Tony Hanna's Musings

Who to keep and who to sell?

If rumours are to be believed Manuel Pellegrini will get around a £65 million transfer kitty plus any incoming monies from player sales to spend on new arrivals. Some fans have called for a mass clear out within the squad but I doubt very much whether that will happen – at least to the degree some might wish for. Others, like myself, can see the validity of moving on a more manageable number of players and here are my thoughts on which ones we should keep and which ones we should move on. It is all hypothetical so feel free to agree or disagree. When the window shuts prior to the first game of the season I will follow up this article with one that critiques the present views.

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Goalkeepers

I would keep Adrian. It will depend on the full transfer kitty available whether there is value in paying 20-30m for a new keeper when there are much greater priorities with regard to strengthening the team. We will definitely have to spend some dosh on at least an understudy unless Pellegrini identifies a good loan or a free transfer move in the market. Despite Hart enjoying some of his best years under Pellegrini at City, it would be a huge surprise if his loan deal at the Hammers was renewed by his old boss. Youngster Trott will inevitably be kept as third choice.

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Defenders

Zabaletta still has one year to go on his contract. He is another player who played in Man City’s title win under Pellegrini. It makes little sense to sell at this point of time as even if the manager wants to sign a first choice right back, Zab would make a great back up – keep. I doubt any West Ham fan wants the club to sell Rice but there may be quite a few that would move Reid on given his injury record. However, with a lucrative long term contract in his pocket I doubt very much that he is going anywhere, but we did manage to move both Fonte and Ayew to pastures new in the last window so never say never! I would sell – if the opportunity arose. Players who have hamstring problems, especially later in their careers, will spend more time in “physio room” than on the pitch. Antonio, who will feature later in this article is another player who falls into this category. Ogbonna had an excellent season and will be a keep for me. There is a lot of sentiment for James Collins at the moment and quite rightly so. On a small contract with bonuses for appearances, I would – keep. Based on tweets from ex players in the past few days though, confirming Ginge was let go, I doubt he will be in the equation for next season. Cresswell is an interesting one. He has been poor at full back in recent times but can deliver a good cross and free kick. Since moving next to Ogbonna in a back three he has performed much better and he does seem to have built a good understanding with Masuaku. I am on the fence a bit with “Cressy” but I have my suspicions that the new boss may want to play four at the back and on that basis I would – sell. On to Masuaku and before his indiscretion at Wigan he was fast becoming a fan favourite. Arthur had been in most fans top three picks for HOTY at the time. We missed his drive forward for six matches but he is no left back either and if he is to remain a first team regular under Pellegrini it would probably be as a left sided midfielder – keep. Byram comes under the Reid and Antonio banner – sell.

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Midfielders

Noble will not be sold but if Pellegrini spends big on two quality midfielders it could relegate Mark to becoming a fringe player. It will be interesting to see how this situation pans out. Kouyate was one of the first names on the team sheet a few seasons ago but since Payet’s departure his performances have become inconsistent and erratic. There is no doubt he still has the engine but whether he has the ball control and skills required in a Pellegrini midfield is doubtful. There is still a good fee to be had so – sell. Pellegrini’s arrival will almost certainly whet the appetite of fellow South American Lanzini. In an advanced role behind Arnautovic, and when fully fit, it is an exciting combination. Keep. Mario’s loan deal is now over and if we can get the player on another loan deal, or buy at around 20-25m I would – buy. Young Fernandes is another who missed much of the season with injury. We did see what a good player he could become in the match at home to Southampton, but there have been too many other games where he has not delivered. He still makes a good squad player – keep. Obiang is another who has had injury problems over the past two seasons. Fit and at his best he is ok, but is he really at the level we need to be if we want to become a top ten team? I doubt it –sell. Antonio is bordering on the midfield or the striker section. I was excited with his arrival from Forest after seeing his rampaging runs, tearing apart Championship defences. We have seen some cameos of the same at West Ham but too often he has been played out of position. Right back or right wing back exposes his defensive weaknesses and whilst he scares the death out of centre backs when he has played as a striker, his finishing and final ball options are often poor. He reminds me a bit of Ayew in that – ‘what really is his best position’ – and for me it is wide right of an attacking three and I doubt we will ever play that formation. Given he would command a good fee and taking into consideration his hamstring problems –sell. Robert Snodgrass has been on loan at Aston Villa and I would be surprised if West Ham knocked back any acceptable offer considering certain unwise twitter comments that were made public earlier on in the season. Sell.

