This season is not yet done but we must look to the future and see where our fortunes lie, where we must strengthen and where we must lose a few pounds in dead weight. Yes, unfortunately it is that time when we all need to take stock of where we are and what we must do to improve our situations.
Of course much of this is pure speculation as we await our fate of this season ending however there are some glaring ratifications that must be implemented and it starts from the very top of the tree. Gold and Sullivan must take a backward step from club dealings and their media profiles too. Their first huge decision will be to appoint a new director of football and possibly even a new manager regardless of how the season ends.
Many might ask, “Why would you change Moyes? Although I would agree that he was not suitably supported in the January transfer window, I have also seen an increasing number of issues with team selections, tactics and lethargic substitutions that would give cause for concern. However, in general terms Moyes has proven to be overly defensive or rather not confident with his squad of players to afford more attacking tendencies.
Teams are doomed to fail when they ignore defensive responsibilities however as Brian Clough once stated, “You’ll never win anything if you can’t score goals!” What would he know…he only won the league and back to back European Cups! West Ham have lacked a balance of attacking prowess and defensive girth for a number of years, certainly so in the last two seasons…and solving this problem will eventually be the key to the team’s success.
Of course one could point gnarled fingers at the ownership and successive managers for failures to inspire and set up teams properly. The same criticism could be hurled at players who have underperformed as individuals and as a collective too. However, overall there is a gulf between where the team could be now and where it should be, let alone where it currently is.
Whilst radical in early inspection, a policy of a mass clear out might be the club’s best foot forward in the summer…irrespective of Premier League ambitions or Championship struggles. West Ham have lacked a solid spine that would put fear into the hearts of any opponents. Too weak, too easily dispossessed, too slow…too much little of a lot of things!
Once Moyes , hopefully secures a saving 17th position or above…I would thank him for his service, honour the reputed £2million bonus and send him on his way. There are many candidates to fill the void but overall the club must secure the services of a young and energetic manager who will drive the team forward that not only produces results and is resilient to losses…but ultimately entertains the fans and brings many raised smiles on the grumpiest of expressions.
This new manager must rebuild the squad from afresh and guide it onwards and upwards to better times and help to heal the wounds that have scarred our great club in recent times. Of course this is not the magical remedy for all, however it will be the first small step for Hammers man and a giant leap for West Ham kind.
Many would contemplate which of the squad should be retained and which should be moved on to pastures new or even retired from the game. I err on the side of caution for my indignation of most players as I fear they have suffered injury and poor form but not for the want of trying. Case in point; Mark Noble. He had a torrid time last season and wasn’t much better until Moyes came along, however he was always a leader of men and he returned to be the consistent player who rallied the troops and displayed determined vigour in each battle. The same could said of Collins and Zabaletta, whilst Ogbonna has resurged as a force of will too.
Arnautovic has consistently led from the front and chases every ball down, whilst Masuaku was starting to put improving performances…almost delivering an end product too. Adrian entered the fray and initially was the rock at the back that the team needed, but eventually he would make mistakes too…but hardly as many as Hart, but it was a close call for a while. Declan Rice was a revelation and he soon became one of my favourite players of this season…a player to slot into a multitude of roles…my glorious utility player which every team should have.
Each and everyone of the remaining pack have struggled with form, consistency or overt commitment to the cause, whilst some have just been poor examples of professional footballers. Kouyate and Carroll have not impressed at all, Mario will not be the player we need him to be, nor will Hart. Byram and Reid have struggled with form, injury and fitness, whilst Obiang showed much indifference before his injury too…let alone Hernandez who simply has not been given the opportunity to shine in formations by tow successive managers, however his attitude also left a lot to be desired too.
Whilst many of the senior players have not performed well, have lacked confidence or whom have been rocked too easily by opponents’ waves of enthusiasm or home fans’ taunts and jeers…my major disappointment has been with many of the youth players, their performances when allowed to play and the decisions both by Bilic and Moyes to throw them in the deep end and also to the wolves when plans went awry.
I have said on repeated occasions that the West Ham youth policy is wrong and twisted. Each U23 player must be able to gain valuable first team exposure throughout the season. Even if it is only for an occasional ten minutes here and there. This drip feeding approach will bed in the players better and give greater consistency to performances and formations.
The question remains…if players are sold, how much will they be sold for? If we need to rebuild the squad, how much will it cost and what will be the overall net budget available to spend? The league standing will largely decide which type of player will be required first and foremost, however a physical strength and talent combination is what is currently lacking.
Whether the club retains Moyes or decides to change suit, it will be the manager’s guiding hand that rocks the cradle and this will rule the Hammers’ world. It will be another massive undertaking and whomever is in post will be challenged both on the field and within the corridors of power but it will a trial that we must all face together…emotionally, spiritually and any other ally that suits our endeavour.