets actually attended the game themselves.

Embed from Getty Images

- Almost 90% of season ticket holders believe they should have first choice ahead of club members on all away tickets.

- If unable to attend an away match they had purchased tickets for, nearly 43% of supporters would prefer to forward the ticket on to a member of their network (a named supporter on their online ticketing profile), reassigning the Priority Point on to them in the process. Nearly 32% stated they would prefer to return the ticket to the club, securing a refund with the club reselling the ticket. 25% said they would rather re-sell the ticket themselves.

- More than half claimed they would give up their season ticket at the end of the season if prices rise between 5 and 10%.

- Less than 20% of supporters felt their season ticket is better value for money at the London Stadium compared to the Boleyn Ground.

You can view the full survey results by clicking here.

You can become a member of WHUISA for £1 by clicking here.

Click here to view the leaderboard

The Blind Hammer Column

Why I Am Just as “Real” A Hammer

Blind Hammer argues that supercilious arrogance has nothing to do with the West Ham way.

When you write a weekly column read by thousands, even if, hopefully, they are like-minded supporters, you need a thick skin. If I was faint hearted, I would simply stick to writing my column about blindness and guide Dogs. Actually even this can be controversial. Yet Football is far more emotional. Passions can run high. Mostly I accept people’ will have different and fervently felt opposing views. This is all part of the great expressive debate that is football and West Ham. People care, which is why Rupert Murdoch pays so much money.

Just occasionally though an example of such supreme supercilious arrogance emerges which penetrates even my normal sanguinity. Recently a self-professed “Real West Ham” action supporter magnanimously accepted I had the right to opinions about the Watford game, however I had no right to make comments about the Brighton game as unlike the “Real Supporters” I was not there.

This article is not about the protest March. I support the right of protest even though I personally feel the March aims are confused contradictory and ultimately futile. Still I don’t think they are any less of a West Ham fans for marching. Why then do so many consider themselves TO BE BETTER “real” West Ham supporters as opposed to people like me who are apparently lesser or even “fake”?

I detest the notion that there has to be a “hierarchy” of supporters and that only a “real” aristocracy have views that should have any merit. Nevertheless for the record what are my credentials to a “real” West Ham identity? Well actually it is pretty steeped. My Father predated West Ham and was around at our formation. He was born in 1891. He lived in walking distance not of Upton Park but the Memorial Ground and the Thames Ironworks. I did not get the chance to ask him but I often wondered if he missed the Athletics Track at the Memorial ground after moving to Upton Park.
After serving in the royal navy in the First World War my father lived as a passionate Hammer in the East End during the 20s and 30s. He served in the Fire Brigade in Shoreditch during the Second World War. My brother attended his first game with our Father in 1949 and my Sister stood with them on the North Bank for the first time in 1952.

I, born in 1956 did not attend my first game until 1968. By 1970 I was a season ticket holder in the East Stand. I was at the FA Cup triumph at Wembley in 1975 and for our League Cup draw in 1981. My biggest regret is that I could not afford the ridiculous tout price for a ticket in 1980 so missed the Brooking final. During the 80’s I went to home and away games before blindness robbed me from attending. Nowadays West ham provides fantastic accessible support, including a free commentary service and space for both my Guide dog and a sighted carer. I don’t attend away games as access may not compare.

However I have news for those who claim to be “real” West Ham supporters simply because they attend away games. Attending away games does not make you any better or more “real” than the rest of us. My brother attended away games for decades but nowadays only goes to home matches. Yet despite being in his late 70s he travels over 200 miles from Manchester to take up his season ticket. Actually like many he supported the move to the London Stadium. Howe dare people claim that they are any more of a “real” supporter than he is?

I dispute that you even need to attend home games to be a “genuine” supporter. Supporting West Ham is about family and inclusion not sneering and posing as an “”exclusive” elite. ” my sister, now also blind, despite going to games in the 1950s, has not attended Upton Park for over 50 years. Yet she listens to the radio commentaries and feels the pain of defeat, the anger and frustration of disappointment and the joy of victory as much as anybody else. I was in exactly the same position when my blindness stopped me attending. I was never less of a real supporter then, and she is not less of a supporter now.

My Mother, who never attended games would have thought you were stark raving crazy to describe her or any of her family as anything less than ”real West Ham Supporters”. We were defined as a West Ham family. West Ham have always been larger than the numbers who at any one time attend games, and rightly so. West Ham supporters can live thousands of miles away but feel just as much, experience joy and despair in equal measure alongside the rest of us. West ham is so much more than just the congregation of supporters lucky enough to see them in the flesh. Those who claim otherwise have horizons which are too narrow, insular and exclusionary. Ultimately such inward looking elitist thinking is self-defeating. It hinders the vibrancy and health of our club. It stops us turning outwards to appeal to wider communities. In fact rather than drawing inwards into an elitist clique we should want to grow the support of West Ham not just in London and Essex but even wider, and yes even globally into World markets. The arrogant self-possessed sit on their high East end horse and sneer at world markets but I have no difficulty in finding common cause with Hammers across the world, be they Australian Hammers, Norwegian hammers, Hamburg Hammers, Florida Hammers or Austrian Hammers. I would never dream to think I am somehow better or more genuine a supporter because I live in London. They are all welcome as far as I am concerned.

To be a West Ham supporter it is not compulsory to munch Pie and Mash or even jellied eels before a game. I won’t even scorn or look down on you if you indulge in the apparently heinous crime of enjoying Popcorn.

