WHO Poll
Q: 2019/20 With seven games to go will West Ham stay up
a. Our demise was sealed when the idiots on the Board appointed Moyes, we're down
b. Despite the efforts of Moyes and the players, we will stay up by the smallest of margins
c. I'm beyond caring & couldn't give two hoots either way

Alan 1:23 Sun Sep 22
Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Tottenham forward Lucas Moura, 27, and midfielder Eric Dier, 25, are high on Manchester United's list of transfer targets. (Star)

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Paris St-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel as a potential replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer if results do not improve. (Mail)

Meanwhile, Manchester United are keen to discuss a contract extension for France midfielder Paul Pogba with the 26-year-old's agent Mino Raiola in the next few weeks. (ESPN)

However, manager Solskjaer is determined not to sell Pogba to Real Madrid. (Mirror)

Arsenal are hoping to re-sign Dutch forward Donyell Malen, after he scored 10 goals in 13 games this season for PSV Eindhoven. The 20-year-old, who was sold by the Gunners for £500,000 two years ago, is also a target for Liverpool. (Mirror)

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Unai Emery has appealed for patience from fans as he works to get the best out of his new signing, Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe, 24. (Express)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane says he is "not bothered" about rumours that former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could replace him at the La Liga side. (Sun)

Zidane also claimed Real Madrid's failure to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, 27, and Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, 22, this summer was down to the board and not him. (Sun)

Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Middlesbrough are among the clubs interested in Wolves centre-back Cameron John, 20, who is on loan at Doncaster Rovers. (Mail)

Juventus have reportedly joined the race to sign Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland, 19. Manchester United and Manchester City are also interested in the forward, who scored a hat-trick in his side's 6-2 Champions League defeat over Genk earlier this week. (Mirror)

Aston Vila are set to compete with Leeds United for the signature of Coventry City defender Sam McCallum, 19. (Birmingham Mail)

With the transfer window closed, Bristol City boss Lee Johnson says he could look at free agent signings following the long-term knee injury suffered by on-loan Stoke City striker striker Benik Afobe, 26. (Bristol Post)

The Athletic (Article Donated by Scouse Kid)

By Roshane Thomas

It is a warm afternoon at Luton Town’s training ground and George Moncur, Dan Potts, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Marek Stech and Elliot Lee are all reflecting on their youth days at West Ham United. They burst into laughter as Stech explains why he was no longer able to play for the first team.

Stech joined the Hammers from Sparta Prague as a promising young goalkeeper in 2006 and having honed his skills under West Ham’s former goalkeeping coach Ludek Miklosko, he made his debut for the first team in 2010 in a League Cup tie against Oxford United. But nine years on, Stech still remembers the moment he was effectively told he had no future at the club due to a clause in his contract.

“I played three cup games for West Ham against Oxford, Sunderland and Stoke and after that, Karren Brady (West Ham’s vice-chairman) told me I could no longer play for the first team,” Stech says. “I had a clause in my contract that if I played five games, then West Ham would have to pay Sparta Prague.”

At this point, the group laughs and Stech continues.

“We reached the quarter-final and then after, she came into the changing room and said I couldn’t play any more. So after the three games I played, they said I couldn’t sit on the bench again — all because they didn’t want to pay the money.”

David Sullivan, the club’s co-chairman, confirmed at the time that West Ham had tried hard to renegotiate the deal with Sparta, who had refused.

“The club didn’t want to risk playing me again and obviously, Rob Green never got injured. He literally played every game,” says Stech. “So then I went on loan for the rest of the season and then the following, year I left.”

There is a sizeable former West Ham contingent at Luton with Moncur, 26, Potts, 25, Mpanzu, 25, Stech, 29, and Lee, 24, all plying their trade for the Championship club, who won League One last season.

Out of the five, Mpanzu is the longest-serving player, having initially joined Luton on loan in 2013. Potts arrived in 2015, Stech and Lee joined in 2017 — although the latter had a loan spell in 2015 — and the club signed Moncur, son of West Ham stalwart John, from Barnsley in January this year.

Mpanzu and Moncur are both central midfielders, Potts is a left back and Lee plays as a striker. It’s not usual that five players from one academy all end up in a first-team, let alone at a different club.

To boot, former West Ham academy starlet Olly Lee, older brother of Elliot, also played for Luton between 2015 and 2018.

Remarkably Luton’s 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season featured seven players who either played for West Ham or featured in their academy. Potts, Mpanzu, Lee and Moncur, who came off the bench, played in that game for Luton while former players Darren Randolph, Ashley Fletcher and Marcus Browne all featured for Jonathan Woodgate’s side.

But having known each other since they were teenagers, Potts, Moncur, Lee, Mpanzu and Stech remain a tight-knit group — the jokes are as strong as ever.

