Days of wine - if not always roses

West Ham's best four-game start to a league season for seven years, a big new contract for our star midfielder, the club's record signing on fire and only beaten so far by one of the world's best half dozen teams.

You would think we would all be ecstatic. But, our fans can be a cynical, negative bunch at the best of times, and it's hard not to see why considering some of the stuff they have had to put up with over the years.

Only two major trophies (and I refuse to include play offs, Division Two promotions and Mickey Mouse Intertoto Cups) won in 54 years since that European Cup Winners Cup final glory of Bobby Moore's side of 1965. And not a hint of real silverware since 1980.

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It's easy, too easy sometimes, to criticise our club and the people who own and run it, but come on everyone, let's be happy for a few weeks at least.

We are seventh, not joint fourth as David Gold optimistically tweeted, but he is right - we are two points clear of Tottenham and Manchester United. And Spurs' title challenge is already over, isn't it?

They are already seven points behind Liverpool, and that's a hell of a gap to make up even this early. Check the stats, it could take months and Liverpool have to lose at least twice.

Anyway, it's all about us. This is a pretty decent start to a campaign. But the knockers were out after Saturday's excellent win over Norwich. And also in midweek when we avoided our customary cup embarrassment to the Dog and Duck.

That was a team with ten changes and after a dodgy start we dominated play and possession against Newport - a long ball, long throw, in-your-face side.

OK, We have taken points from Norwich, Brighton and Watford, three teams in the bottom five and looking destined to stay there. But we have at least put daylight between ourselves and the relegation battlers, does that make you happy?

We normally don't do that. We beat Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal etc and foul it up against Cardiff, Brighton, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Watford and Burnley.

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Seven points from our first four league games is our best return since 2013. Please try to not to moan about Arthur Masuaku too loudly, some of us are trying a little early season celebration!

It was great trundling home up north on the rattler, not going through my usual claret (not sky blue or Hugh) fuelled rant about referees, VAR and that lazy so-and-so Chicharito!

And on the subject of Arthur, yes he struggles a bit with his defending but as Mark Noble says, they have been working hard on his best bits - the pace, power, running and crossing. Thank you very much, said Seb.

You can't have everything. The complaint is always that we are rubbish at left back and need defensive midfield cover. Now I have had a theory all along, and that is our manager Manuel Pellegrini had a plan. Please don't try to tell me he doesn't know where our weaknesses are.

But he knew from the very start of this window that money was going to be tight, the ?30million budget loomed large. And he knows we, our owners, the fans, want entertaining football. So he had to get rid of four strikers and replace them. The money only goes so far, even with the pittance we got for Marko Arnautovic.

Look at the squad maintenance he did, with my belief that defence and central midfield were never his priorities. He just had to make use of what he had.

First up was a new contract for Pablo Zabaleta as cover for Ryan Fredericks, who just had to have a run in the side to show if he was up to the Premier League. Him being a David Sullivan/Will Salthouse production! That was on May 1.

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Then he needed to get Robert Snodgrass sorted with a new deal; the Scot is able to provide cover right across midfield, including Declan Rice if need be.

Next up was a new five-year contract for Masuaku, a bit of a surprise that but Pelle clearly sees something to work on. He has great technique and control but lacks concentration. So from inside the squad he found ways to cover difficult areas and have the money for all the show-boaters up front.

And there has also been a considerable culling of the squad, you are not paying attention if you haven't sussed that out. With Javier Hernandez gone now, the staff has been cut by 26 players either sold, loaned or freed. It all cuts the wage bill. And just six players have been signed, plus the dozen or so intake at the Academy.

In all something like ?50million has now been raised and ?80million spent... spot on to incorporate Sullivan's original ?30million budget.

Manuel Lanzini's new contract was a real bonus ahead of the Norwich game, he's looked pretty sharp so far this season and the master plan of linking him with Felipe Anderson - also top notch this term - and Haller, plus the potential of working with Pablo Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko, looks highly promising.

The loss of Michail Antonio is a major blow, out probably until after new year now, so the decision to let Hernandez leave has surprised a few.

But he was always on his way, ever since the move fell through earlier this year. He didn't want to be here. And once a player hands in a transfer request, there is only going to be one outcome. He did that knowing Antonio was going to be sidelined, putting West Ham in a difficult situation, but he wanted out regardless.

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But it still makes sense. He would have been a free next summer and he knew he was only third choice up front. That's ?145,000 a week to sit on the bench and wanting out anyway. West Ham cannot allow anything like that.

We get his pay off the wage bill, plus a ?7million fee that would diminish every single day as the end of his contract approached.

I would never have signed him in the first place, he was renowned at Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen for not doing too much work outside the box. It was the same with us, yes he scores goals, but he can be a passenger and that cannot be tolerated in the Premier League.

Accepted that we only now have Haller and Albian Ajeti up front, and that's a gamble. But it is conceivable that Yarmolenko can play a more central role, he has done that for club and country, while Anderson has also played centrally for Lazio. It's more than possible to play without an out-and-out striker and a more mobile attacking force. Just don't start smacking the ball up front in the air!

So until it all goes pear-shaped, let's just enjoy it while we can. Nothing's ever perfect, but if we can build on what we saw against Norwich, this could be a half decent season.

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