Guest Post

Open Letter: I Cannot Be Optimistic About West Ham's Future

From Tim Lovegrove

Dear Iain,

I have become increasingly concerned at the plight our of club, and have written a letter detailing my concerns about our Transfer Policy. Would it be possible for you to forward this Letter to David Sullivan?

I have been reading West Ham Till I Die for many years, although I rarely post. I write now, as a West Ham fan of many years as I feel completely disappointed and somewhat puzzled again at our Transfer Activity, not only in this window, but in previous windows under the current board.

The signing of Marco Borriello, a 31 year old who has scored 1 goal this season, to solve our goal scoring problems I find quite frankly unbelievable. Considering our struggle to score goals stretches way back into last season, our failure to rectify this problem again leaves me very unoptimistic for the future. I would be surprised if this player scored even a goal for our beloved club. What further irritates me is our failure to land any striker we seem to go for. From quality players such as Lacina Traore and Kostas Mitroglau this January, to Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba in the summer to name just a few, our club continuously loses out to others clubs on strikers. Our board seem so desperate to pursue loan signings to save money that we are always destined to sign players not of adequate standard.

Whilst I totally understand that signing players is an incredibly difficult business, it appears other clubs do not find it as difficult as we do. I shall use Fulham as an example. Despite being below us in the Barclays Premier League, they have managed to secure Johnny Heitinga from Everton, who rejected us based on league position. Likewise, they have signed Kostas Mitroglau from Olympiakos, a proven goalscorer, which proves that quality players will join clubs in a relegation battle. Also, if our interest in the player was genuine, why did we wait until 31st January to declare an interest given our longstanding failure to score goals? Equally, if we were prepared to spend £12m on this player, why could these funds not be spent elsewhere on other players of similar quality?

I list below all the striker signed by David Sullivan and David Gold during their time at West Ham:

1. Benni McCarthy
2. Araujo Ilan
3. Mido
4. Freddie Piquionne
5. Victor Obinna
6. Demba Ba
7. Robbie Keane
8. John Carew
9. Sam Baldock
10. Nicky Maynard
11. Modibo Maiga
12. Andy Carroll
13. Marouane Chamakh
14. Wellington Paulista
15. Mladen Petric
16. Marco Borriello

Can anyone realistically look at this list of strikers and claim any of them have been a long-term success in terms of scoring goals? Whilst I was delighted that we signed Andy Carroll, that signing now appears a misjudgement, based on the large fee paid and his injury record. Based on the above list, I would like our board to review their policy of signing large numbers of cheap strikers, and focus on paying good money, like Fulham have with Mitroglu, for quality players.

Whilst Pablo Armero is a player I look forward to seeing play at Upton Park, the signing of Roger Johnson, from League One Wolves, and a player with 3 relegations on his CV leaves much to be desired. Whilst Antonio Nocerrino is a good player, I would question his aptitude for a 15 game battle for our Premier League lives. Indeed, I eagerly anticipate how many games he will actually start for West Ham United. Given Sam Allardyce’s continuous selection of Kevin Nolan, I would be surprised if became a regular in our side. This signing is yet again evidence of the short-termism that seems to have developed at Upton Park under our current board. With the exception of Andy Carroll, there have been little, long-term investments in our team. Also, our reluctance to sign younger players means our long term future does not appear bright.

Whilst I question Sam Alladyce’s suitability to continue as West Ham manager based on results this season, and the signings he has made, I also believe the board’s failure to back him with anything more than a loan signing in this window is not only extremely disappointing for supporters, but shows a reluctance to back the manager. Whilst of course the manager is responsible for our failure in the transfer market, demonstrated again by Razvan Rat’s release just 6 months after signing, the limited finance he has had available, means he has been forced to sign players perhaps he ideally would not want to. Given the increased revenue in the Premier League with the new TV deal, our lack of spending is all the more disappointing.

Whilst I will support the team passionately throughout the challenging games that await us, I personally feel the current board’s short-term approach, with a reluctance to spend money on quality additions to the squad, leaves us in an extremely perilous position. As a keen reader of West Ham Til I Die, a site I believe in general provides fair and honest debate about West Ham, I believe my views are shared by many supporters. I would like the board to reconsider their transfer policy whatever the outcome at the end of the season to concentrate on quality signings for the long term to really give our club a sustained and bright future in the Premier League. Otherwise I foresee continued troubles for the club we all love for years to come.

