WHO Poll

Alan 12:55 Sun Feb 9
Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, 24, will consider a summer move, despite his loyalty to his boyhood club. Manchester United and Manchester City have been linked with the English midfielder. (Telegraph)

Grealish sees Manchester United as his preferred destination this summer should he leave Aston Villa, despite reported interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid. (Sun)

Grealish has reportedly started house-hunting in Manchester in anticipation of a move to Old Trafford. (Goal)

Manchester City are ready to admit defeat in their bid to lure Lionel Messi to the Premier League next season after being told the Argentina forward, 32, has got no plans to leave Barcelona. (Express)

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling believes he can return to fitness for their Champions League tie against Real Madrid. The Spanish club is interested in signing the 25-year-old England forward. (Telegraph)

Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino remains in contention to become Manchester United manager next season. (Mirror)

Paris St-Germain will send scouts to watch England left-back Danny Rose, 29, during his loan spell at Newcastle from Tottenham. (Sun)

Barcelona's Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho, 27 - currently on loan at Bayern Munich - will be allowed to leave for a cut-price £77m this summer, with Manchester United and his former club Liverpool thought to be interested in signing him. (Express)

Manchester City's Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, 28, linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona, says he is "comfortable" with the current Premier League champions. (Goal)

Roma are upset that Manchester United have increased their asking price to £17m for former England central defender Chris Smalling, 30, who is on loan with the Italian club this season. (Express)

Wales forward Gareth Bale, 30, wanted to "make Chinese football great" when linked with a move to Asia in the summer of 2019, claims his agent, but is now planning on staying at Real Madrid and will not be heading back to the Premier League with his former club Tottenham. (Goal)

Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford, 22, is holding talks over a multi-million agreement with rapper Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports management company. (Mirror)

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, 32, linked with Manchester United and Chelsea in last month's transfer window, is open to a move to England when his contract at Paris St-Germain expires in the summer. (L'Equipe, via Star)

The Premier League is plotting to set up its own Netflix-style streaming service. (Times)

Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey, 29, is being linked with a move away from Juventus, having only signed a four-year deal with the Italians last year. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Liverpool may turn their attention to RB Leipzig's Germany striker Timo Werner, 23, in the summer - and are also likely to be in the market for a left-back. (Athletic, via Team Talk)

Liverpool are likely to sell 22-year-old Wales forward Harry Wilson, who is on loan at Bournemouth, this summer. (Football Insider)

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri could make a move for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, the 28-year-old Italy international he has worked with at Napoli and the Blues.(Star)

Barcelona failed with a loan bid to bring back former captain Andres Iniesta, the 35-year-old ex-Spain midfielder, from Japanese club Vissel Kobe. (Sport)

Bayern Munich have ruled out a move for Juventus and Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo because they consider the 35-year-old forward too old. (Sun)

Wigan and United States' left-back Antonee Robinson, 22, is a possible summer target for Chelsea. (Mirror)

Barcelona have their eye on another Luis Suarez. Watford's 22-year-old Colombian striker, on loan at Real Zaragoza, could be a replacement for their injured Uruguayan forward, 33, of the same name. (AS)

Everton have been linked with Sporting's Rafa Camacho, the 19-year-old Portuguese winger formerly with Liverpool. (Star)

Cardiff City winger Josh Murphy, 24, is a target for Celtic. (Sun)

Liverpool have opened talks with Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, 29, about extending his contract, which expires in the summer of 2021. (Athletic, via Express)

Manchester United's Brazilian midfielder Fred, 26, has accused his team-mates of "lacking sticking together mentality" and claimed some of them have "different objectives". (Mail)

Everton are keen to sign 17-year-old Wigan striker Joe Gelhardt - who has been dubbed as the next Wayne Rooney. (Sun)


West Ham left staring at the drop as Brady bunch spark anger in stands

The east London club’s supporters were promised a world-class team at a world-class stadium. David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady have failed woefully on both counts

Jacob Steinberg

When West Ham write to one of their season-ticket holders to tell him that his recent pitch-side protest against David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady contained provocative messaging that was “deliberately intended to incite” his fellow supporters, one retort is that nobody has done more to inflame tensions at the London Stadium than the unpopular trio in the boardroom.

After all it is not Cameron Robson’s fault that West Ham are nowhere near realising the ambition Brady outlined three years before the move from Upton Park to a soulless bowl in 2016. The vice-chair’s vision was “a world-class stadium with a world-class team” and it is not an exaggeration to say that West Ham have failed woefully on both counts, bearing in mind the only reason supporters might struggle to assess their team’s third relegation battle in four seasons is because the view in Stratford is ruined by the running track surrounding the London Stadium pitch.

