Talking Point

Alou Diarra Comeback?

Alou Diarra is poised to return to first team action after originally being ruled out for the rest of the season after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in August.

Diarra needed needed surgery after injuring his knee in the Capital One Cup 2-1 win over Cheltenham. After making it through three West Ham Development games it is claimed he is now in the first team squad and available for selection for the Chelsea home match. Diarra, played 90 minutes in West Ham 9-0 win over Gillingham game on Tuesday and said after the match ‘I am happy to now be doing my job, playing football, and my recovery has been amazingly quick’. He also played in West Ham XI friendly against Millwall on Friday.

West Ham are believed to have paid a fee of around £2.5 million in August 2012 for Diarra from Marseille who were keen to get his hefty £60,000 a week wages of their books. By January this year his days seemed numbered after he claimed he was lied to by West Ham & agents.

After just five appearances in a West Ham shirt, Diarra claimed he was deceived by West Ham when they tried to lure him to Upton Park in the summer.

‘The speeches were so positive,’ Diarra told L’Equipe. ‘I was told that I was a priority for the manager’ ‘At 31-years-old, I wanted to find another league, and Marseille needed to reduce their wage bill, so it suited everyone ‘It was England, London, West Ham, a popular club with a true identity. It was an opportunity to settle in the Premier League. I did not ask, I trusted ‘After a few weeks, I realised that there were a lot of lies. This agent has fooled me. Some people have made money on my back.
Admittedly, I have three year contract but I’m not unhappy financially, but I came to play, not to take an early retirement. I am positively at breaking point.’

Allardyce responded at the time saying “It is a fact of life, I look at the situation and play what I consider the best team, and because of Alou’s long-standing injury he has found it hard to adjust to what is needed in the Premier League. If he is unhappy, he just has to tell me what he wants to do and we’ll see how we go from there. We’ll have that discussion and we’ll make a decision after that on his future.”

Not long after these exchange of words in the media he was shipped out to Rennes on a six month loan and his West Ham career seemed at an end.

However, pre-season he was back seemed ready to make peace with West Ham. He told the club website “I want to fight this season with West Ham, I’ll give 100 per cent in training and I’ll wait for my chance.I want to give my best for West Ham and we’ll see. I’m ready to play in the Premier League now.Pre-season has gone well. We work hard every day, and we’ve only lost one game so it has been a good start for us”

The question is where exactly will Diarra fit back into the team and is he likely to be given a chance to repay some of the estimated £5 million we have invested in transfer fees and wages?

Talking Point

England and the International Breaks

Increasingly over the last few years, I have heard and read that the average English football fan is becoming less and less interested in the National side. I know some fans that do not even watch England play any more. I guess those of us that were lucky and old enough to watch the 1966 World Cup success can at least say we have seen them win something. Especially for the younger generation, it has been a long hard road since then for England. Back in that era and beyond, the England friendly and competitive qualifying games were played midweek and were sandwiched between the domestic games played at 3pm on a Saturday. There were no International breaks to endure and the players involved would have little rest and even less time to settle into new surroundings. The definition of the International break was to help our National sides personnel blend in together and acclimatise away from their domestic scene. It was to give support to the National teams manager and give him more time with the players. Back in the sixties and early seventies the England games were rarely shown live on TV and sometimes not at all despite the general football public craving it. Back in those days the English football fan did support and want to see England play and win. They did want to see their own teams players play for their country. It was a badge of honour as our club should know more than most. After all, wasn’t it West Ham that really won the World Cup in ‘66?

But fast forward to today and often the matches are shrugged off by the fans and players. Nowadays, many fans do not want to see their teams players picked for fear of injury or burnout. How many times have we seen England players pull out of the friendly matches, to only make miraculous recoveries to play for their domestic clubs soon after? Is it this perceived nonchalant approach to playing for your country that has turned the fan off or perhaps the dismal record of not even reaching a major final for nearly 50 years? Is supporting West Ham or any other club for that matter, much more important than the National team? I guess the question must be asked in an article of this nature. What would you prefer – West Ham to win the Premier League or England to win the World Cup?

But back to the International breaks themselves. This is the third one already this season and I am sure there will be those who say it is required when less than a year from a World Cup. Here we are though, half way through November and the Hammers have played just eleven League games. The stop start nature of it all can make you stir crazy! What has made it worse for us is that two of the breaks have followed our worst two performances of the season – a home loss to Stoke and an away capitulation at Norwich. To have to suffer two weeks of getting over those two events is like a judge doubling your prison sentence. How great it was that the other International two week break followed our best game of the season. The 3-0 walloping of the Spuds! But even after a few days of wallowing in our own glory along came old ‘Arry who just had to divert our attention away to other less palatable matters.

So, how do we cope with International breaks and do we care about the National team? Whilst I have centred the topic towards England, this site does encompass fans from around the World so I am sure those fans may also have a viewpoint about their own country’s side and how important it ranks for them?

Talking Point

Gooner to join West Ham board as Managing Director

West Ham have recruited Arsenal’s Marketing Director Angus Kinnear to join the West Ham board as Managing Director from the new year. At Arsenal he was responsible for domestic and international marketing, the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium and making Arsenal a growing global brand in world football.

