|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
Allardyce gives "deluded" West Ham fans another dose
Sam Allardyce has told fans to enjoy his West Ham way - a winning team still in the running for automatic promotion.
And the Irons boss dismissed calls for a return to what is viewed as the golden age of the West Ham academy as "rubbish".
Victory over second-placed Reading in a massive game at Upton Park on Saturday will lift the Hammers back into the Championship's top two with only six games remaining.
But Allardyce was forced to respond to large sections of the travelling support chanting "West Ham United, we play on the floor" during the midweek win at Peterborough.
Now, before the club's biggest game of the season, the Irons manager called for fans to back his side's bid for an immediate return to the Premier League.
"Come and enjoy yourself - that is what it is all about," Big Sam said. "If you don't want to come and enjoy yourself, I am not sure why you want to come at all, really.
"We are in a winning environment. This club has not been in a winning environment for donkey's years. Last time they got up [to the Premier League] by scraping up in sixth spot by the playoffs.
"I can understand if you are losing and at the bottom of the league and not playing well. I can't understand it if you are playing the opposition off the park.
"That is something I have never experienced before. This is a first for me.
""I am a little bit sick of defending myself because it is something I shouldn't have to do."
West Ham are on a run of 11 matches unbeaten, but have been booed at Upton Park after five consecutive home draws.
Allardyce, who is is sensitive to criticism of his sides' playing style at Hammers and previous clubs, said: "There has never been a West Ham way shown to me, not by anyone that who has worked at the club, so it is a bit of a delusion.
"It is rubbish, isn't it? There isn't a West Ham way, apart from winning.
"When was the last time that happened? It didn't happen with Curbs (Alan Curbishley). It didn't happen with Avram (Grant). It didn't happen with Alan Pardew. When did it happen last? It didn't happen with Gianfranco Zola.
"So when did it happen?
"It is about winning games of football. I cannot remember people playing football the right way and losing football matches or getting relegated.
"I have seen and watched the best coaches in the world and none of them have ever said, 'You keep the ball, pass the ball more than the opposition and lose. That is the way to play.'
"If you look at the facts, bouncing back is one of the most difficult things to do in year one.
"It is not an easy task because of the catastrophic fallout that you get by being relegated. But we have lost only one game in 2012."
Sitting comfortably: Sam Allardyce faces down his critics
[color=#800000]Crunch time: If West Ham beat Reading, Allardyce's side will be back in the automatic promotion places
First win in six: The smiles return at Peterborough
Enjoyment: Allardyce's short stint at Upton Park has not been short of incident
Winner: Kevin Nolan slots home to give west Ham the three points against Brighton
Strong season: Mark Noble has impressed for West Ham in midfield
EXCLUSIVE: Sam Allardyce - there have been times when we've played like Swansea
Lee Clayton interviews the West Ham manager as the promotion dogfight reaches a critical stage, with his team taking on Reading at home on Saturday...
'We need a win, this is killing me,’ Sam Allardyce says in a telephone call. It’s 10.17 on the morning of a fixture at Peterborough this week. He’s in his hotel, sounding relaxed and in control. It is 23 days since West Ham last won a football match.
Half-time: Peterborough 0 West Ham 0.
‘Paolo Di Canio,’ sing the large West Ham following at London Road, after just 17 minutes. It’s followed by: ‘We’re West Ham United, we play on the floor.’
He’s a confident man, Big Sam. There is a clause in his two-year contract that determines he can leave for the England job and he was 25-1 on the day Fabio Capello departed. He also has tickets to take his 11-year-old grandson to Amir Khan’s world light-welterweight title fight in Las Vegas on May 19, the same day as the play-off final. Allardyce expects to be in Vegas.
The style of football, a lack of goals, a dip in form... it’s all getting a bit bumpy. It was meant to be a romp through the division and big attendances bring big expectations. There were 6,000 away fans at Peterborough, for a midweek game.
At London Road, West Ham win 2-0 to move within a point of the top two. Still, it’s not good enough for some. Allardyce calls his critics ‘deluded’.
One supporter writes on Twitter: ‘Witnessing the animosity, the writing is on the wall for Big Sam.’
Another: ‘He has mocked the West Ham Way. A little more respect for the club would have served him better.’
Personally, I find his touchline swagger compelling and enjoy his disdain for West Ham’s past failings. What is the West Ham Way? No trophy since 1980. David Sullivan and his partner David Gold are propping up West Ham with their personal fortune. They have gambled on Allardyce and they like what they see.
Sullivan says: ‘The fans have always sung for Paolo. One day, they might get him. In five years’ time, perhaps. We like him, but only after Sam wins promotion, takes West Ham into Europe and then leaves for the England job.
