|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
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ON THE LEVEL ... James Tomkins sidefoots the ball home to earn their latest one point
SAM ALLARDYCE did not mince his words after seeing another two precious promotion points blown.
The fact recovered from a two-goal deficit failed to give their manager any comfort at all.
Allardyce admitted: "I am flabbergasted, stunned and shocked that we did not win this game.
"We dominated from the start, yet went two goals down and this result makes life very difficult and tense for us.
"Next it's Peterborough on Tuesday. At least if we win that one and beat Reading next Saturday, we could be second in the table again."
What concerns Allardyce is this was 's fifth consecutive draw — not good enough when Southampton and Reading are setting the pace at the top.
The fact Burnley keeper Lee Grant was their best player says it all.
Visiting keeper Robert Green hardly had a shot to save, despite conceding two goals in the first half.
The first came after 25 minutes, when a smart back-heel from Martin Paterson let in the impressive Marvin Bartley to open the scoring.
Eleven minutes later, it was 2-0. A left-wing cross by Ben Mee was turned in by Paterson, who operated as a one-man forward-line in the Clarets' 4-5-1 formation.
In fairness to the Irish international, he was full of energy and went close to increasing Burnley's lead early in the second half.
Yet had so many chances to have won the game and Carlton Cole could have had a hat-trick by half-time.
The fact he did not meant that he was substituted at the break.
Skipper Kevin Nolan thought he had scored for the Londoners a minute after the home side's opening goal.
But his header, which beat Grant, was ruled out by referee Mark Haywood for an alleged foul in the build-up.
Jack Collison was denied by a superb Grant save just before the break and the keeper was Burnley's hero again early in the second half when he kept out George McCartney.
The , though, finally gained some reward for their domination with a goal after 68 minutes.
Skipper Nolan used his physical strength to shake off Michael Duff before putting the ball in the net.
And two minutes later, they were level. A free-kick from the impressive Mark Noble somehow found its way to James Tomkins, who scored from just inside the area.
It was all after that and only poor finishing by subs Sam Baldock and John Carew denied them the three points they so desperately needed.
Burnley boss Eddie Howe said: "The third goal was crucial. Before West Ham scored, it looked as though we would get it.
"But it was game on at 2-1 and we were thankful to Lee Grant after that for some crucial saves.
"West Ham are a big, powerful side.
"At the start of this season, I thought we had the capability of reaching the play-offs.
"But we have gone and surrendered too many leads against lesser teams during the campaign.
"Even so, I remain enthusiastic about the future for the club.
"I thought the lads were excellent at times here."
Burnley 2-2 West Ham
Kevin Nolan has told West Ham’s panicking fans there is still plenty of time to secure promotion.
Jittery supporters are calling for Sam Allardyce’s head after this club record-equalling fifth draw in a row saw them slip further behind Southampton and Reading.
They fear his side lack the bottle to win back their Premier League spot having slipped four points behind the second-placed Royals.
But skipper Nolan insists the picture will look a whole lot brighter in a week’s time.
The face Peterborough in their game in hand tomorrow hoping for a win that will see their clash with Reading at the weekend turn into a squabble for second spot.
Nolan said: “The plan is to be second by next Saturday night.
“I know people might be worried, but there are lots of points to play for to get what we want.”
But if the are going to achieve Nolan’s aims they need to sharpen up their act in front of goal.
Once again their failed to take their chances, missing out on a dramatic win having come back from 2-0 down to get on level terms through goals from Nolan and James Tomkins.
Despite running the game, subs Nicky Maynard and Sam Baldock wasted opportunities to bury Burnley.
Nolan admitted: “When you’re not putting your chances away, and we had 11 or 12 very good chances, you’re going to get punished.”
The had a nightmare first half and fell behind in the 25th minute when Marvin Bartley slotted home after neat work from Ross Wallace and Martin Paterson. Paterson doubled Burnley’s advantage when he got ahead of a sleep-walking Collins to meet Ben Mee’s cross six yards out.
Nolan beat a dawdling Michael Duff to a long ball and lifted it over Lee Grant.
The were level after Burnley failed to deal with Mark Noble’s free kick and Tomkins slotted home.
