WHO Poll
Q: 2023/24 Hopes & aspirations for this season
a. As Champions of Europe there's no reason we shouldn't be pushing for a top 7 spot & a run in the Cups
21%
  
b. Last season was a trophy winning one and there's only one way to go after that, I expect a dull mid table bore fest of a season
15%
  
c. Buy some f***ing players or we're in a battle to stay up & that's as good as it gets
27%
  
d. Moyes out
35%
  
e. New season you say, woohoo time to get the new kit and wear it it to the pub for all the big games, the wags down there call me Mr West Ham
2%
  



Alan 2:01 Tue Apr 25
Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
BBC

Manchester United are ramping up their efforts to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane this summer, with the 29-year-old England captain expected to not sign a new contract with his boyhood club. (The Telegraph)

United will increase Kane's current £200,000-a-week contract at Spurs to £300,000 if he moves to Old Trafford this summer, with the club also trying to tie down fellow England forward Marcus Rashford, 25, to new terms by also offering a £300,000-a-week deal. (Sun)

Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha has been offered a new contract worth £200,000 a week by the Eagles. The 30-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, attracting interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris St-Germain. (Guardian)

AC Milan have put a price tag of £35m on Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana, with Chelsea reported to be targeting the 27-year-old. (Goal)

Manchester United have joined Chelsea in monitoring Brazil forward Neymar, with the 31-year-old expected to leave Paris St-Germain this summer. (Foot Mercato - in French)

Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 33, is Barcelona's top target for a Nou Camp return this summer to provide back-up for Poland's Robert Lewandowski. (Sky Sports)

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, 31, is keen on joining Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of the season - but the Spanish club are not interested in signing the Brazil international. (Marca)

Brighton midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, 24, will leave the Seagulls this summer but plans to stay in the Premier League. Liverpool lead the chase for the Argentina World Cup winner, but Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle have also registered interest. (90 Min)

Borussia Dortmund are keeping tabs on 23-year-old Chelsea and England midfielder Conor Gallagher who is valued at around 50m euros (£44m). (Sky Sports Germany)

Spain midfielder Gavi, 18, has reassured Barcelona he has no plans to leave the Nou Camp this summer, despite not yet agreeing a new contract and being watched by a number of clubs across Europe, including Chelsea. (Sport)

Manchester City will compete with Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham to sign South Korea centre-back Kim Min-jae, 26, from Napoli for £40m. (Sun)

Spain defender Aymeric Laporte, 28, is unhappy at Manchester City after struggling for regular starts and wants to join Barcelona. (Relevo - in Spanish)

Newcastle United are planning to bring Barcelona's former Leeds United winger Raphinha back to the Premier League. The 27-year-old Brazil international could be joined at St James' Park by Turkey defender Arda Guler, 18, and his midfield team-mate Ferdi Kadioglu, 23, from Fenerbahce. (Mirror)

Aston Villa are keen on signing Argentina midfielder Giovani lo Celso, 27, who is on loan at Villarreal from Tottenham and played under Villa boss Unai Emery at the Spanish club. (Daily Mail)

Brighton have been joined by Aston Villa in scouting Valencia's Portuguese midfielder Andre Almeida, 22. (Daily Mail)

Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund are among the clubs monitoring the situation of Leeds' Dutch winger Crysencio Summerville, 21. (Football Insider)

Chelsea are close to finalising the signing of Portuguese winger Diego Moreira, 18, from Benfica. (90min)

Newcastle and Manchester United scouts were watching Slovenia forward Benjamin Sesko, 19, play for Red Bull Salzburg at the weekend. (90min)

Liverpool and Chelsea have joined Manchester City in the race to sign 16-year-old Croatian centre-back Luka Vuskovic from Hajduk Split. (Daily Mail)

Arsenal are set to revive their interest in Wolves' Portugal forward Pedro Neto, 23. (TeamTalk)




Sky Paper Talk

DAILY TELEGRAPH

Manchester United have started to make attempts to find out what it will take to sign Harry Kane with expectation increasing that the striker will not sign a new Tottenham contract this summer.

Mauricio Pochettino is in final negotiations with Chelsea to become the club's permanent head coach with the Argentine set to be followed into Stamford Bridge by his four-man brains trust.

