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Alan 12:48 Mon Sep 23
Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
BBC

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi, who is boss of Qatari side Al-Sadd, says it would not be a problem for him to manage former team-mates such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets at the Nou Camp. (Ara - in Spanish)

Tottenham sent a scout to watch Fiorentina's Italy Under-21 winger Riccardo Sottil as they step up their interest in the 20-year-old. (Express)

Chelsea's chances of signing Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj next summer may have been reduced by the Serie A club being ready to offer the 25-year-old Albanian a contract extension. (Express)

Manchester United are considering whether to introduce safe standing at Old Trafford. (Mail)

Everton manager Marco Silva has told his scouts to carry out another extensive check of RB Leipzig's Denmark striker Yussuf Poulsen, 25. (Express)

Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says the team are "worse" now than when he was sacked last December. (Times - subscription required)

Meanwhile, ex-United midfielder Roy Keane was "shocked and saddened" by how bad his former side were in their 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Sunday. (Sky Sports, via Evening Standard)

The Premier League is being urged to investigate revelations that Liverpool paid a £1m settlement to Manchester City in 2013 after a complaint the reigning champions' scouting system was hacked. (Times - subscription required)

Inter Milan's 26-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku, who joined the Italian outfit from Manchester United in the summer, says the Serie A club's coach Antonio Conte is someone who "helps me every day and gives me motivation". (Metro)

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle says he is living in "extra time" after his life was saved following a cardiac arrest last year. (Mirror)

About 1,000 Valencia fans protested against owner Peter Lim, who co-owns Salford City, and president Anil Murthy before their La Liga game against Leganes. (Marca)

Italy striker Mario Balotelli, who could make his Brescia debut against Juventus on Tuesday, says he has "worked harder in the last month and a half" than "in a decade of my career", as the 29-year-old targets a place in his country's squad for Euro 2020. (Football Italia)




Guardian Rumour Mill

Gregg Bakowski

Anyone who has watched Arsenal this season would know exactly what it is they need to take that next vital step towards becoming a fixture of the Premier League’s top four again. Unfortunately “anyone” is not in charge of recruitment at north London’s premier entertainment business, so instead of making a defender who can actually defend a priority, the Gunners will join the queue of clubs looking to sign PSV Eindhoven’s £50m-rated striker Donyell Malen, who has scored 10 goals in 13 games this season. That’s the same Donyell Malen who Arsenal sold to the unbeaten Eredivisie side for just £500,000 two years ago. Even if they really did need a forward, to save face and look vaguely competent, they really shouldn’t let it be known they’re interested in that one. It says here the Gunners will have to duke it out with 45 other unimaginative clubs who have a member of staff who knows how to type “in-form Dutch striker” into Google. Liverpool are on that lengthy list too.

While we’re on the subject of young strikers who have made lazy scouts sit up and take notice, Erling Braut Haaland’s hat-trick for RB Salzburg against Genk has got antennae twitching furiously at Juventus, Manchester United and Manchester City (where his dad plied his trade with reasonable success until his knee bumped into Roy Keane’s studs). The gigantic 19-year-old striker once stated his “dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds”, the city of his birth. So, Turin or east Manchester it is then. Another stumbling block for United is that Haaland’s agent is Mino Raiola, who is mightily miffed at Ole Gunnar Solskjær for not letting Paul Pogba leave Old Trafford last summer, which would have enabled him to trouser another astronomical fee. Poor Mino.

Manchester United may have better luck in chasing a couple of Tottenham players who have retreated to the fringes of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad. Lucas Moura and Eric Dier are both being watched carefully. While Moura has flitted in and out of the team this season despite having a decent impact at times, it’s hard to know just what Dier does any more. He’s played exactly zero minutes for Spurs this campaign. With Nemanja Matic seemingly on his way out of Old Trafford soon, United may have room in their squad for another chugger in midfield – and one-gear Dier could fit the bill.

If United were to sign Dier in January, would Solskjær even be at Old Trafford to tell him what to do? The word is that Thomas Tuchel is United’s No 1 candidate to rescue the club from a poor start this season, if Ole can be wrenched away from the wheel, that is.

