WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 12:24 Fri Apr 3
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Liverpool have put all contract talks and recruitment plans on hold during the coronavirus crisis, meaning a £51m move for RB Leipzig's Germany international striker Timo Werner, 24, has been shelved. (Mail)

Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson, 28, says he does not deserve to be linked with bigger Premier League clubs because of his poor form this season. (Sky Sports)

Gent and Canada striker Jonathan David, 20, says he would love to play in the Premier League. (Guardian)

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30, and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, 24, are among the players giving clubs a headache over contract extensions after the transfer window was pushed back. (Telegraph)

Wolves and Mexico striker Raul Jimenez, 28, has revealed he does not have a release clause, amid interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid. (Marca, via Mail)

Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos, 23, has been placed on a list of players surplus to requirements at Real Madrid, paving the way for Arsenal to make a move. (Mirror)

Manchester United will not sign a new left-back this summer after the emergence of teenage academy graduate Brandon Williams, 19, this season. (Sun)

Manchester United are looking at signing Saul Niguez, 25, from Atletico Madrid and are willing to pay £70m for the Spanish midfielder. (AS - in Spanish)

Aston Villa's English midfielder Jack Grealish, 24, has been told he has no chance of joining Manchester United this summer. (Star)

Aston Villa are being linked with Marseille's 22-year-old French midfielder Maxime Lopez. (Birmingham Live)

Tottenham and South Korea forward Son Heung-min, 27, is set to complete a four-week national service stint in his native country during the delay in the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Sun)

Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, 28, warns of injuries to players if authorities rush players' return to action. (Telegraph)

Sport Witness

“I’m glad to be here, it’s paradise” – West Ham man raves about club, and fan emerging from canal

West Ham’s Tomáš Souček has labelled the club a ‘paradise’, making it clear he’d like to extend his stay beyond the summer.

The midfielder joined the Hammers on loan from Slavia Prague in the January transfer window as manager David Moyes looked to add steel to his midfield.

He’s proven to be a smart signing thus far, starting in three of his four Premier League appearances to date and earning generally positive reviews for his performances.

The loan deal includes an option for the Hammers to make it permanent in the summer and, if Souček’s comments about the club are anything to go by, he would like that to happen.

“I admit I didn’t expect it to be such a change,” he told Slavia Prague’s official YouTube channel.

“I’m glad to be here. It’s a paradise, from those picking me up at the airport to the team and the people around.

“I like historic teams, and that’s West Ham. We went to the centre and the first person to recognise me was a worker who just got out of the canal.

“He was crossing his arms like the two Hammers West Ham have in their badge. In the sixty thousand capacity of the stadium, there are fifty-five thousand permanent fans.”

Whether Souček gets the opportunity to make his stay in London a longer one remains to be seen.

West Ham will be first focused on staying in the Premier League when it returns if it does at all, before they commit themselves to any transfer business.

From his short time at the club so far, he certainly looks like he’d be a good fit for what Moyes wants, although as always, money will likely be the deciding factor.


Meet the Irons' Young Lions: Sonny Perkins

“It was quite incredible really. To be honest I couldn’t believe I’d scored for England for the first time, so to get my third goal, I couldn’t believe it…”

It is fair to say that Sonny Perkins is a young man who understands the importance of taking his opportunities when they arrive.

The West Ham United U16s midfielder has been an east Londoner his whole life, growing up in Hackney and initially having his talents nurtured by Leyton Orient from just eight-years-old.

Fast forward another seven years, and the chance of a trial at the Academy of Football came up – an examination which Perkins passed with aplomb, becoming a Hammer just over a year ago.

Since then, Perkins has continued to shine in a variety of midfield roles, and sometimes even defence, for both the U16s and – on three occasions off the bench this season – Kevin Keen’s U18 side.

But it's in an advanced midfield role where Perkins, who has been involved with the England U16 set-up since the first selection camps, but hadn’t played since last season, had a match to remember – a hat-trick in a UEFA Development Tournament game in February.

