The 2016/17 season has been a difficult one to digest for West Ham fans.
After what was a hugely successful and emotional 15/16 campaign, which marked the final season at the Boleyn Ground, expectations were high heading in to what was supposed to an exciting new era at London Stadium.
However, a disappointing transfer window last summer subsequently led to a tough start to the season on the pitch, and then problems with the move to our new stadium further added to the negative feeling surrounding the club.
As we enter the final nine games of the season, it’s fair to say West Ham are not yet 100% safe from relegation, despite sitting joint 10th and nine points clear of the bottom three.
The way in which West Ham have lost games this season, though, has led to Slaven Bilic’s future being questioned by fans and some corners of the media. Bilic had led the club to club record points haul in the Premier League last season and almost delivered a top four finish. Twelve months on and it’s a completely different story.
However, former West Ham man Paul Konchesky thinks the club must stand by Bilic beyond the current campaign.
Paul Konchesky, speaking exclusively to 888Sport, said: “I’d stick by Bilic.
“For me he is the best man for West Ham. He is us. Yes he has played players out of position and surely there must be enough players in that squad who can fill them but maybe he doesn’t trust them or they’re not good enough?
“So they need to rebuild the team but stick by him because he’s got good people around him. Get this season out of the way and if they can finish in the top half that would be a success for now.”
Bilic’s decision to play players out of position has been one of the mains reasons he has had his ability to lead this football club forward questioned, but he has had to deal with a number of other issues this season, most notably the move to London Stadium and the bad publicity that has come with.
Konchesky admitted that although he can understand why the club decided to make the move from the Boleyn Ground, he thinks it may prove to be too big a jump for the club.
“I’ve played for West Ham and I’m a West Ham fan and I can see why the owners thought the move was a good thing,” he said.
“If you want to compete with the big clubs you need a big stadium but possibly this was too big of a jump. It’s taking time to get used to for the players and with the atmosphere and that has taken its toll this year.”
Many fans have spent the season reminicising about the good times at the Boleyn Ground, and Konchesky is no different.
The left-back made 70 first team appearances for the club 2005 and 2007 and he spoke of what it was like to play at such an iconic ground.
“I loved it,” he admitted.
“You get goose-bumps playing at the Boleyn when that crowd are as vocal as they can be – especially in the derby games – it must have been so intimidating for the opponents. As a fan myself it was a massive boost hearing all the songs.”