|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
Big Sam: Suicide to sell Tomkins now
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes the club will make a big mistake if they sell highly-rated defender James Tomkins to Newcastle in January.
Alan Pardew is a big admirer of the ex-England Under-21 defender and has already seen a £2.5million offer rejected this week.
Newcastle are expected to come back with an improved offer in January.
With Winston Reid ruled out with a long-term shoulder injury, Allardyce has got only two fit central defenders left in his squad and feels their promotion hopes may fall by the wayside if they let Tomkins leave next month.
Allardyce said: “There is no intention to sell James Tomkins, as far as I am concerned. We would be committing suicide if we sold him at this moment.”
West Ham make move to sign Barcelona striker
West Ham are locked in a battle with Borussia Monchengladbach as they look to sign Barcelona striker Jonathan Soriano.
Soriano, 26, was the top scorer for Barcelona B in the second tier last season, scoring an incredible 32 goals in 37 games.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is keen to bolster his forward line and reports in Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo suggest the east London club are leading the chase for his signature.
Allardyce has already missed out on a deal for Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka and wants to bring a forward to the club as they look to secure promotion straight back into the Premier League.
But he will have to act fast as Borussia Monchengladbach have also expressed an interest in the Spanish forward and will make moves to sign him in January.
Despite his amazing goalscoring record for the second string team he is unlikely to make a breakthrough into the Barcelona first-team and is keen to get showcase his talents at the highest level.
Allardyce - Injuries no excuse
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce knows a full house at Upton Park against Barnsley on Saturday will demand victory, despite the club's injury problems.
The Hammers are missing a host of players including Winston Reid, Matt Taylor and Sam Baldock through injury, while Jack Collison and Joey O'Brien are suspended.
But they desperately need to bounce back from defeats by Burnley and Reading if they are to keep the pressure on leaders Southampton.
"Nobody will give us any leeway - certainly not a full house of home fans - if we don't win, irrespective of how many injuries we have got," said Allardyce.
"They won't see that come Saturday if we don't perform how we can and get the result.
"I'm not saying it is their responsibilty to take that into consideration, but it is my responsibility to point out where we are at the minute.
"We'll be going all guns blazing to relieve the situation in January."
Alvin Martin: 'Scousers and cockneys get on. It's the mickey-taking'
The great West Ham defender on the Hammers who nearly won the title, Rob Lee's costliest miss and making Paul Ince cry
Hello Alvin, how are you? Not bad, Small Talk, how are you?
Good thanks. So you were playing football this morning? How did that go? Yeah, it was against a team that won a competition through Nivea and it was actually in Brentwood and I'm based in Romford. They were all young, enthusiastic footballers. We had Ian Walker in goal, Ray Parlour, Rob Lee, Luther Blisset, Tony Woodcock, Viv Anderson, Nigel Winterburn and Rob Jones, so we had a fairly strong side. Unfortunately we didn't have any legs, so they had plenty of legs over us. We passed the ball for fun, but every time they broke forward they were a threat with their pace.
Small Talk is slightly wary of asking what the final score was. We got beat 2-1.
90 minutes? Yeah, 90 minutes. I came through unscathed. I should also make the point that Rob Lee cost us the game because he missed a penalty.
Missed or saved? He put it wide. And he didn't just put it a little bit wide, he put it two yards wide. So Rob Lee is our official scapegoat.
It's kind of fitting that an England legends team should lose because of a penalty. [Sustained chuckling] Yeah!
Obviously a big point in your career at West Ham was the 1985-86 season … Yeah, we had a really good season. I think that was the only West Ham team I played in that had a chance of winning the title.
Do you think you should have? Well everyone has different opinions. We have get-togethers now and again and a lot of the lads say, "Oh maybe we could have," but I'm still a little sceptical about whether we could have. That year Liverpool were unbelievable. I think they won the last 12 or 13 games. They went on an unbelievable run and it was a team that had been there, seen it and done it. Them and Everton had won titles before, they knew what it was about and although we went on a decent run we had a fixture pile-up. But you have to look back and say whoever wins it was the best team and Liverpool were. Kenny Dalglish was player-manager and I remember one particular goal he scored at Stamford Bridge. They were the best side.
Being from Liverpool, what was it like coming up against those two sides? A lot of people ask me that. There are so many links and similarities between where I was brought up on the Dock Road in Liverpool and when I came down to London and West Ham. I spent the first few years all around Plaistow and Canning Town, so I think it was very similar. There was a banter, a wit and even to this day I think scousers and cockneys get on well because there's a mickey-taking culture that everyone enjoys.
