Hammers keeper backed after Blues blunder
Last updated: 12th September 2010
Scott Parker has backed West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green to bounce back from
his latest blunder. The Hammers' miserable start to the season continued
with their fourth successive Premier League defeat as Chelsea cruised to a
3-1 victory at Upton Park. Green, who lost his place in the England side
after his howler against the USA in the World Cup, spilled Didier Drogba's
routine free-kick before Matthew Upson smashed his attempted clearance
against Salomon Kalouwith the ball rebounding into the net. But Parker, who
scored an excellent lob for the Hammers' late consolation, feels his
team-mate comes under addition scrutiny due to his position, and remains
confident Avram Grant'smen can lift themselves off the foot of the table.
"Greeny is a very strong character. There has been more than one time since
I have been here that he has kept us in the game," Parker said. "That is
what happens. When you are a keeper one mistake is highlighted where I can
probably go and make five mistakes and no one speaks about them. As a keeper
you make one mistake and it is punished. He is a great keeper. "We were
playing a very good side in Chelsea and we always knew it was going to be a
tough game. "Morale is high. It has been a difficult start for us. We are
not kidding ourselves. We would like points on the board. "We have had a
difficult start but at the same time we need to win games. We know that and
we are trying our hardest with everything we are doing in training."
Sullivan - Hammers still struggling
Upton Park chief not happy with finances
Last updated: 12th September 2010
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan insists it remains a huge struggle trying
to keep the club afloat. The former Birmingham supremo, along with business
partner David Gold, bought the East London club last season. But Sullivan
insists that they are still struggling due to over-spending by the previous
regime at Upton Park. "In line with my partner David Gold neither of us has
ever drawn a penny in wages, management fees or even expenses and it is
never our intention to do so," he told The People. "We have £50million of
bank loans and £50m of other debts - it is the most difficult task keeping
the club afloat."
Despite the struggles, he insists that they will not let the club go under,
adding: "With the help of our bankers we will keep the club afloat, but
please realise it will take years to take West Ham where we want them to be.
"Every day we are being hit with enormous bills run up by the previous
regime. "For example an agent says he is owed £50,000 for arranging a
pre-season friendly against Napoli last year on a match that lost the club
£70,000. "The appearance money against Oxford [in the League Cup] was
£45,000 plus £9,000 in win bonuses. "Our cut of the gate was £65,000, so we
ended up making £11,000. No-one can blame the players for accepting
over-generous contracts the previous regime offered them. "We have brought
in eight new players to balance Avram Grant's squad, as well as hanging on
to our star names. "We missed out on a number of targets, mainly due to the
impossible demands of players, clubs or agents. "This was a big factor in
why I have been working 16-18 hour days for the last three months. "On my
eight-day family holiday I was talking to players and agents non-stop. So
much so that my family were hardly talking to me at the end. My sons were in
tears of frustration with me being on the phone rather than spending time
with them. "My mobile phone was £2,000 for eight days and I paid that
myself. It is the most difficult task trying to keep the club afloat."
Vinny's Chelsea Report
Vinny - Sun Sep 12 2010
West Ham Online
West Ham United 1 Chelsea 3
A fourth straight defeat condemned West Ham to their worst start to a season
as Chelsea brushed the Hammers aside with relative ease. If we forget the
previous three games and take this game on its own merit it wasn't all that
bad and there were positives to take out of it. But of course forgetting how
we have started the season is not all that easy to do and regardless of the
opposition the fact remains that we have lost yet another game. Did we
compete? Yes, there was no shortage of effort and some our football was a
big improvement on what we have seen so far but whilst I can acknowledge
this I also have to remember that two early goals killed the game with
Chelsea not having to play at their best.
To expect to beat Chelsea is perhaps being a tad over optimistic but given
our plight you are hoping for anything to be able to leave Upton Park
feeling positive about. The first two goals were conceded were very poor and
to expect to make mistakes against a team of their quality and get away with
it would be considered a little naive. It remains to be seen how we will
react against Stoke next weekend. If we play like we did during this game we
have a chance of getting something but I fear the losing mentality may have
already set in much like it did last season.
