Talking Point

How Do We 'Play' The Cup Game?

The season continues into 2014 and not only are points becoming ever elusive, but it seems hardly a week goes by without another injury to our already depleted squad. And so it is off to Nottingham Forest for a 3rd round FA Cup tie this weekend. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that this game is definitely not one that Sam wants at this stage of the season. For the fans of a club like ours, Cup glory is all we have to play for each season if we have any illusions of winning anything. But of course, the other problem for Sam is we are already in a two legged semi-final of the League Cup against Manchester City and both games are scheduled for this month. That means seven games in just twenty eight days with a squad that is already stretched to the limit. I really do not think that Sam wants another Cup run on his plate?

However, if you are a half glass full sort of guy, this is a great opportunity at a time when we have so many youngsters that are knocking the door down to be given a chance. This weekends game also presents an opportunity to play, God forbid – TWO strikers! It could be even a time to play three at the back? The game against Forest should be used as a “free hit” to offer the line up of players who so far Sam has said “are not good enough” – “not experienced enough”. Much like Arsenal have done in the past to blood their young talent in the League Cup, they should also be told that they retain their places in the next Cup game should they win. Sometimes opportunities are taken at the least likely of times, and gems are produced when least expected.

Throw in a few recognised players to help steady the ship and who knows what might transpire? If Sam shuns this opportunity he is walking away from his responsibilities to nurture our young talent. A possible line up should look something like this; Adrian, Chambers, Ruddock, Diarra, Potts, Collison, Morrison, J Cole, Moncur, Lee, Maiga or Gordon. Oh, and by the way Sam – tell them to go for it!


Talking Point

What will the January transfer window hold for West Ham?

At the recent Season Ticket Holders’ forum a fan asked David Gold “What is the short term tactical plan to ensure our premier league status and does that include substantial investment in the January transfer window to address the striking issue we have got and the policy around a single striker which has failed”

David Gold answered “What I can promise you, is that everything that David Sullivan and myself can do to ensure that we can bring in the personnel to ensure we stay in the premier league. No stone will be left unturned, that I can ensure you 100%. We are working on it as we speak. I would like to think when day one of the window opens a deal will be done but equally it could be the last day. It would help if someone came in with a bid for one of our fringe players that we could survive without”

What was obvious from that night is West Ham’s preference will be for loan deals for strikers & defenders so talk of buying Rickie Lambert for £8m in the papers recently seem wide off the mark.

When you factor in Financial Fair Play we will be trying to get a proven striker and centre back while trying to balance the £52m wage bill and not spending up front money we haven’t got.

Sam recently told WHUFC.com ""I want as many players as I can get with the budget I’ve got which would probably be two That would have to be two quality players that we’d have to find.”

In the first two days of the transfer window Everton’s John Hetinga’s has allegedly turned us down in favor a move to Newcastle. The Daily Express claims we will make one final bid to Chelsea for a loan of Demba Ba. Other claims this year have us linked with Inter Milan strikers Ishak Belfoldil & Diego Milito, Roma striker Marco Borriello, Atletico Madrid forward Leo Baptistao and Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan. It has also been rumoured that Chelsea are interested in making a bid for Ravel Morrison, Liverpool may make a bid for Momo Diame and Harry wants Carlton Cole at QPR.

It is understood that before the transfer window we were talking to Tottenham about Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor but AVB’s sacking put an end to those talks. Everton’s Nikica Jelavic was also widely tipped to be Sam’s shopping list of strikers for Sullivan to attempt to get on loan.

The only one thing we can say for certain is we have signed Jaanai Gordon from Peterborough. Until it is confirmed on WHUFC.com I take all these rumours with a large pinch of salt. Let the silly season commence!


West Ham Assistant Manager Neil McDonald saying Big Sam’s phone is ringing non stop as he tries to get players in prior to the Fulham match


Poll

Poll Result: Your Team of the 2010s

So, this is how a 4-4-2 team would line up…

Jussi Jaaskelainen

Winston Reid
James Tomkins
Guy Demel
George McCartney

Mo Diame
Ravel Morrison
Mark Noble
Scot Parker

Demba Ba
Andy Carroll


Poll

Poll Result: 87% of Hammers Fans Want Rio to Come Home

OK, two poll results for you. First I asked if you thought we should try to re-sign Rio Ferdinand…

Yes 87%
No 13%

Second I asked how positive you felt about West Ham’s prospects in 2014. Bear in mind most people voted before the Fulham game!