Why do you think West Ham couldn't push on? It's still the same now. If you have a good team, we knew you needed maybe one or two players to strengthen it the following season, but I don't really believe that John Lyall was given the brief or the funds to say, "Right, OK, go and get us the title next year." I think West Ham's mentality at that time was, "OK, we've had a good season, let's settle for where we are, we'll more or less stay in the top half of the table." I think that was the way the club was run, on a firm financial footing where they didn't want to take any risks. There was money spent the following year but I don't think they went out with a view that said, "We have a title-winning side here, let's push it on." Maybe another board would have done it. I think the board was financially astute and was running a club that wasn't going to lose money. If they wanted to push on, they'd have had to spent big on two or three positions.
Were there negative feelings among the players about it? Not really. I think it was a generation of players who all totally trusted the manager, John Lyall, who was a father figure. John's word was taken and never opposed because we all had so much respect for him. We always just left all the football stuff to John and then he'd deal with the board and do the contracts and spend the money. But John spent money as if it was his own. He felt a real responsibility to the club and to the fans, which is admirable. I wish he was still around now because a lot of people think spending will save their job, whereas John always made every decision in West Ham's interest and in the fans' interest.
Was he a major factor in you never wanting to leave West Ham? I had opportunities to leave and other clubs could have bought me. There were times when I could have joined the top clubs. Tottenham approached West Ham three times during my career. I could have gone to Arsenal. But once John said, "No, we're building a team around you." I was happy because it was where I wanted to be. Even now, I have no regrets. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at West Ham. Twenty-two years on, I have links and have stayed around the area and have a close bond with the supporters. These days, because players sometimes only stay for a year or two they don't really gain a position of trust with the supporters. I was with a group of players who – seven or eight of them – stayed for 10 years or more. They're synonymous with the name West Ham and some of the modern-day players don't get that. They get better financial rewards, but they don't get the link with the community or the supporters.
Did Trevor Brooking mean that header in the 1980 FA Cup final? Knowing Trevor, I don't think he did, I think it more or less just hit him on the head. A lot of people remember the header because it was the winning goal but people forget how well Trevor played that day. I think I've only looked at that game once, maybe twice, but when you're involved in the game you don't get a clear perception of it. You have certain memories like the final whistle, but I looked at the game and I've never seen him work so hard in the middle. That was probably in part due to the criticism he got from Brian Clough, who had a pop at him prior to the game. Trevor went out there on a mission. He didn't just create, he worked as hard as any player I've seen on that day.
That was the last team outside the top division to win the FA Cup. Do you ever get protective of that record now? No, I think those sort of things go by. We had our moment in the FA Cup. Records are broken, young players experience it and I love to see sides outside the top division get some recognition because that's what the FA Cup's all about. I've got two boys who play football. One's at Gillingham, one's at MK Dons and they're hopefully both going to experience decent results against Premier League opposition in the next round.
What's surprising about the 1980 final is that West Ham had so many good players despite being in the second division, so you must have been confident of beating Arsenal? On our day, we knew we could beat anybody. John Lyall was in the middle of a rebuilding programme. He'd brought Ray Stewart in, Alan Devonshire and I had made an impact and it was a team that was full of internationals. As far as I'm concerned, Billy Bonds should have had 50 caps. He only got one and that was down to injury. Trevor Brooking was a class performer. We had Frank Lampard. We just struggled for consistency, but the FA Cup wasn't about consistency. But coming to the final, you know you're up against it because that was a good Arsenal side.
Of course, you qualified for the European Cup Winners' Cup and then played against Dinamo Tblisi. Was that the most difficult game you've ever had? Yeah. I think we played them at a stage where we hadn't lost at Upton Park for 10 months so we were pretty formidable at home. All of a sudden, we were playing this Georgian side who had a mid-season break and hadn't played any football for six weeks. I think we went in there thinking these are there for the taking. They had players like David Kipiani in midfield and Aleksandr Chivadze, who was the captain. Ramaz Shengelia was another one. After about 20 minutes we thought, "Whoa, whoa, what's going on here?" They just totally outplayed us and gave us a footballing lesson. We lost it 4-1. We were sitting in the back afterwards. There were about eight or nine of us in there and none of us really spoke. We just sat shocked and numb because we couldn't believe what had happened to us. There was a degree of naivety and complacency, which we proved when we won 1-0 in the return leg. We were an emerging side but they were a completely different level to anyone we'd ever met.
How disappointing was it to get dropped for England's game against Argentina in 1986? It was strange. I'd flown my brother and dad out to Mexico City and they watched me play against Paraguay. We won the game 3-0, but I must admit I felt pretty jaded when we went out to do the preparation before the tournament, so it wasn't a real surprise when Bobby Robson went for Terry Fenwick in the first game. But when we got to the knockout stages and Fenwick was suspended, I played. I felt me and Terry Butcher were particularly strong and were a natural partnership. I just expected to play and it wasn't until 14 hours before the game that Bobby Robson uttered those words: "It's the same team apart from one change." I didn't expect it.
