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PL rival emerges for Hammers target

West Ham could face a Premier League rival in the race to sign Junior Firpo from Barcelona.

The Irons have been linked with the Barca left-back throughout the summer, following a season in which he has struggled to find his way into the team.

Sport Witness now carries a report from Mundo Deportivo, claiming that there is also interest from Southampton.

AC Milan have also been linked with an interest but the Italian side would rather take him on loan.

Barca aren’t interested in that and want to receive a fee, with both the Hammers and the Saints willing to pay a fee to bring him to England.

Milan are said to be considering their options, per the report, as they want to bring him in too.

This one has some time to run and run, then, and it remains to be seen if the Irons will be able to beat off the competition to Firpo’s signature.

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Hallelujah: VAR change gets approval

Var technology will be amended next season in a bid to calm outrage among fans and manager over fine-margin offside decisions.

According to The Telegraph ref bosses have been given backing by clubs to widen the digital stripes which have even led to goals being ruled out by a player’s armpit,.

A total of 128 goals or incidents were directly affected by the video referee in the top tier last season.

It would ensure that the attacker gets more of a benefit of doubt after top-tier executives gave the thumbs up following a presentation at the league’s Annual General Meeting.

The Premier League has yet to comment on the change, but said shareholders “discussed a range of matters and recommitted to build on the collective of all 20 clubs to benefit the wider game”.

Claretandhugh says: Well at least something is being done to help rule out some of the absurd decisions which in our view has made the game a less attractive spectacle following the introduction of VAR. And that was borne out by a survey conducted by the Football Supporters Association when approaching 50 per cent of season ticket holders were less likely to be attending games as a result of the new technology. The reality is entirely simple. Football is about scoring goals – that’s the epicentre of the game and when they are ruled out by ridiculously small margins after fans have been kept waiting ages for a decision, the game is bound to lose some of its  appeal. This will help but a bigger aid would be to knock VAR on the head altogether in our opinion


Declan growing up but sadly England aren’t!

Let me be honest, I gave up on England winning anything in the 70s.

I was fortunate enough to see us win the World Cup in ’66 courtesy of Mooro, Hursty and Martin but it all went reels of cotton after that and has remained so ever since.

I had remained a fan of the home internationals against the three nations and last night reminded me that the noise levels from the fans are an indication that a return of the games would be a huge bonus for most fans.

However, sadly, what last night also demonstrated was that England take these games a little less seriously than the Scots who frankly were far the better team and created some outstanding chances.

The Southgate team appeared to believe – as has been the case so often in the past – that sideways and backwards passing is a favoured option even in the 80th minute and onwards when a game needs to be won.

Declan did ok but was one of those who favoured the sideways pass when I was hoping he may go on one of those rampaging forward runs which has recently become part of his game.

I didn’t understand the substitutions or the method of play we adopted and wasn’t as impressed with the 1-0 win over Croatia as some.

I’m delighted only that Declan is growing up into a fine international player and will one day tread in Mooro’s footsteps but beyond that I see little in this England team to give me any hope that I have got it wrong over the last 50 years.

Will win this tournament – I still believe in miracles but that’s what it will take i’m afraid …average side.

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Freedom Day anxieties hit Hammers

West Ham and every other club in the country are hoping and praying that despite previous U turns on lockdown and restrictions, the new Freedom Day of July 19 actually happens.

Prime Minister Johnson’s declaration that he is confident nothing will get in the way of the return to normality is good news but of course we have been here before.

And with chief medical man Chris Whitty regularly claiming a third wave is on the way it seems that guarantees remain pretty fragile.

The game has taken such a massive hit from covid 19 that July 19 is now of incredibly importance and,with the new season starting only just over three weeks later, clubs simply cannot imagine the idea of the date again being pushed back towards or into the new season.

One source inside West Ham explained: “The idea of again performing in empty or only part filled stadium remains a nightmare.

Given the past U turns we can take nothing for granted – there are always going to be variants and we surely have to reach a point where we have to accept them. July 19 could hardly be more important.

We have already had a month’s delay from June so it’s difficult to plan ahead with any certainty.”


Lingard urged: ‘Get yourself to West Ham’

Trevor Sinclair has urged Jesse Lingard to get his West Ham switch done.

The former Hammers hero is a huge fan of the Manchester United player and wants to see him in claret and blue permanently as soon as possible.

Lingard’s position appears clouded by various apparently contradictory issues at the moment but the smart money remains on him joining the Hammers.

United are reportedly planning talks with him after the Euros but as things stand it seems unlikely he will remain at Old Trafford with so many quality plyers to force his way by.

Sinclair obviously hopes not and talking to The Sun he made it clear he wanted him at the London Stadium as soon as possible.

After a brilliant start the 28 year old’s form tailed off a little but we understand last season that David Moyes still sees him as a must have player for the new season.

And speaking  talkSPORT: “Can I just say, Jesse Lingard, get to the capital of England rather than the capital of France. You are loved at West Ham. Get yourself there, boy.”

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West Ham Czech mates make point

West Ham Czech Republic duo Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček helped their country to a 1-1 draw with Croatia in Glasgow on Friday afternoon.

Both Hammers enjoyed opportunities to open the scoring inside the opening four minutes, with Coufal seeing his chest-and-volley strike deflected behind by Croatia’s Domagoj Vida before Souček’s header from the resulting corner landed on the roof of the net.

