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

Irish Hammer 12:30 Wed Nov 3
Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals

This ones a bit of a stretch, but its got a few good bits so I'm posting it up for the night shift lads !

(Written end of last season)

Nicky Maynard: Solskjaer’s honesty, Allardyce’s ‘chances’ and that viral video

Among the many consequences of the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing is the cancellation of birthdays, weddings and parties, such as the one Nicky Maynard was planning to attend with his eight-year-old son Camden to celebrate him signing for Manchester United.

“We were supposed to have a party last week with a few of his team-mates and I think a couple of former players were also going to attend but it has been put on hold,” says Maynard, whose other son, seven-year-old Trent, is also showing signs of talent. “Everyone hopes that their kid makes it to play football at some stage. My mum took me to a lot of games when I was young and now I’m in that same boat with my kids.”

Maynard, now with Mansfield Town of League Two, is keen to talk everything and anything about his 15-year professional career, from the highs and lows of his time at West Ham United, to why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is one of the best managers he played under, getting to know the real Ravel Morrison and the viral video that marked his arrival at Mansfield. But during The Athletic’s two-hour phone interview, he is at his happiest talking about Camden’s achievement and how proud his sons make him feel.

“They both love scoring goals and Camden is more talented than me when I was his age,” says Maynard, 33. “I’m not going to force them to have a career in football. If they enjoy it, I will encourage them. My wife (Tara) puts on training sessions for them when I’m away playing football. We’ll give them every opportunity we can so they can prove that they’re good enough.”

With a father as a footballer, Camden and Trent were always going to be close to the game and the brothers attended their first game at Old Trafford in September 2018, when Manchester United played Wolverhampton Wanderers.

They took pictures in the tunnel with Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, David de Gea, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata.

United are renowned for giving young players a chance and one man who has relished that role is manager Solskjaer. Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and Scott McTominay have all thrived under him since he was initially appointed as the club’s caretaker manager in December 2018 following the dismissal of Jose Mourinho.

At age eight, Camden is much too young to benefit from that but Maynard rates the Norwegian highly and considers him to be one of the best managers he has played for in a career that has taken him from Arsenal’s youth ranks in 1994 (when he was also eight) through Crewe Alexandra, Bristol City, West Ham, Cardiff City, MK Dons, Aberdeen and Bury to Mansfield, who he joined last year.

It was at Cardiff where the striker experienced life under Solskjaer. The now-United manager was brought in from Molde in his Norwegian homeland in January 2014 to try to prevent the Welsh club’s relegation from the Premier League.

Cardiff were in the top flight for the first time since 1962 but the joy of promotion the previous summer had been replaced by turmoil, with manager Malky Mackay leaving just after Christmas following a bitter and public falling-out with owner Vincent Tan. Solskjaer enjoyed instant success with a comeback 2-1 win away to Newcastle United in the FA Cup but Cardiff were relegated on May 3 after a 3-0 defeat in their league visit to St James’ Park. He left in the September, citing a “difference in philosophy” with Cardiff 17th in the Championship and Solskjaer having won nine of his 30 games in charge.

“Solskjaer came in and it was like a breath of fresh air,” says Maynard. “His training sessions were great and I think he took a liking to me. He was appointed in the January transfer window, so after a training session he pulled me aside and said he wants me to go out on loan to get more game time because I’d been out for so long with a knee injury. We were near the bottom of the Premier League so it made sense, then I went to Wigan Athletic (then chasing promotion from the Championship) on loan.

“The following season, we had a reserve game at Aston Villa. We had quite a strong team and he came to watch. At the end of the game he pulled me aside and said he doesn’t think he’ll be at the club for much longer, that he isn’t being able to manage the team the way he wants and that’s not the type of manager he wants to be. He wants to be his own man.

“He wanted to give me the heads up and a few days later he was gone. I was devastated. He’s up there in terms of managers I’ve played under. I liked his coaching skill and his honesty more than anything. I’m quite close with (Manchester United left-back) Luke Shaw and he says he’s amazing.”

Maynard would also leave Cardiff come the end of that 2014-15 season when his contract expired, but three and a half years earlier his career was on the up when he made the biggest move of his career — signing for West Ham.

A deadline-day signing from Bristol City for £1.5 million, Maynard joined on the same January 2012 day as Ravel Morrison and Ricardo Vaz Te. Co-owner David Gold tweeted his delight about Maynard’s arrival and the forward, who had scored 45 goals for Bristol City in 124 league appearances, signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with an option of a further year at Upton Park.

West Ham already had Carlton Cole, John Carew, Frederic Piquionne and Sam Baldock as their forwards and Maynard’s excitement soon faded when he learned what manager Sam Allardyce had planned for him.

