Friday, December 2

Keep the World Cup statue at Upton Park

There's a very worthwhile campaign to have the Moore, Hurst and Peters World Cup statue listed by Historic England and kept at Upton Park. Came across Bike For Boleyn and several local councillors campaigning by the statue while signing Goodbye to Boleyn at the Newham Bookshop last week. To sign the Save Our Statue petition click on the link here. Bike From Boleyn are also having having a Christmas Social at the West Ham United Supporters Club in Castle Street from 6-7pm on Dec 1 and a big bike ride to the Everton match on April 22. Check out their Facebook page for details.

Thursday, December 1

Concentrating on the League…

Ken Lucas, Pete, Fraser and Matt
Manchester United 4 West Ham 1 (EFL Cup)

The best part of the evening is the pre-match drinks to celebrate the launch of Goodbye to Boleyn upstairs at the Freemasons Arms. Selected WHU fans are present and we're graced by the presence of Ken Lucas, the owner of Ken's Cafe, along with his son and grandsons. Speech over, it's on to the live match on Sky.

United's incisive football causes West Ham instant problems and the Reds take the lead after two minutes as Rooney finds Mkhitaryan whose clever back heel plays in Ibrahimovic. The big Swede skips past the falling Antionio and prods past Adrian, getting clattered in the process. 

The West Ham keeper has to make a fine double stop, then tips away Rooney's free kick and stops a Martial shot. But slowly West Ham get back into it and on 35 minutes Obiang finds Payet on the left. Dimitri's shot is parried by De Gea straight to Fletcher, who scores his first Hammers goal. "Ashley Fletcher he left 'cos you're shit!" chant the loud Hammers contingent.

Worryingly Cresswell has to go off injured at half-time and West Ham again concede an early goal after the break. Valencia back heels to Mkhitaryan on the left and his pull back is dispatched by the unmarked Martial as the West Ham defence ballwatches. It's 3-1 after 62 minutes as Ibrahimovic dissects the West Ham defence with a superb pass to find Valencia who crosses for Martial, again unmarked, to stroke home. 

West Ham effectively give up on the game by taking off Payet as Feghouli fires over when he should score and sub Zaza hits a shot into touch. Adrian keeps the score down with a great save from Ibrahimovic. The exiled Schweinsteiger comes on gets a big cheer from the home fans and shoots just wide before Herrera sets up Ibrahimovic for the fourth with the last kick of the game.

United have played really well, but it's a deeply disappointing second half from West Ham. We've certainly missed the rested Mark Noble in midfield. Admittedly Sunday's point at  Old Trafford is more use than a cup run in our position, but had West Ham progressed we'd have played Hull in the semi-final. So we'll just have to win the FA Cup now…

Wednesday, November 30

Goodbye to the East Stand

Had a look at the Boleyn Ground while signing at the Newham Bookshop on Saturday. The ground is still intact but the roof of the East Stand has gone. Just wish they'd get it over with quickly now. RIP Upton Park.

Tuesday, November 29

Sakho out for four weeks

You wait all season for a West Ham striker to score a goal and then he's out for four weeks with a hamstring injury. Really bad news to hear of Diafra Sakho's injury, though not uncommon with players who have been out for a long time. Meanwhile the Sun reports that the club are speaking to Simone Zaza's advisers about removing the compulsory buy-out clause in his contract. It would certainly take the pressure off both player and club if it could be removed — and why was it included in the first place? Seems like we'll be needing a combination of Ayew, Zaza and Fletcher over December and we have to hope Simone becomes a different player should he eventually score and regain his confidence. 

Sunday, November 27

Great point for Hammers at Old Trafford

Manchester United 1 West Ham United 1

A great point at Old Trafford and as a bonus Jose Mourinho was sent off again by referee Jonathan Moss. The same ref sent Mourinho off when Chelsea lost 2-1 at Upton Park last season and Jose was taunted in the stand by royal supporter Danny Dyer. 

Finally a West Ham forward has scored this season with Diafra Sakho diving to head home Payet's free kick after two minutes. Collins lost Ibrahimovic for the equaliser, but listening to the match on Radio London it was a well-deserved draw and our fans were loud throughout — particularly the instruction to "f••k off Mourinho!" 

Darren Randolph had to make several fine saves most notably from Rashford and Lingard, but West Ham could have won it late on when Antonio brke fro his own area and sub Ashley Fletcher forced a fine save from De Gea. Sounds like Antonio had a great game on the right and Ogbonna and Kouyate did really well too. This result could be a significant psychological boost after the defeat at Tottenham as it's the first time this season WHU have taken a point off one of the top six. And for once I'm looking forward to watching Match of the Day.

Brought to book in Newham

Thanks to everyone who came to the Newham Bookshop signing yesterday, including loyal WHU fans from Grays and South Woodham Ferrrers. Very honoured to see Goodbye to Boleyn next to Alan Bennett on Vivian' s top table. One writer chronicles a series of eccentric characters with damaged lives and thwarted expectations while the other is Alan Bennett.

Friday, November 25

Bilic deserves time to turn West Ham around

Big piece in the Daily Telegraph this week claiming that the position of Slaven Bilic is under threat. It's fair to say that Sullivan and Gold will be jumpy if they think their new stadium might be seeing Championship football next season. Bilic has certainly made mistakes this season, including bringing on Nordtveit for Payet against Spurs, trying to convert Antonio into a right back and bringing on Andy Carroll in a midweek Europa League tie at Astra, which led to Andy's long-term injury. 

The transfer signings have also been very poor, though it's possible David Sullivan was behind some of the purchases. Gokhan Tore was certainly a Bilic signing as Slaven knew him from Besiktas, while the manager must have had a say in most of the other signings. Far too many squad players were purchased for a Europa League campaign that never materialised.

But having said that, Slaven has a lot of credit in the bank from last season. He's still the same man who seemed to really get what managing West Ham was all about, who recognised the West Ham way and spoke of fantasy and dreams after the FA Cup win against Liverpool. If he is to blame for the current signings then he is also to be praised for the players who came in last season such as Payet, Ogbonna, Antonio and Lanzini. Under Slaven we won at Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City and Everton for the first time in decades. We finished seventh and should have been at least sixth and maybe higher if the refs had been kinder. 

There's been bad luck with injuries to Cresswell, Sakho, Ayew and Carroll and a team trying to adapt to a vast new stadium. Bilic has shown tactical flexibility to try and turn the season round; playing three men at the back with wing-backs and Obiang in midfield has improved results, with only two losses in the last seven matches. We were minutes away from a result at Spurs. It's not a crisis yet, though it might be if West Ham fail to beat Burnley and Hull City in home matches in December.

There aren't a lot of alternatives either. Roberto Mancini is a good manager, but Eddie Howe and Roberto Matinez are not going to leave their clubs mid-season. And the other manager who is an expert at keeping clubs up and is available right now is, erm, Big Sam Allardyce.

Bilic surely deserves a chance to salvage the season and rectify some of the summer's mistakes in the transfer window.