Same old issue keeps biting Irons on the bum!


HappybilicNothing has changed – the problems that have been at the root of all our issues this season come back now and again to haunt us as they did today at Bournemouth

Tonight is not a night for wearing claret and blue tinted spectacles and attempting to convince myself or anyone else that everything will be okay in the end because today’s performance was as unacceptable as it gets. And I see no way the problems will go away.

The simple and self evident truth is that the summer transfer window balls-up has screwed West Ham United big time this season and we have the look of a team settling for mid table mediocrity, I believe because of it.

andre-ayew-west-ham_3766957Before going any further I need to make one thing clear. I always believe that every manager has to be given three years before a judgement on him can TRULY be made.

With a last emotional season at the Boleyn before the move to a stadium which couldn’t have been more different this season was always gonna be hard.

Throw in the early injuries and the Dimitri Payet  soap opera and we could have had an absolute disaster on our hands.

The manager has, however somehow managed to put a hefty plaster over the scars but can do nothing meaningful to cure the injury that disastrous summer transfer window caused.

And it was that which came back to bite us on the backside at Bournemouth – too many square pegs being slotted into round holes because we failed to get virtually anything right in the close season.

The right back position is a joke and everybody from the top of the club downwards knows it. It should have been addressed big time in the summer but apparently Antonio was the answer! WHAT?

We have to go back to Guy Demel for the last non loan regular.

We lose 40 per cent of the real Cheik Kouyate in that role just as we did when Antonio was in there; then there’s record signing £20 million Andre Ayew who can’t get a start and when he does arrive on the pitch nobody can quite work out where he’s supposed to play.

Feghouli is lightweight, Lanzini is played wide when he can clearly do more damage through the middle and Antonio is again played out of position alongside Carroll. Why? Because no striker was bought as promised in the summer.

The rest of the summer signings? Oh let’s not go there except to say none of them are good enough.

So what’s the conclusion? Well for me it’s simple. Slav has to show in the last season on his present contract that he can assemble a truly balanced squad of proven Premier League quality players.

Next season is when he should be judged but it’s not too early to ponder the many questions that have been thrown up by this often truly horrible season.

I believe in him and as a man he’s a colossus but he has to do better – a lot better if this club is to reach that “next level” so often mentioned.

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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


  • Eug says:

    Sorry but you cant keep on making the same mistakes, week after week.
    Players playing out of position, every game. We do have a right back. Sam Byram. He came on today, set up the equalising goal and played O K. The point is Bilic is not making the decisions he is paid to do. Mark Noble needed to be dropped. He has played all season without a break. He is not in top form, but Bilic will not make the decision to drop him but he also wants to play kouyate, so we end up with Kouyate at right back. The same mistake he made last year and the beginning of this season with Antonio.

  • That’s what the article says 🙂

  • Thiucgshaun says:

    Victor Moses has shown that it’s perfectly possible for a right winger to play at Wing back. I have no problems with Bilic for trying to play it. Bilic clearly doesn’t trust younger players – byram, Fletcher, Oxford, Burke have all gone backwards. Byram has to play at right back and Bilic needs to make don’t difficult deceive around the rest. I like Fehgouli and he has played week recently.

  • Stratford E20 says:

    You are correct Hugh – we had a disastrous summer transfer window. However, I think to solely blame that is incorrect. We still have the squad which did well in the previous year. What happened to the existing players over the summer?

    I have a theory. I think Bilic reaped the rewards of inheriting a squad that had been more disciplined from being managed by Fat Sam. That discipline started wearing off at the end of last season and we fell away in the league. Fat Sams discipline plus Bilic’s fast counter attacks reaped rewards when it was working. Might be a load of round things to some people but there you are.

  • Oh noooo. I think it was down very much to Payet. And I believe too that had we bought players who were of quality he may still be here. He was responsible for so many goals and assists. Given a great summer market who knows where he could have gone.

  • RuislipHammer says:

    Just watched the match on “game of the day”. This was woeful – sideways/backwards and hoof up to Carroll/Antonio. We were flattered by 3-2, let’s be honest.

    The one ray of light I thought we had was the signings of really promising youngsters (Martinez, Quina, Fletcher, Holland – do we still have Samuelson?). But none of them ever get a game.

    Obiang, Lanzini and Antonio are excellent, but can we keep them when everyone around them is so ordinary? OK, Carroll can be great on his day but has done nothing in the last couple of games. We are changing the system each week without any apparent idea of what we are doing. I know we all think Slav is a great bloke, and summer window was terrible, but I’m afraid he doesn’t inspire any confidence.

    If we can’t follow what he is doing, do we think the players can? Massive summer coming up, not just signing players but keeping the key ones we have. Time for a change, I’m really sad to say.

  • John says:

    Was bitterly disappointed with today. We really should do better, anyone saying that was an acceptable result and performance are deluded.

  • Hammer64 says:

    We could do with knowing exactly how the transfers are decided on, because as has been made plain here that is the key issue. In some clubs now (apparently Southampton for one) it is very much NOT the manager playing the major role. If in our case it IS Bilic then he has to carry the can. Also, I have heard several ex players say ‘ Sorting out the defence is the easy bit’. But all Bilic seems to have done this season is wreck a fairly good defence. I think we are headed for a poor finish now. Hope not, but if so I think that should seal his fate. I respect your view about three years Hugh, but I don’t think we can risk another poor start next season. A shame but I don’t think it is working out.

