Author Archives: Mark

Slaven Bilic

Beware complacency, but COME ON YOU IRONS!!!

As 9000 Hammers fans travel up to Manchester today, it seems everyone is predicting a West Ham win. It has been a long, long time since we West Ham fans have felt this good. The manager has been a revelation, Payet is now a West Ham legend, and Antonio, Lanzini et al have all helped make this one of the best seasons I can remember.

But I have a slightly uneasy feeling that complacency will set in and it’s all going to go pear-shaped. West Ham have been slow starters of late, and if Man Utd go off all guns blazing we might be in for a bit of a shock.

Saying that, in Bilic we have one of most calm, considered managers ever. He has already said that they are still Man Utd and they will be a “wounded lion”. I just hope his feeling of caution will filter down to the players.

In our last season at Upton Park what better way to leave than with an FA Cup and Champions League qualification. I’m nervous already, and either way, I know it’s going to be one hell of a match.


west ham vs bournemouth

Team news for Bournemouth match tonight

WEST HAM UNITED: Adrian, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble (c), Antonio, Payet, Valencia, Carroll

Payet returns to the starting lineup, Ginge holds his place (and rightly so), and Obiang starts instead of Zarate.

I like this lineup a lot! Hopefully we can get going straight from the whistle this time. Here’s to 3 points!


Former West Ham Ladies captain rides for Prostate Cancer UK

Former West Ham Ladies captain Stacey Little will be undertaking a mammoth bike ride from London to Amsterdam in June, for the charity Prostate Cancer UK. Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. They find answers by funding ground-breaking research, they lead change by raising the profile of the disease and improving care. And they support men by providing vital information and services.

A great cause, I’m sure you will agree, and you can help by sponsoring Stacey at the following link:

Stacey’s bike ride starts on the 3rd of June 2016, and I wish her sunny weather and a following wind for her ride.

So let’s all put our hands in our pockets for the amazing Stacey – as they say, every Little helps! 😉


Will Bilic go where Allardyce feared to tread? Thoughts on Sunderland.

It is usually the case that when a team is struggling for results, the West Ham fixture is generally the one when they rediscover their winning form and turn their season around. And so it was very nearly the case last Saturday when the trip to Sunderland saw the Hammers go two goals down in the first half. A poor, lethargic performance saw yet another unforced error result in a goal against, and the signs were there that this was to be a bad day at the office. Victor Moses had a subdued half, and I was coming to the conclusion that he should be making way for Antonio when a bit of trickery down the left saw a good cross turned in by Jenkinson, whose needless foul resulted in Sunderland’s first goal. So the Hammers went in just one down, and the half time team talk probably turned out to be not quite so tetchy, and hopes were a bit higher in the second half.

The Hammers’ task was made an awful lot easier just under the hour mark, when Lens of Sunderland collected his second yellow and an early shower, and Payet duly obliged after 60 minutes, knocking in a rebound after a long range effort was fumbled by Pantilimon, who certainly didn’t “catch ’em all!” (Pokemon joke for the uninitiated). After the sending off Sunderland seemed to give up the ghost and West Ham should really have nicked a winner, but after the abysmal first half a point was not so unpalatable.

Things of note that came to me during the match:

1. Mark Noble is a great skipper and always puts in a shift, but he is noticeably lacking in pace these days. Add that to his habit of collecting cards and his error strewn passing, and we have a potentially difficult decision coming up for the manager. Drop the captain? Allardyce wouldn’t do it, but will Bilic?

2. Since the first game or so, Victor Moses has lost his spark a bit. Let’s hope he starts firing again soon.

3. Cresswell seems to be reluctant these days to get to the byeline and put in a cross. He nearly always just passes it backwards. He also gets caught out of position at the back quite often. Get Julian on the job!

Saying all that, we’re still doing great as a whole. When you consider that the manager is still making his mark, applying his football philosophy and getting the players a bit fitter, results have gone well. I just hope we are not flattering to deceive. Oh, and isn’t Bilic just a breath of fresh air? No excuses, no blame, just honesty and integrity.


mark noble

My preview and prediction for today’s game

After the disappointment of losing against Leicester in the League cup in midweek, the Hammers welcome Norwich City to Upton Park in what should be an entertaining affair. West Ham’s three away wins against the “big boys” has certainly set them on track for a good season, but it will probably pay to heed the two home defeats against Bournemouth and Leicester when assessing their chances this afternoon.

There is no doubt the Bilic’s team is a “work in progress”, and the two home defeats can probably be put down to the players getting used to the way that the manager wants them to play. After all, it must be a bit of a culture shock switching from Sam Allardyce’s direct style of play to the more measured and passing-based style that Bilic is attempting to impress on his squad. The long ball from the defence up to the front is now virtually non-existent, so much so it makes you think whether the players get fined for every long ball they play (joking, of course)! The fact that the Hammers’ away wins have been achieved with a more counter-attacking style is probably no coincidence. The players will have been more used to playing like this under Allardyce and the home games where West Ham have to take the initiative will take longer to perfect, I am sure.

