A pretty dismal season – we’re all aware. I’ve been given the task to find five positives.
1. Most definitely the biggest positive we can take out of this season, is that the primary objective of remaining in the Premier League as successfully completed. Everybody connected to West Ham would have been looking higher than survival at the beginning of the season, but after a rough ride during the early part of the season, it soon became the minimum expectation. It was fulfilled – job done.
2. Perhaps an unexciting positive of the season is the good defensive record, of course no means the best in the league, but with 51 goals conceded (same as Tottenham Hotspur and one more than Liverpool) it has been a decent spell at the back considering the amount of different defenders who have played, and the lack of a consistent back four. The Hammers were behind only Manchester City in the clean-sheets-in-a-row table and joint sixth in the total amount.
3. Who can forget February? The fabulous month of February. The Hammers went on their best run of the season after holding Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in final game of January. West Ham defeated Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich City and Southampton, making February a wonderful month for West Ham fans and picking up a vital nine points from fellow relegation battlers.
4. The fourth positive that I have chosen will not seem like a positive to many. However, I believe that our co-Chairmen’s decision to stand by Sam Allardyce through a time when every other surrounding club had ditched one (or in one case two) managers. A brave decision which ultimately paid off, as Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff City all went down under managers with no previous managing experience in the Premier League.
5. As for a fifth positive, I am hard pushed. I will look to Mark Noble – Hammer of the Year for the second time. In an unsuccessful season with very little ‘bright stars’, Mark’s passion and ever-present effort really shone through and he was reward with the supporters’ and players’ accolades.