Calamitous, catastrophic and several other ‘C’ words could best describe West Ham United’s season so far, in the eyes of fans and observers it seems almost inconceivable that such an expensively assembled squad of players could possibly be involved in a relegation dog fight. Indeed a couple of months in to the Barclays Premier League season Hammers were being tipped for European Cup qualification, the Champions League or at least the Europa Cup, there was a groundswell of opinion that the club’s incredibly unpopular owners were ‘penny pinching’ by not offering ex-manager Manuel Pellegrini an extension to his lucrative three year contract.
Unfortunately for the Hammers hierarchy it has not been in any way enjoyable to be able to say “I told you so”. Far from it, they tried to ‘go large’ by taking on Pellegrini and ended up being ‘caught short’, it isn’t as if they didn’t back the Chilean in the transfer market, it is just that his judgement, along with that of Mario husillos, deserted him due to the over reliance on ‘parachuted in’ family members when it came to the club’s recruitment and player acquisitions.
Having to go back cap in hand from one busted flush to another must have hurt all parties involved, Moyes having been unceremoniously dumped after saving the club from relegation in favour of the ‘exotic and successful’ Pellegrini, will have been seething to see the huge money expended on behalf of the club, he knew when taking up the reigns again that he would essentially have ‘bugger all’ to finance any of his potential acquisitions.
Somehow, by looking behind the sofa and emptying all their offsprings piggy banks, the club managed to find the money to pay for Jarred Bowen, that one bit of business could be West Ham United’s survival path marked out in the shape of the diminutive attacker from Hull City. Without his spark and enthusiasm the team are likely to be doomed to lower league football, in a stadium that seats 60,000 plus!
Much hope was pinned on a fit and firing to go on all cylinders Sebastian Haller for the rest of the season, indeed he looked fit and happy in the two friendlies against Palace and QPR, but as ever with high profile and expensive Hammers signings he has now picked up a hip injury with no actual date scheduled in for his return, very ominous.
It would have been better to have played Tottenham before the enforced break, they were beginning to rival the famous Hammers medical department’s capacity for dealing with long term injuries, sadly for the Irons Kane and Sun are back to their best and will doubtless be unleashed by ‘Sourpuss’ Mourinho. The only hope that David Moyes has to get anything out of this game is that the Tottenham manager insists on continuing with his use of older players rather than the batch of youth players who are knocking at his door for selection. Mourinho has always been a ‘safety first’ character, sometimes to the detriment to his youth players, whereas David Moyes mantra will be ‘safety at any cost’!
This strangest of all seasons might well go down to the wire, both for those in utmost fear of relegation and those mustering thoughts of European glory.
Author: Neville Nixon editor www.westhamfans.org