|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
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O’Neil return defies medics
GARY O'NEIL made a shock comeback for West Ham yesterday — eight months after suffering a career-threatening injury.
The midfielder was told he had a 50-50 chance of playing again following a challenge from Nigel Reo-Coker against Aston Villa in April.
O'Neil was expected to be out for a year after complications during surgery.
But the former Middlesbrough star has made superb progress and played 45 minutes for the development squad in their 3-0 win over Brentford.
West Ham coach Ian Hendon said: "Gary is a bit stiff and tired at the moment but he's come through. He's worked his socks off to get back to fitness and will continue to do so.
"It was a nice step for him to get out on the pitch.
"Gary will hopefully get some more minutes next week and any of the other lads who haven't played in the first team lately. We still have to arrange fixtures and keep people fit."
EXCLUSIVE: West Ham keen on January swoop for Chelsea outcast Anelka
Nicolas Anelka is wanted by Sam Allardyce, who believes the Chelsea outcast can secure West Ham a quick return to the Premier League.
Allardyce worked with Anelka at Bolton and will try to tempt the 32-year-old French striker to spend the rest of the season on loan at Upton Park.
Anelka’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club next month.
Shanghai Shenhua, expected to confirm former Fulham boss Jean Tigana as manager next week, have made a bold bid to lure Anelka to China on a salary of £6.4million ahead of the Chinese Super League season, which starts in February.
Chelsea have accepted transfer requests from Anelka and Brazilian defender Alex, and manager Andre Villas-Boas has frozen them out of the first team squad, making it clear they can leave immediately.
Slowly dispelling the myth at Upton Park
All of the connotations associated with West Ham’s history of football over the years were brought into disrepute this summer as notorious long ball merchant Sam Allardyce arrived at Upton Park. However, surely the ‘academy of football’ tag can be forgotten for a while as the club look to bounce back immediately from its relegation from the Premier League last season.
After Avram Grant’s horrific spell in charge last year, things could only get better for the East End club who currently sit second in the Championship after missing a chance to go top last weekend. Allardyce has definitely brought his own style to Upton Park along with pals Kevin Nolan, Joey O’Brien and Abdoulaye Faye.
A large number of Hammers fans were sceptical over the appointment of Allardyce and his perceived negative tactics. Over the years an Allardyce side has been very quick to play the long ball and defensive, but in my opinion he was just utilising what he had at his disposal. Each club he has been at have had players in their side that suit the aerial game, and so it has been successful when used.
Allardyce performed wonders at Bolton and Blackburn and wasn’t given enough time at St James Park (Sports Direct Arena); where it is notoriously a tough place to be a manager. To say that because Big Sam is in charge, then West Ham will become a dull, physical team is extremely harsh. Playing to their strengths West Ham will keep the ball and use their width, not lump the ball up to 5ft7 Sam Baldock. Talented footballers Jack Collison, Mark Noble and Henri Lansbury defy any Allardyce tradition and the fact that the clubs tallest player; Carlton Cole; cant head the ball anyway, the long ball has rarely been successful.
One thing that Big Sam has given to the Hammers is a tougher mentality and more of a will to win. Last season if West Ham went one nil down, they lost the game. Away from home they were unable to win and rarely scored a goal. Scoring 33 goals in 38 games at the highest level is just unacceptable. However, yes they are playing weaker opposition, but the Hammers have already scored 36 goals this season and have won more than last year, and it’s not even Christmas yet.
Since Alan Pardew left Upton Park in 2006 West Ham have not had the squad to be able to play silky football, as is equally pleasing on the eye as it is on the league table. West Ham fans can’t possibly suggest they were happy with the results over the past 18 months or so and the football has not been much better.
With Allardyce now in charge the Irons will play to their strengths; which is a necessity in the Championship, and will more than likely earn promotion back to top flight as they will go from strength to strength in the second half of the season. With Big Sam one of the favourites with some people to become the next England manager (no thank you) it is in everybody’s interest to sit and watch a few West Ham games this season as his style of football may surprise you, but the impressive results shouldn’t.
