Filed: Thursday, 24th May 2012
By: Richard Williams
Saturday was arguably one of the most intense, dramatic, exciting and heart stopping moments in football I've ever seen.
Sounds over the top but in reality it was anything but! The football nation has sat in front of their telly numerous times over the last ten years having been whipped into a frenzy by Messrs Redknapp, Keys, Gray and Souness only to have witnessed an occasion with the excitement of dance act number 17 on Britain’s Got Talent.
The cut and thrust, the diversity and the sheer way in which the scales changed balance over a ten minute period will forever etch itself in the hearts of even the most southern of supporter (ironically most of them would be United fans anyway!)
While this was going on, my thoughts turned to Allardyce and what he was thinking. As much as the title race was a spectacle not to be missed, Sam had other fish to fry (and probably batter). With Wolves and Blackburn already in the Championship, it was QPR or Bolton who were on the precipice of relegation.
I began drawing up next seasons transfer targets in my head. A unique twist on the life of a West Ham fan given that we are normally on the receiving end of the scavengers. Even though these teams were relegated, and certainly with Wolves and Blackburn well deserved, there is a strong selection of players up for grabs.
The financial difficulties faced by all three clubs relegated have been very well publicised and we know they must sell to stay afloat. While evaluating the players we could potentially sign, I drew up a team in my head worthy or a mid table Premier League finish.
GK: Jussi Jaaskeleinen (Bolton) A solid keeper who has been around the block and then some. Once touted by Sir Alex Ferguson and the subject of numerous top four bids, he decided to stay where he would achieve first team football. Arguably on the receiving end of the best performance a by a Premier League keeper this season. With the imminent departure of Robert Green, and promotion on the cards, a steady , experienced pair of hands could be what we need next season.
RB: Martin Olsson (Blackburn) Electric pace and a fantastic final delivery, Olsson has terrorised defenders all season. His ability to make up ground on wingers with a last ditch tackle has seen him progress in the team and internationally. He could be an ideal replacement for Faubert who’s sub standard performances and departure in the summer will prompt replacing.
CB: Scott Dann (Blackburn) Although he has had some mixed performances towards the end of the season, Arsenal were interested in signing him and reports suggest they were very close to it. He has the ability aerially and is a great leader. He also has age on his side and would be a good back up should Faye leave in the summer.
CB: David Wheater (Bolton) Captained Middlesborough before their demise, numerous England U21 caps alongside Tomkins, Wheater would be great young player to bring into our squad. The only issue is his current knee injury but perhaps there is a bargain to be had if we gamble?
LB: Marcos Alonso (Bolton) Maybe not with the pace of Olsson but certainly with the defensive capabilities, Alonso has arguably been one of Bolton’s best players this season. McCartney’s injury troubles this season have seen us push Taylor back into left back where he looks uncomfortable. Granted he has the quality to carry out the role but his delivery is a big part of his game and as such, he would prefer to be higher up the pitch. Alonso makes fantastic overlapping runs and they would work great together.
LM: Morten Gaamst Pederson (Blackburn) Fantastic energy up and down the wing, Pederson has shown for countless seasons that he has a fantastic delivery, is lethal from set pieces and has vast International experience. He can both defend and attack, and would be a great addition to the squad.
CM: Jamie O’Hara (Wolves) We won’t hold it against him that he is an ex Spud, O’Hara shows commitment no matter where he plays. He has a great ability from free kicks and has not shown true potential in a very disappointing Wolves side this season. Based on work rate and his ability to pick a pass, he is a useful addition but would probably make the bench.
RM: Chris Eagles (Bolton) In my opinion, this is the most needed player of the lot. This season alone we have played Vaz Te, Cole, Collison, Noble and Faubert wide right, all of whom do not play there. West Ham’s lack of width has cost us this season without the ability to switch to plan B. Eagles is quick, can beat a man, has fantastic delivery and pops up with vital goals. A starter in next years team.
AMR: Junior Hoillet (Blackburn) The best player in this team. His numerous wonder goals this season nearly kept Blackburn up alone. He is young, quick and can score on site from anywhere. The type of player who can come up with that bit of magic that wins games. Unfortunately for us, it seems he will be going to a top club but if we act fast anything’s possible.
AML: Matt Jarvis (Wolves) This really is a no brainer. One of the hottest properties of all three relegated clubs given that his natural position is left wing, he is English and has International experience. With Taylor playing more defensive and with a cloud of scepticism from the Upton Park faithful, a goal scoring and attacking winger is just what we need.
CF: Stephen Fletcher (Wolves) How Wolves went down with the attacking promise of Fletcher and Doyle up front amazes me. Fletcher is a class act, scoring fantastic goals for Wolves this season in some of their biggest games. He can score with either foot or his head and is the sort of player who would have made a big difference for us this season when we were not hitting the net. The reason he would suit our style is his ability to hold up the ball and link others in. Again, I fear we must be quick to act before a big club comes in.