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Forwards This will be interesting! Arnautovic, our top scorer and HOTY is an obvious keep. I doubt too many will disagree. Hugill is one of the strangest signings since Savio. Good judges I know who have actually seen him play more than late substitution roles tell me his control and first touch is to put it mildly, not that good. Perhaps he was a security blanket signing should we have got relegated, I don’t know. Whatever we can get for him – sell. Now to the two players who will probably cause the most disagreement between our readers. Andy Carroll. We all know his injury record and we all know how good he can be at his best. The much maligned striker only has one more year of what was initially a very lucrative contract to run. He will be a free agent after this next season and I would suggest any suiter’s would have to cough up around 10-15m should they want to buy during this summer window. This really is one I am on the fence with but at a push I would – keep. Hernandez is probably one that will divide opinions even more. Right from day one I was one of the few that doubted he would be a success at West Ham. I wrote the same in an article at the time and even made bets with fellow fans that he would not achieve goal targets. Yet some fans believe he is the best striker we have had in years and it was down to Moyes and Bilic not playing him in the right position or system that saw him have a season he would like to forget. In reality, in today’s PL is he ever going to be anything more than a super sub? That is what football is often all about – opinions. My opinion is –sell. I doubt either Carroll or Hernandez will be happy at the thought that they probably won’t be automatic starters next season. It was doubted that the latter would stay at the club because of this and he would push for a move but under Pellegrini I think it more likely that AC may be sold and Hernandez be assured of more game time. I watched a youtube clip of Pellegrini the other day and he stated that he believed that there were three things he needed to install in the players minds at clubs he managed. One of those things was to make all players in the squad realise and accept that they all had an important role in the team, even if they weren’t being selected. All the players need to believe in a common goal, where everyone feels important. The video is below.

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Youngsters Oxford and Burke are ones where I would grab any reasonable fee we can. The former’s attitude appears to be a problem and the latter needs to be moved on for the good of his own career in my opinion. Cullen, Haksabanovic, Browne and Quina will most likely be given more time as squad players and it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Samuelson and Martinez. In my “sell” choices there are only two players who played regularly in the second half of the season, Cresswell and Kouyate and I would imagine we would get around 30m for the pair. Senior players who either spent too much time on the bench or in the physio room could command up to 65m. They were Reid, Obiang, Antonio and Hernandez. Out on loan player Snodgrass may fetch 10m. Fringe players and youngsters in Byram, Hugill, Oxford and Burke could possibly collect 25m. I doubt all those players mentioned would be moved on, but if they were Pellegrini’s 60m transfer kitty would be bolstered to around 190m to buy around eight or nine new players. Considering that I would imagine we would also still be looking for a few loan deals and possibly some “frees”, I reckon our new manager has got a good platform from which to work from.