Robson’s offence was comparatively small fry, unveiling an anti-board T-shirt while volunteering as a flag bearer before last month’s home defeat by Liverpool, and the 23-year-old’s subsequent ban from West Ham’s games for the rest of the season has riled a disenchanted fanbase.

It is another bad PR move from a club already at odds with the media and the problem for Gold, Sullivan and Brady is that Robson’s supposedly provocative message – “GSB Out” – is cutting through. Hammers United, an increasingly prominent fan group, organised a static protest in the Olympic Park before last month’s 1-1 home draw with Everton and further demonstrations are planned for the trip to Liverpool on 24 February and the visit from Southampton on 29 February.

In West Ham’s defence any protest inside the stadium recalls the disorder that marred their home defeat by Burnley in March 2018. As the Gold and Sullivan ownership enters its second decade, however, dissent is rising and the London club is on the ropes on and off the pitch. This past week the 83-year-old Gold spoke about growing up in poverty opposite the club’s former home at Upton Park and denied there are plans to sell up, despite rumours of interest in a club thought to be valued at £500m at least. Sullivan, meanwhile, has spoken about leaving his sons, Jack and Dave Jr, in charge when he retires.

Gold, always good at the sentimental side, added that he has never taken a salary from West Ham. There is, however, the interest Sullivan and Gold charge on the loans they made to the club in January 2010. West Ham’s latest accounts show the pair were paid a combined £2.9m in interest in August 2019 and that a further £1m went to GGI International, a company related to Gold. As of 31 May 2019 the combined balance of unsecured loans advanced by Sullivan and Gold amounted to £45m. As for Brady, her salary rose to £1.136m.

Supporters fail to see the justification for Brady’s level of pay and the discontent has unnerved Sullivan, who is considering staying away from Sunday afternoon’s trip to Manchester City. While Gold lacks clout, Sullivan holds the power; and the recent negative coverage has taken a heavy toll on the club’s majority shareholder. The 71-year-old is hurting. He went on holiday after last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Brighton, a result that left West Ham in the bottom three of the Premier League.

Sullivan thought the “high-calibre appointment” of Manuel Pellegrini on a three-year contract worth £7m a year in the summer of 2018 would lift West Ham to the next level. But while the former Manchester City manager finished 10th last year, cracks appeared this season. Pellegrini was not regarded as a motivator by his players and the Chilean’s dismissal at the end of December was followed by the appointment of David Moyes, who returned 19 months after Sullivan decided he was not good enough.

Relegation would lead to “serious financial consequences”, according to accounts revealing a pre-tax £28.8m loss in the last financial year. That was attributed to expenditure on wages, transfers and training facilities. The club points to a £214.4m net spend on signings in the last four years.

But while West Ham have broken their transfer record in each of the past four summers, the challenge is to spend wisely. The £45m forward Sébastien Haller has struggled this season and what those accounts show is that West Ham, who aim to solve the London Stadium’s structural issues by squaring off the stands behind the goal and bringing them closer to the pitch in the summer, are not making enough in player sales.

They are not regarded as a progressive club when it comes to recruitment and, while people who have worked for Sullivan believe he wants the best for West Ham, some do not think he has a coherent vision for the future. One former executive describes him as an expert at Championship level, before adding that Sullivan is too old school to succeed in the Premier League.

Sullivan loves being involved in the search for players. But in February 2018, shortly after Tony Henry was fired as head of recruitment after making inappropriate comments about African players, Sullivan stepped back. He said there would be a bigger focus on analytics and that a director of football would be appointed.

Yet while Sullivan wanted to lure the Spaniard Eduardo Macià away from Leicester, Pellegrini wanted the Argentinian Mario Husillos. An upside-down situation unfolded, in which the manager brought in his own director of football. Sullivan remained involved and lost faith in Husillos after the free transfer of the error-prone Spanish goalkeeper Roberto. Other dud signings include Jack Wilshere, who is out until May after a hernia operation, and Carlos Sánchez, who earns £65,000 a week and has started three league games since his move in the summer of 2018.

The scouting department was stripped back when Husillos and Pellegrini left. Sullivan was active during the January transfer window, with favoured agents helping out, and Moyes has spoken about the need for the club to target younger players. In fairness West Ham ended the window well, strengthening their midfield with the capture of Tomas Soucek on an initial loan and adding energy to their attack with the £22m signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull.

