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Monthly Archives: May 2012

BROOKING: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

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Sir Trevor Brooking

Wednesday May 23,2012

Sir Trevor Brooking accepts new England manager Roy Hodgson would probably have liked more time to prepare for Euro 2012 – but is in no doubt the players will know just what is expected of them when they tackle France in Donetsk on June 11.

Hodgson will meet up with the squad for the first time in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon, having allowed players to take a short break. Chelsea’s John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill – plus stand-by player Daniel Sturridge – have been given extra time off after the Blues’ Champions League final victory.

“Roy is an experienced coach, but I am sure if you asked him he would say he wanted longer in the job to prepare the side,” said Brooking.

The former West Brom boss will have just 19 days, with friendlies against Norway and Belgium, to fine tune his plans ahead of their Group D opener.

Brooking added: “Chelsea did really well and we congratulate them on their Champions League success, but it does mean some of their lads will be coming in after the first warm-up game and I know there are three or four injuries as well at present.

“Maybe the game against Norway in Oslo is more about giving all the squad members a chance to play and even some of the standby players who at present will be wanting to show their worth to Roy for the future.”

Brooking told Press Association Sport: “They meet up on June 5 and fly out on the 6th and then the first game against France is a really tough one, but by then everyone will know what is needed from them.

“It is about trying to get off to a good start, we all know group situations are pretty tight and looking at the group they will be very close affairs.”

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

QPR and West Ham United on alert as Blackburn Rovers prepare Robinson sale

According to reports Blackburn Rovers are expected to sell goalkeeper Paul Robinson this summer.

The Daily Mail claims Robinson will head the list of players leaving relegated Rovers.

It is understood that London clubs QPR and West Ham United will battle it out for Robinson who is Rovers’ highest earner on £40,000 a week.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Two Minute Warning

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23May

Bale to Barcelona, Cole leaving Liverpool, and Holt exit?

The shrewd clubs in the transfer market always keep an eye out for those who have grown a little frustrated at home. Three players who could well be up for a new adventure this summer, for a variety of reasons, are Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, Liverpool’s Joe Cole, and Grant Holt of Norwich. The Life’s A Pitch team looks at the rumours linking Bale with Barcelona, Cole with Reading and West Ham, and Holt with Sunderland and Everton, and marks each out of 10 for probability.

“We know that Barcelona are very much interested in Gareth Bale: they want to get a new left back,” says the Daily Telegraph’s Jason Burt over rumours of a £36million switch. ”Do they have the money to spend this amount on him? I’m not so sure. [Bale’s agent] Jonathan Barnett is saying more than £36million, and we know [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain. That’s a high figure for Barcelona. I’ll give it a six.”

From one player possibly moving abroad, to one in line to return. Liverpool’s Joe Cole, on loan at Lille, has been talked about regarding a move to either Reading or former club West Ham. “I’d give that a decent chance: a six pushing a seven,” says the Daily Mirror’s John Cross. “Joe Cole is an in-demand player, he’s had a decent season at Lille and I think he’s still got an eye on the Premier League. In recent interviews he’s dropped a few hints here and there, hankering for home.”

But the most likely of all three possible transfers will be Grant Holt, says The People’s Tom Hopkinson, unless Norwich improve his contract. “I think it’s got a very good chance of happening, unless Norwich can get in there and offer him a new deal. This is totally about the financial situation. He’s not on great money, compared to a lot of his Premier League peers, having scored more goals than a lot of them.”

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Carew & Faubert among six released by West Ham

Sam Allardyce has began reshaping his Hammers side ahead of their return to the Premier League, with the former Aston Villa forward included in those not offered new deals

 

npower Championship, West Ham United v Blackpool

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West Ham United have released six players as manager Sam Allardyce prepares to lead his team back into the Premier League.

John Carew, Julien Faubert, Abdoulaye Faye, Papa Bouba Diop, Frank Nouble and Olly Lee are all set to leave the club when their deals expire in June.

Faubert, who joined the Hammers in 2007, is jettisoned despite playing 34 games in 2011-12, including Saturday’s play-off final win against Blackpool.

