The HamburgHammer Column

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What the heck! I hadn’t planned on writing anything for today, due to the international weekend (boring!), no West Ham game (humdrum) and not much else to report about West Ham, other than rumours about our new boy Coufal maybe having tested positive for Covid-19 – or then again not.

But then yesterday two things happened: My beloved Cordi team won a breathtaking away game 4:2 (more of that further down) and I saw more and more Twitter messages popping up on my dog and bone about Saïd Benrahma being on the verge of signing for West Ham. Or the club having agreed terms with the player. Or Brentford having agreed a fee with West Ham.

So, I thought “Hold my paper cup of coffee for a second, this at the very least does seem to have some legs! Maybe this one is happening.“
Which meant that I did see some merit to type out a paragraph or two on the Algerian wing wizard anyway. In case you didn’t know, Saïd is an Arabic name which means “The Happy One“. You’re welcome. ;-)

Now, Benrahma of course is very much a hot ticket these days. One of the most talked about players in the Championship. When you go and watch some of the goals he scored or assisted (and there is a fair bit of choice in that regard) you can easily understand why. He looks a very exciting player. He was in fact voted this summer by fans/readers of football monthly FourFourTwo as the Top 3 choice out of all the Football League players in England. Impressive.

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The Algeria international has acclimatised well in Blighty and it didn’t take him long to find his feet on the pitch as well. And when you watch him play, ball at feet, there are indeed not many things he can’t do when he’s running at the opposition’s goal.

And he does it in quite mesmerising fashion too: Dribbling, key passes, shooting, taking set-pieces, finishing, crossing the ball for others, you name it, he does it. One thing which isn’t really his forte, we have to admit it, is his defensive contribution, but that is probably something that could be worked on by Moyes. Or even neglected if he counterbalances that one weakness with his attacking prowess.

If he were to sign for West Ham and help us to score 3 goals per game on a more regular basis I might be more inclined to ignore his not tracking back as much as Fornals probably would. Having a front four of Antonio, Bowen, Benrahma and Fornals running at you sounds like the stuff nightmares of PL defenders are made of.

It’d be somewhat weird of course if we did indeed sold Diangana only to buy Benrahma in the same window, especially as Diangana despite his younger years still has more PL minutes under his belt than Benrahma.
It all defies logic or strategic planning unless you bring a certain football agent into the equation.

We obviously need to make a few more signings this week anyway to bolster what looks like a very wafer -thin squad as of now.

I am aware that the winter transfer window is not too far away, but we certainly need to cater for injuries and players missing out due to being tested positive for Covid.

As much as we would all be hoping for the same starting XI to play eight games in a row it’s simply not realistic to count on it. So you need to prepare and fill up the ranks before closing them for the upcoming games.

Josh King was/is still in the mix apparently (as an alternative option in case the Benrahma deal goes Pete Tong), same as defensive reinforcements in the form of Watford CB Craig Dawson. We could certainly do with another defender. Although I would probably prefer a slightly younger version of Dawson to be honest.

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As I alluded to before in my more recent comments I am actually growing more confident by the day that we will have new owners later this season, probably even before January. There is quite a lot of smoke drifting in from social media and blogs. And while there is always a good chance that some of those musings need to be taken with a generous tablespoon of salt at the very least, I have in recent days seen too many hints from too many people to think that there is no spark, flame or fire there whatsoever.

I can’t put my finger on one particular piece of evidence here, it’s more a combination of several factors, including our very thrifty approach to the transfer window so far, that makes me think that our board are just getting busy brushing up our finances to make a presentable case for any parties interested in a takeover. And I reckon there are currently more than just one. The stars could be aligning.

Once we get to the stage where those parties will be providing actual proof of funds (showing GSB the money basically), then things could get very interesting fairly sharpish. Fingers and toes crossed!

If we do indeed sign Benrahma and Dawson, well, both are Salthouse clients, so no big surprise there. There were rumours that Benrahma just recently has switched allegiance to a new agent, but this still very much looks like Will Salthouse has been involved heavily here, earning him a decent (and maybe final) cut from the deal. Sullivan’s and Salthouse’s last hoorah enjoyed together at PL level.

Consider it as a grateful gesture by Sullivan of compensating Salthouse one last time in case a takeover really happens. One final pay-day for the agent before West Ham will begin, hopefully under new ownership, to rely on club scouts rather than agents when picking and choosing players.

We’ll see. COYI!!!

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Hamburg football update: Both Hamburg SV and St.Pauli were idle due to the international break. So were the Cordi girls. Sunday was still busy, with the U23s drawing 2:2 at home against St.Pauli’s fourth string, with one Cordi player unfortunately receiving a red card for violent conduct in the process, after kicking out at his opponent after the ball was long gone in retaliation. Silly boy!

And the Cordi first team won a cracker of a game 4:2 away to Union Tornesch (30 mile drive each way). We nearly missed the start of the game as my Cordi mate (who was driving on this occasion) thought it a clever ploy to take a detour in order to avoid traffic on the Autobahn, so we ended up on the western outskirts of town in a place called Wedel which was full of roadworks and diversions, so we couldn’t actually use the glorious short cut as planned. We made it onto the premises in the end just in time as the ref was blowing his whistle to start the game.

The Cordi boys ran into a pleasant 3:0 halftime lead. Hattrick by midfielder Onur Saglam. One scored directly from a corner kick. One scored with a direct free kick. One penalty chipped into the net cool as a cucumber.
Then our striker got sent off after 60 minutes which was unfortunate. His knee ended up in the opposition player’s back when both were jumping for the ball. The ref thought it was deliberate when it was probably more clumsy than nasty on the Cordi lad’s part. The home side quickly pulled two goals back and the Cordi fans were in for more than 30 minutes of squeaky bum time.

One of the substitutes, a young lad, only 19 years old, who just got promoted to the first team this summer from the U18s, scored the fourth in injury time to settle this hugely entertaining contest. 6€ well spent for a ticket. Plus 2.50€ for a chicken sausage roll with mustard and ketchup. Yummo!
I love my football! ;-))