Villa are relegation candidates

When Aston Villa lost 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, their manager’s reaction was telling. At least, said Paul Lambert, they had worked hard. Given that last season Villa had the seventh-highest wage bill in the league, owner Randy Lerner may feel entitled to more than hard work. After a lucky 1-1 draw against Swansea, Lambert said: “We are not in a relegation fight”. As they are four points off the drop zone and averaging less than a point a game at home, others may feel differently.

Bellamy 'not ready' to play for Wales

Craig Bellamy, the Wales captain, is at the centre of a club v country dispute after Alan Curbishley, West Ham's manager, pleaded with John Toshack to "allow sense to prevail". Bellamy, in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan in Cardiff on Saturday and away to Russia on Wednesday week, scored on his first appearance of the season for the Hammers on Saturday. But the striker, who has been suffering from a hamstring injury, played only the last 20 minutes. Curbishley said, "He's not ready. He's been out for four weeks and started training with us only on Wednesday."

Way clears for Ferdinand exit

The anticipated return from injury of Wales centre-back James Collins could help speed the exit of Anton Ferdinand from West Ham after reports of a £6m bid by Sunderland.

West Ham Utd 2 Wigan Athletic 1: Ashton displays true talents

The timing could hardly have been better for Dean Ashton. With Fabio Capello, the England head coach, watching from the stand and enthusiasm rife among West Ham United supporters, Ashton provided evidence to suggest that the old-style English centre-forward is alive and well and ready to fulfil exaggerated expectations at Upton Park.

West Ham warn Green and close in on Behrami

West Ham were yesterday close to completing their first major signing of the summer, with the £5m acquisition of the highly-rated Swiss international Valon Behrami from Lazio. However the deal was over-shadowed by a public admonishment for Robert Green after the goalkeeper said he felt "completely undervalued" and intimated that he wanted to leave after not being awarded a pay rise.

West Ham agree Brown settlement

West Ham have agreed an out-of-court settlement to their legal dispute with former chairman Terry Brown.

Curbishley hurt by media agenda

Alan Curbishley has accused sections of the media of pursuing an "agenda" against him and "twisting" his words.

West Ham show support for struggling Curbishley

Alan Curbishley will fly to to Milan today to discuss the club's transfer plans for the summer with Gianluca Nani, who is to be West Ham United's first technical director. The meeting is a clear sign that Curbishley, despite being under pressure after a poor run of form, is expected to survive as the club's manager beyond this season.

Woodgate eager to avoid symptoms of 'Charlton syndrome'

For fans of Tottenham and West Ham who are concerned that the season is fast sliding towards a premature end, there is consolation of a sort to be found in today's London derby at White Hart Lane: they cannot both lose.

Newcastle unveil Wise and close in on £3m Barnes

On the day that Newcastle United confirmed Dennis Wise's appointment as "Executive Director (Football)", another new senior figure at St James' Park, Tony Jimenez, was busy on the telephone to Derby County attempting to buy the 19-year-old midfielder Giles Barnes. Jimenez offered £1.5m to Derby; they said no and want close to double that sum.

How Magnusson's spending spree hastened his departure

Eggert Magnusson's departure from West Ham United was partly caused by the club running up a loss of £18.8 million in the last financial year, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Mark Jones: Football makes poets of mere men

Men call it the Beautiful Game because all proper fans are aesthetes

Fortune favours Alonso after fiery Raikkonen attack goes up in smoke

Coming so soon after his emotional first triumph on his home ground, Fernando Alonso's first victory here yesterday afternoon must have seemed like another gift from the gods who keep smiling on him.

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