The Comment

The Media

Are You Listening, Mr Pardew?

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West Ham United have officially announced the signing of Mali international forward Modibo Maiga. The 24-year-old joins the Hammers from French side FC Sochaux-Montbeliard for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £5million, putting pen to paper on a four-year contract with an option for a further two years.

Permanent Insurrection In The Transfer Circus

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And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
You find he did not leave you very much not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
That is so high and wild
He'll never need to deal another
A little over a year ago I wrote a piece about the friction between social media and the written press as it pertains to the transfer circus.

Streaked With Sweat

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It is an imperative that you transform yourself from a consumer of the rich man's bullshit, to a manufacturer of the people's truth. Yeah, sticking it to the man with some more paywall pilfery. The fabric is not mine but the stitching is...

O good old man, how well in thee appears the constant service of the antique world, when service sweat for duty, not for meed!

Remembrance Of Things Owed

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It was 12.24am, local time, when Alessandro Diamanti walked forward for the final, decisive kick and, when it was all done, sparked the match that would exsiccate English Euro dreams to ashes. Little did the Italian know that 1300 miles away he was also about to reignite a domestic feud that has been quietly smouldering for two years.

First Impressions Count

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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genuis hits a target no one else can see.
It is only at the first encounter that a face makes its full impression on us. At first glance you might think Schopenhauer's aphoristic statement of transcendental idealism has little relevance to a promoted team's chances of survival in their first season in the Premier League, but someone at West Ham has clearly taken the maxim 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression' to heart.

The Road To POMOtion

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"It's not about results, it's about entertainment," says Sam Allardyce. Pause a moment to take that in. The man often portrayed as the ultimate no-frills manager announcing that, actually, he quite fancies frills and thrills. Except that's not exactly what he's saying. Because it is clear that, for Allardyce, entertainment has always meant getting good results and getting good results means entertainment.

Mistakes Are A Portal Of Discovery

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West Ham's Wembley matchwinner Ricardo Vaz Te is determined to make the most of his second chance. The Portuguese winger was on the football scrapheap two years ago after being released by Bolton, but the Hammers' £500,000 January recruit looks like a bargain after scoring that dramatic late play-off final winner to sink Blackpool 2-1 and earn West Ham the estimated £90million promotion to the Barclays Premier League brings.

Days Of Decline Are Finished?

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No legacy is so rich as honesty...
West Ham supporters were not the only ones celebrating the Hammers' victory in the Championship play-off final on Saturday, writes the Telegraph's Paul Kelso. The beleaguered London Legacy Development Corporation (the new name for the Olympic Park Legacy Company) and its political paymasters will also have been relieved as it should, in theory, make a viable solution to the Olympic Stadium saga more likely.

Long Ball Ma Fangul

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I was born under a bad sign with a claret and blue moon in my eyes, but Lordy a-things ain't been the same since Big Sam walked in-a town...

"I've got the world by the balls and yet I can't stop feeling that I'm still the mortadella," confesses Sam Allardyce. "It's the nagging feeling that I came in at the end; that the best is over.

The Damned Ignited

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Up this corridor. Round this corner. Down the next corridor. The next corner. Kevin Keen at my heels. To the office. The empty desk. The empty chair. Avram's office. Avram's desk. Avram's chair. Four walls with no windows and one door, these four walls between which he etched his schemes and his dreams, his hopes and fears.

The New Remedy

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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the
greatest innovator.

William D. Leahy said the bomb wouldn't go off; Lord Kelvin thought that heavier-than-air flying machines were impossible; Charlie Chaplin was convinced cinema was little more than a fad; Neville Chamberlain promised it would be peace in our time and Bill Gates insisted 640K ought to be enough for anybody.

Dreams Of Monica

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I was in a pub this afternoon and no word of a lie that Monica Bellucci girl was there. She was sat plain as day, leaning back against the wooden settle in a black dress at least two sizes too small for her sadistically oppressed breasts. I could see her bare honeyed legs and the sharp patella that gave a fetching inverted-triangle shape to her knee.

Jefferson's Lost Paragon

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Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you

I raised a toast and drank to auld acquaintance on Tuesday, writes Frank Keating in this morning's Guardian. There was a bitter taste to it, of course, because it would – should – have been Bobby Moore's 70th birthday had cancer not so wretchedly cut him down at 51, in 1993.

In A League Of Her Own

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With the start of the World Cup less than a week away, West Ham news is slower than molasses in winter, emptier than a beer closet in a premises where painters have been at work (Twain?) and patchier than 90 minutes of Jonathan Spector at leftback (my mate Ned)...

West Ham are reportedly upping their efforts to sign 40 year old Everton striker Yakubu now Avram Grant has been confirmed as the club's new manager.

