I knew when I saw the friendlies approaching that inevitably some fans will take the match as serious as a competitive fixture. However, some of the fans being so angry at being 2-0 down in the first pre-season game against Stevenage was excusable.
I’m fully aware that no friendly is about the result, however, it is rather disappointing to start pre-season on the back foot and to be two goals down to a League Two side who have had as much pre-season preparation as us.
Many were criticising Big Sam (yes already), although it doesn’t take much. Adrian came under some stick also after having a “shocker”. Proving that even a fan favourite can’t get away with a blunder in a pre-season friendly.
In my opinion nobody deserves criticism this early on but to say I wasn’t disappointed to be behind after hoping for a comfortable win would be lying. Two late goals from Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing saved anymore criticism from the West Ham “faithful”.
Everyone will be hoping for a few comfortable victories in the coming matches, but it must be remembered by all, that apart from confidence, a win in a friendly is pretty worthless. Previous pre-seasons show that West Ham’s fortunes don’t necessarily rub off on the competitive season. Under Avram Grant, West Ham went unbeaten throughout pre-season and one of the most dire campaigns in The Hammers’ history was to follow.
By no means was Saturday’s opener a perfect start, but does it really matter? Fitness and match sharpness will certainly improve. The new players integrate better and the team as a whole will build a stronger team cohesion. It mustn’t be forgotten that West Ham were without Mauro Zarate, Andy Carroll, and Carlton Cole. The Hammers also fielded “weakened” sides for both halves suggesting that perhaps little can be taken from this opening friendly in terms of performance and that it was quite literally a “run-a-bout”.
Although I was disappointed for a short while, I’m certainly taking this match with a pinch of salt. We were all eager to see West Ham play again, but let’s not kid ourselves, there’s work to be done.