Match Report

Victories at Espanyol and Colchester Utd!

West Ham Utd squads won excellent victories in yesterday evening’s friendly matches held during the current international break. While the full squad, including a number of U-21 regulars, were in Spain, playing Espanyol, a joint U-21/U-18 squad were taking on Colchester Utd.

In Barcelona, the full squad secured a 0-1 win, characterised by a much improved display of passing, movement and invention.Three qualities decidedly lacking against Stoke City. There were good displays from Adrian, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Ravel Morrison and Matt Jarvis. Notably, the defensive unit operated effectively, marshalled by the superb Tomkins, and the overall team performance was far more cohesive. While youngsters like Ruddock, Famino, Moncur and Lee all contributed mature and promising performances, which further underlined their potential. The match was won by a Mark Noble penalty, after a Espanyol defender handled a Matt Jarvis cross in to the box.

Meanwhile, in Essex, the U-21 Squad scored a convincing 0-3 win over Colchester Utd. The goals were scored by Burke, Whitehead and Tombides. It was similarly a good all-round team performance and the ‘stand out’ moment was Dylan Tombides beating the Colchester keeper with a great chip. It was a goal of great composure and skill from the Australian U-19 international forward.

So, it was a good evening all round for the club. Unfortunately, it would appear that the prior SSN report that Andy Carroll would be fit for the next match versus Southampton, on 15 September 2013, was premature. The latest rumour is that he may not actually be ready until mid-October 2013 at the earliest. That news, if true, makes the failure of Carlton Cole to prove his fitness, to facilitate a swift return to the club, even more disappointing. So, it appears that the chickens of West Ham’s transfer deadline day failure are flying home to roost! the search continues for a free agent striker, no doubt the manager will be setting up his team to capitalise upon the strengths of the strikers that we do actually have available at the club?

In the meantime, just hope that all of our players on international duty return back to the club unscathed. The last thing that we need is further injuries to key players like Reid, Rat or Collins.

SJ. Chandos.

Parish Notice

Changes to the Commenting System

A few minutes ago we deployed an updated commenting system to the site, which I hope takes into account many of the points you have made to us since the new design was launched nearly a month ago.

We’ve ditched the two stage launching system and the separate page for comments. They now appear on the post page itself, but in reverse order, so the newest comment always appears at the top of the thread rather than at the bottom. They are still in real time but we have now got rid of the annoying judder which took you to wherever the latest comment appeared.

Here’s a summary of what’s changed and how to get the best out of the site…

1. Comments are now sorted newest at the top. Nested replies are still sorted newest at the bottom.

2. Only shows the newest 20 root comments (plus replies) by default, so the page should feel snappier, especially on mobiles and tablets. There is a button at the bottom to load additional batches of 20 etc…

3. Mobile optimisation – comments should now be perfectly accessible whether you’re using desktop/laptop, tablet or phone.

4. No more page jump – new comments are inserted into the page in realtime but if the position of the comment would be out of your current viewport, they are inserted as hidden and are only slid into view when you actually scroll to them.

5. Live notifications ‘tray’ in the bottom right hand corner – any comments which are inserted out of your current viewport (i.e. which you otherwise wouldn’t know about) will auto appear in the little tray in the bottom right corner of the screen (excluding mobile). It will show an excerpt of each new/unread comment. Click a comment and you’ll auto scroll to it, thereby sliding it into view and removing from the drawer.

So you can safely leave the thread open during the match, go away and come back and not miss anything!

Let us know of any teething problems please.

Book Review

One Burger too Many

Well, some people may see this as an example of why Carlton Cole is a bit of a legend. Others will think, it’s all very well to poke fun at yourself, but because of your lack of interest in keeping yourself fit, you’ve blown your chance of coming back.


PS It is quite funny though…

PPS New comments system due to go live later tonight… Or maybe tomorrow morning depending on how fast Russell works…


Winning the ECWC: Perhaps Our Finest Moment?

In 1964 West Ham won their first ever FA Cup. This success meant that for the first time in the clubs history, we would be representing England in the European Cup Winners Cup. The added bonus that year (1965) was that the final was to be held at Wembley. The Hammers started their first European campaign well and in the first double header leg we advanced beating Gent 2-1 on aggregate. The trip to Belgium was not so easy as today’s players would enjoy, with a coach, train, boat and coach trip via Ostend providing an endurance test before the game itself. The second round saw us beat the highly regarded Czech team Sparta Prague 2-0 at home and lose 2-1 away to progress on aggregate. Bobby Moore missed both games and Greenwood played Ronnie Boyce as sweeper – a great tactical move by the great man as “Ticker” played a couple of blinders.

In the quarter finals we beat Lausanne Sport of Switzerland 2-1 and followed up with a 4-3 win at home. Three of our six goals in that round were scored by Brian Dear. We were perhaps a bit fortunate to have him in the side as the day of the first match Geoff Hurst saved Brian’s life in a swimming pool incident. It is not a good idea to stumble into the deep end when you can’t swim! Good job Sir Geoff was on hand to save the day again! Indeed we were probably lucky to have Bobby Moore in the side as well. He had recovered from testicular cancer the year before after having a testicle removed.

