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
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
c. Buy some f***ing players or we're in a battle to stay up & that's as good as it gets
d. Moyes out
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

Alan 12:12 Wed May 11
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

West Ham United are considering an audacious £25m move for Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, 29. (London Evening Standard)

England international Vardy is hoping to hold talks with Leicester over an improvement to the £70-000-a-week contract he signed in February. (Times - subscription required)

The Foxes could break their transfer record to try to sign 27-year-old Lucas Perez, who is Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna's leading scorer this season. (Guardian)

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri is also interested in signing Pescara striker Gianluca Lapadula, 26, as he tries to bolster his squad for next season. (Sun)

Manchester United are lining up a £25m summer move for 23-year-old Real Madrid and France defender Raphael Varane. (Daily Mirror)

United fans have turned on executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after missing out to Bayern Munich for Benfica midfielder Renato Sanches, 18. (Manchester Evening News)

Meanwhile, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been spotted having lunch with former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in London, sparking speculation the Argentine could be heading for Old Trafford this summer. (Daily Mirror)

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez, 27, could end his two-year stay with the club this summer, with Serie A champions Juventus leading the race for the Chile international's signature. (Daily Mail)

The Gunners are closing in on the signing of midfielder Granit Xhaka, with a £33.8m bid ready to be made and the 23-year-old's club Borussia Monchengladbach looking for a replacement. (RP Online via Daily Star)

Chelsea captain John Terry, 35, will learn if he has a future at the club this week after being summoned to a meeting with two of owner Roman Abramovich's key aides, Marina Granovskaia and Michael Emenalo. (Times - subscription required)

Chelsea have had a £23m bid plus performance-related bonuses for midfielder Radja Nainggolan, 28, rejected by Italian club Roma. (Guardian)

Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, 23, wants to leave the Stamford Bridge club this summer. (Sun)

Incoming Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is planning talks with Belgium international Courtois to try to convince him to stay at the London outfit. (Daily Telegraph)

Liverpool are the prime candidates to sign Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar, but Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are also watching the 20-year-old. (L'Equipe via Daily Express)

Aston Villa and Norwich City are considering moves for Fulham forward Ross McCormack, 29, who can leave Craven Cottage for £12m. (Daily Telegraph)

Swansea City are considering a return for 27-year-old Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony, who has made just 15 Premier League starts since leaving Wales for the Etihad Stadium in January 2015. (Daily Mail)

Former Arsenal defender Tony Adams, 49, is in talks to become the next manager of Danish club Brondby. (Guardian)

Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard, 23, could be named in England's Euro 2016 squad following the knee injury to Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck. (Daily Mirror)

Former Newcastle United midfielder Dietmar Hamann believes manager Rafael Benitez, 56, could be persuaded to stay with the Magpies if they are relegated. (Talksport)

Newcastle are willing to pay manager Rafael Benitez £5m a season to stay with them even if they are relegated to the Championship. (Daily Express)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged fans not to judge his summer signings too soon. (Liverpool Echo)

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores says he is not worried about his future and only focused on the final two games of the season. (Watford Observer)

But the Hornets have made former Inter Milan manager Walter Mazzarri is one of their top targets to replace Quique Sanchez Flores at Vicarage Road. (Daily Telegraph)

Leeds United boss Steve Evans is the new favourite to take charge of Championship rivals Nottingham Forest. (Nottingham Post)

Aberdeen are weighing up a move for Bournemouth forward Jayden Stockley, 22. (Daily Echo)

Relegated Bolton Wanderers have made "significant" cuts to their backroom staff as they prepare for life in League One. (Bolton News)

Rochdale boss Keith Hill is in the running to become the next Blackburn Rovers manager. (Lancashire Evening Telegraph)

Manchester City are expected to send five young players on loan to NAC Breda after a new tie-up with the Dutch second-tier club. (Manchester Evening News)

Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, 39, says his testimonial game next week will be his last game for Southampton after 10 years at the club. (Daily Echo)

And finally

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen, 26, will cut his hair and beard - if he scores in the Europa League final against Sevilla on 18 May. (Liverpool Echo)

Wolverhampton Wanderers fans have handed over a petition with over 13,000 signatures opposing the club's shirt sponsorship deal with a payday loan firm. (Express & Star)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Tom Bryant

It turns out that whatever the hell it was that happened after West Ham’s match against Manchester United – when the club splashed out on a value pack of fireworks and convinced club legends, er, Marlon Harewood and Carlton Cole, to stand awkwardly in the stands – was their attempt to convince Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy that they too can have a party. Flush full of money thanks to the fact Sebastian Coe built a stadium for them, they’re determined to spray it about like lottery winners and, so the London Evening Standard reports, will splurge on Vardy first.

