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Alan 1:14 Mon Dec 24
Christmas Eve newspapers

Happy Christmas to all Whoers


Italian giants Juventus want to sign Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer in the summer. (Sky Italia)

Fellow Serie A sides Inter and AC Milan have been priced out of signing 27-year-old Ramsey because he wants an annual salary of £9m. (Calciomercato)

However, German champions Bayern Munich remain interested in signing the Wales international, whose Gunners contract expires at the end of the season. (Mail)

Bayern and fellow Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund are competing to sign Chelsea's 18-year-old England Under-19 forward Callum Hudson-Odoi. (Goal)

Juventus are interested in signing Manchester United's 25-year-old Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Arsenal will have to break their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe because Lille want £72m for the 23-year-old Ivory Coast winger. (Telefoot, via Metro)

Everton will sanction January loan moves for Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy and Senegal striker Oumar Niasse, both 28. (Mirror)

Newcastle are interested in signing Eintracht Frankfurt's Netherlands full-back Jetro Willems, 24, in January. (Mail)

Chelsea should sign West Ham's 29-year-old Austria forward Marko Arnautovic, according to former Blues striker Tony Cascarino. (Talksport)

Southampton's Italy striker Manolo Gabbiadini, 27, is wanted by Fiorentina. (La Nazione - in Italian)

Fulham are considering a move for 29-year-old Besiktas and Croatia defender Domagoj Vida. (Fotomac - in Turkish)

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez wants to sign a winger next month. (Chronicle)

Bayern Munich's French winger Franck Ribery, 35, is open to extending his contract for another season. (Sky, via Goal)

Lyon and France midfielder Nabil Fekir, 25, who came close to joining Liverpool in the summer, has been offered a move to Real Madrid. (Marca)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith wants to strengthen his side's defence during the January transfer window. (Express and Star)

Preston are set to move for Walsall's 21-year-old English midfielder Josh Ginnelly. (Lancashire Post)

Birmingham City fans are disappointed the club did not receive more tickets for their FA Cup third-round tie at West Ham on 5 January. (Birmingham Mail)


Boxing Day bonus for the Irons?

The Hammers look 99.99 per cent certain to remain no lower than joint 11th after the Boxing Day fixtures have been played out.

And there is the possibility we could rise to seventh or eighth if we really want to be optimistic about the way things could look after we have been to St Mary’s.

A win will put us on 27 points and should Everton (at Burnley), Wolves (at Fulham), Leicester (home to Man City) Bournemouth (at Spurs) and Watford (home to Chelsea) all get the wrong results we could be hitting the heights given a win on the south coast.

Below us, Brighton (21 points but with a four goal inferior goal difference to us) host Arsenal, Palace (18) welcome Cardiff and Newcastle are at Liverpool.

Realistically, looking at both sets of matches, I would expect us to move into eighth or ninth with a win but the prediction game over Christmas is the most dangerous of the season.

Fingers crossed.


The Political Economy of Football

In depth look at West Ham finances

The authoritative Swiss Ramble has been hard at work on Christmas Eve taking a look at the accounts of West Ham United. West Ham’s 2017/18 financial results covered their second season at the new London Stadium, which the club described as 'difficult'.

Profit before tax reduced by £25m from £43m to £18m, as revenue fell by £8m (4%) to £175m, though profit on player sales was up £2m to £30m. Despite the revenue decline, wages increased by £12m (12%) to £107m.

Match receipts were £4.1m (14%) lower at £24.5m, due to no Europa League; while commercial fell £3m (9%) to £32m, mainly due to one-offs in the previous year; and broadcasting was slightly lower at £119m, due to lower Premier League place.

Only one Premier League club made a loss in 16/17, but the Swiss Ramble notes that financial results are normally worse in the second year of the TV deal, which is the case in 17/18. Despite the lower West Ham United profit, their £18m is actually second best of clubs that have reported to date, only behind Manchester United £26m.

After a lengthy period of losses (adding up to £144m in the seven years up to 2013), West Ham have now been profitable in four of the last five years (and the 2016 loss was less than £5m).

68% of West Ham revenue comes from broadcasting, but this is the most balanced revenue mix outside of the 'Big Six'. In fact, around half of the clubs in the Premier League earn 80-90% from TV.

The move to the new London Stadium has not exactly been a money-spinner with £25m match day income actually lower than last season at Boleyn (£27m), though a better comparative would be £20m in a 'normal' season.

The average attendance of 56,923 was the fourth highest in the Premier League, only beaten by Manchester United, Tottenham (playing at Wembley) and Arsenal. Capacity will be increased to 60,000 from January.

Since 2013 the club's commercial income is up 61% from £20m to £32m, but absolute growth of only £12m means that the gap to the leading clubs has actually widened, e.g. Manchester United grew by £124m over the same period to an incredible £277m. Stadium naming rights are still up for grabs and in my view are potentially a big game changer in terms of income. However, there seems to be less appetite for this form of sponsorship.

The wage bill increased £12m (12%) from £95m to £107m in 2017/18, increasing the wages to turnover ratio from 52% to a still acceptable 61% following the revenue fall. This is their highest ratio in five years, though it is fairly common for this to worsen in the second year of a three-year Premier League TV deal. Since 2013, wages have almost doubled, pretty much in line with the revenue increase. Despite the increase in the wage bill to £107m, this is still (just) in the bottom half of the Premier League, behind Leicester £113m, Southampton £112m and Palace £112m. Perhaps a better comparison is Everton, whose £145m wages are a sizeable £38m higher than the Hammers.


