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A season of struggle?

Filed: Thursday, 29th September 2016
By: Ingwe

I have been a West Ham fan since 1965. I followed them in South Africa, getting airline editions of the Daily Mirror (SA not having TV in those days) for the football results and reports. I grew to love my team and will remain a supporter till I die.

I'm not sure that I have been more disappointed over the years by some West Ham performances than the abysmal showing against a poor Saints side last Sunday.

Sam Allardyce's type of football - as played by all the teams he managed - was horrible and I was not impressed by Bilic's arrival. Yes, the Hammers finished high up in the Premier League last season but I don't think any of it was due to Bilic's input. I wouldn't be sorry to see him go. What has he won elsewhere?

I see the new owners, not as true Hammers supporters, but essentially business people who have an eye on an asset rather than the best interests of the club and its supporters. The main real asset, the Boleyn Ground, was sold and we now play in an athletics stadium that has the atmosphere of a closed shopping mall.

The plethora of KUMB Forum posts by fans who complained of getting rained on show that the stadium wasn't designed as a football ground. I'm afraid I just don't buy into the argument that having a massive capacity will generate funds needed to buy big players etc.

I'd rather we filled our old ground with players playing attractive football - but more importantly, players who want to play for the club, not 'stars' from European leagues who can't get into their first teams and, where relevant, their national teams with any regularity.

They come for the money and the owners' key criteria is whether they will show a suitable return on their subsequent sale.

The summer transfer window was spent chasing a Colombian striker (Carlos Bacca) who clearly didn't want to play for West Ham. Players who did want to play, like Charlie Austin, were rejected by management. Ironic then that he should score first on Sunday!

We rely on Dimitri Payet to 'rescue' us with skilful free kicks, whilst the rest of the midfield look totally uncommitted. Players like Ashley Fletcher and Reece Oxford should be given a chance and other skilful players who would leap for first team experience, like Martin Samuelsen, are sent out on loan.

Why not have a team comprising players who are not only good, but who want to play for West Ham?

I hate to see fans booing the players off or leaving early; that is no way to support your team. But I do understand their total frustration in supporting a team, as only we Irons fans can, and then find that owners haven't done what they said they would.

They're in a stadium most didn't want, paying more for the privilege, having a manager who has brought in players who have performed poorly, played other players, like Antonio, completely out of position, for a number of games and doesn't seem to have a clue how to create a team capable of defending as well scoring goals.

After the pre-season and the Europa league debacle, I thought that we will be in a relegation struggle yet again. All talk of finishing in a Championship qualifying position, I think, is just wishful thinking. I would love to be proved wrong.

What I would want, more than merely surviving in the Premier League, is to get our old club back; free from the likes of Brady, Gold and Sullivan and with players who should recognise the immense good fortune and privilege that they enjoy, being born with a talent that allows them to become millionaires in their twenties, to play their hearts out.

Losing then, wouldn't feel so bad.

Contrasting Swansea's, Palace's and Southampton's performances last weekend, shows what teams with 'weaker' players on paper can do - and makes West Ham's performance even worse.

Call me fickle if you want but, if you really think that we aren't going to struggle this season, this is an example of hope over experience! I so want to be wrong.

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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