Would you have stopped Maradona? No. No, no, no, no! I looked at a man that day that no one could have coped with. He was just head and shoulders above everybody else.
Still, maybe England could have done with a defender who scored against three different goalkeepers like you did for West Ham against Newcastle in 1986 ... [Chuckles] Well you select a defender to stop goals. Although if I could have guaranteed him a hat-trick that day, Bobby Robson would have said, "Play, we don't care about Maradona."
The Newcastle game must have been one of the more surreal moments of your career? That was a special moment. You probably recognise the implication of it later on. I remember scoring a goal and then the keeper going off, and then I got another one, but I couldn't remember if I'd scored them against different keepers. I didn't know that until the crowd started shouting my name when we got a penalty at 7-1. Ray Stewart picked the ball up and the crowd started shouting my name, so they were aware that I was on a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers.
Peter Beardsley was in goal wasn't he? Peter was in goal. Not the tallest goalkeeper I've ever scored against. Let's just say he didn't fill me with fear when I was coming up to take the spot-kick.
He probably wouldn't fill Small Talk with fear either. Paul Ince is probably scared of you though. Didn't you once make him cry during a game against Luton? Incey was a young kid at the time and I was captain. Paul was still finding his personality and he could be hard to deal with. He had a lot of ability but that was matched by his arrogance. It wasn't easy. I possibly wasn't as easy to deal with as I could have been. When a captain tells a young player to do something and he doesn't do it on several occasions, it comes to a stage where there's going to be fireworks so, erm … there was. I'm not proud of it. But I helped Paul off the floor and to the dressing room and I think he knew where I was coming from.
What did the players make of the way Ince left West Ham? I think the players were pretty amiable about it. Incey was always destined to be a great player and they don't come any bigger than Man United. Whether he could have done it in a better way ... we have a difference of opinion on that, because I think he could have. We all knew after playing 20 games that he was going to be a big player.
But now you're mates? Oh yeah! Paul signed one of my lads from Liverpool to play in goal for MK Dons. I have nothing but respect for him. You'd have to ask Incey whether he has any respect for me!
Would you have a glass of beer or wine with him? A glass of wine. Usually white. A bit of red in the winter. I think all my disciplined years are out of the window now. I never used to drink as a player, apart from a couple of pints on a Saturday night. But now if there's a glass of wine there, I'm going to drink it.
Cheese or chocolate? I'm lucky like that, I can eat what I want. A lot of cheese, a lot of chocolate.
What was the last film you saw? I love my films. I have stacks and stacks of DVDs. I put Last of the Mohicans on the other day with Daniel Day-Lewis. It hurts me to say it because he's a Millwall fan, but I think he's fantastic.
What would you put in Room 101? What's that?
[Small Talk embarks on a long and detailed explanation of what Room 101 is] I wish I could get all the discourteous drivers on a ship and sail them away and make sure it's a really horrible, wavy journey and when they get to where they're going, keep them there.
It seems like you've thought about that a lot. Well I probably moan about it every day.
Finally can you tell us a joke? It's got to be a one-liner really. I do a lot of after-dinner stuff. But there's nothing I can tell you that's not quite dirty. My favourite joke at the moment is one with a sound effect. But you can't put that in print. [An extended silence] I remember driving through Dagenham and my friend said "Miss Dagenham" and I thought he meant a beauty contest, but it turned out he was just giving me advice! The only reason I tell you that is because my wife's from Dagenham.
Thanks for that Alvin! Bye! Bye Small Talk!
Nolan: We need to make sure that we get down and dirty
West Ham captain says Hammers must bounce back against Barnsley
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan is confident that the Hammers can bounce back from the disappointment of their 3-0 defeat at Reading with a win against Barnsley at Upton Park this weekend.
Sam Allardyce’s side travelled along the M4 full of hope and expectation, and following Southampton’s draw with Blackpool, the chance to clinch top spot in the Championship for the first time this season.
However, the Hammers returned from Berkshire with a 3-0 loss, two red cards and a serious injury to right-back Guy Demel.
“It is very disappointing without a shadow of a doubt,” said skipper Kevin Nolan.
“Everyone is hurting but that is to be expected. We expected to be able to come here and come away with at least a point, and I think in the early stages of the game we were looking to more likely to win.”
Both sides had few chances in the first 65 minutes, however, West Ham then lost Joey O’Brien to a second booking and were down to 10 men.
And it was in this 25-minute period that the visitors collapsed, conceding three goals and then having Jack Collison sent off for a reckless challenge on Jimmy Kebe.
“I think we got what we deserved in the end because when we went down to 10 men we didn’t react in the right way,” said Nolan.
“Conceding so early gave them a boost but that’s life and our professionalism wasn’t good enough.
