West Ham redesign new website after seven years

West Ham has launched a new website, the first website redesign for seven years aimed at enhancing fans’ online experience, reports http://www.fcbusiness.co.uk

The new website, which has been developed in partnership with digital agency Mirum, has a responsive design, giving access to the latest Hammers content – on mobile, tablet or desktop.

One of the main features of the new website is My West Ham, a new all-access pass to whufc.com, giving fans free behind-the-scenes video.

It will also provide a platform fans to converse with fellow Hammers and a customisable dashboard allowing them to make the new whufc.com a bespoke experience for them. Fans will also be able to access video content free of charge.

Co-Chairman, David Sullivan said of the new design, “I am delighted to welcome you to our new website.

“One of the most exciting elements is the introduction of a free TV service. This was highlighted as a key priority by our SAB focus group so we have moved to offer free West Ham TV to all fans.

“One of the other key elements of the new site will be the inclusion of more opinion and analysis and, as part of that, David Gold and I will be writing to you more frequently in our ‘From the Boardroom’ column.

Does Bony signing show Manchester City have learned nothing from Sturridge sale?

The striker left the Etihad in 2009 after being stuck behind the likes of Jo, Benjani and Felipe Caicedo, and represents the last jewel to have emerged from the club’s academy

Does Bony signing show Manchester City have learned nothing from Sturridge sale?

In December, Manchester City opened the €275 million City Football Academy. It features 16.5 pitches, 10 of them with undersoil heating, allowing 450 players to train there every week. It includes the biggest artificial indoor pitch in England, a hydro-therapy area with water at six different temperatures and four-star hotel-standard accommodation. They went through 19 design variations after studying 70 training facilities in several continents.

But despite all those numbers, they only had one real aim: to produce world-class players. On Sunday, City encounter the last superstar to come through their ranks. Daniel Sturridge plays for Liverpool now. It is almost six years since his final City game, when he scored in the last minute of a 4-2 win over West Bromwich Albion. He is the one who got away, the sharpshooter who could have been leading their line. Instead of combining profitably with Luis Suarez last season, he could have paired another prolific South American, Sergio Aguero. Sturridge and Sergio, the alternative SAS.

The bare facts are that City have spent around €870 million on transfers since Sheikh Mansour’s 2008 takeover. They recouped an initial fee of just €4.8 million, with the price set by a tribunal, when Sturridge signed for Chelsea in 2009. Meanwhile, City have just paid €36 million for Wilfried Bony, a fine footballer with a formidable physique and a terrific scoring record, but arguably still inferior to Sturridge.

The Ivorian is the 12th forward to cost City at least €19 million in the last seven years. Nine of them were priced at over €27 million. But, Aguero apart, how many are better than Sturridge now?

So City have had years to rue their reluctance to pay Sturridge the €82,000-a-week contract Chelsea awarded a player with the grand total of five league starts, and to regret their short-termism in Mark Hughes’ chaotic first year in charge.

Robinho was the brilliant wastrel who was the constant in the attack. The damning detail was where Sturridge ranked in the pecking order: Benjani, Felipe Caicedo, Jo, Craig Bellamy and Darius Vassell all began more league games. Ched Evans started as many. View it that way and no wonder Sturridge left.  There were times he seemed the eighth-choice forward in what was, Bellamy and Robinho apart, an undistinguished band.

A dynasty ended with Sturridge. Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha were still at City, but he was the last of the graduates of one of the most envied academies in England to break through. City developed talent then. Aided by the millions from Abu Dhabi, they soon started buying it.  They imported expensive, often excellent, players. The one in the current squad who is classified as “club-trained” by Uefa is Dedryck Boyata, the second-string centre-back from Belgium. But for the quota, he would surely be gone by now.

In December, before the precocious Matija Nastasic was loaned out, City’s squad was named the oldest in Europe’s major leagues. Liverpool have one of the youngest in England. At 25, Sturridge is one of their senior players. Put him in the City side and, if Eliaquim Mangala did not figure, he would be the youngest starter.

City have an ageing team and a need to rejuvenate. Yaya Toure, Frank Lampard, Martin Demichelis, Willy Caballero, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta have already entered their thirties. Over the next 14 months, Vincent Kompany, James Milner, Edin Dzeko, Fernandinho, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gael Clichy and David Silva will join them. Recent attempts to produce their own players have fired. The youth system has fewer locals and is more cosmopolitan, but Denis Suarez and Abdul Razak did not prove the new Silva and Toure respectively. John Guidetti will probably never feature in a Premier League game for them.

Hence a €275 million statement of intent. And, after a fallow period, there is the hope the next generation will fare better. Perhaps the teenagers Marcos Lopes, Jason Denayer, Jose Angel Pozo, Thierry Ambrose, Bersant Celina, Brandon Barker and Angelino will prove Sturridge’s belated successors.

They need to, both to justify the construction of the world’s best training complex and to realise the “holistic” objectives of chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain who aim to bring the Barcelona ethos to the Etihad and look to recreate La Masia in east Manchester. That is only possible if City, like Barca, produce their own players.