Over in Spain, Florentino Pérez’s trigger finger is starting to get twitchy and Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Sevilla may not be enough to steady it. Having invested £275m into the squad last summer in exchange for an average start in La Liga and a dire one in the Champions League, Zinedine Zidane’s days may be numbered. Xabi Alonso, who is a year into his coaching career (which so far consists of a season with Real Madrid Under-14s and a few months with Real Sociedad’s B team) is being tipped to make a shock return to the Bernabéu as Zidane’s successor. Another man on the “shock return” list is José Mourinho, who seems to have got as bored with doing Premier League punditry as he did with managing Premier League teams.

And having heard the grinding noises emanating from Andy Carroll’s joints as he clanked around St James’s Park on Saturday, Steve Bruce is in the market for another forward this January. The Newcastle manager has targeted Josef Martinéz of Atalanta United and Venezuela. The sharp-shooting 26-year-old is currently injured, so he’s the perfect fit to fill in for Carroll.







Guardian

Aaron Cresswell seals victory for West Ham over toothless Manchester United

David Hytner at the London Stadium

For Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United, it was one of those flat and underwhelming performances that highlight how far from the top they have fallen and why the fight to reacquaint themselves with Champions League football this season promises to be so fraught.

The truth was that West Ham did not have to play too well to bolster their early-season positivity. They were comfortable after Andriy Yarmolenko’s goal just before the interval and the impression was that United could have played all day and failed to score. This was West Ham’s third successive clean sheet in the Premier League and the gloss for them came late on when Aaron Cresswell picked out David de Gea’s top corner with a beautifully executed 25-yard free-kick. At that point, the United inquest could begin.

Solskjær already had injury problems and they would worsen when Marcus Rashford was forced off with a groin complaint just after the hour. But the team he sent out singularly failed to impose themselves. Did they truly believe they would? It did not look that way. They lacked tempo and incision in the final third; it was a performance scarred by sloppiness and errors, and the club’s away-day woes go on. They have lost four and drawn three of their last seven Premier League games away from Old Trafford, their joint-longest run in the competition without a win.

West Ham have not enjoyed a particularly good recent record against the established top six – this was only their fourth victory in 21 fixtures – but the home crowd could bellow out the olés at the end. United’s Ole cringed.
“We have to scan him [Rashford] tomorrow,” Solskjær said. “Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on Monday week] and one of them for Rochdale [in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday].”

United suffered here last September in a 3-1 defeat that widened the cracks of the José Mourinho era and this was another ordeal, another embarrassment. Solskjær is determined to give youth its chance, to rebuild and re-energise the squad, and clearly he needs time to realise his vision. The inevitability of the bumps on the way do not lessen the pain.

One of the big questions was always going to be whether Solskjær’s line-up had the creativity to hurt West Ham. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were chief among the absentees and from the early stages it was plain that Rashford would have to feed on scraps.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team had a nice balance, with Declan Rice in front of the back four and menace from the flanks in Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. They have generally proved a tough nut to crack this season and they took charge upon Yarmolenko’s goal, which was marked by precision and quality. With Andreas Pereira standing off, Mark Noble found Anderson and he was in sync with Yarmolenko. When Anderson flicked the ball on his teammate was already on the move, using his first touch to power away from Harry Maguire and angling a low finish into the far corner.


Andriy Yarmolenko scores his side’s first goal. Photograph: Rob Newell - CameraSport/CameraSport via Getty Images

United wanted to counterattack but only once in the first half did they threaten to quicken the pulses of their supporters. Daniel James turned sharply to find Rashford and when Issa Diop missed his slide challenge, the United striker had yards to sprint into. Rice, though, had read the danger. He eased back and across to snuff out Rashford, a celebration of understated efficiency.

West Ham sought to keep the back door closed by whatever means necessary, with Angelo Ogbonna taking out Andreas Periera to collect a yellow card as United broke early on and Diop flattening James after misreading a ball. Mark Noble was also high and late on Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the 74th minute and was fortunate to receive only a booking.

Solskjær sent his players out early for the second half – a telltale sign of managerial dissatisfaction – and things would get worse for him when Rashford pulled up. He had played virtually every minute of United’s season up to that point, including the full game against Astana in the Europa League on Thursday. Had the heavy workload got to him? With Mason Greenwood absent because of tonsillitis, Solskjær sent on Jesse Lingard to lead the line.

West Ham could sit a little deeper after the break and look to counter, an approach that almost bore fruit when Anderson played a give-and-go with Yarmolenko before working De Gea at the near post.