“I think originally, I was on standby, to be honest,” Perkins explained, “but I found out I was going about four days before the camp, so I was obviously very excited and grateful for the opportunity.

“It was a really good experience: a ten-day camp in which we played against Denmark, USA and Spain. Thankfully, we got three wins out of three, and it was a really good learning experience for myself.

“The Denmark game we won 4-0 and I managed to come on for 15 minutes at the end, but against USA, I started the game in midfield, played 90 minutes – and thankfully scored three goals! We won 4-1, and I got to keep the match ball.

“Our final game, against Spain, was probably the toughest challenge. I came on for 35 minutes and thankfully we got another win, 3-1, to win the tournament.

“It just felt great to be part of a really strong team and to win the tournament against strong opposition as well, including a team we lost to earlier on in the season. It was a very proud experience – and to win the trophy was a relief as well!”

Considering trebles from central midfield can often prove a rarity, just how did that hat-trick against USA come about?

“It was really just about arriving in the box at the right time,” Perkins smiled. “They were all quite similar goals. One touch, left foot shot…

“As a midfielder, I believe it’s important to think about scoring goals and creating chances at all times, so it’s really just about arriving in the box at the right time, and luckily I did that.

“I knew that in football you have to take your opportunity when it comes, so thankfully I did this time. By the time my third went in, I was buzzing!”

Perkins’ superb display stands amongst a number of success stories on the international stage within the Academy of Football this season – another seeing Perkins’ West Ham team-mate, Divin Mubama, net in England’s first game of the competition against Denmark.

“I think everyone knows how much of an honour it is to play for England at any level, and it’s always a massive honour for anyone who gets to be involved,” Perkins added. “It was nice to celebrate such a good experience with my team-mate.”

West Ham United's Divin Mubama (No18) and Sonny Perkins (No4) celebrate the latter's hat-trick

With pushing players onto the next level is always a focus of the Academy’s coaches, it’s no surprise that Chadwell Heath continues to progress and cultivate its young talent at pace.

Gerard Prenderville, U16s Lead Coach, explained: “We made a decision at the start of the season – [U15s Lead Coach] Harry Watling, myself and [Academy Manager] Ricky Martin – to push the U15 and U16 groups together.

“As well as myself and Harry, we’ve got Carlton Cole and Paul Konchesky as coaches, so it’s no coincidence we’ve got as many internationals as we have! We set the standards high, so I think intermixing them has really challenged the group.

“We work closely with the national team, so we know what the expectations are, and with Sonny and Divin, we’re pleased they’re making themselves better when they’re away, bringing that back, and hopefully inspiring the other players to strive to get into the national team as well.”

As for Perkins, the midfielder has enjoyed his first year turning out in Claret and Blue – and is looking forward to furthering himself at the Club even further in the future.

“I think it’s been a really good way for me to develop my career, the perfect step really,” he noted. “Obviously Leyton Orient were good for me when I was younger, but I think it was a big challenge to come to a club like West Ham.

“There are so many good players here and obviously good coaching as well. Gerard, my mentor, and all the other coaches do a lot to help me improve and have as big an impact on the team as I can. Everything they do for me I’m really grateful for.

“The dream is to reach the first-team one day, but I’m just taking each game as it comes really, and hopefully one day I can make it there.”

Continue to take his opportunities in the manner he’s done so far, and Perkins’ talents might well be showcased on such a stage in the years to come.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

gooders 11:10 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

gooders 11:09 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Premier League players tarnished by taking too long to act on pay

Footballers do care but too many live in a bubble or follow the crowd and they have not been helped here by the PFA

Dean Ashton

Fri 3 Apr 2020 19.00 BST

Premier League players are waiting to discover when the season may restart.
Premier League players are waiting to discover when the season may restart. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

