Summertime blues? Let's hope not

It’s going to be a long hot summer like no other in West Ham’s history. But will it be a summer of love - or a summer of discontent?

That all depends on how the transfer window develops. One thing is for sure - David Moyes, after producing West Ham’s best two back- to-back league seasons in 100 years will be under intense pressure and scrutiny. Such is the life of a football manager at the top end of the profession.

Embed from Getty Images

But at West Ham it’s never that simple. I doubt than even he knows who he is really working for, with one set of owners clearly on the way out and another waiting in the wings, sort of. He’s the man for the future who will - or should - be having a major say in who is bought and sold.

I mean, it stands to reason that second largest shareholder, Daniel Kretinsky will have his own views on a lot of things. Has he been impressed with the dour, organised Glaswegian, or will be have some bright idea of employing a top-of-the-range, charismatic European coach?

He will maybe look at the sort of impact two Germans (or three if you include interim Manchester United chief Ralph Rangnick), his Dutch successor plus two Spaniards and an Italian have had on the foreign monopoly of the top six.

Not much room there for functional, pragmatic Scots you’d be forgiven for thinking. But Moyes is not daft. He can read the room, he will know that this coming summer transfer window must be spot on if he is not going to find himself as someone’s fall guy before the summer of 2023.

West Ham could well have a new owner by then. Kretinsky has the option to complete his takeover in March, at roughly the same time that GSB - basically major shareholder David Sullivan - can sell up without bothering the taxman, as they say.

We’ve found out a little more about Kretinsky lately, now he’s been named as the 36th richest individual in the UK with a £3billion fortune which includes ownership of Heath Hall in Barnet, the listed property built by William Lyle of Tate and Lyle fame. I wonder if Kretinsky understands the link between his London pad and the Silvertown factory that many ancestors of West Ham fans used to work at in the East End?

He is in the Sunday Times List because of his London home and the UK investments that include 10% of Sainsbury (£565m), 20% of Royal Mail (£676m) and the Prague based energy company that runs sites in Yorkshire, Northumberland and Devon. The money is there if he wants to invest in West Ham’s transfer kitty.

So how much input does Kretinsky have now? It’s pretty obvious that GSB will not be throwing fortunes at this window with them departing the scene shortly. Frankly, I sense talk of massive transfer budgets at the moment is just hot air.

Why should they, would be the realistic view, having overseen two European qualifications in the past two seasons, two top seven finishes and a European semi-final?

The question, maybe, is show us your money now Danny boy, if you want to start building for the future in terms of regular European qualification after the current owners have gone. The word is our board have already made this approach.

All this will have an impact on how Moyes restructures a squad, most of whom were brought together by four previous managers. The lengths of contracts, ages and wages are in general not of his making, or its strengths and weaknesses.

Embed from Getty Images

He’s made mistakes in the market, missed a few he should have got and failed to add to the depth and numbers in the last two windows, but it would be unreasonable to blame him for everything that has gone on there, such are the complexities of agents and Sullivan’s involvement that he has inherited.

But regardless there’s a lot to do and not much time in which to do it. Our hero Mark Noble, has left the building, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks and David Martin will soon follow while Nikola Vlasic, Alex Kral and Arthur Masuaku also likely departures. Noble, in one of his farewell interviews said we were short of three players - a left back, a central midfielder and a striker. As if we didn’t know.

Next summer there’s another six players out of contract. Before then it seems likely the club will want to know the thoughts of Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen on their futures, after those two have had a holiday and before the transfer window opens next month.

On the Rice issue, I tend to discount all the ‘he’s not for sale and he’s staying’ stuff. That may be the case, but things could change once Chelsea’s financial problems are sorted out and that will be very soon. Manchester United will also get their act together in line with the arrival of Erik ten Hag who has been promised vast amounts to put right the mess at Old Trafford. Chelsea likewise.

This government, who have been playing hard ball with Roman Abramovich, will not want a club supported by half their front bench and by most of their Surrey heartland to go to the wall. Todd Boehly, the LA Dodgers owner, will take over Chelsea and give Thomas Tuchel the cash to tempt Rice and West Ham.

Rice may well stay and keep his word, but the summer is a long time.

So Moyes, who has now sadly lost first team coach Stuart Pearce - the former England star has opted to follow other options, manager at QPR or Burnley anyone? - will have his work cut out. And the competition gets tougher.

Leicester and Wolves will be in the mix, as well as oil-rich Newcastle. But I feel the main competitor in our part of the market will be Aston Villa. Their American owners promised Steven Gerrard a massive transfer budget when they took him from Rangers and he is already boosting their squad, signing previous West Ham target Boubacar Kamara from Marseille.

The French international has opted for Villa ahead of Atletico Madrid, who will be in the Champions League. That underlines Villa’s wages and the pull of Gerrard, who also wants Kalvin Phillips and Burnley free transfer James Tarkowski - both players we have been linked with.

But that’s for the future. For now I am not over the disaster of Brighton. We really shouldn’t feel like this, should we? This deep sense of loss, a bitter end to a remarkable season with not much sweet about it at the moment.

And I don’t know about you lot out there, but I’m not handling it as well as I should be. It’s been one of the best seasons in our history, coupled with the previous campaign these are the best back-to-back seasons since we joined the Football League over 100 years ago.

Embed from Getty Images

But we have fallen short, by just one league position compared to last, and Moyes admits to failure, to not doing his job as well as he hoped, which is harsh in the extreme.

This is not a Moyes-bashing article, because I believe he has done a tremendous job turning this club around from the relegation fighting outfit he took over. He should be proud of himself, but he’s too honest maybe and has opened himself up to the usual dog whistle abuse.

I’m proud of our team who have worked their socks off to take us to the brink of a European final and two top seven finishes in succession. But there’s something missing, and Moyes eluded to it after the shattering defeat at Brighton, when Europa League qualification and the opportunity to finish above Manchester United for the first time in 36 years slipped through our fingers.

For ten glorious minutes when we were ahead at the AmEx Stadium and Manchester United were losing we were back in the Europa League. But somehow it didn’t happen.

Moyes hit on it. He admitted the players knew that the Old Trafford club were losing, they knew what the goal was and that it was theirs to claim. But they couldn’t grab that opportunity and that failure makes the close season and our immediate future much harder to negotiate.

Moyes expected resilience, fight, toughness, sheer desire and will to win in that final half at Brighton. It was nothing to do with tiredness, everybody is knackered by the last day, but something was lacking - and Moyes knows he must solve that.

Up at the Etihad, Manchester City were 2-0 down with ten minutes left and raised themselves, found the character needed to score three times and win the title. Why couldn’t we find that spirit to give our season the perfect conclusion?

It’s harsh, but this is failure at this level of very fine margins. This season we have lost more matches, scored less, conceded more and accrued fewer points than last season. That’s what Moyes calls failure.

Last season we were just two points off Champions League qualification, this time around it’s 15. It shouldn’t feel like this, but we can all put finger on moments that we have lost points.

The last seconds home defeat by Brentford, the last minute defeats at Chelsea and Manchester United, the obvious foul in the box against Craig Dawson in the draw at Burnley. The ridiculous decision to bring on Noble for a late penalty - missed - that cost us a home point with Manchester United.

We were so, so close again. Maybe that’s why this hurts so much regardless of a memorable season of which we should be rightly proud.

* Like to share your thoughts on this article? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

* Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the highlighted author/s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official policy or position of

More Opinion