After a fairly eventful weekend at the club and with a game approaching on Wednesday night, it was not surprising that today would follow suit in so many ways.
Today we’ve seen the unveiling of our two new signings from Italy, a much needed boost to the squad, a number of a new players linked with moves to the club, Sam Allardyce’s pre-Chelsea press conference and some very unpopular changes to our fixtures.
Here’s a round up of all of them…
The Italian Job
The club’s new Italian arrivals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino enjoyed their first day at work, with a number of photo opportunities with the famous claret and blue shirt, as well as meeting their new team mates.
When Borriello signed for Roma in August 2010, he walked in to a dressing room filled with the likes of Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Jeremy Menez and Philippe Mexes. Equally, when Nocerino arrived at in the summer of 2011, he was introduced to players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Clarence Seedorf and Alesandro Nesta.
But today they were introduced to the likes of Joey O’Brien, Matty Taylor, Modibo Maiga and George McCartney.
They looked happy enough to be at the club, though, as you can see from these pictures the club published earlier…
After a long absence with an ankle injury, Winston Reid finally returned to full training. We’ve missed his presence in defence for so long and it’ll be a relief to have him back in the starting XI.
We should see him return on Saturday at home to Swansea. Suddenly it looks like we’ve got a fully fit squad capable of getting us out of the mess we’re in.
Big Sam’s pre-Chelsea presser
Allardyce spoke to the press today ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League meeting with Chelsea.
The most notable thing he mentioned was the fact our injury list is all but empty, with just Joe Cole still sidelined.
He said: “Things are looking good on the injury front again. For the first time in many, many weeks we have got our defensive players back in training.
“Winston Reid is actually training with the squad for the first time today but he won’t be considered at all for Wednesday after a ten week break.
“James Collins is ok, George McCartney is back and Joey O’Brien’s back. I don’t want to tempt fate, but there’s only Joe Cole that’s injured.
“Let’s hope it’s an injury free 2014 because that would certainly make a big difference to us and the fight we have over the next 16 games.”
And Allardyce also admitted that he doesn’t expect to see any more transfer business at the club between now and Friday’s transfer window deadline.
“I don’t expect to be that busy now,” he admitted.
“I think that at the moment, with our two new signings, we’re at our 25-man squad limit. So unless someone leaves within the next four days I can’t see us doing any more business than the business we’ve just done.”
Outrage at March Fixture Changes
Sky Sports announced their latest pick of games for live coverage in March.
West Ham’s home meeting with Manchester United on Saturday 22 March has been moved from 3pm to 5.30pm.
But, most annoyingly, the trip to Sunderland has been moved to Monday night, meaning thousands of fans’ plans for that weekend have been ruined.
And of course, Hammers fans on Twitter did their best to voice their anger at the decision…
— Mike Cawston (@mikecawston) January 27, 2014
Just what I wanted Sunderland away on a Monday night. Cheers sky. #whufc
— Joe O’Driscoll (@27_joe) January 27, 2014
Sunderland-West Ham on a Monday night. Once again match-going fans treated with utter disdain #WHUFC
— Tim Nichols (@StandardTim) January 27, 2014
@StandardTim absolute joke. No consideration for travelling fans. Someone at sky wants stringing up for that!!
— Darren Smith (@Dazzmo1902) January 27, 2014
Despite Allardyce insisted there were no more deals to be done this January, we were still linked with a number of players.
After our failed bid to prise Ross McCormack away from Leeds United last week, it is being reported by several sources that we’re preparing to return with another bid thought to be in the region of £5million.
Following Paul Ince’s departure from Blackpool last week, his son Tom Ince is set to also leave the club, with the Hammers touted as a possible destination. Although it is becoming more and more likely he will end up elsewhere, with Swansea City one of the favourites to win the race for his signature.
We’ve also been linked with Southampton’s record signing Dani Osvaldo after the Saints suspended him following a training ground bust up with defender Dejan Lovren. A loan deal would be our only viable option, but apparently we face tough opposition from a number of top sides in Italy.
Nocerino and Borriello on their arrival
Antonio Nocerino gave his first interview as a West Ham player since arriving on Saturday and he had nothing but good words to say about the club and admits he can’t wait to get going.
He told whufc.com: “I am very happy because it’s a very, very important experience for me, playing for a very traditional and historic club such as West Ham. It is a great honour.
“A request was made for me to join West Ham and I accepted straight away. I am very pleased to have joined West Ham United. I was already aware of the large following that the club has in Italy.
“I am really enthusiastic about playing for West Ham. I hope to give the supporters great satisfaction with the way that I play. Our fans are colourful and spend a lot to watch us play, so I want to do the best I can for the fans and the club and go from there.”
White Borriello wasted no time in changing his Twitter profile header image to a West Ham image and addressed the fans with a heartfelt tweet that had all fans on the social network taking an instant like to the Italian…
The club’s annual accounts show that our net debt has increased to £77million, while they made a loss of £3.5million over the last financial year.
The owners have ploughed another £10.5million of their own money in to the club – taking their total personal loans to the club to a total of £45.7million.
More alarmingly, though, was the rise in the wage bill, which now stands at £56.2million a year compared to last year’s £41.6million.
What are your thoughts on today’s talking points surrounding our club? Delighted to see the new Italians settling in well? Alarmed at the club’s financial news? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.