But structural improvements are required. It remains to be seen whether Sullivan appoints another director of football in the summer and the club have rejected claims that the training facilities are in a poor state. West Ham point out that £10m has been spent on the Rush Green and Chadwell Heath sites. Yet Leicester City, third in the league, are spending £100m on their new training ground.

For all that Brady trumpets the success of the move to Stratford, supporters doubt her regard for West Ham’s heritage and do not feel she wants to listen to their concerns. The official supporters’ board is derided by fans, who view it as an impediment to dissent. Hammers United and the West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association have refused to join the OSB at a meeting with Brady and Sullivan scheduled for 25 February.

Brady has long been urged from within the club to give up her controversial Sun column but she will not budge, even though comments in it about Leicester’s then owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, are said to have cost West Ham the chance to sign Islam Slimani two years ago. Brady has also called critics of the London Stadium “malcontents and keyboard warriors”, said the signing of Robert Snodgrass “wasn’t exactly a triumph”, taken aim at former West Ham players, questioned the character of players at other clubs and even raised doubts about Aston Villa’s signings last summer. None of this improves West Ham’s image or their relations with other clubs. It is a classless way to behave but even Sullivan, who is no stranger to unhelpful public statements, cannot stop Brady writing it.

“The Brady-Sullivan dynamic is a problem,” one source says, describing two headstrong figures struggling to work alongside each other constructively.

It is a mess and the anger has been building ever since West Ham became anchor tenants at the London Stadium on an annual rent of £2.5m. “Sold a dream and given a nightmare,” is the common complaint from supporters and at this point it looks as if Sullivan was wrong when he said in December 2017 that the move would not “change our lives”. West Ham are closer to the Championship than the Champions League and that is why the protests are going to get only louder.


OLIVER HOLT: An apology to West Ham chiefs Mr Sullivan, Mr Gold and their directionless, deracinated car crash of a football club

West Ham owners demanded an apology from Sky Sports after being criticised
The club have complained about condemnation of their owners' stewardship
West Ham currently sit in the relegation zone after 25 matches played so far
Protests from the fanbase have now started to form regarding the state of affairs

By Oliver Holt

I hope that making such a generous apology to Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge, the visionaries in charge of West Ham United, before the start of the Sunday Supplement programme last weekend, did not stick in the throats of the bosses at Sky Sports.

I wish to clarify, without prejudice, that the use of the word ‘throats’ in this context is in no way intended to recall the porn industry past of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady and any association between that word and their former careers is purely coincidental and deeply regrettable.

I would also like to state that if the word ‘deep’, or any derivative therein, appears at any time in these paragraphs, it is in no way to be inferred that it is to be used in conjunction with the word ‘throats’, nor is it intended to recall the porn industry past of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady.

On the contrary, in keeping with the spirit of the apology aired on the Sunday Supplement, the word ‘deep’ will only be used to allude to the pockets of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady, who have spent so lavishly and selflessly and with no thought of personal profit, in their attempts to improve the fortunes of West Ham United and, indeed, Birmingham City.

I am particularly pleased the apology reminded viewers that Sebastien Haller, the striker bought by Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady for West Ham United for such an astonishing sum of money, has a beautiful smile and can point his finger directly at a camera. Footage of him scoring a goal was harder to find but that is the fault of Sky Sports and any attempt to blame Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady may result in a legal letter.

I am also pleased the apology clarified so many issues surrounding the tenure of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady at West Ham United and I have been heartened to note that they and their acolytes from the world of respectable business have accepted the apology with their customary grace and class.

In the cause of striving for accuracy and fairness, I am relieved to have been so comprehensively re-educated in relation to the ongoing beneficence and altruism of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady with regard to the wider football community.

I am happy to acknowledge that it is solely because of tireless efforts towards ground improvements made while Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady were custodians of Birmingham City, during a golden age in that club’s history, that St Andrew’s has been designated a World Heritage Site.

Moreover, I wish to recant any previous statements which may have given the impression I believed that West Ham United had become a deracinated, hopeless, directionless, car crash of a club which has had its soul ripped out by Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady.

I mistakenly believed that West Ham United had become a laughing stock under Messrs Sullivan, Gold and Baroness Brady and a subset of West Ham United’s own support, as well as the president of Sporting Lisbon, had taken to referring to Messrs Sullivan and Gold as The Dildo Brothers in reference to their porn industry past.

I wish to state that I find this nomenclature highly regrettable and that it is not now, nor will it ever be, a form of address that I find in any way amusing or acceptable.

