Antonio scoops Hammer of the Year award
Our top goal scorer and standout performer for the season, Michail Antonio, has claimed the prestigious prize of Hammer of the Year, at the end of season awards on Tuesday. Antonio is currently on nine goals for the season and has excited fans this season with his trademark pace and power, turning defenders inside-out each week and was voted our Player of the Season in a vote exclusive to Hammers’ fans. The 27-year-old was brimming with excitement in an interview after receiving the award, as he sported crutches and a full West Ham training kit at the gala dinner, due to having his hamstring completely strapped up. The former Non-League star said:”It’s just a great feeling and hopefully I can do it again! Winning Hammer of the Year amazes me because it’s come from the fans, who can be our biggest critics”. The winger fought off fierce competition from Manuel Lanzini who finished second and Pedro Obiang who finished third.
AC and Manu also among winners
Our Argentine midfielder, Manuel Lanzini picked up Players Player of the Season and striker Andy Carroll won Goal of the Season for his sumptuous overhead kick against Crystal Palace, on a night of celebration at The InterContinental O2 Hotel. Lanzini, who narrowly missed out on Hammer of the Year, instead ended up with the decorated award from his teammates. It came as absolutely no surprise to anyone at the award ceremony that Andy Carroll was standing on the stage with The Goal of the Season award in his hand. The incredible acrobatic effort remains a front runner for Premier League Goal of the season and has been the highlight of another injury-ravaged season for The Englishman. James Collins picked up the award for Best Individual Performance for his barbaric display at centre-back in the vital win over The Swans at The London Stadium in April. Surprisingly, it is The Welshman’s first award in ten years of service for the club. There is hardly any doubt that if last Friday night’s victory over Spurs was in the running it would have won Best Team Performance of the Year, but it wasn’t and instead the award went to our 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea, where goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes helped us to overcome the soon to be crowned Champions back in October. Save of the Season went to the recently dropped Darren Randolph for his flying save from a Jordan Henderson strike in our 2-2 draw at Anfield. The other three awards of the evening were shared by the youthful trio of Edimilson Fernandes, Declan Rice and Domingos Quina. Fernandes picked up Signing of the Season, despite only making six starts all the season long. The Swiss international has excelled at right back and central midfield in his 20 overall appearances and he certainly does look like a real future star. Quina picked up The Dylan Tombides award for outstanding youth performer, in honour of the late academy star Dylan Tombides, and Declan Rice picked up The Young Hammer of the Year award for his fantastic season as captain of The U23 side.
Trio out for the season
It has been confirmed this week, by our head of sports science Stijn Vanderbrouke, that our key attacking trio of Diafra Sakho, Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll are set to return for the start of next season. It was confirmed after our heroic victory over our North London rivals on Friday night, that our Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate will finally have surgery on a wrist injury he aggravated at The AFCON. He is said to be likely to be out for eight weeks and return in time for the start of next season. The news regarding pivotal strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho will do nothing to help our ongoing problems up front. Sakho has aggravated the injury in his lower back that has restricted him to only one Premier League start this season. According to Vanderbrouke, he won’t be risked at all over the final two games of the season. Our Goal of the Season winner Andy Carroll has added to his vast injury past with a severe abductor strain that has kept him out since our 2-2 draw at The Stadium of Light, it is unlikely that the former England striker will feature again this season. The trio now join Michail Antonio, Pedro Obiang and Angelo Ogbonna on the long term injury list, but the club is confident that we will have a fully fit squad by the time that August comes around.
Transfer gossip: Hammers’ eye ambitious duo
It has been reported this week by The Telegraph that we are readying a summer move for Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure. The 33-year-old has had his fair share of run-ins with The City management over the years, but now, after seven years at The Etihad, Pep Guardiola is reportedly ready to offload The Ivorian in the summer. Toure has scored over 50 goals in over 200 appearances with The Citizens and still remains one of the best midfielders in the division, despite his comparatively poor amount of game time this term. There is no doubt that if Bilic was to pull off one of the signings of the year and bring the former Barcelona man to The London Stadium, it would undoubtedly be a huge step in the right direction in terms of recruitment.
One of the biggest transfer saga’s of last summer was our failed attempt to sign AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca, after a number of bids that got turned down by the Italian side. This week it has been rumoured by TalkSport that we will try all over again to try and sign The Columbian international this summer. Bacca has notched a combined 36 Serie A goals over the course of the last two seasons, but the 30-year-old has reportedly this week held talks with the Milan owners about departing the club after this season.
On this day in 2008, we drew 2-2 with Aston Villa on the final day of the 2007/2008 season. Nolberto Solano put us ahead on 12 minutes with a well placed free kick, before goals from Ashley Young and Gareth Barry equalised for The Midlands club, only for Dean Ashton to fire home two minutes from time to equalize. The 2007/2008 campaign proved to be an injury-blighted season where we eventually finished in 10th place.