With a near fit squad to choose from Avram Grant made three changes to the
side beaten at Old Trafford two week ago. In defence Danny Gabbidon was
again injured and replaced by Tal Ben Haim who was making his league debut
for the club. At right back Jonathan Spector was dropped from the entire
squad and replaced by transfer deadline day signing Lars Jacobsen. In
midfield Luis Boa Morte retained his place and Julien Faubert was dropped to
the bench in favour of Valon Behrami who was making his first start of the
season as his desire to leave the club did not come to anything and he is
now stuck here. WHO Player of the Month Kieron Dyer was surprisingly dropped
to the bench with another new signing Victor Obinna starting up front with
To beat one of the top sides you need to keep things tight and of course
have a bit of luck so to lose a goal so early on really killed our chances
of taking anything from the game. With only two minutes on the clock Chelsea
won a corner which was swung into the area by Didier Drogba for Michael
Essien to rise above the static Herita Ilunga to put the visitors from West
London in the lead. A nightmare start is what we had all dreaded and
continued the theme of anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
A half chance presented itself to Obinna a couple of minutes later when a
cross from Jacobson was head into the path of the Nigerian forward by Noble
but the volley was into the ground and easily saved by Cech in the Chelsea
goal. Scott Parker was seeing a lot of the ball in the midfield and putting
in a few good challenges but Boa Morte and Noble seemed unable to find space
with Behrami continuing to drift into the centre away from the right hand
side which allowed Ashley Cole to bomb forward on the left. Whilst we were
seeing quite a bit of the ball we struggled to make any killer pass and
Chelsea looked very dangerous on the break and I couldn't help thinking
another goal would not be long coming.
Not even twenty minutes was on the clock when Chelsea did score their
second. Whilst I may have thought there was an air of inevitability that
Chelsea would score again the way this happened was farcical to say the
least. A clumsy free kick was given away by Boa Morte who hacked down Drogba
who of course went down like he had been shot but there really was no need
for Boa Morte to be as reckless as he was and we were punished. The free
kick was a long way out but Drogba decided to have a go and the straight
shot actually was quite tame but unfortunately Robert Green doesn't really
specialise in tame and spilled the shot which Upson reacted first to but his
attempted clearance hit Solomon Kalou and looped over Green into the goal.
Green and Upson the main culprits which says a lot about the form and
mentality of these two who will be living on the excuse of an England
hangover for some time it would seem.
And that was the game. We competed but didn't have the quality to break
Chelsea down and they were happy to sit back and soak up the minimal
A few minutes after the second goal Chelsea had another attempt after
Behrami was caught in possession with Kalou hitting a shot which fizzed just
past Green's post. Just before the half hour mark we had our best chance of
the half when Carlton Cole found himself in possession and hit a wonderful
pass over the top to Obinna who had kept himself onside but his shot was
poor and went wide. It should have been a goal.
Cole was involved a few minutes later when he was a free kick just outside
the area to which Obinna took a shot which hit the wall and Parker hit a
follow up but this was cleared by John Terry. With this being the best
period of the game for us Obinna had another half chance when an excellent
ball forward from Ben Haim found the forward on the left and he cut inside
and hit a powerful right foot shot which flew just past the post. The crowd
were responding to the team giving it a go and when the fans found the time
to stop slagging off Carlton Cole the atmosphere for that last period of the
first half was quite good.
In first half injury time it looked as though we had got ourselves back into
the game when Boa Morte beat two men and played the ball through for Carlton
Cole to stab past Cech and score only for the flag from the linesman to go
up for offside. I'm not sure how many of the fans would have reacted to Cole
scoring so perhaps it was best the goal was ruled out? And whilst this can
be considered a childish comment the abuse Cole is getting is not the same
any other player and he will get singled out for things that others do not.
There were no boos at half time which was a surprise as that is what West
Ham fans enjoy most about their day I thought. Kieron Dyer was brought on
for Boa Morte which begged the question why he wasn't starting in the first
place as Boa Morte sadly does not have the quality to compete against the
likes of Chelsea.
The second half saw us have a lot of the ball with Dyer, Parker and Obinna
playing quite well as we attempted to get that goal which would give us a
bit of hope and maybe a way back into the game. There was some nice football
which just lacked the killer ball and Cole was often too static and slowed
our attacking down with his strike partner Obinna rarely close enough to him
to latch on to the few headers he did manage to win. Even when Cole did win
a header I couldn't help thinking that the Chelsea defenders were happy for
him to do so knowing that there was nothing near him.