Tony Hanna's Musings

Thumbs Up to Moyes

Last week I was each way on my opinion of whether West Ham should continue with David Moyes beyond this season. I am at the point now where I really hope he gets a new contract. When he was appointed I am sure most of us would have taken 13th and 42 points in a heartbeat? The football we played against Everton on the weekend was delightful and the way Arnie, Lanzini and Mario linked together was hopefully a taster of what is to come next season. But on reflection the advantage Moyes holds now is that he knows the players inside out. He knows what the team can do and what it can’t. He knows where we need to improve and he knows who is surplus to requirements. Get a new manager in now and he won’t know any of this until he has got games under his belt and the likelihood will be that our summer transfer budget will be spent on hopefully the best players we can buy in our budget, but without the knowledge of who we really need to get the best out of the team. So it is a thumbs up for David Moyes from me. Personally, I would keep Adrian as number one next season. To get a top keeper will be expensive and I just don’t see the need when the money is best spent elsewhere. The central defensive midfield role is the top priority and I would also like to see Mario signed on a permanent deal or at least for an extended year-long loan. As for signings, one of the first ones I would try and get done is Craig Dawson from West Brom. He is a quality defender who can play full back or as a central defender.

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Back in mid-November when David Moyes became manager I asked in my article for your predicted finishing positions in the league. We were currently 18th in the table. Forty seven of you had a crack and there were five people who correctly predicted 13th. They were; Heedsy, Iron Mike, Milk Man, Dave Innots and Rob who had a cheeky double chance 13th/14th tip. There were a few including myself that missed by one; the others were hammermolder, Hammertime Mikey, Tom, IronFish, Daz and Paul Smith. Peter Jameson was the only one who had us getting relegated which is remarkable considering our plight at the time so I am sure he is very pleased to get the wooden spoon! Thanks to all for having a go.

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So, it is goodbye to West Brom, Stoke and Swansea. At the beginning of the season I doubt many would have predicted that trio in its entirety getting relegated, especially with Brighton and Huddersfield in the frame. Which leads me to reconfirm one of my strong view points on relegation matters. I wrote an article a few years ago titled “Is three up, three down fair?” I followed that up this season with a similar piece. Last week I wrote an article “Survival in the League of Fourteen.” For those who missed it that article focused on how the PL has now become two divisions in one. An elite group of six with a separate division of fourteen clubs who are basically playing with a singular goal of avoiding the drop. When I started going to football in the 1960’s there were 22 clubs in the top flight, a league we fondly remember as the old first division. Every season two teams were relegated (9%) and the top two from the 2nd division took their place. The 1960’s through to 1980 was an era where up to fourteen teams every season had some slither of a chance of winning the title when the competition started. In the 23 seasons from 1958 to 1981 there were no fewer than 13 different Champions. I saw Manchester United, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City all relegated. Forward to today and we now have twenty teams, a reduction of two, yet an increase up to three teams who will be replaced each season. With the elite six having no chance of being relegated that effectively means three from fourteen (21.4%) will drop – quite an increase from 9%. But when you get a season like this one when none of the clubs that were promoted last season have been relegated and none of last seasons relegated teams are promoted back, it effectively means in just two seasons that SIX of the fourteen bottom dwellers (42.8%) have changed. Middlesbrough could alter that stat if they are promoted through the play offs but I hope you see where I am going here? The effect relegation has on clubs is awful. Already we have clubs and forum sites looking at the lists of players at Stoke, Swansea and West Brom to see what players will be easy pickings. This whole scenario is only making this league of fourteen more unstable and the top six are loving it. Their financial stability and growth means they will grow even more powerful at the expense of the others whilst this system is in place.

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The transfer news is very thin on the ground at present and I would imagine the decision on David Moyes tenure at the club will play a significant part on any early dealings. Here are some early odds that I am sure will fluctuate over the next week or so.

Manuel Lanzini is 1-2 (66%) to remain at West Ham with Liverpool at 5/2 (28%) for his signature. Looks like this could be a bit of re-run of the winter window, hopefully with the same result.
Joe Hart his future seems as up in the air as it was before he signed his loan deal with the Hammers last year. Celtic are 3/1 (25%) favourites and we are second favourites at 6/1 (14%) which just goes to show I think the bookies are just guessing as much as Joe is at present.
Craig Dawson is 14/1 (6.67%) to join the Hammers with Newcastle and Celtic the early favourites to sign a player who I think would be a great acquisition for our club.
Marouane Fellaini is 7/1 (12.5%) to become a West Ham player although the way the market is framed I think the bookies have as much of a clue about where he will end up as they do Joe Hart.
Shaqiri has a number of clubs showing interest after Stokes relegation and Everton currently lead the pack. West Ham are quoted at 6/1 (14%).