‘Myself and David Gold stand 100 per cent behind the manager. It’s hard to play in the Championship. Teams shut you down, there is no time to play. This happened at Peterborough, but in the second half we played magnificent football. Now it’s on to Reading.’
The win at Peterborough is a first in six games, but it’s a result that means positives can now be accentuated; West Ham haven’t lost since January 31 and are 11 unbeaten. They have equalled the club record for away wins in a season, previously achieved in 1923 and 1958 (both promotion years).
Beat Reading at home and they are back in the top two. Di Canio, who excited many, but not all, as a player at Upton Park, can stay in Swindon for a bit longer. The subject seems a good place at which to start.
How does it feel when you are standing out in the technical area and the Di Canio chants start?
SAM ALLARDYCE: ‘I accept that we haven’t delivered recently. You have to take it on the chin. In adversity, when we were down to 10 men, the supporters were, wow . . . magnificent. And the players responded: three times we went down to 10 men and we won seven points.
‘Against Watford, we had 11 men, we were drawing and one guy ran down with five minutes to go and said, “F*** off back up north, you ****”. I’m from Dudley in the Midlands. It’s not the north! I’m proud of coming from Dudley. It’s where Duncan Edwards came from.’
There has been a lot of criticism.
SA: ‘Yes, but when we won at Peterborough, the supporters were singing my name. Thousands of them went up there, took over the place. It was uplifting for the players and we gave them a performance, a win. That’s what they want.’
West Ham fans are demanding...
SA: ‘I don’t mind that. I’m not stupid. I have been a manager for 20 years and I came here knowing what the fans expect. I know about the history of the club. I know where they want to be, but I also know how few times they have been there. It excites me that I am the man trying to take them there. I want them to go home happy. If we are not delivering, they will criticise. Fair enough.’
Championship: How they stand
But the fans want to be...
SA: ‘...excited. I know. That’s what we have to do. We are here to create, inspire, to fulfil people’s dreams. That’s what I am about. I am a creative person. My mind doesn’t think about boring logistics. I want to do something different. Footballers respond to atmosphere. Atmosphere comes from bums on seats. Bums on seats create expectation. We have to deal with that. People are impatient, everyone is. I had a 10-year contract at Bolton, a blank piece of paper with little or no expectation.’
But West Ham...?
SA: ‘There isn’t the same time here. I am trying to turn around a relegated club quickly. We have equalled a record, of away wins, but it’s the wrong one! You want to break records for home games, but opponents have made life difficult. We are a scalp in this division, teams come to stop us. If we can overcome that, we will get promoted. It may happen, it may not. But it has been exciting and, in a short space of time, I have started to enjoy where I work.’
Enjoyment: Allardyce's short stint at Upton Park has not been short of incident
Enjoyment: Allardyce's short stint at Upton Park has not been short of incident
You seem confident?
SA: ‘I have the evidence. I know if we have played well, I know if we have been better than the opposition. You will ask me about the style of play now. People usually do. I’ve had it all my career.
‘The negativity came in at Bolton. It was a shock. I don’t blame the media or the fans. It was the other managers, they were embarrassed. We were walking in someone else’s garden and they didn’t want us there.
‘We would beat Arsenal, Liverpool. Bolton shouldn’t be around the top six, they said. I didn’t want managers telling TV how well we had played after beating us 3-0 and talking bull**** before coming into my office. Arsene Wenger didn’t like playing us — and he didn’t come into my office! I wanted them to go and moan because I’d just beaten them. Unfortunately, the legacy…’
What is the legacy?
SA: ‘Look, it took 24 seconds at my first West Ham press conference for someone to ask me about the style of play.’
On the battle for promotion
'I have tickets for Amir Khan’s next fight. It’s the same date as the play-off final. I expect to be in Las Vegas that day'
What did you say?
SA: ‘I asked, “What style do you want?” I’d done my homework. I don’t want conflict. I can’t fight it. I can’t stop it. I just get on with it. I can tell you what I think the West Ham Way is... win and they’re happy. You can’t get more entertainment than the Peterborough game: for 30 minutes they were really into us and then it was deplete, punish and then totally destroy your opposition.’
What is the style?
SA: ‘I change the style depending on who we are playing, the players we have available. I look for a winning style.’
Everyone is talking about Swansea in the Premier League. Could you play like that?
SA: ‘We have played like Swansea. At Watford (4-0), at Nottingham Forest (4-1), Portsmouth at home (4-3), the second half at Peterborough.’
Earlier in the season, the Brighton fans shouted ‘hoof’ throughout the game because of the long balls.
