Filed: Sunday, 22nd May 2016
By: James Gavin
Although we ended up 7th, a lot of people - including me - will be disappointed by that. But this has been an amazing season to be a West Ham fan for so many reasons.
I'm 18, so West Ham haven't been the most successful club I could have supported. But it’s in me, and I love it.
Previously, my favourite season was our most recent Championship season. Winning week in, week out, chanting "we are top of the league" and going up at Wembley are such happy memories. This season tops all of that for many reasons.
Firstly, and the most important reason for me, is our new style of football. When our team has the ball, I'm excited.
Whether it be Payet or Lanzini using their skill and trickery to beat multiple players; Noble and Kouyate dictating the game with solid defence and ability to turn it into an attack; even Antonio (who must run on petrol) and Cresswell dominating the flanks with exciting wing play.
And our new passing style is just such a joy to watch, and has allowed me to understand what the real 'West Ham way' is all about.
Attitude of the team is also another key factor in our success this season. For many years we haven’t exactly been the most motivated team, comebacks were few and fair between and maintaining a lead was always nervy (this still needs a bit of work).
Under Avram Grant, there was the classic scenario where we would happen to be leading 1- 0 at half time, and you could just picture his worried face transcending onto the players and us ending up losing 3-1.
Or under Big Sam (who I am a fan of due to the stability he brought); when we went 2-0 down you just knew our team wasn’t capable of scoring three goals. This has all changed.
No longer do I give up on a game until it is officially over, because with this group of players and their mindset they can turn anything around. The perfect example would be at Everton (who we always do badly against) where we turned a 2 0 deficit away from home into a 3 2 win. Amazing!
The Avram days are over as well and I think our victory at home against Chelsea is a great example of this. Previously, if Chelsea equalised, we would never have been able to suddenly rally and turn the match into three points. But we did, and that is partly down to our team's great self belief.
Going from setting up for one point against any big team, to having a pop at three, has been really good fun and this has been a great season for memorable wins.
When we went to Stamford Bridge a couple of years ago, and the '19th century football' argument arose (which was very fun to wind Chelsea fans up about) it showed the type of team we were. We worked dammed hard for a point and there wasn’t much fun in that.
There were times when a team like Man City could literally pass the ball through our defence, with our players unsure as to whose job it was to stop it this time. We’d concede, and that would be game over. That wasn’t fun.
Away wins at Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City were all brilliant and show what a great season we have had. We went against these teams with a solid(ish) defence and played pacy, counter-attacking football. It paid off and was great for all of us to watch.
We have shown this season that we can compete against any team, and we are not scared of who they are. One of the games I really like to look back on was our 2-2 draw at home to Man City.
This was just one of the most exciting games of football I've ever witnessed. It was such a great end-to-end game. It looked like a clash of two quality teams and that's what we almost are now - a quality team!
By no means are we perfect though, finishing 7th has showed this. We need to tighten up our defence and try to find that elusive, injury-free, 20-goal-a-season striker. But we have come such a long way this season.
With a successful transfer window we could improve even more. However, by improving we may only achieve the same or even a lower league position as both Chelsea and Liverpool, who finished below us this season, should improve.
In summary, we should all be pleased with the great season we have had. A few more "ifs" and "maybes" in our favour and we might have qualified for the Champions League!
Thanks to Manchester United we can now look forward to European football again next season. That's the icing on the cake for a great season - hopefully the first of many under Slaven Bilic.
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.
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!
comments powered by Disqus