Fredric Piquionne replaced Valon Behrami as we went to three up front in
search of a goal but it would be Chelsea who would find the next goal of the
game and kill off any slim hopes of grabbing a point. It was another header
from Essien which was to be our undoing as Ferreira put in a good cross for
the Ghanaian to head past Green from just a few yards out as he got up above
Ben Haim. Fans began to stream out of the ground and they would have missed
a brilliant goal from Scott Parker just two minutes later when a corner was
cleared only as far as last seasons Hammer Of The Year and he hit a side
foot volley over the head of everyone and into the back of the net. The goal
was met with a muted celebration but you couldn't help but be impressed with
the finish from a player who has now scored as many goals as he did last
Could we manage to score another goal and make it a very interesting last
few minutes? No is the answer but we came very close to doing so and I still
even now cannot believe how we managed to miss this chance.Obinna cut inside
and put in a cross which was flicked on by Cole for Piqionne to have an
empty net to head into but the French striker managed to put his header onto
the cross bar. If you haven't seen this miss then I would advise you not to
because it is quite shocking to see. I do wonder if Carlton Cole had missed
this chance what the reaction would have been? I would suspect burning
effigies to appear in future games.
We were not terrible but made our own problems with two poor goals conceded
in the first half and when you let that happen against a team like Chelsea
then the damage is done.
Green is prone to the odd mistake and I am not referring to his World Cup
exploits. We have seen the odd mistake and this unfortunately was another
one of them as he failed to hold Drogba's shot which he should have. But
ironically cheering when he makes any save is not something we should be
doing for our goal keeper.
Signed from Blackburn Rovers on transfer deadline day the Danish right back
was making his debut and I have to say I thought he did quite well. He was
exposed at times when Behrami came into the centre instead of sticking to
the right but his distribution of the ball was refreshing to see having had
to deal with Faubert giving it away with every other pass. Hopefully he will
Maybe it will an unpopular observation but I thought Upson did well for the
majority of game. Whilst we can look at the clearance for the goal and ask
why didn't he just clear it somewhere else you surely have to admit that
this was a terrible luck and complete freak goal. In the second half I
thought Upson stood up against Drogba really well and we were rarely
Tal Ben Haim
Much better that the erratic display against Oxford and the Israili centre
half looked fitter and sharper. Like Jacobson his distribution of the ball
was much better and important especially when we have so many midfielders
who are better with the ball at their feet. Beaten by Essien for the third
goal but I want to see Ben Haim remain in the defence as we need to get a
At fault for the first goal as he just didn't watch his man. Not involved
enough in the game which seemed to bypass him and his form is a concern.
Poor on the ball, poor off the ball. Couldn't get involved in the game and
seems to struggle on the right hand side. Ashley Cole was allowed to get
forward too often as Behrami continued to drift inside. Whether this was
meant or not regarding tactics Behrami was still poor and should have been
taken off much sooner.
He has had a decent season so far without being spectacular. In fairness I
think that is what you should expect from Noble and when Hitzlsperger
returns the bench may be the position Noble plays. He did some nice things
at times and against lesser opposition he may have had more joy with his
passing. Got into a bit of argument with the Chelsea players near the end
which he was supported by very few West Ham players which was very
disappointing to see.
Most things we did went through Parker who continues to be the heart beat of
the side. He needs more around him and needs better movement from the likes
of Cole so he can make a pass. His goal was wonderful and he was my man of
Luis Boa Morte
Looked lost and out of his depth in his 45 minutes on the pitch. With Dyer
and Barrera available for selection it was very surprising that he began the
Another game without a goal and Cole was never a goal threat. His movement
was shocking and I don't know why his game has gone this way as his hold up
play and movement was improving. He looked slow and desperately needs a goal
to give him the confidence to go on to get double figures as he has in the
last two seasons. The abuse he is getting is atrocious but please do not
misunderstand me as me thinking the abuse he is getting is out of order is
not the same as thinking he is playing well but Cole gets a much tougher
ride than any other West Ham player.
