Tag Archive: West Ham United F.C.

By Laurie Fitzgerald,

Tomorrow, the richest game in world football takes place as Blackpool and West Ham United prepare to battle it out for an instant return back to the biggest league on the planet.

A packed Wembley stadium will host the 2012 Championship play-off final, and while the Hammers start off as favourites to get back into the Premier League, the Seasiders‘ attacking intent means there is every chance of a tangerine party.

Both teams had rather different passages to the final; West Ham eased past Cardiff 5-0 on aggregate, while Blackpool had to resist a stirring Birmingham fightback to edge the Blues 3-2 over two hard-fought legs and earn a crack at reaching the big time again.

Now they are just 90 minutes away, and going into the match there is certainly a contrast between the levels of pressure that each manager will face.     Continue reading


By Laurie Fitzgerald

The race for automatic promotion to the Premier League took another unexpected twist at the weekend as the race for the top two places in the Championship continues to hot up.

Reading’s win over fellow promotion candidates Southampton means they currently have one foot in the top-flight after a stunning run of 14 wins and a draw in their last 16 league games.

But while the Saints still held a six-point gap and a healthy advantage in goal difference over third-placed West Ham, the Hammers’ 6-0 thumping of Brighton at the weekend means the gap is now three points and the goal difference is now also +3 in favour of Southampton.

Having spent the whole season in the automatic places, Saints boss Nigel Adkins will be reminding his players over the coming days that this is the part of the campaign that really matters.     Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez
Yesterday Sam Allardyce‘s West Ham United suffered a home defeat to promotion rivals Reading to put them 4 points off Reading and 6 points off current leaders Southampton.

Luckily for the Hammers leaders Southamptonalso lost otherwise the gap would have been even greater.
Despite having a big lead at the summit of the table just a few weeks ago some poor form and good results for their rivals have seen them slip to 3rd and also seen the fans get on the managers back for the sides style of Football.

Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

This weekend marks one of the most traditional and best-loved moments in the English football calendar – the FA Cup Third Round.

A set of fixtures that can throw up many David vs. Goliath battles as the Premier League and Championship sides enter the competition.

This year sees some intriguing match-ups, with the fierce rivalry between United and City set to re-ignite in the Manchester derby.

While non-league Tamworth travel to Everton and League Two outfit Macclesfield take on top-flight strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

But there are some fascinating line-ups throughout the draw, in particularly at Hillsborough tomorrow afternoon where two teams well on course for automatic promotion from their respective divisions face one another Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez

As regular readers will know both myself and Laurie picked a side to follow in the Carling Cup from the first round, if they lost we would follow the team that beat them until they lost and so on.

 I pickedAldershotTowndue to the Hampshire side having the glamour tie of the round away at West Ham United and also because I have a decent knowledge of the club.

Of course they won the game at Upton Park 2-1 thanks to goals from Luke Guttridge and Danny Hylton.

Next was a home tie against League One side Carlisle United where the Shots triumphed 2-0 thanks to a own goal and a Michael Rankine strike.

This win put Aldershot into the third round where a potentially lucrative tie against a big side was possible, the Shots drew League One sideRochdaleat home.

Maybe not the tie the club would of hoped for but it presented a great opportunity to progress to round 4, Aldershot were 2-1 victors another Carling Cup goal for Michael Rankine was followed by another Carling Cup winner from Danny Hylton.

Aldershot were then drawn in this huge glamour tie against Premier League  ChampionsManchesterUnited however since the draw things have taken a turn for the worse for Dean Holdsworths men.

Since the draw the club had suffered defeat for five fixtures on the bounce in all competitions losing out againstCrawley, Accrington Stanley, Oxford United, Macclesfield and Barnet before they finally put the bad run to an end with an emphatic 5-2 victory away at Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.

Manager Dean Holdsworth has given himself a selection headache ahead of probably the biggest tie inAldershot’s history as he rested many first team players for the trip to Dagenham with United in mind and his side produced the best performance they have given in the past month or so.

Amongst the rested were top goal scorer and seemingly star man at the moment Danny Hylton and Captain Ben Herd.

Whilst The Shots had a joyful weekend picking up their first points since September United had a torrid one, a 6-1 defeat at home to not only their biggest rivals in terms of location but also in terms of for honours this season.

It was thought that Manager Sir Alex Ferguson would field a mixture of fringe and youth players at Aldershot’s EBB Stadium similar to the side they fielded in the previous round atElland RoadagainstLeeds.

However after the embarrassment they suffered at the hands of their “noisy neighbours” I now thinkFergusonwill field a somewhat stronger side to shake off the memory of the defeat and also to bring some of his stars down to earth.

