West Ham United fans might want to sit down before reading.

Hammers fans have endured a torrid season and face more nerve-jangling moments in the weeks ahead as David Moyes tries to plot the club’s survival.

But as Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness pointed out at the weekend, West Ham should not be anywhere near a relegation battle.

It may seem a lifetime ago for some long-suffering supporters but West Ham were backed to challenge for the European places at the start of the campaign.

And Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked good for it too when they started the campaign by going unbeaten in seven games.

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Another season of what might have been

Then came injuries to Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski and the rest as they say is history.

The pledge from unpopular owners David Sullivan and David Gold to get West Ham into the Champions League equation has come back to haunt them.

West Ham came agonisingly close in the Farewell Boleyn season of 2015/16.

Inspired by Dimitri Payet West Ham recorded their highest ever Premier League points haul of 62 points.

They ended up just four points off a Champions League spot having drawn a joint league highest 14 games.

This term West Ham have fallen well below expectations. But it could all have been so different.

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West Ham’s Champions League sickener

Having surrendered the lead – twice – to draw 2-2 with Newcastle on Sunday West Ham made it a league highest 24 points dropped from winning positions this season.

If West Ham had those points now they would find themselves in joint fifth place with Manchester United on 55 points and battling it out for a possible Champions League place.

 

And with West Ham’s kind run-in – on paper at least – they would have been well fancied to pull it off.

Of course most teams drop points from winning positions at some stage in a season.

But even being a touch more realistic, had West Ham held on to half those points (12) they would not only be long safe from the threat of relegation but in the mix for a potential Europa League spot.

It is a sobering thought.

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A damning indictment on Sullivan and Gold

And it just goes to show how damaging it can be to pad a Premier League squad out with cheap, unproven signings like Roberto.

Or indeed not being fulled prepared with adequate quality cover in key positions – like defensive midfield and up front.

The fact that West Ham could have twice been in the mix to qualify for the Champions League in two of the last five seasons but didn’t is an indictment on the owners more than anyone else.

When West Ham have needed that little bit of extra investment to elevate the team, it has not been there.

Take this season for example. Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen have arrived in January and been exactly what the Hammers have needed.

But it was obvious West Ham needed at least one more defensive or box-to-box midfielder and another attacking player from last summer.

Imagine where West Ham might be now had the owners shown that kind of ambition before the season.

A real sickener.

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