Reflecting on the season so far and what’s to come, it occurred to me that there are a few ‘must do’s’ for West Ham United.
It is also something to think about for the years ahead, as I can personally see a day when West Ham could become another Manchester City.
Who would have thought that City would become the team that they are now? They weren’t a lot different to us in many respects. They were often near the bottom of the old first division, they were relegated, but unlike the Hammers, they slipped out of the top two tiers and had to fight their way back up.
Unlike West Ham, they’ve had a succession of managers coming through the doors of both the old Maine Road and now the Etihad, but apart from a glorious late 60s era, they weren’t any better than us or many other teams.
Like City were, we are a team now just awaiting for the money from a billionaire or oil rich Saudi family to take over the reins as we move into a new stadium. Like Manchester City, our stadium is also publicly funded (to a degree) and we have that core fan support to make it worthwhile for someone.
Mega stadium, great support, London based, Premier League – all of the attributes are there, despite the protestations of there being no chance of a sale from the two Davids.
So, away from the pipe dream and back to reality, what should do’s and don’ts for West Ham moving forward?
West Ham must… Stick with Slaven Bilic. A top manager and honest with the fans.
West Ham must… Not rely on Payet and Lanzini, but implement a viable Plan B that can cope without them.
West Ham must… Keep developing the Academy.
West Ham must… Give the youth a chance to develop in the Premier League. Don’t let the talents of Oxford, Burke, etc. dwindle away or end up being sold on. They are gold dust.
West Ham must… Work together as a unit and not 11 individuals through this period that we remain without key players.
West Ham must… Buy a quality right back.
West Ham must… Sadly sell Carroll and buy the centre forward that fits the style we now play.
West Ham must… Navigate towards European qualification one step at a time. Maybe not this year, but certainly next. Europa League first and then Champions League. Get a feel for Europe properly.
West Ham must… Have a midfield enforcer that can also protect the likes of Payet from the ruthless tackles of less talented opposing players.
West Ham must… Sign Lanzini if he continues to play the way he is currently playing.
West Ham must… Make a major impact signing next summer. It will show our ambition and entice better players to the club.
West Ham must… Ensure that commercially, within their PR, with reference to the training facilities and the overall impression of the club to the outside world, that it is a proper, professionally run Premier League club with the scope to achieve more than we have ever done.
West Ham must… Never let any future investors leave us in the mess that the Icelandic investors left us in. Careful and proactive management required.
West Ham must… Not get carried away with the start to the season. In truth, we are a top 10 side and 8th is probably fair. We need to be realistic this season and remember that it is the first season for Bilic with a different style of football. For it all to gel and for the right players to be in synch with all that he wants to achieve will take time.
West Ham must… Always remember and honour our history and those that got us where we are now as we leave the Boleyn.
In truth, there are many more of these, but the aforementioned are a flavour of my own personal thoughts.
Each of us can add to that list and hope that our dreams will not fade and die. Time for fortunes to change.