Neither Carew or Diop have started a game since January, while Faye’s last appearance came back in April in the 3-3 draw with Birmingham at Upton Park.

The Norwegian only managed two goals in his time with West Ham and, following the January arrivals of Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard, he was pushed further down the pecking order.

Fellow striker Nouble has also been released after spending the majority of the season on loan with Gillingham, failing to impress on his only Hammers appearance on New Year’s Eve against Derby.

An offical statement on the club’s official website website read: “Julien Faubert, Abdoulaye Faye, Papa Bouba Diop, John Carew, Frank Nouble and Olly Lee will all leave West Ham when their current contracts expire on June 30.

“The six professionals have all played their part in a successful 2011-12 season which saw the Hammers gain promotion back to the Premier League.

“West Ham would like to thank all of the aforementioned players for their hard work and dedication and wish them luck in their future careers.”

Midfielder Henry Lansbury has also left the club and returned to Arsenal after his season-long loan came to an end.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Carlton Cole: My wages were halved after West Ham’s Premier League relegation

The former England international striker agreed to slash the pay that he was getting in the top flight to continue his footballing career with the Hammers in the Championship

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has revealed that he accepted his wages being halved upon the Hammers’ relegation from the Premier League a year ago.

The forward’s salary was reportedly cut from £28,000 to £14,000 a week after the Londoners dropped into the Championship and his loyalty was further tested when he had the chance to return to the top flight with Stoke City.

The former Chelsea man helped West Ham return to the Premier League at the first time of asking after scoring the opening goal in Saturday’s Championship play-off final victory over Blackpool at Wembley.

“I’ve kept my mouth shut for quite a while but I did take a wage cut to stay in the Championship. Half of my wages just went,” Cole told reporters after the match.

WEST HAM BACK IN THE BIG TIME
Victory over Blackpool at Wembley means an instant return to the Premier League

“But I thought: ‘You know what? I want to help this club get back where we belong.’

“I didn’t want to leave the ship, I am that sort of guy. I would not have been able to live with myself.

“It is just such a reward to get to the Premier League again with West Ham at the first time of asking. This was D-Day for all of us.

“I can’t explain how proud as a player, person and family man I am to be here.”

Cole confirmed that he is yet to enter discussions over a new deal at Upton Park but is excited to tackle top-flight defences again next season.

“No contract talks have been planned but we will see what happens,” he said.

“I have a year left and we will see where that takes us. Hopefully both sides will be happy that I sign a new contract.

“I am here to help West Ham and if they want a relegation clause then I am happy to have it. You can’t be on Premier League wages in the Championship.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

BAPTISTE SLAMS ‘EMBARASSING’ HAMMERS

PictureBaptiste: West Ham hoof it up long and hope for the best 

Alex Baptiste slammed West Ham’s playing style after his own team Blackpool were beaten in the Championship play-off decider at Wembley on Saturday.

Ricardo Vaz Te netted the winning goal as the Hammers won 2-1 but the Seasiders’ defender was hardly full of praise for the victors.

He told the BBC: “We were the better side. It was embarrassing at times. They just hoof it long and hope for the best.

“And it’s a foul on me for the second goal, so the ref has done us no favours.

“I suppose everyone got what they wanted. Everyone wanted West Ham to win because they’re a team from London.

“I wouldn’t survive in their team because I’m not tall enough. All of them are eight feet tall.”

As for Blackpool’s chances next season, Baptiste added: “If we keep the squad together, we’ll go up next year.

“You’ve seen the football that we play. We’ve just got to believe in ourselves a little bit more, we experienced winning it two years ago and it’s a cruel game sometimes.

“Maybe we didn’t deserve it last time but we sure as hell deserved it this time.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Gold aims to agree Green deal

Hammers hope promotion will help to persuade keeper to stay

Image text hereRobert Green: West Ham United are hoping to agree a new contract to hang on to the goalkeeper

West Ham United co-owner David Gold is hoping the club can finalise a new contract to keep goalkeeper Robert Green at Upton Park.

