WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 12:34 Fri Nov 13
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are all interested in Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng. The German, 32, could move on a free transfer, with Bayern not interested in offering him a new contract. (Bild, via Sun)

Wolves are becoming increasingly annoyed at winger Adama Traore, who has yet to sign a new contract. The Spain international, 24, agreed a contract in principle last week but has not committed to it yet. (90min)

Chelsea will make another bid for West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice in January. The Blues will sell two senior players to fund a move for the 21-year-old. (Football Insider)

Manchester United have made a formal bid to Cristiano Ronaldo's agent in an attempt to sign the Portugal forward from Juventus. The Serie A champions are willing to let the 35-year-old go if they do not win the Champions League. (Record, via Sport Witness)

But Ronaldo has no interest in leaving Juventus and plans to see out his contract. (AS)Inter Milan will try to sign Chelsea and France striker Olivier Giroud, 34, in the January transfer window. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Liverpool are considering a move for Netherlands and former Watford defender Daryl Janmaat, 31, as short-term cover to ease their defensive crisis. (Teamtalk)

The Premier League champions also have RB Leipzig and France centre-back Dayot Upamecano, 22, at the top of their list of further defensive reinforcements. (The Athletic - subscription required)

Arsenal have been handed a boost in their attempts to sign Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, 20, after the Hungarian's agent denied claims he was moving to RB Leipzig. (Mirror)

Sporting Lisbon have increased the release clause for Portuguese left-back Nuno Mendes from 45m euros (£40m) to 70m euros (£62m). The 18-year-old is a target for Manchester United. (Record - in Portuguese)

Besiktas would be interested in re-signing Everton and Turkey forward Cenk Tosun. The 29-year-old spent four years at the club before joining the Toffees in 2018. (beIN Sports - in Turkish)

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic's future remains in doubt - with the club still winless in the Premier League this season - and Charlton's Lee Bowyer is among the names in the frame to replace him. (Mirror)

Denmark and former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, 28, says his current situation "is not what I dreamt of". (TV2, via Goal)

Real Madrid will ask their players to take a further wage cut because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (ESPN)


Ben Johnson: Coming through the Academy is massive

The pathway to becoming professional is a vast one for any aspiring footballer, let alone an aspiring Premier League player.

Academy of Football graduate Ben Johnson has trodden those very steps, having been with West Ham United since the age of seven and undergone the full process from schoolboy footballer right the way through to Academy prospect and, ultimately, top-flight talent.

Now an established member of West Ham United's first-team squad at just 20 years of age, Johnson has told whufc.com how delighted he has been to see fellow Academy players Harrison Ashby, Ajibola Alese and Emmanuel Longelo all make their senior debuts earlier this season in the Carabao Cup, and reacted to the news that 17-year-old defender Jamal Baptiste has signed his first professional contract in football...

How are you enjoying this season so far, being a regular part of the first-team squad?

“I think it’s always enjoyable when you’re in a team that give you confidence in training and in games. We’ve played most of the top seven from last season so far, and done really well, so in that aspect, it’s definitely good to be involved in that.

“Training’s been really good, like really good! It’s probably the best period of training since I’ve been over there, so it’s really good to be involved in the first team and hopefully be involved to the end of the season and get some more games.”

Manager David Moyes has spoken about wanting a young, hungry squad to compete in all competitions. At the core of that, we’ve Academy of Football graduates like yourself and Declan Rice, as well as plenty of other young players. Do you feel that hunger within the team this season?

“Yeah, I think that’s what you need. You need a core group of young players who are hungry to succeed. I’ve taken the words out of his mouth, but that is really pertinent I think because the Premier League is so fast, so intense, you need players who are in their prime, but you also need players who are coming through and are young and athletic.

“That’s how you get the points now really: defending well, defending strongly, and then being able to attack quick on the counter-attack or through running in behind. You see with all the top teams now, all of their players are athletes, so the team that we’re trying to create and the way the manager’s going about it is definitely going to be great for the coming years.”

In September, we saw three Academy debutants in the Carabao Cup – Harrison Ashby, Ajibola Alese and Emmanuel Longelo. As a defender who has gone through that transition yourself, how did that make you feel?

“For me, it’s really positive to see more boys coming through and more boys getting their opportunity.

“I think as long as you work hard, and you’re honest each and every day in training, in games and in your development, I think you’ll always get an opportunity in the first team, whether that’s in a cup game or whether that’s in the league.

“The programme which is put on by all the staff at the Academy – how we’re treated and how we’re taught to be make the step up – makes it an easier transition. When you see Harrison playing, he played really well. Aji did as well – and you wouldn’t necessarily associate that with their first games, their debuts. They were so comfortable when they were playing, and Manny coming on as a substitute did well.

