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.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own