Talking Point

Can Ravel Morrison make the World Cup Squad?

What a few weeks for Ravel Morrison. He makes his West Ham debut, rattles in a few goals, scores a spectacular effort against Tottenham, gets picked for the England Under 21s, makes his debut in San Marino and then scores two goals last night against Lithuania. It doesn’t get a lot better than that.

Before virtually every World Cup finals there is always one young player who manages to fight his way into the squad. In 1990 it was Gazza. Could it be Ravel Morrison in 2014?

There’s no doubt that there will be some stiff competition for midfield places and there are plenty of players ahead of him, but if his season carries on like this he will be difficult to avoid. I just hope Sal and the senior players can keep his feet on the ground. Even the most level headed player might get his head turned by the kind of publicity young Ravel is getting, I suppose, but how he reacts to the current dollop of plaudits will go a long way to informing us as to whether he is the real deal or not.

It was great to see England put on a real show last night and play with the kind of flair which has so often been lacking. Andros Townsend proved that his debut wasn’t just a one off and ran Poland ragged down the right, while Wayne Rooney put in the kind of performance that we wondered if we might ever see again. OK, defensively we looked somewhat frail at times, and Joe Hart always makes me nervous, but when we were attacking we looked very classy indeed. I thought Leighton Baines, when attacking, did more than Ashley Cole has done in his last ten games. He gives us real width and is able to put in the kind of slide-rule dangerous balls which strikers love to get on the end of. I thought Danny Wellbeck looked very good last night, even if his final control often lets him down. Perhaps he is the one who is vulnerable to a Ravel Morrison challenge.


Nostalgia

Billy Bonds, Six foot two, Eyes of Blue

There have been many legends over time at our wonderful club, but I doubt any of them would have had a bigger heart than Billy Bonds? Playing nearly 800 first team games in a span of 21 years, Billy played in several positions including right back, right wing, midfield, central defence and even as a forward on occasions under Ron Greenwood. He of course would go on to manage the club after his playing career for four eventful years which saw two promotions and one relegation.

It is impossible to cover Billy’s fantastic career at West Ham in one short article, so I thought a look back at some of his early comments after he first joined the club would suffice today. Bill joined the Hammers from Charlton in 1967 for a figure just shy of 50 thousand pounds. After playing in Ken Brown’s testimonial he made his league debut against Sheffield Wednesday in the opening game of the 1967-8 season. He was an immediate club favourite for his overlapping runs from right back where he and winger Harry Redknapp formed a great playing relationship. Young Bill was clean shaven and had tidy hair but as time passed we would get to know and love his long hair, bearded, swashbuckling style that would become a fearsome sight for the opposition.

Billy’s first impression of West Ham was that the side gave away goals too easily. He was once quoted as saying “There isn’t anyone around to get hold of us. That’s what we need. There is not enough talking on the field. I talk, and so does Alan Stephenson. But West Ham players have too much respect. They think everyone is capable of doing a job” Billy went on to say how much he admired Ron Greenwood, Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst before saying that despite reputations, his respect never led him to be frightened of anyone in the game. He told of Ron Greenwood demanding that West Ham players never hurt or try to hurt any opponent whilst it was evident that many other teams had players that would deliberately chop or hack down opponents if they thought it necessary. Billy said around the time, “there is a lot of dirty play in today’s game – It’s “in” you might say”.

West Ham in those days were highly regarded as a footballing team but one that would also let the opposition play. The Hammers on song could beat anyone on the planet but the soft edge to the side would often see our dreams fade and die as more uncompromising teams often took advantage. Eventually, Billy would go on to provide a new steel on the field that West Ham were missing, but it would take time. His seventh game for West Ham was to unveil the soft belly he was talking about. A 3-0 lead at Upton Park against Stoke was turned incredibly into a 4-3 defeat. In his early days Billy’s worst footballing moment came with the 3-0 FA Cup defeat at 3rd division Mansfield in 1969. Not only was this one of the biggest cup shocks of all time, but the Mansfield coach that day, Jock Basford, was also the coach that “discovered” Billy in his early days. Jock told Billy after the game that Mansfield’s tactics were simple. Throw the long ball into the penalty area whenever and as often as they could – West Ham can’t deal with that.

But Billy would have better times ahead in his career. He was six foot two and had eyes of blue………


Player Analysis

(Sort of) New Signing: Carlton Cole Statistics

Carlton Cole Stats

DOB: 12/10/1983
Age: 30
Position: Striker

Previous Club: West Ham United
Previous Division: Premier League

Transfer Date: 14/10/2013
Reported Fee: Free Transfer

Depending on who you’re talking to, the re-signing of Carlton Cole on a three month contract, a little over four months since he departed the club on a free transfer, is either an embarrassment – a sign of a shambolic transfer window -, or the club doing what the set out to do.