The discussion quickly turns to initiation songs and the group laughs once more when Stech proudly admits he sang R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” during the club’s pre-season trip to Slovenia in 2017.

They cast their minds back to the days when they trained at Chadwell Health, and the topic of first-team debuts resurfaces. Judging by the expression on his face, it is evident Moncur still remembers that unfortunate day.

“I made my first-team debut in the cup game against Nottingham Forest and I had a shocker,” he says. “We lost 5-0 and I got taken off after 55 minutes. I think Sam (Allardyce) hammered me at half-time and I probably didn’t see another claret and blue shirt after that match. But when I was around the first team, Allardyce was the manager at the time and I just don’t think I was his cup of tea. It was him and Neil McDonald and, no disrespect to them, I just don’t think I was their sort of player.”

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu celebrates Luton’s League One title triumph last term (Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Potts says his first-team debut for West Ham, which arrived against Barnsley in the Championship in 2011, just a day after he penned his first professional contract, came as a surprise.

“I found out I was making my debut five minutes before kick-off,” he says. “I knew I was on the bench beforehand but the sports scientist came up to me and said I should do some sprints because I could be playing, so I did my warm-up and went into the changing room.

“Then the gaffer told me I was playing. Before I knew it, the game started and there I was making my debut for West Ham. The back had George McCartney and James Tomkins at centre half, and Henri Lansbury came on to play at right back. That’s how stretched we were in defence.”

The players then share their varied experiences out on loan — tales that are common for youngsters that tried to break through at big clubs. In 2014, Lee joined Southend on loan but failed to make a league outing.

“My first loan spell was at Colchester and then I went to Southend United for a couple of hours,” he deadpans. “In my first training session there, I injured my hamstring and then my loan got cancelled. I had a few other loan spells after that and then me and Monks (George Moncur) moved to Barnsley together.”

For Potts, it came as a shock when he arrived at training, only to be informed he had been recalled by West Ham.

“I was on loan at Colchester and Portsmouth but I never had a season-long loan,” says Potts. “I turned up to training one day (at Colchester) and the players were looking me at like, ‘Why are you here?’. Then I was like, ‘Why, what’s happened?’. Then they said, ‘Haven’t you heard? You’re not part of it any more. You’ve been called back’. So I ended up going back to West Ham and I played on the weekend.

“But I think now it’s getting harder for young players, especially if you’re in the academy at big teams. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to get into the team to start with. Then, if you get in, it can be challenging because if you don’t have a good game, or make a few mistakes which costs the team, then it could affect your confidence.”

Mpanzu interjects: “It also depends on the manager because if he has faith in you, he will play you regardless. But it’s true what Dan says because a little bit of luck is needed along the way. Most young players get a chance when a first-team player is injured.”

The discussion turns to how these Luton players felt when they left West Ham. The groups admits, having frequently trained with members of the West Ham first team, that the pathway for something more meaningful seemed fanciful. They were approaching the age where they needed to play and they have no regrets over their decisions to leave.

“I think it got to a stage with some of the young boys that we would train with the first team every day but we knew we wouldn’t play,” says Lee. “When you reach the age of 21, 22, you want to be playing regular football and a lot of us felt like that. You start thinking, ‘Well I’ve been here long enough. Am I really going to get a chance? I’ve been out on loan and it just gets to a point where it’s like it’s better for my football to settle somewhere and just play’.”

Stech agrees. “When I left West Ham, it was about getting my career going again,” he says. “I was on loan at clubs and it would be difficult because I wasn’t playing every game. It was the odd game here and there I would play. When I got released, I played for Yeovil Town and it was great because I played more than 50 games in one season, which I had never done before. I made more appearances in that one season than in the previous four years I was at West Ham.”

Barring their first-team debuts, the group agrees a particular highlight of their time at West Ham was getting to know Mark Noble. He offered advice to young players coming through the ranks, having also been in a similar position many years prior.

“I still watch West Ham now and I’m always going to look out for their results,” Potts says. “Noble was great to us when we were coming through the ranks. A lot of people just see what he does on the pitch but he’s a very funny bloke, as well. His banter is very good. One thing I’ll always remember is that the team under Allardyce was very tight-knit. It was a good group and Allardyce brought in some good players. People like Kevin Nolan were a great help, too.”

Uppermost on Lee’s mind, however, is a training session he experienced with former West Ham player Dimitri Payet.

“I trained with Payet a few times and he was a joke,” says Lee. “I remember one training session, he done his trick and scored top bins with his weaker foot. Everyone just looked at him in astonishment. He was on a different level but he was a great guy and he encouraged a lot of the young lads.”

As the conversation with the group reaches a close, they pay tribute to their friend Dylan Tombides, who died of testicular cancer in 2014. He was particularly close to Moncur, who has a tattoo on his arm in memory of his friend. That year, Moncur posted the image on his Twitter account, saying “My best mate always with me forever Dylan Tombides.”

