The West Ham United soap opera

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James TomkinsIf you read anything about West Ham that relates to the present situation, chances are there is going to be very little positivity attached to it. Unfortunately, I’m also struggling to find anything to smile about either.

In a nutshell, this season has ben a disaster and an embarrassment. Whilst over the border to the west, ex-Hammers centre back Malky Mackay has been sacked by a deluded chairman. In Humberside fans are up in arms about the possibility of a team name change that in their owner’s view would make them a more bankable and attractive franchise, our very own debacle in East London is falling under the media spotlight. This may or may not be a good thing.

Obviously the last thing we all want is for the club we love to be an embarrassment. The less attention drawn to this is a bonus. But from the summer transfer window and splashing £16m on the injured Andy Carroll, suggested that we were still surfing on the overachieving wave of success from last season, believing we could rely on the side that produced miracles, and some great performances along the way.

The additions of Razvan Rat, Adrian and Stewart Downing were also bought in, and despite the huge outlay on Andy Carroll, we were already looking light up front. With goals hard to come by, and only eight in the Premier League up to the end of October, Sam Allardyce felt it necessary to give a trial to, and then eventually sign, Carlton Cole.

Cole had left us in the summer when he couldn’t agree a contact, and when he couldn’t find a new club, we went back to him, tail between our legs and caps in our hands, wanting him to come back. Firstly, Sam obviously didn’t rate Cole highly to want to keep him when his contract expired in the summer, but when his signings of Carroll and Mladen Petric (yes we still have him!) aren’t fit enough to play, he has to go back to a player he DIDN’T sign in the first place, or have the confidence in to want to originally keep. Secondly, with the misfiring ‘striker’ Modibo Maiga not getting close to looking like a Premier League standard player, we now have a player, that couldn’t find a club in the summer, leading our line.

Then there was Tottenham Hotspur. We beat them twice, with our first win being the most impressive and unexpected, a 3-0 victory in the league at White Hart Lane.

Afterwards, Twitter, Facebook and forums across the world wide web were lit up, praising Big Sam for his forward, revolutionary thinking of playing a 4-6-0 formation. As clever and successful a tactic as it was, this immediately became our ‘Plan A.’ Seeing our performance and our new tactics though, alerted all Premier League managers. ‘Plan A’ was thwarted by the opposition, and with Sam seemingly not having a ‘Plan B’, we were back to square one and our next, and most recent league victory, was on November 30th against a struggling and depleted Fulham. A defeat just days later against Crystal Palace, showed there was neither a corner turned, nor a masterstroke made.

Finally, there’s the players behaviour and their responsibility to the fans. First, there was Kevin Nolan. The West Ham United captain who conserves his energy on the pitch by not running or tracking back so he can score vital league goals for us, something I don’t believe he has done for us since the first game of the season.

Nolan, came out in the media before the festive period started and stated that as our players hadn’t performed on the pitch, they didn’t deserve a Christmas party. Fair point, but I have a few issues with this. A) Is it really important or necessary to come out and tell the media? Instead of saying they won’t be having a Christmas party, should he just not just recognise that the fans are disgruntled and try to give it a positive spin, saying they will put in extra training and work to the best of their efforts in every remaining game? B) Also, if he is trying to say the players don’t deserve it and they need to set a better example, then surely getting sent off for a petulant challenge against Liverpool is not the way to start doing this. C) Lastly, the news that a Christmas party has been cancelled, would only embarrass the club further, if our players decide to then go out on their own accord and do something that could alert the media to bad behaviour. This brings me on to James Tomkins.

At a time we’re struggling in the league, and on the back of an embarrassing and seemingly lazy performance against an average Manchester United side, we do not want to hear that any of our players have gone out straight after the game and got arrested. Drunk and disorderly would have been bad enough, but allegedly resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, only make things worse.

Yes this has happened in the past with Trevor Sinclair, Neil Ruddock, Hayden Foxe and Andy Carroll, the latter only last year, but when you are struggling for points and looking at the teams below you, fans expect all players to be focussed on their game. Tomkins alleged behaviour is a disgrace.

As touched upon above, Mr Carroll made an error of judgment last season on the club’s Christmas party, however, it would appear almost impossible to embarrass yourself. That unless of course you post a photo of yourself on Twitter, long hair down, arms outstretched and with a full beard, using the phrase, ‘Jesus Christ..Just seen my twin in the ice bath!’ Though obviously meant as tongue-in-cheek, this could spectacularly backfire. A bad season thus far with nobody regularly scoring for the club, the media have picked up on the messiah-esque picture and described his impending return from injury as ‘the saviour’ and ‘the second coming.’ The pressure Andy has further added to himself is massive. Him failing to do so could make him a laughing stock due to his ill-advised posting of a selfie.

But there you go, West Ham wouldn’t be West Ham without it being a soap opera. Sam may stay and be given a fortune in January, resulting in the club being saved from relegation and all being forgiven. As it stands we’re in trouble, but then last season Newcastle United flirted with relegation after overachieving the season before. If there are two things you can comfortably predict about West Ham, it’s that most season’s will be unpredictable, and despite audible grumblings, our fans are loyal to the end.

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  • John says:

    A well written piece. Let’s hope Sam spends the money wisely in January.

  • JB says:

    If West Ham can’t get just 7 wins & a handfull of draws from the next 20 games then they don’t bloody well deserve to be in this league. That even allows for up to 8 losses to survive, so just relax because it’s up to them. It’s not our problem!

  • Michael says:

    Aren’t there any players on Mark Curtis’ books that BFS could sign?

    Y’know, keep it in the Family like!

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