SA: ‘We didn’t hoof it. We sat in and played on the break, won 1-0, did them tactically. So when Gus Poyet criticises us, he’s done well. Fabulous. Let’s see him in 20 years.’
But Rickie Lambert has 24 League goals. The top scorer at West Ham is Kevin Nolan with 10.
SA: ‘There are two things that make a difference: clean sheets and a goalscorer. We have kept clean sheets.’
What about the other end? Carlton Cole has scored once in 2012.
SA: ‘That’s been the problem. Not enough goals. They’ve all dried up, all the forwards. Kevin Nolan’s goal at Burnley — he is a midfield goalscorer of the highest level — was brilliant. He’s not a creative midfielder, his talent comes alive in the opposition penalty area. Ten goals. That’s been critical to us. If we had a 15-goal striker, we would be up and away. We have to put it right, but I don’t think it will stop us.’
On his brand of football
At Peterborough the other night, it was deplete, punish and then totally destroy the opposition. I look for a winning style
James Tomkins has had a very good season.
SA: ‘Mark Noble has done very well too. James reminds me of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at Manchester United. He has their quality. He has played at the back and in midfield for me. He can play in the Premier League. Can he play for England? He has to answer that with his performances.’
Where are you at now?
SA: ‘Loving the challenge of taking West Ham to where it needs to be, as quickly as possible. We have good owners, the fanbase and that has an appeal, doesn’t it? I want that promotion. I’m hungry for it. After the high of taking Bolton into Europe, my career hasn’t gone where I wanted it to. Newcastle was the right club at the wrong time, then came the damage of the sack. It was damage to the progress of my career. I want to talk about damage to a manager, actually.
‘Lee Clark is a great young manager, only three defeats in 55 games and then sacked by Huddersfield! It will take him time to recover from that. He won’t get linked with the better jobs until he puts that right and becomes fashionable again. I know how that feels, the bruising. It hurts us all. You can come back, though. Look at Alan Pardew. And I’m here.’
Will West Ham go up?
SA: ‘I know what I think. These are high stakes. We are where everyone expects us to be so nobody praises us. Southampton, Reading, Brighton... they get the praise. West Ham? On the BBC, on Sky — Steve Claridge and Don Goodman — I’ll be seeing them. It’s all negatives, which feeds back to the supporters.
‘Style of play? Do you think I am here wanting to play long ball? I am not daft. I’ve been a manager for 20 years. I’m not here thinking (stands up, puts on an accent), “Hit it, lump it up”. I want us to win matches. Let’s start with the Reading game and then see where we go. I’d like to make that Amir fight. He’s a good lad, worked with my sports science team at Bolton and I don’t want to let down my grandson.’
[color=#4000FF]Gameplan: Jobi McAnuff says Reading will set up to stifle West Ham - and make the home fans anxious
Ex-Hammer: McAnuff (right)
McAnuff plans to wind up former club West Ham during Reading's vital promotion showdown
Jobi McAnuff, the Reading captain and a former West Ham winger, has heaped the pressure on Hammers manager Sam Allardyce before the crucial automatic promotion clash.
McAnuff vowed that his side would frustrate the home supporters, making them turn on Allardyce and his team.
McAnuff said: ‘If we nick a goal, great, or even keep it 0-0 in the first 30 minutes or up to half-time, the fans will start getting edgy.
‘Of course that will be in our thinking. You have to use that to your advantage — and hopefully ramp up the frustration a little bit. And we have proved we can finish games very strongly.’
Reading’s midfield enforcer Mikele Leigertwood backed up McAnuff, saying: ‘I think there is a lot of pressure on West Ham, especially at home. They will be physical and we have to match them. If we do that, we can frustrate them and frustrate their crowd. That might work against them.’
McAnuff added: ‘That will be in the game plan. And if we start well, maybe get the frustration and nerves going a bit, then hopefully we can use that to our advantage.’
McAnuff also hit back at West Ham midfielder Julien Faubert for saying Reading had been disrespectful over an incident at the Madejski Stadium earlier this season, when Jimmy Kebe was accused of mocking the Hammers by pulling up his sock while in possession.
Jack Collison jumped into Kebe and was sent off.
The visitors were left with nine men on the pitch and collapsed to a 3-0 defeat.
Faubert this week promised: ‘We will make it a bad day for Reading because they didn’t respect us.’
But McAnuff responded: ‘They have taken issue with it. Our focus is on winning. If they want to focus on other matters, maybe that works better for us.
'Jimmy will go there and do his stuff. From our point of view, the matter was done and dusted. It’s about winning a game.
‘At the time, probably too much was made of it. They’ve reacted to something they deemed as disrespectful — that is their prerogative. We got on with the game, we won and that was the end of it. If people want to start it up now, it’s up to them.