Back in June, if Carlton had signed a new contract, we’d signed Andy Carroll, and added Mladen Petric, I think most people would have been pretty pleased with that business. Whilst the end result is that we have all three of those players, I think it’s safe to say that the order and manner in which these transfers took place is typical West Ham United!

Despite the fact that many feel this signing unnecessary given the outstanding strikerless victory against Spurs the other week, the addition of a Carlton Cole does a couple of important things.

Firstly, it gives us another game plan. We can now play with the ‘False 9’ in Morrison and Diamé. We can play with a small striker in to feet with Petric. We can now play with a big man. We can now pair little and large and go with two up top. Whether he’s the best striker in the world or not (he’s not, by the way) Carlton gives us another string to our bow in Andy Carroll’s continued absence.

The second thing that this transfer does, and this is something that 99% of fans will be pleased about, is that it pushed Modibo Maiga one place further down the pecking order to start as a lone striker.

So what can we expect from Carlton?

Head to West Ham United Stats for my full analysis of Carlton Cole – including a look at his West Ham United goalscoring record, and what he offers that Maiga doesn’t.

hammerstats
COYI


Financial

Ravel Morrison’s Complicated Contract

Back in January 2012 Matt Lawton published a story in the Daily Mail saying Ravel Morrison, then age 18 demanded £30,000 per week despite making only 3 first team appearances at the time. The story went on to say Sir Fergie described his demands as ‘unrealistic’ and were said to have counter offered at £12,000 a week.
In response Morrison tweeted “I have never 1s [sic] turned down a contract off united”

A story in the Guardian by Jamie Jackson on the January transfer deadline day of 2012 suggested the Deal to bring Ravel Morrison to West Ham was an initial feel £650,000 with up to £2m of add-ons. It was also claimed there is no buy-back option for Manchester United and claimed agents involved in the transfer were demanding a fee of around £1m.

The story said his wages would start in the region of £10,000 to £15,000 a week, potentially rising to £65,000 depending on a certain number of Premier League starts.

Last week in the Sun it was suggested Ravel Morrison had a £19 million buy out clause into his contract. They allege he insisted on the buy out clause himself when he signed his West Ham contract.

This was followed up by Darren Lewis in the Mirror suggesting West ham will offer Ravel Morrison a new deal in January and attempt to remove the £19 million buy out clause.

Yesterday fresh claims were made by David Kent in the Daily Mail. The story believes there is a complicated release clause in Morrison’s current contract which amounts to more than £20 million. The big new claim is that West ham have to make a £25,000 payment every time Ravel Morrison makes a first team appearance for us. At eight appearances so far that adds up to £200,000 with many more to come in the very near future.There is speculation that the deal was structured this way rather than pay Manchester United’s original asking price of £3m.

David Gold seems to have rubbished the existence of a buy out clause for Morrison on twitter. When asked ‘Does Ravel Morrision have a buy out clause like Diame?’ Gold answered No he doesn’t dg’

However David Gold seems to have confirmed the existence of the £25K per game fee on twitter. When someone commented it was until we reach £1m David replied. “i think your’e right. I will check tomorrow. dg”

This is what Sam Allardyce told the press recently: “I don’t know if there is a buy-back clause and what that figure might be if it even exists, but my real big worry is that Manchester United will come back to buy him. Look at what happened when Chris Smalling played a handful of games for Fulham – United jumped in with £10 million. Then there was Phil Jones when I was at Blackburn – that’s what you are up against.”

An article in Goal.com today claimed a source close to club said talks on a new contract would not be held until the end of the season, The source was quoted as saying:

“We won’t be holding talks on a new contract until near or the end of this season, Were we to go to him now, it’s unlikely he would want to talk. Like us, he wants to see where he is at the end of the season. We will then know how many goals he’s scored, where he stands as a player, the impact he’s had on things, the number of assists he’s provided and everything else.At that point we can put exactly the right contract before him which includes the necessary provisions for his future potential.”

With his recent wonder goal against Spurs and his England Under 21 call up I am sure he is going to fill a lot of column inches in the papers for the foreseeable future.


Parish Notice

Parish Notice: S J Chandos

Some of you have emailed me asking why SJ Chandos hasn’t posted on the site for a couple of weeks.

I’m sorry to report that SJ has been in hospital with a serious heart condition. However, I am pleased to report that he has come through a very long operation and is on the road to a full recovery. It will be some weeks before he will be well enough to resume posting here, but I am sure he will be dipping in and reading all our various rantings.

I am sure his recovery will be hastened by all our good wishes. SJ, we look forward to your return, almost as much as look forward to Andy Carroll’s!

Get well soon, mate.


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