Hammers Secure Snodgrass

It’s confirmed. Robert Snodgrass is officially a West Ham United player, and I for one could not be more pleased. He oozes quality, he’s incredibly skillful, and what’s more, scores more than his fair share of goals. He is also quite capable of scoring the kind of free kicks which Payet specialises, sorry, specialised in. Forget talk of a £10 million fee. It’s £6 million with add ons. The only way £10 million could be achieved is if we qualified for the Champions League.

I understand the intention is for Snodgrass to play on the right, allowing Antonio to move up front alongside Andy Carroll. I’m sure Sofiane Feghouli will be disappointed by this signing, but I suspect he will be the only one. Nothing wrong with a big of competition, is there.

Robert Snodgrass has been speaking to…

“I’m delighted because this is a massive Club with great tradition. This is the sort of Club which speaks for itself, the fans who come here and support week-in week-out and moving to and selling out this new stadium is terrific and I want to be part of it. The owners and the manager are trying to build something here and I just can’t wait to get started. I feel this is a Club with real ambition, with the new stadium, great players and a manager of his calibre at Premier League level. The lads will say we want to be up in the top half of last table and repeat last year, so it’s up to us. The Club has had a few good weeks with results and if I can add to that, great. I’m just looking forward to meeting my new teammates and getting started. The traditions of the Club also attracted me and I spoke to Frank McAvennie, who sold the Club really well, which was great," he said. “Ray Stewart and Christian Dailly were also here, so if I can do as well as Frank and the rest that would be great. This is my own chapter and it’s about me and not them and I firmly believe in my ability and that I can go and get a relationship with these fans and my new teammates and really drive the team up the league.”

Snodgrass has played 21 times for Scotland, scoring 6 goals. He has played 371 league games, scoring 78 goals, a ratio of a goal every 4.75 games.


EXCLUSIVE: Payet's Wife Is Still at Home in Chigwell!

TRANSFER UPDATE: It’s finally happened!

One of the reasons given for Dimitri Payet wishing to go back to Marseille was the fact that his wife hated life in England and had gone back to live on Marseille. It was hinted that there were relationship difficulties and the only way for Payet to save his marriage was to return from whence he came.

All media outlets swallowed this as if it were the gospel truth. The trouble is, it was bollocks, or as we know it as nowadays, spin. Or fake news, put about by an unscrupulous agent who thought it would encourage us all to have some personal sympathy with his traitorous client.

It is a fact – and I have witnesses – that Dimitri Payet’s wife is still in England and has been all along. She’s still living at their home in Chigwell and according to locals, seems perfectly happy there. It is a lie that she has packed her bags and skidaddled back to France.

Delighted to set the record straight.

Talking Point

Who Are We? I Just Don't Know Anymore...

Guest Post by Russell

Last season the club seemed to have found some direction with the appointment of Slaven Bilic as manager, Payet and Lanzini the silky players bringing back the good old days of entertaining football added to several hardworking, good quality players throughout the team.

Until the last few games we had a great chance of finishing in a heady 4th place and qualifying for the Champions League. We missed it by a whisker but based on what we had seen the future looked incredibly bright and with a few tweeks to the squad progress would be maintained.

Before the season was finished the owners were lavishly praising the efforts of Slaven and the team and promising quality signings in the summer to push us to even greater heights, Bacca, Lacazette, Bacca, Batshuayi, Bacca, Yilmaz, Bacca, Zaza etc the list of high quality forwards was endless, the world for once was our oyster. These were the type of players we needed to signal in the new beginning at the world class London Stadium, of course they would love to come who wouldn’t, for any centre forward the draw of playing alongside one of the best players in the world to provide the ammunition would be too good to turn down.

And now just 6 months on and it has all inexplicably changed and its left me confused as to the direction the club is taking and who we are, in my mind the clarity of direction we had at the end of last season has become a muddle and a mess.