The left-back Angelino may the likeliest to progress, simply because his competition will come from Kolarov and Clichy. But City’s model of two first-team players for every position limits the chances for the up-and-coming and a look at his fellow Spaniard Pozo shows the logistical difficulties emerging talents at the Etihad face. He figured as a striker when he made three Premier League appearances in December, and then City signed Bony. He is really more of a No.10, a position Silva, Toure, Lampard, Samir Nasri and Stevan Jovetic can play in. Sturridge was never given an extended opportunity in an era of Caicedo and Jo, Benjani and Evans.

Now his current employers provide the role models. Brendan Rodgers parachuted Jordon Ibe into a Merseyside derby when he gave a teenager just his second Premier League start. He was justified, just as he was when promoting Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan. Jonjo Shelvey and Suso got their chances two years ago. Perhaps Jordan Williams and Jordan Rossiter will be next. They are the kids who will make Sturridge seem old. Put him next to Manuel Pellegrini’s senior citizens, however, and he remains the last youth

Messi not on speaking terms with Luis Enrique as Barcelona players refuse coach’s orders

Despite the Blaugrana’s fine midweek win against Manchester City, the coach has a difficult relationship with his playing staff and star man

Messi not on speaking terms with Luis Enrique as Barcelona players refuse coach's orders
Luis Enrique acknowledges that his future at Camp Nou is far from secure as he continues to endure a difficult relationship with Lionel Messi and the Barcelona squad.

The Asturian only took over as coach of the Blaugrana last summer but his first season on the bench has been dogged by dressing room problems – particularly with star man Messi.

The pair fell out at the start of January, leading to a highly-publicised power struggle, but they then called a truce – agreeing to put their differences aside for the greater good of Barcelona.

However, Goal understands that despite this ceasefire the pair are actually not on speaking terms.

The club has sided with Messi on the issue and while president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists that the coach will remain in his job next season, Luis Enrique himself realises that his position at the club is precarious.

A further reason for this is because the ex-midfielder also has a frosty relationship with many other members of the first-team squad – Luis Enrique’s authoritarian management style is not approved by his players.

Luis Enrique is not the kind of coach to accept suggestions or pointers. Unlike Pep Guardiola, who was hugely popular with Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and other senior squad members, Luis Enrique is more comparable to disciplinarians such as Louis Van Gaal and Fabio Capello in demanding total obedience from his players.

While the players have agreed to co-operate enough to ensure they can fight for major titles this season, there have been occasions when some Barcelona players have been unwilling to take orders from their boss. Indeed the players have found a way of self-managing the team when required.

This is not the first time that Luis Enrique has had a troubled relationship with one or more of his players. While at Roma, he also fell out with club legend Francesco Totti – and this was an important reason why he only lasted one season in the Italian capital.

As we now enter the business end of the 2014-15 campaign, Luis Enrique is concerned his time on the Camp Nou bench will also end prematurely. Barcelona are currently second in La Liga, four points behind Real Madrid.

QPR boss Ramsey admits Barton needs to control his temper

QPR boss Chris Ramsey admits skipper Joey Barton needs to address his temper after dismissal in defeat to Hull City.

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QPR boss Chris Ramsey admits skipper Joey Barton needs to address his temper after dismissal in defeat to Hull City.

Barton was shown the ninth red card of his controversial career after hitting Hull’s Tom Huddlestone in the groin in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat.

Asked if Barton needs help to curb his temper, Ramsey said: “It’s something I would discuss with the player and see what he’s open to and wanted to do.

“The medical staff are very good here so I’m sure a whole range of things have been discussed with him in his career about different things.

“He’s quite an intelligent lad and I’m sure he would be open to anything that he thought could help him.

“I wouldn’t push anything his way. We’ll have a discussion in the cold light of day away from this incident and see where we go next.”

Guardiola: Xabi Alonso the worst defender in the world

The Spaniard was sent off against Shakhtar on Tuesday night for two rash challenges but his boss says he is not in the team for his tackling ability

Guardiola: Xabi Alonso the worst defender in the world

Pep Guardiola has described Xabi Alonso as the worst player in the world from a defensive perspective, but pointed out that Bayern Munich did not sign the midfielder to recover the ball – but keep it.

Alonso was sent off in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, after picking up a first-half booking for a mistimed tackle on Alex Teixeira and the earning a second yellow for pulling back the same player with 25 minutes remaining.

The Spaniard’s sending-off obviously left Bayern in a perilous position but the Bundesliga leaders held on to claim a 0-0 draw and Guardiola refused to criticise Alonso for his ill-discipline.

“We want to keep the ball with us for as long as we can,” he told reporters on Friday, “so that’s why I want players like Xabi and Thiago [Alcantara].

“But when it comes to running after another player, Xabi Alonso is the worst player in the world!

“But then, that is not what we signed him for.”

Guardiola also insisted that his decision to start Robert Lewandowski on the bench against Shakhtar was not an expression of his dissatisfaction with the striker’s poor form, with the Pole having netted just once in his previous five Bundesliga appearances.

