Allardyce: No Long Ball Game

West Ham United were back in training this Tuesday fresh from a spirited display at Crystal Palace when their poised passing performance should have earned more than the single point.

Speaking after the match, the Palace manager had said: “Two teams, playing two different ways; very much a physical powerful team in West Ham, knocking a lot of balls into your box, against the team that we had with the guile, the sharpness and the interchange to play and try to create chances.”

However, the Hammers had 366 passes in play compared to the home side’s 224. They completed nearly 80 per cent of these while Palace’s success rate was just 72 per cent. The visitors also carried the ball into the final third of the pitch on 93 occasions as opposed to the Eagles’ 68 times.

Speaking to whufc.com, Big Sam said: “We had more than 4,000 travelling fans at Selhurst Park. That is fantastic support again and they all saw another exciting team performance to go with the big wins we had at Watford and Nottingham Forest.

“We dominated the Palace game and outplayed the home side so it disappoints me to hear a young manager talking in the way that he did about my team. Just to get the facts straight, we were on top in terms of passing and possession and should have won the game with the chances we created.”

I am liking the statistics we are getting from WHUFC now! Shows the depth Sam Allardyce and his team go into to make sure they are fully prepared for every game, and of course analyse every performance. Feels a much more professional outfit than in the past.

Almunia In On Loan

West Ham United have signed vastly-experienced goalkeeper Manuel Almunia on an initial one-month emergency loan from Arsenal.

Manager Sam Allardyce moved quickly to secure the services of the Spanish stopper after learning that Robert Green faces around six weeks out with a knee cartilage injury.

The 34-year-old joined up with his new team-mates on Friday ahead of this weekend’s npower Championship visit to Crystal Palace. He will wear the No13 shirt.

Big Sam welcomed the goalkeeper to the club, telling West Ham TV: “We’ve been hot on the phone and secured an excellent signing in the short-term in Manuel Almunia from Arsenal.

“It’s a big ‘Thank you’ again to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal for allowing us to get such a high-class and experienced goalkeeper to come in and fill-in for Robert for the time being.

“I think he hasn’t had as many games at Arsenal as he would have liked so he wants to play first-team football at the end of the day.

“We hope that huge amount of experience he has had at Arsenal and the football he has played on a regular basis will stand us in good stead here at West Ham and more and more clean sheets will come from his presence in goal. That will obviously help us to secure more victories while Robert is out.”

Almunia, who becomes the second player to join the club on loan from the Gunners this season after England Under-21 midfielder Henri Lansbury.

Good news really, Almunia may not be the best keeper but in The Championship he will do a fantastic job for us until Greenie is back. Thanks again to Arsenal for doing us a favour with a good player on loan.

 

Hislop: Redknapp Ruined J.Cole

Interesting reading today in the papers that Shaka Hislop has claimed that his former manager at West Ham, Harry Redknapp, is responsible for the failure of Joe Cole to live up to early hopes.

“Harry kind of liked Joe just to express himself, and we’d play around him, or around Joe’s unpredictability,” he said. “But encouraging him to be himself didn’t help him.

“Talented though he is, when you don’t have the ball he’s got to give you something else. Everything about his game on that side, when your team don’t have possession, he simply wasn’t good enough. Harry did not help him in that respect; I don’t think he was coached in that way.”

Cole, who moved to French club Lille on a season-long loan from Liverpool scored his first goal for his new club last weekend. Yet Hislop insists he could have enjoyed a far more glittering career had Redknapp utilised him better.

“Harry wants players to come and just play naturally and he would fill the gaps around that,” he continued. “It was the same with Paolo Di Canio. He would be allowed to do exactly what he wants and we would fill the gaps around him.

“It worked – you can’t take that away from Harry. But in Joe’s case, in terms of stepping up that extra level, it held him back. I know Joe well, I like him a lot and I hope he rediscovers his form. But you have to bring more than just that type of natural, unbridled ability.”

I always thought Joe Cole was going to be a far better player than he turned out to be. I really thought we had the next Paul Gascoigne on our books when I watched him play. It was like having a Brazilian player, fantastic skill and ball control and dribbling past two or three players.

To be honest I don’t entirely agree with Shaka, as when he went to Chelsea it was coached out of him to be the free spirited play maker he was for us, every time he got the ball he passed it straight back to the person who gave it to him and have very little conviction when trying to beat people, almost like he would be dropped for losing the ball.

Allen: Baldock Like Cottee

I was interested to read earlier on the Official West Ham website that Martin Allen likens Baldock to Tony Cottee.

Goodness knows how long we have needed a goal scorer for, I thought it would have been Demba Ba but he was on his toes as soon as we got relegated.

