Talking Point

Silly season in full swing as West Ham are linked with thirty players

The Premier League season finished just seven days ago and the transfer window officially opened at midnight on the same day as the last kick of a ball of a league game.

The silly season is now is full swing and despite West Ham being in managerial limbo for the last 5 days the names West ham players have been linked keep on rolling in. Thirty players have been linked with West Ham so far in the popular press & the more credible football websites.

There are four types of football rumours during silly season, those made up or pure speculation in attempt to fill column inches, next are those rumours peddled by agents wanting to increase the exposure of their clients to generate interest for a transfer, then there are those which are exaggerated or half truths, they often never come to anything and finally those which are spot on and end up as successful transfers.

The trick is to navigate your way through the silly season without getting your hopes up too much, many take the sensible approach and not believing anything and avoiding speculation until it is released on West Ham’s official website or in recent years when young Jack Sullivan is allowed to tweet it out by his dad.

To fuel the silly season myself, here is the full list of the thirty names we have been linked with in the last seven days:

Aaron Lennon, Pablo Alvarez, Martin Olsson, Steve Sidwell, Cyril Thereau, Cheikhou Kouyate ,Gabriele Angella, Alessandro Matri, Robert Snodgrass

Antonio Rudiger, Jack Colback, Rio Ferdinand, Lorenzo Crisetig, Michy Batshuayi, M’baye Niang, Neil Taylor, Ross McCormack, Phil Bardsley, Demba Ba

John Terry, Danny Ings, Oscar Cadozo, Rodrigo Lima, Jefferspn Montero, Jake Livermore, Joleon Lescott, Aaron Creswell, Pierre Michel Lasogga,

Domenico Berardi & Dimitri Payet

Talking Point

No parking at the Olympic Stadium please

The LLDC have a documented strategy to discourage West Ham fans from parking close to the Olympic Stadium when we move there in two years time.

The Olympic stadium itself has just 257 car parking places of which 49 are reserved for disabled badge holders and 39 for VIP’s. A further 25 are dedicated to athletics..

There are a number of local off-street car parks near to the Olympic stadium venue that will have parking management strategies to ensure that the short-stay parking needs of shoppers and other customers are accommodated whilst the longer-stay parking demands on match days are restricted. Each of these smaller car parks will restricted a maximum stay of two hours before facing a financial penalty and possible towing away as a deterrent.

A number of areas have been also highlighted as potential sites that may encourage unofficial, or pirate car parking during match days. These are areas of land that are privately owned. They believe many of these areas identified areas will undergo redevelopment and any remaining areas will face planning restrictions to prevent illegal parking.

Westfield Stratford City shopping centre has a total of 4,997 parking spaces.

The report says it will be necessary to ensure that the use of Westfield car parking is discouraged for spectators on match days. They acknowledge that some spectators will make use of the shopping centre as well as the stadium, either by shopping (or drinking/eating) before or after the event, or by sharing a car with someone who uses the shopping centre whilst they visit the stadium.

They want to give sufficient discouragement to spectators to ensure significant numbers do not use the Westfield car parks on event days whilst allowing Westfield customers to make use of the car parks on event days without financial penalty.

To achieve this, drivers will be able to re-programme their parking token during the period of the match so it will subsequently allow them to depart without incurring increased charges. This will be facilitated by the provision of “event day” token machines provided across each level of shopping and retail. Those who have attended the stadium event will be unable to re-programme their token as this facility will only be available whilst the event is on. The spectators will face punitive parking charges on departure if they have not re-programmed their token during the period that the event is on. The re-programming facility will be made available from ten minutes after the beginning of
an match (Start + 10) to visitors to Westfield who have existing parking tokens. Any driver who arrived earlier than ten minutes after the beginning on a match (Start + 10) and intends on departing the car park any time between ten minutes prior to the end of a match (End – 10) and two hours after the end on a match (End + 120) will be told that they must re-programme their token using the machines available during the event period to avoid significantly higher exit charges.

If you want to park in Westfield on match days you obviously need to bring a wife, husband, partner or friend and leave them with your credit card to do the shopping while you watch the match in the Olympic Stadium.


Nostalgia Series; When we won the World Cup - part 2

So, on the 30th July 1966 the whole Nation was transfixed on a game at Wembley against West Germany. It did not matter where you were or what you were doing, everyone was talking about one thing only. Could we win the World Cup? In the history of football the Germans had never beaten England, but stats would never matter on a day like this. The first bit of good news on the day was that despite Jimmy Greaves recovering from a gashed leg, Alf Ramsey was sticking with Geoff Hurst. Spurs fans were angry but the decision was to lead to the most monumental triumph in British sporting history and to an event that West Ham fans, nearly 50 years later, still reminisce with pride.

