I made the decision, after the last World Cup that I was going to go to the next one. I’ve always wanted to visit Brazil, so a few mates and myself will definitely be out there supporting England. However, after seeing the draw, I don’t fancy a trip into the jungle, so maybe I will give the first game a miss!
As for the draw itself, I’m sure, like most of you, my initial reaction was that we would do well to get out of that. However, once I took sometime to digest it, I’m actually fairly optimistic about our chances of qualifying.
We all know the qualities of Italy and Uruguay but with the right team selection, on our day, we can beat anyone.
Costa Rica are something of an unknown quantity but you’d imagine, if we can get a couple of draws against Italy and Uruguay and then beat Costa Rica, that will be enough to qualify.
Everyone involved with West Ham is putting all his or her hopes firmly on to Andy’s shoulders. But he won’t mind.
The big man has played on the international stage, so he knows how to deal with pressure and it won’t faze him. Once he enters the pitch, he will know what is expected and will deliver.
The pressure I worry about is the pressure Big Sam, the board and the club, as a whole, will put on Andy to come back. It is important that they don’t rush him, no matter how vital he is.
Nowadays, we have all the sport scientists and physiotherapists, so it is so important that the club listen to the advice from the medical staff, no matter how desperate we are for Andy to return.
We all know it has been a difficult few weeks and Big Sam doesn’t need me, or anyone, telling him things have got to change.
I thought the Fulham result was going to be the beginning of a turnaround but the Crystal Palace game was extremely poor, which meant it was important not to lose the Sunderland game.
We’ve got the busy Christmas period coming up and in amongst playing the likes of Arsenal, we must be looking at picking up points against West Brom and Fulham.
There’s no need to panic yet and there would be no reasoning behind sacking Sam.
We have to stand firm together.
January transfer window
Obviously, the whole world and his wife know that we are looking for strikers. I’ve seen the rumours linking us with Emmanuel Adebayor but I don’t want him anywhere near my club.
The one player I’d love the board to go out and bring in is former Hammer Jermain Defoe.
With Jermain you know what you’re getting, there would be no risk involved and he is a proven goalscorer. However, just signing Defoe wouldn’t be enough, we need numbers.
I’ve seen reports of Everton’s Nikica Jelavic coming to Upton Park and I would welcome that. We should also offer Carlton a new deal, I know he may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the Premier League is a long hard season and you need four strikers.
Maybe we should also look at getting someone like Manchester City’s Micah Richards in on loan to shore up the defence.
All I know is that we need three or four players in and I fully expect the powers that be to deliver.
I’ve played alongside a few good’uns: Alvin Martin and Julian Dicks at West Ham, Kevin Ratcliffe and Dave Watson during my time with Everton. However, and this will come as no surprise to all you Hammers, the best captain for me, without a doubt, was Billy Bonds.
I know I don’t need to explain to any West Ham fan why I’ve chosen ‘Bonzo’. Billy was a leader in every sense of the word.
Anyway, that wraps up my last column of 2013! Hope you all have a very merry Christmas and I will see you in the New Year!
Tony Cottee was talking to Forever West Ham’s Editor
Tony’s book ‘West Ham: The Inside Story’ is out NOW and you can order a SIGNED copy from www.ex-hammers.com
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, foreverwestham.com