Here we are again, another month comes to end and West Ham are still sat at the bottom of the Premier League and are no longer within touching distance of a first Wembley Cup Final in 30 years. Having been bottom of the league for the majority of the season is there any way out of it?
It has been a strange month, waking up on the morning of the Arsenal game to see Sky Sports reporting that Avram Grant would be sacked after the game, no matter what the result, and replaced by Martin O’Neill. We all know what happened; the board shot themselves in the foot by leaking the deal and O’Neill then backed out.
My major issue with this is the way it was done. This is West Ham, the “Academy of Football”, it’s not how we treat our managers. The guy has only been in the job for 6 months, his approach to the game hasn’t changed in that time and neither has it changed since he was in charge at Portsmouth and Chelsea. Now don’t get me wrong I am not a massive Grant fan but I also don’t have any feelings against him. I feel he has shown a lot of dignity, never complaining about the goings on at the club. He knew the situation the club was in when he took the role but has tried to get the best out of what is one of the worst West Ham squads I have ever seen.
In terms of performances, the less said about the last month the better. A poor performance at Birmingham in the second leg of the carling cup semi final says everything you need to know about the state of things on the pitch. A game that we were controlling until half time we somehow ended up losing after extra time as we decided to sit as deep as possible and allow long balls to be hit up to Zigic for him to knock down.
Why the message didn’t come from the touch line to move up the pitch and try to stop these balls never arrived I don’t know, and for this you can’t only blame Grant. He is surrounded by a team of coaches, one of whom is our defensive coach, and yet none of them were able to get the players to move up the pitch to stop the supply.
The transfer window has probably come at the right time for the club. The board have been able to splash a bit of cash about, mainly in wages, and bring in players who they hope are going to make the difference. Wayne Bridge coming in on £90k a week seems a bit extreme but when you look at the performances of Herita Ilunga this season you can see why Bridge has been brought in.
With 2 proper full backs in Jacobson and Bridge hopefully we might see some stronger performances from the defence. Gary O’Neil I think is a very shrewd signing. He can play either in the centre or on the right of the midfield and will work tirelessly and has been known to pop up with a few goals, so hopefully he will slot right in.
We have also strengthened up front with the arrivals of Demba Ba and Robbie Keane. Again, I think Keane will prove to be a very good signing. Here is a guy who just wants to play football and will probably feel like he has something to prove after his recent times at Liverpool and Spurs. Keane should also provide the link we have been missing for most of the season between midfield and attack, and also the creativity that most games this season have been crying out for.
As for Demba Ba I am not so sure. Here is a player who failed a medical at Stoke and reportedly did at West Ham as well. The next thing we know he has signed a 3½ year contract with the club. He has been making all the right noises through the clubs website and I hope he is a big success but this is one signing the jury is still out on.
For the next 4 months everyone at the club needs to pull in the same direction, no more undermining of the manager, no more displays where it looks like no one cares and no more sniping in the press. Concentrate on the football, show the fight and desire on and off the pitch that shows everyone you care. We may be bottom of the league but this year the premiership is so tight we are still able to get out it.
Let’s hope that the next time I write something things have started to move in the right direction, upwards.
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