West Ham ahead of the game at last


Blind Hammer looks at how West Ham are ahead of the game for once.

The hard fought victory against an energetic, enthusiastic Luton, in front of their hyped up fans, was a huge relief.

One of the hardest games of any season is playing away ay against a promoted side. Typically the stadium will be a cauldron with their fans excited about the start of their Premiership adventure.

I thought it was typical of West Ham’s luck that we would face an enthusiastic Luton crowd in their first home game after succumbing, last season, to a similarly excited Nottingham Forest, then also starting their home PL campaign.

It is normally far more straightforward to face promoted teams later in the season when reality of Premiership life has bitten at least a few times. Unlike last season, though, West Ham delivered a result. Teams playing Luton in a month or two will face far less difficulty.

But talking of pressure there is, I believe, , a massive advantage to playing on a Friday. Allegedly Moyes and company were angry about being made to play on Transfer Deadline Day.

n the event, though, we can now proudly say that West Ham are top of the league, not just in August, but in September no less. I wonder when the last time West Ham led the league in September, no matter how briefly?

So for once West Ham are not playing pressurised catch-up with a Sunday fixture. Moyes pointed out how difficult it was, last season, playing catch-up football on a Sunday where earlier results over the weekend worsened West Ham’s League position, at one stage seeing them dip into the relegation places.

Any team, playing  on Sunday or Monday, will face pressure to match results  from earlier fixtures. Moyes admitted this placed psychological pressure last season, especially in the dark days of January.

This season however, until Christmas at least, we will enjoy a more level playing field. On some weekends it is likely that the majority of fixtures will occur on Sundays rather than Saturday. This is because there will be more clubs following the Thursday Sunday model than ever before.

The easy progression of Aston Villa into the group stages of the Europa Conference League means that not just West Ham , but Liverpool, Brighton as well as Villa  will all have their fixtures on Sundays or Monday.  

 TV will continue their love affair with Man United, Man City Chelsea Spurs and Arsenal to also direct fixtures to these Sunday peak time viewing windows.

So whilst Sundays catch up football may be more difficult, it is at least shared more amongst the League this time. Of course West Ham’s unforseen bright start to the season has also decreased the chance of future Sunday anxieties and tensions. We might, just possibly, actually enjoy a few more relaxing Sunday afternoons this season.

Next season however, until Christmas at least, there will be a far more level playing field with, on at least some weekends, the majority of fixtures occurring on Sundays rather than Saturday.

There will be more clubs having to follow the Thursday/Sunday model than ever before. Not just West Ham , but Liverpool, Brighton and Aston Villa will all be having their fixtures on Sundays or Monday.   

Sky and BT Sport will continue their love affair with Man United, Man City Chelsea Spurs and Arsenal so it is likely that these teams as well will have fixtures broadcast on Sundays and Mondays to boot.

I think next season there may be some weekends when only 1 or 2 fixtures will be set to the traditional Saturday 3pm time.

David Griffith

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My Father, born in 1891 was brought up in the shadows of the Thames Ironworks Memorial Ground. I remember as a child jumping over the settee when Alan Sealy scored in our 1965 European Cup Winners triumph.

My first game was against Leicester in 1968, when Martin Peters scored what was adjudged by ITV’s Big Match as the Goal of the Season.

I became a season ticket holder in 1970.

I was registered blind in 1986 and thought my West Ham supporting days were over. However in 2010 I learnt about the fantastic support West Ham offer to Blind and other Disabled Supporters. I now use the Insightful Irons in-stadium commentary service and West Ham provide space for my Guide Dog Nyle.

I sit on the West Ham Disabled Supporters Board and the LLDC Built Environment Access Panel.

David Griffith aka Blind Hammer