The world at our feet

The world has turned in West Ham United's favour - just a bit - as our club moved towards the biggest changes in its history.

Four days in August have laid the foundations. Our first league victory of the season, qualified for the group stages of a European tournament and the pending arrival of a Brazilian superstar.


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And, behind the scenes, more moves towards a change of ownership and for the blatantly obvious involvement of our Czech mate in the whirlwind transfer window and spending of over £200m on new players - a ridiculous fortune compared to our past outlays.

Next March Daniel Kretinsky will be able to take further control of the club and from what has been happening in the transfer market these past few weeks, he does not want to be taking control of a club not moving forward - and quickly.

Of course this puts even more pressure on David Moyes, who was playing down the money available in the early days of the window. Now look at what he has to work with.

I sense we will see a very different West Ham on the field in a few weeks time and with Kretinsky shuffling the Czechs at the club on the boards and bringing JP Morgan executive Jiri Svarc in, Kretinsky seems to be streamlining the operation slowly but surely.

And Moyes looks to have the strongest squad the club has ever seen, certainly in the modern era. There's two experienced players now contesting every position, without the need to utilise youngsters or players Moyes has clearly sidelined like last season.

All well and good, but none of that refinement works without performances on the pitch. And three successive goalless defeats had done nothing to lift the anxiety at the club.

I spoke last week of the dangers of not reaching the European Conference group stages; would Emerson Palmieri, Thilo Kehrer or Lucas Paqueta be anywhere near our club without European football? It's why these past couple of weeks have been so stressful for all concerned.

Keep losing and the whole pack of cards collapses. There was talk of Moyes' job being in doubt and it still might be with Kretinsky maybe wanting his own man in place eventually. This time next year Moyes will have one year of his contract left, so he's not daft enough not to be aware of potential changes at some point.


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And things don't get any easier with Spurs and Chelsea next up and then the first Conference League group match at home to Bucharest, with big spending Newcastle four days later at the London Stadium.

So Moyes knows he must get this new-look squad firing on all cylinders and quickly, which didn't happen at Aston Villa with the five at the back many feel Moyes has been aiming for since last season failing at the first hurdle.

Aaron Cresswell, on the left of a three-man back line and Emerson as the wing back did not work after an initial reasonable first ten minutes. Emerson and Cresswell seemed to spend the time standing almost side-by-side and Villa exploited the uncertainty.

Moyes though made swift changes, taking off Emerson and reverting to a back four with Said Benrahma introduced in an attacking midfield role. And the change made an immediate impact, we were much more aggressive, attacking through the middle and deservedly seeing Pablo Fornals netting the winner to the delight of the claret and blue army at that end of the stadium.

Benrahma has started the season well, and Moyes - a regular critic of his sometimes poor decision making - praising the former Brentford man who many felt could be on his way this window.

But Moyes even had an arm round his shoulder at the end and I'd be surprised if any senior players leave in this window. The whole point, surely, has to have been to strengthen squad depth with experienced players.

Even though we now have five centre backs, injuries suggest Moyes won't let anyone go despite Villa making noises about Craig Dawson. The midfield is the same, suggestions that Barcelona are interested in Fornals should fall on deaf ears.

Pablo has been getting some stick this term - some of our fans are never happy unless they are scapegoating someone, are they? - but even with Paqueta arriving, we will always need Fornals' industry.

Cresswell, Benrahma, Manu Lanzini and now Tomas Soucek have over recent months been targeted by some fans. Soucek the most recent after two exhausting seasons. It happened again after Villa, but it's disappointing fans cannot see the industry, work rate, and effort the Czech puts in.


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It's all the nasty, messy stuff he gets through - breaking up moves, tackling, blocking and set piece quality at both ends of the pitch that I see as his qualities. And Moyes seems to see it too, however he deploys Paqueta. Soucek's match stats are better than Declan Rice so far this term.

And loyal Moyes won't abandon the old guard regardless of who we sign between now and Thursday, with a couple more on the cards. In fact Moyes turned to his tried and trusted players to achieve the second half turnaround at Villa.

He made a point of praising the old hands afterwards, ten of whom were on the pitch at the end. It was a reminder maybe to the new boys what levels they must reach to break into this side, who have produced the best back-to-back league seasons in our history.

Moyes has also been a bit cute this week, too. Praising the academy and also pointing out that progress and success is not just about money. It's funny then that he should have received criticism of his use of youth players, when he has given 13 their first team debuts in the past year or so.

There's no pleasing some folk. KUMB colleague Jack Elderton pointed out this week how once fans have reached an opinion about a player or manager, they rarely change their minds. In fact, I sense they use everything that comes along to twist and justify their initial judgement.

Now Moyes has made mistakes in the transfer market and he does frustrate fans and folk at the club alike. But the away fans were singing his name throughout at Villa and to a man when the players and Moyes came across to applaud the travelling supporters at the end. He will retain that support if he tweaks the squad carefully these next few weeks.

Sometimes in football you see an obviously turning point in a club's fortunes. Ours could well have been this past few weeks in the market and the Champions League-quality players we have attracted.

And if a little Brazilian magic can be added to the pot, I may be persuaded to get my Brazil 1970 shirt out for an airing. The best team the world has ever produced (and no, I have no intention of debating the issue). Welcome to West Ham, Lucas, we've been waiting for you!

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