Elsewhere Spurs at 5/4 (44%) are leading the chase for Alfie Mawson and our January interest in him seems to have waned. Antoine Griezmann looks Barcelona bound and Liverpool are strong favourites to sign Jack Butland and Nabil Fekir. Burnley lead a pack of clubs for West Broms Jay Rodriguez whilst Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez could end up at either Man City or Chelsea.


Tony Hanna's Musings

Surviving in the League of Fourteen

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Piece of cake! I am not sure what all the fuss was about and why many Hammers fans were getting so anxious. Even at the Burnley game the fans were lobbing money at the owners to help with next seasons Premier League war chest. They knew. Two more wins this week and we will break into the top half of the division. Seriously though, I had a little play with the PL table predictor and two more wins would probably put us 10th. We did actually look like a decent side again at Leicester, not dissimilar to the performance at home to Southampton. Both these teams weren’t at their best but often that can be put down to how well the opposition performs. I know some of you understand the bookies odds I post quite often on things like relegation and transfer markets, but I realise it goes over the top of the heads of others. But the one thing you get from the bookies, especially on things like the relegation markets, is an unemotional professional opinion based on stats, data and the most likely probabilities using a plethora of computer based information. They don’t always get it right but they are generally more accurate than the fan who has that emotional attachment. The bookies have had the Hammers at 14/1 (6.5% chance) and longer in the relegation market for several weeks now, whilst I would guess that at least half on here (50% chance) had us going down over the same period. It is the reason I like to post the bookies odds on a regular basis, to bring some perspective. However, even I must admit to doubting the bookies at times during the back end of this season. Looking at some stats before the Leicester game it showed we had only won two out of our last twelve games. However, if you ignored games played against the top six we had 4W 3D 3L in our past ten and after the weekends result you can now make that 5 wins from our past 11 against the league of fourteen.

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Over the weekend I listened to the Leicester and Everton fans singing for their current managers to, well to put it mildly, leave. Both clubs were in peril early on in the season. In particular, Everton had spent large chunks on improving their squad with the money gained from the sale of Lukaku and together with Leicester were under achieving compared to club and fans expectations. Like us, they both decided to part with their managers prior to the New Year with Puel replacing Shakespear and Allardyce replacing Koeman (although in between former player Unsworth was given a trial run in the job). Everton and Leicester currently sit 8th and 9th whilst we have now avoided the drop after replacing Bilic for Moyes. For those two teams to now be sitting in the top half of the league and their fans not being satisfied just goes to show how tough a task it is for any manager to appease the modern day fan. Whilst we have the inequality of the super power top six and the bottom feeding league of fourteen it will remain the same. The fans of the clubs that have been in the league of 14 the longest will demand more –and that includes us. We want good football as well as results but in this league of fourteen, three teams will be relegated every season. That is a just over a whopping 20% turnover of clubs every season. That’s pressure! Everton fans hate the football being dished up by Sam but forget the hole they were in when he took over. On the flip side you get a side like Burnley. Happy to be in the PL but from a neutral point of view they are dire to watch. They remind me of Stoke when they were first promoted. Happy with any dross served up as long as they remain in the top flight. However, given a few seasons of success in retaining their PL status they will turn on the manager unless the style changes and in a couple more seasons they will probably be just where Stoke are now.