Steve Cooper ordered Jonjo Shelvey to stay at home last weekend after the Nottingham Forest midfielder's furious reaction to being named as a substitute.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is to host next season's European rugby finals.

Mens' tennis is planning to emulate the PGA Tour by bringing in a new payment structure, with bands of guaranteed income for the top 250 or 300 players in the world.

Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to land the Chelsea job this week.

Alejandro Garnacho could miss Manchester United's FA Cup final to play in the U20 World Cup for Argentina.

Manchester United are keeping tabs on Neymar, French reports say.

Bruno Fernandes' wife Ana Pinho has posted a picture of the Portuguese star with a protective boot and crutches.

Manchester City will battle Premier League rivals to sign £40m Napoli centre-back Min-Jae Kim - dubbed 'The Monster'.

Newcastle are reportedly plotting a move for Barcelona star Raphinha as they target "three or four" major transfer signings.

DAILY MAIL

Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle are chasing 16-year-old Croatian wonderkid Luka Vuskovic.

171 Juventus supporters have been banned by Italian police after an investigation into the racist abuse directed at Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku during the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg earlier this month.

Over 30 representatives from different clubs went to Blackburn Rovers' 1-1 draw with Coventry City last week - and many had eyes on one man, Adam Wharton.

Liverpool scout Paul Goldrick, who was in the stands on Friday, has been a regular at Inter Milan games this season reporting on Nicolo Barella.

Leeds United, who have looked at a number of Barcelona fringe players, may boost Barca's finances slightly as they are keen on 19-year-old Spain youth international Ilias Akhomach.

Newcastle have joined the queue for Celta Vigo prospect Gabri Veiga.

Aston Villa are keeping a watchful eye on Giovani Lo Celso's performances at Villarreal.

Crystal Palace had a delegation in Brazil last week to discuss a potential move for Flamengo midfielder Matheus Franca.

Blackpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Portsmouth are keeping an eye on Larne striker Lee Bonis.

Manchester United scout Tommy Moller Neilsen ran the rule over 17-year-old Djurgardens midfielder Lucas Bergvall on Sunday during his side's win over Gothenburg.

DAILY MIRROR

Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst has admitted he felt sorry for Solly March after the Brighton winger missed from the spot following his 'kiss of death' in the FA Cup semi-final shoot-out.

THE ATHLETIC

The FA Cup final between Manchester City and Manchester United is set for an earlier kick-off time, with the Football Association and the Met Police due to hold talks this week.

Southampton academy director Matt Hale will leave at the end of the season.

FIFA has received four expressions of interest from prospective host nations for the 2027 Women's World Cup - Brazil, South Africa, a joint bid from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and a joint bid from the United States and Mexico.

Caglar Soyuncu is expected to sign a pre-contract agreement to join Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

THE GUARDIAN

Wilfried Zaha is weighing up a new four-year contract offer worth more than £10m a season to stay at Crystal Palace amid interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain but wants assurances over the club's ambition to qualify for European competition before signing.

The president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, said the European Club Association does not represent the best interests of domestic leagues as he helped to launch a union that will aim to "give a voice" to more than 1,000 clubs across the continent.

EVENING STANDARD

Mason Mount has resumed talks with Todd Boehly over his Chelsea future.

DAILY RECORD

Motherwell have turned down a significant six-figure offer for red-hot striker Kevin van Veen from Chinese side Changchun Yatai.

Wigan Athletic have opened the door for Aberdeen to sign captain Graeme Shinnie on a permanent basis.

SCOTTISH SUN

Rangers are closing in on a deal for goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Rangers are considering a move for Nigerian prodigy Miracle Oguduba after he impressed in a behind-closed-doors match against Chelsea's development squad, reports suggest.





The Athletic

West Ham’s FA Youth Cup final squad – their journeys, told by their loved ones



Roshane Thomas

When West Ham United’s youngsters walk out at the Emirates Stadium tonight, they will be 90 minutes from history.

It has been 24 years since the club last won the FA Youth Cup with a 9-0 aggregate rout against Coventry City. That side in 1999 featured future England internationals in Joe Cole and Michael Carrick, and manager Kevin Keen’s latest crop intend to show that the ‘Academy of Football’ is again living up to its name.

