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Done deal West Ham told not to renew contracts,and contract was ended 



Done deal West Ham told not to renew contracts,and contract was ended

West Ham have been advised not to renew the contracts of either Lukasz Fabianski or Angelo Ogbonna this summer

The club has made it clear to Claret and Hugh that they intend to keep a nucleus of older players in the dressing room explaining that Declan Rice’s departure will make that necessary.

However, with Mikey Antonio looking set to push for a move that may prove difficult and as the central defender and stopper reach their middle and late thirties perhaps inadvisable with academy products pushing to come through along with new arrivals David Moyes has promised in the past.

Aaron Cresswell has of course signed a new deal but former striker Frank McAvennie doesn’t believe that Oggy or Fab should be in the frame for new deals.

The Scot is sure that both should be replaced by younger nloog in a season which needs to see the club bounce back from a disappointing league campaign.

He told West Ham Zone. “Fabianski is a good keeper but can he do it week in and week out? He’s getting on.

“You look at some teams, and the best keepers in the league – Fabianski is not one of them.

“Ogbonna is a good player but I feel that we need to refuel and refresh the players. We can’t bring young players through like this.”


Ahoj všichni, or should I say hello everyone. Next up we face Fiorentina in the Wednesday Night Final of the Thursday Night Conference League. Kick-off is at 8pm UK time or 9pm if you are one of the lucky ones to be going over there. BT Sport has the rights and the programme will be available even if you haven’t got a subscription to their channels. There are fan parks aplenty all over the place as well and I’m sure if you ask mine host nicely they will put it on for you.

So Fiorentina then. Their route to this stage was similar to ours with only the added inconvenience of an extra knockout round to negotiate on the way. They started out in a group comprising Latvians RFS, Hearts and the team from Istanbul nobody can remember or spell because they aren’t Fenerbahce or Galatasaray.

Given that level of opposition it should have been a cakewalk to qualify in top position and give themselves the luxury of an extra couple of weeks break from Thursday Night football. However, they were possibly a bit undercooked at the start of the season, with RFS coming away from Florence with a 1-1 draw. The next week they got thoroughly walloped 3-0 in Istanbul which must have set off a couple of murmurs.

Of course whenever you need a boost and three easy points it’s useful to have Scottish opponents lined up to get you back on the right path. Back to back wins – 3-0 in Edinburgh and 5-1 in Florence – saw them back on track. A 3-1 defeat of the Turks at home was followed by a 3-0 win in Riga to see them qualify. The early bumps in the road were not without their consequences though as the Turks topped the group on goal difference.

The second place saw them face a play-off round against Portugal’s Braga. This round was all but put to bed in the first leg when they went to Braga and won 4-0. The second leg 3-2 home win was interesting for a bit as Braga raced into a 2-0 lead within 35 minutes but that was about as good as it got with Fiorentina pulling one back before the interval, equalising before the hour and netting a late winner just before the close.

The draw for the last 16 was kind to them, taking them to Turkey where they faced Sivasspor. The first leg in Florence was slightly cagey, with Fiorentina scoring a 69th minute winner. The return leg in Sivas actually saw the Turks take the lead but four unanswered goals made the tie a lot more comfortable than it looked like being at one stage.

From Turkey to Poland where they thought the hard work had been done in the first leg against Lech Posznan as they took a 4-1 lead back to Italy. However, the Poles had other ideas and led 3-0 with 12 minutes left on the clock. However a late brace spared them both extra time and blushes and put them through 6-4 on aggregate.

That theme of not making it easy for themselves carried over to the semi-finals where FC Basel came from behind in Florence to take a 2-1 lead across the Alps. The second leg was a bit of a thriller. Fiorentina went 2-1 up on 72 minutes to bring the tie level. Extra time happened and with 11 minutes left the game was stopped due to a medical emergency in the crowd – we understand that the supporter was ok but it looked serious at the time. When play resumed Fiorentina hit the winner in the 10th minute of stoppage time to sent them through to Wednesday’s final.

Incidentally whilst Daisy was looking up the details of that semi-final a misplaced click saw us alight on the website of a Basel’s Restaurant Fiorentina. I bet that place was rocking on semi-final night.

Domestically it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. They finished 8th in Serie A with 56 points from the 38 played. Their wins have come in clusters rather than consistently over the season – five in a row from February to April, culminating in a 1-0 defeat of Inter in the San Siro being the best run. However it’s been a bit of a mixed bag since then with their last ten providing four wins, four draws and two defeats.

Top scorer is Arthur Cabral. The Brazilian arrived in January 2022 from, of all clubs, FC Basel for a fee rising to a potential €16.5m with add-ons. Basel only got 70% of that with the player’s previous two Brazilian clubs being on an earner. Cabral has 16 goals in 27 across all competitions this season.

Daisy’s tip for danger man is Nicolas Gonzales. The right winger was on target twice in the second leg of the semi-final and is described as a tricky little blighter with a decent bit of pace. He was in the original squad for the World Cup last winter but pulled out a few days before the start with injury. He’s been a regular in the Argentina side over the past few years with 22 caps in the wardrobe to date.

They’ve chopped and changed a bit in the goalkeeping area. Pierluigi Gollini (not to be confused with the similarly-named slaphead referee) came in on loan from Atalanta and was the original first choice custodian. However he switched over to being the first choice on Thursday night, playing in five of the six group matches. He returned to Atalanta en route to another loan spell at Napoli. Pietro Terracciano has played in three of the four subsequent matches and one would expect him to be between the sticks on Wednesday.

Shall we have a quick look at the Wild and Wacky World Of Association Football? And congratulations to Sevilla on yet another Europa League win, thus proving that they can win it time and time again, as long as we aren’t in it.

The final against Roma was a niggly affair and gave ref Anthony Taylor a busy evening, the highlight of which was his awarding a yellow card for a blatant dive. Ref-watchers up and down the country were seen to faint at the sight, Taylor having not shown the slightest inkling that he knew what a dive was despite having spent 13 years in the so-called select group.

Roma manager Mourinho was predictably forthright, likening Taylor’s performance to what we will refer to as Bovine Excrement. If UEFA fine him it won’t be the most surprising fine of Mourinho’s life – of the £300k+ in fines he paid in this country approximately £75k came from matches involving Taylor either as referee or 4th official.

And so to us. Well the amount of damns given about last week’s result could be gauged by the mood of the away support who were in prime mickey-taking party mode. As mentioned last week Leicester were the side many people least wanted to go down, mainly because they aren’t Everton or Leeds. However, hereabouts we do reserve a particular circle of hell for clubs that play music after goals, something that had the proverbial ripped out of it by the 3,000 Hammers present.

A little less profligacy in front of goal from us would have made results elsewhere academic – despite ref Hooper doing all he could to assist the Foxes. The foul on Antonio in the box that wasn’t given was identical to the one that was up the other end that led to their second. And Hooper’s attitude to advantage was to prevent it accruing whenever we looked lively.

We have pretty much a full squad to choose from bar Luca Scamacca, which is good news. The players have been enjoying a few days in the Algarve and look relaxed which is no bad thing.

So to the prediction then. On most levels this will be a difficult one to gauge – the two sides are similar all over. However, this is a bit different.

It’s a Cup Final and in honour of those who are no longer with us to be there I am going to throw not only the £2.50 I got for selling one of those stupid clapper things I found in the street to a tearful 10-year-old female Leicester fan on the way back to the station, but also £2.50 from my own pocket on a win to us. Daisy, please pop down to Mr Winstone’s and put it all on us to win 2-1.

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