My faith restored

Sometimes watching at the Boleyn this season, I have been left wondering whether we are all in this together, and fully understand the financial implications of failure to win promotion.

But after the strong reaction to my piece about the final weeks of the season, my faith has been restored in my fellow Hammers.

And I feel I must reply to the fans who have bothered to comment on KUMB. I don't think I have ever had such a reaction to anything I have written about football in over 40 years of journalism and now my less than sedate retirement.

It is good to feel that people do agree with my views. The greater good now is the club's return to the top flight, whether we like big Sam's tactics or not, and whether we feel that players should be able to cope with complaining fans.

But my experience of professional footballers is that they will find any excuse possible not to take blame on their own shoulders. The shameful way a few players left us last summer in the wake of relegation, some failing to see the connection between their own poor displays and us going down, sadly did not surprise me.

But my view that now is not the time to keep hounding the manager and players seems to have struck a cord. We are not going to change the way we play at this stage, I don't believe we have the quality of player needed to produce a controlled passing game. That can be addressed when, not if, we go up and have cash from the Premier League to play with.

Our desire for a good quality striker is a point in issue. The fanciful stuff about Anelka, Tevez and Torres only raised fans' hopes when really the chances of them signing are minimal.

We do not really have the money to compete for top players these days, despite the spin that comes out of the club. In the end we took John Carew (clearly carrying injures at Villa) and youngsters Sam Baldock and Nicky Maynard, at a combined fee of something like ?5m. That shows what part of the market we are operating in.

So in some ways the style Allardyce uses reflects the level of players we have. At Bolton, when he did have some money, he signed Anelka, Gary Speed and several play making attacking players. He was able to mix and match, but still had the label of a long-ball manager.

Here and now, he won't change, so what is the point with so much at stake, of complaining? Someone suggested that I hadn't really understood what went on at Leeds. But I did describe it as an undistinguished game, and not pretty, so I don't really understand that reaction.

It was also suggested that Henri Lansbury and Ravel Morrison should be used from the start. Lansbury, though, has disappointed me because he drifts out of games too often. Morrison got his first taste at Leeds and struggled to get into the game.

That was not surprising given he has barely played a serious match in months (he was hardly popular at Old Trafford amoungst the coaching staff) and does not, I feel, have the confidence and stature yet to control midfield at this level and intensity. I hope I will be proved wrong here, because I know many Man Utd fans who are furious the lad has been sold.

A mate of mine went to every Man Utd reserve game just to see the lad play, such was his ability. He really is something special. Maybe in a home match he could be risked, I really hope he makes it here because there are people around Old Trafford who reckon that had the lad not gone wildly off the rails (which is why Fergie gave up on him) he would be knocking on the door of the full England team by now.

So we have what we have. Morrison may well be risked soon, I really hope so and hope even more that it works because it will be the making of the lad now he is away from the south Manchester gangs.

So, back to the fans. I just hope we can find it in ourselves to give it everything from now on, to encourage when things go wrong and not give anyone the chance to say at the end that things were our fault. COYI.

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