Green is out of contract in the summer and the Hammers have been negotiating for several months in an effort to persuade the 32-year-old to stay.

Spanish side Malaga, who have qualified for next season’s UEFA Champions League, have been linked with a bid to sign Green on a free transfer.

However, after Saturday’s play-off win over Blackpool secured an immediate return to the Premier League for the club, Gold is optimistic of retaining Green.

“The offer we could have made to Rob would obviously not have met his requirements if we had still been in the Championship,” said Gold.

“But now there will be one on the table which should be acceptable and hopefully we will wrap that up in the next five weeks.”

Green has made over 240 appearances for West Ham since joining from Norwich City in 2006 and has been included in England’s squad for Euro 2012.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Henderson seals permanent Hammers move

Stephen HendersonStephen Henderson

By Neil Allen
Published on Monday 21 May 2012 16:17

West Ham have turned Stephen Henderson’s loan spell into a permanent deal following their return to the Premier League.

The Pompey keeper watched from the bench as Ricardo Vaz Te’s late goal in Saturday’s play-off final clinched a 2-1 victory over Blackpool.

That match signalled the end of the emergency loan deal which began back in early March.

As agreed at the time, it has now been turned into a £600,000 transfer, with Pompey potentially receiving 15-per-cent of his future sale.

Henderson, who signed a four-year deal at Upton Park, will now challenge Robert Green for the number one spot in the Premier League next season.

Green himself is out of contract this summer.

But West Ham joint-owner David Gold believes the England man will stay at Upton Park.

Despite Henderson’s presence, the club are to open negotiations with the 32-year-old, who has been selected by Roy Hodgson for his Euro 2012 squad.

In the meantime, some former Pompey players helped the Hammers back into the top flight, just 12 months after their relegation.

Gary O’Neil and Matt Taylor both started the Wembley match and followed in the footsteps of the Blues’ 2002-03 promotion.

O’Neil has been regularly involved in Sam Allardyce’s side since recovering from a serious ankle injury at the turn of the year.

Taylor, 30, has been a key figure in the West Ham side following his summer arrival.

The left-sided player has made 32 appearances, scoring once.

Another former Pompey player, Papa Bouba Diop, 34, did not make the play-off final squad.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Cole Coming Home?

The Daily Mirror are reporting that Big Sam is looking to bring an old favourite back to Upton Park.

With our Premier League status now restored, Big Sam could pull off a masterstroke if an ambitious plan to bring Joe Cole back to his former stomping ground succeeds.

Cole, who moved from Chelsea to Liverpool but who enjoyed a miserable season at Anfield before joining Lille on a season long loan, is set to head back to an uncertain future at Liverpool and we suspect a move back to West Ham could be a dream move for him.

 

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Championship Play-off Final: What, when, where, why and who?

 

As the Championship comes to a close with a gripping play-off final between West Ham United and Blackpool, Joe Harrison explains all the action from Wembley Stadium.


What?

1. West Ham won the Final 2-1 gaining the third promotion place from the Championship, meaning that they will play in the Premier League next season.

2. Blackpool’s defeat makes them the 71st team confirmed as playing in the Football League next season; the final team will be the winner of the Conference Play-Off Final between Luton Town and York City.

3. For the second consecutive season, the team that finished in 3rd place in the final Championship table earned promotion via the Play-Offs (coincidentally, both losing finalists were the team who finished 5th).

4. West Ham win their second Play-Off Final at their third attempt, their last promotion to the Premier League, in the 2004-05 season, was also gained in this way. They become the only team relegated to the Championship last season to return at the first time of asking.

5. In their fifth campaign, and their tenth tie, Blackpool are eliminated from a Play-Off competition for the first time in their history.


When?

1. 15 mins: Matty Phillips misses two brilliant chances in just over a minute. Firstly, after some excellent interplay between him, Kevin Phillips and Tom Ince, he breaks in behind West Ham’s defence but scuffs his shot tamely straight at Rob Green. Then, following a mistake by Guy Demel, he cuts inside two men before curling a shot wide of the far post from inside the area. Had either chance fallen to his teammate and namesake, Blackpool may well have taken the lead.

