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Trott makes debut for AFC Wimbledon

Hammer Nathan Trott has returned to AFC Wimbledon after being treated for a groin injury and made his debut for the Don’s at the weekend. The loanee completed a full pre-season with AFC Wimbledon for which he signed on a season-long loan for but missed the League One’s first two league games.

Trott played all ninety minutes in his debut against Accrington Stanley on Saturday which ended 1-1 and he was again in action last night for the whole game as AFC Wimbledon lost 2-1 to Ispwich Town.

The Bermuda-born goalkeeper joined West Ham following a successful trial period in January 2016, having initially been recommended to the Club by former Hammer and fellow countryman Clyde Best. Trott was a schoolboy midfielder but now is not only an agile shot-stopper but also possesses superb distribution skills and technique.

The young goalkeeper switched international allegiance to England in early 2017 and was part of the Young Lions squad that won the UEFA European U19 Championship in June of the same year.

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Cost of London Stadium draft beer dispute revealed

London Stadium owners have spent close to a million pounds to resolve a dispute with West Ham over the availability of draft beer in hospitality lounges. E20 board minutes recently published reveal the extent of the cost the rectify the problem.

Last year West Ham won a legal expert determination-forcing E20 to provide draft beer in all lounges under terms of the Hammers concessionaire agreement for the London Stadium.

The E20 board approved the expenditure of £353,000 last July to upgrade four lounges to draft beer and revealed that all lounges would cost in the region of £700,000.  Earlier this year the stadium owners paid a further £25,875 for a ‘Draft beer expert site appraisal’.

The minutes also reveal for the first time that E20 paid West Ham £202,000 in legal costs for the expert determination which included the availability of draft beer and TV in corporate lounges, the cost of hostesses in lounges and the pitch surround.


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David Martin makes debut

David Martin made his first debut in a West Ham shirt for the Under 23’s in a friendly against a Brentford B team last night.

The 33-year-old son of Alvin Martin played all ninety minutes at Griffen park with 19-year-old Joseph Anang an un-used substitute.

The friendly with the Bees finished 2-2 with Antony Sully and Nathan Holland the two West Ham scorers.

West Ham United U23: Martin; Ashby (Parkes 59), Ngakia (Parker 44), Alese, Hannam (Belic 80); Rosa (Corbett 82), Forson (Powell 45); Kemp (Holland 45), Scully (Baptiste 68), Dju (Caiger 59); Afolayan (Akande 59)  Subs: Anang, Parker

The Hammers remain second in the Premier League 2 table division 2 behind Manchester United with both scoring the maximum six points from a perfect start of two wins out of two.

West Ham beat Newcastle in their opening game at home 3-0 and went on to beat Newcastle away 2-1 last Saturday, they face Reading at home this Friday for their third game of the season as they attempt promotion back to division one in Premier League 2.

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Fabianski: ‘It is about performances’

Quality-wise, we have a very decent team and squad, but it is about performances’ Hammer of the year Fabianski has told WHUFC,com 

You cannot only look at the names of the players in the team. You have to perform every single week. That is what we are going to be judged by. It is all about the performances.”

Speaking about the Brighton game at the weekend Fabianski said “It was a tough game, we focused more on defending than attacking in the first half then in the second half the game became more equal. They created more clear chances but we managed to score a goal and get a draw against a tough side. 

“We tried to put more pressure on the players on the ball. That was one of the issues we struggled with against City. It is almost impossible to do it for 90 minutes but there were times when we put pressure on Brighton and that helped us defend better.

“To lose at home in such a manner, conceding five goals, it was not nice so you always want to bounce back as soon as you can. That is what we did.

“It was maybe not the best football we have played over 90 minutes but there were some little patches in the game that we can be pleased with. Hopefully that will help us develop more going into the season.”


London Stadium to trial Wembley barriers to save costs

London Stadium owners E20 have proposed a trial of new lateral barriers to act as a deterrent for pitch invaders in an attempt to improve security and lower stewarding costs.