“Before that, it was just one of those games that looked like it was heading for a 0-0, but then came the sending off, and fair play to Reading, they were fantastic once we were down to 10 men, but we were terrible.”
More than 4,000 Hammers fans made the trip to the Royals on Saturday, and Nolan was full of praise for the loyal supporters and vowed to pay them back for his side’s dismal showing.
“They have been fantastic all year,” he said.
“I will never ever criticise them because they have got the right to have a go at us after that performance.
“They stick behind us through thick or thin and I have got so much admiration for them and I want to make sure that they get what they deserve.
“I am sure that we will learn from what happened and I am sure we will get them what they deserve and that is the club back in the Premier League.”
And Nolan has targeted this weekend’s game against Barnsley as the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways.
“The next game is always important especially when you lose,” he said.
“It is up to us now to make sure that we get back together, we come together and we stick together and we do the business together, because we win together, we lose together, we draw together.
“Hopefully it will be a different story next week.”
The Hammers captain also revealed that his side may have to change their tactics to adapt to similar situations in the future.
“In this league sometimes you need to get down and dirty and win the game and if we have to do that then we have to learn how to do it,” he said.
“It’s not going to always be the flamboyant way, it is always nice to win like that, but it can’t always be like that.
“We need to make sure from now on that we get down and dirty.
“We have a lot to learn, but I am sure that we are all big enough and ugly enough to take it on the chin and come back and put in a performance that the fans deserve, that the club deserves and that the gaffer deserves.”
Chelsea are considering making a move for Napoli and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, 24, who is also a reported target of Manchester City.
He could be a replacement for striker Didier Drogba - who is determined to quit Chelsea in January, with Frank Lampard to follow.
Serie A leaders Juventus are eager to buy Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia in January but the Red Devils are not interested in selling. Full story: Daily Mirror
Meanwhile, United are set to offer £25m for Benfica midfielder Nicolas Gaitan, 23, who helped knock them out of the Champions League.
Returning loanee Landon Donovan insists a two-month reunion with Everton was too good an opportunity to miss.
The Daily Telegraph
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted he may lose Cheick Tiote in the January transfer window with Chelsea and Arsenal believed to be interested.
But Pardew has revealed that Mike Ashley has given him the green light to bring in a new centre-back in the transfer window.
Arsenal will watch Germany striker Lukas Podolski, 26, as Arsene Wenger weighs up a £15m January move.
Burnley, Derby County and Bristol City are set to fight it out over a loan deal for Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson.
West Ham are locked in a battle with German club Borussia Monchengladbach as they look to sign Barcelona striker Jonathan Soriano, 26.
Tottenham have beaten Manchester United to the £6.5m signing of AZ Alkmaar's Swedish midfielder Rasmus Elm.
Expressen (in Swedish)
Sam Allardyce has warned West Ham will make a huge mistake if they allow highly rated defender James Tomkins to leave for a Premier League side.
West Brom have agreed an undisclosed fee with Dundee United for midfielder Scott Allan.
Express & Star
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes the Blues avoid AC Milan in the Champions League draw.
Former Italian Prime Minister and AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi says Carlos Tevez can be the best player in the world if he moves to the San Siro.
Uruguay government officials have denied rumours they attempted to intervene in the race row involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has backed £20m winger Stewart Downing to silence his critics ahead of his return to Aston Villa this weekend.
Michael O'Neill is expected to be interviewed for the vacant Northern Ireland manager's job in the early part of next week after his final game in charge of Shamrock Rovers in the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham.
Arsenal youngster Francis Coquelin, 20, wants to make his mark at the Emirates Stadium despite interest from French club Lille.
Former Fulham manager Jean Tigana is expected to be named as Nicolas Anelka's new boss at Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.
Under-fire Blackburn boss Steve Kean wants to meet the campaigning supporters who want him out of Ewood Park - in return for some breathing space.
The Football Association fear England may struggle to sell their Euro 2012 ticket quota as concerned fans worry about travelling to Ukrainian host city Donetsk.
Dropped Stoke winger Jermaine Pennant has denied having a bust-up with Potters boss Tony Pulis.
QPR are ready to "get in the faces" of Sunday's opponents Manchester United, according to forward Jamie Mackie.
Mario Balotelli's training ground spat with Manchester City team-mate Micah Richards was apparently sparked by a stray pass.
Former England midfielder Peter Reid has "kissed and made up" with Argentina's Diego Maradona over the "Hand of God" goal which helped knock England out of the 1986 World Cup finals.
babe of the day
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7ooFURtXH_s/T ... 012010.jpg
the Soriano thing is too good to be remotely true though he would be the perfect striker if we return to the Prem.
http://www.imscouting.com/global-news-a ... deo/13412/
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