Snow firesale at Hammers!

AS THE snow fell on east London on Deadline Day Monday, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was a fitting epitaph to what had been billed as the death of West Ham United, writes DAVE EVANS. National papers had claimed that all the club s best p

AS THE snow fell on east London on 'Deadline Day' Monday, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was a fitting epitaph to what had been billed as the death of West Ham United, writes DAVE EVANS.

National papers had claimed that all the club's best players would be sold to cut costs and raise revenue, while one even wrote the obituary of the Boleyn Boys.

RIP West Ham indeed!

Few, of course, had faith in the word of chief executive Scott Duxbury, who claimed that none of the big-name signings would be sold unless they wanted to go - Hammers' fans had heard it all before.

But Monday's deadline came and went and Rob Green, Matty Upson and Scott Parker were still West Ham players.

Furthermore, not only was nobody sold, the Hammers took the opportunity of making full back Herita Ilunga's loan move from French club Toulouse a permanent one - and for a cut-price fee of around �1.5million!

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The Congolese international has been a revelation this season, filling the gap left by George McCartney with some assured performances, both defending and going forward.

Meanwhile, Calum Davenport finally got his move away from Upton Park, when he joined the former Hammer party up at Sunderland, in a loan move that will see him stay there until the end of the season.

It was perhaps the one disappointment of the transfer window.

The 26-year-old defender, though prone to mistakes, had let nobody down this season, and had been unfortunate to be dropped for the match against Stoke City, causing his bust-up with manager Gianfranco Zola.

But the Italian felt he had a point to make and disciplined the player, dropped him and now he has finally off-loaded him.

The Hammers missed out on South African international Bryce Moon on deadline day.

The 22-year-old can play right back or right midfield and would have been an ideal replacement for Real Madrid lottery winner Julien Faubert, but West Ham were keen on a loan deal, while his Greek side Panathinaikos wanted a permanent one.

One player who came in almost under the radar was 20-year-old Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Kurucz, who has joined on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer.

The youngster, who has played a handful of games for high-flying Hungarian outfit Ujpest Doza, joins an impressive array of goalkeepers at the club, including 18-year-old Marek Stech, while Jimmy Walker will stay on loan at Colchester United until the end of the season.

Duxbury declared himself satisfied with the way the transfer window had gone.

"The club is very happy with the business done in January," he said. "We had been looking at a couple of the manager's targets, but a deal could not be concluded.

"I am pleased we kept hold of our key players, although this is simply what any club with ambition would expect to do and should not be viewed as an achievement. Similarly, new contracts will be discussed when and where appropriate," he added.

Fringe players Matthew Etherington and Hayden Mullins were both sold, while Davenport, Faubert, Nigel Quashie, Lee Bowyer, Kyel Reid, Joe Widdowson and Jordan Spence were all sent out on loan, again reiterating the words of both the chief executive and the manager.

Only Bellamy's big-money departure to Manchester City put a spanner in the works, and just how much they miss the striker will become apparent when Carlton Cole and David Di Michele's run of fine form comes to an end.

Monday was yet another boost to the confidence of the club. They may face being sold by the current chairman next month, but a run of eight games without defeat, and eighth place in the league leaves everyone with a smile on their face.

Get ready for the summer headlines though - West Ham must sell their top players!

Some things will probably never change.

Meanwhile Sun-day's clash with Manchester United at Upton Park has been designated awareness day for the Bobby Moore Charity Fund.