Saturday, 10 May 2014

Monday, 27 January 2014

Sam Allardyce is the sixth highest paid manager in the Premier League.

According to a report published by Sporting Intelligence Sam Allardyce is the sixth highest paid manager in the Premier League. His £2.95m a year is behind Jose Mourinho (£8.37m), Arsene Wenger £6.89m, David Moyes (£4.92m), Manuel Pellegrini (£3.47m) and Brendan Rodgers (£3.25m). 

Allardyce, who is on the same money as Roy Hodgson, the England manager, is the 13th highest paid manager in Europe and receives more than Roberto Mancini (Galatasaray, £2.92m), Rafa Benitez (Napoli, £2.92m),  Claudio Ranieri, (Monaco, £2.5m), Laurent Blanc (PSG, £2.5m), Antonio Conte (Juventus, £2.5m), Cesare Prandelli (Italy, £2.5m), Massimiliano Allegri (Milan, £2.34m),  Felipe Scolari (Brazil, £2.3m), Harry Redknapp (QPR, £2.09m), Joachim Low (Germany, £2.09m), Walter Mazzarri (Inter Milan, £2m) and Vecente del Bosque (Spain, £1.96m).

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The origins of the conflict between West Ham Millwall

I have recently been researching the origins of the conflict between West Ham United and Millwall.  It has to be remembered that Millwall was established in 1885, ten years before Thames Ironworks and fifteen years before West Ham United.

Millwall were in fact champions of the Southern League when Thames Ironworks was established. Therefore the first game between the two clubs took place on 14th December, 1895. That day Thames Ironworks played a game against Millwall Reserves and lost 6-0. A return match was arranged on 25th April, 1896. This time the result was 1-1.

Thames Ironworks won the Southern League Division 2 in the 1898-99. That meant that in the 1899-1900 season they were playing in the same league as Millwall. The first game took place on 23rd December 1899. Up until then Thames Ironworks had home gates of between 1,000 (Chatham) and 3,000 (Bristol City). However, for this game they had an attendance of 12,000. John Powles, the author of Iron in the Blood (2005), does not report any crowd trouble in the game. Millwall won the game 2-0.

That year Thames Ironworks also played Millwall in the FA Cup. This time 13,000 people saw Millwall win the game 2-1. It might be this game that caused the conflict between the two clubs. Tom Bradshaw scored the Hammers goal. It was the last game he played dying on 25th December 1899. Officially the 26 year old Bradshaw died of tuberculosis. However, friends claimed that he had been complaining of terrible pains when he headed the ball. This he blamed on a game he had played several years previously when a member of the Liverpool team.  Did he receive a blow to the head while playing against Millwall? Bradshaw was a popular player and if the fans thought this was the case might have caused considerable anger towards Millwall.

Interestingly, Bradshaw’s death also increased hostility towards Spurs. In 1899, Francis Payne, the club secretary, was given the task of finding good players for Thames Iron Works to prepare them for the first season in the top division of the Southern League. His record signing of £1000 was Bradshaw from Spurs.  Hammers’ fans were convinced that Spurs would have known he was suffering from tuberculosis when they sold him. Bradshaw only played four games for Thames Ironworks before that fateful game against Millwall.

The third game against Millwall was even more important. Thames Ironworks was second from bottom of the league when they played Millwall on 28th April 1900. In front of 8,000 people the Hammers won 1-0. This stopped them from being automatically relegated and had to play a “Test Match” against Fulham. The Hammers stayed in the league by winning 5-1.

The following season Thames Ironworks changed its name to West Ham United. For the next 14 years the West Ham v Millwall was the most important game of the season, attracting nearly double the attendance of any other game. More importantly, West Ham obtained dominance over Millwall during this period. In 1919 West Ham joined the Second Division of the Football League. In the 1922-23 season West Ham was promoted to the First Division and was beaten by Bolton in the 1923 Cup Final.

After this, West Ham was rarely in the same division as Millwall.  Although we did beat them 4-1 in the FA Cup on 15th February, 1930. The next time we played them was in the 1932-33 season after we had been relegated to the Second Division. On 17th September 1932 we beat them 3-0 (two of the goals were scored by the great Vic Watson). The relative size of the two clubs is reflected in the fact that 30,000 attended that game, but the return match at Millwall only had a crowd of 5,000.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Martin Glover, head of recruitment at West Ham

Martin Glover is head of recruitment at West Ham. Together with Sam Allardyce he drew up a list of ten men they wanted in the summer. This included Michu who eventually ended up Swansea. Allardyce blames Glover for not saying: "You must sign this player." They eventually decided on targeting six playerss. The only one on the list that West Ham signed was Mohamed Diame.

