Look at how quickly a year moves. This time last year, West Ham fans feared for their Premier League lives. Andy Carroll was still a disappointed Liverpool player; many fans were unconvinced about the lack of quality at the back. There were doubts were cast over the ability of Jussi Jaaskelainen having spent a year on the bench at Bolton Wanderers. Optimism was fairly low, and we considered 17th place to be a success. The reality of it was very different and we went on to finish tenth. As long as we aren’t complacent, there is no reason why we can’t equal or improve on that. This means that for once, especially with the move to Stratford on the horizon, optimism is high.
The rise of Matt Jarvis is another thing for us to be excited by. Matt Jarvis at times was very isolated on the pitch, and there was some confusion of why we paid as much as we did for Jarvis. He failed to pick up an assist, and scored just twice. However his performances were sound. His quality of final ball is exquisite and his work rate is very good. With a year at Upton Park under his belt he has all the chance in the world of going on to become a key player next year. The new season is Matt Jarvis’ for the taking, especially with a settled Andy Carroll to feed.
The season’s biggest question could lie around our ability to be successful in a domestic cup competition. The draw has been made for our first cup match and we face Cheltenham Town. At home this is definitely a fixture we should be seriously looking to pass through in. last season we faced two tough draws. Wigan Athletic won at Upton Park in the League Cup, yet our priority that night was league survival. Then we faced Manchester United in the F.A Cup and if wasn’t for a typical Ferguson extra time equalizer, West Ham would have claimed a major scalp. This year, with a fairer draw, a cup run could be on the horizon. We are perfectly set for a cup run. Look at Swansea. They set themselves up with a great first year, a good couple of signings and they made their way to the League Cup.
Another reason to be positive, and optimistic is because of the pre-season form of Ravel Morrison. Morrison has been an unknown quantity because of his past. It is well known that his strokes with club discipline have been too close for comfort, which even led to rumours that his contract had been terminated 12 months ago. Now the situation is totally different. He is bright, positive talented force in the midfield and looks to become a key part of the squad this year. David Gold claimed to have seen shades of Brooking in Morrison, and being far too young to have ever seen Trevor Brooking even in a football kit, I’ll take his word for it.