West Ham have beaten Sheffield United (3-1), Burnley (1-0), Stoke City (4-1), Ipswich Town (4-2) and Southampton (6-1) on their journey to Tuesday’s final. It has been a season of highs, with squad members Divin Mubama, Kaelan Casey and Oliver Scarles making their debuts for David Moyes’ first team. The under-18s are aiming to win the double tonight, having secured the Under-18 Premier League South division title just over a week ago.

Before they face Arsenal, The Athletic spoke to mums, dads, brothers and childhood coaches of the squad, who have written letters to express how proud they are of what these players have achieved and to wish them luck in the final.

Simon Firth and Sam Bartlett, Divin Mubama’s PE teachers

Dear Divin,

We remember when you were 13 or 14, when you played at the London Stadium in a Lyca Mobile tournament. Your team won and you loved that feeling of being a winner. I (Simon) was going crazy in the stands when you scored against Larnaca (in the Europa Conference League last month, in his second game for the West Ham first team). My missus was looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?’.

But it was so surreal seeing you play at that level. I texted you after and said, ‘I can’t believe you had a season-ticket holder for Tottenham celebrating a West Ham goal’. We plan on getting the paper ticket framed to put in the PE department at St Bonaventure’s secondary school in Forest Gate, east London.

You’re an inspiration to the students. You always come back to visit and the students love it — the kids can relate to your journey. We have another promising young player (David Anugo, currently at under-14s level), who’s just signed for West Ham. We’re hoping he can follow in your footsteps.

What had us convinced you were talented was when people started coming to watch our games because of you. Most of our students plan on attending the FA Youth Cup final, so they can cheer you on. I know you’ll aim to lead by example. We still remember when we were on the coach making our way to the opposition’s school, you would always ask us to let you know when we were 10 minutes away. You used to always bring a speaker so you could play inspirational music to motivate your team-mates to get them mentally prepared.

We know how tough it was for you when your best friend, Kayjon Lubin, was stabbed to death (in December 2020). You both would often cycle home together and it impacted us all. But it has given you perspective and the thought process of, ‘I’m not only doing this for me now’.

Given the environment you were brought up in and losing someone close, you’ve used it as motivation to keep moving forward. You’re inspirational and we’re all so proud of you,

Simon and Sam

Ciaran, Callum Marshall’s dad

Dear Callum,

Let’s start with your name. Your mum named you after George Best’s son, Callum Best. As you know, George was an icon in Northern Ireland, but your mum preferred the name Callum over George.

Me, your mum and your older brother will be there to watch you in the final, and we are so proud of you.

When you were younger, you often played with people twice your size, but people wanted you on their team because you always scored. Blackpool and Derby County offered trials but West Ham were the biggest club interested. It was midway through the trial period when they said they wanted to sign you.

You scored a couple in your first few games and that gave you a lot of confidence that you could make the step up. Other members of the family are hoping to watch you soon. We’re all delighted for you.

Dad

Mark and Michelle, Lewis Orford’s parents

Dear Lewis,

Before your fifth birthday, your grandad, Bill, shouted at me to come out to the garden. You were both playing football and he was amazed you kicked the ball with both feet. He passed away four years ago but he had such a positive influence on you.

Every Sunday, you and him would be out there, charging around the garden. After that, whenever I’d come home from work you’d be waiting by the door for us to go and play in the garden. I know for certain he’s proud of you.

You’ve always wanted to play for West Ham. Before you joined them, we had interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. Even when we gave one of those clubs a chance, you would start crying because you loved it at West Ham.

You are so dedicated and hopefully, you and your team-mates get the result you want!

Lots of love, Mum and Dad

Cheri, Asher Falase’s mum

To Asher,

You’ve been at West Ham since you were four — what a journey. I knew you were special when you started walking before you were nine months old. You always used to play football in the garden but one day the ball accidentally landed on our neighbour’s head and her glasses came off.

She saw the funny side of it but we apologised profusely! Your resilience is amazing and I love how you never let anything faze you. You’re such a mature young man.

Regardless of what happens in the future, your positive attitude and mindset will get you far in life. You’re only 18 and I’ve always said whatever you do, me and the family will support you all the way. We are proud of you and I wish you nothing but the best.