Norwich City have impressed this season, with the Hammers’ Matt Jarvis scoring valuable goals, although he is ineligible to play against his parent club. The match today should have a few goals in it, with both sides likely to play open football, and it will be a good benchmark for both clubs to see how well they are progressing. Andy Carroll is likely to start on the bench for West Ham, but will probably get some game time at some stage as he tries to get match fit. I for one am not convinced as yet that Carroll knows quite how to play in the new regime, with his aerial power being his biggest asset. It will, though, be pleasing if does adapt to the new style and, more importantly, stay clear of any injuries this season.

As for my prediction, if West Ham have got rid of the tiredness they displayed against Leicester in midweek, I will go for a 2-0 home win. If the midweek exertions and the number of matches played so far start to take their toll, I might have to go for a 1-1 draw. Whatever happens, it should be an entertaining match.



I’m the boss!

It’s nice to see that the new boss doesn’t take any shenanigans from any of the players. The Mirror is reporting that Morgan Amalfitano has banished from the first team to train with the kids, after turning up late to a team meeting. To quote the Moirror, “Amalfitano is understood to have “given the manager attitude” when he took exception to being confronted about his absence in front of his teammates.” It is understood that he “had a list of his misdemeanours read to him before he was sent packing by Bilic after his latest breach of discipline. And the Croatian’s no-nonsense approach has been noted by the rest the squad.”

Well, good for him (Bilic, that is). It looks like he has a touch of the Alex Ferguson about him, which should do the team no harm at all.

The Mirror went on, “Bilic has also impressed his players with his preparations for Sunday’s Premier League opener at Arsenal and the style of football he wants to implement.”

Happy days!



Bilic out? You’ve got to be kidding me!

I must admit I am amazed how many people are clamouring for Slaven Bilic’s head before the Premiership season has even started. The poor guy must wonder what he has walked into. That said he seems to have a ruthless, no nonsense approach to the game, so it probably won’t even bother him, but come on!

The furore seems to stem solely from the decision to send a weakened team to Romania for the second leg against Astra Giurgiu, but I for one am pleased that he did. Let’s not forget that it was the first team that cocked it up against Astra in the first leg, and let’s also not forget that we all lambasted Sam Allardyce for not having faith in the youngsters in the squad. Well, Bilic does, and not only was it refreshing to see, but it was also invaluable experience that will improve them as players and as men. Yes, Maiga was his normal ineffective self, and Randolph seems a bit ropy, but Bilic was right to praise the young lads who gave their all for the club the other night.

The there is the common sense aspect of it all. We have already lost Valencia, do we really want to risk losing to injury the few other good players we have just for the slim hope of winning 23 matches in a row and winning a European trophy that, to be fair, we simply do not have the strength in depth to do? The main priority is surviving and progressing in the Premier League. Period. Bilic has his head screwed on. The fans that berate him for the side he picked against Astra Giurgiu are blinkered and need to see the big picture.

After watching the match on Thursday, sure I was disappointed that we lost. But it also gave me hope for future. We used to be renowned for bringing players through the Academy. It looks like those days are coming back.

So let’s give the manager a chance. Let’s give him till Christmas and then take stock.

As George Michael once said, “you’ve gotta have faith, faith, faith ahhhh!”


The latest issue of Blowing Bubbles Monthly is now available

Always a cracking read, the August edition of Blowing Bubbles is out. Here is a taster!

Harry Redknapp believes Slaven Bilic can lead West Ham United into a new golden period in their history. In an interview with West Ham magazine Blowing Bubbles Monthly, the former Hammers chief says the Croatian is the perfect man to take the club into the Olympic Stadium.
He also reckons the move will give West Ham the chance to compete with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.

In a wide ranging interview in Blowing Bubbles’ first issue of the season, the 68-year-old insisted the Irons were right to leave Upton Park and maintained it could herald a new dawn in the club’s future. “People say West Ham won’t fill it but I think they will easily. West Ham can attract the fans, they have a great fanbase and are a well-supported club.
“It’s sad to see them leave Upton Park after all this time but sooner or later you have to move on. There is no room to extend the current ground and this is a great opportunity.”
Elsewhere in the August issue of the magazine, Sky Sports’ Bianca Westwood writes in her column that QPR’s Charlie Austin would give Bilic enough firepower to enjoy a fast start to life at West Ham. We need someone upfront who is a proven goalscorer and that’s what Austin is,” she wrote. “He works hard, tracks back and has a proven record of scoring goals at the top level.”
George Parris is also unveiled as the magazine’s new ex-Hammer columnist after Julian Dicks had to step down from the role following his appointment to the first team coaching staff.

Meanwhile Blowing Bubbles also celebrates reaching the impressive milestone of 50 issues as well as asking if Dimitri Payet can send West Ham in a new direction, and whether summer signing Darren Randolph can really challenge Adrian to be our No 1.

They also look at five thrilling opening days that will never be forgotten, and how Julian Dicks must inject old school passion into the stars of 2015. They’ve also got an exclusive interview with West Ham Ladies joint chairman Stephen Hunt who believes the Hammers are only ‘two years away from Women’s Super League’

The latest issue of Blowing Bubbles Monthly is now available to read for FREE on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. Click here or read it below!