A very positive performance from the new man whose pace is a much needed
injection into a side who has lack fast players over the last few seasons.
He was lively, should have scored in the first half and always involved.
Kieron Dyer (on for Boa Morte 45 mins)
On for the second half and again looked good. I'm not sure why he wasn't
starting but he has to be in the starting line up next weekend.
Frederique Piquionnei > (on for Behrami 72 mins)
On to add more to the front line but will only be remembered for his
Subs Not Used: Stech, Kovac, Barrera, Tomkins, Faubert
Yellow Cards: Parker, Noble
Man Of The Match: Scott Parker
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Terry, A.Cole, Essien, Ramires, Mikel,
Anelka, Kalou, Drogba
Subs: Turnbull, Alex, Zhirkov, Benayoun, Malouda, Kakuta, Sturridge
Attendance: 33, 014
I'd go as far to say that this was our best performance of the season
although whether Chelsea with the two early goals were happy to soak up
pressure may have been the reason we had more time on the ball especially in
the second half.
The cold hard facts continue to ring around my head as we have lost four out
of four, scored two goals, conceded twelve goals, let in three goals in each
of the four games and have an away trip to Stoke next and then we are at
home to Tottenham.
Call me a doom and gloom merchant if you want but I do not see us picking up
any points over the next two games and six games with no points will kill
the little confidence our team currently has.
Gold and Sullivan have been adamant that we cannot be in another relegation
battle like last season but this for me is exactly what is going to happen
unless there is to be some dramatic change in our fortunes.
Next Game - Stoke City (a)
An early kick off up at Stoke where we were beaten last season 2-1 around a
similar time. I recall us going into that game in similar form with a win
being a must but like last season I can only see defeat.
There are positives to be taken out of our performance against Chelsea but I
fear the losing mentality has already set in and getting out of it will be a
very difficult thing for us to do.
I need something to give me some hope about our season.
The View From Grant
"The second goal was unbelievable,I never saw such a thing. But I must say
the reaction was good, we dominated and created a lot of chances. This is
football. We need to score when we get the chances."
"We have a lot of positives to take and if we continue like this, the future
will be good.
"All of the new players that we had brought something to the team. Obinna
and Barrera are players that can quicken the attack. Since the transfer
window shut, most of the players had been on international duty. This week
we will train for the first time together and I am very happy with my new
"We need to work on this and have all the players together. We have this now
and all the team now need to be more defensively organised, including the
attack. But we are improving in a very short space of time. With time we
will be better and better."
"The organisation was not so good until now but today it was much better.
There is a lot of things that we have improved but at the end of the day we
lost the game. I am sure, though, if we continue like this we will take
"We need to build the spirit from game to game, from month to month. To
build it takes time, not a long time, but I am happy when I see improvement.
"I am not happy that we have zero points - especially because we deserve
more from our two games at home. Regardless, we are going for a long-term
project. I am very confident that we are doing the right thing. We don't
have points now but at the end of the day you count the points when the
season is finished."
Cottee: 'West Ham are in a relegation battle'
By Michael Wade
Sunday, September 12
Tony Cottee has told talkSPORT that West Ham are in a relegation battle
after four defeats in their first four games. The West Ham legend has
criticised manager Avram Grant but also said the players can't escape the
blame after conceding twelve goals and only scoring twice in the club's
worst start to a season ever which sees them rooted to the foot of the
Premier League. Cottee told Call Cundy: "[West Ham] are in a relegation
fight it is going to be a long, long season. How long [David Gold & David
Sullivan] will be patient with Avram Grant? I really don't know. He wasn't
my choice of manager. He doesn't inspire me, just listening to him doesn't
inspire me and if I was a player I don't think he would inspire me. At the
moment it's a complete disaster "You mention about Gianfranco Zola and it
appeared pretty much from the start when the owners took over in January
that he was going to be leaving at the end of the season. But if you're
going to make a change you've got to make a change for the better and I
don't think they've done that in Avram Grant. It was a strange appointment
for me. "At the moment it's a complete disaster, how they get out of it I
don't know because I don't see the inspiration from the manager but the
players sooner or later have to take responsibility as well."