Southampton vs West Ham preview: Marko Arnautovic could return for visitors

Marko Arnautovic is in the running to return to action for West Ham's trip to Southampton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.

The Austria international has missed the last three matches after sustaining the injury in the first half of the Hammers' 3-1 victory against Cardiff on December 4, but is almost ready to step up his comeback.

He will be needed for West Ham, who slipped to a surprise defeat at home to Watford on Saturday, having picked up four successive wins previously.

"In this moment, we have eight players injured," Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini said. "We know that December and January are key months for results at the end of the season.

"I hope we can recover some players, especially Marko Arnautovic. Maybe he'll be ready next week, but one of the merits of this team is to win games with a lot of players out of the squad."

Southampton will be looking for a third win in a row, after picked up back-to-back wins with a 3-1 success at Huddersfield on Saturday, this first time they have won twice in succession since April.
Team news

Southampton will be without midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. The midfielder picked up his fifth yellow card of the season late on in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Huddersfield and must serve a one-match suspension.

Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is unlikely to make many other changes after seeing his side win two matches in a row. Teenage striker Michael Obafemi will hope for more game time after becoming Southampton's youngest ever Premier League scorer on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Cedric Soares remains a slight doubt with a calf strain, while Ryan Bertrand is unlikely to return following a back injury.

Fabian Balbuena and Javier Hernandez have joined West Ham's injury list ahead of the trip to face Saints.

Defender Balbuena suffered a knee injury against Watford on Saturday and striker Hernandez came off with back and hamstring problems.

As well as Arnautovic's fitness, Lucas Perez (foot) will be assessed after he picked up a foot inury that has kept him out since the win over Cardiff.

Jack Wilshere, Ryan Fredericks (both ankle), Andriy Yarmolenko (Achilles), Carlos Sanchez (knee), Winston Reid (knee) and Manuel Lanzini (ACL) remain long-term absentees.

Opta stats

Southampton have only lost one of their previous nine home league games against West Ham (W4 D4), with that lone defeat coming in February 2017 (1-3).
West Ham are looking to win back-to-back games against Southampton in the Premier League for the first time since October 2001 (a run of four wins).
After winning their first ever away game at Southampton in the Premier League (2-0 in November 1993), West Ham have won just two of 15 such games since (D6 L7).
This match between Southampton and West Ham United will be the ninth Premier League match played on a Thursday since the start of 2016/17 - none of the previous eight have been won by the side playing at home (W0 D4 L4).
Charlie Austin has never scored a Premier League goal on a Thursday (two games) but has scored on every other day of the week during his Premier League career. Should he score in his match, he'd be the 26th different player to score on every day of the week in the Premier League.

Merson's prediction

This should be a good game. West Ham were flying along before losing to Watford, while Southampton are showing you when you run around and work hard, like Man Utd did, they all have the talent and it is amazing what happens.

They now have a bit of confidence and are all working hard but, despite losing on Saturday, West Ham are also a decent team, so I am going to go for 2-2 here.


Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

COOL HAND LUKE 12:05 Wed Dec 26
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Cheers Al, best wishes for 2019 fella.

Blimey - squad is looking a bit Fred Bear for Soton...

Westham67 3:19 Tue Dec 25
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan Merry Christmas

LeroysBoots 1:21 Tue Dec 25
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
The accounts make for dismal reading, if school report would say could do better

Who the fuck is running our commercial arm ?, Brady ?, should be flicking sucked for not bringing better revenue streams in

Sydney_Iron 10:30 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Mex Martillo 9:52 Mon Dec 24

Mex Martillo 9:52 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan
Merry Christmas all

Mr Logic 9:41 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan,

Merry Christmas

the exile 9:10 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan. I look at this just about every day. Much appreciated.

Jasnik 7:28 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Don't understand the c&h post how does that work if we are currently 12th .

Texas Iron 6:07 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Xmas Cheers...

gph 4:39 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Another year I've passed Alan's Christmas decoration epilepsy test...

It's better to know, so Thanks Alan.

Have a good holiday.

Queens Fish Bar 3:58 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan, always appreciated.

Seasons greetings.

Sarge 3:04 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
thanks Alan - and I'll second what Troy said

Troy McClure 2:22 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Tweets = threads

Troy McClure 2:22 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
I’d like to put on record my annual appreciation to Alan for his newspaper tweets I always give these a glance on a daily basis and appreciate the work you do mate thanks very much and Merry Christmas to you and your family 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

Tomshardware 2:12 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thank You Alan. Merry Christmas.

Far Cough 1:56 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Merry Christmas Alan and thanks

Mike Oxsaw 1:56 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Be having a Christmas that is merrily on high, thank you please, Alan.

cockney hammer 1:44 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
thanks alan merry christmas to you and yours

Takashi Miike 1:31 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
🎄🎅 Thanks Alan 🎅🎄

Mr. Burns 1:28 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Cheers Al. Merry Christmas.

Thanks Alan 1:16 Mon Dec 24
Re: Christmas Eve newspapers
Thanks Alan - and Happy Christmas

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