“I am very happy with Robert,” the Catalan said. “He knows my opinion on his performances and his quality. I do not doubt him.

“But I have five top strikers and we always have to adjust to the opponents. It is not easy to play with five or six attackers in Europe!”

Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara returned to training on Thursday, after nearly a year out of action with knee ligament damage, and Guardiola is optimistic that the midfielder will soon be ready to return to first-team action.

“Maybe he can train with us again in two or three weeks,” the former Barcelona boss added. “Then we have to see how his knee reacts.

“But the doctor and Thiago are optimistic and so am I. He is on a good path. This is the last phase of his treatment and his knee is okay.”

Barcelona players ‘baffled and confused’ by Enrique tactics

Barcelona players were left baffled by coach Luis Enrique’s substitutions for defeat to Malaga.

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Sport says Enrique’s hooking of Daniel Alves, who was to blame for Malaga‘s winner, for Javier Mascherano shocked senior players.

Gerard Pique was spotted during the second-half questioning Enrique’s tactics after the coach had told his players at the break: “We must have more patience, more ball movement, more fluency and open things up on the wings”.

The choice of Mascherano for Alves worked against such a strategy and a dressing room source stated afterwards: “It was like we spent 25 minutes not playing at all.”

Stunningly, Enrique did not speak to his players yesterday – in a week when Barca resume their Champions League campaign against Manchester City.

For the moment, however, the Barca locker room remains united, with senior players describing the home defeat as an “accident”.

Ruthless Ronaldo closes on Raul in night of Real landmarks

Cristiano’s 38th goal of the season in a 2-0 win at Elche put him joint third on the list of Madrid’s all-time goalscorers, with his coach and keeper also making marks

Ruthless Ronaldo closes on Raul in night of Real landmarks

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It is only a matter of time. Cristiano Ronaldo’s header in the 2-0 win at Elche on Sunday saw the three-time Ballon d’Or winner draw level with Santillana on 290 goals for Real Madrid. The Portuguese now has just two players ahead of him on the scoring charts for Los Blancos: Alfredo Di Stefano and Raul.

Raul, now playing for New York Cosmos in the United States, believes Ronaldo will reach his record of 323 goals sooner rather than later.

“I’m certain he’ll break my record, just like he broke the Champions League record,” Raul told Goal. “The way he’s playing at Real Madrid right now, it’s just a question of time.

“Whether it’s one year, two years, three or four, surely he’ll do it. We’re talking about one of the best players in the history of football. There’s a big difference between Ronaldo and (Lionel Messi) and everyone else in the world.”

While Messi had a bad day at the office as Barcelona lost to Malaga, Ronaldo was clearly in the mood after ending his recent mini-drought with a goal against Schalke in the Champions League. He hit the post with a curler early on, forced Elche goalkeeper Tyton into a smart save soon afterwards and was a constant threat for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Madrid went in on level terms at the break despite their first-half dominance in which Karim Benzema had been unfortunate to see his overhead kick ruled out for offside. But the Frenchman took advantage of a fortuitous rebound to tap Real in front in the second half after Cristiano’s centre. The Portuguese headed home a superb cross from Isco to take his goal tally up another notch.

The Portuguese drew level with Santillana on 290 goals for Madrid, but the legendary Spain striker needed 645 matches to reach that tally, while Ronaldo has achieved it in just 281 games.

Since he was overtaken by Messi on goals scored this season, Ronaldo has responded again as the two finest footballers in the world inspire each other to even greater heights. And Cristiano is now back in front: 38-37.

Messi may catch and overtake Ronaldo yet this term, but nobody at Madrid will come close. Providing he stays at the club beyond the summer, Cristiano is set to obliterate Real’s all-time record for goals scored as he closes in on legends Di Stefano (308 goals) and Raul (323). In fact, he may even achieve it in 2014-15.

Ancelotti also reached a landmark as he took charge of his 100th Madrid match. The Italian has won 78 of those and his win percentage is the finest in the club’s history, one better than the 77 managed by previous boss Jose Mourinho.

“We have done well in these 100 games,” the 55-year-old said afterwards. “Now I hope we will do even better in the next 100!”

And between the sticks, goalkeeper Iker Casillas was appearing in his 500th Liga game for Real. Solid and dependable on Sunday following his shaky showing in the recent derby defeat at Atletico, the club captain’s legend status at the Santiago Bernabeu is beyond question, even if his short-term future is.

“I’m grateful to Real Madrid for these 500 games,” the Spain skipper said after the game. “I’m really happy to keep playing games and I hope there are many more to come.”

More important than any of that, however, was the win which sees Madrid draw a line under their recent poor performances. They lead La Liga by four points again after Barca surprisingly lost at home to Malaga on Saturday.

“I’m surprised Barcelona lost,” Ancelotti added afterwards. “They were playing well. But this league will be decided on the last day of the season.”

However, he added: “With this attitude, we are going to win a lot of games. The team understood that this was an important one.”

So after some troubled times of late, it was not only a day of milestones for Real Madrid, but perhaps a landmark victory as well. Back on track.