West Ham internal fighting, playing poorly and they could have zero points by Halloween

At the end of last season which of course didn’t end until July there seemed to finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for West Ham. A team who looked one of the favourites to be relegated picked up 12 points in their last six games and easily survived relegation. One of those matches was beating Champions League hunting Chelsea, West Ham were for real and manager David Moyes had found the tactic to connect the players, or had he?

Was the back end of last season simply a group of players, us against the world, and us against dropping down to the Championship? Did the players unite together and show what they are capable of only to not get relegated? If so West Ham have more problems than they initially thought. That kind of team spirit usually leads to the sacking of the manager six months later and everything slowly falling apart. Players can’t win every game, granted, but there needs to be the want to play 100% for the team, throw in consistency and you a decent side.

Last season West Ham had dreams of being Wolves or Sheffield United but they played much like bottom club Norwich for the majority of the season. But those final few games did suggest that the team had turned a corner and yet they went and lost their first game of the season.

A 2-0 loss at home v Newcastle is not good, but of course it isn’t the end of the world. But it was the way the team played. It was as if this game was number 60 in a long hard season and not the Hammers first. Everything seemed off even Moyes final team selection. Leaving Felipe Anderson on the bench just seemed odd. The players played without heart in a game that on paper they could have won. There was nothing here, it reminded one of their first game of the season last August, against Manchester City they put in a dire toothless display. But then again this was Manchester City. But still he performance was a foreshadow of how the majority of their season would end up.

Then there is the in fighting. Thankfully this isn’t with Moyes, he’s seen as the good guy and the players are with him, though you would be forgiven for thinking that in the Newcastle game. This is all down to ownership,David Sullivan and David Gold need to go according to West Ham fans, enough is enough. Wasted money, too much bad recruitment and of course THAT stadium move, the fans have had enough. It’s hard to blame them, change is needed and fresh owners that can pounce on ideas and inject cash into the team would be a welcome change.

Possibly the final straw for the players, especially captain Mark Noble was when the board decided to sell Grady Diangana. He tweeted his disapproval with “As captain of this football club I’m gutted, angry and sad that Grady has left, great kid with a great future!!!!!” Diangana was sold to Premier League rivals West Bromwich Albion for just £18m which is a steal if as Noble suggested he goes on to have a great future. West Ham will counter that with the pandemic they needed to raise some money.

As for Noble most football media have said he was wrong to make his feelings public, but at the same time Noble isn’t stupid and did this to highlight the fact that Sullivan and Gold need to go. At the same time all of this came on eve of their Premier League game with Newcastle and with such a poor display Noble was made the scapegoat. But Noble would have told his teammates of his feelings behind the scenes anyway.

Despite a poor league performance West Ham did beat Charlton in the Carabao Cup which was a big boost for the club in their 3-0 win. It was telling that Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko who played with pace on the flanks both started, and yet in the league match remained on the bench.

Maybe there is hope for the side to bounce back quick, but they have a very tough schedule up until October 31st. Their next league game is away to Arsenal who have an abundance of confidence right now and that will be the Gunners first home game of the season. Then they will return home to play Wolves which will be a tricky game and Wolves controlled the last match played at London Stadium near the end of last season.

Leicester is up next and that is at King Power Stadium and with the way the Foxes have started this season they look just as good as last. Then it’s time for more London rivals as they take on Tottenham away from home, by then Jose Mourinho’s side could be in need of points themselves after starting the campaign with a loss.

What follows is a double whammy. Facing the last two Premier League champions. It’s Manchester City at home first up, in a fixture that ended 5-0 to City last season. And then on Halloween it could be a right horror story when the club face the champions Liverpool at Anfield.

It’s very possible that David Moyes team could be looking for their first point as we enter November. At the same time the Hammers have proven to step up in the face of tough fixtures before just look to last Christmas as evidence for that, and then again the last few games of last season. There is that burning desire in the team that somehow lasts, and that is to prove people wrong in the heat of it, but fail against teams in which they are expected to beat.

This will be an interesting few weeks then and will show the real character of the club. David Moyes winning percentage for them simply isn’t good enough though and the writing may start to get written on the wall as early as November. For West Ham it’s time to step up once more.

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Where did David Sullivan and David Gold go wrong at West Ham?

Ask many West Ham fans what they think of their owners and you will be met with quite a few colourful words. This in part is because of two things: 1) the club are going backwards under their ownership and 2) not many fans are happy with the new stadium and yearn for the old one, or at least one where there was some atmosphere.

In discussing why West Ham are going backwards, one thing we need to set clear is how many delusional figure heads keep repeating that West Ham have spent very little. This is simply not true and the club have spent close to a quarter of a billion pounds on players in the last four years. On that part it is hard to criticise David Sullivan and David Gold.

The obvious problem though is that expenditure may not be enough in the Premier League. In France’s Ligue 1 for example that budget could well have you chasing PSG but the bar has been set so high in the Premier League. If we look at the money that the Hammers have spent in the last four years it averages out at around £60m per season. It’s difficult to compete with teams when the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool and that is just a few examples can spend that money on one player.