West Ham had plenty of chances but Grant denied Baldock, Maynard and sub John Carew.
Burnley’s season is effectively over but one silver lining is the return of the injury-hit Paterson.
He said: “My best will come next year, it’s hard to come back from injuries and be the player you once were.”
BURNLEY 2 - WEST HAM 2: BALD TRUTH FOR HITMEN
SAM BALDOCK accepted his share of the blame as West Ham lost ground on the top two.
But the striker was just one of four Hammers hitmen who left manager Sam Allardyce fuming over their failure to take a string of chances.
Carlton Cole, Nicky Maynard and John Carew were also guilty as West Ham drew for the fifth game in succession.
But the best opportunity fell to Baldock, whose hurried shot flew wide as West Ham threatened to complete a remarkable comeback after trailing 2-0 at the break.
He said: “I’m guilty of missing a couple. We missed about 10 in total and that’s been a problem in recent weeks for us.
“You can’t let it affect your confidence. I won’t let it affect me and I know others are the same. We are just more determined to get it right next time.
“We are unbeaten in 10 games, but have drawn too many, so the players and staff are not really happy. We know we have to win our remaining games.
“The goal has always been to win the league and win automatic promotion – and that hasn’t changed.”
Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins were on target for West Ham after Marvin Bartley and Martin Paterson struck for Burnley before the break.
Paterson said: “It was frustrating to play well for 60 minutes and then give them a goal that allowed them to get back into the game.
“I thought we were the better team over 90 minutes, but they got momentum. We have drawn with a good team, but are still disappointed.
“The play-offs are out of reach, but we must have a pride in ourselves and try to get as far as possible up the table.”
Taxpayers face extra costs under new stadium plan
Taxpayers are facing another hefty bill if West Ham United win the bid to move into the Olympic stadium, as officials hope.
The club was one of four parties to register a formal bid for the stadium by the deadline of lunchtime last Friday, making their presence crucial to securing a viable future for the £500m stadium. Sixteen parties initially registered an interest in using the stadium in January, but 12 stopped short of submitting a full bid.
The details of West Ham's bid remain confidential and commercially sensitive, with negotiations between them and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) about to begin, but it is thought that the club's demands for the transformation of the stadium will be more costly than those made in their original winning bid, in which the club would have had to pay for the upgrade work itself.
Then West Ham bid to buy the stadium outright, but the bid collapsed after an architect involved in the very early stages of designing the stadium complained to the EU that the £40m West Ham had been pledged by Newham Council constituted illegal state aid. Under the new arrangements, the OPLC would retain ownership of the stadium, with Newham Council again hoping to secure a stake in the facility for a £40m investment.
The pitch will need to be ripped up and undersoil heating installed, in accordance with Premier League rules, an eventuality that was not foreseen when the stadium was first constructed.
The OPLC, whose job it is to transform the site and find long-term uses for the various venues after the games, have a budget of £292m for the renovation of what will become the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the stadium. But the figure covers more than 12 separate building projects, such as the installing of the South Plaza, a sprawling cultural and recreational area designed by the same architects as the Manhattan's new Highline park.
Among the three other bids for the stadium received on Friday was a consortium led by the University of East London, whose plans are believed to involve office space in the stadium's 700-plus rooms.
it's a funny old game
5 signings West Ham should make if they get promoted
Promotion may perhaps seems like more of a struggle now than it ever has this season, but there must be someone at the helm of West Ham United who is mentally planning for a campaign in the Premier League next year in order for us to be fully prepared. Although our squad has proved to be sufficient to keep us in contention for the automatic promotion spots, there is no doubt that some strengthening must be done if we are to survive comfortably in the top of league of English and allow Sam Allardyce to continue his progress with us in 2013. Here are five suggestions who he should consider enquiring about in the summer transfer window if we are to be promoted:
1. Nathaniel Clyne
Most young talented English players are linked to the likes of Manchester United, and Clyne is not exempt, however, if a big side doesn’t approach him in the summer, he could be tempted by a move to West Ham. Our reputation of providing opportunities for young footballers, the prospect of first-team Premiership games and staying in London are likely to be big selling points for Clyne who is yet to experience the top-flight and may be getting itchy feet at remaining in the Championship as he moves into his twenties. The right-back position has been rather inconsistent at West Ham this season due to Guy Demel’s injury troubles and so it has been occupied by the likes of Winston Reid, Julien Faubert and mainly, Joey O’Brien. Clyne is an exciting prospect and is also consistent, having played every single game of last season’s campaign. He’s a good player now, but he’s certainly one for the future as well; hopefully that future can be at Upton Park.
