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Filed: Tuesday, 2nd April 2019
By: Robert Barlow

Achievemephobia; fear of success and fear of moving forward.

See also, West Ham United FC.

While pointlessly I gripe with the word and how awfully chosen it is, (successophobia now dubbed the actual word for this phenomenon, by yours truly), I come away from an abject display at the London Stadium. Some things never change.

More-so some things are always the same old story.

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This was at least our fourth chance this season to climb the table and top the 'other 14', in fairness with a game less in hand to both Watford and Wolves who, surprise surprise, both lost on the day hours before us.

It begs the question really whether we are cut out for that seventh spot yet. If we are ready for European football next season. In my eyes weíre far from it, not to say it isnít a great desire of mine. Seeing us travel abroad for European fixtures in Denmark, Croatia, Italy, Germany and the like is a luxury Iím sure we can all get behind.

Perhaps though we just canít handle the pressure. The weight of expectation to be the best of the rest is derived from a strange sense of grandeur a lot of fans will have about their side, particularly at this level in such a competitive division.

We lack the depth, consistency and - dare I contradict myself - the winning mentality I so foolishly bought into back in December when the going was good. Weíre not there just yet.

But even through the best of times this club flatters to deceive.

Our best finish in the last few years came in our final season at Upton Park. Beating the top six on our travels up and down the country. It was nothing but dreamy.

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Looking back a seventh placed finish is commendable. something that in the present looks a pipe dream.

The reality of it in all honesty is that our regular bout of the aptly renamed 'successophobia' kicked in the moment we were considered a top four candidate by several media outlets.

Remarkable to be in the running for the heady heights and untold riches of Champions League football as it was, we only went on to spoil our fantasy with defeats at the end of the season against Swansea and Stoke City.

A total collapse in one of our last ever games at the Boleyn saw an uninspired Swansea side put four past us. We went down without swinging, something that has instilled itself into the clubís psyche for many years.

To take it even further back, I could add the almost inevitably predictable third place finish in our most recent Championship season.

Our team that year was by far the strongest in the division. Yet we laboured to a draw at home against Doncaster Rovers and were still humbled at Portman Road for our trip Ipswich Town. Those amongst other dubious results and many missed opportunities to top the table. I hark back to our clinically soul-destroying fear of success.

We seem to lack the ability to step up to the next level, with it now becoming more apparent that the psychological effects of high-pressure games takes a toll on the side. This paired with their often complacent displays away from home has ultimately cost us a shot at the top eight for me.

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I say that bearing very little confidence with regards our remaining fixtures. With three visits to sides in the top six still to come, itís more than likely we could stutter over the line this season in much the same fashion it began.

Things though can change in a matter of weeks. Chelsea are our next opponents. A side whose fans seem to respond to even the more minor setbacks theyíve suffered this season with bouts of chaotic rage.

They are there for the taking, somewhat dysfunctional and despite beating Cardiff on Sunday, their fans are dissatisfied and could be on their backs early doors.

Enter West Ham etcetera, etcetera.

In more positive tone, Felipe Anderson is set to return to the side, as is Mark Noble. Hopefully they both can instil some degree of organisation to the line-up when we go to Stamford Bridge.

After all, they canít do a worse job than was offered up against Everton. Surely not.

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Looking ahead to the summer window is always reason for mixed emotions. We seem primed for an overhaul of some sort, but with many familiar faces heading for the exit door.

Pellegriniís second real opportunity to compile a squad of his own will give us far more insight as to how our next campaign will develop.

As it stands, more of the same seems to be the realistic projection. But everybody has to face their fears head on eventually. Even West Ham United.

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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