I welcome everybody who wants to share my pain into the West Ham family. This welcome is pretty much unconditional; it does not matter to me if you attend all games, some or none. If you declare as a West Ham supporter that is good enough for me. I don’t expect you to have to prove it. I don’t expect you to have to pass a club knowledge test. I don’t look down on “new” supporters just because they did not attend Upton Park. If you are prepared to stand behind the team, in good times and most crucially remain true in bad times that is good enough for me. We are a family inclusive club still. Come in and join the roller coaster drama that is supporting West Ham.

David Griffith

Click here to view the leaderboard

Tony Hanna's Musings

Possible Moyes changes and the slippery eel

Sometimes you just have to take defeat on the chin and the weekends game at Liverpool is one of those times. Whether Mark Nobles comments about it being a free hit were taken in the wrong context or not, whether you agree with the formation or team selection, on the day Liverpool were just too good. Manchester City found out just a few weeks ago at Anfield that a Liverpool side with Salah, Firmino and Mane all on song are difficult to stop. They let in the same as us too – four. In fact this was the third consecutive match where Liverpool have put four past us. With games to play at Arsenal and Chelsea together with home matches against both Manchester clubs we must hope for more resolute defending if we have any ambition of gaining points from these games. In Sam’s days he would have targeted the forthcoming home matches against Burnley, Southampton, Stoke and Everton. Avoid defeat in these four matches and win two of them and we should be safe. The bookies have us at 10/1 for the drop but it is impossible to have the same confidence as this log jam of relegation candidates shows no signs of clearing any time soon.

Embed from Getty Images

What will be interesting is to see if or how David Moyes reacts to the weekends loss. There are a few players that could come under the microscope. Firstly there is the goalkeeping situation. When Hart was dropped for Adrian, Moyes insisted that Hart would get his opportunity and play Premier League games again this season. I thought at the time that perhaps Moyes thought there would be a time when Adrian’s position would again come under scrutiny. My preference would be for Adrian to stay between the sticks but after conceding three at Brighton and now four at Liverpool I would imagine if Hart was to get his chance again it may be now. Another who could be making way is Ginge. Winston Reid was warming the bench on the weekend and whilst he hasn’t had the best of seasons this is another change that Moyes might consider. It is also conceivable that Cresswell could be the one making way for Reid in a back three and with Evra certainly showing some steel in the tackling department on his debut the back five may well have a very different look about it against Swansea. Whilst showing some nice touches at times it would be surprise me if Mario retains his place. A fully fit Lanzini offers a deal more and I have my doubts that Moyes will play the two together too many more times this season.

I would like to dedicate the remainder of my weekly article to a former player who earlier last month turned 65 years of age.

Every once and a while a player comes along that gets your blood pumping. That happened to me, and I am sure many others, when Johnny Ayris broke through into the West Ham first team in 1970. The little right winger stood just 5’5” tall and weighed nine and a half stone but with his superb dribbling skills he was to prove as slippery as an eel. At first sight he had the swerve of Stanley Matthews and the trickery of George Best and he seemed destined for the top. The next seven seasons were to tell a different story.

Born in Wapping in 1953 Johnny Ayris would spend hours smacking a ball against the sheds outside his parents council flat. He would often kick the ball onto the roof and guess where it would come down before catching it on his right foot. The young kid was addicted to practice and when he made it at West Ham his great love was training. He admitted later that “training was a joy – it was touch, it was pace, it was skill and I was lucky enough to have those attributes. I loved the training perhaps more than the matches and maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a footballer, I should have pushed my case a bit more.”

He made his debut at just 17 years of age at home to Burnley on the 3rd October 1970 and played a blinder setting up all three Geoff Hurst goals in a 3-1 victory. Ron Greenwood gave him a professional contract just two days later and it was not long before the North Bank were singing “we’ve got Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny Ayris on the wing” to the tune of Ging Gang Goolie. He continued to mesmerise defences until we played Chelsea at home nearly a year later on the 11th September 1971. Johnny was running rings around the notorious Chelsea hard man Ron “Chopper” Harris and the riled defender picked his moment ‘to let him know he was still there.’ Johnny was to later say “I’d been giving him the run around and he was getting really wound up and the crowd were on his back.” One challenge later and Johnny Ayris had flipped over the back of Harris and he landed with a sickening thud. The young winger was all of a sudden having difficulty breathing and he was immediately subbed for Bobby Howe. Hospital tests showed that the injury had caused an air bubble to form in his lung, a condition he was to later to find out could be life threatening. Because of the injury Ron Greenwood would in the future only pick and choose the right games for him to play in, and even then a string of other injuries would curtail his ambitions. John is pictured right at the end of this very notable line up!

Embed from Getty Images

The whole incident had a lasting effect on his confidence but he said he felt no grudge towards Harris. Johnny was also to come off second best to the infamous Tommy Gemmill of Celtic in a match played for Bobby Moore’s testimonial. John was to play only 69 games for West Ham over seven seasons, scoring just two goals. Following the Harris incident most of his time at West Ham was spent on the bench or in the background. Nicknamed “Rat” to his team mates because of his ragged looks, the Hammers fans dubbed him “Cyril Lord” after the carpet king, for his propensity for hitting the turf after having the rug pulled out from under him! Johnny Ayris loved every minute of his West Ham career but an incredible talent was wasted in some ways as his love of just playing overshadowed the real issue of playing professional football in a time where his light weight frame was no match for the battle hardened men of that era. Between December 1973 and October 1976 Johnny Ayris became our super-sub, making twenty five appearances of which 15 were from the bench. In many of the early matches he played though, he was one of the most exciting talents you would ever wish to see.

Click here to view the leaderboard

Copyright © 2018 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.