The future looks great despite the Payet loss


BilicberryThere have been so many plusses this season it would not be West Ham were there not to be a major setback and let’s not minimise that -it will have an effect.

The full extent of the Enner Valencia injury has still to unfold but we were told yesterday evening he faces another extended spell on the sidelines.

We can’t change what’s gone and all the moaning and worrying in the world won’t change it so as said here before, let’s get on with it and stay off the manager and players’ backs if things take a while to sort out.

After all a big reshuffle is required given that things were built around him!

I have no doubt that the manager has had a plan in his mind for such an eventuality and we don’t need expert pundits to tell us that Manuel Lanzini will be key to it.

But as we look back at the first third of the season let’s celebrate as well given the fear and trepidation that followed in some areas when the board decided to bring the former manager’s reign to an end.

Let’s remember too that in Slaven Bilic – for whom we eventually plumped – the board appointed  a man who was the clear choice of a majority of polls conducted by ClaretandHugh  and others.

Such was the feeling of some however that when we ran them, Sean needed to put on extra security because of a freak rush of votes from various areas  for the manager at the time.

So on his arrival at Upton park Slav has much to overcome beyond the challenge of a European campaign -some fan opposition,  a camp split between here and Ireland, the arrival of new players, the departure of others while setting up of a new system of play.

That he did so and after  a dozen games we sit in sixth position with 21 points and 23 goals scored as the League’s  second highest scorers, is a miracle.

Included in all of that was the quite staggering away treble and defeat of Chelsea. It has been an amazing ride and it is absolutely why I have no fears for the rest of the season.

It’s a long time since I have been able to talk in such terms of a football club manager but given his spectacular achievements his season why should I or any of us lack confidence.

We don’t need to run through the names available to us nor remind ourselves that the decision to strengthen in depth was never more timely.

We lost our most important defender and we coped. We have lost our most important striker and coped – we have, in Michail Antonio, a player who may turn out to be very good indeed and a squad which looks more than capable of more than holding its own.

Nothing can take away the disappointment of knowing we won’t see one of the most gifted players we’ve ever had at the club playing for a few weeks but the future is safe.

I’m taking us to draw in north London next weekend, win at home against West Brom and bring something away from Manchester United.

I thank God that David Moyes- since sacked – opted to stay in Spain  and that Rafa Benitez found himself at Real Madrid.

David Gold has since said Slav would have been his first choice had he known what he knows now. Indeed.

And it’s because of this manager that I think we can all look forward with great confidence at the rest of the season and a new and successful plan.

The future looks great – the future look claret and blue!

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


  • Max Willow says:

    I fully endorse your comments and optimism, with one possible minor exception.
    Without making a full repeat of comments I posted earlier today in response to your ‘Striker link-Irons ask: ‘How many do we need’?;
    Just a few comments I’d like to add to here
    Sakho as preferred single striker in a 4-2-3-1. Could also add Zarate next to Sakho, if Slav opts for a pattern involving 2 strikers.
    Lanzini, Zarate, and Moses as preferred trio of attacking midfielders, all capable goal-scorers.
    In the likelihood of fatigue during an expected fast game, preferred 1st choice ‘impact options’, Antonio, followed by Obiang! Either alone, or in combination, they possess the desired qualities required to sustain (or even increase) the pressure on the opposition defense. Antonio, with his outstanding pace, acceleration, sprint speed, and a good record in the shooting department.- Obiang with his strength, aggression, and stamina, plus sufficient heading qualities to put home a run-away attack from Creswell and/or Jenks.
    I’m not sure that either Andy Carroll or Nika Jelavic could match this duo in their ability to keep up the sustained thrust.
    My only caveat; while I’m sure that Slaven may have a special role for lanzini, lets be fair. He is still only 22, and with out the presence of Payet to boost his confidence, we may be asking too much for him on a match to match basis, I fear that Manuel may be seen as the next ‘target’ for unfair & rough treatment from opposing defenders. However, I am sure that Slaven is well aware of this, and will use him in a judicious manner, while still allowing him a potential ‘roaming’ role that sustains his goal-scoring menace, while at the same time, making him more elusive and harder to mark than ever! So for the time-being there is sufficient talent in our squad to maintain the hopes we all have! Add to that, the anticipated return of Alex Song for the Spurs game, and the best possible longer-term outcomes for Dimi and Enner, then who knows…

  • BrookingtoDevonshire says:

    I agree whole heartedly here.
    Especially the view that Lanzini will now be targeted too.
    Step up Zarate, he’s played well so far this season. But now he has the chance to prove that he can be the player he thinks he already is.He’s not but he could be our main man. If he can be a team player and create chances for others with the final ball then his impact could be immense. He only needs to look at Payet to see that you can be highly skilled,effective,goalscorer and more important a great team player. He will then be on a par with Payet. I hope so,he has the talent but is he the team player we need going forward ?

  • sleepswithdafishes says:

    Although we haven’t yet had the usual plague of injuries usually associated with winter, we have already been without our top keeper, our top defender, and our top striker at varying times. Now we are without our top midfielder, and we can absorb that problem like we did the others. I agree with Hugh, the future looks great.

Comments are closed.