Saturday, June 25

Returned Czech

So farewell Radoslav Kovac, Upton Park non-legend, who has departed to FC Basel. He never looked up to the Premiership and it was always a mystery why Zola signed him having already seen what he was like during a loan spell. Yes, he had the odd decent game like against Man United in the Carling Cup, but for most of his time couldn't pass the ball straight.

More upset to see Da Costa depart for Lokomotiv Moscow as he could have done a job in the Championship.

Overall, we're making good progress on the wage bill, having shifted 12 players. Loanees Obinna, Keane and Bridge have been returned to sender, Dyer, Upson, Jacobsen, Spector and Gabbidon were all out of contract while Ba has gone to Newcastle and Hitzlsperger has had his contract terminated.

If nothing else we'll hopefully have a new team and a new mindset next season.

Wednesday, June 22

Fever pitch

"It completely lays you out, all your bones ache and you want to die but you're too ill to worry. You're in terible pain and you've never known anything like it before. You have a high fever and intermittent cold shakes and a splitting pain in your head..."

"So it's a little like watching West Ham get relegated then?" I suggest.

Turns out Her Indoors is describing the symptoms of malaria before we travel to the Solomon Islands. At least we have anti-malarial pills. If only there was a course of drugs that did the same for the risks of watching West Ham play under Avram Grant...

Tuesday, June 21

We're on our way to Doncaster

So it's Cardiff at home on August 7 followed by a trip to Doncaster. At least next season will be good for those among us who are groundhoppers,

Reminds me of the time I went to Rotherham (before Nigel!) to see us lose 1-0 despite having Defoe, Carrick and James in the side, a result that cost Glenn Roeder his job. All this and Peterborough away to come too...

Friday, June 17

The man who fell to Perth

Saw some sew-on West Ham badges for biker jackets on sale in Fremantle market.

While my Aussie-exiled sister's boyfriend Franco says he works with a couple of Aussies in Perth who have never been to England but support West Ham.

"Are they masochists?" asked my younger sister from Romford.

And then on the Indian-pacific train from Perth to Adelaide Tony the train manager revealed that his brother-in-law in England is a massive West Ham fan and once took him to West Ham versus Fulham.

It proves we're a global brand (at least Down Under) even in the Championship.

Thursday, June 16

Bolton reunited?

Now on my lunch break from chopping wood at the highly recommended Loose Goose chalets in Nannup, Western Australia (, set among stunning jarrah trees. News filters through that Big Sam is busy recruiting Bolton old boys. No problems with Abdy Faye, he was a good player at Stoke and just the kind of no-nonsense nasty centre-back we need to play alongside Tomkins.

Seems we've also signed Kevin Nolan on 55k a week. The salary is too high for a 28-year-old, but he has a great goalscoring record from midfield, another area in which we've been lacking. And we might get to see his silly clucking chicken celebration when he score for us. And it's certainly quite a coup to nab Newcastle's captain. Perhaps we'll sign Andy Carroll and they can room together again...

Two players who can get us out of the Championship, though you have to hope we sign a few others who aren't associated with Bolton or Stoke if Allardyce is to win over the crowd.

Wednesday, June 8

Hong Kong Garden

Now in Hong Kong where every building is about 50 storeys high - and think I just glimpsed one of our long balls from the swimming pool on the 28th floor of our hotel. While the pool attendant is a Gooner from downtown Hong Kong... Yes, life's tough on the road.

China have just beaten North Korea 2-0 although strangely there's no news of West Ham's transfer activity in the South China Morning Post...

Monday, June 6

Away fixture

We're off on a scouting mission to Australia and the Solomon Islands now... anything to escape Championship football. But will endeavour to update this blog as news of our fire sale filters through to the other side of the world…

As my fellow season-ticket holder Matt (whose brother Adam has also escaped from WHU Down Under) says: "You will be able to catch a glimpse of the ball occasionally when our defenders boot it especially high and hard, and it orbits the Earth before dropping back into the Oppo's penalty area for a fun 10-minute scramble/wrestling match…"


Saturday, June 4

No to El-Hadj

Latest paper talk is that Sam wants El Hadj-Diouf. How to alienate already sceptical fans. Spitting at fans, giving verbals to a player with a broken leg, inflaming sectarian tensions in the Old Firm derby…

If we sign Diouf it will be proof that our club really has lost it's soul.

Thursday, June 2

Are we the new Man City?

Manchester City used to be a byword for underachievment and instability and we're rapidly taking over their title.

Big Fat Sam had been in the job for one day when Tony Fernandes, the F1 Team Lotus owner, tweeted that he had bid for West Ham and Allardyce had to consider if he was about to be chopped by a new owner again.

A cut-price offer of £50 million eventually arrived at Karren Brady's holiday gaff, which was summarily rejected by the Gullivan Brothers. As Sullivan pointed out, you don't normally do business by Twitter. But if Fernandes ups his bid then who knows…

Welcome to madhouse, Sam.

Wednesday, June 1

Play it again, Sam?

So it's Big Sam. Let's be honest, we're desperate. Relegated, debts of £80 million and an Olympic Stadium to fill. I'd take a season of ugly football to go back up - and remember Pardew's line-up that finished sixth struggled against big, physical Championship teams. And it has to be admitted Allardyce has the best CV of all the candidates.

But what happens beyond (hopefully) promotion? You'd trust Allardyce would realise that he has to merge set-piece football with the passing tradition of Greenwood and Lyall, or the crowd will turn on him. Allardyce is particularly vulnerable being a northerner too. You'd hope that his experience at Newcastle means he knows the importance of winning over the home crowd. In Sam's favour, Grant's defence was that we played good football (which we didn't) and look where that got us.

Yes, we'd settle for fifth place and the Europa League, which was the small miracle he achieved at Bolton, but not at any price.

So far Sullivan and Gold have got all the big decisions wrong: undermining Zola, appointing Grant, then undermining him with the botched O'Neill approach. Let's pray they've got this one right.

Maybe we can now win matches and lose friends, which would be a change. As will be wearing clogs in Ken's Cafe. But will Nigel cheer ugly goals? And can Fraser's dodgy neck take it? Over to you, Big Sam.