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Which brings us to us. Several months ago most of us would have settled for safety. We have got it. A week ago there seemed to be a divide in the dressing room. Now we have photos of player camaraderie all over social network sites – overjoyed with what it meant to them to secure our spot in the Premier League for another season. We started the season with three consecutive away games because we don’t own our own stadium anymore which put us on the back foot right from the start of the season. We have sacked a manager, only the 15th in our history. We have had organised protest marches cancelled and there have been organised pitch invasions carried out. It has been quite a roller coaster season. One I personally will be glad to see the back of. Stoke are relegated and almost certainly West Brom – one of Southampton, Swansea and Huddersfield will join them. Should Swansea survive 10% of the PL will be Welsh next season.. Oh the fun and the thought of watching a Burnley v Cardiff match makes me cringe. Whether Moyes will be manager next season may well depend on how the players play out the last two games of the season. The owners need to make their decision on this position as soon as possible. After the season we have endured as fans I think the players owe us two ripping performances. There is no pressure now and if we meekly cave in during these two games I would be seriously questioning whether Moyes is the right man for the job. We have a World Cup looming in a few weeks and this year the summer transfer window will close before the start of the season leaving much less time for transfer deals to be completed. A good idea in my opinion and over the next few months I will occasionally be writing up my transfer market “bookies updates” for the site.

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Tony Hanna's Musings

Tensions rising as we enter the final week

The last nine days of the PL season are fast approaching and to be honest I can’t wait until it is all over. New broom and all that springs to mind. Three games; away to Leicester, home to the Moaning ones and Everton are the last course of what has mostly been an unpalatable season. One more win or two draws should be enough to see us survive but I know a lot of our fans are expecting the same menu to be dished up next season. Our odds of staying up barely flinched despite the result on the weekend and this was based on the fact the bookies expected nothing less than a comprehensive Manchester City victory and had factored their prices for same. Before the game on the blog I wrote that I would take a 2-0 defeat right then to protect our goal difference. Dan Coker backed me up and whilst we both wanted a better performance from our team we were both being realistic. Whilst saying taking a 2-0 defeat prior to the event sounds defeatist, it was a hypothetical viewpoint and it does not mean you accept defeat –it just means as a fan you hope for the best but fear the worst. It didn’t start well with our “guard of honour.” What the hell was that about? I can understand it happening on the day they are crowned but anything after, especially for a team fighting relegation, is absurd.

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I won’t dwell on our game against City. Dave and HH have written their views in the past couple of days and I have little to add other than the ref disallowing Arnie’s goal was a disgraceful decision and taking goalkeeper protection rules way too far. I was also disappointed when Evra was picked ahead of Masuaku and my annoyance only increased when that players deflection started the rot. Evra has started three times for the Hammers now, all for 4-1 losses. What is most concerning to me though is there seems to be an underlying discontent within the playing group. There are several players who look quite disinterested and I just don’t get the vibe – the group isn’t putting in anywhere near the effort our supporters deserve. Stoke City lack the quality we have and will probably go down, but watch their games and tell me their players don’t care. They are giving it their all. I can’t say that about West Ham at the moment. Apparently, now we have Andy Carroll walking off down the tunnel before the end of the game because he was an unused sub. Rumours abound that he was sent home from training on Monday. I like to see players show emotion but it has to be tempered with the right team ethos. Moyes has been openly critical of players in recent weeks and there is little doubt tensions are high behind the scenes. All this when we really need everyone pulling together. We rarely handle three games in a week well and it is likely we will use the majority of our fringe players at some stage next week so we need them all to be correctly focused.

