So with the new season nearly upon us and those dull empty Saturdays nearly a thing of the past, the question needs to be asked; what can we expect from this coming season ?
Our style seems to be topic that most media outlets love to bash us for at the moment,apparently we don’t play ”football”.
If you check the stats from last season Newcastle,Stoke,Reading played more long balls than we did,if you look at the amount of long balls attempted we are about half way down the table, but other teams don’t seem to get a bashing in the same way we do(apart from Stoke), you might say who cares what they say? but they do hold a lot of power in people’s minds.
Last season Robbie Savage dared any West Ham fan to call up to the BBC and tell him when was the last time West Ham played the West Ham way ?, what is the West Ham way ?
Well in my opinion it started in the Bobby Moore era and was last seen at West Ham in the Di Canio days,I remember a quote from Alan Curbishley who was commentating after a match, (we had just beat his Charlton team 5 – 0), he said West Ham were the second best team he had seen all season,he didn’t even try to defend his own team, he just marvelled at West Hams skill,speed and general play.
In the team that day we had the likes of Trevor Sinclair,Joe Cole, Frank Lampard,Michael Carrick and of course Paolo, three of those players went on to win several titles with their prospective clubs and if a lot of West Ham fans were honest, this was the last time West Ham played the West Ham way.
Moving into the present and we are faced with the tag of the non footballing football team, well I think a few home truths need be said, and said again! for the last decade it has been pretty hard to be a West Ham fan, it’s one thing to be beat, but to be beat without a fight really does leave a bad flavour in the mouth, to highlight this period I would have to note the Newcastle away game in the season we went down, I was in Thailand at the time of the match which meant I had to stay up until 4am to watch it on the box,to add more misery I had to catch a flight to Hong Kong at 8am that same morning, after being smashed 5 nil by them I then had an hour or so available for a nap before I needed to leave for the airport, the thing is I could not sleep, I kept thinking about the attitude of our players that night and their performance did not sit well with me.
There is one huge positive since Big Sam has arrived,the players look happy to run through brick walls for him, they look proud to wear the shirt, in turn the fans can walk a little taller and can be sure that whatever the result we will have committment from our team.
Long balls are part of our game now, but I think there is a clear difference from the crash bang wallop attitude of the Wimbledon days, to us, we play the percentages but playing this way is not necessarily a bad thing, if you eliminate a teams ability to hurt you by making sure the ball is going to drop in their danger areas rather than ours,I liken our new team to that of squad from the special forces, we are not running around like headless Rambo’s, we are calculating and powerful and at times we have been outstanding (3-1 against Chelsea) (3-0 Fulham)
I can only see us getting better this year,the biggest positive has gotta be Big Andy Carroll, the man is a monster and is exactly what we missed for the past few seasons, there are so many occasions last season that I felt sorry for the defenders he was against,you could see that redundant expression across their faces, I think this year he will help fire us to a higher place in the league and hopefully a decent cup run, we created a lot of chances last season, a confident Carroll would have converted a lot more and I’m convinced that Sam will have him firing on all cylinders this season.
Predictions for 2013/14 –
League finish – 8th
Star player – Andy Carroll
One to watch out for – Roland Rat