Well it's now 2014, with West Ham sitting in a disappointing 19th and 3 points off of the relegation zone. The end of last season now feels like a distant memory as this year has been a great big struggle. We started off okay, although we weren't playing superbly, we looked very good defensively, since the injury to Winston Reid, we appear to be leaking goals left, right and centre, with the only shining light that I can truly recall being those 2 wins at Tottenham, first in the league and then again in the cup (come on, I had to get that in here somehow!). Other than that it appears we just see players getting injured everywhere, Andy Carroll, Ravel Morrison, Mark Noble, Winston Reid, James Tomkins and Stewart Downing to name a few! It seems like a horror show that loves to repeat itself at West Ham and it's slowly getting more and more irritating. On top of that, we haven't exactly performing well at times, struggling to pass, create chances and on top of that score goals. It's a season where I've seen fans calling for Sam's head and other fans just screaming that something needs to change. All in all, I agree with them, I'm stuck though, as I do not feel there are many managers available who could do a decent job, especially when in the tough battle that is appearing ahead to avoid relegation, but at the same time, I want Sam Allardyce to leave, as I find his tactics not only stressful to try and watch but also predictive and uninspiring.
Looking at some of the games we've dropped points are also worrying signs, we can't afford to drop points to teams in the same area as us any more and those prior to this (i.e. Fulham and Norwich who had just suffered heavy defeats before beating us) could end up costing us dearly.
We need to sign in January, I can think of us requiring another CB, a Striker and possibly another number to midfield as cover just to help, especially as Allardyce did say a short while ago that no one in our youth teams was good enough to play in the first team. A verdict that I was strongly upset about, a tradition that I fell in love about West Ham was that we always gave those youth players a chance to shine, just look at some players who played over the years for us, some succeeded and some did fail, but I felt you could only give that verdict after giving them the odd game here and there, even if it was only 15 minutes. There are players who I'm sure would thrive at the chance, Elliot Lee who was scoring for fun in the youth teams would love to score for the senior team and at a time where scoring goals has been an issue then why not chance it? If it pays off, you'd look like a genius for giving him his chances. George Moncur would love to follow his fathers steps and appear in the first team too, from what I've seen (albeit very little) he looks like he could be a composed midfielder. Then you have the likes of Potts, Chambers and Ruddock who have all impressed now and then in little runs in the first team, give them a shot and they might really make a step up, especially playing alongside experienced players, then you also have the likes of Turgott who last season went on a fantastic cup run with Bradford City and Tombides, Spence etc. who must be begging for a chance to play. I'm not saying they are the answer but you could question why they've never really played much to try and show their worth, maybe the hunger they have could be enough alone to make them perform, also it could shout out a strong message to people under performing that they need to be at the top of their game, otherwise their place could be in jeopardy. Thankfully Sam has said he will play a fair few against Nottingham Forest in the cup and I really hope they all put in strong performances despite the managers damning verdict, just to try and prove a point. They may not be the answer, but it is a start alongside restrengthening in this window. I really do hope we are active, even if it is loans, we need something to help us in what could be a big battle to stay up.
Do I think we will stay up? At this moment in time, I would say no, from the games I've watched this season, we've looked like a team lost, unable to pass the ball, lack of movement and support especially going forward, a team that sits back and lets the other team come at them all the time and a severe lack of confidence. They are all things that I feel could hurt us and on top of that, we have a captain who appears to just love being sent off, which is never going to help with all the injuries and he isn't making a good case for himself, especially to me, who is a fan that has never been a fan of him. I honestly feel like he doesn't deserve to be captain right now, but then again, I don't feel Allardyce deserves to be manager anymore, but I feel he could well be surviving on the fact that there are no proven managers who would seriously consider coming to West Ham. Although Malky McKay is available, I honestly have not seen enough of him to warrant us considering him, unproven in this league and could he motivate a team with their heads down to survive relegation? I'm not so sure myself. Also if the rumours are true that it would cost £6 million to sack Sam, that could also be helping him greatly, but then again, the cost of relegation could be much more so and our board won't like to see a repeat of the Avram Grant season. The one thing I really dislike about Sam at the moment though, is his lack of accepting some of the blame. Yes he isn't solely to blame for the injuries and our captain going a bit crazy, but he does pick the team and tell them how he wants to play, maybe if he showed more belief in them then he could get them playing better, also he is one manager who never seems to have a plan B, when we went down 2-1 to Fulham, he brought off Maiga for Carlton Cole in a direct switch, when chasing a must win game, surely you would risk putting on Cole to play alongside Maiga in the desperate attempts to claw at least a goal back, even if you did end up losing 3-1?
Who should we sign in January? Should Allardyce be gone? Should we be showing more faith in our younger players and giving them a chance? I want to hear your views!