Filed: Thursday, 13th September 2012
By: Reece Bateman
There is a feelgood factor at West Ham at the moment, one that not many fans can say they have felt for a good few seasons - and doesnít it make a pleasant change?
A number of things have left West Ham fans feeling invincible almost, starting at Wembley on May 19th. The day, the occasion, the result has left West Ham fans at the top of the world, and it has continued into the new Premier League season just like everyone had hoped. This renewed optimism around the team and the management is a great thing and hopefully it will continue all season long.
It was a glorious British summer, filled with the most spectacular Olympic Games in recent history, but for the dedicated football fan it was another chance to witness their teams strengthen their squads with the opening of the transfer window. Early on, West Ham were linked with just about anyone who could kick a ball, but the management and the board knew who their targets were and bided their time.
Sam Allardyce admitted to losing out on a few players he would have liked to have signed early on in the transfer window, but when you fast forward to 1st September and you see the players weíve acquired, it really has been a splendid summer.
Joint-Chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan were faced with a difficult situation; should they sign top quality players who will really strengthen the side and assist in a mid-table finish - or replace the players that have left with players of a similar standard and see how it goes?
Lots of fans at the start of the summer were incredibly sceptical that Gold and Sullivan would put their hands in their pockets to help West Ham out. Havenít they been proved wrong. The signings of Jussi Jaaskelainen and Stephen Henderson were hardly exciting, but they were necessary. Jussi has been one of the best keepers in the Premier League in the last decade and brings huge experience, whilst Henderson is a great prospect for the future.
George McCartney and James Collins were again necessary signings to help strengthen the defence, but hardly signings to instil much confidence. For me itís the signings of Mo Diame, Alou Diarra, Matt Jarvis and, of course, Andy Carroll that have proven that the board and management have really thought about where the team as a whole needs strengthening.
Many will argue we didnít need to sign two more central midfielders, but Diame has been the best player in a West Ham shirt this season whilst Diarra is a world class defensive midfielder who has captained the French national side. When you compare those two with some of the central players of last year it really is a no-brainer. Gary OíNeil and Papa Bouba Diop or Diame and Diarra? I know who Iíd rather have.
New boys James Collins and Andy Carroll line up ahead of the recent 3-0 win over Fulham
Even Jack Collison, one of our own, will probably not get much game time this season. Such a prospect a few seasons ago, the injury that kept him out for over a year has surely ended what could have been a glittering career. Iíve seen nothing to say he is going to grow into the player he could have been, and I believe in January/next summer he will be moved on to help fund a permanent deal for Carroll.
Jarvis and Carroll could prove to be two of the signings of the summer, even if we did pay over the odds for Jarvis. Last season Jarvis put more crosses into the box than any other Premier League player, and Carroll met the most headers. Surely this a great omen for a good season?
The fact Sullivan and Gold were prepared to stump up the £10.75million to get Jarvis in proved that they do want to improve West Ham. They donít want to just settle for 16th/17th place. They want to push West Ham into mid-table and then, hopefully, look to build on that again next summer.
Whatever the outcome at the end of the season, letís hope that the sense of belief and passion that the West Ham squad, management and fans all seem to possess at the moment can carry on. The summer was a signal of our intent, and everyone connected with West Ham needs to pick up where we left off before the international break.
Letís not get overly critical when we lose, letís not get pessimistic if Carroll does indeed prove to be out for the full six weeks quoted; we need to back whoever takes his place in the starting line-up.
West Ham need to prove they arenít a side who will roll over like we did the year we were relegated last, but we also need to realise we wonít play like we did against Fulham week in, week out. Consistency is what we should be aiming for but all Hammers fans will be pleased just to see the level of commitment and effort that we saw against Fulham. If the team works their socks off, there really wonít be much to complain about.
Big Sam and the squad still have a long way to go in this season, but the future looks bright; it looks claret and blue!
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.
02:44PM 13th Sep 2012
''Let's hope so with Collison. Having these boys around can only cause disturbances amongst the team and distraction from the fans enjoyment of some winning and entertaining football. It's not that he's a bad lad - it's just that WH have improved by becoming deeper and Jack is now out of his depth. There is a job to be done and we now have the men to do it.''
by David wise
01:27PM 13th Sep 2012
''I think it was a great transfer window for us, solid signings straight through the spine of the team. In my opinion James Collins will instil confidence in the whole back four and help Reid and Tomkins with their development as two very good centre backs. Diame adds pace and power to our midfield and allows Nolan more freedom to roam forward to join Andy Carroll In the box awaiting the delivery of crosses from Jarvis, Vaz Te, Taylor and Benayoun. It doesn't get much better than that for Hammers fans in the transfer window. Sam and Davids deserve a big thank you for all the summer signings I think, so hats off to them.''
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