‘Knowing Jimmy and the sock incident, he hasn’t gone out to disrespect West Ham or any player. It gets focused on a bit much.’
Reading believe they can keep their cool better than most and have not had a player sent off this season, while two Hammers saw red in that Madejski Stadium clash alone — Joey O’Brien sent off with the game goalless and Collison following.
Leigertwood said: ‘There is no point in getting frustrated and agitated. The temperament is good. If we keep 11 on the pitch, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.
‘We’ve scored numerous late goals this season so we know we’ve got a chance, wherever we go.’
Eye on the ball: Zamora (right) will not re-join West Ham
Bobby won't be joining the West Ham beat: Zamora to snub Hammers switch
The QPR striker, who only arrived at Loftus Road in January, has been linked with a move to the Hammers.
QPR could be forced to sell their star names in the summer if they are relegated back to the Championship after just one season in the top flight.
And promotion hopefuls West Ham were said to be monitoring Zamora's situation.
But the player's agent insists Zamora isn't interested in a West Ham reunion, and also moved to deny reports the former Fulham striker was dissatisfied with QPR's training facilities.
'It's total rubbish. Bobby's said nothing of the sort to me,' Eric Black told West London Sport.
'There's no truth in it whatsoever. As for the training ground, it's not as bad as some people make out. Chelsea did okay when they were there, didn't they?'
the reading chronicle
Let Hammers fans loose on their team
NIGEL Gibbs believes Reading's secret weapon in Saturday's clash at Upton Park could be the West Ham fans.
Hammers supporters have been on their players' backs after five successive home draws.
And Reading assistant manager Gibbs feels they could use that to their advantage by keeping it tight this weekend.
"They've had a few draws at home recently but we will go there and play our normal game," stated Gibbs.
"We always try and attack teams home and away and we will be doing the same on Saturday.
"But if the game progresses and West Ham aren't playing well the crowd will get on their back because they expect their team to be top of the league.
"At the start of the season everyone thought they would be there along with Leicester City but it hasn't quite worked out that way.
"They're in third position but they probably haven't had the results at home their fans wanted.
"But whatever goes on won't affect us. We will have good backing from our own fans on the day and the only thing we will worry about is ourselves."
Despite West Ham's frustrations at home, they are unbeaten in their last 11 Championship matches, though only four of those have been victories.
But whatever happens on Saturday, Gibbs believes there will be more twists and turns to come before the end of the season.
"I don't believe in six-pointers," he declared. "It's only three points at the end of the day.
"West Ham are on a good run and so are we. Where we are in the table adds a little bit more to it. We know the importance of the game and everyone is excited."
With seven matches of the season left Royals know that if they avoid defeat this Saturday then match West Ham's results over the run-in they will secure automatic promotion back to the Premier League.
Reading are one point ahead of the Hammers before the weekend's clash, with leaders Southampton a further five points clear at the top.
And now that a 10 point gap has emerged between West Ham and Brighton in fourth, Gibbs says the race to finish in the top two is between the three clubs.
"It looks like a three horse race now," he argued. "Unless someone wins all seven or eight games from here I can't see anyone catching the top three.
"It's a mini league in itself and it's going to be an exciting finish. Our players have got momentum behind them and they are relishing it.
"They're playing well and with confidence and we're the in-form team. It's important we keep that consistency until the end of the season now and there is no reason why we can't."
dicks sometimes i get a bit bored watching west ham
http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/andy-g ... ham-168283
Time to enjoy: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce wants fans to enjoy the promotion push and stop criticising club's style
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce calls on supporters to start enjoying promotion battle
Sam Allardyce has told disgruntled supporters to stop moaning about the West Ham way of football and says they should start enjoying success in east London again.
Allardyce came under attack from his own fans at Peterborough on Tuesday night.
They started singing the name of Paolo Di Canio and made their feelings known towards his style of football when they continually sang, “West Ham United - we play on the floor”.
After the 2-0 win Allardyce labelled West Ham supporters who questioned his style of football as “deluded”
The West Ham manager is preparing his side for a crucial Championship encounter against Reading, who sit just one point above them in second place.
He admited he was shocked by the criticism, particularly as the team are on an 11-match unbeaten run and can move back into the top two with a victory at Upton Park on Saturday.
Allardyce said: “Those who work at West Ham haven’t told me what the West Ham way is, so it is rubbish.
"There isn’t one because people who have worked here for a number of years cannot say what it is.
"It is not passing and losing, that is for sure.
“It didn’t happen with Curbs [Alan Curbishley], Avram Grant, Alan Pardew or Gianfranco Zola, so when did it happen last?
