Filed: Saturday, 31st March 2012
By: Staff Writer
Former Hammer Rufus Brevett believes that Sam Allardyce's side face an uphill struggle to achieve promotion should they finish outside the Championship's top two this season.
Brevett, who spent two-and-a-half years at the Boleyn Ground between 2003 and 2005, was at the Boleyn Ground this afternoon to watch his former club lose 4-2 to promotion rivals Reading - despite dominating the opening exchanges.
The result leaves the Hammers as rank outsiders to finish in the automatic promotion spots, being as they are now four points behind the Royals who trail leaders Southampton - who were beaten 3-0 at Blackpool this evening - by a further two points.
And it's a scenario that Brevett believes could cost West Ham dearly, should they find themselves featuring in the Championship play-offs in just over a month's time.
"It's difficult because if you've been up there all season and end up falling into the play-offs, you go into them on a bit of a downer because it's not where you want to be," Brevett told KUMB.com.
"Whereas if you're a team that sneaks into the play-offs with the last kick of a game, then you're entering them on a high and the momentum takes you through. So you really don't want to be going into the play-offs."
Whilst the former left-back conceded that West Ham have played some decent football of late - including the first half of today's match against the Royals that they mostly controlled - Brevett still feels that manager Allardyce would need to pull out all the stops in order to take his team over the line.
"They played okay today, they did alright for the first 40 minutes," he surmised. "I think they controlled the game, they just had a mad two minutes towards the end of the half.
"If they keep playing like that - and if Big Sam can pick them up - then who knows? But by only getting in the play-offs they will be down, because it's not where they want to be."
The former QPR and Fulham defender also found it hard to explain just why West Ham have failed to perform at the Boleyn Ground in recent weeks - adding that he used to thoroughly enjoy playing in front of the Upton Park crowd.
"I don't know what it is," he mused. "When I played here, the season we got relegated, I loved playing at home. I loved playing here with the fans because everything's loud. I came from Fulham and here it was a completely different atmosphere.
"I've not seen much of West Ham this season. I've heard a lot on the radio saying it's all long ball but I didn't really see that today. But drawing against the likes of Doncaster? No disrespect to Doncaster - but if they win one or two of those games they're second in the league [at least]."
Despite spending just two-and-a-half years on West Ham's books - during which he was limited to 29 appearances as a result of an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for nine months - Brevett says that he loves to come back and say "hello" to some of his former colleagues from time to time.
The club, he insists, is unique - and one that deserves to be playing at the highest level of English football.
"I love West Ham, I think it's a proper football club with proper fans as well," he said. "And the thing is, you can't fool the fans - they like someone who's going to go out and work hard.
"They're not stupid, if you're not doing it on the pitch they'll let you know - there's no hiding place when you've got 34,000 fans out there.
"Last year I went to the training ground and they roll the red carpet out for you, it's fantastic. You had Tim [De'Ath] the chef, the kit man - it's all proper people down there. I was only there for two years but I don't get that reception when I go to Fulham's training ground or QPR's training ground.
"I just think it's a proper football club - and they need to get back where they belong."
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