2. 35 mins: GOAL WEST HAM. Carlton Cole makes it 1-0. He collects a perfectly weighted ball from Matt Taylor, clipped over Ian Evatt’s shoulder, before finishing calmly from the right-hand corner of the 6 yard box.

3. 48 mins: GOAL BLACKPOOL. Tom Ince equalises for the Tangerines, with a goal remarkably similar to Cole’s opener. A long diagonal pass is misjudged by Winston Reid and Ince finishes first time from almost the exact spot Cole gave West Ham the lead having gotten the goal-side of the poorly positioned Matt Taylor.

4. 70 mins: Blackpool are dominant but failing to convert their chances. First, on 67 minutes, after excellent build-up play, the ball falls to Play-Off specialist Stephen Dobbie, but he scuffs his shot badly wide from Eardley’s pull back. Next, after a corner from the right is only partially cleared, Ian Evatt’s shot from the edge of the area takes a deflection before being hacked away from off the line.

5. 87 mins: GOAL WEST HAM. Blackpool pay for their missed opportunities as Vaz Te scores a late winner. Panic in the Blackpool box as Cole forces his way through. Gilks, sprawling at the forward’s feet, manages to divert the ball away but it falls to Vaz Te, who finishes from (you guessed it), the right hand corner of the 6 yard box. Blackpool fail to create any meaningful openings in the remaining minutes, and West Ham claim the victory.


Where?

1. 6 yards out from goal and slightly to the right.

The rough location of all three goals in the match so indisputably the game’s most important location.

2. The half-way line.

The scene of challenges in the build-up to both West Ham goals that Blackpool felt were fouls but, crucially, Howard Webb did not, waving play on, much to the Hammers’ advantage.

3. The 10 yards in front of Blackpool’s defence.

As in the semi-final against Cardiff, West Ham pushed up high, pressuring their opponents when out of possession. Blackpool’s ability to deal with this throughout the game varied (unlike Cardiff, who simply couldn’t cope). When they escaped the initial pressure, space opened up and they were able to launch meaningful attacks. During the periods in which they struggled to do this, they were forced into longer balls that were easy for West Ham to deal with.

4. The space in behind the full backs.

Both teams tried to push their full backs high up the pitch, so both also looked to exploit the gap left by the opposition’s players. Blackpool played particularly on Matt Taylor at left-back for West Ham, who eventually responded by bringing on George McCartney and moving Taylor to midfield after he had been found out of position for Blackpool’s equaliser.

West Ham sought to get Vaz Te in behind Blackpool’s right back Neal Eardley. Though they engineered this situation a number of times, particularly in the first half, Vaz Te was unable to make the most of each opportunity.

5. The dugouts.

Each manager’s substitutions made a difference. For West Ham, as noted above, the introduction of George McCartney at left back made them more solid, as did the pace of ex-Real Madrid Julien Faubert replacing the injured Demel at right-back. For Blackpool, the substitution of Kevin Phillips on 70 minutes seemed logical at the time, but meant when they did go behind their top scorer was already off the pitch.


Why?

1. West Ham’s pressing.

As noted above, West Ham pressured very high up when Blackpool were in possession, particularly in the first half. Blackpool looked prepared for this though and seemed to have devised two methods of countering it. First, their players attempted a number of dribbles in midfield, hoping to break the high line and run at the back four. This didn’t really work though, as West Ham pressed effectively in numbers, meaning Blackpool players were crowded out by two or 3 West Ham players on a number of occasions.

The other tactic was to utilise West Ham’s high midfield positioning by clipping the ball into the space between West Ham’s midfield and defence. Kevin Phillips was key to this, dropping off the centre-halves often and to some effect – best displayed in the move that led to Matt Phillips’ first missed chance. This did work better than dribbling, but when West Ham pressed even more effectively, Blackpool’s defenders were often rushed into poorly hit passes, turning into long balls easily dealt with by West Ham’s poor defence.