All's Fair In Love And Football

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When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Our Insular Tahiti

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To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee...

Norman Mailer once wrote that obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer.

Hard Cases, Soft Centres

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The takeover of West Ham United by David Sullivan and David Gold is a big moment for the Barclays Premier League, whether you're a fan of the club or not. Writing in this morning's Times, Tony Cascarino believes it could mark the start of a new set of takeovers by owners who are realistic and sensible, instead of the dreamers or leeches that have gone before.

52 Logical Positivism Avenue

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Apparently the answer to Life, the Universe, and European football is 52. That is how many points Gianfranco Zola believes could be enough for his West Ham United team to hitch a ride into next season's UEFA Europa League. The team currently sit in a tenuous looking seventh position in the Premier League table going into Saturday's trip to Blackburn Rovers.

The Players

Thanks For The Memories

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At 30 a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities, know how far he can go, foretell his failures - be what he is. And, above all, accept these things.
Robert Green has agreed to join Queens Park Rangers on a two-year deal after rejecting an improved West Ham United contract offer.

Benni From The Flats

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Perhaps Capetonians should be grateful that the petulant, pouty-mouthed striker, Benni McCarthy, became a footballer. Imagine if he had become a gangster in his old neighbourhood of Hanover Park. "Either you stay out of trouble or you join in," he explains. "And I've got to say it was fun joining in.

Mephisto Waltz

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So that's what they mean by a salary cap. Your new striker takes it off his head when he gets to the tube station, and goes round collecting his salary in it, writes Chris McGrath in this morning's Independent. Mido being Mido, of course, there will be plenty who reckon his agent deserves a bonus for finding anyone prepared to pay him even a grand a week.

Money Can't Buy You Standards

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"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."
Pablo Picasso

Be The Best You Can Be: a rather hackneyed expression applied in most walks of life, conveying corny overtones of some self-improvement guru from across the pond. In sport especially, we hear it all the time, so much so, in fact, that it is difficult to believe that the people aiming for this goal are actually doing everything humanly possible to fulfil their potential.

Steven Gerrard

Quantifying The Revolution

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The Financial Times is carrying an interesting Simon Kuper article about how every tiny aspect of a football match is now recorded and scrutinised; and specifically how the likes of Sam Allardyce have been in the vanguard of this quiet revolution. Kuper describes a recent visit to Manchester City's tranquil training ground in the village of Carrington.

Diamonds Aren't Forever

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Below is an article by Mark Segal concerning Joe Cole's frustrating descent to bit-part player...

"When you're older, you'll be able to tell your grandchildren you were at Upton
Park the day Joe Cole signed his first professional contract.

The Club

The Hard Route

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A Saturday evening in 1991 and Sam Allardyce is tramping the streets of Limerick with a priest. They are searching for local businessmen willing to help pay the wages of Limerick City footballers. It is difficult finding the £100 a week that keeps Allardyce's better players happy and it is a routine that manager Allardyce and the club chairman, Father Joe Young, will repeat through the season.

The Godfather Of Green Street

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Ever since Ron Greenwood sent forth Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters from Upton Park to win the World Cup, few teams have done more than West Ham, as their most celebrated fan, Alf Garnett, might put it, "for Queen and bleedin' country". A grateful Buckingham Palace responded when they made them the first club with two former players elevated to the rank of knight, Sir Geoff and then Sir Trevor Brooking.

Easy-Peasy Street

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Even for the nicest bloke in football, it must have been hard for Gianfranco Zola not to scream at his interrogators, writes Ian Chadband in this morning's Telegraph. If he was asked just once for his thoughts on the Chelsea situation, he must have been asked a dozen times. "Look, [Chelsea] is a club that I wish they do very well and I think Clarkey feels the same, but I would like to talk about West Ham," the United manager pleaded not unreasonably.

david gold

Is There Balm In Gilead?

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`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead?

Good Vibrations

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Simon Jordan once wrote that if he saw another David Gold interview on the poor East End Jewish boy done good he would "impale myself on one of his dildos". Well let's hope he doesn't see today's Telegraph where Jim White has contributed another fluff piece on the new Hammers chairman.

Opening gambit: 'A couple of days after he has effected a takeover of West Ham United and David Gold's phone won't stop ringing.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

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You've probably heard this one, and a long time ago, but this bloke's in a pub telling his mate about his new job. "It's cleaning the public toilets," he says. "Yeah, disgusting most of the time. There's junkies, people going into the cubicles in pairs — and you wouldn't believe the filthy things that get written on the walls.

The Rest

Any Given Saturday

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A good speech is a wonderful thing. It has the capacity to inspire, to lift your spirits, to make your soul soar above the mundane minutae that obfuscates everyday existence. Unfortunately, noted Churchill, there are only two things more difficult than making an effective one: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.