Our thanks to Sean Whetstone of www.westhamtillidie.com for giving us the rundown on what West Ham fans think of Newcastle United and the match on Monday night.
It will be Newcastle’s last ever trip to the Boleyn Ground/Upton Park, barring a Cup game this season.
Moving into their new stadium in time for next season, what kind of shape will our two clubs be in by then.
Andy Carroll, Joey Barton, Big Sham, Kevin Nolan, Mike Ashley – here is what the West Ham fans have to say about them, well one of the fans anyway…
‘What do you think of Mike Ashley?’
“Ha ha, I would rather have David Gold and David Sullivan than Mike Ashley. He is a strange character. Great businessman but he seems to do his best to annoy Newcastle fans and refuses to engage with them beyond that pathetic interview he gave at the end of last season.”
‘Are you happy with your transfer activity over the summer? Was it panic buying on deadline day?’
“It may have looked like panic buying on transfer deadline day from the outside but the reality is we had been negotiating for many weeks and in some cases many months for those players.
We had already done a fair but of business before the transfer deadline. The song deal was already sewn up but we were just trying to save a few weeks of his £75,000 per wages by signing him on the last day because of his injury.
Moses and Antonio has been ongoing for a long time with other clubs seeing what other offers came in for both players. As for Jelavic I am not sure, I know Bilic rates him and they are good mates but he is a 4th choice striker at best and at £2m seems like a bargain.
The big marque signing of the summer is Dimitri Payet and we have some great expectations but both Ogbonna and Obiang will also play their part this season. For us it was one of the best transfer windows in living memory with the chairman spending £37m net and it gives us the strongest squad we have had for 15 years.”
‘Big relief to see the back of Big Sham?’
“Sam Allardyce is Sam Allardyce, you know what you are getting when you hire him.
I won’t knock him though, the past is the past. He got us promoted (just) and kept us in the Premier League.
He never endeared himself to the fans really and his arrogance got the better of him at times. That said, he stabilised our club after the disaster of Avram Grant. I wish him the best but I do wish he would keep his gob shut sometimes.
He recently said West Ham were ungrateful. We paid him £2.95m per year! He should be grateful!
I wonder what he will have to say about West Ham and Newcastle in his upcoming Autobiography which is published in October?”
‘What positions do you think Newcastle and West Ham will finish in the Premier League this season?’
“I think we will both finish mid table in the scheme of things. I will take a punt on 9th place for the Hammers and 10th place for the Magpies.”
‘On the final day of last season West Ham could have potentially relegated Newcastle instead of Hull, what do you think your average West Ham fan would have wanted to happen?’
“I think most West Ham fans would rather relegate Hull and our former player Momo Diame who wanted to leave for a top six club.
Personally I have a lot of time for Newcastle fans, they are passionate about their team and football in a similar way to West Ham fans and they aren’t pretentious like other fans I could mention.”
”Which three teams do you tip for relegation this season?’
“Aston Villa, Sunderland and Watford.”
‘Andy Carroll – quality striker or injury-plagued liability?’
“Good question, when he is fit he is a quality striker who is un-markable and a game changer, but when you add up his £17.5m transfer fee, his £85,000 weekly wages and his injury record, he has been a poor return on that investment.
He owes us big time and I hope he starts repaying the faith we have shown in him and stays injury free. If not, then I can see him leaving at the end of this season for a knockdown price to get him off our wage bill.”
‘How do you rate Steve McClaren as a manager?’
“When Steve McClaren’s name was linked with West Ham before Slaven Bilic, there was uproar amongst the Hammers fans with protests to David Gold on twitter.
He wouldn’t be my first choice as manager but I think he is a good coach and his reputation is often unfounded.
There isn’t enough passion or personality in his locker for me. He is the opposite of Paolo DiCanio, not that you would want Di Canio managing either club. He will keep you up but I doubt he will push you on to the next level.”
‘If you could have any current Newcastle player in your team who would you choose?’
“I really like Jack Colback who nearly came to us despite signing a pre-contract with you guys. There was bizarre going ons with that deal with Newcastle reportedly offering Jack to West Ham for £5m after he signed for you on a free transfer weeks earlier. I hope he gets into the England team one day.”
‘How do you expect West Ham to set-up on Monday in terms of team/formation?’
“I do expect a similar team that beat Liverpool at Anfield, Bilic is big on rewarding players on success. I expect the likes of Andy Carroll, Victor Moses and Michel Antonio will be on the bench and could come on later in the game.
Likely Team: Randolph, Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyaté, Obiang, Noble, Lanzini, Payet, Sakho.”
‘What is your score prediction for Monday?’
“Close game but I predict a 2-1 win for the Hammers for our first home win of the season.”
‘Any regrets about Kevin Nolan leaving?’
“Kev was a great servant to the club and scored some important goals but we have moved on now. He walks away with 75% of his remaining year wages worth £1.4m so he hasn’t done too bad either. I wish him all the best for the future. I think he will make a great manager one day. No regrets, just fond memories of his great games in the past.”
‘What really happened with Joey Barton and West Ham?’
“We discussed a pay as you play deal with Joey Barton but we got cold feet after a fan rebellion not wanting him at our club. We came back in for him again after the Bournemouth loss at home but he told us where to go as he was then doing a deal with Burnley.
Fair enough really. Maybe it was for the best when the emotions are removed from the situation.”
‘Do you see West Ham and/or Newcastle being capable in the future of breaking into the top four?’
“Maybe in my lifetime but I won’t hold my breath, the problem is everyone wants to be a top four side and money talks. Financial Fair Play keeps the rich, richer and keeps teams like Newcastle and West Ham in their place around mid table. Top eight or even top six is possible but top four is just a pipedream for both of us for now I am afraid.”
‘Your new stadium – will you be able to fill it? Does moving stadiums have universal support of fans? Do supporters see it as potentially helping you to be a real contender?’
“Actually we are well on our way to selling 40,000 season tickets, up from 26,000 this season. The reduction in pricing ( up to 25% less than our current season tickets) plus £99 season ticket for Under 16’s have helped.
Another 3,600 seats are corporate, 3000 reserved for away fans and up to 5,000 seats given away free to Newham residents. In reality they will have less than 2,500 tickets on general sale next season in the Olympic Stadium and I expect these to sell fast.
I expect that we will fill up 54,000 seats every game at least for the first season. After that it will depend how good a stadium it is and how well we do on the pitch.
The majority of fans are in favor of the move but many will be sad to say goodbye to the Boleyn Ground. The stadium should increase our turnover which in turn should give us more money to spend on players, which increases our on the pitch performance. Well that’s the big plan anyway.”
Our thanks to Sean Whetstone @Westhamfootball on twitter
West Ham Podcaster on www.moorethanjustapodcast.co.uk
Hammers Blogger at www.claretandhugh.info