Yours sincerely

Tim Lovegrove

Talking Point

Chico Flores - The Original Copper-Bottomed Shit

Here’s the incident between Andy Carroll and Chico Flores. Sam Allardyce has confirmed the red card will be appealed. It’s worth watching the video of his post match interview (scroll down, it’s on the right). Flores is a talented defender but he’s also a dirty player who delights in play acting. He did it to Carlton Cole the last time we played Swansea, an incident which caused Sam Allardyce to laugh in his face. To quote a Tory friend of mine, Flores is the very definition of a copper-bottomed shit. Given his track record he should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

Match Report

Match Report: West Ham 2 Swansea City 0

Click HERE to rate the performance of the players who played against Swansea.

Job done. Almost perfectly. This match starts a run of four games in which we need to look at taking at least eight or nine points. It was a steely, dogged performance and once in which we looked like a team which believed in itself. All parts of the team performed well, and it’s not often you could say that this season. The highlights were clearly the two Kevin Nolan goals, both created by Andy Carroll. It was good to see the old telepathic understanding between them returning so qucikly after Andy Carroll returned from his long-term injury.

We all know what the lowlight was. Because of the way he plays, Andy Carroll will always be prone to getting bookings and being sent off, but this was an unlucky sending off. Chico Flores is the dirtiest defender in the Premier League and it’s a shame Howard Webb was taken in by his histrionics, but he saw a deliberate arm in the face and felt he had no alternative but to produce a red card. The replay shows that it is at least arguable if it was deliberate but Flores certainly did get a knock in the face. I wonder whether it will be appealed. It certainly ought to be. Obviously it’s a blow if he is to sit out the next three games, but at least we now have two strikers to replace him.

Defensively I thought James Collins put in another superb performance, as did James Tomkins. Demel looks to be back at his best and McCartney was solid too. Adrian didn’t really have a shot to save to be honest and was never really tested. Our eleventh clean sheet of the season was totally deserved.

Matty Taylor put in another solid performance and Mark Noble controlled the midfield, as he invariably does. Both wingers piled in the crosses and Andy Carroll got on the end of most of them. Indeed Andy Carroll won absolutely everything in the air and for me was man of the match.

A word about Kevin Nolan. Like many on this site, I have been critical of him this season, but this was a true captain’s performance which was rewarded by two excellently taken goals. The first one in particular was very well taken. Well done to him.

We can go into the Villa game with every confidence.

Adrian 7
Demel 7
Collins 8
Tomkins 7
McCartney 6
Noble 8
Nolan 8
Taylor 7
Carroll 8
Downing 6
Jarvis 6
Cole 6

UPDATE: Michael Laudrup just said he didn’t think Andy Carroll deserved a red card. Fair play to him.

Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Swansea City

Please use this thread to comment on the game as it progresses.

Team: Adrian, McCartney, Nolan ©, Tomkins, Jarvis, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, Collins, Demel, Downing
Subs Jaaskelainen, Reid, Morrison, C.Cole, Johnson, Borriello, Nocerino

Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Swansea City

This really is a must win game. Swansea have been on the slide recently but they did manage to beat Hull in mid week so their tails will be up. They have badly missed Michu’s goals this season. But they are a great team to watch and play a lovely passing game. The sort of passing game we used to be renowned for. We need to rediscover our scoring boots this afternoon and it would be good to see Andy Carroll get off the mark.

The most difficult part of today’s selection comes in midfield. If we take it that Noble and Nolan are givens (personally I’d play Morrison over Nolan, but Sam will never drop his captain) who will get the third slot. It ought to be Morrison given that Diame is injured, but I suspect Nocerino will start the game so we can see what he is made of.

I dread to think what the comments will be like on her after the game if we emerge with anything less than three points, so let’s hope we do!


UPDATE: Team: Adrian, McCartney, Nolan ©, Tomkins, Jarvis, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, Collins, Demel, Downing
Subs Jaaskelainen, Reid, Morrison, C.Cole, Johnson, Borriello, Nocerino

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