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A few weeks ago I was torn between wanting Moyes to stay as manager next season or not – not that my thoughts carry any weight but hey, we all like to have an opinion. Last week I wrote that I thought he would be given at least a year providing we stay up. It is fair to say that he is still working with the previous managers team, not his own, but if the January window signings of Evra and Hugill are anything to go by I am rather sceptical that he is what we need. Moyes joined at a time when many thought Bilic was taking us down. It is hypothetical as to what would have happened but apart from the wins against Stoke, Huddersfield and Southampton I have not enjoyed what I have seen under his tenure. At one point we moved up to 11th and whilst we were not clear of the relegation zone points wise, we did seem to be comfortably edging away from the drop zone. Since those heady days it has become quite bland at best. Whoever does manage us next season will have a task ahead as unless there are some considerable changes I fear what may be put off this season will come home to roost next season. There must also be a full scale investigation using independent experts in their field into why we are having so many injuries at the club. When something keeps happening season after season, to a greater degree than the majority of our opponents, there just has to be an underlying reason. Whether it is buying the wrong players, keeping the wrong players, training grounds, incorrect warm ups and warm downs, training techniques, how players handle their physical well being – all these questions must be asked together with do we have the correct medical team in place? I still recall another West Ham fan site writing last August that the signing of Gary Lewin could be the best signing of the season. I shook my head at the time but hoped they were right. I don’t think they were.

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Just a recap of what lies ahead next week and the odds for what set of supporters will be crying on the last day of the season;

West Brom (36 games 28 points) are making a remarkable end of season surge. Too late for them though and they have Spurs (h) and Palace (a) left to play and the bookies aren’t even pricing them in the markets.

Stoke City (36 games 30 points) are still scrapping but are just so toothless up front. Their two remaining games are Palace (h) and Swansea (a), the latter could be a last day cup final of sorts for both teams. Bookies price is 1/10 for the drop. Put ten quid on to win a quid in other words.

Southampton (35 games 32 points) are showing good recovery signs. Of all the teams at the bottom they are the ones I personally want to see go down, but my guess is they won’t. They are left with Everton (a), Swansea (a) and their only home game remaining is Man City on the final day of the season. The exchanges have them at 5/4 (44% chance) for the drop which is a bit more generous than the Corporate bookies who have them even money (50%).

Swansea (35 games 33 points) play Bournemouth (a) and then have critical home games against Southampton and Stoke to come and likely hold the key to who goes down. Bookies have them at 5/2 (28%) to be playing Championship football next season.

Huddersfield (35 games 35 points) have the toughest run in and losing at home to Everton on the weekend was a huge blow for them as a win would have almost certainly made them safe. They finish the season with Man City (a), Chelsea (a) and Arsenal (h) which will be Arsene Wenger’s last game in charge at the Gunners unless they reach the Europa League final which is scheduled a few days later. Reaching the final or not will have a huge impact on how seriously Arsenal take this game. Reach the final and Arsenal will have their minds (and best players) elsewhere – miss the final and they will be up for the Huddersfield game as Wenger bows out. The bookies have Huddersfield at 13/8 (38%) to go down.

West Ham (35 games 35 points) have Leicester (a), Moan Utd (h) and bogey team Everton (h) left to play. The bookies rate us as a 14/1 (6.67%) chance.

Just a side note here. Littlefork has been a poster on here since 2013 and whilst I don’t know the fella he has always been a well mannered and balanced poster on the site. Yesterday he posted the following; “Life’s hard atm for the littlefork family as eldest grandson is fighting bacterial meningitis. Out of immediate danger through cranial surgery but a long way to go. Positive thoughts from the west ham family please”. To one of our own I send best wishes from the WHTID family


Tony Hanna's Musings

Are we learning from our mistakes?

Moyes in or Moyes out? Moysiah or Dinosaur? Well, if we go down he will be gone for sure and in my opinion if we stay up he will be with us for at least another season. Personally, I thought he pulled all the right strings on Sunday with the possible exception of playing Mario instead of Lanzini. But there again I am not privy to just how fit the latter is following his injury lay off. Moyes made all the right substitutions at the right time – again in my opinion. Hart deserved another game as Adrian’s chance will come next weekend anyway, against City. We were never going to take the game to Arsenal. They have a 100% home record against teams outside the top six and even with weakened team selections they put three past Stoke and Southampton in recent weeks. At the 80 minute mark we looked like we were getting a point which in our current predicament would have been gold. Until that mistake from Rice. Hart last week – Rice this week, but players are human and the only thing we can hold onto is that they learn from their mistakes. But do they? Do they really go back on the training ground and work on their own weaknesses, or is it just back to the same stuff they were doing last week. I would really like to know. I am sure the best of the best do, but do our players?