Any football fan that saw the game that day could recite the team eleven that England fielded that day. Many younger fans probably can as well. What some people did not know was the reason England played in red that day and the Germans were able to play in their near identical kit to the home Nation’s white shirts and dark shorts? Technically, Wembley was a neutral venue so there had to be a toss of a coin to decide what team changed their strip. West Germany won the toss.

As England came out on that sunny day the whole of Wembley was awash with flags and banners. The World was watching and three of our boys were there. Bobby Moore a proud captain who had lifted trophies at Wembley in successive years prior to 1966. Martin Peters who Alf Ramsey had described as “ten years ahead of his time.” And of course Geoff Hurst, who would write his own history in the game over the following two hours.

However, it was the Germans that took the lead in the 12th minute with a goal from Helmut Haller. Any negative fears or thoughts were soon extinguished when West Ham, I mean England, scored an equaliser just six minutes later. Bobby Moore had been fouled by Overath out on the left and Bobby took a quick free kick, gliding a perfect cross to the near post for Geoff Hurst to head home. Again, a typical West Ham goal that both players would have spent hours rehearsing back at club training sessions. So it was all level at half time and everything was on a knife edge. In the 78th minute West Germany failed to clear their lines and Hurst had a chance to score again. His shot rebounded into the air off a defender and Martin Peters was there to score. He was later to say that it seemed an eternity for the ball to come to him and that he remembered what Ron Greenwood had told him many times before when in a similar predicament – keep your knee over the ball so as to keep the shot down.

As the last few minutes slowly rolled by it looked as though Ramsey’s prediction of England winning the World Cup was coming true. But in the last minute of normal time Wolfgang Weber scored a goal that was to snatch victory away and ensure extra time. The momentum now appeared to be fully with the Germans. But after the final whistle blew, it was they that were lying on their backs calling for trainers to rub their sore calves. Ramsey saw this and told his players “look at them, they are finished. You have won it once – now go and win it again.” Ramsey encouraged all his players not to sit down but to keep moving. Ten minutes into the first half of extra time Geoff Hurst scored probably the most controversial goal in WC history. His shot hit the underside of the bar and came down either on the line or behind it. Todays technology has still not completely settled the argument but after several minutes of consulting the Russian linesman, the referee gave the goal. The Germans were furious and in the final minutes of the game pushed further and further forward. In the dying moments Bobby Moore got the ball deep in his own half. Everyone was screaming at him to put the ball in the stand but instead he picked out Hurst who had a clear route to goal. Kenneth Wolstenholme’s famous commentary of “some people are on the pitch. They think it’s all over – it is now,” were rendered just as Hurst blasted the ball into the back of the net. He had scored his hat trick in a WC final, a feat still not equalled to this day. West Ham had won the World Cup!! Our captain Bobby Moore mirrored all that was good about sport back in those days. In what must have been the most exhilarating time of his life, he still showed grace and humility as he wiped his hands before accepting the Jules Rimet trophy from the Queen.

To this day it still is the greatest achievement of any English sporting team. The feeling around the country was extraordinary. I remember going to our youth hall a few months after the game as they were showing a rerun of the match on a colour tape. The hall was packed to the rafters – I think every kid in Loughton and Debden was there! The noise we made was at least the equal of Wembley. There was definitely a siege mentality about the game in England. It was only 21 years after the war and defeat would have been unbearable.

Each England player earned 60 quid for each game. Only the players who played in the Final got medals. The FA decided to give the team a 22,000 pound bonus and it was to be divided between the players depending on how many matches they had played in the tournament. The players over ruled this decision by saying that all players in the squad had contributed to the WC win in some way or another. The sum was divided equally. Each player got 1,000 pounds. It will be a very different story when the 2014 WC starts in a months time. How times have changed since West Ham won the World Cup.


Nostalgia Series; When we won the World Cup - part 1

With the 2014 World Cup just a month away, it would be remiss of me to not do a nostalgia piece on how our club won the World Cup for England nearly 48 years ago. Last night I watched a TV program on the 1966 tournament and certain scenes reminded me of how important the local “bobby” was to the game back in those days. One player was being stretchered off and two of the six stretcher attendants were policeman, and then another scene where the Argentinian captain Rattin was sent off and here were the police again, making sure he went! The matches were broadcast in black and white as colour TV was still a year or so away. I do remember our local youth hall getting hold of a colour tape of the Final a few months after the event. The venue was packed to the rafters with young kids viewing our first ever game of football in colour.

