Hammers home sickness needs a cure


By CandH blogger Allen Cummings

A very welcome, not to mention vital away win at Southampton, and the resulting massive three points, brought our tally for the season to 19!

Certainly not good enough for where we were all hoping to be at this stage of the season. But it’s interesting to note our third away win of the season, following victories at Watford and Chelsea, added to the three away draws at Brighton, Aston Villa and Bournemouth.

So that means 12 of those 19 points have been secured on the road, with just seven points being earned at the London Stadium. For a team, who for years lived with the unenviable reputation of being poor travellers, it’s a pretty decent return.

I suggested in a previous blog that we might prosper at St Mary’s because to some extent the pressure was off us, and on the Saints to perform on their own patch – and so it proved.

The number of vacant seats evident in the home sections was an early indication all was not well with the home support. West Ham’s travelling faithful, always vocal wherever they go, were as usual in good voice.

By contrast the Saints were muted from the start. Home support is great anywhere when things are going well. It’s inspirational but has the reverse effect when things are not right. Frustration is quick to set in, and that transfers to the pitch. As we enjoyed the fruits of a good first half, the moans and groans of the home support grew ever louder.

What we saw on Saturday at St Marys looks to be a similar developing problem at the London Stadium. Performing in front of almost 60,000 people every two weeks should be a dream come true for any sportsman or woman. An inspirational audience and arena in which to display their skills.

But that’s not necessarily the way it feels when you’re off your game. This isn’t me knocking the stadium. I’m not one of those who refuse to accept that we are where we are, and we need to get on with it.

I firmly believe we have a stage that any sportsperson should relish. But three years on it’s still an opportunity with which we  have yet to come to terms.

Last season we managed to win more games (nine) than we lost (seven) at home. So far this season we’ve managed to win just twice. It seems we need to solve the mystery of the London Stadium all over again. We need to capitalise on what we have – use it to our advantage – and get our season back on track.

Share this article

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • EssBeeMUC says:

    To add to this, I think we need our defence “cured”.
    I am reading things from the Southampton game that we were giving Southampton too much space or not closing down their attacks quick enough. Okay, we kept a clean sheet, but I think that was more down to luck than a good defensive effort.

  • Wembley1980 says:

    I think at home we try to play a more patient passing game and the truth is although we want to see a passing game we’re no good at it! We need to get forward quicker but the midfield is too slow. At home you’re also expected to enforce your style and I for 1 havnt got a clue what ours is.

    • Allen says:

      Hopefully if we continue to play two up we will make the transition from defence to attack quicker. Not exactly ‘route one’ but not the slow, slow build-up you refer to mate.

      • Allen says:

        Hopefully if we continue to play two up we will make the transition from defence to attack quicker. Not exactly ‘route one’ but not the slow, slow build-up you refer to mate.

  • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

    Hi Allen, great article as always, let’s be honest our form in the top division other than the last season at UP and 85/86 has always been like this, the only thing that has changed is the perception of us fans being more expectant or at least in my case that’s true. I want to see what is the nucleus of a great team more frequently being “At it!” taking the game to the opposition and fighting to win whether we are 1 0 up or 3 0 down, under Pellegrini in recent times if we go a goal down we don’t fight back instead we ship 3 goals almost every time.

    There is a mindset problem here in that we are frightened of being successful (the team I mean) and also imho a technical challenge to break down stubborn opposition, most teams have set plays in and around the 18 yard line to pull players out of position and get their own players into spaces beyond the defensive line. I see very little of that, it’s clearly the most valuable thing the team could work on solving yet every week we see the same predictable slow build up and lack of penetration, the only unpredictability comes from Antonio which is why we get better results when he plays and struggle without him.

    A new coach is required to coach the team to solve that problem of breaking through the lines and probably a few new players, or a new system is required to suit the players we have, I suggested 442 and players getting around the outside of full backs rather than cutting inside, which is one way but we still need more than just Haller in the middle and should have a minimum 3 players attacking the cross to maximise results.

    I am happy we won against the struggling saints but want to see continued improvement, we should in theory beat palace but last time out they scholed us in staying compact and clinically finishing their two opportunities.

  • Kenny irons says:

    Midfield especially, is too slow and ponderous so I’m hoping Pellegrini gone soon so this can be addressed in January. If it isn’t will be a struggle to survive this season. Leicester at home soon and they will batter us with their pace and movement !

  • Allen says:

    Lot’s of very intelligent and interesting points there No32

Comments are closed.