West Ham United, forever on the road to nowhere!

Author: . Published: at 4:44pm

Written by @jasoninge

Well, Friday Night Football couldn’t have gone any worse, could it! I went into the game feeling very optimistic with the front four of Hernandez, Arnautovic, Lanzini and Antonio finally available to set alight our season. However, in traditional West Ham style, we were left being royally turned over by an awful Brighton side. Frankly, it was a toothless, embarrassing performance by every single player that stepped out at the stadium that was supposed to be the catalyst for our great club to progress to the next level and compete with the big boys. However, although we were promised the world, ultimately nothing has changed, we’re still the same old West Ham, a club that has so much potential but ultimately disappoints.

I’ve reflected a lot over the weekend since the bad defeat about why this club finds itself in an all too familiar situation, where we are struggling and the reasons for this, which I see as three fold. Like a lot the fans I had brought into this dream of West Ham becoming an elite club, competing in Europe on a regular basis and as a result only saw moving to the London Stadium as a necessary means. However, it has now become apparent to me that we do not have the ingredients across the board to go to the next level.

Firstly, we have an average group of players that are simply nowhere near the standard of the top six teams. We are littered with overhyped players that individually and collectively make mistakes on a consistent basis that cost us results. We have a distinct lack of creative/technically gifted players bar Lanzini, who for the record is the only player we have that is good enough to get in a top side, so the chances of actually competing with the big boys now are frankly impossible. In all honesty, we are no better than the any of the clubs that are competing to be the best of the rest and therefore poor performances/results against poor teams is something that has been consistent throughout our history and will continue to plague our future. It’s also been a suggested that we are no longer a selling club, but in reality, Premier League Clubs aren’t lining up to take our talent away. Again that proves we’re nowhere near a top six side.

Secondly, the manager isn’t at an elite level. Now everyone who has seen my previous articles will know I back Slaven to the hilt and I will never turn on a manager, as I believe you support them as long as they’re the man in charge. However, Slaven Bilic has proven in the last two seasons that he’s unable to take this club any further than a mid-table team and consequently finds himself in a virtually impossible situation to stay on as the manager past the current season. Furthermore, there is too much noise in the media and it’s apparent that the owners are looking at replacements. It mirrors the exact same scenario that Sam Allardyce found himself in during his last season. Obviously a lot of fans feel the need to make a managerial change now believing Slaven Bilic is the sole reason for our current blight and that the endless list of managers linked as replacements would all turn this around and have the capabilities to take this club forward to new heights. I completely disagree with this. We are West Ham United, and we are not capable of attracting an elite level manager, like Carlo Ancelotti to take us over.  Also, I feel that sacking Slaven now would merely be a short-term fix, and although would likely see an immediate resurgent in form and results this season, our history would show that it will be short lived before it ultimately goes wrong for said manager a year or two down the line, with fans calling for that person to be sacked. The reality is we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of hopes of achieving something followed by the despair of underachieving.

Thirdly, the owners do not and will never have the finances needed to progress this club to the next level. We have a stadium that although isn’t everyone’s cup of tea is something that should have been a catalyst for better things for the club. However the current regime is wasting it and in all honesty continuing to fail with a list of promises that really shouldn’t have been hard to deliver. We are left talking about them failing to deliver a claret turf around the pitch with the current green one being a hindrance to the players because it costs too much money. We are left playing at a stadium with no naming rights because they are unable to seal the big deals like Man City and Arsenal have. All these issues show their shortcomings and exactly why they are incapable of progressing this club any further forward. However, the most damning point is the distinct lack of funds in the transfer market to buy the much better players needed. I’m not disputing they were able to get the majority of the managers’ targets this year, but it’s simply not enough to make us a better club. You only have to look at our two record signings in the last two years. We’ve brought the two best players at Swansea and Stoke at the time, who like us are average teams in the hope they can replicate their good form with us, which neither have because average players are inconsistent. The club needs to be finding gems like Man City did when they were progressing forward to becoming an elite club, with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany, but every world class player the owners have attempted to sign, they have failed to do so, due to not having the finances required to buy those players. You can’t expect progression if you can’t spend big in this league!

So where do we go from here? Well, in all honesty, we have to just get on with things. We are in a position where we have been many times over the years. Yes, we had hoped to never be in and around the relegation zone anymore, but we do have the capabilities of fighting our way out of this mess. It’s not a situation where we have lost six games on the spin and are ten points adrift. There is plenty of time to achieve a mid-table finish, which is still our level and something that this manager and this group of players were able to achieve last season after a poor start. History shows the owners don’t sack managers and honour contracts, whether you agree or not, we have to accept that. Long term though it is imperative that we are taken over by someone with the financial pedigree, which will lead to a top class manager being appointed and a better squad being assembled that can finally challenge the top six.  If that doesn’t happen, we will continue down this road to nowhere with the pack likely to be shuffled in the summer once again and the merry-go-around of joy followed by misery will go on.

 

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  • 23rd October 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I would totally agree with most of the points made, though I would take issue with the continuing support for Slaven insofar as on the face of it, his tactical acumen seems to have deserted him. The performances on the pitch smack of a chronic lack of a cohesive plan which in turn leaves the players wondering what their individual roles are. The result is a car crash, the likes of which we witnessed against Brighton. In terms of the (current) owners moving with any degree of purpose to correct this, I think we are living in cloud-cuckoo land if we harbour any expectation that anything is likely to happen. Gold, Sullivan and Brady had and have a business plan. It is everything to do with maximising revenue and nothing to do with improving the lot of a football team – they are supporters like I am an astronaut. In that respect they have been very successful. The acquisition of West Ham United was all about real estate. My spies tell me that the disposal of Upton Park (in my 55 years of supporting the club I have never called it the Boleyn Ground) was effectively sealed shortly after acquisition (so we are talking 2010ish) when the share options in the ground were sold, with completion contingent on securing the tenancy of the Olympic Stadium. Thus, going through the sham of asking the fans with the premise that the move was needed to secure a move to the “next level” was just that, a sham. My only surprise is that they have not been more forthright in their efforts to attract interest from potential buyers. The value of the club can only decline and if Championship football moves from possible to probably in the coming weeks, then the pace of that decline could be very scary indeed.