Allen though is looking forward to seeing Sam Baldock make a name for himself at West Ham United.

The former Hammers midfielder had the young striker at MK Dons and believed then that he had the ability to go far in the game. Allen, now managing at Notts County, told West Ham TV that Baldock, 22, was reminiscent of a former West Ham United favourite.

“He is cool, calm and a finisher. He is Cottee-like. He is not always involved at the other end of the field but he is razor sharp. He comes alive around the box and he can finish.”

Sounds promising, but only time will tell but I am optimistic over the little guy!

Hammers Draw With Millwall

Sam Allardyce settled for a point from a competitive London derby at Millwall today but knew his team had made enough chances to have taken all three.

The Hammers headed to The Den in great away form and could have had a tremendous start inside the first minute when Henri Lansbury caught home keeper David Forde napping. Lansbury shot towards an empty net from fully 40 yards only to see it just flash wide.

He also hit the bar and Julien Faubert went close in the first half before Kevin Nolan and David Bentley spurned golden opportunities in the second 45. Although it is six games unbeaten, a first win at Millwall since 1991 still eludes the Hammers.

“We are disappointed we didn’t win it but we respect the point we have got and a clean sheet based on the pressure Millwall put us under in the first half,” said Allardyce.

“I thought it was a fantastic piece of vision from Henri [in the first minute]. I was thinking ‘why the hell are you shooting from there?’He must have seen the keeper in the position he was and had the ball been on target it would have gone in the back of the net.

“It would have been nice to been talking about that goal but unfortunately it didn’t go in.”

Millwall recovered well from that early scare and gave as good as they got before half-time. Robert Green had to be alert for occasional forays forward but the Hammers looked more dangerous, even if they did have less of the ball than their hosts.

Even though we didn’t win we didn’t lose and against Millwall away I am happy with that! Can’t allow them any bragging rights now can we!

Big Sam Launches New Store

Sam Allardyce led a trio of his West Ham United players to the new store at Westfield Stratford City.

The manager, Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole and Jack Collison met hundreds of supporters that flocked into the shop from 2pm on Tuesday to mark the official opening of the biggest shopping centre in Europe.

The quartet signed all manner of items purchased in store. Scores of journalists and photographers turned up to see the big launch event, with the Hammers buzz spreading around the state of the art centre.

Big Sam said: “It is great to see everyone turn out for this new store. It is in a good location and it is always nice to meet fans face to face. They gave us their best wishes for the weekend and hopefully we will do them proud.”

With the store now open seven days a week, fans should look out for more great promotions and also a new loyalty card scheme running from today.

Skipper Kevin said: “The store looks really good and it was great to see so many fans here on the first day of its opening. By coming along, they are supporting the club and we are really grateful to them for turning out. We were as happy to meet them as they were to see us.”

I popped down to the store myself and it really was buzzing and very manic! Great to see how much support The Hammers have!

Brady: FIFA Ignoring Us

Karren Brady has revealed that Brescia are yet to pay any of the fees that prompted West Ham’s request to suspend former striker Alessandro Diamanti’s registration.

Brady speaking in Saturday’s edition of The Sun revealed that the Serie B club still owe United instalments worth around £1.5million.

Brady also hit out at the game’s ruling body FIFA, who she claimed had effectively ignored West Ham United’s request for intervention into the case that has dragged on for several months.

“Chasing your money in Europe is hard work,” she said. “£450,000 has been due for so long we’ve been in touch with the Italian federation and FIFA to impose some kind of sanction, but the money still isn’t immediately forthcoming.

“Another million plus is due next week and there’s still no sign of the first payment. FIFA have done nothing more than yawn.

“It isn’t as if Brescia don’t have the funds. They have just sold the Italian international to Bologna. In England, our leagues would be down on us like a ton of Mike Ashleys.”

Nice to know FIFA are looking out for the little guy!

Parker Slaps In Transfer Request

Scott Parker slapped in a transfer request in order to push through his move to Tottenham ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.

The midfielder claimed he had to leave West Ham in order to continue being involved with the England squad, although he has been picked for two consecutive England squads as a West Ham player in The Championship. Sounds like an excuse to me Scotty! Just say you want to leave rather than come out with some England nonsense when your already in the squad and Mr. Capello has stated he will continue to pick you!

“I have had a fantastic four years at West Ham United and will never forget all the support I have had from the fans and everyone associated with the club,” he told whufc.com.

“The manager and board have tried hard to convince me to stay but at this stage in my career, I need to be playing in the Premier League, especially now that I am involved with England.

“I hope the fans will understand and respect my decision and I wish the club every success in their fight for promotion this season.”

Not the best time to go to our bitter North London rivals when we are embroiled in a bitter dispute with them!