"This club has not been in a winning environment for donkey’s years.
"The last time they got up was by scraping up in sixth spot by the play-offs.
“This is a winning environment so I don’t know why you listen to the small minority, but I suppose you have to because they make themselves heard.
“All the best coaches I have seen worldwide have never said you have to outplay the opposition to win.
“My message to the fans is come and enjoy yourself.
"That is what it is all about. If you don’t want to come and enjoy yourself, I am not sure why you want to come at all really.”
Allardyce believes the West Ham supporters have been given great value for money this season and feels the club’s owners deserve a lot of credit for the way they have managed to reduce ticket prices for Championship games despite their relegation from the Premier League last season.
Allardyce added: “The club does as much as it possibly can to make it as cheap as possible. It is a fantastic football club.
“We all want a full stadium because that is what gets the adrenalin going and we all want to be positive.
"We all want entertaining and we want to get back in the Premier League.
“That has not happened very often recently for the three teams that have been relegated.
"If you look at the facts, bouncing back is one of the most difficult things to do in year one and it hasn’t happened too often in the last 10 years.
“It is not an easy task because of the catastrophic fallout that you get by being relegated.
"It devastates the football club and it cannot be resurrected in one season normally due to the difficulties of adjusting financially and not going bust.”
big sam on reading
http://www.whufc.com/articles/20120329/ ... 84_2704755
thames ironworks unearthed
http://www.whufc.com/articles/20120329/ ... 84_2694144
Manchester City's Abu Dhabi owners are ready to sanction an £80m world-record transfer fee and a salary of between £400,000 and £500,000 a week to land Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
Three former Chelsea managers are plotting raids on the club. Fernando Torres is a £45m target for Guus Hiddink's Anzhi Makhachkala, Carlo Ancelotti wants Ashley Cole at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, coached by Jose Mourinho, are eyeing Raul Meireles.
Torres' agent has hinted that the Spanish striker, 28, could be tempted by a move to Serie A side Roma.
Chelsea are ready to make a £35m bid for Real Madrid's Angel di Maria. The Argentina winger, 24, is seeking to double his £40,000 a week wages.
Juventus want to muscle in on this summer's anticipated auction for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani. Manchester City and Chelsea both want to sign the 25-year-old Uruguay international.
Edinson Cavani has scored 45 goals in 62 Serie A appearances for Napoli
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill wants a reunion with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne, both of whom he managed at Aston Villa.
Big-spending La Liga side Malaga plan to scupper Manchester United's attempts to land Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen.
Arsenal striker Carlos Vela wants to stay at Real Sociedad when his loan spell finishes at the end of the season.
West Brom are keen on signing Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng. The 28-year-old wants to leave his current club FC Dnipro in Ukraine, after a reported race row with an opponent earlier this month.
Tottenham will turn to Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers if Harry Redknapp is appointed England boss.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway believes the Football Association could be too scared to name Redknapp England manager.
Former national team manager Terry Venables believes that the delay in appointing a successor to Fabio Capello may harm England's Euro 2012 hopes.
The Daily Telegraph
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has publicly expressed his admiration for Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, saying that he is "definitely one of the best in the Premier League".
Mancini and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli have patched up their differences following a training ground bust-up on Wednesday.
Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is ready to make himself available for Ireland again - but not before Euro 2012.
Injury-hit Bolton Wanderers may turn to 18-year-old Josh Vela, who is yet to make a first-team appearance, against Wolves because they are so short of midfielders.
Fans of German fourth-tier football team Magdeburg formed a human arrow pointing to the net to help end the relegation-threatened team's goal drought.
Diego Maradona ran from the dugout to the stands to rescue his girlfriend from angry fans, during his team Al Wasl's 2-0 defeat to Al Shabab in the UAE League.
Vic will plough on despite kick
VICTOR MOSES may be risked wearing a protective mask in Wigan's home game with Stoke tomorrow.
Moses is still suffering after a kick in the face from Martin Skrtel at Liverpool last week.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said: "We need to be extra careful. It depends on how much we can step him up in training."
STEVEN CAULKER wants regular football if he stays at Tottenham next year. The on-loan Swansea defender, 20, said: "I'll see where I'm at this summer. If I go back I want to play."
JOSH VELA could be thrown to the Wolves in tomorrow's relegation crunch at Molineux.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle has to find a replacement for crocked midfielder Darren Pratley and the highly-rated Vela, 18, fits the bill.
Coyle said: "Josh has the ability. Whether this is the right time to put him in, time will tell."
SUNDERLAND want to buy out the sell-on clause in James McClean's deal.