For United, Juan Mata stretched but could not apply a decisive touch to a Pereira cross while Maguire shot low and too close to Lukasz Fabianski on 69 minutes after a corner had been worked to him. It was a bad miss – entirely in keeping with United’s day. Lingard also had a shot blocked by Yarmolenko.

“We deserved the three points,” said Pellegrini, and nobody could argue. “I am happy with everything today. We didn’t allow them to create chances and it’s another clean sheet. We are very consistent.”




Telegraph

West Ham fire woeful Manchester United warning over European spots with comprehensive victory

Sam Dean, at the London Stadium

Not even 60 seconds had passed when Andriy Yarmolenko, deep ­inside West Ham United’s half, ­produced his first backheel of the day, sending the ball spinning out of the reach of a flailing Manchester United forward and triggering the first attack for his side.

It was a sign of things to come for West Ham, a team who had no fear and, increasingly, no reason to hold back against a United side lacking any sort of invention, menace or purpose. The great heavyweights of the Premier League had no punches to throw, instead allowing West Ham to grow in confidence, control the match and eventually score twice without reply.

Marshalled by the excellent Mark Noble in midfield, Manuel Pellegrini’s side were measured for the most part and incisive in the key moments. Yarmolenko’s drilled ­effort gave them a deserved lead, before Aaron Creswell’s free-kick swirled into David de Gea’s top ­corner. At the other end, Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna were as ­rugged in defence as United were toothless in attack.

Make that six matches without defeat for West Ham. There is a balance to this side which United lack, a combination of flair and solidity that will serve them well in their push for the European places, as long as they remain consistent.

“I’m very happy about all of today,” Pellegrini said. “The way we played. I always talk with the players that we must have the mentality to play the same way we work ­during the week. It doesn’t matter if we play United or against every big team. We must trust that we are able to beat them.”

As aesthetically pleasing as the goals were – Cresswell’s free-kick in particular – West Ham will be just as encouraged by their dominance of general play. This was no smash and grab against a bigger opponent. In fact, it felt more like a routine home victory against a lesser side.

As United appeared more and more pedestrian, West Ham were visibly buoyed. The flow of the game meant that, by the time Yarmolenko’s crisp strike found the corner, after an artful flick by Felipe Anderson, there were few in the London Stadium who could begrudge the home side their lead.


West Ham's players celebrate Andriy Yarmolenko's opener Credit: Reuters

Before that, United’s one chance fell to Marcus Rashford, twinkling down the left wing and darting towards goal. He hesitated at the key moment, though, allowing Declan Rice to shut down the attack.

There had to be a reaction from United after the break and there was a small improvement, of sorts. Andreas Pereira picked out Juan Mata at the back post, where the Spaniard poked his effort wide. Rashford looked more dangerous, too, running in behind as United showed urgency for the first time.

The timing of Rashford’s injury, after an hour, could hardly have been worse. Teenage sensation ­Mason Greenwood, the hero of United’s Europa League victory last week, was unavailable through ­illness, so Solskjaer had no option but to throw Jesse Lingard in a ­central striking position. A further blunting of an already blunt attack.

A sliced cross from Daniel James would only have exacerbated the concerns of Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, frowning in the stands.

West Ham were enjoying themselves on the counter-attack, with Anderson testing De Gea after a flowing move. There were two ­opportunities for United, one for Harry Maguire and one for Lingard, but Lukasz Fabianski and Yarmolenko both stood firm to block.

Cresswell’s curling free-kick, brushed by the tips of De Gea’s ­fingers, added a deserved layer of gloss to the result for West Ham.


Aaron Cresswell doubled West Ham's lead with a glorious free-kick Credit: Getty Images


Cresswell's free-kick managed to get over the United wall before curling into the top right-hand corner of De Gea's goal

Shoulders slumped, heads down, United knew there was no way back.

