Exclusive ExWHUEmployee Column: Ibrahimovic the real deal? Marseille links? What is wrong with the pitch?

Author: . Published: at 9:25pm

So we got the win but it wasn’t that pretty.  At the end of the day though for me this was a great sign.  We have associated Super Slav with an attacking style of football that has dominated games and more often than not gone on to win.  I can’t remember many matches where we have not really been the strongest team and yet still won.  We were the better team in the first half but really could have lost it in the second. Other matches where we haven’t been at the races such as Spurs away, Watford away and Newcastle away we have lost whereas yesterday we showed that we could still win despite not being on top form.  

I said it yesterday that I really believe on current form Antonio should be in the England squad.  I appreciate at times his control lets him down and he is a little raw but every game he improves and how many goals and assists does he have now?  It seems almost every match, he is involved in something.  What makes his case for selection even stronger is that the likes of Walcott, Chamberlain, Townsend, Mason, Gibbs and probably Rashford now will get selected having barely played for their clubs Antonio, as well as Cresswell and Noble have been contributing consistently to a top six side.  We asked this question to some of the fans at the game in our new fans video section here: 


and see what they thought.  This is a new feature of ours.  We will run a little competition to promote this.  Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, RT the fan’s video and comment underneath with your twitter name and who Riley’s favourite player is to stand a chance to win a West Ham Way T-shirt modelled in the video by Evan. 

 I broke the news in my last column that we were looking for a top name forward that people would say was bul4sh5t if I said who it was.  Well in the week another media outlet broke the story and I can confirm that it was Ibrahimović.   Of course this was greeted by the usual “rubbish” (polite version) comments and other sites doing their usual “we can confirm it isn’t true articles” but I heard this news from two good sources.  Both of which confirmed to me the Byram, Obiang, Emineke and Payet deals (to name but a few) before anyone else.  When I heard it from the first source I doubted him and told him it couldn’t be true, which is why I never mentioned it on my twitter, but then when the second source mentioned the same player I knew there had to be substance to it.   We decided to ask Dave Sullivan the questioned when we interviewed him on Saturday and his response here:


confirms that it isn’t complete rubbish.  I don’t think he would have reacted like that had we thrown a ridiculous name at him.  

As I tweeted there has only been initial enquiries in to the deal and of course it still remains unlikely.  Some things to be considered here though are he is a free agent at the end of the season.  He has stated he would like to try the Premier League.  We will be able to afford a lot higher wages next year because of our huge increase in stadium capacity and ticket sales, our turnover will be greater meaning our FFP budget is therefore higher.   The last thing is that the club plan to land a “marque” signing to really kick off our new stadium in style and he would fit that bill.  Of course there are concerns with the potential signing, his age being the obvious one but in his career he has missed far less games than Carroll and Sakho and is still performing at the top of his game now.  My biggest concern comes over the fact that a Chinese club could now come in and offer phenomenal wages to tempt him there.  Of course I don’t think the deal is very likely but it shows a statement of intend that we enquired. 

As I keep saying in my columns our main focus is on Marseille and a number of their players.  We really are prepared to do all we can to land certain individuals from there and all options are being explored.  

As far as Lanzini goes, we have always had the £8m deal agreed with them.  We are currently waiting to see if he proves his fitness and shows that he isn’t injury prone.  The club expect to confirm the deal within the next few weeks as it needs to be done by April for the deal to still be in place.  Many other contracts are at special milestones for a number of players which could shape their future.  I cannot say much more than that but they are significant.  

I have had a number of tweets asking me about the state of the pitch at Upton Park.  The grass, in previous seasons has won many awards for being in such good condition but it doesn’t seem to be quite the same this year and was picked up on by Sam Allardyce when making his usual excuses about his team losing.   What we have to consider about the pitch is that we started our season in early July.  More than a month earlier than it usually does.  This has two affects: it obviously has less time to be relayed and recovered from the previous season and has already had more wear and tear at this stage than last.  Already we have played 13 league matches, plus 3 Europa league matches and two cup ties.  As well as first team matches it has been used for under 21 games, training sessions and friendlies.  The pitch has had far more games on it at this stage of the season than ever before.   So it was in some ways inevitable that this could happen.  I say this tongue in cheek too but the ball has probably been on the ground a lot more this season than previous seasons aswell. 

The youth team have made real progress and reached the final stages of the youth Premier League.  This is down to the great work of Steve Potts and Mark Philips.  The ladies team are due to play a match against Spurs at Upton Park in the next week so it is an exciting time for many of our teams. 

I cannot wait for the Spurs match on Wednesday and it would be so sweet to beat them now, as it will be our last ever match against them at Upton Park and a chance to put a dent in their title campaign, which I believe is very real. Sakho should be on the bench but unfortunately Reid has suffered a slight set back as he was also due to be on the bench against Sunderland.  I believe we are capable of the win.  

Please make sure you check the site as we will be having a number of changes to it this week and also enter our YouTube competition because the videos really deserve more views in my biased opinion. 

Thanks a lot



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