I know staying in the Premier League is the main target for Fat Sam, but there is a balance to be had between getting the points anyway you can and playing decent football.
Through the years we have all seen us play the “West Ham way”, playing beautiful one touch, free flowing football that has had us drooling but so often, the end result was another lose and a season of fighting relegation.
Sometimes we escaped by the skin of our teeth but other years we went down, to be followed by another year of trying to get back where we all believed our silky skills belonged, in the top division.
After the great run of four wins in February, plus the away draw at Chelsea at the end of January (which seemed like a win to me), March has seen normal service resumed. We could all say we were robbed by dodgy refereeing decisions at Stoke before losing 3-1 but, over the course of a season, the decisions equal out.
The home game with Manchester United was there for the taking. They are having a nightmare season by their normal high standard and after a mid-week European game they should have been more tired than us. So picking up no points from them left us only a few points above the relegation fight.
So a home night game under the floodlight against a team sitting just above us was the chance for the manager and team to show us what they’re all about. Spending around fifty pounds to watch us struggle to even put two passes together was as bad as it has been in the first half. Especially as they had their goalkeeper sent off for a foul that lead to us scoring from the penalty spot. When the team went off at half-time, leading 1-0, the boos rained down from the stands.
The second-half was another pitiful display, which saw Hull equalise with a deflected goal and for us to get the winner via an own goal. I watched the second half live with no sound on my television feed and I bet Fat Sam wished he had the same option, as when the game ended the boos came loud again. So what did he do? He cupped his hand to his ear and tried to take the piss out of the paying customers. Does the man have no shame?
Over the last three seasons he has chosen what players he wants to bring in to play his style of football and pick up his mega wages. He is the thirteenth highest paid manager in the football world! He has built his castle and now it seems to him that no one can knock it down. In his post-game interview, he went on about having to lift the players up at half-time because they never liked being booed off after forty five minutes.
Well if they had shown any ideas or effort, then no one would have booed. Then he carried on in his interview by saying in all his time in football, he had never heard the fans being so negative after a win. It is perhaps time he looked at himself, his style of play and the fitness levels of our overpaid players. Some, mentioning no names, are not even capable of running for more than thirty yards at a time before walking around.
This season has not been pretty by any means, I had big hopes for the new campaign with the quality signings we made in the close season but that all went out the window when it was revealed that Andy Carroll would be out for a “few weeks” at the start of the season. The entire team was built around having the big man being the lone striker with his close mate Kevin Nolan feeding off his knock downs and flick ons.
Still the modern game is played with a squad as opposed to a team and surely if we had a decent replacement that could take on our main striker role and fit in to a system that had been taught to them by our manager, everything would work like clockwork.
The answer was that we were and still are lacking a decent second forward. Sorry but, Carlton Cole is not the answer, even if you score goals when Carroll is injured or suspended. And with us relying on a system were only one player plays as the man up front, and if Andy Carroll is healthy and fit, we will not attract any decent strikers who will just have to sit on the bench waiting for his chance to come.
Football has moved on from the time I first started going to West Ham. The terracing is a thing of the past. How the old Chicken Run never caught fire, I will never know. I can still see the old structure with piles of old newspaper under the wooden steps if I close my eyes.
The atmosphere has changed with the introduction of all seated stadium, no swaying crowds, and no surges from the back to the front when a goal was scored. We now have access to so many live games from all over the world. I can go to a pub 5,500 miles away with mates from Plaistow and America and watch my team live.
But is it better? Where has my West Ham gone?