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When I was eighteen I had joined a new football team. The manager soon had me taking all the free kicks and corners. But a few games into the season we were playing a Cup match and we were 3-0 down at half time against Leyton, a team we were expected to beat. We pulled the deficit back to 3-2 and with the last kick of the game we were awarded a penalty. The manager was pointing at me to take the penalty. I had never taken a penalty in senior football before and as I placed the ball on the spot I had no plan other than to blast it as hard as I could. I managed to do that but the ball sailed over the bar. Walking off after that game I felt distraught having let my team mates down. “Don’t worry Tone, it’s Ok” was something I heard several times from my team mates, but I knew deep down it was me that had let the team down. The manager came up to me and said “you better put some practice in lad because you will be taking the next penalty we get”. Good job my best mate was one of the best keepers in the district because I spent hours with him on a routine that included my run up, body shape for deception on delivery and hitting the exact same spot inside the post to the keepers right. I only missed one more penalty in my playing days. So when I see the National team getting beaten in penalty shoots outs and they turn up for the next World Cup and the manager says “no, we don’t practice penalties” I just cringe. These players are far more talented and dedicated than I ever was, but now they are at the top are they practising the right things, ironing out their weaknesses and really working on improving rather than just stagnating or staying comfortable. With some of the things I keep seeing with West Ham I have my doubts.

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My self- indulgent journey back in time to my own playing days was a prelude to Declan Rice’s error against Arsenal and even to Joe Hart’s the week before. When I see a young player making a game changing mistake it often takes me back to how I felt after that penalty miss. Moyes defended Hart for his error against Stoke but put blame on Rice a week later. He knows the players better than us and hopefully his remarks are well judged psychologically. I would like to think that there was a rational reasoning for his different responses. But at training this week will we be practicing crosses coming in at Joe Hart with Rice in front of him? Will their communication be worked upon? Should the keeper be calling “away” or only calling when the ball needs to be left. I could go on but you get the drift. Because for some time our free kick and corner kick routines have been pathetic. There has been almost no creativity in working on new set piece variations to catch out opponents. Bang it into the box but fail to beat the first defender is a common theme. Another area where we are really poor is keeping possession from our own throw ins. I was listening to an ex player the other day, forgive me as I can’t remember who it was, but he was a player who moved from the Championship to the Premier League. He said the first thing that struck him in training was that his PL club didn’t practice throw in routines. “In the Championship we would spend several hours every week just on those” he stated. I bet you we don’t practice ours at West Ham! Monreal scored the first goal for Arsenal from a corner – a set piece. He was Cresswell’s “man” but found three or more yards of space from the moment the corner was taken to the time he shot home. Before the ball went in Masuaku was protecting the near post but seemed to move away from his station to allow Hart more room to make a save – for the first two goals it was all about our defenders not taking responsibility. It really was a comedy of errors but they seem to be occurring every week.

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The other area that leaves a lot to be desired is keeping the ball in the corner from corner kicks or playing the short one. The one in the last minute at Chelsea that went pear shaped was followed by the very next corner West Ham had at home to Stoke where the pass back to the corner taker put him offside. Both were abysmal and totally inept. Surely, if we are going to waste time then put Arnie and Kouyate in the corner, rather than Cullen and Noble. Makes sense doesn’t it – getting around those two big lumps would be rather more difficult! So, back to my first paragraph about Dinosaur or Moysiah? He told us he would get the players fitter, which he probably did but we don’t know for certain. But has he made the players better? Has he got them working on their mistakes and deficiencies or are we just going through the same motions at training every week. Because the manager we need is the one that is doing the former.

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