The Czech Republic were the dominant force in the opening stages and spurned a huge opportunity – again created by Coufal – when Patrik Schick miscued from the right-back’s accurate pull-back.

Schick would redeem himself soon after, however, converting coolly from the penalty spot after having been caught by a loose elbow by Dejan Lovren, leading to a contentious spot kick awarded retrospectively by VAR.

Croatia made a flying start to the second half, however, equalising after a quickly-taken free-kick saw Ivan Perisic cut in from the left flank and unleash a thunderous rising shot high across goal.

Not deterred, the Czech Republic went back on the offensive in a bid to re-establish their lead, a move involving Coufal leading to Souček having a first-time strike whistle narrowly past the far post.

And while Croatia arguably finished the stronger of the two teams, both teams will feel disappointed to have shared the spoils at Hampden Park, having enjoyed several good openings in the second half.

Both Coufal and Souček were typically industrious in their output over the 90 minutes, with the defender producing a match-high six successful tackles, and the midfielder winning three aerial duels and having a passing accuracy of 91.1 per cent.

Having seen off Scotland in their opening Group D game on Monday afternoon – a game in which both Irons recorded assists – the result puts Czech Republic in a strong position to seal qualification for the knockout stages, with a final group-stage fixture against teammate Declan Rice and England to come on Tuesday night.

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New Coufal deal report update

Speculation that the Hammers are set to offer Vladimir Coufal a new deal remains unconfirmed and would be surprising if true!

BBC commentator Steve Bowyer, while covering the Czech Republic game against Croatia, declared that was the case whilst dropping an update’.

He was suggesting that having signed his own new deal, manager David Moyes was ready to offer a new contract to the right back as his first piece of new business.

He mentioned it – almost in passing as Coufal picked up a ball during the match – saying “the player is so close to a new Hammers deal.”

In fact – with the finances having been hit so badly by covid – it would e a huge surprise were the Hammers to do such business with the player effectively tied to us until 2025.

His contract runs out in 2023 but as is always the case with our players there is an option attached in the club’s favour and it’s more likely the Hammers will wait until December before extending.


Finally, some perspective on the Rice/Mount friendship

If there has been one story to become entirely bored and irritated about over a year or so it is of the friendship between Mason Mount and Declan Rice.

It has apparently – all by itself – become a major reason why Declan – at one time anyway according to the media – was ready to quit the Irons for Chelsea and the opportunity of playing alongside his mate.

It was always a weird one – a bit like you or me wanting to work for a particular firm because we had a pal who worked for it.

So for once I was really pleased to hear Roy Keane put Ian Wright in his place when the former Arsenal striker started on about it in the England v Scotland game last night.

He declared it was a beautiful story and that you couldn’t underestimate the journey they have had to get where they are.

Keane was having none of it and snapped: “This is top level sport. I don’t know why you are worried about friendships – it’s big boy stuff.”

Well said Roy – always nice to get a bit of perspective .

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London Stadium seat relocations

West Ham Season Ticket Holders who wish to relocate to a new seat at London Stadium for the 2021/22 season will be contacted by the Club between Friday 18 June and Friday 25 June.

Season Ticket Holders who have renewed and expressed and desire to move will receive an email from the Ticket Office with a relocation window, during which they can call the Ticket Office and relocate.

Relocations will be based on time of renewal, subject to availability, with those who renewed earliest being contacted first. Should you not be able to make your scheduled appointment, you are able to call any time after.

With 99% of Season Ticket Holders renewing for the 2021/22 season options for relocation will be limited.

It is important to have your postcode and Client Reference Number to hand and you should have an idea about the location within the stadium you are wishing to relocate to.

Should you choose to relocate to a higher price band, any resulting price increase brought about by relocation will need to be paid by debit or credit card (including Amex) or cash at the time of relocation.

Due to limited seat availability, you will have more chance of relocating if moving in singles or pairs rather than moving in larger groups. Groups wishing to relocate will only be able to select in the window for the group member who renewed at the latest point, so as not to disadvantage others.

Please make sure you have all Client Reference Numbers, names and postcodes within the group to hand.

The relocation phase will be a busy period for the Club, and we would therefore ask that you only contact us once your window has opened. Supporters calling earlier will be politely requested to call back at their designated time.


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England point should be enough

England were unable to find a breakthrough against Scotland side at Wembley on Friday evening, with West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice playing the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw.

Despite the big billing of the derby game, the game boiled down to a scrappy affair with a lacklustre performance from the Three Lions.

England came closest in the early stages of the first half when an unmarked John Stones headed Mason Mount’s corner against the post, while Scotland’s closest chance saw Lyndon Dykes’ hooked effort cleared off the line by Reece James midway through the second.

The Three Lions had also earlier seen Mount fail to convert with a reflex finish at the near post during the first half, whilst England shot-stopper Jordan Pickford did well to save a rising drive from Scotland’s Stephen O’Donnell in the same period.

As the game ticked into injury time, a driving run from Rice saw James’ low cross almost fall kindly for the West Ham man, but a well-timed tackle from Scott McTominay put an end to the move’s momentum.

The point puts England in a good place for qualification to last 16 of the Euro 2020 tournament.