Director Alan Skewis told the E20 board earlier this year that lateral barriers were already used at Wembley stadium and that the post Burnley and Spurs recommendations had identified that this type of barriers could act as a real deterrent for pitch invaders while saving on steward costs.

He suggested a trial to test the concept and effectiveness before spending further funds to cover teh full 381 metres around the stadium. The 30-metre trial area is proposed to be in front of the lower West Stand in blocks 113 and 114.

No time scales were given in the E20 board minutes recently published on the London Stadium transparency website.

The Chair of E20, Nicky Dunn requested Graham Gilmore speak to Wembley stadium to see if they would recommend the use of these barriers.


London Stadium naming rights to be sold

London Stadium naming rights are to be marketed again in hope of being third time lucky.

Official minutes from stadium owners E20’s board meeting dated March 2019 but only just published reveal the board will go back out to market asking E20 Consultant Alex Williamson to provide them with a timeline for selling the naming rights. The report presented to the E20 by Williamson in March was redacted and remains confidential on commercial sensitivity grounds.

The stadium owners have already spent £450,000 of taxpayers’ money trying to find a sponsor in two previous failed attempts

Telecoms company Vodafone pulled out of a £20m six-year naming rights deal in May 2017, while Indian conglomerate Mahindra had earlier shown an interest only to pull out at contract stage.

Two deals with global brands came close to being delivered but this is an extremely competitive and narrow market which requires significant time and effort to identify the appropriate brands able to enter into such major commercial deals,” said an LLDC spokesman last year.

The first £4m a year of any naming rights deal would go to the stadium owners E20, with West Ham splitting any revenue 50/50 above that.

Earlier this year LLDC CEO Lyn Garner confirmed that the London Stadium owners are obliged to seek consent from West Ham as to the suitability of any stadium naming rights partner saying “The contracts require us to work hand in hand with the football club, the football club has rights to sign off on those naming rights ultimately.”

Garner said she hoped the LLDC can work with West Ham to find a sponsor together adding: “I think there’s a win-win in bringing that together because you can think about shirt sponsorship, general sponsorship, and so on, (but) the difficulty will be in the detail of that negotiation. We are dealing with an extremely well-run business. Football business is difficult and challenging which is why it is important to have good commercial advice within the LLDC.”

The agreement allows West Ham to veto any naming rights partner but says consent should not be unreasonably withheld. The Hammers would need to supply a valid reason for any rejection.  One example is a conflict of interest with an existing sponsor. West Ham would be within their rights to reject any betting sponsor as it would conflict with Betway who are the Hammers current principal sponsor.



Manuel Lanzini named by Lionel Scaloni

Former Hammer Lionel Scaloni has named  Manuel Lanzini in his Argentina 27 man squad.

Argentina are set to take on Chile at the Los Angeles Coliseum on September 5 before taking on Mexico at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas five days later.

The fixtures will be Argentina’s first matches since they defeated Chile 2-1 in the Copa America third-place playoff on July 6th.

Lanzini hasn’t featured for Argentina since May last year when he featured in a 4-0 win over Haiti, he then suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in the World Cup 2018 training camp.

Goalkeepers: Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Agustin Marchesin (Porto).

Defenders: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Leonardo Balerdi (Borussia Dortmund), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Lucas Martinez Quarta (River Plate), Gonzalo Montiel (River), Nicolas Figal (Independiente), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax).

Midfielders: Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Nicolas Dominguez (Velez), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Matias Zaracho (Racing), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Exequiel Palacios (River Plate), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham),  Alexis Mac Allister (Boca).

Forwards: Joaquin Correa (Lazio), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Paulo Dybala (Juventus) and Adolfo Gaich (San Lorenzo).

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Mark Noble returns to training

Mark Noble lightly trained again today at the London Stadium as the West Ham squads assembled for their annual team photos.

