|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
Rangers' administrators Duff & Phelps have told the Blue Knights to up their offer for the club or risk losing out to rival bidder Bill Miller. (Various)
But senior Scottish football figures believe American Miller could be left with a stadium, a training ground but no players if his takover is complete, due to the 12-month transfer embargo placed on Rangers.
Manager Ally McCoist admits he is embarrassed Rangers owe money to a host of fellow clubs. (Daily Mail)
Meanwhile, club ambassador Sandy Jardine insists Rangers fans are ready to take more action against "injustice" after Saturday's march in protest against Scottish FA sanctions.
Rapid Vienna have hired a team of London lawyers in a bid to recoup the £1m owed to them by Rangers from the Nikica Jelavic transfer in 2010. (Sunday Mail)
Celtic manager Neil Lennon is plotting a summer move for Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez.
: Sunday Mail
Meanwhile, Celtic striker Georgios Samaras insists today's match against Rangers will not be the final ever Old Firm derby.
St Mirren midfielder Steven Thomson, 34, will retire from professional football this summer to become a financial advisor in London.
Southend manager Paul Sturrock, whose side are pushing for promotion from League Two, says he was overlooked for vacancies at bigger clubs because he suffers from Parkinson's disease. (Sunday Mail)
Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley feels his side blew their chance of glory in their Heineken Cup semi-final defeat. (Sun)
But Bradley insists Edinburgh are heading in the right direction with some "stunning talent". (Sunday Mail)
MRS VAN PERSIE SAYS...
We imagine Arsenal fans are clinging onto any slight indication that Robin van Persie might want to stay at the club, so here's another straw to clutch at, Gooners.
Mrs Van Persie, Bouchra, has suggested that the family are quite happy in London, and that they will stick around for a bit. You know, for the kids.
The Sunday Mirror quotes her as saying: "We have been in London for eight years now. As a family, we love it here. Robin is captain of Arsenal and, as many people claim, the leader of the Arsenal team. Arsenal believed in Robin when he was young and when he was considered as a bit of a rebel.
"We don't want to upset things at home either. Our kids, Shaqueel and Dina, go to school here in London. And they are just as happy as we are. We still expect to sit down after this season is over and have a look at the future."
Sounds reasonably promising, eh Gooners?
UNITED GETTING BUSY
They might be ready to reluctantly shove their title across town, but according to the papers they're in for a busy summer.
The Mail on Sunday writes that United are considering squeezing £10million out of their dusty coffers to chuck Fulham's direction, in the hope that they chuck Moussa Dembele in return.
Sir Alex Ferguson is apparently waiting until Paul Scholes gives an indication on what his future holds, with the midfielder obviously not guaranteed to continue playing after already retiring once.
"I will speak to Paul,' said Ferguson. "Obviously he made a tremendous contribution when he came back. But it was his decision to return and I will respect whatever he wants to do.
"I haven't discussed it with him yet, to be honest. I think I made that mistake last season, talking to him before the season had finished. It is better getting the season over and having a break and I may not speak to him before he has been away on holiday."
Meanwhile, The Sun on Sunday reports that, so keen is Fergie on Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa, that he flew out to Germany last night to watch him play in the German cup final.
And the chances are he was impressed, given Kagawa scored one and set up another. As you'll know Kagawa recently turned down a contract at Dortmund, and is expected to do one in the summer.
REAL AFTER IVANOVIC, BARCA WANT LUIZ
If the Sundays have got their ducks in a row, Chelsea will need to be shopping for defenders this summer, because half of their current ones will be on their way.
The Sun reports that Real Madrid are lining up a £15million move for Branislav Ivanovic, and perhaps more interestingly Chelsea are minded to sell. However, Real will have to cough up £5million more than that.
However: 'Chelsea's decision to even consider an offer is unlikely to impress their fans who already feel Ivanovic's absence from the Champions League final next Saturday against Bayern Munich is likely to severely hamper their chances of victory.'
Meanwhile, The Sunday Times reports that Barcelona are keen on David Luiz, and whadderyerknow, David Luiz is quite keen on Barcelona.
The paper claims Barca are sniffing around the hirsute centre-back, and if they do come in with a bid then Luiz will 'urge' the club to accept.
HAZARD LEAVING LILLE
Everyone has known for some time that Eden Hazard will leave Lille in the summer, but the Belgian wunderkind has confirmed it in the only appropriate way in these modern times - on Twitter.
Hazard tweeted: "Two games more to play in the colours of Lille."
So there. And where is he going? Why, Manchester City of course. The Sun reports that City have been given the 'green light' to make a move, but will of course have to fight off competition from the bigger boys up the road.
RAUL HEADING TO QATAR
SWANSEA’S Angel Rangel could soon be at the centre of a tug-of-war between England and Wales.
The Spanish-born full-back, 29, can apply for British citizenship this year and admitted he is open to a Three Lions call-up — but Welsh boss Chris Coleman is also keen on him.
MILLWALL’S Hamer Bouazza will quit The Den after a fallout with boss Kenny Jackett.
The Algeria wing whizz, 27, said: “I would love to stay in England, but not with Millwall.”
ANTHONY GERRARD is a £350,000 target for both Leicester and Ipswich.
The Cardiff centre-back, 26, cousin of Liverpool’s Steven, will be allowed to leave after falling out of favour with boss Malky Mackay.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY are poised to snap up Caolan Lavery.