Allardyce has signed Winston Paulista on loan. He has been playing in Brazil and Allardyce rarely buys players without Premier League experience.

It is rather disturbing to hear that West Ham are not willing to offer Carlton Cole a new deal at the moment. His contract comes to an end in the summer. Allardyce is clearly taking advantage of Cole's comments that he really wants to stay at the club.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

West Ham Biographies

It is true most West Ham biographies are very dull. This is definitely true of footballers who are still playing. However, there are some really good ones by West Ham players. This includes Bobby Moore's "Bobby Moore: The Life and Times of a Sporting Hero" (1997), based on his interviews with his great friend, Jeff Powell. See for example, his views on Ron Greenwood and Malcolm Allison.
Here is a passage about Moore playing his first game for the Hammers. It is a game I still remember with great affection.

Malcolm had been battling for months to recover from tuberculosis. I'd even seen him the day he got the news of his illness. I was a groundstaff boy and I'd gone to Upton Park to collect my wages. I saw Malcolm standing on his own on the balcony at the back of the stand. Tears in his eyes. Big Mal actually crying. He'd been coaching me and coaching me and coaching me but I still didn't feel I knew him well enough to go up and ask what was wrong.
When I came out of the office I looked up again and Noel Cantwell was standing with his arm round Malcolm. He'd just been told he'd got T.B.

It wasn't like Malcolm to give up. By the start of that 1958 season we were battling away together in the reserves, Malcolm proving he could still play, me proving I might be able to play one day.

West Ham had just come up. They went to Portsmouth and won. They beat Wolves at home in their second game. After three or four matches they were top of the First Division, due to play Manchester United on the Monday night, and they had run out of left halves. Billy Lansdowne, Andy Nelson, all of them were unfit. It's got to be me or Malcolm.

I'd been a professional for two and a half months and Malcolm had taught me everything I knew. For all the money in the world I wanted to play. For all the money in the world I wanted Malcolm to play because he'd worked like a bastard for this one game in the First Division.
It would have meant the world to him. Just one more game, just one minute in that game. I knew that on the day Malcolm with all his experience would probably do a better job than me. But maybe I'm one for the future.

It somehow had to be that when I walked into the dressing room and found out I was playing, Malcolm was the first person I saw. I was embarrassed to look at him. He said "Well done. I hope you do well." I knew he meant it but I knew how he felt. For a moment I wanted to push the shirt at him and say "Go on, Malcolm. It's yours. Have your game. I can't stop you. Go on, Malcolm. My time will come."

But he walked out and I thought maybe my time wouldn't come again. Maybe this would be my only chance. I thought: you've got to be lucky to get the chance, and when the chance comes you've got to be good enough to take it.

I went out and played the way Malcolm had always told me to play. Afterwards I looked for him back in the dressing room. Couldn't find him.

Malcolm Allison, Colours of my Life (1975) is another great book. As Allison once said, I think of myself as more of a teacher than a coach. This is supported by Moore and the rest of those who played under him. However, as John Bond once said, the problem with Malcolm is that he was good at coaching others but a disaster managing himself.

Footballers are rarely great writers and the best books are like the one by Jeff Powell, based on interviews. A good interviewer can make most people articulate. Therefore, I highly recommend Brian Belton’s Days of Iron (1999).

I agree that Charles Korr's, West Ham United: The Making of a Football Club (1986) is the most intelligent book written about West Ham. After all, it was Korr's Ph.D.

If you like biographies shorter than book length I suggest you visit:

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Sam Allardyce wants Real Madrid's striker Joselu. He looks good on the floor but he is 6 3 but does not score goals with his head. Maybe that is because of the way Real Madrid plays. That will have to change if Sam signs him.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole took a 50 percent wage cut to stay with West Ham. The 28-year-old striker turned down a move to Stoke after the Hammers were relegated at the end of the 2010-11 season, instead slashing his wages to £14,000-per-week from £28,000.

"I’ve kept my mouth shut for quite a while but I did take a wage cut to stay in the Championship. Half of my wages just went... 'I didn’t want to leave the ship, I am that sort of guy. I would not have been able to live with myself. It is just such a reward today to get to the Premier League again with West Ham at the first time of asking. This was D-Day for all of us. I can’t explain how proud as a player, person and family man I am to be here. Obviously I want to earn as much as I can in my career. But when you have been relegated, you don’t deserve it and you need to work back to where you need to get to. Then they give it back to you. That is the way I felt."