West Ham United have had a roller coaster ride over recent years. They’ve done everything from relegation, promotion, a stadium move to owning one of the world’s best players. I take a look at West Ham’s season so far and expectations for next season.
Slaven Bilic has brought stability, confidence and technicality to West Ham United. Starting off in their former stadium, Upton Park (also known as The Boleyn Ground) Bilic instantly became a fans favourite after wooing fans with some incredible signings, as well as recording impressive wins (including a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates on his first Premier League game in charge of the Hammers). However, things in the present haven’t been so rosy as they find themselves in the lower half of the table, does this perhaps show how one of their former players really did “carry the team”?
Of course, I’m talking about Dimitri Payet. The Frenchman rose to fame during his time in London, scoring unbelievable strike after strike for the club, as he then became one of France’s most exciting players during their Euro 2016 campaign. His free kicks were from another planet as he continued to add to his tally, finally ending up with a total of 11 goals in 48 appearances from midfield for the club. Clearly, West Ham United are hurting after their fall out, arguably more than Payet. Their set piece specialist left the club in a promising position, as they finished their season in 7th, knocking on European football’s door. Nowadays, they are sitting in 13th position, just about pleasing fans in their expensive new stadium.
You can blame many other factors, the press came down heavily on the Hammers for their stadium move, which apparently reduced Upton Park’s atmosphere massively. The new wide stadium, meters from the pitch caused outrage with the fans as they vented their frustration with violence and damage within the Olympic Park.
West Ham fans on Channel 4 News talking about the move from the Boleyn Ground to the London Stadium pic.twitter.com/jLLlDrc4Xp
— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) December 21, 2016
Perhaps their team’s poor performances this season could be attributed to this, a change of scenery for their home games will take time to get used to, as their home field advantage has been significantly reduced. Teams used to hate coming to Upton Park.
With the Premier League table looking as tight as ever, Bilic’s team could still finish in a respectable 10th place and above, easily. They lie just three points off 10th placed Watford whilst just seven points of 8th placed West Brom. They’ll be eager to win more and more points as relegation is a low threat, but they’ll be very wary that anything can happen in the Premier League. For the future, I don’t think the fans should be worried. They have a world class manager with a track record of making extremely good signings, they have a team with energy, pace for the first time in years who look to provide good service for the club in the long term. They are also in one of the most recognised stadiums around the world, with excellent possibilities for the future, to attract players and make it their home. I’m sure Bilic will want to push for European football within the next three years or so, as I’m sure both the board and fans will agree with him.