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The Band-Aid effect

Filed: Monday, 15th January 2018
By: Tim Alexander

West Ham has long been in the business of what my best friend refers to as the 'Band-Aid Effect'.

Every January, our club goes into the window with one goal - to stop the bleeding. To avoid relegation, our club does just enough to keep us up. Buying players to fill the gaps but nothing over the top while too often disregarding the talent that we have in our youth system.

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We as fans go into every transfer window with high hopes only to have them slowly fade away. But as we Hammers Fans always say, "Fortune is always hiding." Though, it has stayed hidden from us for far too long.

Last January the window saw us linked with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michy Batshuayi, and Daniel Sturridge, amongst others. In the end we ‘settled’ for Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte.

Here I have to mention how much I think of the two (as footballers) and respect both of the players we signed, but it is a far shout from what the board stated with their 'Champions League expectations' after the move from Upton Park. Neither are currently playing for us with Fonte injured and Snodgrass tearing the Championship apart on loan.

This summer we started to slowly move in the right direction bringing in Marko Arnautovic, Chicharito, Pablo Zabaleta, and Joe Hart (on loan). While this might have left us hopeful at the beginning of the year, we started slow and here we are again in the same position as last year.

One more relegation fight to stay up and another January window to stop the bleeding.

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We all knew Bilic's time was running out, and when it did, I think we were all surprised that David Moyes replaced him. I have to admit I wasn't too happy when Moyes came in to take the reins. But, I stuck by the team and let things come together and have been surprised with the results.

One of the most encouraging moves with Moyes is that we are slowly seeing youngsters on the pitch. The recall of Reece Oxford has me more than excited with what could be, given he is put on the pitch where many fellow Hammers fans believe he belongs. I still cannot find one good reason why they would even consider selling the kid.

Josh Cullen clearly put himself out there in the FA Cup game and played with pride for the badge along with fellow loan returnee Reece Burke. Declan Rice has been a stalwart for us throughout the season when he is on the pitch and absolutely a delight to watch. Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina are on the edge of getting consistent looks in the team. There have been calls for Martin Samuelson to get a first-team look.

While I believe our youngsters are better than any 'Band-Aid' solution that could come to us in January, I cannot help myself to fall back to the broken promises that were made to us.

The hopes of a William Carvahlo or a world-class star coming in and turning our hopes around seems to get smaller by the day. This window has linked us with over 20 players, with Harry Arter, Jonjo Shelvey, and Joe Allen seeming the players that fit into the typical West Ham grade signings in January.

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Not too much, not too little, but just enough. If it is support, even in the smallest amount, it is enough. While I like all three of these players, they are not in the same league as William Carvalho or Leander Dendocker, who we've also been linked with.

I think the time has come to play our youth and trust the talent we have, if real talent is not an option in January. I believe we will indeed stop the bleeding enough to stay alive another day (or year in this case) in the Premier League.

I even see luck swinging our way and us making a top 10 push, potentially competing for a European spot. This of course provided that we have some luck here and there (insert Bournemouth draw). Regardless, it will be up to the squad that we have assembled until now along with those that will or have joined us in January.

Let us hope that this window isn't just another Band-Aid slapped on our wounds and that the club decides to close the wounds for good by either bringing in real talent that can move us up the table and to where we were promised we would be, or by keeping our talented youth players and putting them on the field.

As I mentioned earlier with Moyes playing our youngsters, the solution may be right in front of us without the need to sign anyone in January. I know I am tired of putting the 'Band-Aid' on our beloved club every January window and I hope you are too.

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.

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