“Sam talked about how big West Ham was and the way the team will play,” he says. “He said the team create a lot of chances but don’t really put the chances away so he made me very excited about playing and getting on the end of those chances — but I didn’t realise that Sam’s idea of a chance was a long cross into the box. That wasn’t what I viewed as a chance.”

Maynard would last six months at West Ham, helping them win promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs, but of their 21 league and play-offs games after he signed, he started only seven, and scored three goals. Cole (1,305) and Vaz Te (1,268) played far more minutes than his 743 over that period.

“When I wasn’t in the first XI I never thought that West Ham was a mistake or I wasn’t happy with my decision because in my first start (a 4-1 away win over Blackpool) I had a few chances so I felt good,” he says.

“But the more games I played, the more I realised that the way Sam wanted to play didn’t really suit me at the time. Sam liked to like with one up top, which would’ve been John Carew or Carlton Cole, because they were big men. I played out wide in a front three in a few games, which was out of my comfort zone. I was trying to adapt because I wanted to play but I was never going to be as effective out wide as I would have been as a No 9.”

Maynard scored in the second leg of the play-off semi-final against future club Cardiff, but was an unused substitute at Wembley as they beat Blackpool 2-1, with Cole and Vaz Te getting the goals, to return to the top flight.

“With hindsight maybe I was a bit more patient than I should’ve been,” he says. “I scored in the play-offs and thought it was a good end to the season. I was hoping for a place in the team but again it didn’t work out the way I would’ve hoped.

“The goal against Cardiff was my only goal at the Boleyn Ground. That’s probably my best memory at West Ham and I remember when I scored I hit the corner flag and that was more out of frustration. (Allardyce’s assistant) Wally Downes was trying to fire me up on the bench, saying if I come on don’t mess this up. Then I said, ‘If you get me on I will score.’ It proved that given the opportunity I know what I’m capable of.”

Maynard knew the writing really was on the wall at West Ham the following August when he was called into Allardyce’s office to hear about his latest acquisition.

“The start of the Premier League season, we had a League Cup game against Crewe and I scored,” he says. “So I thought ‘maybe I’ve given the manager something to think about.’ The day after, he pulled me into his office and said he’s looking to sign Andy Carroll (on loan from Liverpool) so it will limit my chances of playing.

“I didn’t know what it was about at first so it did come as a shock. It’s football and you either sit down and cry about it or prove a point. But when I left Sam’s office I was gutted because I never felt like I had the opportunity at West Ham to prove I was good enough.”

Another player unable to fulfil his full potential at West Ham was Morrison. The Manchester United academy product’s talent was never in doubt and he was once hailed by Sir Alex Ferguson as the “best he had ever seen”. When the midfielder joined West Ham, Ferguson told Allardyce: “I hope you can sort him out because if you can, he’ll be a genius.”

There were glimpses — his goal against Tottenham Hotspur in October 2015 made The Athletic’s Greatest Goals series — but he was never consistent and found himself loaned out to Birmingham City, Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City before his contract was terminated in February 2015. Now 27, he has since had career stops in Italy, Mexico and Sweden and was on loan at Middlesbrough from Sheffield United when football was suspended six weeks ago.

“Everyone asks who’s the best player I’ve played with and I always say it’s Ravel Morrison,” Maynard says. “It’s a shame he’s never fulfilled his potential as an England player or a regular Premier League player.

“Rav was just in his own little bubble. It’s shame, because he’s probably one of the most gifted players I’ve played with. I tried to give him advice but Rav is his own guy. Alex Ferguson tried to put an arm around him and couldn’t, so if Ferguson can’t do it then Nicky Maynard definitely can’t. He would be in the England squad now (if he fulfilled his potential).

“Me and him one-on-one was good. He was polite with my family and well mannered but in other circles with other people he would act differently. I have nothing but good words to say about Rav and it’s just a shame he’s never really fulfilled his potential.”

Maynard’s departure from West Ham in 2012 led to that three-year spell with Cardiff and two at MK Dons. After leaving them in 2017 he contemplated retirement due to a lack of interest from clubs. Eventually he joined Aberdeen in the Scottish top flight, spending an unhappy year away from his family which he says damaged his standing back in England.

“I expected to play a lot of football at Aberdeen, but that didn’t happen,” he says. “Derek McInnes said I would be one of the top players in Scotland and he was looking forward to working with me again (McInnes had previously managed him at Bristol City) but I hardly played. I kept coming on for like the last five to 10 minutes of games (Maynard started just twice in the league). There was a game where I came off the bench and had done well. That night the manager phoned me and said ‘well done for keeping your head’ and that I’d done what had been asked of me.

