West Ham: Star to sign new deal; Bilic criticises players; stadium security to be reviewed
Despite a depressing weekend for Hammers fans, they will be buoyed by reports in the Sun which claim that exciting young defender Reece Oxford will turn down Manchester City and Manchester United by signing a new contract in East London to extend his stay at the club, with his current deal set to run until 2019, with a pay rise expected as the England under 19 captain becomes a more important figure in Slaven Bilic’s first team squad.
The news is a massive boost for the club, with Oxford the latest in a long line of talented youngsters to come through the club’s youth set-up. There was speculation that a move for a fee of over £15 million could be on the cards this summer, but no deal materialised and Oxford was said to have been convinced that he would get sufficient first team football to warrant remaining in London rather than heading to London.
However, that will be of little consolation to Irons’ fans after a shocking defensive display saw the side collapse at home against Watford on Saturday afternoon. Despite reaching an early two goal lead, some appalling defending allowed the Hornets back into the game and they eventually took the lead and left 4-2 victors. Manager Slaven Bilic didn’t hold back post match and criticised his side, saying:
“In the second half we just continued to defend badly. We gave them too much space in too many dangerous areas and it looked too easy for them from where I was standing.”
It represents growing frustration from the Hammers manager as he continues to be forced to rotate in a limited squad with a number of key players out through injury. With nine goals now conceded in four Premier League games, Bilic seems to have had enough, with James Collins and Adrian singled out as having committed individual errors, and their places on the teamsheet may be put into doubt ahead of next weekend’s trip to the Hawthorns to face West Brom.
Perhaps even more disappointingly, the club has been forced to issue a statement following further unrest between home and away fans at the London Stadium, with some reports also surfacing of conflict between home fans. The club said:
“West Ham United unreservedly condemn the behaviour of the individuals involved in incidents during today’s fixture against Watford… this behaviour has no place in football and West Ham United will work tirelessly to eradicate such incidents.We are currently undertaking an immediate full review with all stakeholders. This includes police, stadium landlord and operator LS185, who are responsible for appointing and managing stewards and security, to ensure we eradicate such incidents moving forward… We will work with the police and other stakeholders to identify the individuals involved. Once identified, they will be banned from attending any West Ham United fixture for life.”
The news comes as the Hammers continue to iron out teething problems as they adjust to life in their new stadium with reports of clashes becoming frequent in the club’s opening fixtures of the season. As the club hope to expand the capacity of the London Stadium for Premier League football to beyond 60,000, stamping out such behaviour is more vital than ever if the club are to attract the fans required to fill the stadium.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Ai Kagou.