Football: West Ham in race for fitness

West Ham United 1 Jokerit 0

PAULO WANCHOPE should formally become a West Ham player later today and Harry Redknapp wants to sign two defenders as soon as possible, but for the time being the club's most important new recruit is an Italian of indeterminate age named Arnaldo Longaretti.

"Arnie", or "Aldo", who previously worked with Roy Hodgson at Blackburn, is being employed as a fitness coach until the end of August, by which time a gamble in entering the Intertoto Cup will either have paid off with a place in the Uefa Cup, or will look like a bad misjudgment.

If it succeeds, West Ham will have played 10 matches in six weeks, but will still be two games behind almost everyone else in the Premiership. If they fail to come through the three two-leg rounds, even Redknapp admits: "It wouldn't be worthwhile".

Hence the importance of Longaretti's role in bringing the players to peak fitness unusually early. As competitive football got underway on Saturday, even before the school holidays had started, it did not require the observational powers of an expert to note how badly the home side faded after half-time, or why. They had been back in training for only 10 days - a surprisingly short time, given the importance being attached to this competition by a club long smitten with European football but starved of it for 18 years.

Jokerit, for all their limitations, are in the middle of the Finnish season and are therefore far better equipped to cope with a rush of games and Saturday's heat. Briefly bemused by the ball skills of Joe Cole and Paolo Di Canio, as Paul Kitson headed a smart goal and Trevor Sinclair hit the inside of a post, they realised soon after half-time that their vaunted opponents were not just running out of steam but clanking to a halt.

Mika Nenonen, a Finnish Under-21 international midfielder, broke past labouring defenders three times in the last 20 minutes, twice forcing Craig Forrest to save and once curling a shot past the post.

Redknapp must hope his team are sharper, as they should be, by Saturday's return game, in which success would mean a second-round tie against Hammarby, of Sweden, or Heerenveen, of the Netherlands.

Despite having Rob Jones from Liverpool on an extended trial, he would still like to reinforce his defence, if possible with the return of Everton's Slaven Bilic. Steve Potts, deputising for the injured Ian Pearce on Saturday, broke his nose, while Marc-Vivien Foe, having unexpectedly turned down the chance to join Liverpool, has suffered a bout of malaria.

Wanchope's arrival should make football's East Enders one of the most attractive teams in the country going forward - "we'll need three balls", Redknapp said - but there may not be many goals left in television presenter and male model Ian Wright, an ineffectual substitute against Jokerit, who yesterday suggested that this might be his final season.

Goal: Kitson (18) 1-0.

West Ham United (4-3-1-2): Forrest; Potts (Wright h/t), Ferdinand, Ruddock, Minto; Lampard, Lomas, Sinclair (Keller, 60); Cole; Di Canio, Kitson. Substitutes not used: Moncur, Abou, Coyne, Carrick, Bywater (gk).

Jokerit (4-5-1): Laaksonen; Rasanen, Hyrylainien, Holmgren, Tuunainen (Paavola 37); Helin, Roiko (Rantanen, 61), Nenonen, Koskela (Pylkas, 80), Viren; Sumiala.

Substitutes not used: Hiukka, Lehtinen, Yla-Jussila, Heikurainen (gk).

Referee: M Liba (Czech Republic).

Bookings: West Ham: Lomas. Jokerit: Rasanen.

Man of the match: Cole.

Attendance: 11,098.

Chris Sutton and Didier Deschamps made their debuts for Chelsea on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City. Sutton, signed for pounds 10m from Blackburn this month, made little impact and was replaced at half-time by Tore Andre Flo. Gianfranco Zola was on target for Chelsea, who were denied victory by Birmingham central defender Michael Johnson, who scored seven minutes after half-time in front of 7,779 fans. Zola had pounced on a mix-up between his former Chelsea team-mate Eddie Newton and Birmingham midfielder Bryan Hughes to give the Premiership side a 26th-minute lead. Chelsea took off most of their big names as the match petered out into a draw.

'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Leeds

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Computer Futures

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London