Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Sublittoral Thrum

For West Ham United, severely impeded by the Scylla and Charybdis of a rabid football press and a public financial imperative to balance books, the transfer window cracks and hums, pulsing like the premonitory electricity of death. Transfer rumours in these austere times are as pieces of lint, static-clinging to our collective screen as 24hr rolling media disseminates half-truths and belches effluents, pollutants, contaminants and deliriants into an airborne toxic event...

So we have Sunderland launching a £5million raid for James Collins according to today's Mail. Steve Bruce has already boosted his defence with the capture of out-of-contract Paraguay skipper Paulo da Silva, and has now reportedly turned his attention to the Wales international, who returned to action for West Ham United in October last year after a nine-month absence with severe knee-ligament damage. The paper speculates that Gianfranco Zola may now be tempted to part with Collins to raise funds for his own recruitment plans, especially with Celtic also credited with an interest in the player. The Sardinian has a preference for a smaller squad and with Matthew Upson, James Tomkins and the returning Danny Gabbidon providing adequate depth, could view Collins as expendable.

Fellow Welsh defender Gabbidon was said to be pleased with his 45 minutes on Sunday as he played his first football for 18 months in the victory over Grays Athletic. "It feels really good to be back," Gabbidon told the official site. "It has been quite a long time. I have had a few problems with injuries. It was nice to have a run-out at Grays and we got a good result as well so it was a good start to pre-season."

The defender developed a series of back problems and neck related complications which threatened his career and forced him to miss nearly two seasons of action. "It has just been a bit of wear and tear really from playing so long with a few problems and I just carried on playing," he disclosed. "It kind of got worse. I developed some problems with my back and groin and it just proved quite hard to get rid of the problem. I have had to be patient. I have done a lot of work with the physios at West Ham and finally I have got there and it is nice to be back out on the pitch and performing in a West Ham shirt."

Gabbidon is now eager to improve his fitness as the Hammers squad arrived at their Austrian training camp near Graz yesterday. Zola and his coaching staff are planning to "work the players hard", with double training sessions scheduled for non-match-days throughout their stay. The players will also be able to keep fit by cycling to and from their hotel to the training pitches. The competitive action during the trip will be provided in the shape of four friendlies with Flavia Solva the first opponents in Wagna tomorrow. German Cup holders Werder Bremen follow on Saturday, with Turkish side Bursaspor providing the opposition on Wednesday 22 July. The trip concludes with a game against ND Nura a short hop over the border in Slovenia on Thursday 23 July.

The official site revealed that after an early morning flight from London the players quickly set about making themselves at home in their new surroundings. Bathed in glorious sunshine, the travelling party headed by coach to their picturesque hotel in the rural village of Bad Radkersburg, their base for the next ten days. New arrival Luis Jimenez joined up with his team-mates for the first time and, we are told, pointedly went to every member of the squad to shake hands and introduce himself. Jimenez was joined at the airport by England trio Matthew Upson, Robert Green and Carlton Cole after they were given an extra week's holiday following their international exertions last month.

The majority of the group that featured in the 2-1 friendly win at Grays Athletic are in Austria, along with Luis Boa Morte, Valon Behrami and Scott Parker. Canada Under-20 goalkeeper Adam Street is also in the first-team party, as is reserve team captain Bondz N'Gala, Austria U19 midfielder Georg Grasser and promising youngsters Oliver Lee and Anthony Edgar, who signed their first professional contracts with the club last month. There is no mention of Savio but one assumes he is also present. Dean Ashton and Terry Dixon are named as the only absentees as both have stayed behind in England to work on their own individual training programmes. Or Dixon has at least. For Ashton, who is a reported target for Stoke City, dark rumours concerning medical examinations, first-team assurances, managerial fall-outs and Britannia stadium tours swarm like an incessant sublittoral thrum.

With two of his four striking options still struggling for fitness or personal contentment, it is perhaps not surprising Zola is eager to boost his forward options. "We are trying to spot what our ­weaknesses are," the United manager told Sky Sports. "Certainly we need to improve up front and that is the majority of the job." According to the Express, a possible move for old team-mate Eidur Gudjohnsen is still in the offing. Gudjohnsen has been made available by Barcelona and with funds limited at Upton Park, The Star thinks Zola may have to persuade both player and club that a season-long loan deal is an attractive proposition.

Elsewhere, the Mirror claims Julien Faubert is wanted by Bayer Leverkusen after the former France international spent the end of last season on loan at Real Madrid but barely played. Faubert has endured a miserable time in London since his move from Bordeaux in July 2007. He ruptured his achilles tendon in a pre-season game just weeks into his stay, and did not play for the first team until the following January. When he did return it became apparent that the injury had miraculously robbed FauxPas of some of his pace, most of his crossing ability and all of his first-touch. Subsequently relegated to bit-part status by successive managers, he has regularly voiced his dissatisfaction with the club through the French media. The article states West Ham United do not actually want their £5-6million signing back and are ready to do a cut-price deal, with Leverkusen hoping to land Faubert for as little as £1million.

Julian Faubert- La Nausee (one man, assailed by metaphysical doubts, attempts to cleanse himself of the sin of existing)


Anonymous said...

Trilby, please come back. I know it may be pathetic but I check your blog daily in the hope that you will post something new!

TBI said...

Cracking post on your blog.

Paul Jeffrey said...

Dear Hammers

I couldn't find a contact email for you so I hope you don't mind that I'm posting here.

I thought you might like this: http://www.no1fan,co,uk

We are introducing the West Ham No.1 Fan later this month, It's an official West Ham product and will hopefully raise a smile with your readers.

The chants were recorded with a season ticket holding Hammer and we think it's our best No.1 Fan yet.

Any feedback would be very welcome.

Kind regards

Paul Jeffrey
No.1 Fan


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