It is the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving and I am oh so thankful to be a Hammer. West Ham is enjoying a great year despite numerous injuries and with a new attacking attitude and style of play being implemented I don’t have any expectation that it will stop. West Ham has a favorable run of fixtures between now and Christmas though surely the games against Arsenal and Chelsea will be a reality check for us heading into the New Year. I still expect big things from this squad.
Which is, today, why I am angry and depressed. Why, you might ask? And if you did ask I would answer thus; if you are an American who enjoys the EPL most of your news undoubtedly comes from ESPN and if you get your news from ESPN and love West Ham United, you have nothing to be happy about. Two articles published on ESPNFC in the last 24 hours were devoted to the chase for the top 4. In them West Ham gets nary a mention and the one devoted to predicting teams finishes offered predictions for Everton, Tottenham, and Southampton, as well as Man United and Arsenal, but no thoughts on where the boys from East London might finish.
The author of the article Michael Cox dismissed me on twitter by saying both that West Ham has no chance to finish in the top 4 and that there is no bias against them in reporting. I find both of these assertions to be absurd. I would be surprised if West Ham were not still in the top 6 come the end of the year and if they were not also still hovering near a top 4 spot.
But regardless of whether I am right or wrong what is distressing to me is this: West Ham is a team rich in history and about to move into a massive new stadium. They have a team with serious star power (Andy Carroll, Alex Song, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho, Stuart Downing, etc.) who has out performed both expectations and much of the league so far this year and if you are in the United States you could be forgiven for not knowing West Ham exists.
The reporting is simply awful – West Ham are rarely mentioned and the game recaps usually downplay whatever West Ham did in the event of a win or draw. It did not frustrate me so much last year when the team was less than stellar for much of the season. But in a year that has seen them spend much of the first half of the season in the top 4 and in which they have shown incredible improvement I find it deplorable. I find myself wondering what would happen if we did find our way to a top 4 finish? Would it get mentioned at all on ESPNFC and in US sports coverage or would it be ignored? Or worse would they devote any lines of text discussing it to how it was the failings of others that put West Ham in that spot while refusing to note the achievements of our squad?
In short, I am thankful for West Ham United, I am thankful for my fellow fans but alas I cannot be thankful for how the EPL is covered in this country of mine.