Transfer Gossip

West Ham chase Kolo

West Ham are in talks with Nice left back Timothee Kolodziejczak known as Kolo

The 22 year old Frenchman has been linked with West Ham for some time but he now appears to be confirmed as one of the four left backs we are talking to.

Kolo’s senior career started at Lyon when he made 9 appearances until he moved to Nice in 2012 where he has made 64 appearances scoring one goal.

French media outlet Le 10 Sport claim West Ham made an offer of £2.5m. The left back is valued at 6 million euros by Nice but a bid of 4 million euros could tempt them to sell him as they are currently suffering from financial troubles. We are likely to have competition from Southampton who see him as a perfect replacement for Luke Shaw who looks likely to leave them in the summer. Kolo was being tracked by David Moyes when he was Manchester United boss as a replacement for Patrice Evra.
But Manchester United have instead decided to pursue Southampton’s Luke Shaw.


Transfer Gossip

Olsson in talks with West Ham

Norwich defender Martin Olsson is back in talks with West Ham to fill the left back position, The Sweden international is highly likely to leave Carrow Road this summer following the club’s relegation to the Championship. Allardyce has identified left-back as key position to strengthen this summer and Olsson is one of four targets the Hammers are looking at.

Back in January last year Allardyce made attempts to sign Olsson from his old club Blackburn but it is alleged they were reluctant to sell to their former manager.

At that time Allardyce said:

“If they have made Martin available I would definitely be interested because I worked with the lad at Blackburn when I was there for two years.
I had a really good time developing him into what I consider to be quite a good player.”

As Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce previously reprimanded Martin Olsson for cheating to win a crucial penalty against Burnley. Olsson provoked outrage among Burnley fans when he appeared to dive over goalkeeper Brian Jensen, only for referee Mike Dean to award a spot-kick.The Swede then compounded his offence by admitting it publicly and revealing that he targeted Dean in advance because he has awarded more penalties than any other referee this season. Olsson somehow escaped FA censure at the time.

The 26-year-old made 117 appearances for Blackburn scoring 3 goals including the one below. He was sometimes deployed as a defensive midfielder. He joined Norwich in 2013 making 27 appearances and scoring one goal. He is also a member of the Swedish national team since 2010 earning 22 caps and scoring 5 goals.


Talking Point

A whizz bang idea - approach with caution!

So, are there major corporate/rebranding changes afoot at West Ham United FC? It is notable that we were the first of the capital’s Premier League clubs to secure one of the new london.com web addresses. One must wonder if there are some specific marketing/commercial reason for this haste? Is reviewing the badge part of some wider ‘whizz bang’ proposal to align the image of the club with that of the Olympic Stadium? Over the last 24 hours, social media has been speculating that some sort of change of corporate identity is on the cards, whether that is a name change, a revised club badge or both and more beside. This has been partly fuelled by the recent SAB meeting and news that its members were required to sign another non-disclosure agreement in order to be privy to the club’s latest thinking. The club website has subsequently rushed to counter the wilder conjecture, denying that a name change was ever planned and reassuring the Hammers faithful that no updating/revising of the badge will be implemented without the prior agreement of the wider fan base.

This re-assurance, that any such changes will be subject to fan approval, is comforting and the club should be praised for providing that guarantee. They have said the club name is sacrosanct. Anyway, I suppose that the chances of obtaining FA approval for a name change are minimal in the aftermath of the ‘Hull Tigers’ episode. So, that one is not a runner and is probably just a distraction. The actual issue is likely to be a change in the club badge and possibly the incorporation of ‘London’ in to a revised design. But how radical might that redesign be? Will it be a Arsenal type re-styling of the traditional club badge or might it prove to be more of a departure from the past? It seems that there is now an emerging view online that the plans revolve around phasing out the castle. Obviously, this makes sense if the castle symbolises our current stadium. The rationale presumably being, no Boleyn Stadium, no castle in the badge! Although I cannot speculate in advance on anything they may seek to add in its place.

This issue does not worry me unduly. Let the club commission a new design and it will take its chances against the current badge. If it is too radical a departure, then it will be rejected by the fans, there is no doubt about that. After all, how can some ad agency effort possibly compete with the current badge? It will an unequal contest between history and tradition, 1964, 1965, 1975, 1980, Moore, Hurst, Peters, Bonds, Brooking, Devonshire, Di Canio, et al, and something (worst case scenario) off a drawing board. My gut instincts are to stick with the current version (albeit maybe restyled), but I am open to being convinced otherwise and while we fans are the final decision-makers (as the club have promised) I am relaxed about the issue.

However, what does interest me is this emphasis upon ‘London.’ Yes, we are a London club, but as we all know, we are far from having an exclusive status in that respect. Being geographically included since 1965 in the London urban conurbation is a fact, and it has had an impact, but by far the strongest formative influences on our club pre-dates that event. Firstly, we are West Ham, that is our core identity, secondly we recognise ourselves as an ‘East London’ club and thirdly we increasingly see ourselves as an Essex club. That is our triple layered identity and it directly reflects the historical development of the club, and indeed its fan base, since its formation in 1895.

Yet, on page 13 of yesterday’s Evening Standard an advert was published by makeit.london. The advert featured West Ham Utd players, against the backdrop of the OS, and contained a club statement that effectively revised the history of the club. It stated:

‘Since 1895, the Hammers have been at the heart of London. Our web address and new stadium keeps us there.’

