West Ham Rivers – When London Bridge was Sold! Published 05/09/18 on Irons United
After another straight defeat at the weekend, many within the West Ham fanbase are justifiably wondering where has the dream of quality and entertaining football disappeared to. The second home loss to teams that the Hammers should be beating or certainly competing with…and it’s all starting to spiral out of control once again.
One cannot defend the indefensible, nor can anyone hold a candle to optimistic wanderings any longer…the results have been soul destroying but the manner in defeat has been tantamount to heresy…a betrayal of a testament that we have all had blind faith in for too many years.
The club is in a state of transition but the staircase has been twisting downwards for far too long with most fans now calling for a roots and all dissection of what ails this club of ours. After much criticism, the board responded and allowed the new manager Pellegrini to spend heavily in the summer. Of course it is not comparable to other bigger teams, however for West Ham, it has been a monumental shift in attitude.
All fans bought into the ‘work in progress’ notion and accepted the Liverpool defeat, but were less charitable with the loss at home to Bournemouth. In the defeat to Arsenal, fans saw a glimmer of home…an improved performance by many of the players…but still the result was the same. All hopes rested with the next home game after a victory in midweek in the Carabao Cup…could this really be the start of this season proper? Sadly it was anything but, and the apathetic display from the players only sent reverberations of woe throughout the onlooking fans.
However, to the credit of some of the players, they are acknowledging their shortcomings…but still they plead with the fanbase to have patience and deliver the unflinching support that they expect but rarely deserve. Whilst it is easy to point fingers at fans who leave early or ongoing rumblings about the quality of the stadium…the basic truth here…the undeniable voracity of the indictment…is that the players are simply not good enough at the moment to compete with the rest of the teams in the league but even more disparaging is that they appear to lack the drive and intensity to at least put up a damn good fight.
The Premier League has questionably improved the match day experience and has made this league a global sensation. However the fall guys in all of this has become the everyday fan who is just about able to afford going to the games. Whether regular attendees or irregular visitors, West Ham fans have become the scapegoat for much of the malaise over the last couple of seasons, however the players need to look deep within themselves and determine where their loyalties lay and who they are supposed to be entertaining on any given match day?
I do not expect the next fixture away to Everton to be a landmark point in our season. I dare to dream that the Hammers’ strikers can score a handful of goals but the reality of the situation is that anything other than at a least a point would be another nail in this coffin and the burial hole is just getting deeper.
Whilst there were improvements in the central defensive partnership of Diop and Balbuena, there was much to be concerned about in the left and right back positions. Midfield was farcical, but a failure to capitalise of minimal opportunities in front of goal has left the club at the bottom of the league. Although only a mere three points to hoist the team out of the bottom three…and yes we must continue to tell ourselves that it is only four games into the season…the major problem has been that the team and individual performances have been very poor…too poor to even amount any kind of contest to any of the opposing teams we have faced or are likely to encounter anytime soon. Confidence is evaporating faster than pee puddle in the midday sun and momentum has ground to a halt…if it ever was set in motion in the first instance.
Perhaps the international break has come at exactly the right time. Pellegrini can bring in the players and get to grips with the shortcomings and address the lacklustre offerings from many of the pretenders. They cannot allow themselves to bow heads to their masters on the other side of the pitch. They must puff their chests out, be anarchic in the face of another order. They must be insurgents that would upset the battle plan of another general…and bring home the spoils for the very first time.
There is no denying that West Ham now possess the quality in depth that has been lacking over the last few seasons, but that quality is not performing which is causing Pellegrini to hesitate over his best starting eleven. The hunger is not quite there and they are once again punch drunk fighters entering the ring to face off against fitter, healthier and faster opponents.
This uneven playing field cannot continue and must not be the calling card of another dour season. The fans will not accept it, nor would any interested onlooker or media pundit…who have been vociferous in their displeasure already. As individuals, they must look beyond what they are paid to do and what they would wish for themselves. Now they must turn their attentions to the colours that they wear and the fanbase who has been beset by betrayal for far too long.
The river of hope that flowed through the club during the summer was supposed to be the dawn of a new era. We dared to dream that the heady days of Moore, Bonds, Brooking…even Cottee and McAvennie would return soon…perhaps even deliver a nose bleed high finish in the league or a long cup run…but it was merely a drying stream and yet another swindle. The fans have become the Americans who bought the London Bridge…thinking it was Tower Bridge. However all is not lost…this flatline can be adrenalised with endeavour, application and a never say die attitude. It lingers in too few…the many must step up and deliver now…for their reputations, for the safety of the club and for the enduring sanity of the fanbase.