Previously, Angus worked in brand management at Procter & Gamble before heading up sports and youth marketing at Coca-Cola Great Britain, working with the Athens Olympic Games, UEFA European Football Championships, IRB Rugby World Cup and the Football League. Angus is also a board member of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Although he has been at Arsenal since 2004 I understand he is in fact a Luton Town fan. So maybe he is more of a ‘Hatter’ than a ‘Gooner’

Yesterday the club announced that “As Managing Director, Angus will join the Board and be responsible for the Club’s current and future Commercial and Sponsorship operations together with other specific areas relating to the Stadium migration.”

Angus Kinnear was quoted on “I am thrilled to be joining West Ham United. Opportunities to help lead a world-famous Club into an iconic new home do not come around often, so it was a challenge that was too good to turn down.”

Back in 2005 Marketing Magazine said of Angus “According to one ad agency boss, who worked with Kinnear at Coca-Cola, he has an easygoing nature, a penchant for Karaoke and a reputation as a ‘rebel and a hell-raiser’”


1996-2000: Brand manager, Laundry and Homecare, Procter & Gamble UK and Europe

2000-2002 Brand strategy consultant, Mountainview

2002-2004 Senior group brand manager, youth brands, Coca-Cola GB

2004-2010 Marketing manager, Arsenal Football Club

2010-2013 Marketing director, Arsenal Football Club

West Ham Commercial Director Departs
Barry Webber

West Ham’s current Commercial Director Barry Webber will become the new CEO of Stevenage Football Club in the new year it has also been announced.

Webber said in an article which can be found here “I have greatly enjoyed my time at West Ham and will leave with very fond memories of the club, the staff and the fans"

Barry was previously Commercial Director at Newcastle United as well as Sport Commercial Manager at AEG Sponsorship and Sponsorship Sales at the International Tennis Federation before joining West Ham.

He becomes one of the youngest CEO’s in the Football League at the age of 36.

Talking Point

Carlton Cole Slams Behind Closed Doors Game Video

Not sure THIS was Carlton Cole’s best career move…


Talking Point

Why don’t more women read West Ham Till I Die?

When I first joined the WHTID team, Iain asked me if I would address the issue of why I thought only 2-3% of the site’s readership was women. To be honest, the thought of having to write the blog scared me a bit. Firstly, you have to address why in 2013 football is still a game, a culture and an expectation undoubtedly dominated by men and boys. And this isn’t a simple answer in any sense of the word.

There’s a lot I could write about it, and in fact there are people more skilled than me out there who have researched and written about England, football and gender. They are smarter than me, you can read their stuff here. I think the issue is far too complex to answer in just one blog and the reasons are varied. No answer in one blog post is ever really going to address all of the factors that make WHTID primarily a boys club.

Secondly, I’ve written plenty on the internet about possible explanations for gender differences (my MA thesis was on gender stereotyping in election campaigns for goodness sake!) and I have first hand experience of how the subject provokes unbelievable responses from otherwise sensible people. Responses that are dismissive, responses that are abusive and responses that are take a lot of energy to be on the receiving end of. To say that I was wary of tackling the subject on a football blog was an understatement to say the least.

Finally, I thought that to actually do the answer any sort of justice, I’d have to be critical of the site and contributors to date, and I won’t do that. Contributing to any blog site regularly takes love, time and effort, especially when you don’t get paid for it! And this is a fantastic site, with some excellent, well-written, well-researched, informative contributions. So I was procrastinating…

Then my sister-in-law had her first baby (I know, I know, everyone I know is getting married or having kids!) and I wanted to buy a West Ham babygro for him. I went to the West Ham shop website, got the credit card ready and got excited to take the first step to become the favorite auntie who spoils him rotten.

I looked through the newborn selection under ‘Unisex’ and there were some cute sleep suits, some crappy looking t shirts with snowmen on and a selection of bibs with witty comments on them, mainly relating to bubbles or dribbling. Nothing that jumped out at me as amazing, but then again nothing that objectionable. I clicked on the ‘Boys’ tab, and at first glance, the items for sale seemed very much the same as those designed without gender in mind. The people in charge seem to think claret and blue camo is only for boys, but aside from that no discernable differences.

Unisex BabyGro

Then, out of sheer curiosity, I decided to have a look at what the powers that be have decided is suitable for West Ham fans to be dressing their daughters in. And that was when I decided that I needed to write this column.

BabyGirlsWHU Clothes

As you can see from the photo, there wasn’t a claret and blue item for sale to the newest female fans to join our West Ham community. Just pink. Lots of pink. Last time I checked we didn’t play in pink. Or leopard print (although this would be an interesting development for next season). None of the clothes for newborn girls even have the crest on them, just some crossed Hammers and ‘I heart WHU’ written on them. I’m not saying no pink, but why only pink?

They were not as bad however, as the other half of the range for our daughters, which carry the statements ‘Bling, Bling Bling’ and ‘Essex Princess’. Are you kidding me? What on earth does either of these things have to do with West Ham? (And if someone comments that we train in Essex, they get the smart arse award of the post).


I’m putting it to you, my fellow WHTID readers, that we could do so much better as a community to really make sure that our mums, wives and daughters feel like they are part of the West Ham family. It’s like we never really ever expect girls to become real fans, so when you do meet a woman who genuinely loves the Hammers, they get treated like an anomaly or weirdo. This happens in real life and online. I think if we actually started treated women like real fans from a younger age, then we’d eventually start changing the number of women who truly consider themselves to be West Ham Till they Die.

PS. I’m going to count this as the first in a series of articles which look at some of these issues, and hopefully be able to address Iain’s question but in a sensible way.

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