FIVE things all West Ham fans would like to see next season

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Andy Carroll (West Ham)Us Hammers have not had much to cheer about in the past 12 months or so, and the upcoming season, I hope, will be one that sees us progress and provides us with real reason for optimism. It cannot be denied that at any given point last season, our league form and position was ‘stable’ at best, and at times was bordering on vulnerable. Come August, and the months that follow, there is certainly a few things that I, and many other Hammers, would like to see take place at the Boleyn Ground to ensure a positive atmosphere on matchdays something, that for me, sadly became somewhat a distant memory at times last year.

1) Reverting to a more traditional, 4-4-2 setup:

Sam Allardyce’s preferred ‘4-3-3/4-5-1’ formation has certainly achieved mixed success in the past couple of seasons. The decision to play with a lone striker and two wide men proved efficient in our first campaign back in England’s top flight, as we achieved an impressive 10th place finish. This past season, however, has seen our attacking options become somewhat limited due to this system, and it could be said we have been ‘found out’ and have become largely predictable when going forward. If anything, it seems as if the permanent purchase of Andy Carroll has given Sam an excuse to implement this system with the Englishman acting as a target man, something he clearly isn’t effective acting as. This coming season, I would at least like to see the boss opt to start with two men up top to complement each other, and, in doing so, he would certainly give us an increased attacking threat and ensure we are less predictable.

2) Development of youth into the First Team:

The past couple of years have seen Sam Allardyce face much criticism for his lack of developing youth team players into first team players, criticism that is particularly worrying for a club to claim to be the ‘Academy of Football’. In the manager’s defence, their performances against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last season were woeful at best, and did not show anything to justify a challenge for a first team place. Despite this, however, a club that has brought through the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Jermain Defoe undoubtedly must focus more on the youth rather than just claiming they are simply ‘not good enough’. If they are supposedly not good enough, then we must do more to make them good enough – Youngster Dan Potts’ signing of a new contract bodes well for the future, aswell as striker Elliot Lee who has been showing great promise in the Development squad for the past couple of seasons. Supporters love nothing more than a homegrown lad being thrown into first team action, and I believe, Lee in particular, should be exposed to this and will improve drasticall  with an increased amount of first team football.

3) Nolan to be replaced and Noble to be made club captain:

Kevin Nolan’s seemingly guaranteed place within the West Ham midfield frustrated many supporters throughout last season, particularly with the emergence of Ravel Morrison who, for one reason or another, was astonishingly unable to take Nolan’s place. Personally, despite thinking his time is up at the Boleyn Ground, I must say that Kevin’s contribution since signing three-years ago has been excellent and without his goals, Championship football could have been a real possibility once again, come August. Despite this, however, my main problem with Kevin Nolan is that when he isn’t scoring goals, he offers relatively little to the side. Irresponsible red cards this season have cost us dearly on numerous occasions, and on the whole the midfielder has looked far too lacklustre in the past 12 months. In Nolan’s absence, Mark Noble did a seemingly great job stepping in as club captain and picked up a few wins in the process –  I am astounded that Mark has not been given the captaincy yet and would be very happy if he were to claim it this coming season.

4) Improved away form:

Much emphasis nowadays is placed on the importance of clubs’ away form in their success, but West Ham’s dismal four away wins out of 19 last season is a statistic that must be addressed if we are to progress this season. Our home form was marginally better, with the Hammers picking up seven wins out of a possible 19, but it cannot be denied that if we were to manage to even out our home and away wins we would be significantly better off and much higher up the Premier League table come the end of the season. Therefore, I would like to see the squad pick up some more points on their travels in the upcoming campaign and become less reliant on our home form in ensuring our Premier League safety.

5) Allardyce to get the fans, and positive atmosphere back:

I can genuinely say that, at times, I much preferred the prospect of the likes of Blackpool at home in the Championship than games last season. The past couple of years have undoubtedly brought out the worst out in us Hammers, with much criticism and fingers being pointed at the manager, players and the board, which has ultimately resulted in the most negative atmosphere at the Boleyn that I can remember in recent years. At times last year, it got to the point where I almost began dreading matchdays as I knew a depressing journey home would meet me come the final whistle. This coming season I, like every other supporter, would like to see a more open, attacking, free-flowing style of football – something to get us excited and on the edge of our seats again.

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1 comment

  • JD says:

    Don’t really agree with much of this… I’ve always preferred 4-5-1/4-3-3 over 4-4-2. I want to see more attacking football but don’t think the answer is simple changing formation. Obtaining the likes of Zarate will allow to to play a more attacking winger/inside forward.

    Don’t think the youth players are good enough currently, if they were they would be playing.

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