Blowing Bubbles #54

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In this issue: *John Moncur on Bilic, bookings and Big Sam *Exclusive columns from ex-Hammer George Parris and Sky Sports' Bianca Westwood *Is it time the Premier League considered a winter break? *Is it time Hammers supporters learned to love Karren Brady? *How West Ham have played a small role in Villa's recent troubles and much, much more. Edited by a team of journalists, we aim to inform, entertain and unite West Ham fans across the globe with our easy-to-read, well-designed & professional magazine. Our publication is available to read for FREE every month on your computer, mobile phone or tablet. You can have a hard copy of every issue of Blowing Bubbles posted through your door before you leave for Upton Park. E-mail for details.

Text of Blowing Bubbles #54





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  • WELCOMEEDITOR-IN-CHIEF: David Blackmore MANAGING EDITOR: Simon Osborn CONTRIBUTORS: David Bowden, Arjan Drissen, Marcus Johns, Geoff Hillyer, Andrew Hosie, James Jones, David Meagher, George Parris, Stuart Plant, Emily Pulham, Andrew Raeburn, Danny Rust, Bianca Westwood, Brian Williams, Lucy Woolford PHOTOGRAPHERS: Nicky Hayes, Mikey Cartwright EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES: editor@blowing- ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES: advertising@blowing- WHERE YOU CAN READ IT: Blowing Bubbles is available to buy and is also available to read on your PC, Mac, Tablet or Mobile. Blowing Bubbles is published by Fanatic Media. Blowing Bubbles is a completely independent publication. The views expressed within Blowing Bubbles are not necessarily those of the publishers. Opinions expressed by companies and individuals appearing within the mag-azine are not that of Blowing Bubbles or the publisher. The publisher accepts no liability from any action raised in re-sponse to any such opinions. Readers are strongly advised that although we take every care to ensure prices and content, etc, are up to date, it is the responsibility to check with the advertiser before pur-chasing or travelling to view products. No reproduction, either in part or whole of the magazine is allowed unless written consent is obtained from the publisher. The publisher accepts no responsibility for any actions arising from articles or features or advertisements within this magazine. Readers are advised to pay by credit card when ordering goods as these are regulated under the Consumer Act 1974. Debit and charge cards are not. (c) Blowing Bubbles

    Welcome to our Christmas issue. This is always my favour-ite time of year with so many games played over the festive period.

    Christmas can make or break a season, and I really hope we are able to kick on from our impressive start to the campaign and get to January still in the hunt for an European place.

    With Stoke, Swansea, Villa, and Southampton coming up this month, we could take a huge leap towards Europe.

    We could, equally, lose all four - especially with-out Dimitri Payet who will surely prove to be a

    huge loss for us. What-ever happens, I cannot wait for the games to come thick and fast.

    Looking at the final issue of 2015 and, once again, Im absolutely delighted with what our brilliant writers have contributed to the magazine.

    Their hard work does not go unnoticed and it was great to be short-listed for Fanzine of the Year at the Foot-ball Supporters Feder-ation awards. We didnt win but to be recognised as one of the best fans publications in the coun-try was amazing.

    Looking at this issue

    the feature that really stood out to me was from Aston Villa fan Andrew Raeburn on why West Ham are partly responsible for his clubs decline in recent years. Without giving the game away the signings of Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood both feature.

    My thanks also to Emi-ly Pulham for pulling together an excellent piece on Karren Brady and whether or not we take her for granted.

    From everyone at the team Id like to wish you a merry Christmas.

    Our Europe-hunting Hammers need a cracking Christmas


  • The big interview - John Moncur

    Allardyce hung our kids out to dry at Nottingham ForestDavid Blackmore fi nds John Moncur confi dent about West Hams future but angry about the way Big Sam treated his sons career

    Like Whitney Houston, Hammers cult hero John Moncur believes the children are the future.

    But unlike the super-star singer, he feels the future success of West Hams famed Academy wont be on the teach-ings of Terry Westley, but about waiting for the right youngsters to come along.

    Westley was given a fi ve-year contract in September despite the development squad not winning a single game up to that point of the season and having been relegated from the Barclays U21 Premier League Division One last season.

