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Alan 1:27 Sat Mar 21
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

The Premier League is again investigating playing games behind closed doors amid the coronavirus crisis in order to complete the season. (Independent)

Manchester United are in talks with midfielder Nemanja Matic, 31, over a new two-year deal worth £140,000-a-week after triggering a clause to extend the Serb's contract by a year. (Sun)

Crystal Palace's Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha, 27, has offered free use of 50 properties to NHS staff who are battling the coronavirus outbreak in central London hospitals. (Times - subscription required)

West Brom striker Charlie Austin has urged people not to take coronavirus lightly after testing positive. The English 30-year-old suspects he contracted it at the Cheltenham Festival. (Telegraph - subscription required)

Chelsea forward Willian, 31, has asked the club's permission to return to his native Brazil in order to be with his family. (Mirror)

Leading Championship clubs are considering a plan to cap player wages at £6,000 a week because of the suspension of the football season. (Telegraph - subscription required)

Liverpool have been in negotiations for "some time" with Lille's 21-year-old France Under-21 midfielder Boubakary Soumare. (Sport - in Spanish)

Sassuolo winger Jeremie Boga, 23, could return to Chelsea because the Blues have a £12.8m buy-back clause in the Ivory Coast international's contract. (Mail)

Juventus want to offer Chelsea Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder Miralem Pjanic, 29, as part of a swap deal for 28-year-old Italy midfielder Jorginho. (Corriere dello Sport, via Sun)

On-loan Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo, 30, earns £8,000 per goal and £9,000 for every win on top of his £180,000-a-week wages at Old Trafford. (Sun)

Barcelona and Real Madrid could move for 27-year-old Austria defender David Alaba, who is unsure about extending his contract with Bayern Munich.(Bild - in German)


West Ham co-owner furious with Karren Brady over coronavirus comments

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan was reportedly left furious with chief executive Karren Brady’s controversial newspaper column last weekend.

Brady called for the Premier League season to be declared void in her Sun column after football was originally suspended until April 3 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Brady wrote: “There is no dodging the possibility that all levels in the EFL as well as the Premier League will have to be cancelled and this season declared null and void because if the players can’t play the games can’t go ahead.

“The PL hopes that an interlude of three weeks from will enable it to restart but that may well be dreamland.”

Brady was in fact proved correct with her “dreamland” analogy because this week the governing bodies in the UK declared that the game was suspended until April 28 at the earliest.

However, according to the Daily Mail, Sullivan was “unhappy” with the remarks, and had no prior knowledge of the tone of Brady’s column.

“Sullivan is understood to have had words with Brady this week,” claims the tabloid with Brady widely accused of self-interest, due to West Ham’s precarious position above the relegation zone on goal difference.

The “words” from Sullivan may well have prompted Brady’s climbdown, which she published on Twitter last Sunday.

Brady wrote: “Everyone agrees that LFC deserve to win the title. PL & EFL are doing all we can to ensure the season is finished.

“Including suspending games, isolating players, and if required playing games behind closed doors and into the summer months.

“My point was safety of fans, players, staff come 1st & if the remaining games just cannot be played the only fair & reasonable thing is to declare season null and void.

“Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the PL/EFL games have not actually been played in full?”

Football London

How West Ham have improved their academy and the players to keep an eye on

The Hammers under-23s went through a promotion and a relegation in two successive seasons but they are back on the right path in 2019/20

By Sam Inkersole

West Ham’s academy at Chadwell Heath underwent a major restructure last summer following the under-23s relegation to division two of the Premier League 2 structure.

Just two seasons before, the Toni Martinez-inspired youngsters secured promotion to the top flight of PL2. The Spaniard rattled in 19 goals for the team while at the back, an emerging Declan Rice skippered the side to glory at centre back.

A midfield of Josh Cullen and Moses Makasi anchored things, Marcus Browne supplied goals and assists from midfield, as did Grady Diangana, Nathan Holland was making a name for himself, Vashon Neufville was one of the best left backs in the age group, while Raphael Spiegel kept things tight in between the sticks.

It culminated in two superb away performances in their final two games of the season - the play-offs. First in the semi-final, the Hammers beat Wolves with two goals in the last ten minutes from Jamahl Hector-Ingam and Martin Samuelsen.