Apart from the first sentence being historically inaccurate, it is interesting that we are portrayed, in the second, as being at the ‘heart’ of London by moving to the OS. Is this advert just a product of a lack of historical knowledge and an innocent zeal for london.com? Or is there something more subtle and interesting at play here. Namely, the opening shots in a shift to identify a relocated club with ‘London’ as a whole and, thereafter, consistently market themselves on that basis? After all, in marketing and commercial terms, it probably makes sense. Aligning the club name with London will make the club more instantly recognisable in lucrative overseas markets, with their potential new fan base and merchandising sales potential. Might it also be highly attractive to all those corporate/multi-national interests with their huge sponsorship and commercial revenue to invest? It is also interesting that it mirrors a significant corporate change made by Newham Council, in the run up to London 2012, when they rebranded the borough Newham-London. Is there a bit of a trend there?

Everyone wants the club to succeed commercially when it moves to the OS. It is perfectly understood that new revenue streams improve our chance of becoming a bigger, more successful PL club. The club must get those new external income streams flowing and also, closer to home, fill those c.60,000 seats on a consistent basis. That probably means selling seats across the capital, including to tourists, occasional spectators, business interests and alike. Fair enough. But at the same time, most fans will instinctively oppose processes that contribute to the dilution of West Ham’s strong identity and history in some sort of pan-London acid. Many fans are fearful of just that, the move to the OS resulting in a loss of the club’s hitherto strong and unique identity. The club must be aware of this and steer a course that both preserves the clubs identity/heritage and employs strategies that maximize the marketing/commercial potential of the move to the OS. Is it possible to square this particular circle? One hopes so.

‘Whizz bang’ ideas, if ill conceived and/or mis-managed, do have an unfortunate habit of flaring up suddenly and burning fingers. Forewarned is forearmed!

SJ. Chandos


Talking Point

No name change for West Ham United

False rumours spread across the social media today that West Ham United were thinking renaming themselves as West Ham London.

The rumour followed a Supporters Advisory board meeting on Tuesday night where members were updated on the Olympic Stadium, shown a preview of the new Away kit and an idea about a possible crest change among other things. The SAB members were asked to sign a non disclosure agreement to protect commercial sensitive information but some information leaked causing wide speculation online.

West Ham released a statement about the SAB meeting this evening in an attempt to calm the speculation.

“The evening’s agenda focused on how the Club could look at better communicating West Ham United’s values and how best to recognise and celebrate our history as we move to a new iconic home.This included discussions regarding evolving the Club’s crest, an initiative which had been fully endorsed by the SAB at their AGM on the basis that the Club’s current crest has not been updated since 1997.The Club were explicit that whilst it is considering an evolution of the crest in close consultation with supporters, contrary to some recent speculation, it is categorically not looking to change the Club name, which will always remain as West Ham United.The Club also made clear that the Board has no plans to make any changes to the crest without the full support of its fans. A detailed presentation followed that illustrated how various aspects of the Club’s crest have evolved over time. The SAB were shown a wide variety of potential creative routes to evolve the crest.Following a productive discussion, the SAB was asked whether the Club should continue to explore an evolution of the badge with a view to opening up consultation to the wider supporter base. The group have been asked to feedback by the end of the week. It was agreed that a consultation process with the wider supporter base should follow. This will take place within the next two weeks after due consideration of the SAB members’ feedback. whufc.com will provide a further update on the details of the consultation in due course”.

As a member of the SAB myself I am bound by the same Non Disclosure Agreement but I can confirm what the club said is correct and there will be a full consultation with fans to decide whether they want the crest changed.


Nostalgia

Nostalgia Series; Frank Lampard Snr

Frank Lampard was born in East Ham in 1948 and aged 16 became part of the West Ham youth academy. In a long line of other players of that era he was another local lad that played over 18 seasons for the Hammers amassing 665 appearances for the club. Frank was only five when his father died so it was not an easy start to life in the East End. His fathers name was also Frank. The name of course was also passed down to Frank Lampard jnr who was a Hammers player before joining Chelsea in 2001.

Frank made his debut against Manchester City in 1967 at left back, a position he was to hold throughout his career. He was part of the West Ham sides that won the FA Cup in 1975, 1980 and the second division title in 1981. As a kid at West Ham it was Bobby Moore that took Frank under his wing. He became as close to Bobby as anyone over his time at West Ham. From the start of his career he was unchallenged at left back in the first team. However just five months into his career, against Sheffield United, and with just minutes to go in the game, he broke his leg. This was in the days when a bad break could end a players career. Frank spent many lonely days running up and down the terracing at Upton Park in an effort to regain fitness and build up muscles in his legs. It was so boring he used to play a portable radio half way up so as to cheer himself up. The determination and dedication of those days transpired to a wonderful West Ham career over the following sixteen seasons.

During his career he scored 22 goals and one of the most memorable was at Elland Road in a Cup semi final replay against Everton that took West Ham to Wembley in 1980. In extra time with just two minutes to play and the score at 1-1, he drifted into the penalty area and headed home – just what on earth he was doing there nobody knows. Just as easy to remember was his celebratory jig around the corner post after scoring. In days when goal scoring celebrations were mainly confined to jumping in the air, back slapping or the occasional hug, Frank’s jig became legendary for West Ham fans of that era. He also played in the 1976 loss to Anderlecht in the ECWC final where a rare error from him gifted the opposition the opening goal in what went on to become a 4-2 loss.

He made his England debut against Yugoslavia in 1972 but astonishingly only gained one more cap in his career. Frank was certainly one of the best left backs ever to wear the claret and blue and he played his last game for the club against Liverpool in May 1985. He moved on to Southend United where he finished his playing days under the management of Bobby Moore. In 1994 he returned to Upton Park to serve as assistant manager under his brother in law and former team mate Harry Redknapp. It was a partnership that was to last for seven years before both were surprisingly sacked. The decision led to Franks son leaving the club at his own request.


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