  • PopRobson says:

    I love Slav but I can’t stop thinking it’s blind love. hope not.

  • danielson79 says:

    Pop I said that from the day he got the job. Sometimes he just looks like he has run out of ideas. Dont think Payet would have left if we’d delivered in the transfer window and he was probably sold a right old story, no wonder he wanted out.

  • kevin says:

    We are surviving on the back of some really fortunate results . If it were not for them we would be in serious danger of being relegated . Quality is our problem . We don’t have any .
    The lack of quality is forcing players out of position and it is something that must be addressed very seriously in the summer . We are predictable and nobody fears us .
    And sorry but , it’s time to be asking questions of Bilic . The hero worshipping needs to stop . Being a lovely bloke and all those rose coloured spectacles is not gong to improve things anytime soon . There is no discipline in the team . We badly need quality from top to bottom . Players can improve over time , that much is obvious but , can managers ? .

  • Ironboy says:

    You would have thought with the trip to Dubai they’d have sorted out a consistent game plan and sorted out the back four but from what I’ve seen on Motd that certainly isn’t the case.

    We keep stating how we need to have a busy summer signing 3 top players but realistically can you see many top players wanting to come to us based on this seasons performances, afraid we cant use the 7th place last season to entice players anymore.

  • Michael Miller says:

    Well, well, Hugh’s got the hump and not before time – our Squad is weak and thin. The Summer Recruitment was a disaster. I think everyone agrees that, even David Gold, the eternal optimist and we’re struggling each week to put out a half decent team.

    The same old problems, week after week, no right-back – Kouyate ‘filling in’ and his talent being wasted, Carroll’s fitness and our over reliance on him, players being used out of position etc etc

    You can go through the disappointments – Ayew, ‘another invisible man’, I’ve got no idea where he plays, and even less why we bought him. Feghouli, a lightweight who was starting to show a bit of form against Chelsea and was immediately substituted. Noble, slow and cumbersome, I’ve heard he has a long-standing and chronic knee injury, why does Bilic keep playing him. Carroll, he’s like a lead weight holding the team back, you have to play to his strengths and it shackles the team – one dimensional and limited.

    Enough of this gloom, let’s look at some positives – Antonio, a real livewire, prepared to play anywhere and has had to – continually messed about by Bilic’s strange tactics. Obiang, a revelation this year and really has stepped up to be the mainstay in midfield. Reid, solidity and bravery – a rock. Lanzini, a good player but lightweight. Err..that’s about it – Fonte has had a shaky start, Randolph is an improvement on Adrian but is not top class.

    Now we come to Bilic himself – how much was he responsible for the Summer Recruitment debacle – Tore was useless and an embarrassment, Zaza, unbelievable and a disaster. The Payet farce, how was it allowed to go so far and why was he indulged so much. Then there’s the whole thing about playing people out of position all the time. The eccentric tactics and disastrous substitution policy.

    Enough – the Season is petering away to disappointment and mediocrity – and don’t get me started on the Stadium!!

    Ah well, it could be worse – we could be Sunderland fans!

  • Cowhead13 says:

    Slav is indeed a passionate man but he is also equally stubborn. We must accept this season for what it is and start planning for next now. Sam Byram may not be the finished article yet but he is the best one we have got and we look better balanced when he plays and he gets forward well. Regret to say that whilst he has been an amazing player for the club Mark Noble no longer should be a first choice if we are putting our 11 best players on the pitch and when we play Kouyate at right back we are not getting the best out of him. The summer transfer window will be crucial and I hope we spend our money on a couple of really class players and stop filling the squad with journeyman players. We don’t need the Callieris of this world when Tony Martinez is knocking them in for fun at Oxford. We don’t need Noordveit when we have Oxford, Matsuaki when we have Burke. Martin Samuelson is playing for Denmark but not In the West Ham squad. What is the point of signing promising players like Nathan Holland if you are not going to use them. Trust the youngsters Slav and just buy a couple of corkers in the summer!!!!!!!

    • master says:

      Burke is a center half.
      Samuelson is Norwegian.

      • Cowhead13 says:

        Burke played at left back earlier in the season. Samuelson Danish/Norwegian makes no difference- still better than some of the players we have bought. My point is that our youngsters are as good as or better than some of the current squad.

        • Macca says:

          What the youngsters who cant even get in Champo or League One teams??
          Samuelsen couldnt get in Blackburns team and has not been setting the world a light in League One.
          Theres always lots of cheap talk from fans about bringing in the youngsters when the majority are far from ready.Fans think they know better than professionals most the time imho.

  • mooro66uk says:

    Can understand everyone’s concerns but why do we have to blame someone? Anyone? Everyone? Lets just concentrate on getting it right next time. I doubt anyone at the club got it all wrong deliberately last time, but we all make mistakes. Blame culture I suppose.

  • Stan The Man says:

    Johhny Lyall and Ron G wouldnt have lasted more than a season or two in this new age of the internet Mooro.They would have been bombed out for some of their results and seasons.
    Fortunatley back then fans were not so demanding and knew supporting West Ham wasnt all a bed of roses.
    Bring in a new manager,bring in a brand new squad of 25 but next season will be the same in many respects.Bring in Howe,bring in Pulis,bring back Allardyce there will still be something to moan about.We’re too open at the back,we dont attack enough,he plays the wrong formation,he is tactically naive,he uses substitutions badly,his signings are wrong,he shouldnt have sold this player or that player.
    It will be a different manager,different reasons to moan but still the moaning will continue.

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