The Northern Ireland Under-21 striker, 19, has been without a club since snubbing Ipswich last October.
Fast Becoming An Essential Revenue Tool for football clubs?
West Ham’s recent exposure on social media giants Groupon is testament to the new measures clubs are resorting to in their constant battle with declining attendance figures. Cut price deals now circulate news feeds and message boards as clubs seek to attract new audiences and drive them into the stands on match days. Is this a sign of desperation in their attempt to generate much needed income or simply evidence that clubs are becoming more media savvy in their marketing strategies.
The phrases ‘Kids for a Quid’ and ‘Family Fun Day’ are now a prominent feature in the season calendar as clubs try and attract future generations of supporters from the earliest possible age. In recent weeks Twitter has become awash with bargain match day deals from clubs trying to combat fans tightening their purse strings after the Christmas period. It’s perhaps more important than ever that clubs explore each and every avenue as they seek to balance their books.
West Ham are not the first club to experiment with distributing ticket sales through Groupon, with fellow London sides Fulham and Crystal Palace both making an appearance on separate occasions. However, neither side replicated anything close to the scale of the Hammers recent promotion as their upcoming match against Watford had pride of place as the site’s ‘deal of the day’. Many fans may praise West Ham’s crusade to boost their turnout but if you scratch beneath the surface it flags up some worrying signs. For instance, Groupon takes a 50% cut from the overall revenue so the original £40 ticket, which went on sale at £20 will mean just £10 lands in the pocket of the club.
These Groupon deals with inevitably provide a good source of short-term income but will they really inspire people to return on a regular basis? There is also a risk of alienating the existing loyal base with individuals seemingly profiting from waiting until the very last minute to purchase their tickets. Surely there are better and more financially rewarding schemes that can be implemented with their existing sizeable online following. Their appearance on Groupon will also surely hurt their plans to move into the 60,000-seater Olympic Stadium.
As a Palace supporter I’m aware of a number of innovative schemes being put in place across the various online mediums available to the club. In a recent attempt to generate interest in new season tickets the club created a ‘trailer’ and posted it on YouTube. Not only did the video help source a new audience on a potentially global scale but it was packed with hidden ‘easter eggs’ which made reference to iconic imagery associated with the club. This enabled the club to create an advertising campaign that could also be aimed at the existing fan base, increasing the likelihood that it would be well received and therefore more readily shared on the web.
These sweeping measures that are being implemented across the Football League are in stark contrast to the Premier League elite. Arsenal have frozen their ticket prices for next year after coming under heavy criticism for their 6.5% increase at the start of the season as well as their record-breaking £100 ticket, whilst Manchester United have seen a gradual rise in prices during the Glazers reign in an attempt to subdue their scaling debt.
It’s not all rosy at the top though with the likes of Blackburn and Bolton introducing discount rates at various homes games. However, these offers are more likely to stem from falling attendances due to poor league form rather than a dire need to generate income. The sad fact is that many fans are being priced out of watching their own club, perhaps its time the big teams adopted a selfless approach and started encouraging people to attend games at their affiliate clubs. Oldham recently introduced a deal that meant you could watch five games for just £15. That works out at just £3 per game, which would barely get you a programme at a Premier League venue.
The role of social media in football is becoming increasingly evident with services such as Twitter and Facebook offering an unprecedented direct communication with fans. Information can be shared in an instant over vast distances, which allows clubs to draw in huge audiences figures. It then boils down to how you interact with your following, rather than simply broadcasting information at supporters its vital that a two-way stream is opened up.
In March 2011 French outfit Marseille asked fans to submit their own designs for the new official kit. In just a few short months they received an incredible 60,000 submissions before a final shortlist was drafted and then offered back out to their Facebook followers to make the final decision. This innovative strategy allowed fans to feel like they were actually part of the club and will no doubt help boost attendances in the long term.
In the Premier League we’ve had QPR chairman Tony Fernandes tweet his followers asking for potential transfer targets, which is a quirky and endearing gesture that could see the likes of Twitter and Facebook evolve into a valuable scouting network.
How does your club currently use its social media sites? What would you do to attract more supporters to attend home games? Join the debate on Twitter @theunusedsub.
Reid targets Hammers glory
West Ham defender Winston Reid says missing out on automatic promotion has only served to redouble their efforts to succeed.
The 23-year-old was part of the Hammers side that finished two points behind second-placed Southampton, which meant they dropped into the play-offs.
Under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce, the East London club have made their way into the play-off finals where they will face Blackpool on May 19th.
And with the defensive platform Reid and fellow stopper James Tomkins are providing, he is confident their more attacking players can fire them to glory.
"We have a good partnership I think, as does the whole back four. James and I do well because we understand each other and it's important we have a solid defensive line," said Reid.
"It is important that the back four have a good understanding as it allows the attacking players to concentrate fully on scoring goals that will win us matches.
"Obviously after missing out, we are disappointed and had to pick ourselves up but I think it just made us more determined to get there.
"We are still fully focused on achieving our promotion goal and getting into the Premier League so let's win the final."
Good to see Dicks giving the players a confidence boost prior to next week. Maybe he could pass on some of his expert managerial skills on to Sam ?
Great player but does he really need to keep slagging the players and manager ?
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