West Ham 1 Chelsea 3: Groundhog day as Robert Green is the culprit (yet
By MATT BARLOW
Last updated at 11:03 PM on 12th September 2010
A spilled shot from distance, a crucial goal conceded, a gloved hand raised
in apology. Robert Green is back on familiar territory. A costly fumble
against Chelsea on Saturday, in a game West Ham lost 3-1, triggered
flashbacks to that awful error on World Cup duty in Rustenburg, three months
ago. Next time the ball went near his goal, Green gathered it easily to
ironic cheers - from his own supporters. Bottom of the Barclays Premier
League, without a point, it is West Ham's worst ever start to a top-flight
campaign. As if Avram Grant didn't have enough on his plate, he also has the
task of massaging the confidence of his senior goalkeeper and he started by
backing Green. 'Rob is a tough guy,' said Grant. 'He is a good goalkeeper
and he needs to react like a man, which he is doing. We will see him in the
next games.' In Rustenburg, Green allowed Clint Dempsey's tame shot to
slither from his grasp and spin over the line. It cost England two points
against the United States.
Despite a dignified response to a bad mistake, Green's England career seems
to have been killed in Rustenburg. Boss Fabio Capello made him a scapegoat.
Who can be surprised if the West Ham keeper is still haunted by it? Avram
Grant is set to miss West Ham's crucial Premier League game at Stoke this
Saturday because it clashes with Yom Kippur. The Israeli says he will ask
the club's owners if he can forego the journey to the Britannia Stadium in
favour of observing one of the most important dates in the Jewish calendar.
Grant said: 'The team will be ready 100 per cent for the game. It's a
private matter whether I'll be there or not. I need to speak with the
owners.' West Ham co-owner David Gold said: 'It is difficult to stand in the
way of religious conviction. Religion is a very personal thing. I would
respect Avram's decision.'
'I don't know if it's still on his mind, you'd need to ask him,' said Grant.
'What happened in the World Cup - even if he'd been the best player, the
most important thing is to react.' Green ruled himself out of this month's
Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland, opting to take the
opportunity to have minor surgery on a niggling hip injury. If he maintains
international ambitions, the 30-year-old can take consolation from the fact
that Capello was not at Upton Park to witness him misjudge the dip and
wobble on a Didier Drogba free-kick and fumble the shot. Matthew Upson tried
to tidy up the mess but only succeeded in launching a panicky clearance at
Salomon Kalou's heels and the ball looped back over Green and dropped into
the net to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead.
'Greenie is a strong character and a great keeper,' said Hammers captain
Scott Parker. 'There has been more than one time since I came here that he
has kept us in the game. 'When you're a keeper, one mistake is highlighted
whereas I can probably go and make five mistakes and no-one speaks about
Unlike his reaction in South Africa, Green declined requests to talk to the
media after Saturday's defeat and, unlike Capello, Grant cannot afford to
discard his keeper at the start of a campaign. If a full-scale relegation
battle is in store for the Hammers, manager Grant is going to need Green at
his best, with his confidence restored to the level it was at before the
World Cup. 'Pressure is part of the game,' said the West Ham boss. 'I am not
happy that we lost but the challenge stays the same.' Carlo Ancelotti will
assess the condition of Frank Lampard and John Terry today before deciding
whether the pair will travel to Slovakia for Wednesday's Champions League
opener. Ancelotti is determined to take no risks at this stage of the
season, even though he will play MSK Zilina without Drogba, who is suspended
after his red card against Inter Milan last season. Lampard hopes to be fit
after surgery on his groin which ruled him out of Saturday's win and Terry
will check the ribs he injured at Upton Park before making a final decision.
Victor Obinna gives West Ham hope with striking debut against Chelsea
Paul Doyle at Upton Park
The Guardian, Monday 13 September 2010
In the absence of points, West Ham fans will cling to whatever positives
they can find. The faithful may have learned in recent seasons to be
suspicious of forwards who began promisingly – Alessandro Diamanti, Diego
Tristán, Savio, Ilan, Mido and Guillermo Franco all flickered before fading
into oblivion – but the latest striking hope, Victor Obinna, could be the
brightest of all recent arrivals at the Boleyn Ground.
Despite having wasted two clear chances by volleying weakly, the 23-year-old
Nigeria international was named as man of the match by the club's sponsors.
