|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
Big Sam fears rampant Royals as Hammers wobble
Sam Allardyce has admitted Reading are serious contenders for automatic promotion after winning seven straight games.
Brian McDermott's side are now only two points behind the second-placed Hammers after the top two were both held to home draws this week.
Leaders Southampton shared the points with Ipswich while West Ham needed an 87th-minute equaliser from Ricardo Vaz Te to salvage a draw with Watford.
Allardyce said: "Reading are as serious contenders for automatic promotion as Southampton now. I wish we could go on a run like Reading - they have had a the best recent run in the league.
"It is fantastic run of games. Birmingham went 15 games without defeat and found that a little difficult to keep up. Brighton are back on track. Somebody will always come up from the pack and challenge you.
"What you have got to do is get back to the old boring two points a game and you don't have to worry about that then."
West Ham are now unbeaten in six Championship matches but after picking up 65 points from 34 games, they have fallen behind Allardyce's promotion blueprint of two points a game after missing the chance to go back top of the table on Wednesday night.
"It is a psychological blow for us because we could have gone back top of the league and got closer to two points a game which is our target," the Irons boss continued. "Forget the position in the league - our target is two points per game.
"The position in the league is not as important as getting two points a game because I know what two points a game gives us: automatic promotion."
west ham till i die
Home Form: Are We to Blame?
Upton Park has often been a fortress. Particularly in evening games, the opposition have been affected by the atmosphere. But that seems to have changed. There’s a quietness about the crowd. Perhaps it’s down to nerves. But it’s clearly affecting the players. This is what Abdoulaye Faye has said in tonight’s Evening Standard.
“We are nervous now every time we play at home but that doesn’t happen away when we are more confident. Everybody should help the team. After two minutes against Watford the stadium was quiet and then, when a player loses the ball, you hear the shouts. That is no good for the team. We have got to be stronger mentally when we play at home. At the moment we don’t relax but we have to beat Doncaster at home on Saturday. This is a big game for us. We have to overcome this mental barrier now because this is an important time and we must win every game. Every player here understands that expectations are high and the fans believe we should win every game.”
I have some sympathy with his words. The Upton Park crowd has come to reflect wider society, in that it seems to be that our maxim is “we want it and we want it now” and we won’t put up with a single mistake. What a player needs when they make a mistake is a collective arm round his shoulder and an encouragement to do better next time. But instead, what players get nowadays from their home crowd is a load of derision and abuse. If a player isn’t trying there may even be some justification for that, but it’s not right when a simple mistake has been made.
Before we slag off players, perhaps we should look at ourselves.
Get behind West Ham, pleads Abdoulaye Faye
Abdoulaye Faye today pleaded with West Ham fans to throw their support behind the team.
The Hammers — who missed the chance to go top of the Championship with a nervy 1-1 draw against Watford at Upton Park last night — have won more games away than at home, where they have dropped 19 points.
The visitors took the lead in the 68th minute when teenager Sean Murray hit a fierce low drive across keeper Robert Green.
Only a late equaliser from substitute Ricardo Vaz Te salvaged a point for his misfiring team and defender Faye, who has been outstanding this season, said: “We are nervous now every time we play at home but that doesn’t happen away when we are more confident.
“Everybody should help the team. After two minutes against Watford the stadium was quiet and then, when a player loses the ball, you hear the shouts. That is no good for the team.
“We have got to be stronger mentally when we play at home. At the moment we don’t relax but we have to beat Doncaster at home on Saturday. This is a big game for us.
“We have to overcome this mental barrier now because this is an important time and we must win every game. Every player here understands that expectations are high and the fans believe we should win every game.”
Lukas Podolski turned down a four-year deal worth £40m from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in favour of joining Arsenal this summer.
AC Milan are plotting to reunite Carlos Tevez with Argentina team-mate Javier Mascherano at the San Siro this summer.
Liverpool are the latest club to show an interest in Brazil defender Dede. The Vasco da Gama centre-back, 23, has been watched by Manchester United.
Juventus are ready to rile Manchester United again by making a move for FC Basel star Granit Xhaha, who is wanted by the Old Trafford club.
Swansea will have to pay £6m to sign loan star Gylfi Sigurdsson on a permanent basis from German club Hoffenheim.
Manchester City have agreed a deal for 15-year-old Anderlecht defender Mathias Bossaerts.
Everton are hoping to bring former Tottenham and Barnsley midfielder Emil Hallfredsson back to England but face a battle for his signature.
Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are interested in signing 23-year-old Benfica midfielder Axel Witsel, according to Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.
Tottenham are set to offer Harry Redknapp a new four-year deal and a £50m war chest in a bid to fend off any approach from the FA over the England manager's job.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has told talkSPORT he's not sure if Lukas Podolski has what it takes to make it at Arsenal.