Managers such as Ron Greenwood and John Lyall, who sadly past away in recent years, have left a long legacy at Upton Park but West Ham are a very different club to that at the moment and Allardyce will be looking to make a similar successful time during his stay in East London. Given a chance Allardyce will get the Hammers promoted and keep them in the Premier League.
West Ham boss Allardyce knows it will be difficult to compete with the riches on offer from the Shanghai club but will appeal to Anelka to rekindle their working relationship.
Allardyce was in charge at Bolton when they paid £8m to Turkish side Fenerbahce for the striker in 2006.
‘I am grateful to Sam Allardyce,’ said Anelka after joining Chelsea in January 2008. ‘I had a good relationship with him and Bolton improved my game. It taught me to be stronger in the head and adapt.’
West Ham, relegated from the top flight last season, are second in the Championship.
Roma will have to go head-to-head with Real Madrid in the race to sign Tottenham and England defender Kyle Walker.
Manchester City have stepped up their pursuit of 17-year-old Dinamo Zagreb and Croatia Under-21s midfielder Mateo Kovacic, dubbed the 'Croatian Lionel Messi'.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he would bring Brazil international Neymar to the Emirates Stadium if he were handed sufficient transfer funds.
Tottenham are believed to have offered Roman Pavlyuchenko to Marseille in a player-plus-cash deal for fellow striker Loic Remy. Full Daily Mirror i am sure we was in for him last season
French defender Sylvain Distin is close to signing a one-year contract extension at Everton.
Stuttgart and Serbia international midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic has said that being linked with a move to Serie A giants Juventus is an 'honour'.
Bild (in German)
Meanwhile, Juve are believed to be lining up a January offer for Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy believes a healthy Premier League position can help entice new players to Molineux in January.
Blackburn owners Venky's are believed to be ready to back manager Steve Kean financially in the January transfer window - as well as doing their utmost to keep the club's star players.
Rovers may also look to move on fringe players such as defender Michel Salgado and midfielder Keith Andrews to generate funds for January signings.
QPR, Swansea and Wigan are in the running to sign Barcelona B striker Jonathan Soriano, who has suggested he is open to a move abroad.
Former England captain David Beckham has ruled out a career in management after admitting that he did not enjoy his time as an assistant to England manager Fabio Capello at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Ex-Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng has said he has no regrets about leaving the club in the summer.
Manchester Evening News
Sunderland defender Wes Brown has backed new boss Martin O'Neill to bring back a "feel-good factor" to the Stadium of Light. Sunderland Echo
Wolves captain Roger Johnson will benefit from being dropped, manager Mick McCarthy insists.
Express & Star
West Brom defender Steven Reid has no plans to return to international football despite the Republic of Ireland's qualification for Euro 2012.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has said he is looking forward to seeing the 'new' Callum McManaman when the England Under-20 striker returns from his loan spell at Championship side Blackpool in January.
Wigan Evening Post
Manchester City frontman Mario Balotelli may be in sweet form on the field, but it seems his Christmas cake making skills could do with some polishing after he was defeated by marzipan icing and a little plastic Santa.
Yes we was in for Remy last year and came reasonably close IIRC.
Well done CH... that is great news about Gary O'Neill, delighted for the lad.
That really is great news.
Cheers CH .. Great news about O'Neil.
Seconded that man, Anelka!!!, suits me sir
Great to see O'Neil on his way back, thought he was one of our best players last season, and considering there were rumours about him never playing again it's amazing he's back already.
Many thanks CH
Excellent news on Gary O'Neil
Glad he's a) walking and playing at all and b) getting minutes for the reserves. But for godsakes, do not rush the man back from this. It will be heartbreaking for everyone for him to suffer another injury in the buildup.
Cheers CH and Great news on O'Neill
First Tevez, now Anelka. When are we signing Messi?
Anelka's gone over to the Chinese league apparently done deal
Thanks CH, Great News about O'Neil but as others have said don't rush him.
anelka - pah
we have the 2 freddies
Sometimes I think the Two Ronnies would be a more effective strikeforce, and one of them's brown bread.
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