I’m no pessimist. In fact, a lot of people who know me consider my musings to be realistic, with a hint of sarcasm thrown in. This is what I bring to the table today – not a rant, but a slightly worried commentary on the state of affairs at my beloved Premiership club, West Ham United.
First, I would like to position myself on the like/dislike spectrum of opinion for the West Ham owners, Davids Gold and Sullivan. They are clearly very astute businessmen, regardless of their questionable wealth accumulation, and also very passionate fans of the club, something which should not be held against them when they are a little ‘loose-tongued’ with the media.
I love reading the gossip columns, even though most of the stuff you read is ridiculously over-hyped rubbish from questionable sources. It builds excitement and intrigue for the season ahead, which couldn’t come soon enough. However, I hate reading any gossip linked to West Ham. This usually causes me to question the judgement of the owners and the new management.
Prime example: June 2010, Neymar of Santos to West Ham. Gold and Sullivan plan to spend at least £18million on an unproven teenage player from Brazil, just to sell him on to Chelsea a year later. Business sense? Maybe, but what happened to all this talk of debt and ruin as little as six months ago?
The above example was within days of Matthew Upson being linked with various other Premiership clubs. Which brings me on to my second point for concern – why are the management team going after players like Neymar, Loic Remy and Assamoah Gyan, none of whom are likely to come or come cheap?
Surely we should look at replacing and strengthening our aging and wholly disappointing defence? I know we need reinforcements in most areas, and I’m happy to see the Mexican international Pablo Barrera has attained a work permit, but please, have you seen our first-team defensive line?
Upson (our best defender – which spells trouble)
Tomkins (our best young defender, but still has lots to learn at this level)
Gabbdon (past it)
Da Costa (has never looked comfortable in the Premiership)
Ilunga (not yet proven his worth)
Spector (no hoper)
Faubert (God help us all)
My fingers are being kept firmly crossed that we will see some major strengthening in this area before the big kick off, even with the possibility of journeyman Tal Ben Haim joining the ranks.
Finally, I’ll be keeping my eye on the players coming through the famed academy. Jordan Spence, George Moncur and Oliver Lee all look promising. I’m hoping Avram Grant will spare a though for the already proven talents of Collison, Stanislas and Hines next season too.
My hopes for next season are built upon 30% excitement and 60% fear, with the remaining 10% unrelated to West Ham …