That can be construed either as a sign that they are bored of giving the
accolade to Scott Parker or as recognition for an energetic and exciting
performance by a player who is on a season-long loan from Internazionale.
"I wanted to come, no one forced me," said Obinna, when asked how high his
hopes could have been when he left the European champions to join the
Premier League's most beleaguered club. "I wanted to play in the Premier
League because I felt this was the type of game I want to play."
His manager at Inter, Rafael Benítez, reckoned it would suit him. "He told
me to give it a try – he knew what I could do in England with my pace."
It took Obinna half an hour to adapt to his new surroundings – at first he
gravitated, either on instruction or by instinct, towards Chelsea's
deep-lying midfielder, Mikel John Obi, seemingly marking his compatriot. He
thus found himself too far away from Carlton Cole to benefit from the
striker's knock-downs and not close enough to the wings to exploit the space
left by Ashley Cole and Paulo Ferreira as they flew forward.
Eventually, however, Obinna did shift wider and his menace began to emerge
as, given space to get up a gallop, he ran dangerously into the box, curling
a shot wide in the first half and later delivering a delicious cross that
the substitute Frédéric Piquionne managed to head against the bar from a
That was enough to differentiate Obinna from most of his team-mates, though
he claims to be convinced that take-off is imminent. "We played better than
Chelsea but not in terms of scoring goals and football is all about
scoring," he said. "We will improve for the next game."
Four games into the season, no West Ham forward has scored. Obinna foresees
a fruitful partnership with Cole. "I really like playing with him because I
like to play down the side, him flicking the ball for me," he said. "We have
to keep practising more, I have been here only a week – it is not easy to
get an understanding."
Given the way West Ham have defended so far this season, their striker will
need to start scoring soon. They have conceded three goals in every league
game and the confidence of their goalkeeper, Rob Green, seems sow low as to
be subterranean. With his World Cup blunder against the United States still
grating the memory, Chelsea fans jeered Green prior to kick-off and the home
faithful joined in after his blunder led to the visitors' farcical second
goal. An attempted clearance by Matthew Upson ricocheted over Green and into
the net after the keeper had spilled a gentle freekick from Didier Drogba.
Mockery is sure to accompany Green wherever he goes for the foreseeable
future, and his manager called for him to take inspiration from some of the
game's most illustrious names.
"Supporters were very tough with [David] Beckham after 1998 and very hard on
[Cristiano] Ronaldo after 2006," said Grant. "Rob's a good goalkeeper and he
needs to react like a man, which he is doing."
Man of the match Victor Obinna (West Ham)
Reid denies link to West Ham's Nouble
This Is Devon
ARGYLE manager Peter Reid has flatly denied trying to sign 18-year-old
striker Frank Nouble on loan from West Ham United. Colchester boss John Ward
had sparked speculation about it before his team took on the Pilgrims on
Saturday. Ward stated in his pre-match Press conference that Nouble would be
in Argyle's ranks. That came as news to Reid, however, and, sure enough, the
6ft 3in England under-19 international was not in the Pilgrims' squad. "I
know nothing about it," said Reid, after the 1-1 draw at the Weston Homes
Community Stadium. "I'm going to ask him (Ward) in a minute." Reid has made
no secret of the fact he wants to add an on-loan striker to the playing
ranks at Home Park. But Nouble, who is highly rated at Upton Park, now seems
to have been ruled out.
West Ham not at breaking point - Sullivan
September 12, 2010
David Sullivan is not at breaking point trying to control West Ham's near
£100 million debts nor has he lost faith in Avram Grant with his team rooted
at the foot of the table without a single point. The Hammers are hitting the
headlines for all the wrong reasons, with stories circulating of huge debts
and speculation their under pressure manager will shortly be sacked. But the
club's co-owner Sullivan gave an exclusive interview on Sunday to
ESPNsoccernet to put the record straight. "All of my remarks about the
finances have come straight out of my programme notes, but at no point did I
say I was at breaking point and I don't see it as an outburst, just being
honest with supporters," Sullivan told ESPNsoccernet. "I would like to
stress that I'm not at breaking point, and that I just like to be honest
Co-owners Sullivan and David Gold inherited debts of £110 million when they
took control last January, and if anything they have put austerity measures
in place that have brought the debt down. Sullivan added: "Debts in reality
probably are now £90 million to £95 million. We bought £7 million to £8
million worth of players in the summer, but of course transfers are paid in
installments and that amount will be paid over several years, but with up
front payments debts rose a bit, but remain at £90 million to £95 million
now. "I did say the debt was £100 million in my programme notes, as it's a
round figure. In reality the debt goes up and down all the time as money
comes in and goes out."