In addition to the above squad, you could even fill a subs bench. Kevin Doyle narrowly missed out on a starting place and is another player we should be looking at. He has experience with both Reading and Wolves scoring goals wherever he plays. Do not be fooled by the lack of service he has had in a poor Wolves side, he is a great goal scorer. Karl Henry is a tough tackling defensive midfielder, Formica and Yakubu score goals at Blackburn and Mark Davies is a promising young Midfielder with drive and the ability to score a goal.
So while others are marveling at a fantastic end to a season, looking forward to the play off final and the Champions League, West Ham fans would forgive Allardyce for taking his eye of the prize over the next couple of days to start making moves on some valuable additions to our team. It may sound presumptious to start making ‘Premier League’ signings before you have arrived there but the greatest managers are always two steps ahead and the Premier League vultures will no doubt be circling already.
The next two weeks will prove VITAL for next seasons success, acting now will no doubt prevent us paying over the odds for the Ljungbergs and Boa Mortes! Now is the time for Mr Gold and Sullivan to prove that they have changed the old ways and assert themselves as the shrewd businessmen they profess to be.
* Richard Williams is the host of the claretsweatandtears.co.uk blog. Richard may also be found on Twitter at @CSAT_whufc.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
11:17AM 31st May 2012
''Some ok names aka Hoilett/ Jarvis/ Fletcher but in reality this article only serves to overhype what in general are a group of average to less than average players.
I would much rather we look to upcoming players from the lower leagues blended with some experienced Premier League journeyman rather than building a squad of 2011/12 relegees.''
08:19AM 31st May 2012
''I was enjoying that article until I noticed the names of Wheater and O'Hara. Two names synonymous with relegation, a bit like that Neil Redfearn bloke a few years back. And, come to think of it, Avram Grant. I think I'll go and lie down now.''
by Chuck D
09:25PM 27th May 2012
''It's amazing that these players got relegated, considering how ACE they all are...''
01:38PM 26th May 2012
''Others for the list:
BRING BACK OBINNA. Only 7 apps for Moscow since he moved, could come for £1m-ish and excels in the final third which suits the Allardyce way.
FREE - Kevin Davies should be due a free from Bolton.
£4m - Kenwyne Jones: If Sam can motivate him he is a great target man who can share position with Cole, supported by Davies, Obinna and one from Vaz Te, Baldock or Maynard. Reckon keep Maynard as we'd get more for other two and the latter is better at linking with midfield.
£15m - Wolves' Matt Jarvis, Roger Johnson and Michael Kightly. Latter in last year of contract could come for £1m-ish. Dann a better footballer than Johnson but not the same set-piece threat or motivator. Also Johnson better suited to Sam's requirements.
FREE - Ferguson wants Rafael out on loan. Perfect for us.
£5m - Need to spend on a good player that's experienced but in mid 20s, ideally. Olsson the right type but also thought he was a leftback. Keep McCartney get Rafael (who can play either side) so rightback most important slot to fill. There's not much up-and-coming talent in England at the moment (apart from Seamus Coleman but I doubt Everton would sell). Need to get at least one rb (probably on the continent with proven ability) and might have to rely on Demel as a stand in if Rafael needed at left back.
£2m - If we could do a deal with Birmingham for Larsson in exchange for Taylor + £2m (?) that would be good. His delivery is top class. Essential we have at least three good crossers in the squad. Kightly, Jarvis, Larsson would mean anything from fullback a bonus.
FREE - Need experienced midfielders. Joe Cole (good delivery), Christian Poulsen (probably free) and Owen Hargreaves (definitely free) should be considered. Very important to have players on the bench who can see out a game we're leading, or direct play if Collison/Noble struggling or offer a spark when we're chasing a game (Cole, Hargreaves a little bit).
Sell O'Neill plus 2 strikers for around £4-5m making a net budget of £20-odd million including free transfer sign-on / loan fees.''
by keith cockayne
01:24PM 25th May 2012
''Vladimir Weiss is the man. Seen him many times in serie A. Never disappoints.''
09:02AM 25th May 2012
''Some interesting names. Martin Olsson would be great, but is playing on the left though...''
08:04AM 25th May 2012
''I agree with all of that. I would love to see Chris Eagles and Matt Jarvis join us, the one thing we have lacked for a few years now are natural wingers. We have not had one since Etherington left us and I for one would love to see them at our club.''
07:55PM 24th May 2012
''Good article. Very interesting.''
10:16AM 24th May 2012
''I cant see any of those players listed being any better than we already have. We need to go forward, not back.''
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