"I think it’s a really positive thing to see more players coming through. For me, you don’t just want yourself to come through and experience it; you want others to come through and experience it with you, and hopefully I’ll play more matches in the first team with these players.”

It’s been announced that Jamal Baptiste has signed his first professional contract as a footballer with West Ham United. How big a chapter does that open, a first professional contract in a young player’s career?

“I think for Jamal and his family, huge credit to them and to him for all of the hard work that he’s done. He’s been fast-tracked into the U23s as a young boy, which is extremely hard to achieve, so definitely a big congratulations to him.

“Signing your first professional contract is fairly daunting! Jamal’s still really young – obviously he’s just turning 17 – but I think he’ll be able to manage.

“There are things he needs to tidy up on, but you can see he’s got all the raw materials to go all the way and hopefully he gets more training time with the first team as well so he can brush up on a few things.

“Some would suggest he's still probably got another three or four years of development until you could say he’s just about ready to play, but that breakthrough could even come earlier or even come later. He’s got a lot of time on his hands, so hopefully he just uses that time well.”

Having been involved in the first-team set-up for a few seasons now, what kind of impression are the Academy lads – Harrison, Manny, Conor [Coventry], Aji and Jamal, to name just a few – making in training?

“From the perspective of the fans, with an Academy graduate, they always know what they’re going to get from them.

“As you see with Dec, you know what you’re going to get with him: hard work first, with me hard work first, and I see from Harrison, Aji, Conor, Manny, hard work first. From there, their ability will come through.

“I think I can help them, and they can even help me, even though they’re younger than me. It’s just really encouraging to be able to share memories with these guys, because it’s a massive thing: not many people our age can say they’ve played for West Ham United or played in the Premier League or in the Carabao Cup, for example. It’s an amazing feeling.”


My regrets: Celtic hero John Hartson opens up on that Eyal Berkovic incident at West Ham and reveals chance encounter with old teammate in cafe in Israel

John Hartson has opened up over the biggest regret of his life – when he notoriously lashed out at former West Ham teammate Eyal Berkovic.

The saga happened in September 1998 when the Israeli midfielder threw a punch at Hartson following a bad tackle in training.

John Hartson lashed out at Eyal Berkovic at training in 1998

The Welsh striker spun around and kicked Berkovic in the face and the whole thing was caught on camera.

The story was splashed across the newspapers and his every move was scrutinised for a short time.

Hartson is the subject of the latest episode of talkSPORT’s Up Front With series, which you can hear in full on Saturday at 8pm on talkSPORT, and he recalled the incident.

He said: “I was 21 and Eyal was a fantastic lad, nothing personal and it was John Moncur who rolled the ball into me.

“Eyal Berkovic nicked it off me, I gave it away as my touch was poor, I gave it away and he’s ran 15-20 yards and I’ve chased him back and to try and win the ball.

“I tackled him from behind and as you can see from the pictures I tried to pick him up and he has sort of thrown a punch that hit me in the hip, didn’t hurt and I never felt it, and I just lashed out.

“The pictures are there for everybody to see and I don’t know why I was aggressive but obviously I don’t know why I did that reaction and it’s the biggest regret of my life. I should never have done it.”

Hartson, who went on to play for Wimbledon and Celtic, added: “I profusely apologised and I got fined by the FA, I got banned and I got a load of terrible publicity for it.

“It was unbelievable. I was the front page of newspapers everywhere.

“I went to France to train so I had to leave the country at one stage it was that bad.

“I brought a lot of shame on my family and my mum and dad were down in Wales and people were knocking on their door.”

The pair made up and even had a chance encounter in a cafe in Israel a few years back, when they shared happier memories together.

“It was regrettable and I’ve since been in touch with Eyal and met up with him a few times, of course he was at Celtic as well,” said Hartson.

“Wales played Israel a couple of years ago and, for whatever reason, I came out of the hotel one day, and the assistant manager was Chris Coleman, and decided to go for a walk and went to a cafe on my own.

“I walked around the corner to a cafe and Eyal Berkovic was there! The next thing a couple of photographers turned up and it was weird.

“To this day I don’t know what happened. Next thing we are having a cup of tea like we’ve been mates for 20 years and been living in the same country and everything else.

“All that stuff was then out again. I would like to put on record, like I have many times, it was very regrettable and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did and it’s always seemed to go before me.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 5:20 Fri Nov 13
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 2:15 Fri Nov 13

bill green 2:15 Fri Nov 13
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:48 Fri Nov 13

Thanks Alan 1:48 Fri Nov 13
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 1:46 Fri Nov 13

ted fenton 1:46 Fri Nov 13
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Mr. Burns 1:12 Fri Nov 13
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Many thanks Al.

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