Friday, June 23

If the kits are United

The new 2017-18 West Ham home kit is a pretty decent traditional shirt. Personally I prefer the all-blue sleeves with claret body of last season rather than a splash of light blue on the shoulder, but we can live with this. There's also a little splash of blue on the collar which makes it look a little as if our lads have mistakenly put a tee-shirt on under their shirt, but never mind. 

What's also encouraging is that Andy Carroll appears to have made the photo-shoot without getting injured slipping over on a West Ham United coaster or de-luxe bathroom gift set. Could this be the season he finally makes it beyond September? Though worse news for Andy is that according to my Guardian the man-bun is going out of fashion…

Wednesday, June 21

So farewell Havard

The departure of Havard Nordtveit gets five lines in today's Guardian. The Norway midfielder has signed for Hoffenheim for an undisclosed fee. Havard was mainly played as an emergency right-back and never looked comfortable there, while Obiang and Kouyate were much better options in midfield. 

Nordtveit actually had a decent game in the must-win game against Swansea when he was played in his proper midfield position, but he was always an odd signing. A squad player when what WHU needed was quality. Now Bilic is clearing out the dead Norwegian wood. Nordtveit seemed to be a good pro and he came into a chaotic side, but he was one of the players we needed to sell to free up wages for a (hopefully) quality signing.

Tuesday, June 20

How West Ham made it into Doctor Who's Planet of the Ood…

Thanks to my fellow season ticket holder Michael the (Possible) Whovian and pal Charlie Ross for a great joint birthday bash on Saturday that included a host of Doctor Who luminaries. This resulted in a world exclusive revelation about the only-ever mention of West Ham in Doctor Who.

In Planet of the Ood David Tennant's Doctor asks Catherine Tate's Donna where she learned to whistle like that. Donna replies, "up West Ham!" As the writer of Planet of the Ood Keith Temple was present at the party I was able to ask him directly how this came about. 

Temple revealed that he didn't actually write this line, it was added in by script editor Lindsey Alford. Could Ms Alford be a Hammers fan? Told that this was the only ever mention of the Irons in Doctor Who Andrew laughed and said his home-town team of Newcastle have never got any mentions at all. The only other team to be mentioned in Doctor Who is Charlton Athletic, who got a name-check from Sophie Aldred's Ace in 1988's Silver Nemesis. Not a lot of people know that.

Monday, June 19

Reece Oxford off to Borussia on loan

Reece Oxford has signed for a season-long loan at Borussia Munchengladbach. It will be good experience for him, though I'm still not sure what Slaven's policy with Reece is. It seemed that we sold James Tomkins to give Oxford more games last season, only to then loan Oxford to Reading as West Ham struggled at the back and bought Jose Fonte. If the 18-year-old really is a future England and West Ham captain, as some claim, then shouldn't he be getting some experience in with games for West Ham? If you're good enough you're old enough and all that. Or has Bilic decided he might not make it with WHU after all?

Saturday, June 17

Traore set to join the Hammers?

The Evening Standard claims that West Ham are close to signing Middlesbrough's Spanish winger Adama Traore. He certainly has pace and usually caused problems when he came on, often as a sub, for Boro last season, although their then gaffer Karanka never seemed to trust him to start. At 21 Adama's clearly a player of potential, though he would have to provide more end result to his game. 

More worrying is that he has played for two teams in succession that have been relegated, in Aston Villa and Boro, though he started out with Barcelona. Having already got Feghouli and Snodgrass, West Ham don't need another mid-list winger — we have to hope that Traore is a potential top talent that Bilic can get the best from.

Thursday, June 15

Chim chim Giroud?

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud is the latest striker West Ham have been linked with. He might not have great pace, but I've always rated the Gunners striker who invariably scores great goals again West Ham (but then again most players score against us). 

There's a chance he might join WHU if Arsenal signed another striker, as he's not getting full games and wants to stay in London, though there would presumably be a lot of other suitors. Giroud is 30, so if he was added to the possible signing of 30-year-old Joe Hart and 32-year-old Zabaleta, along with 33-year-old Jose Fonte, we'd have a pretty old team. And it could be a case of Sullivan and co mentioning big names to impress the fans, as per last summer.

But Giroud is great in the air and a proven international striker for France (27 goals in 64 games). An Andy Carroll who keeps fit. He's scored 69 goals in 164 games for Arsenal (including that scorpion kick) which is a very respectable rate, and he'd be an upgrade on what we have.

Wednesday, June 14

Easy opener at Man United…

So the fixtures are out and West Ham kick off with an away future at Old Trafford followed by another away trip to Newcastle. Two pretty difficult matches early on, complicated by the fact that the Southampton home game on August 19 will have to be rescheduled as the London Stadium will be transitioning from athletics into football mode. At least we get to see the new navy blue away kit early doors. So the first home game will be against Huddersfield Town on September 9. Up against a team of newly-promoted, over-achieving, plucky underdogs bought for the price of Andy Carroll's plantar fascia. What could possibly go wrong?