Footballers have always been an easy target. They are in the public eye and the amount of money they earn is regularly splashed over the newspapers, so it surprises me that swifter action hasnt been taken to resolve the issue over whether Premier League players should accept pay cuts or wage deferrals because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There could have been more forward thinking from clubs, players and their representatives. While I am sure that players want to help, they havent acted quickly enough and a lot of damage has already been done to their reputations. There is a rush to typecast footballers, to assume theyre all greedy, and they should have seen it coming, although hopefully the decision by Premier League clubs to ask for 30% wage drops will win public approval.
Premier League clubs could ask players to take 30% wage drop
Read more

It isnt fair to say players are only interested in money. They do a lot for charity, which rarely makes the headlines, and they pay a lot of tax to the government, whose responsibility is to invest it wisely. But we are in uncharted territory and non-football staff at clubs are being furloughed. Players see these people every day, they are very friendly with them, and Im surprised that something has not been done sooner. It has made it look like players dont care about their colleagues and I am sure that isnt true.

Clubs could do more as well. Players will look at owners who are worth billions. They will be talking to the clubs and wondering if their money will go to the staff or just be swallowed up. Those questions are fair. But as soon as I stepped out of football the real world kicked me up the backside. I developed a totally different perspective on normal life. When youre in the football bubble, you can lose sight of that.
Dean Ashton in action for West Ham against Manchester City in 2008.
Dean Ashton in action for West Ham against Manchester City in 2008. Photograph: Keith Williams/Action Images

I was only 26 when I retired in 2009. One bad injury can end a career quickly and in a way I am fortunate to have that perspective. Players wont have it. You think it will go on for ever; that the money will always be rolling in. The money at the elite level, which I was earning at one stage, is incomprehensible. Its hard to explain and there will also be a lot of players living within their means. They might have astronomical mortgages or they might be supporting family and friends.

Yet when you step out of the game, you realise that money is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. When I was playing my head was up my arse. You earn crazy money and rarely have to do anything for yourself, which is why some players might not have a grip on the anxiety people outside the game are experiencing. So what if you have to give some of your wages away for the next three or four months? It wont impact you. And who cares if it does? Its a small price to pay.

Thats why Im gutted for players. They do want to help but they have been tarnished because they have left it too long. The problem is that players generally follow the crowd. Theres a team mentality: if we do it, we all have to do it. Players tend not to speak out individually, which is why the club captain is so important. Once the captain says something is happening, the group falls into line.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the PFA. The union could have done more, believes Dean Ashton.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the PFA. The union could have done more, believes Dean Ashton. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

However, the Professional Footballers Association is taking a hard line. It is putting emphasis on the owners and protecting its members contracts. But that is irrelevant when people are losing their lives and their livelihoods, which will not happen to Premier League footballers. Once football returns they will go back to earning ridiculous money. But while the PFA is looking to protect its members, it has actually hindered them. We all knew this was going to happen so why hasnt it tried to protect them from a PR perspective?

I understand why they have asked for clubs to provide financial information but I cannot see that happening, so it just becomes a battle. It should not be a battle between clubs and players or the union. This should be a collective goal for all football clubs and players to help staff, the wider public and the NHS.

Ultimately it is the players who will be scapegoated. I would hate to think Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was trying to deflect the blame when he said that footballers should play their part. I think he was just answering a question. But it creates more negative headlines.

The PFA could have done more. There could have been an agreement that players drop percentages of their pay based on how much they earn. Then football would have been working as a community, helping people at clubs and enabling money to filter into society. Everyone would have looked like they cared. The speed of action has not helped.

Dean Ashton played for Crewe, Norwich, West Ham and England from 2000-09

Texas Iron 6:26 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
When was the last time a Hammer scored a hat trick...?..


Thanks Alan 2:58 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 12:28 Fri Apr 3

blueeyed.handsomeman 2:07 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
THanks Alan

geoffpikey 1:08 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Hail Tomáš Souček! Recognised by failed suicides everywhere!

charleyfarley 12:44 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Sven Roeder 12:33 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Good to see the stories about the young boys
And us nicking players from Orient

bill green 12:28 Fri Apr 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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