As the new season draws closer, I thought I’d take a little time at what we could or should possibly expect.
The obvious aim for Sam Allardyce is to secure ourselves in the Premiership. For me personally, I don’t expect any lofty ambitions such as a top half finish or something like that.
Our squad hasn’t exactly had too much change when you look at it, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Collison, O’Neil and Cole were all around when we were relegated and stuck through the challenges of the Championship to get us back in the top division of English football.
I see this as a good thing more than a bad, though. It shows a togetherness of the players and an ambition that they want to do well for this club.
But we cannot hide from the fact there were two seasons in a row of relegation battles. However, I have no doubt we will continue to strengthen the squad to prove we could be a force to be reckoned with.
I think a top 15 finish would be brilliant, especially if we don’t look like being dragged into a relegation battle at any point. That, for me, would be one very successful season.
I have faith in our manager and his tactics. I know last season they were criticised for being a bit too negative. But there were times when we looked like we played some brilliant football, whether the ball was on the floor or if it was more direct, like when we desperately thought back to earn a point at home to Birmingham. Nobody complained about the directness in that game, as the team did exactly what was required.
I also think the way Sam sets us up, is more to make us tough to beat first, but a danger going forward in numbers, which will work more in my opinion in the to flight, as we won’t have many teams coming to Upton Park, who are going to throw 10 men behind the ball at all times and hope to nick a late winner. Which should hopefully make our side more comfortable on the ball and have a bit more freedom with their attacks.
At the moment, with the signings we’ve made so far, I would say the only aim is to stay up and try to get off to the best possible start we can, as there is no hiding the fact there are some tough months after the opening month.
If we make a few more signings and maybe get some strength in depth, then I think our aim would be top 15. It’s an impossible season to judge in my opinion, though. We saw last season how Norwich and Swansea flourished yet, QPR who were the promotion title winners, struggled and stayed up by the skin of their teeth,.
So it is hard enough to say who could be in a potential fight for survival, especially with all the manager changes that we have already seen, it could be much harder for Norwich and Swansea to repeat last seasons heroics.
I also don’t see any of us three that were promoted being that weak a side to not be up for a fight. Then on top of that you have the likes of Wigan and West Brom, who could be around there too.
I don’t even want to guess who could go down as it seems a lot of the Premiership is getting closer except maybe the top 4-6 teams. I just look forward to an exciting season ahead and hope we give it our all.
If we can stay up, then I feel this would have been a success.
Come On You Irons!
You can read more from Banno over at his own West Ham Blog here.