Friday, 18 May 2007

Keeping The Faith

Eggert Magnusson can remember the moment he knew West Ham would escape relegation from the Premiership but it wasn't following the final whistle at Old Trafford last Sunday. Bizarrely, it was after the game that looked like the most shattering defeat of an unbelievable season. The date was Sunday March 4 and Tottenham had just beaten Alan Curbishley's side in a game which proved as difficult to pin down as Jose Mourinho's dog. Twice Spurs had come from behind to level at Upton Park before Paul Stalteri scored an injury-time winner to earn an unthinkable 4-3 triumph... so begins David Bond's lengthy piece on the under-fire West Ham chairman. A man who does not wear the demeanour of someone who has just pulled off one of the greatest escapes in the game's history, but rather the dog-eared comportment of someone shattered by the endurance of every conceivable emotion the game has to offer.

As reported yesterday Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore held peace talks with the Wigan chairman David Whelan in a further attempt to head off the growing revolt over the Carlos Tevez controversy. However, sources have confirmed that while both parties have agreed to conduct negotiations on the dispute in private, Whelan remains steadfast in his quest for 'justice': "There has been no softening in the chairman's position. He is still very angry and wants answers to the questions he has repeatedly been asking."

The Sun suggest West Ham want Craig Bellamy to replace Carlos Tevez. Hammers boss Alan Curbishley and chairman Eggert Magnusson feel signing the £8million-rated Liverpool striker will prove the club’s ambition following their narrow escape from relegation, and are prepared to offer the Welshman a weekly wage of £60k. The article also states Tevez is a £30million target for Real Madrid. The Mirror join in the fun and claim Bobby Zamora could be joining his strike partner in the Spanish capital. Atletico scouts have watched West Ham's run-in and have been hugely impressed with Zamora's recent performances. John Cross must have a hotline to the inner sanctum of the club as he also claims Nigel Reo-Coker could be off to AstonVilla, with Tottenham and Everton watching developments, and also Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp wants Yossi Benayoun with agent Pini Zahavi ready to broker a deal as he is close to both the player and manager. That last story seems wildly speculative. Reports coming out of Israel today suggest Benayoun is very much in Curbishley's plans. A meeting with the player yesterday saw a five-year contract with a significant raise put on the negotiating table, an offer the midfielder and his agent Ronen Katzav are leaning toward accepting.

Finally, there are two other West Ham related articles. The Daily Mail have taken a look at six classic FA Cup finals and West Ham feature in two of them. In the Express, John Dillon has concocted a piece so full of spite that if you read it you might well want to put your fist through your monitor screen. I can't be held responsible for any damage caused so click on the link at your own discretion.

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