The semi final saw us play Real Zaragoza. The Spanish team were beaten 2-1 at Upton Park and the second leg finished 1-1 to see West Ham through to the final. It was an opportunity for the Hammers to become only the second English team to win a European trophy. The opponents for the final were German team Munich 1860.

In its time it was remembered as a game for the purists. The game was considered to be one of the best matches ever played at Wembley as both teams played magnificently. Two goals from Alan Sealey secured a 2-0 winning score line and “Bubbles” rang around Wembley for the second successive year. The two goal hero was to break a leg a few weeks later, playing an impromptu game of cricket at Chadwell Heath. He only played four more times for West Ham and his career took a spiralling downward turn after the injury.

Much of the success of the campaign has to go to the manager Ron Greenwood. He changed normal tactics to counter the European game, especially the away legs. Bobby Moore would play as a deeper sweeper and Geoff Hurst was dropped back into a deeper role behind either Budgie Byrne or Brian Dear. The wingers also fell back to help defensively in a 4-4-1-1 system.

As winners the Hammers had automatic entry to the competition the following year and just failed by going down in the semi-finals to eventual winners Borussia Dortmund. The win in 1965 was considered to be manager Ron Greenwood’s finest moment. At the end of the year West Ham were voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Team Award.

Transfer Gossip

Is Carlton Cole to Sign or are there Alternative Options Out There?

It has been alleged that our would be saviour, Carlton Cole, has returned with disappointingly lows levels of fitness.This has been stated on Jack Sullivan’s twitter account and, it would appear, that the club are now looking at other free agent options. It may be that Carlton Cole trains at the club, to work on his fitness levels, and the club will review his situation in due course. That could mean bringing in another free agent, who presumably managed to maintain his fitness levels at an acceptable level.

There is no more to say about Carlton Cole’s situation for the time being, lets just see what happens on that front. So who else might be in the frame to join? I am sure that there are a number of formerly highly regarded strikers, well past their best, on UEFA’s free agents list. However, there is another interesting possibility being discussed on the Hammers blogosphere. Apparently, 27 year old Romanian international Ciprian Marica is still looking for a club and could provide a possible solution.The former Shaktar Dontesk, Stuttgart and Schalke striker is 6ft 1in and can play as a target man, a second striker and even out wide. And that is a versatility that may appeal to Sam Allardyce. In terms of goal scoring prowess, he is not prolific. Marica has to date scored 68 goals in 330 league and cup appearances, an approximate 1 in 5 ratio. However, his strike rate improves at international level, where he has scored 21 goals in 61 appearances for Romania, roughly a 1 in 3 strike ratio.

Marica’s contract expired at Schalke last July. He is a former team mate of Razvan Rat at Shaktar and a current colleague in the Romanian international squad. Perhaps that link might be instrumental in brokering a deal. In the summer. the player was linked with a move to Arsenal and there has been prior interest in him by such European big hitters as Lazio, Inter-Milan and Marsailles. He could do a job deputising for Andy Carroll, in terms of leading the attack, but he does not appear to be the type of prolific goal scorer that we need. Still, he may be worth a contract, if his personal terms are acceptable. And at this juncture, he is probably one of the better centre forward free agent options one there.

There are other reports this morning that West Ham are also interested in signing another free agent, ex-Chelsea defender Khalid Boulahrouz. The 31 year old defender has recently been released by Sporting Lisbon and is allegedly known by the somewhat disturbing nick name of ‘Khalid the Cannibal!’ He was signed by Jose Mourinho in 2006 for Chelsea but struggled to convince, failing to dislodge their favoured centre back pairing of Terry and Carvalho. It does raise the issue of whether he would fare any better with us. With Reid, Collins, Tomkins and Chambers in the squad do we even really need him? Perhaps Sam Allardyce wants extra defensive cover in the aftermath of Diarra’s injury? Whatever the case, he is likely to come in as cover and it begs the question whether the deal is justified in terms of the best use of allegedly limited resources.

So, we finished our transfer dealings early did we? If that is true, why is the club now seemingly looking for possible striking options in the bargain bins of European football? Because they need to, because they know that our strike force is much the same as last season and that it previously fell short of expectations, especially in away games. It needed upgrading with the addition of a good quality finisher and we ultimately failed to do that. A fit and in-form Andy Carroll can change things if he avoids last season’s recurring injury absences. But it is a fine line to tread and we need back up options. The club need to find an option(s) that will suffice until January, when hopefully things can be put it right.

The club should do itself a real favour and allocate the funds to land Jordan Rhodes in January. Although it might prove difficult if he maintains his hitherto prolific strike rate for Blackburn Rovers. We should have signed him from Huddersfield Town and also this summer. Hopefully it will be third time lucky in January. It is amazing that a striker with his goal scoring record has not yet attracted any top tier interest. And it says something about the prospects of home grown talent in the overseas player obsessed Premier League. The Club must also ensure an early clear out of some of the fringe players to facilitate one or two new signings. Who knows, if the club start planning the transfer business now, they might just get it right come January!

SJ. Chandos.

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