Should Vardy decide to stay put, West Ham will turn to Christian Benteke, which could lead to an enticing partnership with Andy Carroll and the preservation of the Olympic Stadium pitch since there will never again be a need to pass a ball along its surface. Southampton’s Sadio Mané is next on West Ham’s money-no-object bender, unless of course Alexandre Lacazette arrives from Lyon or the £30m Michy Batshuayi arrives from Marseille. Now what was it that the West Ham co-owner David Gold was saying about crazy spending in the Premier League a few years back? Something about clubs spiralling to oblivion, too many £150,000 cars in the car park. Something like that, anyway.

Thibaut Courtois is looking to make himself all kinds of popular by telling Chelsea he’s keen to do one, and telling Real Madrid that he’d rather do one there than to Atlético Madrid, where he once excelled on loan. Chelsea have stuck a £65m price tag on him and have told him: good luck.

In 2011, Manchester United scouts weighed up whether to sign Phil Jones or the then Lens defender Raphaël Varane. They went for Jones, Real Madrid went for Varane. But now United want to lure the defender to Manchester with the promise that he can follow-up a potential Champions League winner’s medal with Thursday nights in the Europa League. Elsewhere Manchester United spectre, Sir Alex Ferguson, had lunch in a swanky Mayfair fish and chip shop with Mauricio Pochettino and so the Tottenham manager will now become the Manchester United manager.

According to Corriere dello Sport, Juventus scouts are camped outside Alexis Sánchez’s house making sly digs about the state of Arsenal trophy cabinet compared to the one in Turin. They are hoping to lure the Chilean back to Serie A, alongside PSG’s Edinson Cavani, but may face competition from Bayern Munich.

Manchester City have dug about the back of the sofa and have discovered the receipt for Wilfried Bony. They’ve taken it and the striker back to Swansea in the hope of a refund. City have also taken a look at how Chelsea have set up a magnificent youth academy in order to prop up the Eredivisie, and have set up ties with NAC Breda in order to furnish them with Bersant Celina, Kean Bryan, Tosin Adarabioyo, Angus Gunn, Manu García, Aleix García and Ian Lawlor.

In the Championship, the Fulham striker Ross McCormack could soon be known as either the Aston Villa striker or the Norwich striker Ross McCormack providing one or the other sends £12m to Craven Cottage.

While in managerial news, Tony Adams is in talks to become the new Brondby manager having been introduced to the club’s owner – diplomacy’s Jan Bech Andersen – by super agent John Terry. Steve Evans is to bring his brand of popularity to Nottingham Forest having exceeded his life expectation at Leeds United, while Rochdale’s Keith Hill is in the frame to take over at Blackburn Rovers.


West Ham could have done without the madness outside Upton Park as they said goodbye to their famous East End home

West Ham won 3-2 against Manchester United on Tuesday night
Some fans attacked the Manchester United team bus outside Upton Park
The game's kick-off had to be delayed for 45 minutes after the trouble
It was West Ham's last competitive match at their famous East End home
Inside the ground the fans came together to create a superb atmosphere

By Matt Barlow

West Ham worked hard to provide the perfect lasting image of Upton Park. They projected footage of Bobby Moore walking down the tunnel and turning out the lights after a long procession of legends delivered into the centre circle by a fleet of London cabs.

There were fireworks, a light show and a stirring victory delivered by the team, but the scenes that will linger in the mind are the pre-match disorder in the streets outside and the attack on Manchester United’s team bus.

It caused a 45-minute delay and ensured the final night of theatre at Upton Park would be a long one, destined to go down in history with a soundtrack of ‘We’re forever throwing bottles’.

West Ham's last game at Upton Park was delayed after Manchester United's team bus was attacked

Bottles were hurled at the bus and they were thrown at United’s goalkeeper David de Gea by fans behind his goal in the Bobby Moore Stand when Anthony Martial scored to equalise. It will be more of a challenge to reach the pitch at the Olympic Stadium.

One moron felt the urge to invade the pitch and give De Gea the finger when Winston Reid headed in West Ham’s winner. High jinks on an emotional night? Most behaved impeccably but this was an East End send-off with a thread of lawlessness running through and the FA may add to the bill with a list of fines.

The images from outside, however, will go around the world at a time when the club is flexing up for its new horizons.