Your No 1 fan, Mum

Ann and Paul, George Earthy’s parents

Dear George,

You’re the youngest of three boys, although before you were born a lot of people thought you were going to be a girl. Me and your mum just wanted a healthy child and having three boys has been fairly easy for us. But so many people kept suggesting girls’ names — and Georgina was a popular one!

The moment you could walk, you started playing football. I would come home from work and you and your brothers would be playing in the garden. You’ve broken a few windows over the years, Son. We’d attend friends’ barbecues and sometimes you’d kick the ball through their greenhouse window. Then I would have to go back and fix the damage! But it’s all good fun.

Me and your mother would take turns dropping off and picking you up from training. One weekend, I didn’t make it to one of your games and your nan phoned me after to say a man had left his card and wanted me to ring him. It was West Ham scout Jim Hampsheir, who I’m still good friends with. I phoned him and he arranged a one-week trial for you down at Chadwell Heath. Then you joined when you were five, and look how far you’ve come.

There have been so many good memories over the years, but my favourite is when you scored the winner in the fourth-round win against Burnley. It was a freezing night with me, your mum and others. We made the four-hour drive up there after work and it looked like it was going to extra time. Then you scored in the 89th minute and Son, I started screaming — that’s how happy I was.

I had to apologise to the Burnley parents after, but it was such a great moment. I was buzzing, Son. The adrenaline was brilliant.

We got home at 1am — and I had work at 4am. I was knackered! Fifteen of us will be there to watch you play at the Emirates. Your mum has cousins from Wales who want to come too.

All my love and support for your journey.

Mum and Dad

Carl and Caroline, Ryan Battrum’s parents

Dear Ryan,

You were only two when you started at Little Kickers (pre-school football classes), and you joined West Ham when you were five. I remember coming to pick you up one Saturday morning after training. The receptionist said a scout from West Ham saw you play and he wanted me to give him a call. I phoned the scout, you moved to their development centre in Beckton (east London) for a few weeks and then you moved across to their academy, where you’ve been ever since.

I remember you being super-excited when I told you about West Ham’s interest. As you know, I’ve been a lifelong fan of the club and have travelled to their games home and away for years. For the family, it was a lovely moment. What makes it even more special is you wore a West Ham kit on the day I picked you up.

But Son, I’ve lost count of the number of fence panels we’ve been through! Your mum had to get giant nets to stop the fences from getting smashed because your two younger brothers also love playing football.

They look up to you, and with Joseph now playing for West Ham’s under-10s, he has a brilliant role model in you. I was decent at football as a youngster but not to the same standard as you and the boys. Your mum was very sporty and represented England at gymnastics until she was 16. She reckons you and your brothers get your sporting ability from her!

After all these years, we still get nervous watching you play. I was in the crowd for the quarter-final away to Ipswich. I didn’t know what to do with myself when you scored (to put West Ham 3-2 in front with fives minutes left in extra time). That’s how happy I was — it was surreal watching you and your team-mates singing Bubbles (West Ham’s anthem), doing the Irons sign and being applauded off the pitch. As a parent, I’ve spent the majority of my life watching the first team, so to see you experience a moment like that was special.

I was shaking during the semi-final against Southampton and I’ll be twice as bad in the final. It’s been a long journey for all of us. Your mum, your younger brothers, your uncles and the rest of the family will be cheering you on. Grandad won’t be able to make it but he’ll be watching at home and backing you all the way.

Love you loads.

Mum and Dad

Paul and Jill, Kaelan Casey’s parents

Dear Kaelan,

When I took you to one of your first football sessions, it was freezing cold, and I don’t think you enjoyed it. We gave it a break, then tried again and ever since you’ve loved it. I still remember when you broke the next-door neighbour’s shed window, which I had to get replaced!

You had setbacks and you struggled a bit when you were 14. But you dug in, got your scholarship and you’ve kicked on again from there. When you made your first-team debut in Romania (against FCSB, formerly Steaua Bucharest, in the final Europa Conference League group game last November), we were lost for words. Your mum started filming the game — it was just an incredible moment.

Reaching the FA Youth Cup final doesn’t come along often. It’s a prestigious competition and you and your team-mates are winners regardless of what happens tonight.

