As the current season draws to an unsatisfactory close, West Ham are all but safe from relegation and look to have secured another season in the top flight. But there is not much celebrating going on, not much smiling. What would bring a broad smile to the face of, say, a Cardiff fan, has left the West Ham faihful grumbling and fed up with the goings on at Upton Park Towers.
With continuing calls for the manager’s head, the Hammers approach the final 3 games needing the odd point or two to make sure of survival. But why is everyone one so miserable? And what can be done?
It is a matter of public record that the West Ham chairmen view financial stability, and thus Premier League survival, as the only item on the agenda prior to the move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. That’s why they employed Sam Allardyce in the first place, and that’s why he will remain our manager until then. Yes, there are managers available out there who could bring more attractive football to the club. But they also bring risk. Risk of it all going pear-shaped. Allardyce is the safe bet in financially uncertain times. He took us up from the Championship, and he’s kept us in the Premiership (God willing) for 2 years on the trot. He has done what has been asked of him, and he has done it under difficult circumstances (albeit some of his own making).
But yes it is dull. Boring. It is football by numbers. As I sit in my chair watching the game, I feel no passion. I feel numb. Depressed. I see a game plan that is the same every week. Don’t give anything away, defend for 80 minutes, and maybe we’ll pinch one at the other end. A nil-nil draw is “good” result. It is knock the ball up to Andy Carroll. He’ll knock it down for someone else to try to get on the end of it. Except we’re pretty crap at knocking it up to Carroll. Jarvis is in and out. Downing is just generally rubbish at crossing. The rest are just as bad. When Carroll needs an angled ball with pace on it, he gets a high floated effort that is as useful as a chocolate fireguard, or they chicken out altogether and knock it sideways. They paid how much a week? And they can’t even cross the ball very well? Sheesh. And that is Plan A. Plan B doesn’t exist (with Carroll in the team, anyway).
I was thinking the other day, that I would actually not mind us getting relegated if we played some decent football along the way and played with a bit of passion. But that’s not what it’s all about any more, football. It’s now all about money, fear, survival. Football is now a business. It matters not that it’s boring to watch. The fans will always turn up. It’s balance sheets and calculators. But that’s the way it is for everyone. We had better get used to it. The good old days are gone, never to return. If you have loads of money to spend you’ll be fine. It will even be fun to watch. But those of us scrabbling around at the bottom of the barrel will have to make do. (Financial Fair Play? What a crock of shite!)
I can see Allardyce going in a couple of years. Once he has done his job. Maybe the next chap will bring some flair and excitement, who knows? But for now, mid-table security is the best we can hope for. I suppose we ought to be grateful. The Davids have saved the club from finanical ruin and the club is now being run properly. They have spent a lot of their own dosh on the club, and I guess they have the right to do as they see fit. To be honest we should all be a bit grateful. I know it’s a bit crap at the moment, but I actually feel maybe we should just put up with it for a bit longer. Until the Olympic Stadium. We might even win something on the way. As they say, better safe than sorry.
Now where’s my medication?