Realistically I do not give Aldershot a chance of progressing to the next round but they can make it difficult for their illustrious opponents, the ground will be pack with a hostile atmosphere that I cannot wait to be part of, the players will scrap for every ball and aim to impress, the game is being shown live on Sky Sports and its also a chance for every player to put himself in the shop window and get noticed by other sides.

If I were to put money on this game I would put money on a 3-1 win for the Premier League side, as I said I don’t think it will be easy but I also cannot see it being the tightest of games.

What are your thoughts? Have Aldershot got a chance? Has Holdsworth given himself a selection headache? What is your result prediction leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

If you are on Twitter please follow us @sfts1. I will aim to tweet about all the major incident live during the game.

By Tony Alvarez

Today it was announced that West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Games has been left in tatters.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) had chosen West Ham as their preferred tenants back in February, but an ongoing legal battle involvingLondonrivals Tottenham and Leyton Orient has forced the OPLC to scrap the deal.

It was feared that the legal challenges made by Spurs and Orient would damage the legacy and reputation of the games and, eventually, leave the Olympic Stadium empty for years meaning no money being made back against the astronomical build costs.

  The Olympic Stadium will remain in public ownership, with all potential tenants having too bid again for the right to rent the stadium at a cost of a suspected amount of £2 million a year, however it is not yet known if the price will remain the same should a club agree a 10 year rental for instance.

West Ham have confirmed that they will be interested in renting the stadium which will now see the OPLC foot the bill for reducing the stadium from 80,000 seater stadium to a 60,000 seater but however would mean that the running track would remain in the stadium almost guaranteeing a loss of atmosphere and a reduced quality of view for the spectators.

Leyton Orient who were the biggest opposition to West Ham’s bid for the stadium along with Tottenham Hotspur have released a statement via their chairman Barry Hearn saying “It is a fabulous day for Leyton Orient” after confirming Orient would rival West Ham for tenancy he added “West Ham are not a shoo-in, that’s very good because they will be competing with a host of other people who have claims on and plans for the Olympic Stadium…. We have already thrown our hand into the ring and we are going to be part of the bidding process”

The title of the article is could this be a blessing in disguise because I know many West Ham fans were opposed to this, one of the most famous things about Upton Park is the famous atmosphere especially “forever blowing bubbles” which could be lost in the Olympic stadium as the sound would have to travel over the running track to get onto the pitch.

I am not sure who the ideal tenant would be for Olympic park Orient with all due respect will not fill the ground, West Ham may or may not sell the ground out every week but would certainly lose the atmosphere and the 12th man effect and the other original suitors however its now believed they wont re-enter the race Tottenham would have to move way out of the area the team is based in order to occupy stadium.

What are your thoughts? Would a rental agreement be the best move for West Ham United? Would the atmosphere created really be lost due to the running track? As Hammers fans would you welcome a move to OP? Who do you think the rightful tenants should be? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

Also if you are on Twitter please follow us @sfts1

By Tony Alvarez

Last season myself and Laurie both picked a side from the FA
cup onwards and followed them throughout the tournament when they lost we
followed the team who beat them, this continued all the way through to the
final. This year we are doing the same with the Carling Cup starting with my
selection Aldershot Town.

This is the David and Goliath of the League Cup, Aldershot
Town are in their 3rd year back in the Football League, coming off
the back of an average season with a good end after the appointment of Dean

In contrast West Ham United had a nightmare season getting
relegated from the Premier League, in the summer they had somewhat of a rebuild
including new manager in Sam Allardyce, as well as keeping hold of the likes England
internationals Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Robert Green.

Despite the key signings and keeping hold of star players
West Ham slumped to an opening day defeat in the Championship at home to
promotion rivalsCardiffCity.

Aldershot had a better start to the new campaign with a 2-1
win away at Bradford with goals from striker Danny Hylton and an own goal from
Bradford’s Robbie Threlfall.

This fixture was originally scheduled for 15 days ago however due to riots the game was postponed to today and the fortunes of both clubs have changed dramatically since the original date set for the match.

However since the opening day of the season fortunes have changed massively for both clubs,Aldershothave failed to find the back of the net and have lost three games in a row.

West Ham since their defeat to Cardiff the Hammers have found their feet in the Championship, recording two wins away from home before being held at home by fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds United.

Allardyce is still looking for his first victory at Upton Park following his summer appointment and will not want to get the home support on his back so will go with a strong side to keep the fans on side.

Players in the Aldershot camp they will see this
as a major chance to get their name in lights, it‘s a
chance to make a name for themselves and with the transfer window still open
maybe put themselves in the shop window.

Aldershotmanager Dean Holdsworth likes to deploy a 4-2-3-1
formation which gives the side good width whilst being able to give good
support to both the defence and the attack.