After the win it was time to remember why Upton Park holds a special football among football supporters

Ninety minutes before the original kick-off time and traffic had ground to a halt on the Barking Road as supporters were jammed into the road outside the Boleyn Tavern at the junction with Green Street. Some were scaling the Boys of ’66 statue to tie claret-and-blue scarves and flags to Bobby Moore. Others were hanging from the traffic lights, holding a can of lager aloft while their mates snapped the moment for posterity.

Those were the streets into which the Manchester United bus crawled, an easy target, attacked by glass bottles and other convenient missiles which smashed the darkened glass on the outside of the windows.

‘Disappointing,’ was how Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United captain, summed it up. ‘Not so nice,’ said manager Louis van Gaal.

Not everything unravelled, though, and inside started to go to plan when West Ham took the lead early on

Winston Reid (right) secured the victory with ten minutes remaining when he headed past David de Gea

Don’t expect heads to roll, as they did on another infamous Boleyn farewell. There was very little sympathy in evidence from the hosts. David Sullivan, West Ham’s co-chairman, thought United ought to have allowed more time.

After all, there was a party planned. ‘They should have been here at 4pm,’ said Sullivan, who was concerned for those supporters who might miss the post-match show in order to dash for the last train home.

Four hours before kick-off was pushing it but plenty of those in claret and blue had started early.

Queues for programmes were almost as long as the chain of hungry fans snaking from the doorway of Nathan’s, the eel ’n’ pie emporium which, like so many other traders, is braced for the staggering loss of trade. Match days will be eerily humdrum next season. They will long for days when unruly masses drank outside and no one could find a parking space.

Manchester United keeper De Gea had a bottle thrown at him when Anthony Martial made it 1-1 on the night

At four minutes to eight, United’s players were gently jeered out on to the pitch for the warm-up. Nothing too fierce. No bottles. The homes fans were in position, having pulled on the free tee-shirts given out in the hope it might deter them from dismantling the stadium on their way home.

Not everything unravelled. The players certainly did not disappoint and most of those inside the stadium generated a raucous din in keeping with some of the most famous nights under the lights.

They sang Bubbles good and loud, there were touching moments from the past and they resisted the urge to invade the pitch at the final whistle. The half-time dance routine led by ‘Hammerhead’, the West Ham mascot, was a triumph.

Nathan's, the eel 'n' pie emporium, is a reminder of how traditional east London surrounds Upton Park

From the moment the brass band marched on to Colonel Bogey, the focus turned to the glistening green stage. On went the bubble machine and out came the teams to a montage in the East Stand to mark the dates 1904-2016.

With West ham up at half-time, spirits were high enough that a public address warning that the kiosks were out of food and drink did not spark a riot. They might have ordered more. After all, there was a party planned.

Martial threatened to spoil the party briefly but Reid supplied a happy ending and set the mood for an elaborate after-match show with a procession of legends including Sir Trevor Brooking and Paolo di Canio and archive footage.

Some West Ham fans got on top of the Bobby Moore statue near the ground as they joined the celebrations

Images of Moore turning out the lights brought it to a close and there was an announcement that Mr Moon had left the building in honour of a security code which never failed to raise a cheer during a dull game. And that was that. When they reconvene a few miles down the road at Stratford in three months it will feel very different. New stadium, new badge, a new atmosphere.

Hopefully they can preserve some of the heart and soul, and stop throwing bottles.


West Ham sink Manchester United in thrilling Boleyn Ground sendoff

David Hytner at Upton Park

Louis van Gaal’s knack for escapism has been a pronounced feature of the season but on a wild night in east London, when West Ham United yelled farewell to their home of 112 years, the Manchester United manager could not summon the trick when he needed it so sorely.

The equation had been simple enough. Win here and, with Manchester City stumbling, Van Gaal would have a shot at the redemption of a fourth-placed finish in his own hands on the final day of the season. It has felt for a long time that the Dutchman needs qualification for the Champions League to keep himself alive at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal has used up a clutch of lifelines during a trying season and, for a period in the second half, he could enjoy control of his destiny. West Ham should have been out of sight at half-time, such was their dominance but they were not and, when Anthony Martial conjured a pair of finishes on the counterattack, the result that Van Gaal craved was on.

Martial had been passed fit after a minor hamstring injury and, not for the first time, United could be grateful to the summer signing who has become their best outfield player by a distance. His pace and power, allied to his precision, have marked him as a beacon of hope.

But this was West Ham’s party and no one was going to spoil it. Van Gaal’s team are blighted by vulnerabilities and West Ham exposed the one he had highlighted beforehand to complete a thrilling and deserved comeback. Van Gaal said he was worried about his team’s lack of height and physicality on set pieces and twice, West Ham made capital from Dimitri Payet deliveries.