2. Matt Taylor.

West Ham seemed determined to play their left back as high up the pitch as possible. This did cause them problems, as Blackpool looked to exploit his less impressive defensive qualities and the space he left behind him, succeeding in doing so for their goal. However, it could also be argued that West Ham’s deployment of him was vindicated somewhat in their opening goal, as it was Taylor who provided the excellent assist for Cole from a very advanced position.

3. Blackpool win the midfield battle.

Though both sides nominally lined up in something resembling a 4-2-3-1 formation (West Ham’s was more asymmetrical), thereby meaning an equal number in midfield, it was Blackpool who used their numbers more effectively. Martinez in particular was excellent, while West Ham struggled to pick up Dobbie’s movement between the lines of their midfield and attack. Mark Noble was outnumbered as Collison, O’Neil and Nolan had largely anonymous matches. This control is what led to Blackpool dominating much of the second half.

4. West Ham substitutions make a difference.

As noted, around the 55 minute mark, West Ham changed both of their full backs, making their back line more solid and less vulnerable to the threat of Blackpool’s wingers. However, it was not a perfect tactical move. Allardyce also changed to a narrower midfield to try to combat Blackpool’s control of that area, which not only failed but also allowed much more space for Blackpool’s full backs to move into, with Eardley particularly dangerous, as seen in Dobbie’s missed chance.

However, this change paid off for the Hammers as it also involved moving Vaz Te up front to partner Carlton Cole and in from the left wing. This meant that when the ball broke, Vaz Te was in the right place to score the winner, which he may not have been if he were still playing from the left.

5. West Ham take their chances.

West Ham had 3 good chances in the match and scored two while Vaz Te put the other wide in the first chance. They also hit the bar from a half-chance as Nolan’s brilliant volley was tipped onto the woodwork by Gilks. Compare that to Blackpool, who had 4 excellent opportunities yet only managed to score one of them. Ultimately, Blackpool only have themselves to blame for not winning a match in which they were the dominant side.


Who?

1. Howard Webb.

It is unfortunate to focus on the officials involved but Blackpool will feel aggrieved about both West Ham goals. In the build-up to the first goal, Tom Ince was shoved off the ball. It was a debatable decision (and one which split the Sky Sports panel) but it could easily have been given as a free-kick. Similarly, an aerial challenge on halfway went unpunished in the run-up to Vaz Te’s winner, when a free kick could easily have been given.

2. Sam Allardyce.

Vindication for the man whose relationship with his team’s fans has certainly been strained at times this season (in his words, they were talking “bollocks” at certain points). The appointment of Allardyce was perhaps the ultimate pragmatic move from West Ham – it was always likely that his brand of football would prove unpopular with elements of the Upton Park faithful, but ultimately promotion is what mattered and he has delivered.

3. Matt Phillips.

Harsh though it is to linger on individual mistakes in a match of such magnitude, Phillips’ missed chances will live long in the memory for Blackpool fans. The young winger has had a brilliant season and many predict a move to the Premier League this summer but his profligacy when it mattered most was critical at Wembley.

4. Ian Holloway.

Where now for the Blackpool manager? Understandably, his post-match interview was a sombre and downcast affair, with the Bristolian looking utterly dejected. This was followed by a Daily Mirror column near enough demanding support and investment from his owners to continue the club’s progress. Holloway may be tempted should any Premier League clubs come calling this summer but once he’s over the disappointment, he’ll realise that it won’t take many tweaks to have this Blackpool side performing again next season, even if they lose one or two players. In this regard they can take inspiration from last season’s losing Play-Off Finalists, Reading, who recovered to win the division this season.

5. Ricardo Vaz Te.

Signing of the season in the Championship? You could almost argue Vaz Te has earned the award twice – first for his electric spell at Barnsley and then for his goals since joining West Ham in January. His 10th goal in 11 games and his 26th of the season was the most crucial, sending him, his manager and his club back to the Premier League. It is interesting to note that all three of the sides promoted this season signed strikers in January who made a telling impact: Jason Roberts inspired Reading, Billy Sharp’s crucial goals took some of the pressure off Rickie Lambert at Southampton, while Vaz Te impressed for West Ham before scoring the most important goal of them all.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized