So 13-year-old Freddie Sears has left the club "by mutual consent". Seen all his three goals against Blackburn, Wolves and Burnley. Always liked young Freddie, though he was too lightweight to make it in the PL. Perhaps his best game was skinning Ashley Cole for pace away to Chelsea in our classic relegation season. Sears needs to decide if he's a midfield player or striker, but could still make it in the Championship or league one. He's rumoured to be looking for a signing-on fee of double his pocket money and a win bonus of a packet of Skittles.
Like the new home kit. It's a pleasing nod to the 1923 FA Cup Final side and presumably means we'll be wearing huge black boots instead of orange, green and yellow ones. And we'll lose to Bolton in the FA Cup Final, of course. Will the club suits include large flat caps too? The reformed Dexys Midnight Runners have started wearing them so we could argue they're fashionable...
Interesting story in today's Daily Mail. Apparently West Ham are still owed £1.5 million from Brescia for Allesandro Diamanti. He was sold for £2million (and cost us £6 million!) and has since moved to Bologna. The club is now going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try to get the dosh…
It's always a good bet that any West Ham reject playing against England will look like a world-beater. Substitute Allesandro Diamanti had a great game against Roy Hodgson's men last night, curling in crosses, hitting the post and scoring the wining goal in the penalty shoot-out. Always thought he had too much class to be discarded by the club. Yes, he drifted out of games, but as we saw with a superb free-kick against Birmingham and a brilliant display in the 2-2 home draw worth Arsenal under Zola he had fantastic skill and scored eight goals, four of them penalties, in 2009-10. And he could take corners… Sullivan seemed to take against him simply because we sold James Collins to get him, and then Avram Grant immediately sold him. Had we retained Diamanti I don't think we'd have been relegated. Even as an impact substitute he could have altered games. And now he stands on the verge of the Euro Final…
Nice to see Mido find his level — he's signed for Barnsley. The taker of one of the worst penalties in WHU history, away at Everton, only cost a grand a week, but could probably be outpaced by James Corden. Though another former WHU striker Frank Nouble has signed for Wolves - and at Championship level he's got potential. He never got a run but scored a decent goal at Derby last season and had successful loan spells at several clubs. Big Frank could develop into a decent striker at Wolves.
So farewell Robert Green — he's joining Queens Park Rangers, as predicted. It's sad we couldn't meet his wage demands, though you assume that under Tony Fernandes QPR are now paying top wonga to recruit Cisse, Zamora and co. A strange sideways move for Green though. QPR are a smaller club than West Ham and have a much smaller stadium and fewer fans. Still, I hope Green does well, just as long as they finish below us. And I'd also be grateful if he could personally come round and explain to my 11-year-old daughter Nell why her favourite player has left for a bunch of hooped no-hopers.
We've signed Mohamed Diame, whose contract has expired at Wigan. He'll presumably play the Diop defensive midfielder role and has already had three years of experience in the Premiership. Judging by Wigan's brilliant form at the end of last season he can't be a bad player and he scored three goals. At 25 he's a Senegal international and is yet to reach his best. Hopefully he's on sensible rather than silly wages, but not can't have taken too much to outbid Wigan. Seems like a good statement of intent to me: Allardyce is serious about building a good Premier League side.
We've upped our bid for Grant Holt to £5.5 million according to today's papers. I'm not too sure about Holt. He had a great season last time round but at 31 is he going to suffer "second season syndrome"? A lot of strikers do really well for a promoted team and then fade, the classic examples being Marlon Harewood under Pards, Mike Small under Billy Bonds and Bolton's Michael Ricketts who got an England cap and then disappeared. But having said that Allardyce clearly rates him, Holt's come up the hard way and is hungry for the PL and a cult up in East Anglia. And we have to assume that Carlton won't play in all the games.
Well the fixtures are out and West Ham are at home to Aston Villa on August 18. Not a bad start with a home game and considering Villa's dismal form last season, though Mick (whoops, I mean Paul, Mick used to play for Ipswich) Lambert will surely have them better prepared this time round. That's followed by a trip to Swansea the following week. Generally it's not too bad a set of early fixtures for the Irons, with the first top four fixture against Arsenal in October. And can I be the first to say we're too good to go down? Meanwhile we're after a loan deal for Real Madrid 'B' striker Joselu according to today's Daily Mirror and are also giving a pre-season trial to 35-year-old former Galactico Guti... Zidane and Figo are set to follow.
Now their loans are over, West Ham still own Pablo Barrera, Freddie Piquionne and Freddie Sears. Wonder what their futures hold? The two Freddies will surely be off. Mexican international Barrera was a confidence player but put straight into Grant's relegation side. Might he be the kind of player whom Big Sam could motivate? As we paid £3 million for him it might be worth one final effort trying to revive his West Ham career.
Jussi Jaaskelainen has agreed terms with the Hammers after his contract expired at, surprise surprise, Bolton. Still sad that Robert Green is leaving, but Jaaskelainen's been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership for the last decade and even at 37 he's a good signing who should have a couple of years left in him. Now all we have to do is try to remember how to spell his name.
Thanks to Matt the Anorak of Fire for naming all eight ex-WHU players at Euro 2012. They are Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker with England, Robbie Keane and David Forde (our former reserve keeper) with Ireland, Lars Jacobsen with Denmark, Allessandro Diamanti with Italy and, of course, Jan Laštůvka, the third choice keeper for the bouncing Czechs who spent a year at the Hammers on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, playing once, at Watford in the League Cup, where he was blamed by some for the own goal which cost us a 1-0 defeat. And then there's one manager too, Super Slaven Bilic of Croatia.
"Hammers offer Jarvis a lifeline," reads today's Sun. Initially I thought this might be an offer to Jarvis Cocker to warm up the Common People aided by Jeremy Nicholas. But turns out it's Matt Jarvis. The paper claims we've made a £4 million offer for the Wolves winger. We need a wideman and he's a decent crosser who scored eight goals in a rubbish team (apologies to Nigel's mate and HITH follower Adrian but they were pretty shambolic after McCarthy was sacked) last season. Suspect we may have to raise the price a bit, but I'd be reasonably happy to see him at Upton Park.
So that's where he is. Lars Jacobsen, now of FC Copenhagen, played in Denmark's 1-0 win over Holland last night and was lucky not to give away a penalty for handball at the end. A deadline day signing by Avram Grant, he was an improvement on Spector, but still looked a bit slow and was affected by the mayhem all around him. And tonight we've had Super Slaven Bilic managing Croatia and double agent Robbie Keane playing for Ireland. Wonder how many other ex-West Ham players will turn up at the European Championships?
I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles by West Ham's 1975 FA Cup Final Squad is mentioned in today's Guardian as one of the greatest football songs ever recorded. There's also a fine picture of the lads performing it, with Graham Paddon in a psychedelic shirt, Frank Lampard Senior in a silk number, Kevin Lock in a very bad taste patterned brown jumper and John McDowell in an equally dodgy brown cardigan. Then there's the wide shirt collars from Tommy Taylor, Alan Taylor and Bobby Gould that, if I'm not mistaken, look as if they were purchased from Mr Byrite in Romford. And now ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's Bubbles time… Click on link to read the piece.
A couple of West Ham mentions on The Apprentice final last night. On hearing that Tom had led a charmed life, Lord Sugar quipped "It can't be that charmed, he's a West Ham fan!". At the after-show inquest with Dara O'Briain, Lord Sugar mentioned West Ham's promotion as being good news for Tom and said that winner Ricky Martin, who is also a wrestler, could act as his minder when Spurs visit Upton Park. Tom, you're hired at Upton Park, particularly if you can bring some vintage wine to the stadium bars.
David Gold says Robert Green hasn't agreed new terms and will be leaving the club. It's not clear if he wants to leave for a new challenge or if it's over wages or because Big Sam prefers Bolton's Jussi Jaaskelainen, but a sad moment for WHU fans. I'll never forget his performance at the Emirates when we won 1-0 and I gave him ten out of ten in the Observer's fans' verdict section, the only time I've ever given a player the perfect ten. Nor his performance at Old Trafford during the Great Escape, a stunning save against Wigan that helped keep us up at the end of Zola's last season and a great season when we stayed tenth every week under Curbs. There's been the occasional blooper during his six years too, but overall he's been a fantastic servant to West Ham. Thank you for the saves, Robert.
Nice response from the club to Barry Hearn, who, having thrown every legal obstacle he could at WHU's Olympic Stadium bid, then announced that Leyton Orient would consider groundsharing at the stadium with West Ham. The club's not very diplomatic statement reads: "West Ham United has not held talks with Leyton Orient in respect of ground sharing and nor is it our intention to do so. We do not wish to comment on recent statements made by Barry Hearn not least because we can't keep up with his ever-changing position. They continue, however, to provide us with a constant source of amusement." What's also interesting about this story is that Hearn expressed interest after it emerged that West Ham did have a scheme for retractable seats over the athletics track. If this is the case then the stadium bid becomes much more viable. Having sampled a little bit of Wembley a lot of fans might be won over by playing in a similar stadium every fortnight.