Yet Another Tame Cup Exit
Yet again a promising cup run comes to an end in the most disappointing way. Not that away to Manchester United was ever going to be easy. And that the cause was helped by having held them to a draw a few days earlier leaving the hosts with a feeling that they had something to prove. No, it wasn’t simply the fact that West Ham are now out of a competition that was probably the best chance of silverware it was the manner of the surrender that has created such disappointment and disquiet. It is difficult to find any positives in the game with the possible exception of Ashley Fletcher’s first goal for West Ham. Otherwise it was a lame, tame, feeble performance.
Look Through Any Window
Much has been said already about the outcome of the terrible summer transfer window and there I was believing that we had poached a hot-shot head of recruitment from Everton. There are possibly one or two for the future in the assorted incomings but none has served ti improve the first team. The only silver lining is that common sense prevailed and that Zaza and Tore ended up as loan deals rather than parting with £30 million plus for theor services. Our stock in being able to attract players before the season would have been reasonably high but now, out of Europe and looking at a relegation battle, it is a much less attractive proposition for potential transfer targets. The worry is that we will need to shell out for short term fire-fighters to get out of a hole at the expense of continued squad improvement. It would be a big surprise to me if Payet is still at the club in January; maybe it would be a good time to cash-in (it’s what Arsenal would do) but the worry is that modern day Rigobert Songs and Titi Camaras would be the type of players bought with the proceeds.
Less Than the Sum of the Parts
We had played reasonably well on Sunday but then so poorly just a few days later. Same ground, same opposition, same formation and with only minor personnel changes. How does a team go from being organised and disciplined to amateur and shambolic in such a short space of time? Bad attitude or bad coaching? The 3 at the back formation was instigated to fix a particular defensive problem, had some initial success but is now looking very unconvincing when taking account of the players that we have at our disposal. It might have looked a good option for the defence but ignored what would happen in front of it. The system/ formation is not a good fit, players do not look comfortable with it and it does not allow some to perform to their strengths. A club that has such blatant gaps in its squad strength (right back and striker) in a multi-million pound industry raises some serious questions as to how it is governed.
Careful What You Wish For
We were careful what we wished for and got ourselves an ex-player as manager who performed commendably well in his first season even though it was characterised by over-performing against big clubs and under-performing against the others. Most of the goodwill earned, however, has dribbled away in the opening months of this campaign. On the evidence of the season to date the coaching staff do not score highly on the team’s motivation, discipline, fitness or organisation. Add to that some bizarre transfers, team selections and substitutions then the level of confidence in their ability is trending relentlessly downwards. Perhaps it is not yet time for hysteria but I’d be removing the glass from the panic button just in case.
Turning Down The Volume
The Owners have come in for a lot of stick about the shortcomings of bringing new players into the club. Personally, I don’t like the way that they appear to do so much of their business in public, giving it large in the press and on Twitter as to who the targets are and how much wedge is in our war chest. On the other hand I don’t think that it’s a case of money not being made available. For a club our size the net spend is significant in circumstances where we have had no big-money exits in many years. If rumour is to be believed it was Sullivan who vetoed the straight transfers of Zaza and Tore which at least shows some good judgement. Overall I still believe that they have done a great job for the club, but wish they would do it more quietly.