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Enjoy the ride

Filed: Sunday, 8th July 2007
By: Tross

Well with Blackpool opening the Infusion, Camelot opening the Knightmare, and Alton Towers for some time leading the pack with The Oblivion, it was always going to take something special to present a rollercoaster ride that had enough thrills and spills to take the crown in 2006/07.

Step up Messrs Aldridge, Brown, Pardew and Joorabchian (I wonder if there is a ride called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). Throw in the Baby Bentley massive, a couple of Argies, a useless gambler, an alcoholic, a junkie, a leather-tanned playboy and the great pretender lying out on the right wing and you had all the ingredients for a Sky One soap opera, never mind the 2006/07 season in the Premiership.

As the rollercoaster plummeted further post the Palermo “Square of Fire”, who would have thought that an egg and a packet of biscuits from Iceland paired with a West Ham old boy would provide the loop and climb to launch us into euphoric dimensions normally reserved for science fiction films.

To predict the late entrance of a couple of northern weasels and an Egyptian dummy was impossible..! Throw in a Nobleman and it’s almost a fairytale... throw in a bit of Green here and there and everybody’s smiling... but seriously, what a ride.

I cannot remember the last time being a West Ham fan was so exciting, I also never remember being so tired at the end of the season. I wonder if the other half and the kids are finally taking their toll.

Perhaps as we look at the forthcoming 2007/08 campaign we should realign our expectations somewhat. Was it really only a year ago that we naively convinced ourselves that we would conquer Europe and finish fifth in the League? Have we learned nothing post the aftermath of Cardiff and last term's fiascos?

Granted - the core of the bad apple that was rotting away, the West Ham barrel, has been mercilessly cut away by the new regime.

Arguably the worst attitude worn by any captain in a West Ham shirt ever has now left the club that launched his career into the limelight. One could go into detail that with the same pompous manner and arrogance which had become his trademark, Nigel Reo-Coker found it impossible to maintain any dignity or demonstrate any respect to the employer that has made him a millionaire over the last three years.

Some people might think that his failed attempt at charm and etiquette projected an image closer to that of the comedian Harry Enfield’s adolescent teenage character Kevin Patterson than the idol of Roy Keane to which he so often refers (and who was of course notable in his absence where bids for Reo-Coker were concerned). But being a proud Hammer, I wouldn’t stoop that low, as I prefer to keep my opinions to myself on such matters. I could go on for hours, but I won’t (see what I did there Nigel?)

With Teddy the Playboy at CUFC next term, Mears going permanently to Derby, Konchesky, Harewood and Etherington on the brink of cheriosville, our drink-a-lot keeper jogged on, and the fork-tongued Israeli bound for Scouserland, the barrel has been well and truly shaken up.

It appears the first criteria on our new manager's shopping list for players is fire in the belly, bought about by having something to prove. This, paired with a disdain for primadonnas is the foundation upon which the new West Ham United will be built, so it seems.

Scott Parker - a player who has seen his career blow cold over the last few seasons after being much hyped at Charlton and Chelsea. An intelligent and experienced player, who wants to win things. Many points to prove there, it seems.

Julien Faubert - on the fringe of the French national team, pacy, aggressive and passionate enough to go on strike to fulfil his dreams.

Richard Wright - another player who was tipped for great things, and like Parker, has seen his dreams fade. Here as a number two, but Curbs has already demonstrated that he picks the man in form so he has it all to play for here.

With the Bellamy deal seemingly imminent we will have another firestarter in the ranks, yet Bellamy knows that he will achieve little on the international stage and with that aggressive streak channelled, we have a potential superstar on our hands.

When you observe Curbishley’s signings a little closer, you couldn’t be faulted for thinking that he is putting the “Iron” back into this squad. Players like Neill, Upson, Noble, Boa-Morte, Bellamy, Collins and Parker are not noted for being lightweights or shying out of a challenge or two. From what footage I’ve seen, Faubert seems to be from the same mould. With the Bowyers, Quashies and Gabbidons waiting in the wings, one thing is for sure - West Ham will be up to the physical side of the challenge during the next campaign.

As for us supporters, a little realism regarding the Tevez situation is probably overdue. If the Apache stays, it would be truly wonderful for another season. If he does not, then it will be for our reasons and not for his or Kia's.

But in the meantime, we are entering a new phase of the transitional process. Foundations are being laid for future seasons of greatness at this club and it is essential that us, the fans, buy into what is being done.

This is not Leeds under Ridsdale. This is not a one season wonder like Jack Walker's Blackburn were.

For the first time in our history, we have a board which is willingly matching not only expectations, but will deliver us from decades of pain and heartache with their hard-earned. Surely it is our duty to give them the backing and support.

Have we ourselves not earned the respect of our peers by supporting this great club through the bad times?

Do you not bear enough scars from wet midweek cup exits from smalltownobscurity city?

Have you not the courage to embrace this new regime and assist it in becoming all it can be?

Ye Olde Ride has finally stopped. The new ride will be opening in just over a month. Prepare yourselves my friends, and put a 'P' in front of this ride and remember what that means to you as a West Ham Fan.

This is West Ham United Football Club. Home of Legends of the English Game. The Academy. Where our dreams have been fading and dying for generations.

Times are changing ... it's going to be one hell of a season. Manage your expectations. Strap on your seatbelts.

Don't miss the ride.

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, KUMB.com.

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