Aldershot don’t currently have any star names for the fans
that are not familiar with the Football Leagues, if you happen to watch the game
look out for the earlier mentioned Daniel Hylton who can play any where across
the front line, impressive left back Anthony Straker who represented England at
under 18 level and England C international Alex Rodman who can also play across
the front line.

I doubt West Ham’s squad need much introduction but should
you be unaware they have many players of Premier League quality such as Mark
Noble, Matthew Taylor and Kevin Nolan to name just a few.

Although many people will write them off you cannot count
Aldershot out they are a good unit who work for each other and that will always
give them a chance. Of course West Ham will be favourites with the bookies and
rightly so but I do not expect a mauling.

For me the smart money is on a 3-0 or 3-1 home win, a morale
boosting win for West Ham and Aldershot can go back to Hampshire with their
heads held high.

What are your thoughts? Will West Ham completely dominate the shots? Who are the players to watch out for in this tie in your opinion? What is your score prediction? Leave
a comment and let us know your thoughts

If you have Twitter
please follow us on @sfts1

By Laurie Fitzgerald

There have been plenty of twists and turns in the transfer market this summer, many of which were anticipated during a pre-season without the distractions of a World Cup or European Championship.

But while the sagas of Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Tevez, Luka Modric and co. continue to grab the footballing headlines, one of the biggest surprises has been a transfer saga that hasn’t happened.

When West Ham United suffered the ignominy of relegation from the Premier League in May, there was one thing that football fans across the country would’ve guaranteed as a consequence of this – Scott Parker would leave.

Despite a campaign of struggle, the former Chelsea, Newcastle and Charlton midfielder won widespread acclaim for his performances in trying to inspire a side devoid of any from elsewhere within the squad.

Parker was nominated for PFA Player of the Year, and also won the Football Writer’s Player of the Year to demonstrate the tireless performances that he put in at the heart of the West Ham team.

It wasn’t just at club level where he was being rewarded; Fabio Capello gave him a starting place alongside Jack Wilshere in the England midfield in their Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in March, and helped the three lions to a 2-0 win at the Millennium Stadium.

So bearing all this in mind, it was surely a formality that Parker would not feature for Sam Allardyce’s side during their fight to get out of the Championship. Wasn’t it?

As it turns out, not quite; the problem for Parker isn’t to do with his quality, but more to do with his age. He’s just turned 31, and is without doubt West Ham’s most prized possession, and is believed to be valued in the region of £8-10 million.

He’s been linked with moves to Tottenham, Stoke and Chelsea, but they’ve all made moves for younger players to fill their holding midfield role.

Spurs have made a concerted effort to acquire Lassana Diarra (26) from Real Madrid, Stoke have tried to sign Wilson Palacios (27) and Chelsea purchased Oriol Romeu (19) from Barcelona after reportedly considering a loan move for their former player.

But with Parker having proved it in the Premier League more than the aforementioned trio put together, why are clubs avoiding him when they’re in the market for a player of his type?

It’s probably best summed up by Spurs manager Harry Redknapp when he was asked in July about a potential move for Parker.

Redknapp said, “If you take into account the fee of around £8 million, signing-on fees and wages, you’re talking about a £30 million deal.

“There is no way the club would sanction a deal for a 30-year-old who would have no resale value at the end of his contract.”

So it looks like ageism coupled with economics is going to cost Parker the best opportunity of getting into contention to make England’s squad for Euro 2012 next summer (providing we qualify of course.) 

Who knows, Capello might bear in mind what the central midfielder is capable of, knowing that when he needs his players to stand up in the heat of the battle he’s the one player whose character and commitment can be counted upon.

But it will be cruel if Scott Parker is denied potentially one last crack at performing at a major tournament through no fault of his own.

So what do you think? Can you understand why clubs haven’t financed a deal for Parker? Or are they missing a trick in passing by the 31 year-old? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, due to the outbreak of violence in London and the rest of the country over the last few days, there have rightly been postponements within the football programme.

These include the two Carling Cup games that we have previewed – West Ham vs. Aldershot and Crystal Palace vs. Crawley Town. Because of this, the articles will be re-scheduled for when the games will now take place, which will be confirmed at a later date. Articles on SFTS will continue from tomorrow.

Many thanks for your understanding.

By Tony Alvarez & Laurie Fitzgerald

It’s been a summer of restlessness for many football fans, with no World Cup or European Championships to fill the void, and many of us having to spend more time with our loved ones!

But fear not, because on Saturday the football season is officially back underway as the three divisions of the Football League kick-off.

Over the next few days, the SFTS lads are going to be previewing the Npower Championship, League One & League Two. Today, we focus on the Championship:

Which signings have impressed you this summer?