If our ambition is to push for the top 4/6 and showcase world class players then why are we bidding for players like Snodgrass, Defoe and Hogan? These are not what we were signing up for in the world class stadium, these players are surely for teams with less heady ambitions like Stoke, West Brom, Bournemouth, who don’t have the ambition of our owners so why are we competing with them on transfers?

OK, we will lose Payet but with the money we get for him and the money we save on Zaza and the rest surely we should be buying replacements of a high level. Are we a club pushing to be in that top 4/6 or a club happy with mid table obscurity? We cant expect to hit those heady heights of last season again with bargain basement players so can anyone explain who we actually are and what we are aiming for because I don’t know anymore.

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Guest Post

Ivan Perisic: the man that Slav made

Guest post by Aleksandar Babac

NOTE FROM ZAMAN: The author writes from a Croatian perspective on the potential signing of Ivan Perisic. He is also the creator of the largest West Ham-based Croatian Facebook page.

“I was very honoured when Slaven Bilic called me for my first international duty with the Croatian national team – it was just a month after my 22nd birthday. A month later, for my second cap, Slaven put me into the starting XI for a friendly against France. Slaven showed me that he counted on me and I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.”

With those chosen words, Ivan Perisic, the world class Inter Milan left-winger, spoke about Slaven Bilic. Croatian fans and newspapers are absolutely delighted about the possibility that Slaven could line up an ambitious move for the experienced 27 year-old, who could become only the sixth Croat in the Claret and Blue jersey. He will take the place of Payet.

However, in the last few days, media from Croatia, France, and Spain have said that the move is very unlikely to take place. Internazionale Milano must sell some players in accordance with Financial Fair Play rules, and they are ready to sacrifice Ivan Perisic on whom they have already put a price tag of €40M.

But just who is Ivan Perisic? Well, he is one of the best Croatian players at the moment and is a star for Inter. This fast, powerful, and skillful left winger is very strong in aerial duels. On top of that, he is good on both feet.

Ivan was born in Split (the second-largest city of Croatia) and started his youth career in Hajduk Split… just like our very own Slav! He was just 17 when he moved to Sochaux in Ligue 1. Four years later in 2011, he was the top league scorer playing for Club Brugge at the time, and received the best player award in the Belgian Jupiler League.

After Slaven’s call to the Croatian National team, Ivan established himself as irreplaceable member of the Croatian team earning 55 caps and scoring 16 goals. Under Slaven’s command, Ivan participated at EURO 2012 playing in the group matches. Scoring six goals in the EURO 2016 qualifying round, Perisic become Croatia’s top scorer in qualification adding two more in the tournament, which included the winner against Spain.

Bilic actually “invented” Ivan Perisic, and there is a strong bond between them. Ivan’s style of play is the product of Hajduk’s youth academy which he joined in 2000. At the time, Slaven was the manager of the club. Croatian fans simply adore Ivan Perisic, as well as Slav! In 2014, Croatian supporters officially gave him the Vatrena Krila – an award for the “Best and Biggest Hearted Player”. In the same year, Slaven won the lifetime achievement award.

But it is not just Croatian fans who adore him. He is often booked for his rather passionate goal celebrations with the fans… and keep in mind he scores a lot of goals, so the cards do pile up! During his eight seasons spent at Clubb Brugge, Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, and Inter Milan, he has scored 72 league goals in 235 matches, which statistically makes him more effective than the money-grabbing snake.

Whilst the chances of us actually signing him are slim to none, there is a sense of optimism here that Slaven will do all he possibly can to bring Perisic to the East End of London. George Dobson will have to make way with his no. 44 shirt for the new marquee signing!

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Talking Point

The Stadium Ownership - The Way Forward

Blind Hammer looks at a strategy for resolving the Stadium issues.

At the time of writing the BBC are to about to broadcast yet another hostile program which will apparently demonstrate how West Ham is fleecing the tax payer.