McClean, 22, signed for £350,000 and the Black Cats are hoping £500,000 will appease former club Derry City.
BRADFORD defender Marcel Seip is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
The ex-Plymouth ace has missed the last three games and has surgery today.
MACCLESFIELD'S Wales Under-21 defender Elliott Hewitt will miss the rest of the season after having hip surgery.
ADAM DUGDALE has agreed a new two-year deal with Crewe.
babe of the day
Last week, the Board of West Ham United Football Club announced that they had submitted a bid for co-Tenancy of the Olympic Stadium.
Despite informing WHU's View? that they would be happy to commit to conducting a poll and stating that supporter consultation was an O.P.L.C requirement as part of the bidding process the Club have not balloted fans, instead carrying out an extremely limited 'consultation' via the Olympic Stadium Focus Group as part of the S.A.B.
WHU's View? do not believe that this constitutes a full and proper consultation as it did not allow for the greatest number of supporters to voice their opinion on what will be the biggest decision in our Club's history.
Therefore, in order to allow views to be expressed prior to the announcement of the winning bidder(s) by the Mayor on the 21st of May 2012, WHU's View? will be conducting polls at the remaining home fixtures commencing with the Birmingham game on the 9th of April.
We will also be holding an Open Meeting to discuss the poll and related issues from 7pm on Wednesday the 4th of April in the Supporter's Club in Castle Street, and cordially invite you all to attend.
As always, we welcome all comments and suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org and ask that you continue to encourage others to register their details at http://www.whusvoice.com.
WHU's View? Committee.
Thanks CH, I think Big Sam talks alot of sense lets hope we can all get behind him and the Team. Don't let the away Team get the advantage with us turning on Sam or the Team.
Lets drive us on over the finishing line. COYI
Funnily enough, the more I hear about him, and the more people on here say they don't like the more he grows on me...having said that, he's got some woeful shirts!
Oooooooooooooooo Reading having a go at our nervous and anxious fans!
I wont be there but 90 minutes of belting out Bubbles (especially during our anxious periods) should nip that in the ol' bud!
Sam Allardyce: There's a time and place for mind games - just ask Sir Alex Ferguson
Up in Manchester, the mind games seem to have gone into overdrive with Patrick Vieira having his say for City and Sir Alex Ferguson responding on behalf of United.
Sir Alex, I recall, learned an early lesson about mind games from Howard Wilkinson, who managed Leeds when they won the title in 1992 just before the Premier League came into being.
Since then, Sir Alex has got much better at it and, as far as I am concerned, I have to say I find it intriguing, even exciting, to play mind games as a manager and particularly stimulating when you think you’ve won.
I’ve always done it slightly tongue in cheek and tried to drift a little something into a conversation or a press conference when the time has been right.
Every manager at the top plays these games because they know they will get maximum publicity. It’s all part of modern-day football at the highest level, to try to ramp up the pressure just a little to see if your opposite number can handle it.
As a manager you do whatever you think you need to do to gain that extra one per cent of advantage which could — and often does — make the difference between winning and losing a game.
It all adds to the entertainment value but, if you are going to use it, then be prepared to deal with it when someone does it to you.
The huge media demands on top managers often bring added pressure but you can sometimes turn that to your advantage.
When you are learning your trade in the lower divisions, as I did, mind games don’t play much of a part because the glare of publicity isn’t there. As I moved along the managerial road, though, I listened to what other managers were saying and thought: “I need to do this as well.”
As well as opposing managers or players, you could also employ the same strategy with officials but that has been stopped.
At Bolton I noticed that one or two managers were beginning to try it on because they were a little worried about us.
At first, when we were fighting against relegation, they used to say things like: “Bolton play lovely football, they will come and play the right way.” Then, after we had been beaten 3-0, they would say: “Weren’t Bolton entertaining, didn’t they do well?”
As we got better, it changed and managers would say “Bolton play it physical” and they began to question the way we played.
If a manager did that, we would stick his comments up on the wall in the dressing room so Gary Speed, Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Youri Djorkaeff, Bruno N’Gotty and the rest could read it.
The danger, though, is that if you play mind games too much, it distracts you from your main purpose. I have seen managers get upset by this stuff but I treat them with a bit of humour and see them for what they are.
I don’t need to play any mind games before tomorrow’s match against Reading. One look at the Championship table shows you how important it is.
All I will say is that I expect it to be a tight affair. They will try to frustrate us, make everyone nervous and try to take advantage from that scenario.
We know it will be a game of patience, focus and resilience. We need to wait for the right time to pounce and then do it with the speed and venom of a rattlesnake.
We need to probe, push and put enough sustained pressure on them so they crack. At the same time, though, we always need to be aware that they are a confident outfit capable of exploiting space and scoring goals.