MATCH FACTS (Mail)

WEST HAM: (4-2-3-1) Fabianski 7.5; Fredericks 6 (Zabaleta 79mins 6), Diop 7, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 7; Noble 8, Rice 7; Yarmolenko 7.5 (Snodgrass 88mins 6), Fornals 6.5, Anderson 7 (Wilshere 70mins 6); Haller 6.5

SUBS NOT USED: Roberto (GK); Balbuena, Sanchez, Ajeti

GOALS: Yarmolenko (44), Cresswell (84)

BOOKINGS: Ogbonna (14), Noble (75)

COACH: Manuel Pellegrini 8

MANCHESTER UNITED: (4-2-3-1) De Gea 6; Wan-Bissaka 6, Maguire 6, Lindelof 5.5, Young 5; Matic 5 (Fred 70mins 6), McTominay 5; Pereira 6, Mata 5 (Gomes 80mins 5) James 6; Rashford 4 (Lingard 60mins 6)

SUBS NOT USED: Romero (GK); Rojo, Tuanzebe, Chong

GOALS: None

BOOKINGS: Mata (48), Young (83)

COACH: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 5

REFEREE: Anthony Taylor 6

MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Noble (West Ham)

VENUE: The London Stadium

ATTENDANCE: 59,936




The Athletic (Donated by Scouse Kid)

It’s been five years since Stewart Downing last wore an England shirt but you get the impression he’s still not quite over how it all ended.

The former Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham winger, now at Blackburn Rovers, played for his country 35 times and was a member of squads that travelled to the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012 but doesn’t think Roy Hodgson gave him a fair crack of the whip.

Of all the things Downing, 35, discusses with The Athletic — his childhood, West Ham, the pressure of playing at Liverpool — it is his ousting from the national team that provokes the most candid response.

He does not hold back when it comes to Hodgson, who managed the national team from 2012 to 2016 but called up Downing only twice.

A few months before his last selection in 2014, Downing had been deployed as a No 10 in a 4-4-2 diamond formation at West Ham, which led to an upturn in his form. This caught the attention of Hodgson, who named Downing in his 26-man squad for games against Slovenia and Scotland. Yet his 45 minutes in the latter fixture — a 3-1 victory at Celtic Park — would prove to be the last time he would play for the national team.

“My last cap for England was my own fault,” he tells The Athletic at Blackburn’s training ground, arms firmly crossed as he recalls the frustration. “Hodgson took me to the Euros in 2012 but I heard that squad was already picked by Fabio Capello. I could tell because as soon as I arrived for training, I sensed Roy didn’t fancy me as a player. When the Euros finished, I was out of the squad for two-and-a-half years.

“I went to West Ham and still never got picked [by England]. But when Roy saw that Big Sam had changed my position to No 10, maybe he sensed that he could use me there. So he picked me for the England squad but ahead of my first game back [against Slovenia], I woke up in the middle of the night in agony. My right knee was killing me. It had swollen up so much. I think I took a bang in training.

“I couldn’t play the first game but Roy asked if I could sit on the bench. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t even walk.’ We went to Scotland for the second game and I was still struggling.

“I trained but my knee just didn’t feel right. But the thing is, if I didn’t play, I knew Roy wouldn’t pick me for the next squad, so I took an injection to play. I never should’ve done that. In the first minute, bang! Someone kneed me in my right knee and it blew up again. I made it through to half-time and Roy looked at me and said, ‘You’re not right with that knee, are you?’ so then he took me off. I think he was worried about Big Sam’s reaction.

“I got back to West Ham on the Thursday and missed that Saturday’s game [against Everton]. I think it was the only game I ever missed for West Ham and Sam went absolutely bananas. He said, ‘How dare they let you play with a bad knee?’. It was mental. I was thinking, ‘Fuck me, that’s my England career finished.’ After that, Roy never picked me for England again.

“I thought, ‘I had an injection on my knee to play for you’. I was 31 at the time, so if you were going to do that, why didn’t you just pick a young player? If he thought I was only going to be there for one game, then what was the point in calling me up? That’s what I don’t understand. I said to Big Sam, ‘Don’t worry about it. I won’t be going back there again.’”

While we’re on the subject of England, Downing makes a point of stating he is of the opinion his former West Ham team-mate Mark Noble should have earned at least one senior cap.

“I played with him for England at youth level,” he says. “We clicked straightaway and he’s a lovely lad. When I scored against Tottenham, he was like, ‘You don’t realise what you just did. You scored against Tottenham. I hate them’ and so on.

“I know it’s a cliché but Mark really is Mr West Ham and Karren Brady loved him. He came through the ranks as a kid. He will probably finish his career there and become manager there but he definitely should’ve had the chance to play for England. Around the time I got back in the England squad, Hodgson was at our ground every week. He used to come into Sam’s office.

“When I first signed for West Ham, Big Sam said he was going to get me back in the England squad but I honestly thought my time had been and gone by then. Hodgson didn’t pick me when I played for Liverpool, so, no disrespect, I thought he definitely wouldn’t pick me once I’d joined West Ham.

