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Is our squad stronger than last season?
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West Ham Ladies need to win ugly
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After another fantastic summer for British sport, I simplycannot wait for the start of this Premier League season.
After the final game of last season, I must admit I waspleased it was all over but part of me longed for an extracouple of games or a summer tournament to really get myteeth into. Thankfully the Confederations Cup helped tokeep me sane.
Another reason why I wanted the season to keep goingwas that I really enjoyed my first season editing BlowingBubbles. The response weve had from West Ham fansacross the globe has been overwhelming and this has beenmatched by the vast numbers reading each and everyissue. Now that we are a bit more established, we areaiming for bigger and better things. There are alreadysome brilliant partnerships in the pipeline and I cannot waitto reveal each and every one to you as the seasonprogresses.
Looking at our first issue of this season and it is, as Imsure youve come to expect, packed with different opinionson a whole host of topics from Andy Carroll to RavelMorrison to coverage of the Premier League in Dubai. Myfavourite piece in this issue has to be the one written byBrian Williams. After a season of Loud & Proud columns,he is back with his new column entitled Dear Sam. It isworth a read.
Enjoy the game at Upton Park. Lets hope we get a betterresult than the one we did in 2011!
EDITOR: David BlackmoreNEWS EDITOR: Alex ShillingCONTRIBUTORS: Lucy Woolford,Thomas Johnson, Alex Shilling,Brian Williams, David Meagher,Shaun Anderson, Matt Sander,Geoff Hillyer, Neil Chatterton,Andrew Hosie, Christian Gare,Bill West, Clare-Elizabeth Hingley
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WHERE YOU CAN READ IT:Blowing Bubbles is available tobuy prior to each home gameand is also available to read onyour PC, Mac, Tablet or Mobile.For more information visitwww.blowing-bubbles.co.uk.
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Blowing Bubbles is published by BarkingDog Media. Blowing Bubbles is acompletely independent publication. Theviews expressed within Blowing Bubblesare not necessarily those of the publishers.Opinions expressed by companies andindividuals appearing within the magazineare not that of Blowing Bubbles or thepublisher. The publisher accepts no liabilityfrom any action raised in response to anysuch opinions. Readers are stronglyadvised that although we take every careto ensure prices and content, etc, are upto date. It is the responsibility to check withthe advertiser before purchasing ortravelling to view products.No reproduction, either in part or wholeof the magazine is allowed unless writtenconsent is obtained from the publisher.The publisher accepts no responsibility forany actions arising from articles orfeatures or advertisements within thismagazine. Readers are advised to pay bycredit card when ordering goods as theseare regulated under the Consumer Act1974. Debit and charge cards are not.
(c) Blowing BubblesDavid BlackmoreEditor
Ah football, its back! Its beena long summer what with noWorld Cup, EuropeanChampionships or Olympicsto keep our bored mindsoccupied. But worry not, asthe evenings begin to draw in,our beautiful game is back tosee us through the winter.
Its been an interestingsummer as far as West Hamis concerned. There havebeen recent murmurs ofdiscontent as a few fans areagitated at a lack of signings.
Wasnt Andy Carroll a bigenough coup for us? I guessthats the problem when thedotted line is signed in May,theres a long wait to thestart of the season, so wetend to feel like nothingsgoing on.
Well, thats not true. Thepre-season friendlies are a
good way for the squad tobond in my opinion. Its not allabout winning, its aboutteam building and eradicatingany mistakes before the bigPremier League kick off.
Its nice to think that anunbeaten pre-season run willmean instant league successbut weve proved that not tobe the case in the past.
I was at the friendly againstCork in June and got to see afew new first team faces inaction and there were a lot ofpromising signs from most. Itmight not have been a verytough test, but it gave us aplatform to show off what wecan really do. There wassome lovely passing,movement and skill, but therewere a couple of standoutplayers on the day. AlouDiarra was notably showing
some effort and looked to beplaying for a Premier Leagueplace. It remains to be seenwhether his dream will cometrue and it probably dependson where Sam Allardycechooses to play him.
We might yet see anotherstrop from Diarra but thepre-season signals are allpositive for now. That in itselfcould be like a new signing.
Equally fresh and ready togo was Ravel Morrison.Another potential matchwinner next season, he lookshungry and eager to provehimself on the pitch.
I did meet him afterwardsand he was just as I imaginedhim to be - not overwhelmedby the fans but had a little bitof swagger about him (yes, Ihate that word too but its allIve got!).
Recipe for apositiveseason
Dan Potts was alsoimpressive going forward.Maybe a bit less profound inhis tracking back and physicaldefending but his spacialawareness on the wing wasgreat. Do we need anotherwinger? Probably not but itsgood to know he has that inhis locker.
Smiley Razvan Rat was alsoon display for the Hammersin Cork. Unfortunately, hedidnt light up the match inthe way we might have hoped.
He looked to be playingslightly out of position on theday, and was a little quiet andinaccurate.
Hopefully he will prove to bea positive signing throughoutthe season because hisattitude seems just right.
All in all, I was impressedwith the effort from the teamand convinced that KevinNolan is the man to continueto lead us in the PremierLeague. His communicationto his teammates stood outfor me, and after the matchhe couldnt do enough for hisfans afterwards. Hes topnotch!
Personally, I think thisseason will be brilliant, notjust for West Ham but for thewhole Premier League.
From our own perspective,weve secured Andy Carrolland it looks like we mighthave a couple of great lads to
promote from theDevelopment Squad.
Elliot Lee, Dan Potts andPaul McCallum are probablyready for a couple of teststhis year at senior level.
Id agree that one moresigning in a forward positionwould benefit the squad butthat is a really tricky positionto get right for us so he hasto be the perfect fit.
There are many interestingstories throughout thePremier League this season:a new manager at OldTrafford, Martinez in chargeof a club that should begetting to the Europa League
and an interesting choice fordirector of football atNewcastle.
At the time of writing this,the Wayne Rooney, GarethBale, Cesc Fabregas and LuisSuarez sagas are all ongoingwith big money at stake. Howcan this not be a greatseason? Its got all theingredients. First up for us isCardiff City today, so heres tobeing top of the league thisevening, if only for a fewhours!
Follow me on Twitter@lucy_whufc
The 2012/13 season was alargely positive campaign forfans, players, staff andeveryone else associatedwith West Ham United,although one or two playerswill be looking to make abetter impression in theupcoming Premier Leagueseason.
One member of our claretand blue squad who will belooking for far more matchtime and to get into BigSams good books is our2012 summer signing,Modibo Maga.
The Malian forward joinedthe club from Sochaux for areported 4.5million fee,which encouraged a lot ofHammers fans to raise someexpectations they would havefrom Maga. But it would be a
disappointing campaign forModibo, scoring just fourgoals in all competitions, andspending the majority of histime on the pitch out on thewing as Allardyce pickedAndy Carroll and Carlton Coleto lead the line over the newarrival from FC Sochaux.
There were high points andlow points for Maga over theseason, it would always betough for the striker to getused to the English PremierLeague, and the forwardsworst moment in claret andblue was getting pulled offafter 31 minutes againstSpurs where he struggledwith the strength ofTottenham right back KyleWalker.
Magas highlights werethe two league goals, the first
a stunning finish againstfellow newly promoted sideSouthampton, and thesecond a competent strike toround off the superb winagainst Chelsea in ourperformance of the season.
With Carlton Cole releasedat the end of his contract andloanees