I have also been informed that Michail Antonio’s decision to wear a snowman’s outfit when he crashed his Lamborghini into a front garden in south London on Christmas Day must be seen as evidence of his commitment to entertaining the paying public and I accept this explanation without reservation.

I also wish to place on the record that I have never heard opposition fans singing: ‘You sold your soul for this s***hole’ when visiting the London Stadium. Nor has it ever occurred to me that Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady have relocated West Ham United from Upton Park to an arena totally unsuitable for football in the middle of a wasteland and betrayed more than a hundred years of the club’s heritage.

Nor have I ever seen a letter, purported to have gone viral, from a supporter that describes one element of the desolation of visiting the London Stadium thus: ‘You watch a game you do not feel a part of. The players are pretty small on the far side. The manager looks pretty isolated out there. You know you are owned by people who do not understand you, your club or your heritage.’

Furthermore, I wish to make it plain I have never seen images of a so-called West Ham United supporter wearing a shirt protesting against the influence of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady on the pitch at the London Stadium, nor have I ever seen any mention of that so-called season-ticket holder being banned for the rest of the season.

Regarding ground regulations referring to anyone who is ‘a source of danger, nuisance or annoyance to any other person’: I find suggestions these regulations should result in the immediate expulsion of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady from the stadium on home match days both regrettable and reprehensible.

I had also mistakenly believed that because West Ham United are currently third from bottom of the Premier League, it was legitimate to characterise their situation as fighting against relegation. I now accept that this is a malicious falsehood perpetrated by the MSM and that they are overwhelming favourites to beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

I also accept I have omitted to mention that West Ham United are six points clear of Norwich and that failing to highlight this achievement gave a false and misleading impression of West Ham United’s season so far under the leadership of Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady.

I also believe that West Ham are competing for a place in Europe this season and that if, by some cruel twist of fate, a Champions League position eludes them, it will be a grave injustice and absolutely nothing to do with any of the decisions, inspired or otherwise, made by Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady.

I also accept that all managerial appointments of Chilean has-beens at West Ham United were made in good faith by Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady. I also accept the fact that West Ham United played half the season with a goalkeeper who could not catch a cold was in no way a reflection of the fact that Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady paid for a new kitchen at the training ground.

I acknowledge, finally, that when the fans of West Ham United release a cloud of black balloons at Anfield during the game against Liverpool this month, it will be intended as an unprecedented display of gratitude to Messrs Sullivan and Gold and Baroness Brady for all the brightness they have brought into the lives of fans of the club and that any suggestion to the contrary will result in the suspension of all programming, apart from Emmanuelle In Soho and The Apprentice.


Storm Ciara puts Man City vs West Ham in doubt as Arsenal vs Tottenham in WSL called off

The storm has caused major problems up and down the UK and sporting events are being postponed as player and spectator safety cannot be assured

By Aaron Flanagan

Storm Ciara is causing havoc with Sunday's sporting fixtures - with the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham in doubt.

A meeting is taking place this morning between officials to decide whether the clash can go ahead.

Storm Ciara has forced an amber weather warning from the Met Office which spreads across the majority of England and Wales.

The storm has already put paid to the Women's Super League derby match between Arsenal and Tottenham, which was set to be played in front of a sell-out crowd.

An Arsenal statement read that the game was postponed "on the grounds of crowd safety, due to extreme weather conditions."

The Dutch Eredivisie have cancelled all their games this weekend, while the Belgian Pro League and second tier have seen all of their games axed.

Sunday's Women's Six Nations match between Scotland and England was called off, as has the London Winter Run, which is the biggest 10k race in the UK.

Horse racing has also been affected by the storm, with the fixture at Southwell called off - despite having an 'all-weather' surface.

Exeter's race meeting, in which Grand National runner-up Magic Of Light was due to run, was also abandoned.

"Wind speeds have reached unacceptable miles per hour gusts this morning and our localised forecast predicts this to continue for the remainder of today, affecting our racing operation, public safety and grandstand areas," an Exeter spokesperson said.

Local football fixtures have also been called off on Sunday, with clubs claiming that they cannot guarantee player and spectator safety.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 10:27 Sun Feb 9
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Texas Iron 3:56 Sun Feb 9
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Tick Tock...

SGB fraying...keep up the pressure...


ted fenton 2:39 Sun Feb 9
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 12:57 Sun Feb 9

blueeyed.handsomeman 2:30 Sun Feb 9
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
THanks Alan

Thanks Alan 12:57 Sun Feb 9
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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