“But Sam told me Hodgson was watching me, Noble, James Tomkins and Aaron Cresswell. There was a moment at West Ham when we were third in the league and we flying, so I thought to myself, ‘If Roy ignores us now, we’re never getting in’.

“He picked me, and I think Cresswell was on standby. Then someone got injured but Roy plucked someone else from nowhere. That’s when I knew Noble wasn’t going to get in.

“I asked what he would do if England turned him down again and he said the Republic of Ireland were desperate for him to play for them. His mum is Irish and I think she wanted him to play for them. I honestly thought he would end up playing for them and he didn’t in the end but he should’ve definitely at least been called up to an England squad.

“If you look at some of the players who played for England around that time, Nobes was as a good as them. West Ham were challenging for a top-six spot and he wasn’t even making the 30-man England squad. No disrespect to Jake Livermore but he was at Hull City and they were struggling in the bottom half of the league when he got picked ahead of Mark. If Livermore could get in the squad, why not Noble? I reckon Noble was hard done by a little bit.”

Downing joined Blackburn on a one-year deal in the summer and found a Championship club with old school values, where the academy eat after the first team. Downing is happy with how quickly he has been able to settle under Tony Mowbray.


(Photo: Rachel Holborn, BRFC/Getty Images)
“I’ve been here for two or three months but it feels like I’ve been here for years,” he says. “It’s good because when you go to a new club, you want to feel settled straightaway. I knew the manager because he lives up north near me, so that helped.

“The gaffer phoned me when the season was over, so I went over to his house with my dad and we spoke about football, family, his plans for the club and how he sees me fitting in. The vibe felt right. Tony wanted to know how it would affect my family if I moved, which was impressive because some managers don’t really take an interest in your family. They just want you, the player.”

Downing was the only boy of five siblings and fondly remembers the days his dad, also named Stewart, would take him to junior football matches — even if it meant getting absolutely drenched.

“My dad travelled across the country to watch me play and I think that was a big thing because it kept me going,” he says. “My mum was with all my sisters doing the dancing competitions and my dad took me everywhere for football.

“He tells me he was a decent footballer when he was younger. He had schoolboy trials at Aston Villa — he actually showed me the letter, so I knew he wasn’t lying — but he left because my mum fell pregnant with my older sister Natalie. He said the right thing to do was to bring up his family and that would’ve been a big decision for him.

“There’s a lot of things I’ve forgotten over the years — Premier League and Champions League games, even — but I will always remember the day me and my dad got drenched. It was a cup game for my local junior team and it was absolutely chucking it down.

“We lived about half-an-hour away from where we were supposed to go and I remember my dad saying, ‘I think we’re going to have to give it a miss today, son’. And I remember telling him, ‘No, no, no dad, we have to go. I can’t miss this game’. Then, after he took me on his bike, we got absolutely soaked. I’m talking drenched, but those are happy moments I’ll never forget.”

Sadly, Downing’s childhood wasn’t filled entirely with happiness. In 1993, his younger sister Vicki passed away after a battle with leukaemia — a tragedy understandably difficult for a nine-year-old lad to comprehend.

“When it happened, I was probably a pain in the arse for my mum and dad because I just wanted to go and play football, while they were grieving,” he says. “I look back and think, ‘How on earth were they able to get through that?’. My mum and dad were 26 or 27 when we lost Vicki. She was four and I was nine. I really took for granted all the things they had to go through bringing up three kids when they’d lost one.

“[When Vicki was ill in hospital], sometimes my mum would be around for a week and my dad would be at the hospital, then they would swap. They rotated so often, so it must’ve felt like they were doing shifts.

“Vicki is buried locally in Middlesbrough, so every year, I’ll go there for her birthday and for Christmas. My two younger sisters never met her so they always ask what she was like. Vicki would be 30 now, so a lot of years have gone by since she passed away. I always wonder what she would be like if she was here. Me and my parents still talk about her. I think about her all the time.”

Downing made his Premier League debut for Middlesbrough in April 2002, lining up alongside the likes of Gareth Southgate and Paul Ince in a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich. He played 234 matches for his boyhood club, including the 2006 UEFA Cup final defeat to Sevilla, before moving on to Aston Villa following Boro’s relegation in 2009.