In the final against Newcastle at St James’ Park, the Hammers came from behind again as two goals from Martinez, who ended the campaign with 14 goals in 13 appearances, to fire the team to glory.

Back in the top flight under the tutelage of Terry Westley and Liam Manning, it was a struggle for the lads. A combination of injuries to key players like Holland and new recruit Xande Silva, plus loan deals away from the club for the more senior of the players, resulted in relegation back to division two.

Diangana found himself promoted regularly to the first team as well, starring under Manuel Pellegrini having made his breakthrough in the Carabao Cup rout over Macclesfield Town when he scored twice at London Stadium.

It is an admirable trait though, allowing those players to go away to senior football for loan spells rather than plying their trade continually in under-23 football. But it did come at a cost for those who remained as they dropped back down a level.

So, the Hammers decided to make changes. Westley departed for a role in Japan with the J-League while Manning also left, joining the academy setup at New York City FC in the US.

In came a new head of the academy, Ricky Martin, who was poached from Norwich City as an academy coach. He was joined by Dmitri Halajko, who came in from Leicester City to be the Hammers academy under-23 lead coach.

Halajko effectively took charge of training and the matchday stuff alongside Hammers legend Steve Potts, while Martin worked in the background overseeing the whole operation.

Under the watch of the duo, the under-23s have embarked on an unbeaten league season so far prior to the Covid-19 pandemic suspension as they sit atop of division two, three points clear of second-placed Manchester United (who also revamped their academy structure).

The only games Halajko’s side have lost this season have come against professional outfits in Cheltenham Town and Exeter City in the EFL Trophy, a competition where they also saw off Newport County 5-4 at Rodney Parade.

Under Halajko, the youngsters have been scoring goals for fun. They have netted four in a game nine times in 19 league games, including a run of six games in a row and seven in eight outings.

They have also netted three times in one match on four occasions as Halajko’s 4-2-3-1 formation has paid off big time.

Led by the goals of Holland, who banged in 12 goals before heading to Oxford United on loan and Anthony Scully, who also scored 12, the youngsters are rejuvenated after a tough 2018/19.

Dan Kemp pitched in with eight, Alfie Lewis has netted five from midfield and Silva, who underwent emergency bowel surgery last summer, has scored three goals in his first three outings of the campaign.

January 2020 saw a bit of a cull as Holland, Scully, Kemp, Coventry, Samuelsen, Joe Powell and all leave the club either on loan or permanently.

But that didn't stop the youngsters as they have won three of their five games this year and drawn the other two.

This season, the Hammers reached the Premier League Champions Cup quarter finals for the first time ever - and won, going down to ten men against Derby County but prevailing in a penalty shootout at Pride Park.

Players like Bernardo Rosa, Amadou Diallo, Manny Longelo and Jeremy Ngakia have all stepped up in the absence of others. Ngakia so much so that he is now a part of the first team setup with David Moyes.

Then you can go down to the under-18 side, who signed Mipo Odubeko from Man Utd earlier this season. He’s played just once for the 23s but found the net when he got off the bench.

Halajko said of the youngsters after their win over Derby: "They’re a really tight group and work really hard. They want to do well.

"They’re.a hard-working group of lads and when a challenge comes, they want to rise to it and do well.

"They don’t shy away from any challenges and we encourage them to push forwards and take every opportunity and not wait for it to happen."

It seems that the Hammers' decision to revamp the coaching staff at Chadwell Heath, plus the £4m revamp of the facility itself, could be starting to pay-off far quicker than anticipated.

The much fabled and vaunted "Academy of Football" in east London has run a little dry in recent years. Rice, Diangana and now Ngakia have started to break that mould, with the likes of Silva, Holland, Coventry very close to doing the same.

The future is looking a bit brighter thanks to the work at Chadwell Heath.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 6:56 Sat Mar 21
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers ...

About time we had a few quality players from the Academy...

Let us hope...


Thanks Alan 3:55 Sat Mar 21
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Mex Martillo 2:15 Sat Mar 21

Mex Martillo 2:15 Sat Mar 21
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Sven Roeder 1:40 Sat Mar 21

Sven Roeder 1:40 Sat Mar 21
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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