The football played last season was dire to say the least.
Others might use even stronger abusive words to describe the style of football produced, but the above just about sums it up for. Now after a fans’ poll, the addition of Teddy Sherrington as the attacking mastermind and the owners insisting the team must play most attractive football, what happens if things don’t go as planned?
How long should we continue to head down a dark and never ending tunnel of alien football to older fans like myself?
Looking back on last season, it was another year of ‘Sam style football’ and I believe we should have said goodbye to him and his one way of playing football at the final whistle of last season. Ok, we may have had to pay him off with a multi-million pound handshake, but we would have then had pre-season to get a new manager in and buy players that he would see as fitting into his way off playing.
Hopefully the new manager would have the same hopes of our Chairmen and all the fans, similar ideas on playing the kind of football we were once famous for. The pre-season friendlies would have been the time for the new manager and the backroom team he would bring with him to get the team to adopt to his way of playing and the new manager would have had the chance to see who would fit into his preferred style.
Now we head into the new season with the addition of several new players, most of whom no one has ever seen live but only heard about after we were interested in them. Who can admit they had heard of Enner Valencia during last season? Or even knew what nationality he was?
Now we have paid £12million for him with the hope that he might be one of the missing links in providing the football we all want to see. We also paid £7m to Anderlecht for Cheikhou Kouyate who, again, wasn’t known to many people in England before he arrived. Hopefully both these players stay healthy and produce the exciting football we expect from the team, but both players were brought in on Sam’s recommendation, to play in his system.
The fixture list has been very kind to us and we should have a very good August. I expect two wins and a draw from our first three games. September will be harder with games against Liverpool and Man. United and a tricky trip to Hull but September is again an easy month. So the points will come and slowly build to the magic number of 40 for survival but will the football be pretty. I don’t expect it to be. This is Sam’s team and will play his way. He has done things his way since he was appointed manager and done the job he was employed to do, no matter what the fans wanted.
Today’s football is all about money and that means being in the Premier League. The only two people who can get rid of the manager are the two chairmen. It is the two of them that have put their money on the line and financed the past few seasons. David Gold probably is more in tune with what West Ham is all about, having grown up living on Green Street. David Sullivan as the majority owner and probably has more influence than Mr. Gold.
But they are businessmen first and football owners second. Both must be concerned about the fans reactions to the present manager. Only the two of them will make the final decision when enough is enough. Hopefully the team performs like we, the fans, expect (don’t hold your breath) or the two Davids finally have the balls to get rid of the problem.
But the longer they wait before acting, the deeper hole we will find ourselves in.
A side issue, which is related with keeping the present manager and his style of football, is season ticket re-newal. How many fans decided that they just weren’t enjoying what they were paying hard earned cash for last year and decided not to re-new their season ticket?
If we had changed manager in the close season, maybe those supporters would have made the commitment to keeping their season tickets for our last year at Upton Park.