His time at Villa Park saw Martin O’Neill’s side battle for a place in the Premier League’s top four and reach the 2010 League Cup final (which they lost 2-1 to Manchester United), and his performances were enough to seal a move to Liverpool in 2011. He had just joined one of the biggest clubs in the world but it wasn’t an entirely enjoyable experience.

“The most difficult time in my career was dealing with being in the spotlight at Liverpool,” he says, his gaze locked firmly on the ground ahead of him. “When I was at Aston Villa and we’d played well, the coverage would obviously be good, and when we’d played poorly, the coverage would not really be any different.

“But at Liverpool, it felt like if we got a draw, it was the end of the world. The pressure and the demands were so high. I would just be thinking to myself, ‘This is mad’.

“The first season I was there, they spent a lot of money on players and we finished seventh. We won the Carling Cup and got beat in the FA Cup final [by Chelsea] and I thought to myself, ‘That actually wasn’t a bad season’. But people kept saying that it wasn’t good enough and I just thought, ‘This is crazy’.

“We got a lot of stick. It was a new type of pressure for me. That’s when I stopped listening to what people in the media were saying. When I was younger, I read and listened to what people said about my performances but that’s when you start to overthink things. I don’t need the papers or the people on the street to tell me whether I’ve done well. It can be brutal but you have to blank out all the negative stuff.”

Downing seems at his happiest when talking about West Ham. His beaming smile returns when he reflects on his two-year spell at the club who plucked him from the Anfield pressure pot in 2013.

“I absolutely loved it at West Ham,” he says. “It was a strange one, really, because I wish I could’ve stayed at Liverpool for another year because it was that season they nearly won the title [under Brendan Rodgers]. I played for them in pre-season but Brendan told me a decent offer had come in from West Ham and it was up to me whether I stayed or went.


Downing joined West Ham during the Sam Allardyce era (Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
“He said, ‘I would like you to stay but I’m going to bring in new players — you’re going to have to fight for your place in the team.’ It’s not that I didn’t trust him. I just didn’t get a good vibe from it. Then, Big Sam is on the phone and he’s selling me the dream. He said I was going to play. He said the Olympic Stadium would be great for the club and I just had a feeling it was going to be good there.

“But if Big Sam had stayed, I wouldn’t have left for Middlesbrough. I wouldn’t even have entertained it. I reckon Big Sam probably would’ve given me a contract extension and obviously, I would’ve signed it and stayed. I even said to [Slaven] Bilic, ‘If you give me an extension, I’ll stay,’ but he said he couldn’t because of my age. That’s what probably pushed me to Middlesbrough.

“Of all the managers I’ve played under, Big Sam got the best out of me. There was a time when I was at Middlesbrough that I could’ve gone to play for him at Crystal Palace on loan but it didn’t happen in the end.

“I think the way Big Sam was treated towards the end of his time as West Ham manager was bad considering what he did for the club. The environment he created at West Ham made football so enjoyable.

“His man-management was one of his strengths. When Big Sam left, I was absolutely gutted because I thought he would’ve been there for another three or four years.”

Downing had left West Ham a year before they moved into the London Stadium in the summer of 2016. He misses Upton Park and three years on from the club’s move to Stratford, he still believes they won’t be able to replicate the legendary Upton Park atmosphere.

“I miss watching West Ham play at the Upton Park,” he says with a sigh. “When I watch them play at the Olympic Stadium, it just doesn’t feel right. I went there with Middlesbrough and the ground had no atmosphere.

“Upton Park; that place was always rocking. I remember going there as an away player and thinking, ‘I fucking hate playing here’. The fans were so close to the pitch but it made the atmosphere so much better.

“The Olympic Stadium just seems dead. The fans are too far away. Don’t get me wrong, it has amazing facilities but when you think of West Ham, you think of Upton Park.”

When you think of Stewart Downing, you may not necessarily think of West Ham, but there can be no doubt the winger loved his time in East London.







Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 8:16 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan,
I like the stuff from The Athletic

Texas Iron 4:01 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers...

Mike Oxsaw 1:59 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"Manchester United are considering whether to introduce safe standing at Old Trafford."...


...for their forwards.

Fivetide 1:43 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good stuff, enjoyed the Downing piece.

Thanks Alan.

gph 1:25 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan.

I was warming to Downing until he started talking about Allardyce.

Thanks Alan 1:00 Mon Sep 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan





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