We will have to have our wits about us. If we tense up in terms of our logical thinking, then we are likely to make rash decisions.
The disappointment at Reading earlier this season, when we lost 3-0 and had two players sent off, wasn’t down to them, it was the loss of our self-discipline. It looked like it was heading for a goalless draw before that.
What we did was criminal because not only was Joey O’Brien sent off but we conceded from the resultant free-kick. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Jack Collison was red-carded and we conceded from that free-kick as well. We committed a double sin, twice. The win at Peterborough on Tuesday will have done us the power of good though and I was particularly pleased for Gary O’Neil.
Gary has worked prodigiously hard to come back from a career-threatening ankle injury ahead of time and he should be applauded for that, along with the medical and sports science staff who have supported him so diligently all the way.
We had to assess Gary carefully because, in our quest for promotion, there is little or no room for risk.
We had to pick the people who were the fittest and played consistently so we have been cautious with Gary but playing last Saturday and then Tuesday against Peterborough must have lessened any doubts in his own mind about his fitness
Exclusive - Allardyce: Fans' negativity has affected West Ham players
Sam Allardyce has admitted that fans' negativity at home has rubbed off on West Ham players this season.
The Hammers have picked up just 34 points at Upton Park this season compared with 38 points away from home and supporters have voiced their unhappiness at the style of play, along with results, at the Boleyn Ground.
But former Bolton and Blackburn manager Allardyce has told Keys and Gray that only by supporting the team fully can the club clinch promotion from the Championship.
“The small minority are negative but you find that in any football club,” the 57-year-old said. “They are the ones that make themselves heard.
“When you consider the season we’ve had, we’re 11 undefeated but we’ve done it the wrong way round, we’ve got a great away record but not sorted out the home form, that’s where the problems come.
“It’s the effect it has on the players that concerns me, they can be edgy anyway at this time of the year and it’s not helped when there’s negativity around the ground.
It’s the effect it has on the players that concerns me— Sam Allardyce
“If there’s a little bit of negativity that goes wrong, players get tense and then the players make more basic errors. The players need to be more supported to get them over the line.
“We’ve got to try and drown out the negativity, when you see the team struggling cheer it on to get over that difficult period.”
Allardyce took over the reins at Upton Park from Avram Grant last summer after the club had finished bottom of the Premier League.
And the former Newcastle boss went on to admit that owners David Gold and David Sullivan don’t care about the quality of the football, they just want the club back in the top flight.
“They [the owners] have said to me we needed to be promoted, they haven’t told me to play the ball around," he said. “Most West Ham fans want to win, they don’t want to play good football and lose. Some people wouldn’t call that ‘good football’.”
Cheers CH, as always
Every time I listen to the radio or read a newspaper they are talking about Reading using our fans' anxiousness to their advantage. I say f*ck off Reading. How about we get behind our team non stop for 90 minutes whatever is happening on the pitch. Lets show Reading what proper support is like. This is a massive game that we really do need to win and everything we can do to help the team is gonna be needed.
All toghether now, we all follow the west ham on to victory
Kevin Nolan: ‘People expect us to walk all over teams . . . that just won’t happen’
It's early afternoon at Chadwell Heath and the harsh light from an unseasonably hot sun is reflected in a glint in the eye of West Ham’s captain.
Kevin Nolan is talking about tomorrow’s crucial Championship encounter against Reading and the eyes narrow slightly when he recalls the carnage of December’s 3-0 away defeat against a team who lie in the way of automatic promotion for West Ham.
Sam Allardyce’s team effectively committed football suicide by having first Joey O’Brien sent off and then Jack Collison red carded for reacting to Reading’s Jimmy Kebe nonchalantly pulling up his socks whilst standing over the ball in open play.
“Having two men sent off was very disappointing from our point of view,” admits Nolan. “The second came after what we thought was a lack of respect by one of their players.
“We were all upset by that as could be seen by Jack’s reaction which resulted in the second red card.
“That’s gone now, though, and that’s not going to be an issue in tomorrow’s game. What is much more important is that, if we beat Reading, we will go above them and hopefully move closer to Southampton who could still slip up.”
Nolan talks with the knowledge of someone who has done this all before at Newcastle, who were relegated from and then immediately promoted back to the Premier League.
“I believe we had about four games left when we knew we were promoted,” he recalls. “They were good times and not too dissimilar from those we’re experiencing now at West Ham, with people expecting we’re going to walk all over teams. That just doesn’t happen, you’re talking about opposition who train all week to try and knock us over.”
Nolan, 29, was born and bred in Toxteth and has admitted he had problems initially adjusting to life in the capital without his family.