However, Sullivan did confess in his programme notes that it will take time
to turn West Ham into a Premier League force. Scott Parker signed a new
contract five-year contract worth £70,000-a-week, as ESPNsoccernet revealed
on Friday, but Sullivan knows that wages cannot be sustained within
football, not just at a club with huge debts like West Ham. Sullivan said in
his programme notes: "We have brought in eight new players to balance Avram
Grant's squad, as well as hanging on to our star names. We missed out on a
number of targets, mainly due to the impossible demands of players, clubs or
agents. This was a big factor in why I have been working 16-18 hour days for
the last three months.
"On my eight-day famiily holiday I was talking to players and agents
non-stop. So much so that my family were hardly talking to me at the end. My
sons were in tears of frustration with me being on the phone rather than
spending time with them. "My mobile phone bill was £2,000 for eight days and
I paid that myself. It is the most difficult task trying to keep the club
afloat. In line with my partner David Gold neither of us has ever drawn a
penny in wages, management fees or even expenses and it is never our
intention to do so. "We have £50 million of bank loans and £50 million of
other debts. With the help of our bankers we will keep the club afloat, but
please realise it will take years to take West Ham where we want them to be.
Every day we are being hit with enormous bills run up by the previous
regime. "For example an agent says he is owed £50,000 for arranging a
pre-season friendly against Napoli last year on a match that lost the club
£70,000. The appearance money against Oxford was £45,000 plus £9,000 in win
bonuses. Our cut of the gate was £65,000, so we ended up making £11,000.
No-one can blame the players for accepting over-generous contracts the
previous regime offered them."
The Hammers are still rooted to the foot of the table without a point having
suffered defeat by a relentless Chelsea team. But Sullivan refuses to be
despondent, as he told ESPNsoccernet: "In reality the game was a lot closer
than the score suggests. We had an offside goal disallowed, hit the crossbar
from three yards, and so it went on. Their second goal was a freak. "The
highlights on Match of the Day did not reflect the game at all. We dominated
for large sections of the game, notably late in first half and second half.
I was very satisfied with Saturday's performance, the team is improving game
by game and I'm very confident that results will improve shortly."
Introducing New WHTID Contributor Robert Banks
West Ham Till I Die
As many of you know, Robert Banks has authored three brilliant books
cataloguing his experiences during 20 years as a West Ham fan – AN
IRRATIONAL HATRED OF LUTON, WEST HAM TILL I DIE and THE LEGACY OF BARRY
GREEN. He was also a regular contributor to the OVER LAND AND SEA fanzine.
He has now returned to London and yesterday he did a booksigning at the
Newham Bookshop before the Chelsea game.
So I thought who better to ask to join myself and S J Chandos as regular
contributors to the blog. I'm sure you'll enjoy his writing and will welcome
him to the site.
Lies, Damn Lies and MoTD Editing!
West Ham Till I Die
Having read Iain's Chelsea match report, I concur with his upbeat
assessment. In terms of the early defensive chaos, I realised what was in
store after Chelski's first attack, when three of our defenders all
challenged for the same ball! Still, it was a new defensive formation and
it looked like it in the initial exchanges. But things settled down a bit
and by the end end of the match there were signs of some cohesion emerging.
Achieving cohesion and solidarity in defence is going to be crucial to our
fortunes. Some of our forward play so far this season has been good, but it
definitely went up a level or two against Chelski in the second half. It
bodes well for the rest of the season, as long as we can just sort out our
defensive issues. Jacobsen looks a good addition to the squad, he might
just prove a bargain buy. He gave the side valuable balance and defended
well; plus there were also indicators that he could offer something going
forward. Tal Ben Haim did reasonably well. If he can rediscover the sort
of form that he achieved whilst at Bolton, then he can do a job for us.