Tony: Matthew Mills has been the stand out signing for me, I saw quite a bit of him at Reading last year and am shocked he is not a Premier League player. Kevin Nolan is obviously an impressive signing and has always worked well under Allardyce, while Craig Mackail Smith was a great buy for Poyet I’m shocked he’s not plying his trade in an already established side with genuine promotion ambitions ( no disrespect to Brighton).

Laurie: I think Mills could be the crucial piece of a heavily-invested jigsaw for Leicester, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better centre-half outside the Premier League. Mackail-Smith is definitely the coup of the summer, while Paul Jewell may have found a cracking strikeforce in Michael Chopra and Nathan Ellington.

Who will be the favourites for automatic promotion?

Tony: It is clear from the above statement that Leicester are without a doubt in my mind the CLEAR favourites for the title and it will be a travesty if they don’t come up. According to the bookies, West Ham have the same odds as Leicester for coming up but i think Leicester have a better chance because they will not have the culture shock of coming down a division. I think West Ham will come second but they won’t have things all their own way as some fans and pundits seem to think.

Laurie: Leicester would only be able to justify automatic promotion come May with their outlay this summer. The test for Sven Goran Eriksson is making sure the new arrivals gel, but with his experience in management there shouldn’t be any worries regarding this. West Ham are the other standout team, but the only thing that may work against them is that they haven’t strengthened a defence that was poor last season, with both Upson and Gabbidon going. But they have a shrewd operator in Sam Allardyce.

Who could be this season’s dark horses?

Tony: Southampton could cause some shocks if people think “they have just come up they will just be looking to survive” then surprises will be in store. They won’t challenge for the title, but they are easily capable of a mid-placed finish if not better. I’m tipping them to do the best out of the promoted sides – Peterborough still leak goals and have lost their 2 main goal threats from the last time they were in this division and Brighton for me have moved to a nw ground at the wrong time, it always takes time to settle in at a new ground and with them being new to the division they will have to settle in to that too which could prove tricky.

Laurie: Brighton are definite dark horses. A new stadium, an ambitious owner and manager, and a vibrant attacking outfit that is only strengthened by the additions of Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley. Securing the loan deal of Tresor Lua Lua is another big boost.

Who could struggle?

Tony: Doncaster are favourites for relegation every year, they are written off and every year they surprise us. I don’t think they have the quality and would tip them to go down but who knows their spirit could see them through.

Laurie: I worry about Watford, who have lost key players in Buckley and Danny Graham as well as their manager Sean Dyche, although bringing in Chris Iwelumo could be a smart deal. Coventry also struggled at the back-end of last season, and could face a difficult campaign this time around.

Who could be the player of the season?

Tony: Signing of the season is always tough to call it generally goes to a player who can find the net. If a team surprises and they have a regular scorer they will get it. If Carlton Cole adjusts to life in the Championship and doesn’t sulk my moneys on him. However, if Ipswich have a good season then I can see someone like Chopra getting it.

Laurie: Kevin Nolan got Championship Player of the Year for Newcastle 12 months ago, and if he has a similar effect with the Hammers, then his leadership abilities and goal-scoring exploits from midfield should make him a serious contender once again.

Which young player should we look out for?

Tony: I am not sure if he comes under a Young player but i think Jack Collison is an outstanding player and if injuries are kept to a minimum he could be the standout player in the whole division, I don’t think he would win player of the year because that goes to goal scorers usually but he could be a big driving force in the division.

Laurie: Last year Scott Sinclair was outstanding for Swansea as he finally began to realise his potential. This year I think Jack Cork could have a similar effect for Southampton. Already an England U-21 international, Cork will play a pivotal role for the Saints in their first season back in the Championship.

Tony’s predicted final table:

1. Leicester
2. West Ham
3. Birmingham
4. Forest
5. Cardiff
6. Hull
7. Reading
8. Ipswich
9. Leeds
10. Burnley
11. Bristol City
12. Middlesboro’
13. Blackpool
14. Southampton
15. Pompy
16. Millwall
17. Brighton
18. Derby
19. Watford
20. Coventry
21. Crystal Palace
22. Peterborough
23. Doncaster
24. Barnsley


Laurie’s predicted final table

1. Leicester
2. West Ham
3. Reading
4. Ipswich
5. Nottingham Forest
6. Leeds
7. Millwall
8. Brighton
9. Cardiff
10. Blackpool
11. Bristol City
12. Middlesboro’
13. Birmingham
14. Southampton
15. Portsmouth
16. Burnley
17. Hull
18. Doncaster
19. Barnsley
20. Derby
21. Watford
22. Coventry 
23. Crystal Palace
24. Peterbrough

So what do you think? Will your team fare well this season? Let us know your thoughts.

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