Unlikely Hammers hero Craig Dawson says he has enjoyed proving some West Ham fans wrong during his whirlwind 15 months at the club.
It is fair to say that many West Ham fans – including this author – were underwhelmed when David Moyes made the surprising decision to sign Dawson on loan from Watford last season.
As is usually the case, though, Moyes proved he knows best with Dawson turning out to be a revelation.
The big defender was about as unglamorous a signing as you could have found at the time.
But he helped West Ham finish just one win off a Champions League spot and quickly won the hearts of West Ham fans as he joined permanently for a mere £2.5m.
After the arrival of £29m Kurt Zouma in the summer, many felt Dawson would slip down the pecking order.
They were right, Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna were Moyes’s first choice centre backs.
But injuries to both have seen Dawson play more than ever having been featuring in West Ham’s Europa League and cup games alongside Issa Diop prior to those big blows.
Now, assessing his time at West Ham so far, Dawson admits he understood why some supporters had reservations.
Unlikely hero Craig Dawson says he has enjoyed proving some West Ham fans wrong
“When I signed for the club, I think it probably didn’t excite the fans,” Dawson candidly told whufc.com in a no-nonsense manner that reflects his playing style.
“It was probably a questionable signing, but hopefully I’ve surprised a few people and it just shows it’s not the name – if people work hard and perform as a team and as a group of players, it’s great what they can achieve.
“Hopefully, we can make a few more signings like that!
“Obviously, I played a lot of my football at West Brom in the Premier League, then I had a tough year at Watford from which I took a lot of life lessons and football lessons…
“I’ve really enjoyed playing for West Ham and I feel I help the team out when I do, and hopefully that can continue.”
Dawson is becoming something of a cult hero at West Ham. Having a lyric about him in rapper and West Ham fan DPart’s latest song proves that much.
And whenever people start to doubt him, the 31-year-old seems to prove them wrong.
Long may Dawson’s love affair with West Ham continue. Because if ever there was a player who has had to earn the respect of West Ham fans down the years, ‘big Daws’ is right up there.
And earn respect he has, by the bucket load.