He deserves to keep his place, but he won’t.
Darren Randolph was clearly no one’s favourite choice ahead of the Bournemouth game, once Adrian lost his red card appeal.
All we heard about from the media was how many goals he’d shipped in against the Cherries in the past, and particularly at Birmingham when the side from the South Coast put eight past a hapless Brum defence last season.
All sight was lost that he was one of the best Championship keepers and not only that, but an international as well. About the same time, there seemed to be a mild panic about our goalkeeping situation.
There were rumours before the 4-3 defeat that West Ham were about to re-sign former goalie favourite, Rob Green. The QPR stopper even hinted through social media that it was virtually a done deal and it probably would have been had his wage demands had been lower.
However, Green, now suspended after being sent off last weekend, didn’t join the Hammers and Bilic put his faith in the 28-year-old Randolph. A faith that many felt, despite the four goals, was well founded.
Indeed, without some very good saves, West Ham’s blushes could have been worse. The mistakes in our defence that afternoon were made by others and were not Randolph’s fault. He actually kept us within touching distance of at least snatching a point.
His performances in Europe may have been shaky, but then when you go somewhere new and you’re unsure and finding your feet, nerves and anxiety play their part.
You have to remember that he moved to a Premier League side and wanted to prove himself, and I guess he would have been as nervous as any of us would have been. This keeper has experience, albeit in lower divisions and in Scotland with Motherwell.
The game at Liverpool and the match against Newcastle have helped his confidence no end, though. Steady performances behind a steady defence and a very good save from Janmaat against Newcastle on Monday night will only help him to feel at home.
His situation is not unlike that from the past. I know I mention the past in just about every article I write, but that’s what you get for being old!
However, think of Bobby Ferguson as reserve for Mervyn Day, and then in the 80s with Tom McAllister, who stood in for Phil Parkes. Both able keepers, but always destined to be the second choice.
And so it is with Randolph. Once Adrian has served his suspension, Bilic will put him straight back in. Or will he? Bilic hasn’t brought Jenkinson straight back in, has he? He’s left Tomkins at right back, and a great job he is doing. Maybe, just maybe, Randolph will get a longer run in the team.
When all is said and done, Randolph has actually done himself proud and earned some brownie points. The media and the fans have stopped pointing the finger and what’s more, it doesn’t seem as though we needed Rob Green after all, proving Bilic was right.
Randolph has a way to go before he is thought of as a West Ham favourite and in reality is behind Adrian in the pecking order, but the Hammers might just have decent back up now.