John Hughes and the Sixteenth Candle! Published 26/04/18 on West Ham Matters
If like me, you are a fan of the 80’s teenage – coming of age – rom-com genre, then you will appreciate a certain parallel with the West Ham woes and hoes over the last couple of seasons. If it wasn’t our team that was in self destruct mode, then we would likely be chuckling away in the corner like naughty schoolboys at the calamity that the club has got itself into but also just waiting for everything to be alright in the end…a very, some kind of wonderful, indeed!
We’ve had the hapless duo at the top with their love interest causing havoc wherever she goes…weirdly scientific without method and we’ve had the school bully routine in a lampoonist manner behind the scenes too, but the club is nowhere near where it needs to be in terms of restitution nor recovery. The team will barely salvage the season but it has been a wrong foot forward at every turn. No gold stars for this motley crew who deserve a detention as a Saturday breakfast club to make them all find common ground and move onto better things.
So when is this happy ending going to materialise and in what form shall it take? Well, for the majority of the fans would only seek the team and the club to prosper under the current ownership but few would believe it would ever be so. The summer is seen as the lynchpin that would appease the masses or would be the straw that final broke the donkey’s ass!
The support from the loyal claret and blue fans would wish for wholesale changes in the squad and for a dynamic shift in the mentality of the tactical formations. The cohesion that has been lacking within the team, would appear to be ever present amongst the fanbase as collectively they would oust Moyes in favour of a manager with new ideas and an attacking disposition.
Of course nobody would wish to return to idle minds within the rear guard or goalkeepers whose inconsistency in goal is a tenuous as them featuring in any starting line ups. However, after two years of really poor football, many fans would think the club fortunate to have survived this season, but would fear assured relegation next season if the status quo remains.
The question for the club now is whether they persist with David Moyes and continue to feed the dissenting voices from the fanbase or do they act to drive the club forward and appease those that would ask harsh questions? Of course owners cannot readily submit to fan opinion every time something is amiss at the club, however it has been as clear as a cloudless sky that the first order of business must be to ratify the management position and create stability within the club and the fanbase.
As soon as the last ball is kicked one would expect the club to announce either that Moyes is staying or leaving and that certain players will be signing on the dotted line imminently. It has to be proactive and the targets need to be on the books before the distractions of the World Cup take hold and grip the attentions of both players and fans alike.
Whomever is the choice of manager, the business needs to be done early and a new game plan must be devised for next season. The negative and defensive football for all opponents simply will not wash. It is not the West Ham Way…even if that has not been truthfully seen in over a generation. However it is still the yardstick by which all players and coaches are to be measured up against.
There are other managers of course who might be tempted to join a London club with a brand new stadium…with a gaggle of players that could be turned into some force for the coming years. The fan’s would look to managers who have proven themselves at other clubs and are indeed winners in their own right, however the name that appears to sounded out recently is that of Rafa Benitez, currently of Newcastle United.
He took over the reins there, towards the tail end of a season but could not stop the rot in time to avoid their relegation. However he persisted with the Toon Army in the Championship and guided them to be promoted as champions. Newcastle have fared well this season without a transfer budget, an owner who is desperate to sell but cannot find a buyer and with a squad that is mainly made up of Championship standard players.
Benitez has made Newcastle work as a unit and has played some excellent football along the way. Of course he has had his licks over the season but considering what he has had to work with, it has been an excellent effort…and let’s not forget that Newcastle did the double over West Ham this season…scoring six goals past both of the Hammers’ keepers.
The team are in need of a manager who can bring the party back to West Ham and deliver performances on a regular basis. Rafa Benitez would be perfect for the role, if only he could be convinced to take the drive south. The club is in need of maturing and it shall be the coming of age story…Benitez could be West Ham’s John Hughes and this could be the club’s sixteenth candle!