Although he is not ready for full first-team training we are told he completed one on one work with a physio as he recovers from a calf injury. In fact, Noble returned to Rush Green late last week for one to one sessions with the Hammers medical team.

The skipper is hoping he can return to full training later this week but it will most likely come too late to be included in the matchday squad for Watford.

However, he should be fit and raring to go by the time West Ham return to play at home at the London Stadium against Norwich City.

The Hammers captain is yet to play a single minute this season having missed the opener against Manchester City and last weekend’s draw against Brighton.

Most importantly both Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller were shown in the club video training with the full squad at the London Stadium


Time to stop tactical fouling

Blind Hammer argues it is time for an important rule change.

After our opening day humbling by Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini joined the increasing number of people criticising the tactics of cynical fouling which has underpinned the success of both city and Liverpool.

Both City and the Reds employ an extreme high press in order to dominate possession in their opponent’s half. Earlier this year, I discussed statistics which showed how teams that achieve majority high possession are, over time, more successful.

Yet the risks associated with the high press is, of course, vulnerability to a counterattack.

To counter this risk more than half of Manchester City’s 13 fouls against West Ham were committed, not defending their goal, but high up the field whilst in West Ham’s half.

So, to minimise and, in many cases, eliminate risk of a breakaway, both Liverpool and Manchester City deploy the tactic of cynical tactical fouling in their opponent’s half.

Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta was famously caught in a TV documentary explicitly instructing his players that if there is a what he called a “transition” they must make a foul. The fact that City players are coached in this tactic makes Pep Guardiola’s insistence that his team are innocent of this cynical tactic hollow.

Data analysis quoted by the BBC also show how both City and Liverpool deploy foul play of this kind to support their high presses. Liverpool were the worst offenders with 63% of their fouls committed high up the pitch in their opponent’s half, with Manchester city third with 58%.

The other measure the BBC looked at was the speed of fouls committed after losing possession. Over the last two seasons Manchester City and Liverpool are amongst the worst offenders, both committing fouls between 7-8.3 seconds of losing possession. This season only Arsenal are worst.

The cynical aspect of this fouling is also supported using skilful niggardly trips and nudges designed to avoid attracting yellow and red cards.

So, I believe this unfair tactic has been exploited scientifically by teams such as city and Liverpool, already advantaged by massive cash in-balances.

Referees need a further sanction to counter tactical foul high up the pitch. Referees are currently inhibited from penalising with yellow or red cards, given the distance from goal, and the lack of violence with these niggardly fouls.

Years ago, there was an experimental provision where a referee could advance a free kick 10 yards in the case of dissent. This was abandoned by FIFA, but I believe a similar provision is now required.

My suggestion is that in the case of a cynical tactical foul committed high up the field to support an extreme high press, then the free-kick should not be where the foul was committed, but instead anywhere on the D of the offending team’s penalty area.

This would provide the referee with an essential extra sanction. It would also reduce the incentive for city and Liverpool to exploit the rules in this way.

The current sanctions of free kicks, yellow cards and red cards are clearly not adequate.


David Griffith

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Hammers to face Spurs, Newcastle and Stoke in Cup

West Ham’s U18 and U16 teams will take on equivalent Category One Academy sides from Newcastle United, Stoke City and Spurs in this season’s Premier League Cup competitions.

The groups are identical in both the Under-18 PL Cup and the inaugural Under-16 PL Cup, with West Ham drawn in Group E of both tournaments. Both Academy sides will play on the same matchdays during the group stages, and will face off against each other side in their group once, either home or away.

The young Hammers will need to either win their groups, or be one of the two best-placed runners-up among six groups, to advance to the knock-out stages.

The U16 PL Cup has been introduced this year to mirror the U18 competition.

In last season’s U18 Premier League Cup, the youngsters were eliminated at the group stage, despite beating eventual winners Manchester City 3-2 at the Little Heath Sports Ground.