Teddy Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham tells all

Ex-West Ham player/coach Teddy Sheringham has given an interview to ahead of the new season kicking off this weekend.

He’s given them his thoughts on Harry Redknapp, Andy Carroll, Charlie Austin and more.

Teddy Sheringham: Harry Redknapp will be back soon

In a 25 year career Teddy Sheringham played under some truly outstanding managers: Brian Clough, Terry Venables, Sir Alex Ferguson, and – for one season at Portsmouth where he became the oldest Premier League player to score a hat-trick – Harry Redknapp.

Now, in an exclusive interview with the 51-cap England international has revealed he believes Redknapp will shortly be returning to a top level dug-out after an involuntary six month hiatus.

“He’s a football man and has had very good results with clubs along the way so I can quite easily see him coming back soon.”

To which club only time – and the inevitable September sackings – will tell but Sheringham can empathise with the unavoidable lure of the tracksuit after being tempted into management for the first time this season with Stevenage FC.

“It came from being involved with Sam Allardyce and West Ham last year. Seeing how things were done. I’ve been a football man since I was a little kid so this is my game. People say about putting something back but it’s not really that. It’s more about passing on your knowledge and hopefully they will learn along the way.”

Teddy Sheringham: Andy Carroll’s quality surprised me

51-cap England international Teddy Sheringham has revealed he was ‘nicely surprised’ by the quality of Andy Carroll’s striking ability after taking on the role of attacking coach at West Ham United last season.

Speaking in an exclusive interview for the new Stevenage FC boss reveals, “I was surprised about his qualities when I went there. I can remember doing the first shooting session – and he’d already told me how good he was by the way – but I was nicely surprised at how decent his technique and quality was. He could definitely score a goal.”

Sheringham is rightly proud of the work he achieved under the guidance of Sam Allardyce as the Hammers tore into unprepared defences for the first half of 2014/15.

“It was a massive thing. I really liked Kouyate at the start of the season then Sakho came in and what a combination they could be. Then Valencia made an impact and it was very different again. With Andy Carroll they had four strikers who could cover every scenario of attacking play. They had a bit of everything.”

Teddy Sheringham exclusive: West Ham need Charlie Austin

51-cap England international Teddy Sheringham has suggested his former club would be mad not to bid in the region of £15m for QPR hit-man Charlie Austin especially now the Hammers have suffered a long-term injury loss to Enner Valencia.

Speaking exclusively to the striking legend – who was West Ham’s attacking coach last season – failed to hide his excitement at the prospect of a player he clearly rates highly joining up with the East End club.

When asked whether Austin represented value at that price Sheringham responded,

“Without a shadow. Yes, yes, yes. He got 18 goals for QPR last year and that’s not easy to do. That boy scores goals and I love his ways and the way he plays football. He would be a great signing.”


Teddy Sheringham exclusive: Hernandez should leave Old Trafford

Manchester United legend Teddy Sheringham has urged Javier Hernandez to leave Old Trafford for another of his former clubs West Ham in an exclusive interview for

Admitting he is a fan of the Mexican striker Sheringham – who was West Ham’s attacking coach last season – remains perplexed as to why the player nicknamed ‘Little Pea’ has struggled to establish himself at United or, more recently, Real Madrid on loan.

“He’ll want to be playing first team football and I don’t know why he can’t hold down a regular place for whichever team he plays for. He could work well alongside Diafra Sakho.”

The new Stevenage FC boss was talking ahead of the season’s opener this Saturday that involves two of his former clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Read his full and frank interview here.

elliott lee

Europa dreams could cost the Hammers, says top performance coach

Ray Wilson, from sports performance consultancy Back 2 Action, who counts Premier League stars Yannick Bolasie, Danny Rose, Nacer Chadli and Rolando Aarons amongst his clients, has given his thoughts on a range of topics including how Europa League dreams for all West Ham fans could actually cost the Hammers, with their season starting in July.

West Ham fans may be delighted at seeing their team compete in Europe for the first time in nine years but Ray has cast doubts over Slaven Bilic’s side being physically able to last the distance in 2015/16.

In an exclusive interview for, Ray airs concern at a club starting its competitive season in July.

“It’s a huge risk because they haven’t had a long enough pre-season. Unfit players are coming in and competing against other countries that are halfway through their season already. Good luck to them and I hope they get some good European results but how will that ultimately affect their level of performances in the Premier League?”

According to Wilson this may come down to the players’ diligence rather than the coaching staff.

“It’s about managing fatigue. Is a player willing to sacrifice certain things to ensure he is fresh for matchday? Clubs and coaching staff can try X, Y, and Z but if the player decides to take his missus out for a meal and sit down to eat at 8pm and have a glass of wine then he’s going to do that. That’s going to make him tired the next day and if he’s got a hard session in training that will make him even more tired the next day and before long it’s only a matter of time before he breaks down.”

Wilson was interviewed by 888sport as Premier League players start returning to their clubs for preseason training.

Read Ray Wilson’s thoughts on the science behind preseason on