Still winning the league isn’t the priority for West Ham, just staying in it is. With the money spent they shouldn’t be 18th after 25 games though. Look at the likes of Sheffield United and Wolves, but one could also argue that along with good ownership and the owners have also employed very reliable and solid managers too.

One has to question how Sullivan and Gold thought that bringing back David Moyes was a good idea. Moyes had already been West Ham manager and finished with a win rate of 29%. Sullivan and Gold had already sacked him for Manuel Pellegrini which seemed to be a good move before Pellegrini seemingly lost focus. But to bring him back, that was as the French say a faux pas.

Some of the fans evidently hate the owners, and there have been protests and will be more, they want change and they want them out.

If fans want to complain how much money has been invested then that isn’t really going to rub, money has been spent, has it been spent wisely? no not always. But when the club invested in Sebastian Haller last summer it seemed like great business. Haller had scored 20 plus goals for Eintract Frankfurt and had helped the club reach the semi finals of the Europa League, the £45m they paid on him seemed like good business. But the striker has been next to appalling this season only having a couple of good games.

For every intentional good buy there has been a questionable one though, why did the club chase after Pablo Fornals? Because some pundits thought he was good? He wasn’t even near the best players in La Liga last season and yet the Hammers chased after him like he was the second coming and spent close to £30m he has been playing like a version of the invisible man this season.

Maybe the biggest problem with Sullivan and Gold’s ownership is that even though they are fans of the club, they don’t understand the philosophy of how the club need to be run. They don’t seem able to treat or give the fans what they want. The stadium move idea wasn’t a bad decision but the location and moving to the Olympic Stadium was. And for season ticket holders and loyal fans it does rub them up the wrong way that their club don’t even own the stadium and taxpayers have had to help pay for the stadium.

Fans seem to feel ashamed of their owners, and the truth is both Sullivan and Gold do have love for the club and do want the club to do well, if not they wouldn’t have invested so much money over the four years. They have just made some mistakes, bad decisions and above all they are not listening to their fans anymore, that is the sad reality of the situation.

Now West Ham have one of their biggest battles in their recent history. They have been relegated plenty of times in the league, but this one would feel different. A new hope, a new stadium, the Olympic one at that and playing in the Championship? It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, and there are no guarantees that you will be coming up again anytime soon, just look at Leeds United as a perfect example of what can happen.

The next 90 days will be pivotal for the owners, fans and club.

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Poor results, protests to be held and a fan banned- Are West Ham in meltdown?

In football you have two stories: one is on the pitch and one is off it. This season West Ham have had negative stories on and off it.

It was clear that after a decent first season in charge Manuel Pellegrini had lost focus and the Chilean was soon sacked. But the club owners brought in David Moyes, he who was West Ham manager before Pellegrini, he who gave a winning return of just 29% and he who was deemed no good and was sacked in favour of Pellegrini. Talk about taking steps backwards.

Results under Moyes have been poor, bar his first game when the club beat Bournemouth 4-0, they also beat Gillingham in the FA Cup. Since then they have lost numerous games, the highlight being a 4-1 beating against Leicester and they have been knocked out of the FA Cup. Under Pellegrini the side were poor but were above the relegation zone, now they are in it and 18th what does that make Moyes’ status?

Fans have not been happy and this week there was a controversial incident which saw a long standing season ticket holder banned from home and away games this season. He had volunteered to be a flag bearer on the touchline, but there seemed something else behind his reasoning. That was to show the TV cameras his t shirt which read GSB out. That stands for club owners David Sullivan and David Gold and the B is a reference to Karen Brady who has also presided over the club. The board were not happy, wrote the fan a letter and now he is banned for the season.

It was a one man protest but much of the fans it seems are with him, and they want Sullivan and Gold to sell the club. It seems understandable too as so many mistakes in the transfer and recruitment of a manager have been made. From the outside at least there does seem to be a lack of ambition. There have already been silent protests and it is getting worse and worse and will do.

There is a plan to release black balloons when the club take on Liverpool at Anfield and in their next game at home against Southampton there will be even more protests. The pressure will be on Sullivan and Gold, after all who would want to stay and own a club where the fans don’t want or like you? Mike Ashley at Newcastle could sympathise with this but the anger of the West Ham fans seems more deeper and genuine.

At the root of the anger, and perhaps this isn’t every fan, but it is the stadium move. Did any long standing fan really want to move from the Boleyn Ground. If so they would have wanted a modern stadium but without the gaps to the pitch. Many fans have said there is no atmosphere at the stadium any more and in fact no home advantage as clubs like coming to play at the Olympic Stadium. Others have said that sound does not travel well and so when Hammers fans sing and try to cheer on their team it gets taken away.

Right now it feels as if West Ham need a new beginning and that is a damning verdict given that the stadium was supposed to be that.

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