“So following that chat, I expected to start the next game, against Hamilton. We didn’t know the team until the day of the game and I was on the bench again. I was thinking, ‘What is going on?’ I was so annoyed during the warm-up. The assistant manager pulled me to one side and said the manager didn’t start me because of the 3G pitch and he didn’t know if my knees would hold up, but that was just nonsense. It felt like a cop-out.

“On my Wikipedia it shows the amount of games I’ve played and it doesn’t look good for people who don’t watch Scottish football, so that killed me.”

Maynard rediscovered his love for the game last season at Bury, where he scored 21 goals in 37 league appearances as they won automatic promotion from League Two, but it was his Hollywood-themed arrival at Mansfield that made him the talk of the town.

In the club’s transfer “reveal” video, Carolyn Radford, the club’s chief executive turns up in a Rolls-Royce to meet Maynard at Faro Airport in Portugal and is then driven to a villa to pose for photos and sign a contract. The video went viral on social media, with Maynard’s unease apparent.

“That lad will be getting absolutely ripped at training,” was one of the more repeatable replies to the club’s tweet.

“I did not sign up for that! There was so much banter with lads from Mansfield and lads that I’ve made played with,” he says. “I didn’t know any of that until I arrived in Portugal. It was like a reality TV show and I didn’t expect it to go viral the way it did. Before that, they said there’s going to be a camera crew so be ready. It was funny but I didn’t expect it.”

Mansfield, 21st in League Two, are among the 71 EFL clubs waiting to find out what will happen next, with The Athletic revealing last week that their chairman John Radford set up a WhatsApp group among lower-league clubs to try to find solutions to the financial strife brought on by the coronavirus lockdown. The chances of the fourth tier’s season resuming any time soon are slim but Maynard is still doing his work, keeping himself fit, though he would prefer not to return to play the remaining 10 matches behind closed doors.

“It would feel like a training game,” he says. “I understand the health and safety of others but at the same time it’s a contact sport. I don’t really agree with the idea of playing behind closed doors but I understand the games need to be fulfilled, so it’s a case of catch-22.

“They (the club) been checking in on us every week. We’ve been given this week off, because we’ve been training five days a week. We have to log our training in an app, which logs how far we’ve run so there’s no cutting corners. This Saturday just gone was supposed to be our last game of the season. So the gaffer said to take a week off and enjoy time with our family.”

And he has been enjoying it. Aside from honing the football skills of sons Camden and Trent, he and wife Tara have also been working on their own footwork, posting a clip of themselves that will ring a bell with many movie fans.

“We tried to recreate Dirty Dancing. We had one of our little boys videoing us and she nearly fell in the water,” says Maynard, the striker who is never still for long.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

tnb 11:35 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals
And yeah, Maynard was shit. Baldock I thought should have potentially been given more of a chance, but this chap was the definition of an overachieving lower league player (and actually he wasn’t even particularly overachieving at Bristol, bar one fairly good season) who was utterly deficient from the first look at a higher level - even if that higher level was in the same league but at a club with slightly above mediocre ambitions.

He’s absolutely spot on that he wasn’t a winger, but he also wasn’t much of a striker either.

tnb 11:26 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals

Or even worse than that, the whole move which would be Jarvis racing off ahead only to inexplicably stop and turn back inside before floating in the useless cross.

That was the thing I never understood about Allardyce. If you want to play sling it in the box football then go for it, but at least try to beat the defender and get the ball in with some pace. For all the time he had Carroll, as limited a weapon as he was, I can barely remember more than a handful of occasions when he actually got the chance to properly attack a ball.

Leeshere 6:35 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals
‘I didn’t realise Sam’s idea of a chance was a long cross into the box’. God, that statement brought back bad memories of Matt Jarvis floating shit crosses into no-one all match.

cholo 9:43 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals
Honestly forgot about this bloke and at first thought you were talking about Nicky Morgan.

Can't believe he's still "only" 33, seems like a lifetime ago (not as long ago as Morgan obviously).

Lee Trundle 9:09 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals
“Everyone asks who’s the best player I’ve played with and I always say it’s Ravel Morrison,”

There's still some that believe the hype around Morrison? He'll likely be playing League 1 football next season.

Stepney.Ammer 8:37 Wed Nov 3
Re: Interview with Nicky Maynard - Remember him ? 14 Games 2 Goals
Fuck me, had completely forgotten about him playing for us.

Mind you, there is a lot of BFS' time that has been eradicated from my memory. Don't care what people say about him doing a 'job' getting us promoted / keeping us up, bloke was a cunt and destroyed for what watching West ham was all about.

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