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!

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!

Sam Baldock Signs

West Ham United have confirmed the signing of striker Sam Baldock from MK Dons.

The 22-year-old striker put pen to paper on a four-year deal, with an option for a fifth year following a successful medical that took place earlier in the day.

Baldock, who has been in fine goal scoring form for The Dons could just be our new Tony Cottee. When I have seen him play he looks lively and sharp and always sniffing out a chance, he could be the perfect foil for Carlton Cole. I have always been a fan of little man big man strike partnerships.

“I am pleased to be here,” he told whufc.com. “I am just excited to be coming to such a great club, caked in so much history. I just want to hit the ground running.

“I want to show [the fans] what I can do and hopefully everyone will be proud of me.”

Southampton came in at the death with a bid apparently to land Baldock, but West Ham won the race and are thought to have paid around £2million to secure his services, although the exact figure remains undisclosed.

Hammers Cleared

Tottenham’s attempts to throw a spanner in the works over West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium have been proved futile, after it was announced that the decision to award use of the Olympic Stadium to United has been upheld.

Independent investigators were called in after a newspaper accused West Ham of corruption due to personal links between an employee of the club and a member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC). Although it was Tottenham who used debatable means to gather this information! I can see this one going on and on.

However forensic accountants acting on behalf of investigators Moore Stephens have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that the relationship had any bearing on the decision to award use of the £500million stadium to West Ham post the 2012 games.

Tottenham, who are set to continue with their request for a judicial review – despite both this and a previous investigation commissioned by West Ham into the affair having returned ‘no evidence’ verdicts – take their case to the High Court this Wednesday.

Does anyone else just wish they would let it go?!

Brady Has A Dig!

Reading the current bun (The Sun Newspaper) this morning, I noticed that the lovely Karen Brady took the time to dig out two of our former players.

She had a pop at both Benni ‘I Ate All The Pies’ McCarthy and ex skipper Matthew Upson. Upson being someone she has had words with in the past in their Birmingham City days.

She had a glowing report for new captain Kevin Nolan and how he has begun his career at Upton Park, Brady said:

“These days footballers are so well rewarded there’s an impression that they’re all overpaid, under-employed, out-of-touch clubbers.

“It isn’t true, anyway, but in Nolan’s case it’s slander in the first degree. I also respect him for insisting that he writes his own comments on our fans’ website. Now that is unusual.”

The biggest dig was saved for South African short buster Benni McCarthy, commenting on Blackpool striker Kevin Phillips body fat count of 8.6 per cent, Brady said: “I had a player once whose body fat was three times that. Altogether he cost West Ham about £5million and he didn’t score once. Answers please on a postcard!”

Saucer of milk for Brady!! In this case though I think she is on the money, I have seen people at Weight Watchers in better shape than our Benni!!

Watford 0 – 4 West Ham United

West Ham had a wonderful victory against Watford at Vicarage Road tonight, running out four nil winners in a very professional performance.

Sam Allardyce’s team enjoyed a first back-to-back away wins since 2007 in tonight’s Championship clash.

The signs were good for The Hammers in as early as the third minute when centre-half James Tomkins pounced on Matty Taylor’s corner to direct a powerful header beyond Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach.

The second goal came with half time rapidly approaching, right back O’Brien sprinted past half the Watford team before firing beyond Loach at the second attempt after the Hornets keeper had pummelled away his initial effort.

Carlton Cole added another when he converted an Ilunga cutback from close range. Finally, Scott Parker completed the rout for the Hammers with a tidy finish to send the Hammers into third place in the league.

I am not used to seeing such a professional performance from the boys, especially on the road so long may it continue.