I think it fair to say that prior to the World Cup in 1966 hardly anyone thought we could win it? The England manager Alf Ramsey, kept telling everyone that would listen that we would, but to be honest we thought it was just a front for the players. In fact England lost the World Cup in 1966 before they won it! The Jules Rimet trophy went missing prior to the start of the tournament before a dog called “Pickles” found it in someone’s hedge! Pickles was not the only furry celebrity at the time. The FIFA World Cup had its first mascot also, a lion named World Cup Willie.

Just sixteen countries played in the finals. Four groups of four and the top two from each group went into the quarter finals of what was then to become a knockout tournament. England were drawn in a group that included Uruguay, France and Mexico. The opening game against Uruguay ended up as a goalless draw and spirits were not exactly high. Bobby Moore was the only Hammer in the side that day. Brazil had won the previous two finals and they had the best player in the World – Pele. They won their first game against Bulgaria but were then ushered out at the Group stage at the hands of Hungary and Portugal. The Bulgarians and Portuguese were blamed for “kicking Pele out of the game.” The sight of the great man trudging off the pitch with an overcoat thrown around him is still one that is etched in the memory. England, with Moore and Peters in the side then went on to beat both France and Mexico by two goals to nil which set up a quarter final against Argentina. In other major games the unknown North Korean side ousted Italy 1-0 in one of the shocks of the tournament. It is often forgotten that the Italian captain went off injured with an hour to play and they played the majority of game with ten men. No substitutes back in those days. However, it did not stop the unforgiving Italian fans from hurling rotten tomatoes at their players when they arrived back home at Genoa airport!

The quarter final between England and Argentina was a bad tempered affair, but it was where West Ham started to make an impact. Jimmy Greaves had been injured and Geoff Hurst got his chance in the England side and for the first time in the tournament we had three Hammers in the England line up. Tensions were rising and early in the second half the Argentine captain, Antonio Rattin, was sent off by the German referee but refused to go. It took ten minutes of turmoil before the game finally restarted. England won the game by the only goal. A near post cross from Martin Peters for Geoff Hurst to head home was a trademark move at West Ham. Such was the animosity of the game that Alf Ramsey famously stopped his players from the traditional swapping of shirts after the game. “Our best football will come against the team which comes out to play football, and not to act as animals” he would say after the game. Most back pages the following day just screamed “animals.” It was this day that led to today’s fierce rivalry between the two Nations where England is only second to Brazil in Argentina’s football hate relationships.

As England moved into the semi-final stage the West Ham trio of captain Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst had all but cemented their places in the team. Pele was expected to be the star of the World Cup but it was Eusabio of Portugal who had become the most feared striker in the competition. Portugal had survived a massive shock in the quarter final against North Korea. The Koreans had raced into a three goal lead within 25 minutes only to concede the next five goals in a thriller. Eusabio scored four of the goals and almost singlehandedly won the game for Portugal. On the other side of the draw West Germany were in the last four against the Soviet Union who had the much revered Lev Yashin in goal for them. At the time, Yashin was considered by many to be the best goalkeeper in the history of the game. The Germans with the outstanding youngster Franz Beckenbauer in their side won by two goals to one.

Manchester United’s diminutive Nobby Stiles was given the job of shackling Eusabio in the semi-final and he did a fine job. His Old Trafford team mate Bobby Charlton scored twice before a Eusabio penalty made life very interesting in the final ten minutes. But England did triumph and a team containing three West Ham players were destined for a World Cup final against West Germany at Wembley Stadium. Little did we know then that West Ham were about to make football history.


West Ham turnover soars to over £111m

The premier league have confirmed West ham United will receive £73,207,049 from TV income this season under the terms of the new broadcast rights deal.

That puts West Ham 12th in the money league this season despite finishing 13th. West ham received a merit payment of £9.9m for finishing 13th as each league place earns £1,236,083 per place. They also received a massive £52m as an equal share that every other premier league club received. The £52m payment is made up of £21,631,444 from Sky/BT Sports for the domestic TV rights, £26,295,817 for overseas TV rights and a further £4,270,850 from premier league central commercial sponsorship funds.

When you add this TV Income to the estimated £18m in ticket sales, £14m in commercial activities and £6m in retail sales it means we should receive around £111m in income this season up from just under £90m last season including a £10.5m loan from the chairman.

Although West Ham’s financial year finishes on the 31st May we won’t get to see the actual accounts until January 2015 but it could improve if west ham have improved retail and commercial sales this season.

It will be interesting what we do with extra £21m of income over the summer transfer window and the coming season.

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