    Th e 56-year-old joined the Hammers in July 2014 to oversee a massive overhaul of the Academy and immediately set to work releasing many of the existing squad including Sebastian Lletget, who has been taking the MLS by storm, and Johns son George.

    Currently the un-der-21s sit fourth from bottom in Division Two but they have won their

    last four games, includ-ing a victory over table toppers Derby County, and Moncur Snr believes Westley is the right man to turn things around.

    I dont know him, but he has a lot of experience at this level, Moncur said. Youve got to ask yourself are the players good enough?

    Th e crop of players

    coming through when I was playing, was it a freak because they had so many good players at the time? Th ey had Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lam-pard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson. Sometimes you have to have the material. You cant blame Terry Westley if the lads arent good enough.

    I dont know if its luck or what. Just look at Manchester United. Th e amount of players they produced that were world beaters but since then, they havent had it and I dont think theyve changed their system or personnel too much so sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the right lads to come through.

    A couple of years ago the Hammers had a very successful Academy side, but disappointingly failed to bring any of the players through to the fi rst team.

    However, Moncur says it does not matter how many good young players you have at the club, it is how many great ones you have that counts.

    With the previous regime you had George [Moncur], Dan Potts, Sebastian Lletget, Blair Turgott, etc and they were top of the league because they had a bunch of lads who knew each other, played well together and had a strong team.

    At the moment, its not really about winning

    In his prime: John Moncur had a great career at West Ham

  • leagues or being at the bottom or being relegat-ed, its about producing one or two players who can go and play in the first team.

    Thatll be Terry West-leys job so hopefully with Slaven managing the first team, I think the young lads will get a chance. Certainly more of a chance than they wouldve had under Sam Allardyce so it will be nice to see one or two of them break through.

    As for his son George, who has scored 12 goals in 43 appearances for Colchester United since he made his permanent move last year, Moncur Snr still holds a grudge against Allardyce and his treatment of his son.

    It was disappointing when he left because its my club but I think it was an even bigger dis-appointment for George, the ex-Hammers mid-fielder continued. It was just unfortunate that the arrival of Sam Allardyce didnt help him.

    He never looked to the young players and what he did to them on that day when he threw them all in at Nottingham For-est was an absolute joke being honest with you.

    Looking forward, Moncur, who joined West Ham from Swin-don in June 1994 for 1m, believes Slaven Bilic is the right man to take West Ham forward to an exciting future in the Olympic Stadium.

    He certainly was the one [candidate] that stood out for me because I know him, I played

    with him. Hes a great lad, the 49-year-old explained. He had all the experience to come in and do the job that he is doing. He was a good international manager, and he likes to play the West Ham way.

    I think he has proven that he has got good recruitment skills, that he has the right people round him and that he knows the European market as well as English players. I think he has done a great job and it doesnt surprise me that he has done so well up to now.

    I think he is going to be the one to take us onto the new chapter when we move into the

    new stadium. I think the project over five years if we stick with him, the club will be in healthy hands.

    Heading into the final few games of 2015, Mon-cur, who scored six goals in 176 appearances for West Ham, believes a top half finish is still achiev-able for Bilics men.

    I think the way we are set up as a team, we look really good away from home with pace on the counter, he explained. I think that obviously the home form is a bit of a problem as the performances arent as good as they are away from home.

    At the end of the day, I think we have a deep

    Gone: George Moncur left West Ham for Colchester United in 2014

    Favourites: Sam Allardyce was not known for trusting young players

  • enough squad to finish in the top half and I think that would be superb if Slaven, in his first year, could get into the top half.

    The conversation turns to Moncurs career in the claret and blue, he is quite quick to bat away the suggestion he is a cult hero before adding: When I look back at my time at West Ham, you are judged by a crowd that is very knowledge-able but can also be quite hostile at times. I think its a credit to the nine years that I had there that they held me in quite high regard so thats quite pleasing.

    Moncur started his career at Tottenham Hotspur, coming up through the ranks, and spent eight years there, playing 21 times and scoring once. During his spell at White Hart Lane he was loaned to five clubs before joining up with Glenn Hoddle at Swindon Town for 80,000 in 1992.

    Asked why things didnt work out for him at Spurs, he replied: At the time they had good midfield players who could keep the ball like Paul Gascoigne and he was arguably one of the best midfield players in the world.

    I dont think Terry Venables, who was their manager at the