“I remember Dylan turning up to training with a strong Aussie accent, terrible gear and a terrible trim,” says Potts. “We came back for pre-season one summer and he looked a completely different player. He was frightening in training. His finishing and touch improved and then it went on from there. He trained with the first team and then it looked like he was going to play loads of games because, as a forward, he had everything.

“At the time I thought, ‘OK, he has it (testicular cancer) but he’ll be able to get it treated’. Then there was one time I remember speaking to him and he told me he had to go to Germany for treatment and that will always stick in my mind because at the time I thought, ‘Why are you going all the way to Germany for?’.

“I thought the chemotherapy was quite short for testicular cancer so when Dylan told me that I thought, ‘Maybe it’s got worse? Or maybe it’s spread?’ and then it wasn’t too long after that he passed away.”

Moncur will always remember the good times he shared with Dylan.

He says: “It’s one of those things where it all just happened out of the blue. No one saw it coming and then he passed away. It feels weird talking about it because me and him were really close and we used to do a lot of things together. All the great memories me and Dylan had will always stay with me.”

Last season Luton finished top of League One with 94 points, having only lost six league games in 46 matches to automatically seal promotion to the Championship. It is their first time back in this division since the 2006-07 campaign and with Graeme Jones at the helm, the group has aspirations of a potential play-off push but know realistically, they have to secure their league position in the second tier of English football first.

Barring Moncur, the quartet of Mpanzu, Lee, Stech and Potts joined Luton when the club were in the lower echelons of English football. They have been part of the club’s remarkable journey and, having pushed each other over the years, the journey to the Championship has been that extra bit special.

“Honestly, it’s been great playing with these lads,” Mpanzu says. “For me personally, the motivation to improve will always be there. I started out in non-League (at Boreham Wood), so you have never let that motivation go.”

Potts agrees.

“We’ve been playing together for so many years now, from youth games at Upton Park, first-team at West Ham and now at Luton,” he says. “So we’re always pushing each other to keep improving. I’ve been playing with Lee for like 15 years now. I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I’m going to do. In training, I always tell them what he’s going to do because he always does it. He will cut in and put it in the top corner.”

“It always happens so I tell the players to just kick him,” he finishes as the group burst into laughter again.

After years of uncertainty, these five former West Ham players seem to have found a good thing at Luton.

Evening Standard

Lanzini misses out as Wilshere starts - West Ham predicted team vs Manchester United

Here is how we think the Hammers could line up this afternoon

By Sam Inkersole

West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini will be a gameday decision on Sunday morning ahead of the Premier League meeting with Man Utd on Sunday at London Stadium.

The Argentine has an unspecified "small problem" according to manager Manuel Pellegrini and he was looked at on Saturday to determine his fitness but he is considered a big doubt for the game.

Needing a fitness test or review 24 hours before a game is never a good sign for a player but Pellegrini did not definitively rule the number ten out of the match up in E20.

The only other injures among the squad are two long-term ones for Michail Antonio and Winston Reid. Antonio is back in light training after undergoing hamstring surgery nearly a month ago, while Reid is still on the comeback trail following two knee surgeries in 18 months.

Pellegrini has a near fully fit squad to choose from this weekend, Lanzini's injury potentially changing that, so how could they line up for the match against Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's side.

Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble, Wilshere, Anderson, Yarmolenko; Haller.

The Hammers will be forced into at least one change as Arthur Masuaku is suspended following his sending off at Aston Villa on Monday night and Pellegrini all but confirmed at his pre-match press conference that Aaron Cresswell, not Ben Johnson, will replace the DR Congo left back.

We don't think Lanzini will make it so there is a decision for the manager to make if that is the case - replace him with Jack Wilshere or Pablo Fornals?

We have gone with Wilshere simply due to Premier League experience and Wilshere can play in his preferred number ten spot having been frozen out of the Premier League side in recent weeks.

But you can also argue the case for Fornals as it was he who came on as a substitute on Monday and not Wilshere, who remained on the bench n his recall to the squad.

The rest of the team picks itself, certainly the other defenders and Lukasz Fabianski, while Declan Rice and Mark Noble will patrol the midfield with Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Sebastien Haller will lead the line again and hope for a more fruitful afternoon than the evening he had on Monday where he was very isolated as the Hammers produced just one shot on target in the 90 minutes.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 7:51 Mon Sep 23
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan
Evening Standard got Wilshere wrong
Great win yesterday

Moncurs Putting Iron 5:42 Sun Sep 22
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Luton article was a great read. Thank Alanio

Coffee 2:07 Sun Sep 22
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Excellent Luton article. Thanks, Alan and Scouse Kid.

Thanks Alan 2:00 Sun Sep 22
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Short Tailed Weasel 1:42 Sun Sep 22

The Stoat 1:42 Sun Sep 22
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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