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Q&A For this Weekend’s West Ham Game

Thanks to UpTheJunction from the West Ham forum for his replies via, to Hasta who composed a Q&A for this weekends Rovers vs West Ham United game.

What your opinion of Gianfranco Zola, a man nobody seems to dislike. He’s doing quite well isn’t he?

Gianfranco is doing exceptionally well in difficult circumstances.

How are the finances at West Ham nowadays after all the talk of impending financial doom a few months back?

According to our CEO Scott Duxbury who spoke to in an exclusive interview at the end of last season, the club is now completely self-sufficient once again. Whilst the debts incurred by our previous owners (Messrs Gudmundsson and Magnusson) remain, they are now under control – although any money Zola wishes to spend this summer must be generated from player sales (hence the constant hawking of Matthew Upson in the press).

You don’t seem to have spent much money on transfers this summer. What do you think of your activity in the transfer market and have any of the players impressed in pre-season.

Our transfer activity this summer has been practically non-existent – as expected. Our one new face in the first team, Luis Jimenez looks to be a bit of a player (well you don’t generally play for Inter if you’re not). The rest (Daprela, Nouble etc) are just kids and shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team squad. We had a pretty poor pre-season although Zavon Hines (20-year-old striker) took his chances well.

Many Rovers fans are angry at Lucas Neill for what they believe is engineering a situation to get as much money as he can for himself regardless of destination. With what has happened this summer, what do you think of him?

Well if he is only in it for the money he’s going the wrong way about it, seeing as how he’s been out of work since the end of June! He was a good servant to West Ham United whilst he was here although his failure to sign a contract anywhere since does appear to be extremly odd.

I was going to ask about the feeling regarding the upcoming Millwall cup game but the size of the thread on your site tells me all I need to know. Briefly, how much does that game mean to the West Ham fans? Can you afford to lose?

‘Wall are our biggest rivals and it’s probably one of football’s best-known rivalries. It’s been going on since the mid 1920s, at least. Can we afford to lose? Well it would be nice to beat them full stop, I think it’s been 16 years or so since we last did!

What are your hopes and expectations for this season?

With the top six being a virtual closed shop these days the best we can realistically hope for is 7th place and European qualification. I expect us to finish in or very close to the top ten – assuming we land a striker to complement Carlton Cole by the end of the transfer window.

What are your opinions of Rovers and how do you think we will fare this season?

Now that you have put the Ince fiasco to bed things appear to be looking up – and Allardyce is no mug. Having said that I think you’re looking between 12th-15th this season. Sorry!

Are there any notable games between the two clubs in recent or past memory that you have fond or vivid memories of?

One or two! Obviously Zamora’s goal at Ewood Park that never was without which we’d have almost certainly been relegated in 06/07. The year before we kicked off the season with a 3-1 win at the Boleyn which set us off nicely for our first season back in the top flight after two years away. Prior to that the FA Cup game that we won on penalties (97/98ish) at EP. Fortunately even I’m too young to remember Boxing Day 1963 … (Rovers won 8-2 at Upton Park)

And finally, a prediction for the game at Ewood this coming Saturday?

We’ve had a good run at your place recently so I think we might sneak it by the odd goal, 2-1 perhaps – although I’d settle for a point. Again, a lot depends on what team we put out.

Thanks again to UpTheJunction for taking the time to come back with these answers.

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