2. Robert Snodgrass
It was rumoured that we looked into this possibility in January but that ultimately turned out to be fruitless; I’m sure that Premier League status would give us far more power to push this transfer through. Although just 24 years of age, the Scottish international has made 158 appearances for Leeds and although Neil Warnock’s reign has started well, if Leeds remain in the Championship, it’s possible that Snodgrass would seek a move which would elevate him to the Premiership. Snodgrass is one of the most creative players in the Championship, having provided the assist for 11 goals, but has also managed to notch 12 himself, that’s more than any of our players and that’s from midfield! We’ve lacked creativity from midfield this year so he would be an extremely valuable addition.
3. Matt Jarvis
This one’s for the opposite side of the field to Snodgrass; Jarvis has played on the left-wing for Wolves in the Premier League for a number of seasons now and his form has even led to a call-up for England, the first Wolves player to do so since 1990! West Ham’s team has really lacked quality from out wide this year with Matt Taylor the only player seemingly capable of delivering a quality cross, these two would really add a different dimension to our team and would be certain to provide goals and chip in with a few themselves. If Wolves are relegated, which it looks like they are going to be, Jarvis could be a real option. If we’re not able to sign him we could look into the possibility of Peter Whittingham at Cardiff.
4. Victor Moses
There was a time when Moses was being linked with Barcelona, seriously. Of course this was probably courtesy of media-hype and a very, very good agent but there is no doubt that Moses has quality and would be a good addition to our side. Although we have already mentioned two wingers, Snodgrass can operate in the centre and Moses offers the raw speed, which the previous two are not so renowned for, that we have arguably lacked this year. Moses has also featured up front on various occasions and could therefore be perfect for Sam Allardyce’s regular switches from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 throughout a game. Apparently Moses has suggested that he will not be sticking around if Wigan drop to the Championship so this could be a realistic addition.
5. Steven Fletcher
It’s never very pleasant to raid a relegated club, but if Wolves were to go down, a double-deal for Fletcher and Jarvis would mean good business. It’s been frustratingly long since we’ve had a really good finisher of chances at West Ham, and although perhaps not given great recognition, Fletcher is one of these. He has scored 20 Premiership goals in 49 games for Wolves, but his chance conversion rate is even more impressive. Wolves have never created a lot of chances, and one of the reasons they have managed to survive thus far is due to Fletcher’s efficiency; stats taken in February show that Demba Ba’s chance conversion rate was 63%, Robin Van Persie’s was 49% and incredibly, Steven Fletcher’s was 79%! We haven’t created a lot of chances this year, but those that we have, we’ve often been unable to finish; replacing Carlton Cole with Fletcher would’ve put us top of the league, and that is with Cole’s statistics being taken from the Championship and Fletcher’s from the Premier League. We know Allardyce is a fan of statistics so it is unlikely that Fletcher has gone unnoticed by him.
We have certainly paved a tough road to the Premier League, but a victory against Reading at the weekend could completely turn that around and give us back the momentum which we need to penetrate the automatic promotion spots. Each of these players would certainly be exciting additions to a decent squad who have certainly lacked the energy, speed, flair and confidence, which these players could offer, on far too many occasions.
Follow me on Twitter @RichMaher93
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The Times (subscription required)
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babe of the day
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In the Norwegian "TV2Sporten", we are linked with norwegian Markus Henriksen.
He probably costs around the £2 million mark, and he is yet another central midfielder that lacks pace and doesn't have other outstanding qualities. Would be a poor signing. Harmeet Singh from Vålerenga costs almost 0 and is a much better prospect.
Harmeet Singh,is'nt that the fella in the newsagents by the ground ?
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