The first saw him retrieve his initial effort, which had been blocked, to cross for Michail Antonio, who outpaced Antonio Valencia to convert. For the second, Payet picked out Winston Reid, who was too strong for Daley Blind and his header had too much on it for David de Gea. The visitors’ lead had lasted four minutes. Four minutes after that the Boleyn Ground could begin the countdown to an emotional triumph.

The practical consideration for West Ham had been to secure a win to fire their Europa League qualification hopes but the evening was about more than that. Much more. The script had called for victory to sate the rocking hordes in claret and blue and, although they wobbled, they came through.

Slaven Bilic felt tears well at full time. It was some sendoff to the old ground, before next season’s move to the Olympic Stadium, and none of the 34,602 who were present will forget it. The party continued long into the night.

Van Gaal argued his team were not dead in terms of the top four; they still have an outside chance on the final day, when they play Bournemouth at Old Trafford but they will need Manchester City to lose at Swansea City. It was West Ham who shaped the occasion and they embraced it.

The scenes before kick-off had been disturbing. United had arrived late and it had not been a pretty entrance. As their team bus was snarled up on Green Street, it was pelted with bottles. The reinforced windows did their job but, more serious, were the chaotic scenes around them. Briefly, there was panic. Parents lifted their children on to their shoulders. Witnesses talked of a crush.

When the football started, West Ham tore into their opponents. The hot atmosphere drove them. Van Gaal’s team were all over the place at the outset and they might have been further behind by half-time. Andy Carroll was denied one-on-one by De Gea, while Payet jinked inside and ballooned his shot. Payet and Manuel Lanzini buzzed around Carroll. It was one-way traffic.

The breakthrough had come when Aaron Cresswell slipped a pass to Lanzini, who was in yards of space in the inside-left channel, and Diafra Sakho dropped smartly off Blind for the cutback. Sakho shot first time and his effort flicked off Blind to spin beyond De Gea and into the corner.

The half-time scoreline was a reprieve for Van Gaal but he and his players set about making the most of it. The equaliser came from United’s first chance of any note and it followed a bit of tomfoolery from the West Ham fans behind De Gea’s goal. They refused to give the ball back to the goalkeeper but they did when another one was supplied for him.

De Gea promptly drove United up the field with a long clearance and, suddenly, there was Marcus Rashford feeding Juan Mata and he crossed for Martial, who tapped home. The goalkeeper turned to pump his fists and his hips at the fans behind him. A bottle was thrown in his direction.

West Ham created further chances for Payet, Sakho and Carroll but Martial hit them hard when he beat Darren Randolph at his near post after Wayne Rooney and Rashford had created a break. Van Gaal sensed the smash and grab. West Ham had other ideas.


How West Ham brought down the curtain on the Boleyn Ground and why Manchester United have no business in the top four

Adam Hurrey

Talking points

Andy Carroll is not England's trump card for Euro 2016

The very first minute of the last ninety at the Boleyn Ground saw some frenzied tackling by Andy Carroll, an ungainly foul on Andy Carroll, and then a cross to Andy Carroll - the pattern had been set before the bubbles had landed. It was easy to see why Carroll piques the interest of the online squad-selecting England fan: he's rarely anonymous, but does that make him reliably effective?

The answer to that came just 19 minutes later. Put through and clear of Manchester United's slapstick offside trap, his clanking limbs bore down on David de Gea, but you weren't convinced. You wouldn't have put your mortgage (or long-term, taxpayer-enabled lease) on him rearranging himself in time to beat the goalkeeper, and he didn't.

Carroll is destined to be making a perennial last-ditch bid to gatecrash an England squad for a major tournament. When it comes to the squad-selecting crunch, Andy Carroll will never be cited with the "if a ball drops in the area with a minute to go" hypothetical - that's not his niche. A 69th-minute yellow card for hounding, and then fouling, a terrified Daley Blind delighted the West Ham fans but would have had Hodgson taking note. Continental feathers aren't as easily ruffled in 2016, and Andy Carroll is nothing more than a penalty-area distraction to a top-class defence - not that the visitors were in any shape to test that theory out.
Manchester United have absolutely no business in the top four

Louis van Gaal's side were simply no match for the occasion - that's as much of an indictment on his players as it is an demonstration of the claret-and-blue fondness for this old ground. West Ham tore into the visitors. Once behind, United played like a team who had won just one of 11 games in which they've gone behind this season (drawing one and losing the other nine) and had to dive for cover to avoid the onslaught, in more ways than one.