Love, Mum and Dad

Lloyd, Gideon Kodua’s older brother

Dear Gideon,

When me and my mates played FIFA, you’d watch us, then when we played football in the park you would imitate the stuff you saw us do. For us, it felt like we were playing at the Santiago Bernabeu. Then you started playing for Sunday league team Royal Falcons in Newham and you were there for three weeks. After one of your first games, an Arsenal scout invited you for a trial and you were there for six months. I used to bunk college every Wednesday to bring you to training. I missed out on EMA (education maintenance allowance) but it was all for a good cause.

You needed to be at Hale End (Arsenal’s academy) at 5pm and my last period was at 4:30pm. I would rush to your primary school, put all your kit in my bag, then we would jump on the train. But Arsenal let you go when you were 10, and you were really upset. Chelsea and Crystal Palace gave you a chance for a bit but it didn’t work out. As you got older, you went to Southend United and Norwich City and things gradually started to improve. You were more inspired and determined to prove people wrong.

I was in my third year at university, so I didn’t have much free time on my hands. So our older brother stepped in and dropped you off to training and eventually you got picked up by West Ham.

You playing against Arsenal in the final is written in the stars. Now you have another point to prove.

Gideon, you are living our dream. I wanted to be a footballer when I was your age, but Dad said no. Barack Obama had just become US president and Dad wanted me to become a politician. But you’re doing so well and we’re all proud of you.

A lot of eyes are going to be on you and your team-mates in the final. But you and the squad deserve all the success. You have all shined in big games this season and with you being captain it’s a massive accomplishment.

Best of luck, big bro.

Paul and Kerry, Mason Terry’s parents

Dear Mason,

It’s funny how you became a goalkeeper. We put a Sunday side together called Essex Allstars, but we didn’t have a goalkeeper. All the boys took turns to go in goal during training. Then it became clear no one could score past you.

You were tall for your age, so you always stood out. When you were eight, Southend, West Ham, Tottenham and Arsenal watched you play. West Ham were most keen and put you on a six-week trial. You played two games, against Chelsea and Tottenham, and after two weeks West Ham signed you. That’s how much you impressed.

This was November 2013, and look how quick it’s gone. As with the other parents, we’ve experienced ups and downs along the way. But you’ve always worked hard and you’re a big inspiration to your little sister, Ellesse.

I get nervous when I watch you play but I’m not as bad as your mum! She’ll get nervous four days leading up to the game.

You tend to always play well against Arsenal. When you were nine, they told us they had better goalkeepers and that’s why they didn’t sign you.

The story goes the weekend you were meant to go to Arsenal, you were at a half-term soccer school and broke your arm. You were injured for three months and then your first game back was against Arsenal when you were at Southend. They were impressed once more but days later I got a phone call to say they wouldn’t be signing you. And now you’ll be facing them in the final, so it’s gone full circle.

Your age group is so talented, and you guys are like a family. Mark Noble (West Ham legend, now the club’s sporting director) pulled you to one side last weekend and asked why you were leaving the dressing room so late. Then you told him it’s because you cleaned the changing room. You’re a determined young man and you make me proud with everything you do.

You definitely get your personality from your mum. So many people tell us what a lovely person you are. No one has a bad word to say about you and that means a lot to us.

Love, Mum and Dad

Kent and Sarah, Regan Clayton’s parents

Dear Regan,

It was before your 10th birthday when West Ham told us they wanted to sign you. You were initially a left-winger and it took you a while to get used to playing left-back. But then you really started to enjoy it. Your nan, Jen, bought you and your younger brother, Mitchell, Astroturf for the garden and we couldn’t get you to come inside!

We were at Chadwell Heath the day we found out you were getting a pro deal. We were in Ricky Martin’s office (the former academy director) and you were training. Kevin Keen went down to get you and you wanted to know why. That day is one of the proudest moments of our life.

I know things can change, but this is a club we all love. When we got in the car, you phoned your nan and she was over the moon.

We love you loads.

Mum and Dad

Declan, Patrick Kelly’s father

Dear Son,

You started playing football when you were five, but it wasn’t until you were nine that we realised you had something about you. You played in the Doherty Cup (a long-running youth tournament in Coleraine, Northern Ireland) and impressed everyone.

We used to kick about in the garden and you were very good at nutmegging me. You would do it and run off laughing. I can picture it now.

But you’re a man of many talents. Do you remember when you broke the next-door neighbour’s window with the golf ball? I was happy it wasn’t our window! You playing for Coleraine in the Northern Ireland Football League Cup final in 2022 against Cliftonville was a standout moment for the family.

