After the 5-1 thrashing of Blackburn on Sunday we move into the FA Cup quarter finals to face Man United at Old Trafford. This time last year, at the same stage in the competition, we lost 4-0 to West Brom!
How times change…
I think it shows how far we have come as a club when we don’t fear a trip to Old Trafford. Normally you would write us off straight away and say ‘oh well we’ve had a good run’ but not this year, not with this squad and staff.
We can match any team on our day. With Lanzini, Reid and Sakho to come back into the squad, we have every chance to progress to the semi-finals.
I don’t want to bring up the old Allardyce debate, but how refreshing has Bilic been? Bilic was my first choice to take the job and he has even surprised me by how good he is.
He clearly loves the club and he actually feels honoured to be here. Bilic has a great connection with the fans and everyone at the club is ‘United’.
It’s completely different to the last couple of years we had under Allardyce – fans against manager, manager against fans, owners against manager, etc.
I think Slaven has barely had any credit from the media.
Remember at the time we parted ways with Allardyce, we were constantly told by media and pundits that it is a massive risk and we were going to get relegated?
‘Be careful what you wish for’ – Where are they now?
Bilic and the board deserve massive credit for this season. We are seventh in the league, above Liverpool and Chelsea and just one point behind 5th placed Man United, largely thanks to wins against Arsenal, Liverpool (three times!), Chelsea and Man City.
I’m so glad we took that ‘risk’.
The board have backed Bilic with funds. They know what we needed and put their money where their mouth is. The club was crying out for pace and creativity, so they signed Payet, Antonio, Lanzini and Moses to replace Jarvis, Nolan and Downing. Brilliant business.
They also brought in a very intelligent manager who knows the club and knows what the fans expect.
I couldn’t write something about West Ham without mentioning Dimitri Payet. What a player. Probably the best I have seen in a West Ham shirt, just edging Tevez and Di Canio (big statement I know!). I still can’t quite believe he’s a Hammer.
Even when he has an average game, like he did against Norwich, he scored and got an assist, which is the sign of a top class player. I also love the relationship he has with the fans, it looks like he is really grateful for the support. I was at the Liverpool game when he returned from injury and I’ve never heard a noise like that.
I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t get the ‘We’ve got Payet’ song out of my head!
Looking on to Saturday and we ‘welcome’ Sunderland and ‘you know who!’ to the Boleyn. It’s really good chance for us to climb above Man United in the league, who face Arsenal on Sunday.
The starting line-up I’d like to see is: Adrian, Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Antonio, Payet, Lanzini, Emenike.
This is the most excited I have been as a West Ham fan, for the first time since I have been a fan I go into every game thinking we can get a result, and it feels strange!