David Beckham was involved in a sensational bust-up with Toronto fans on Wednesday night after he had a beer can thrown at him.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has brushed off speculation linking Luis Suarez with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Newcastle chief Derek Llambias has admitted that the club's owner Mike Ashley still calls their home ground St James' Park - and says the fans should too.
A former Portuguese Division Three player is suing the evangelical church which he claims cost him the chance to play for Manchester United.
Belgian footballer Julien Lecomte was sent off for diving while lying on a stretcher before being taken to hospital.
CRAIG GARDNER insists he wants to stay at Sunderland.
The Solihull-born midfielder was linked with a move back to the Midlands. He said: "I did miss home but I was not moaning about it.
"I was moaning about needing to play here to settle me. It wasn't homesickness."
Reed all about it
SUNDERLAND ace Adam Reed has joined Leyton Orient on a season-long loan.
The midfielder, 20, has had loan spells at Bradford and Brentford and O's boss Russell Slade said: "He will be a big asset to us."
Boro bag Pat
QPR forward Patrick Agyemang has joined Stevenage on loan until the end of the season.
The Ghana international worked with Boro boss Gary Smith when he began his career at Wimbledon.
THE FA have fined Eddie Mitchell £1,500 for swearing on Radio 5 Live.
The Bournemouth chairman was defending the wife of Cherries co-owner Maxim Denim for entering the dressing room against MK Dons.
ADAM HENLEY is the subject of a tug-of-war between England, Wales and the USA.
The Blackburn defender, 17, has played for Wales Under-21s, was born in Tennessee and qualifies to play for England.
babe of the day
http://0.cdn.ddstatic.com/digitaldesire ... g/0005.jpg
I saw this earlier, there's even a video of it in the Sun article. I just can't believe the ref could be that stupid
Wasn't quiet after 2 minutes from what I recall. There was stunned silence after fauberts chance but that was later on I believe. Get his point but slightly exaggerated IMO.
Let's move the stand back on to the edge of the pitch if we want fortress upton park back
I've got to agree with Faye (not that I get to too many games). But it seems we need something special to get the Boelyn atmosphere going in recent seasons. In an ideal world it would be rocking every game.
Like before it was all-seater.
Nail on the head Major, nail on the head
we are top of the league if we win our game in hand, visiting teams and visiting fans cant believe the atmosphere of gloom that surrounds the boleyn when the team is not thrashing sides. the championship is in my humble opinion the hardest league in the world to get promoted from, we are at the top of it.sometimes i realy believe we have been infiltrated by spuds and millwall fans who we all know would hate for us to have any sucess. the time to get behind the team is not only when we are winning but when our backs are against the wall.lets all during the run in get behind sam and the team a united effort to drive our great club back to where it belongs the premier league!
I'm getting a little tired of hearing the fans blamed every time we fail to perform at home. Although I accept there are an element of fans who don't help, the vast majority never boo and always get behind the team.
Mr Faye says there was silence after two minutes against Watford - which is nonsense as the crowd was still buzzing from Matt Taylor's shot that hit the bar - yet fails to mention the loud chorus of 'Bubbles' that rang out immediately after Watford scored on Wednesday night.
Perhaps if Faye stopped launching 50-yard balls to the front line every time he's in possession, the supporters might feel a little more inclined to 'support' - as they did when we finally decided to play football on the ground and not in the air (a spell during which we scored).
He needs to have a word with his boss about that one, not us.
Fair point but it's also a fair observation that over the years when a West Ham side goes at it from the off the atmosphere is great and when ( not just in recent times) the team loses that momentum then the crowd goes flat.I get a bit offended reading that we the crowd are slightly to blame for our home form, let me on the pitch i'd get the crowd going.
I rather think that the players and management have been told to use the booing as a smokescreen so as to draw attention away from the real issues such as the lack of performance at home.
I did not think it was too bad the other night, having said that there does seem to be an element in the crowd who are not happy unless we are 5-0 up, there really is no pleasing some people you know and they express their dissappointment by booing because they know nothing else.
They are the few but they are quite a vociforous few.
Faye , Allardyce at al should maybe learn to button it a little,they are setting themselves up for a fall.
One day the crowd will have something real to boo at , then they will know it.
Meanwhile the morons amongst us are getting all the publicity, and dont they just love it.
Damn right .Gates of over 30,000 to watch second division football - the vast majority of whom get behind the team and have seen enough football over the years to discern between good and bad .
Think you are a touch harsh on Faye ( if looked at over the season) - I've seen him play loads of decent passes to a midfielder , but, and this is where I do agree , there are times when we are at home the desire to get the ball forward early , and by doing so catch the opposition disorganised looks a pre determined tactical decision .
Sam appears to have decided the opposition will park the bus, before KO, give the instruction to get it forward early when they may be short at the back, rather than letting the players play in a way that deals with what is actually unfolding .
The frustrating thing for me , is we have , at times this season played some good football .Some of it, really good .
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