My week with West Ham

The upcoming week will be a crucial one for West Ham United. On Wednesday the Hammers travel to St. Andrews in order to defend their 2-1 advantage from the League Cup semi-final first leg against Birmingham City. On Friday the Olympic Park Legacy Company is set to decide whether the East London club or their rivals Tottenham Hotspurs will be handed the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 London Olympics. And during the week we hope we’ll get confirmation that the club has eventually signed new players. They are needed, very much needed!

Proceeding to their first Wembley final in 30 years would be a large boost for the Irons. It would not only be a massive achievement in a season which hasn’t developped well so far, I’m sure it would also give the squad even more confidence in their battle for escape from relegation! But the task is a difficult one. Two strikers out suspended and Carlton Cole struggling to get fit in time. Still I’m not sure if Scott Parker is allowed to play as he has been shown his fifth yellow card in the game against Everton. Will he be suspended in the League Cup or against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup or in the next league game versus Blackpool?

Who will get one of the 30.000+ tickets for Wembley?

And if the Hammers go through, another crucial question must be answered: Will I stand a chance to get a ticket for the final? Not being a season ticket holder I haven’t been able to pre-register for a ticket within the pre-registration period which was open until Friday evening. West Ham have informed us that selling arrangements for all other supporters including Academy/Youth Academy members and those with cup priority will only be published if the Hammers are successful on Wednesday 26 January. Prior to Friday 4 February, all final ticket sales would be restricted to bondholders and season ticket holders only – on a one ticket per person basis.

New problems and new support for the Olympic Stadium bid

After having to shake my head whith disbelief when I heard that Pele was supporting the Spurs bid for the OS, another twist to this saga might arise:

Leyton Orient, the second-oldest club in the English capital, has protested against West Ham’s as well as Tottenham’s take over of the stadium at Stratford. The Brisbane Road ground of the League One club is only two miles away from the OS, and the Orient board has pointed to Premier League and Football League rules which state that consent shall only be given for clubs to move if it “would not adversely affect clubs having their registered grounds in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location”.

Orient’s statement added: “The club has appealed to the Premier League and the Football League, both of whom would be in breach of their own regulations if they were to sanction a move for either West Ham United or Tottenham Hotspur, but the silence is deafening…”

On the Olympic front West Ham have received backing by Sebastian Lord Coe, the president of London 2012 (pictured right): As West Ham’s bid, which also has the backing of the local Newham council, would keep the venue as a multi-sport venue, including an athletics track, Lord Coe said that only their bid would fulfill London’s ”moral obligation” to preserve the Olympic Stadium as a multi-sport facility:

“It’s serious we deliver what we said we were going to unless we’re prepared to trash our reputation,” he said.

A message to supporters

Many fans are strongly objected to West Ham’s move though the number of supporters thinking positive about the possibility to play in the OS seems to have grown in recent weeks. Now the West Ham board, which has come under criticism because of not having involved the supporters so far, has issued a message to them over the week-end stating that West Ham would adapt the stadium to become a proper new football home – as well as a busy and thriving destination for multi-sports and live events on all scales. Sullivan’s and Gold’s message also read:

“We are not just picking up our goalposts and taking them with us, we would embark on a substantial and significant transformation. It is a state of the art, world-class venue which would be intimate and impressive at the same time for football. The shape of the stadium and the hi-tech roof extension would also add to the experience – keeping the noise in and the wind out.

“Every fan would be able to see the ball on the pitch at all times – not true of many stadiums. Our sightlines have all been designed with fan experience in mind and no seat would have a worse view than the furthest seat at Wembley.

“Indeed, our furthest seats in the upper tier are several metres closer than their Wembley equivalent. It would be a flexible and vibrant arena that could easily transform from catering for 25,000 at an athletics meeting through to 60,000 for football right up to 100,000-plus for a world-class concert …”

Well, I hope I will be able to join in the conversation about Wembley soon… Depends on Wednesday’s result and … (tickets, y’know!)

News signings imminent?

But though the decision for or against the OS is very important for the future, it is the present situation that worries us most: West Ham badly need to make some signings during this window, and the window is going to close in what isn’t much more than a week’s time. Today BBC and other sources reported that Hoffenheim’s striker Ba eventually will be signing on loan. Let’s hope it’s true, and let’s hope he is fit. As he has had a winter break in the German Bundesliga he hasn’t played for five or six weeks and, even more alarming, he already failed to pass a medical at Stoke just some days ago. It wouldn’t be West Ham if they didn’t sign him anyway! And I’m sure he won’t be signed in time to help out at the game against Birmingham on Wednesday…

There have been some rumours that Niko Kranjcar who is out of favour at Tottenham could be a transfer target for West Ham. I think he could be a good signing (especially for me as his father played for Rapid Vienna some 20 or 30 years ago, and he kicked the ball first in the youth team of the Green-Whites), but as I don’t see any business done between Spurs and Hammers, it’s a no-go!

So let’s wait and see who is going to be the second new signing following new boy Wayne Bridge who had a better game at Goodison Park on Saturday than on his debut against Arsenal.

Let’s wait???

No, I can’t wait, not till Wednesday! But I fear there’s no getting round to it! It’s still Monday.


  1. rapidhammer said...

    Entscheidung verschoben! Die Olympic Park Legacy Co. braucht ein paar Tage länger, um alle Fakten zu prüfen! Und, so wurde ergänzt, die dritte mögliche Variante müsse auch ins Kalkül gezogen werden: Verkleinerung des OS auf 25.000 Zuschauer und Verwendung als Leichtathletik-Anlage.

    Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:31 AM | Permalink
  2. rapidhammer said...

    # Transfer news: West Ham set to sign Gary O’Neil from Middlesbrough
    Hoffenheim have also agreed to loan Demba Ba to the Hammers until the end of the season.
    # West Ham transfer news: Hammers complete striker swoop – Hoffenheim’s Demba Ba has joined on loan until the end of the season.

    Posted January 25, 2011 at 7:33 AM | Permalink
  3. rapidhammer said...

    Karren Brady on the Stadium move:

    Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

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