It is increasingly obvious that there are issues around the financing of the Stadium deal, but it is also obvious that little if any of the responsibility for the difficulties can be laid at West Ham’s door. This piece may actually appear after the program but is written without sight of the issues they raise so you should read with this caveat in mind.

However it is likely that the program will focus on the Achilles heel of the stadium project, the cost of the construction and deconstruction of the retractable seating.

The issues about the retractable seating are likely to be complex in detail but can be summarised I believe as follows.
1. The original tender lodged by the successful company for delivering the retractable seating was incompetent and should never have survived the scrutiny of the LLDC bidding process. The company claiming to be able to deliver the movable seating collapsed under the ineptitude of their plan and went into liquidation.

2. The actual cost of delivering genuine retractable seating is apparently eye watering, involving, according to reports I have seen, major sums dealing with what is apparently still contaminated land underneath the Stadium.

3. The consequent situation is that instead of a retractable seating arrangement we have a Jerry rigged construction and de-construction project of building and taking down stands every year which according to Claret and Hugh now costs £8 million a year.

This is I believe, the heart of the claim that West Ham are benefiting from a “rent free” stadium, the cost of the moving of the retractable seating alone dwarfs the £2.5 million sum paid by West Ham for the Stadium.

This is also why the LLDC and Stadium Operators have apparently “invited” West Ham to contribute more.

There is however a major flaw both in this invitation to West Ham to pay more and the argument that the retractable seating are for West Ham’s benefit. The cold truth is that West Ham have absolutely no material or financial interest in the seating being retractable. As far as we and the club is concerned it would be far easier to build and maintain permanent structures rather than the current flexible Arrangements.
The sad but immutable truth is that it is the commitment to athletics which is at the heart of the need to provide retractable seating. I perfectly understand the national interest of the country as a whole to want to maintain a world class stadium for the purposes of international athletic events. In effect the Nation and the Tax payer have to provide an £8 million subsidy to the sport of Athletics and possibly in the future cricket for the purposes of running these events.

The only way that the Stadium is viable as a project is through the influx of the nearly 60,000 supporters who come to watch not Athletics but West Ham every fortnight during the football season.

What is completely absurd is to claim that West Ham is responsible for funding the National Commitment to Athletics.

There is, I believe, a way forward which should clarify matters. We know that originally West Ham bid to purchase the Stadium, but this bid, on course to successful completion was scuppered by the multitude of interests opposed to a successful West Ham in the new Stadium. Tottenham in particular were vigorous in their opposition to West Ham succeeding.

A restructured deal emerged which saw the present third party ownership model of the stadium with West Ham becoming not the owners of the Stadium but the “Anchor Tenants”.

This cumbersome tripartite arrangement of stakeholders is at the heart of many of the other problems which have affected settling into the Stadium. The arrangements where we have a multitude of strategic partners dilutes responsibility and will dog the Stadium for year whilst it persists.

The way forward is for West Ham to offer to take ownership of the Stadium again with a continuing commitment to honour the availability of the Stadium for Athletics and other events. Gold and Sullivan have been successful businessmen in the past and I am sure that the club have sufficient commercial experience to draw upon.

The funding of the Stadium conversion for Athletics becomes then an issue for National debate. For myself I believe the best approach would be to plan for a purpose built 30,000 seater Athletics / Cricket Stadium along the lines originally proposed. The current £8 million going into seating conversion could instead be directed into the construction of a smaller facility built elsewhere in the voluminous spaces available in the Olympic Park.

So the way forward is clear. West Ham has no interest in renegotiating the current deal to subsidise Athletics. However what we may have is a strategic opportunity to convert the current rental arrangements into stadium ownership along the lines of the original bid.

This would end for once and all the current confusion of responsibilities and replace the current bureaucratic nightmare of a Hodge podge of partners including LLDC, Newham Council French stadium operators and even Westfield to an extent. A single commercial drive to maximise the potential of the Stadium with West Ham at its heart could then be realised.


David Griffith

Da David Griffith

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