It was hard to imagine an Alex Ferguson team doing that - even when faced with an away leg in Hell

Wayne Rooney's midfield evolution will not be a smooth one

Assumption is a dangerous thing, no more so than when a striker - pace fading, decisiveness long since retired - believes he can simply retreat into the pastures of midfield and see out his days from there.

The odd touch here, the camera-friendly crossfield pass there: Wayne Rooney looks like a midfielder, acts like a midfielder, but is simply not a midfielder. There is more nuance in the central trenches than meets the eye, and no amount of huffing, puffing and expansive switching of the play will bridge the gap for a previously instinctive, ruthless striker.

Man of the Match

Mark Noble

An Euro 2016 place may well be out of reach, but Mark Noble chose the time and the place to demonstrate that he is more than just a Premier League footnote.

Nothing was left on that field. We wanted that. GET. IN.
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) May 10, 2016

He led his West Ham teammates out on an historic night, and will do so again at their cavernous new stadium next season, and exudes a quiet determination that never strays into overearnestness (even on an evening like this).

11 - Dimitri Payet has been involved in 11 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances (scoring three, assisting eight). Update.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 10, 2016

Man Utd suffer their 10th league defeat of the season - only the 2nd time in the PL era they have lost 10 or more games (also 12, 2013-14)
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 10, 2016

Nice ending for WHU, but Matt Le Tissier half-volleying into the top corner from edge of the box in 89th min of last game at The Dell wins
— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) May 10, 2016

What do the two teams need to work on?

West Ham need to sign an all-round striker for any occasion

West Ham's outlandish summer shopping list tells its own story. For all the midfield bustle of Mark Noble, the mischief of Dimitri Payet and the shuttling of Michail Antonio, there is no frontman to do them justice. Should the new riches afforded to them by television rights be enough to secure 20 guaranteed Premier League goals in a season, West Ham's top-four ambitions will seem every bit as realistic as Manchester United's have.
Manchester United need to treat a first half as if it's their last

A goal inside 10 minutes - Lanzini stole in behind on the left and Diafra Sakho, via the calf of Blind, found the good side of the near post - was little surprise to anyone who has witnessed this Manchester United outfit's approach to first halves this season. At the other end, it was pitiful: a 24th goalless first 45 minutes of the season, just one stratosphere-threatening Rooney shot to West Ham's 10 attempts.

The second half revival - sparked by Martial but ultimately in vain - should not mask their inability to locate the scruff of the game's neck before the half-time oranges have been sliced.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

BubblesCyprus 7:13 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan much appreciated.....................BC

Travelling Iron 4:51 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
I have read many reports about last night and I don't believe a single one has mentioned Kouyate, an absolute beast and my MOTM,

COOL HAND LUKE 1:48 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
*...the attack on Manchester United’s team bus...
it caused a 45-minute delay...*

NO it fucking didn't. The 'incident' lasted all of 15 seconds and their coach was bloody nearly in the WHU car park at that point! And it didn't delay them as they were stuck in traffic at that point anyway.

They got into the ground at about 10 past seven. Even if you allow them ten minutes for the non existent 'delay due to the coach attack', it still means they were VERY VERY LATE arriving, just like at the Yids earlier in the season. They are simply using this as an excuse to cover their own incompetence. Both LGV and Rooney telling LIES about it.

If they stop all this psychological 'diva' bollocks and just turn up early like every other club does, none of this would happen - as one BBC correspondent said: "It is incredibly stupid and inflammatory to turn up so late right into the 15,000 ticketless fans in the streets outside".

They are a very wealthy club - what stops them staying down overnight, then getting off their arses good and early and getting to UP on time?

Funny that 45,000 fans, all the WHU players, staff, visitors, ex players (some in their 70s) ALL managed to get down there on time...

norwaytips 1:24 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan. :-)

Banjo 1:08 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

The wanker that wrote the first piece has absolutely no intent to tell the truth.

He wrote:
"At four minutes to eight, United’s players were gently jeered out on to the pitch for the warm-up. Nothing too fierce. No bottles. The homes fans were in position, having pulled on the free tee-shirts given out in the hope it might deter them from dismantling the stadium on their way home"

"Free T shirts.......hope it might deter them from dismantling the stadium on the way home"

What a cunt. This is why I hate journo's, full of shit most of them.

Son of Sam 12:41 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan , great read

Mad Dog 12:30 Wed May 11
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks alan

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