But he will need to do better than he did against Essien, at the far post,
for Chelski's third goal!
What we now need is a consistency of selection that will allow the back four
to gel. We should stick with Jacobsen, Illunga, Ben Haim and Upson and see
if they can develop an real understanding. We also need Dyer to stay fit
and show the type of form that he displayed yesterday. It reminded us all
what we have been missing and the quality that he can bring to the side.
Similarly, Obinna looked very promising and could well develop in to the
type of quality, pacy forward that we need. Carlton Cole is working hard,
but has yet to fire on all cylinders. And it will also be interesting to
see what kind of contribution McCarthy can make this season?
In midfield, Noble and Parker played well (Parker's goal, in particular, was
class) and Behrami knuckled down and battled away. Indeed, one of pleasing
things was the way in which the team showed some guts and fought hard for
possession. Plus, we can look forward to the imminent return from injury of
Thomas Hitzlsperger; along with that of Collison and Hines at some point in
It is, indeed, very strange to feel so optimistic after a 1-3 home defeat!
However, there were some very promising indicators that we can turn around
our poor start to the season. However, after viewing the MoTD edit on
Saturday evening, I did momentarily questioned my recollection of the match.
After all, where was Carlton Cole's disallowed goal, where was the Obinna
free kick in the second half and, more to the point, where was West Ham's
pressure prior to Chelski netting their third. At the time I felt that the
third goal was very much against the run of the play, but not according to
Seeking verification of my initial impressions, I later switched over to the
Football First coverage on Sky. That confirmed how I had originally thought
the match had gone. I know that MoTD have to edit matches down to
accommodate smaller slots (in terms of air time) than Football First, but I
still feel that it was not as well balanced as it could have been. As for
Alan Hanson's comment (also made recently after MoTD coverage of other
reverses) that West Ham are in for a 'long, hard winter,' I sincerely hope
that we prove him wrong, in a 'you win nothing with kids' sort of way!
Our season will not ultimately be determined by the results against Chelski
and Man Utd, it will be by those against the likes of Stoke City, WBA,
Birmingham City and Fulham. On the balance of the evidence yesterday, we
can beat those teams and, hopefully, improve enough to compete in matches
with the likes of Villa, Spurs and Everton. The fixture list has not helped
us so far this season, but it does mean that we have got some difficult
games out of the way and that more winnable matches are coming up.
Finally, interesting comments by David Sulivan were reported in the Sunday
press. Apparently, the club's finances have not improved and we are still
over £100m in debt!! He is also working long hours, including family
holidays, trying to resolve the situation and oversee transfers. We can
appreciate the effort that he and David Gold are putting in on behalf of the
club, but how has the club's alleged original c.£100m debt (if you believe
that to be an accurate figure) not decreased with all the cost-cutting and
rationalisation allegedly going on at the club? Also, if the situation is
so dire, how can they afford to give Scott Parker a new 5 year contract
worth c.£65,000 per week and offer Matt Upson a new contract on similar
Mind you, the story did appear in the NoTW and we all know how much they
enjoy running peices on West Ham's alleged 'financial meltdown' and player
'fire sales.' However, if it is an accurate report then some further
explanation is needed with regard to the current state of the club's
Questions for David Sullivan
West Ham Till I Die
At the suggestion of some readers I have asked West Ham chairman David
Sullivan if he will do a Q&A interview with me and I am delighted to tell
you he has agreed. It will hopefully take place in around a fortnight's
I will do it in the same format as the one I did a year ago with Scott
Duxbury – ie. it will be a conversation between the two of us, which will
then be transcribed. Obviously I will have my own questions to put to him,
but as the whole point of the internet is to maximise the potential of the
'wisdom of crowds' I'd love to hear suggestions from you all as to what I
should ask him. Feel free to suggest questions in the comments, or email
them privately to me (which I would prefer).
West Ham board split on salary cap
12.09.10 | tribalfootball.com
West Ham United's board are split on the need for a salary cap. The Mail on
Sunday says David Gold, surprisingly, appears now to be interested in a cap.
Along with his West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan, Gold had been an
outspoken opponent, but appears to be softening. His vice-chairman Karren
Brady still believes a wage cap would be a mistake but West Ham's financial
problems could make a compelling case.
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