“I’m a strong-minded lad but I have found it difficult at times, not having my wife, Hayley, and my two kids with me,” he says.
“It’s something I needed to deal with, though, and I have turned the corner in that respect. I had to get to know West Ham, London itself, and now I feel I have adapted quite well.
“It’s nice to be sitting here with 10 goals to my name but I probably should have a few more.
“I haven’t seen much of London, really. I’m living over in Canary Wharf and the block where I live has some fantastic facilities so I tend to stay there and go out for some food with one or two of the lads who live there like Joey O’Brien.
“We’re quite a tight-knit squad here, a good squad so I tend to be at the training ground until late, having a bit of banter and a laugh.
“I did see Joey Barton the other day. He’s in good spirits but obviously disappointed with the position Queens Park Rangers are in.
“It was lovely to see him but I told him to stop tweeting because he’s becoming a bit of a twit, isn’t he?”
“There are definite similarities between where I come from — Toxteth — and the East End of London. When West Ham were interested in signing me I thought that this was the type of club which could get the best out of me and I could build a special rapport with the fans. There seems to be so many of them about. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been in a taxi that didn’t have a Hammers fan as a driver.”
On the pitch, there is no doubt about Nolan’s qualities as a leader.
The attacking midfielder takes the captaincy seriously and says: “I think I get on well with people. I may do a lot of shouting on the pitch but I hope I’ve earned the squad’s respect off it. It’s rare I have rucks and I don’t think I’ve had a fight in my career.
“I’m there to help the young lads and make sure we all get on together and help get the best out of them.
“They all have my number and they know they can ring or text me anytime. I’m there to help them.”
Nolan also appears to understand the demands and expectations of his club’s supporters. “Our away fans have been fantastic,” he says. “They turn up in their thousands and we should appreciate that every one of them is entitled to their opinion.
“All we do ask, though, is that they stick with us because without them, we’re nothing. We need them and if they make the noise of which I know they’re capable, they will frighten the teams who come to Upton Park.”
Tottenham are planning for life after Harry Redknapp and preparing a move for Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers.
Alex Ferguson cranked up the mind games last night by suggesting Patrick Vieira could face an FA charge.
Terry Venables has urged the FA to get a move on and make Harry Redknapp England's new manager.
Roberto Mancini has set alarm bells ringing at Tottenham by admitting he is a big fan of midfielder Luka Modric.
West Brom boss Roy Hodgson is planning a cut-price raid on Rangers for Allan McGregor and Steven Naismith.
Emile Heskey is facing the Aston Villa axe this summer - after being told there will be no new contract talks until then.
John Heitinga admits he is eager to sign a new contract at Everton.
Joey Barton admits "careers are on the line" at struggling QPR.
Sunderland want to buy out the sell-on clause in James McClean's deal.
Chelsea are ready to splash £35million on Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria.
Fernando Torres is set to be offered a £45million way out of his Chelsea nightmare, with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala weighing up an offer.
Martin O'Neill is plotting a £7million raid on his old club Aston Villa for Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller is being offered a new one-year deal.
West Brom are leading the hunt to sign Ghanaian midfielder Derek Boateng, who is set to quit the Ukraine after a racist bust-up.
Liverpool's director of football Damien Comolli is keen on starlet Cristian Tello - if Barcelona say he can go.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean is pleading with owners Venkys to give him money for old heads next season.
Terry Venables has called on the FA to appoint the next England manager as quickly as possible.
Fernando Torres' advisers have taken a sideswipe at axed Chelsea manager Andre-Villas Boas as it emerged he is a £35million target for mega-rich Anzhi Makhachkala.
Manchester City will attempt to tie their talisman David Silva to a new long-term contract this summer.
Kenny Dalglish insists Liverpool were not ripped off when they signed Andy Carroll.
Brendan Rodgers has jumped to the front of the queue of managers to whom Tottenham will turn if Harry Redknapp becomes the next England boss.
Chelsea's managerial uncertainty is poised to lead to over £60million worth of bids for unsettled players this summer - with Fernando Torres the number one target.
Derry City could rebuff an offer from Sunderland to buy out the 15 per cent sell-on clause they hold on rising star James McClean.
Blackburn manager Steve Kean has confirmed Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is on his transfer radar - but only after survival has been sealed.
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Patrick Vieira should face an FA charge for his latest gig at Manchester United.
Fernando Torres' agent last night hinted the Spaniard could be on his way to Roma.
Martin Olsson is weighing up a £6million move to Galatasaray after deciding to quit Blackburn.
Brian Kennedy last night threw his weight behind Paul Murray's plan to buy Rangers.
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