Lads, Ladas and the Ladies Published 26/04/18 on Irons United
As we look forward to the game on Sunday against Manchester City at the London Stadium, many of the West Ham faithful will be reflecting on a tumultuous season that has born very few highs and serial offensive lows. As with any new season, the fans were filled with optimism for the club had made some inspired signings in Arnautovic, Hart, Zabaleta and Hernandez. Two of which were highly tipped to be ‘The Hammer of the Year’…which Arnautovic won…in a presumed landslide victory yesterday evening.
In contrast to the failings of the men’s team, the West Ham ladies have had two amazing cup victories that has crowned another epic season under the dutiful guidance of manager; Karen Ray who is receiving much deserved attention and praise from colleagues and footballing media too. If only the boys were half as good then many of the disparaging remarks and dissenting voices would surely fade away?
Occupying a place in the Premier League has become all consuming for the claret and blue army and the club owners would fear the grim reaper of relegation as much as they would fear the loss of coin in their coffers too. The financial implications of dropping down into the Championship has narrowed the view of all concerned within the club, but if likely saved from that embarrassment…would there be major renovations and rectifications in the summer or will the ownership merely brush aside the narrow escape and do the bare minimum to keep the wheels turning? This is the big question on the lips of most fans, whilst many would look ahead to next season and would already believe that West Ham are fitting candidates to be in another relegation battle!
The underinvestment in the club is not a new phenomenon as it has happened throughout the club’s history, but the financial ramifications of failure are so acute in the modern era of the game that the club would fall from grace…and carry on falling down the leagues with little on the horizon to bring about recovery.
All agree that a warts and all review is required within every facet of club business now and the owners must be transparent in the dealings and their ambitions, if they are to remain in charge for the coming years ahead. However, many would question whether the ownership have the financial capability to spend as is required to change the squad in numerous positions and what indeed will be the net spend again…or which prize players might be sold to fund this reanimation that is so desired?
Of course the managerial position is yet to be confirmed for next season but most fans already fear that David Moyes will still be in charge. Possibly, it is rather unfair to criticise the man too much as he will have fulfilled his remit when he was hired last November…which was to avoid relegation. However this lack of ambition by the club ownership has been evident in the performances under the Moyes mandate. His defensive approach would lend itself to avoid defeat rather than excelling in attacking endeavour. It may have saved the club from relegation but it has not thrilled the crowds nor has it brought about a comfortable league position…in fact it will be a worse finish than either of the previous two managers…now that’s saying something!
The fans would not want to make do with bargain basement players and journeymen who would be handsomely paid for bit part performances. They would not wish to be force fed defensive football, when a more ambitious and expansive style would be requested and indeed required in many of the games.
No West Ham fan would accept blind naivety when facing off against the mightier foes, however to simply pack the penalty area with defenders to protect the goal would be defeatist in nature and in practicality too. The team cannot hold out forever, no matter how much they would like too.
Moyes has struggled to convert defensive strengths into forward attacking potency this season, and many supporters wonder whether it is even within his arsenal to be a tactically offensive planner. However, he might be able to convince the fans, that if new bodies are introduced into the ranks, he might well be able to achieve an attacking and entertaining style…if given another attempt next season…but it will take a huge effort to change hardened opinion already formed from within the fanbase base upon the performances thus far!
The West Ham world would look to the summer transfer window and will expect multiple signings in various positions to fill them with confidence for the upcoming season, however Moyes has the opportunity now in the remaining games to lead the lines with intent…like Vikings sailing off to strange lands to plunder the riches and savagely rip the will out of the defenders. Does his possess the ‘Braveheart’ spirit to rally his men to go forth and finish the season with aplomb or will he continue with these lacklustre displays?
The fans want a strong finish and they want some prestige back into the performances. They want the Rolls Royce, the Ferrari and the Lamborghini…not the Morris Minor, Austin Allegro or the rusty naff Lada! They want the boys to become men and the lads to emulate what the ladies have been able to wonderfully achieve. It’s been a long time coming!