Very positive 4%
Fairly positive 25%
Neutral 9%
Fairly negative 42%
Very negative 20%

And on a scale of 1 to a 100 where 100 is completely positive, you averaged 41 – slightly higher than I would have imagined. Interestingly that figure never changed more than one or two percentage points either way throughout the period the poll was open.

Discuss.


Talking Point

The Time is Now For a Decision on Big Sam

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you will know I have regularly backed Sam. I have written articles on it and have tweeted how I think he is has done a good job for us. He got us promoted in our first season down with a squad that had all its confidence and unity destroyed by the previous management. He then got us a 10th place finish in the premiership which was great for our first season back but perhaps it was this overachievement which lead to some of the problems this season.

I really am losing my faith at the moment and think we have to act fast. If we are to dismiss the manager it has to be now at the start of the window where a new man can come in and make a difference to the squad and bring in his own players. I am really worried that this season is beginning to replicate the disastrous Avram Grant reign. There are many similarities: beating Tottenham, Semi Finals of the League Cup, our main summer signing picking up a long term injury and the underperformance of the club captain being one of many.

I really hope I am not over reacting on the back of the defeat against Fulham but I have been thinking this for a while. Firstly we played a team who had just lost their last game 6-0 to Hull. I accept it was a changed line up but this is the sort of team we should really be going out to attack right from the start as their confidence would be very fragile. Let’s also take into account that we didn’t have any fit central defenders anyway so we couldn’t really hope to defend too well, so attack was the best form of defence. So for me he had to go with two up front in this game and he didn’t. We have a complete over reliance on one tactic which is largely based around a fit Andy Carroll of course which we don’t have!

Carlton Cole should have started this game. We all know he has dodgy knees and that fitness can be an issue for him. He was however subbed off against WBA and so could have been started today. He has a great scoring record against Fulham, which their defenders and fans would have been aware of, so they were probably delighted he was on the bench. I would have started with him and Maiga up top.

The other concerning issue for me to come out of the Fulham game is the Kevin Nolan situation. Our captain had a good game against WBA and I hoped he would build on it. This season he has really struggled, admittedly he plays better off a big target man but the bottom line is there has been games when he should not have been selected to start or should have been subbed off earlier. Sam clearly sees Nolan has his most important player and his voice on the pitch. I saw someone on twitter describe him as “a manager in a kit” which I thought did sum up a lot of his games this season. Sam and the club have been badly let down by our “leader” today. What Kevin Nolan did today is quite simply appalling from a club captain in such a crucial game! When the manager is let down that badly by his captain you have to question what is actually going on at the club.

We then have the off pitch problem with James Tomkins and apparent bust ups with players, the latest apparently being Ravel Morrison. How much of this is Sam’s fault?!, I don’t know, but one thing for certain at the moment is that there is a lot of negative press going around about the club at the moment. A new man could certainly change that in the short term.

There is the summer gamble of putting “all our eggs in one basket” – a quote attributed to David Gold when buying Andy Carroll. I wanted us to sign him and was delighted when we did. What I don’t understand is how he passed a medical when he was apparently injured in the last game of the season! This is not necessarily Sam’s fault but our failure to land another striker has been a huge problem. I love Carlton Cole and am delighted he is back and scoring but the whole situation of him being released and then being brought back was a bit embarrassing for everyone involved.

Sam has been extremely unlucky with injuries without doubt, some referring decisions and players underperforming. Not all the blame can be put solely at Sam’s feet and I do feel for him at times and I am not really convinced on what the alternative is.

It just seems to me that in recent weeks it appears it is going to be very hard to turn this situation around. The keeper rotation of recent weeks was very odd in my opinion too as neither’s confidence could have been particularly helped by being dropped for games. I am not sure what was really gained by those decisions. I have already mentioned the defensive tactic today was a surprise but the team sheet was too. The midfield just didn’t set up right for me today and in my opinion Jarvis had a great game against WBA. He should have started today to build on the last performance.

I am probably speaking from my heart and not my head here. I think Sam has done a very good job for us and if he leaves tomorrow I will be grateful for what he has done for the club. I just feel the chairmen have a very important decision to make now and hiding behind “it will cost too much to sack him” is not an acceptable excuse. It will cost us far more if we get relegated I can assure them of that! One things for certain I couldn’t have predicted we would be in such a bad way at this point of the season, I had us down to finish 8th!! I hate speaking about the club I love in such a negative way but I really needed a medium to vent my frustrations and hope to report on more positive things in future weeks on here and my twitter account where I try to bring up to date transfer news!


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