“Hello, Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?” Pink Floyd
Well cover me in goose fat, whack up the oven and prick me when I’m done because the honeymoon is over as we have opened the gates of apathy and let in the plebs once more. I had taken a deep breath and exhaled to inflate my bubble and it had started to soar…rocketeering to the troposphere…but just like everyone else’s…it had been stabbed by a pointed harpy, blown in during the recent storm.
In truth, I only have myself to blame. I ventured to believe that West Ham had turned the corner on a season that had embittered our spirits. I thought that Pearce would impart his fighting spirit upon a team that were eager to absorb new found thinking. To lift the lids off their heads to have Irvine’s bountiful knowledge poured in, McKinlay’s guile & industry seeping through to their core…an osmotic transfer of will, desire and passion. Where did it go wrong? I’ll tell you where…injuries, poor passing and lamentable crossing in the FA Cup…and we are out!
Perhaps the improving transition period can only ever be temporary, nay normal. At some point we were destined for failure, fated for dereliction and complicit in undermining a crumbling fortress we thought we had built.
We rose from the ashes of a glorious Roman emperor and suffered the Icelandic dark ages when ravaged by Attila the Hun. Creativity absent, ideas unforthcoming and long-ball-itis the standard. We believed in false prophecies and fake Croatian Gods…a season long hiatus holding us aloft from our usual slumber. At every juncture, we trusted our plight would reverse course and lead us to a Neverland. Well, we’ve reached that never land now and I can’t wait to get the hell out of here!
During the early phase of the Moyes renaissance period, I questioned whether we should be so confident to lay all of our hopes upon the shoulders of a few pied pipers leading the rats away from the sinking ship. Arnautovic, Lanzini, Masuaku & Noble had given us hope and that ray of light would warm our hearts and put the fire in our bellies for the campaigns yet fought. Now injuries to the two former and increasingly ineffective displays from Masuaku, not forgetting his abysmal ejection on Saturday…and the faith is draining fast.
I questioned whether our self imposed defensive stance had the fortitude to resist infinitum, whether more was required within the tactical arsenal, if our forwards could amass any sense of formidability and could our midfield govern the lands in-between our home and alien shores.
Many of us acknowledged at an early stage of the last campaign, that our ranks were at times threadbare, lacked profound quality and cohesion was missing in action with no hint of rescue. We had one of our own at the steering wheel but no one told him that certain conspirators had loosened all the nuts and time would soon run out, the wheels would come off whilst others pointed and sneered. Embarrassing, disloyal and down right dirty!
We rallied in the summer when early purchases made us think that at last the tide had turned, that our club was prepared to fully support the manager with quality personnel…but at the final hurdle we failed to sign that superiority that would transform our midfield mediocrity. Once more into the breach with blunted spears and a handful of tulips, once more into uncertainty and onto a yellow brick road heading towards Oz…dutifully watched by a devious broom rider.
As the new season started, we accepted a fateful string of defeats to teams on the road as our house was already booked for a sportsday to rekindle all of our golden Saturdays…which it never did. Leading to stagnation, we failed to kickstart the remainder of the season with woeful performances and more motivation we could not find at a terminally ill knitting class for brutes with false eyelashes.
The change at the top came and whilst we witnessed a resurgence in form and application, we also knew that the irritation of an anaemic transfer window would mean we would need to bolster from within and promote young guns to the senior’s ball.
The issue now being that although we have talented youth…they lack the experience and premiership quality we require in battles to lift our spirits and stretch across the line to victory. A succession of transfer failures, a reluctance to enable youth to gain periodic experience in first team games, a jaded seniority, an injury list longer than a nun’s lament and we are now feeling the effects of seeds we sowed in the shallow furrows that failed to germinate and wilted at the first sign resistance.
The old adage, “Form is temporary, Class is permanent!” may indeed be true but when good form is relied upon from so few then bad form is naturally around the corner. When Bilic was in charge we had many players having a dip in form that lasted a long time. Any team can stomach two or three actors forgetting their lines while the rest of the cast carries them along…but anything more and the audience loses faith and justifiably start to take aim and hurl the rotten tomatoes.
When Moyes took charge, we witnessed a few performers leap up to steal the limelight whilst others ambled along riding on the coat-tails of the shooting stars. Now those days are gone my friends and all have been relegated to bit part performances in the local village pantomime…just dreadful! “Oh no it isn’t!” I hear you cry! “Oh yes it bloody well is!”
I have never been one to lay blame at the feet of solitary offenders, for we win and lose as a team…whether on the field of play or in the corridors of club power. However, there are root causes that cannot be ignored, there are fundamental errors that cannot be undone and there are misplaced opinions that cannot be recanted.
Like a Greek tragedy which fell with class but arose like some dimwitted daytime drama bereft of style…we have become a theatrical comedy…and I’m not laughing anymore!
Nobody can be excused to look upon us with envious eyes anymore…we can only hope for a warts and all self diagnosis. For a club to take ownership of the mess we have created and to replant those roots in rich soil, fertilised with footballing nitrates instead of rotting corpses.
We cannot hope that our upwardly mobile will rise to the occasion when they lack match practice and fluidity that only comes from repetition. We are setting them up for a fall before they even take the field. This will only continue whilst we have so many players out of action and even new arrivals will take time to bed in. We have a tsunami of disappointment and unrealised expectation coming our way and it shouldn’t have been like this.
The numbness we feel does not sit comfortably…nor should it!