You’ve experienced big occasions before and we’re all looking forward to watching you play against Arsenal. Enjoy the day and good luck to you all.

Love you, Dad

Sam, Finlay Herrick’s mother

Dear Finlay,

The first sign you might be a goalkeeper came when you attended a training session and they put up two thin poles as a goal and then had two lines of children. They all had numbers, they would face each other and the coach would drop the ball in the middle and shout a number.

When it was your turn, all you wanted to do was stop the ball going between the two poles. One of the coaches said to me after, ‘You need to get him a pair of goalkeeper gloves’. You were three at the time! Your grandad (Al), uncle (Malc) and dad (Nick) were goalkeepers and I’d played as a defender in netball — so you definitely have defensive blood running through you.

You joined West Ham when you were five. Billy Lepine, the goalkeeper coach, deserves special praise because he’s helped you massively along the way.

It meant so much to us when we saw you represent England’s junior team (under-17s). Your grandad doesn’t cry often but he got emotional when he saw the video of you singing along to the national anthem. I had a little lump in my throat and soon you’ll receive your physical cap, which is a massive achievement.

People compliment you for being a good player, but they also tell us you’re a lovely kid. You conduct yourself in the right way on and off the pitch.

Good luck to you and the squad.

We love you, Mum x

Junior, Favour Fawunmi’s older brother

Dear Favour,

Where to start, little bro’? Do you remember when Dad (Jide) used to take us to Old Dagenham Park to play football? You were a striker and there was one crazy season when you scored more than 60 goals.

You joined West Ham from Barnet when you were 14, but a lot of people don’t know you were at West Ham before, at pre-academy level. You got released and it motivated you big time. You were only eight or nine and ever since you would always laugh when you played football. Whether you were scoring or dribbling you’d be laughing and people thought you were taking the mickey. But it’s because you were having fun.

You had the disappointment of getting released and you just wanted to enjoy every minute of it.

Our family have been with you through every step of your journey. Mum (Yemi) would drive from east to north London and drive almost two hours to drop you off at Barnet four times a week. Our sister, Toyin, would take the bus with you all the way to West Ham when she was younger. What a journey it’s been for all of us.

When you scored against Southampton in the semi-final, you were so happy. You came on late and you said you just wanted to leave your mark. It took you 34 seconds to score.

You’re only 16 and you’ve achieved so much. We’re all proud of you and sometimes I struggle to put it into words. I’m at all your games and I don’t have a lot of emotion when the team scores. I’ll clap, but whenever you score or do something good I spring into action.

It doesn’t matter how many minutes you play, I’m a proud big brother whenever I watch you play.

The final against Arsenal is going to be an exciting occasion. I don’t even know how I’ll react if you end up scoring. As you know, I support Arsenal but that’s only the first team. I’m 100 per cent supporting West Ham in the final and I’ll be cheering you and your team-mates.

Good luck, little bro’!

David Kingston, Ollie Scarles’ former coach at Trinity School in Croydon

Dear Ollie,

You joined us in year six and what I remember most is you always stood out and took control of games.

The school wasn’t heavy on football, so, initially, we were never in contention to compete for national titles. Within a year, you were easily our best player and we won the county title, which is the biggest trophy the school has won. Then we won the Surrey Cup and retained our title. You played an important role — I remember you being unbelievable in the semi-final against our rivals Whitgift.

Your parents kept you grounded and made sure you completed your academic work.

When you were released by Chelsea it could have broken you. You’d been with them since you were eight but you used it as motivation. We all saw a different side to you after that when you had interest from Crystal Palace, Fulham, and West Ham, and you’ve flourished.

Then you started representing England. To highlight how big of an achievement it was, no one from the school had ever been selected for England’s youth teams before. You were so happy when you came back to school and told us Gareth Southgate gave your group insight into what it’s like to be an England player. I know it’s a goal of yours to one day play for the senior national team.

You’re probably the most humble teenager anyone will come across. You always have a positive attitude — easily the best I’ve worked with.

Ollie, you have good people around and I’m excited to see what the future has in store. West Ham have a great player on their hands.

Steve, Liam Jones’ dad (and former West Ham striker)

Dear Liam,

Son, you’ve been at West Ham since under-sevens. The crazy thing about it is I used to play in the same youth team as Paul, Kaelan Casey’s dad. Now you and Kaelan have followed in our footsteps and you’re both doing great.

I played for the club (scoring four goals in 16 appearances in the early 1990s) and lived the dream, and now it’s your turn. As you know, I never put any pressure on you. It hasn’t always been an easy journey but I know how hard you’ve worked over the last 10 years.

You’re a much better player than I was. I know Dmitri Payet was one of your idols when you were younger. You aim to excite fans the same way.

What makes me most proud is the fact you’re a great kid. You mean the world to me.

Love, Dad

Louise, Tyron Akpata’s mum

Dear Son,

Let’s start with when you were five. You used to cry a lot if your team didn’t win. It reached a point where you cried so much, I stopped you from going. I can laugh about it now. We tried to get you into basketball, but you didn’t like it. Then you begged me to let you play football and you promised me you wouldn’t cry again.

You wanted to be a goalkeeper. One of your coaches said you should play outfield instead but you enjoyed being in goal. You’ve been through a lot of setbacks but you never give up.

In lockdown (three years ago), you had trials at Chelsea but West Ham showed interest, which was perfect for us. Travelling from Dagenham to Cobham (Chelsea’s training ground in Surrey, south of London) four times a week was difficult. It only takes you 10 minutes to get to Chadwell Heath on the bus.

Now when I watch you play I’m like, ‘Is this real?’. You never get over-excited when people praise you. Even when things didn’t go to plan you never gave up — you just kept trying. You have a long way to go but we’re all proud of what you’ve achieved.

Love, Mum x


Coverage of Tuesday’s FA Youth Cup match between West Ham United and Arsenal will be available via a live blog at whufc.com, starting 90 minutes before kick-off, at 5.30pm.

The match will be available to watch via live stream in the UK on the FA Player. The game will be free to watch but signing up to the platform is required.




HITC

Romano gives West Ham and Wolves hope of signing £18m Barcelona ace

Dan Owen

Fabrizio Romano believes Sergino Dest will be leaving Barcelona this summer with West Ham United, Wolves and Crystal Palace reportedly willing to offer the USA international a fresh start in the Premier League.

It doesn’t reflect particularly well on Barca’s recruitment department that – even after signing a number of right-sided defenders in recent windows – Ronald Araujo, Sergio Roberto and Jules Kounde remain Xavi’s first-choice options on the flank.

None of the three are natural right-backs.

Hector Bellerin’s Camp Nou return quickly went sour. Dest, meanwhile, is now out on loan at AC Milan after falling out of favour at Catalonia.

Now, with Barcelona holding talks with the agent of Bayer Leverkusen’s former Celtic and Manchester City starlet Jeremie Frimpong, Romano would not be surprised if Dest has already played his final game in red and blue stripes.

Is Sergino Dest leaving Barcelona?

“For Sergino Dest they will look for new solution,” Romano writes in his Caught Offside column. “I don’t see him staying but we will see in the summer.

“The market for Barca depends on Financial Fair Play. For example, I said three weeks ago that they met with the agent of Jeremie Frimpong. But now the priorities are different.

“The right-back (department) is something that will be decided later in the window.”

Barcelona want to recoup the £18 million they paid Ajax if they are to sell the Dutch-born Dest (90Min). West Ham, Crystal Palace and Wolves are among those interested in the one-time Arsenal target. Alongside Villarreal, Valencia and UEFA Europa League semi-finalists Sevilla.

Dest could potentially be the young, athletic right-back Crystal Palace have needed for a number of years. Time will tell if West Ham plan to step up their own interest; Vladimir Coufal rediscovering his form after holding talks over a January switch to the Bundesliga.




Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

RM10 3:40 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Great stories for the U18s, hope they get what they deserve tonight⚒

Texas Iron 3:00 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers…

C O T YOOF…

Coffee 2:28 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Lee Trundle 2:11 Tue Apr 25

Thanks, Alan.

Thanks Alan 2:19 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 2:07 Tue Apr 25

Lee Trundle 2:11 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
I like what the Athletic have done there with the messages to the YOOFS.

bill green 2:07 Tue Apr 25
Re: Tuesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan
COY(U18)I's





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