Tears were shed at the DW Stadium back in May as West Ham’s relegation was confirmed after a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Wigan, leaving most Hammers fearing the worst for their beloved club.
Five months down the line and the East Enders have settled into their new surroundings well and sit second in the Championship table going into an away clash at Brighton and Hove Albion on Monday night.
There have been many comings and goings over the summer and I feel that the new look West Ham side are better off from the drop down to the Football League as it will benefit them in the long run.
Immediately after the relegation was confirmed, Avram Grant was rightfully sacked by the club’s board, which resulted in the biggest cheer of the day from the travelling 4,500 away fans returning from the North West.
That was just the beginning of a much needed clear out at Upton Park that saw players such as Mathew Upson, Kieran Dyer and Luis Boa Morte leave on free transfers after their poor form and injuries during the season.
The financial side of things would have been the main concern for the owners who were able to bring in some money from the sales of Manuel Da Costa, Scott Parker and Junior Stanislas.
Hammers fans were disappointed with the departures of Ba and Hitzlsperger who perhaps owed something to the club having given them the chance in England but decided to look for new clubs.
With the squad trimmed down to just the players that wanted to be there, Sam Allardyce was brought in and given the target of instant promotion in his first season in charge.
Whatever your opinion on Big Sam, he was the right man for the job and has installed some heart and passion into the club along with toughening up a terribly leaky defence.
Big name signings such as Kevin Nolan, Matthew Taylor and John Carew have arrived and made instant impacts along with wing backs Joey O’Brien and George McCartney settling in very well.
Allardyce’s team is a huge contrast to last year’s whipping boys and on paper it would be fair to say the squad is stronger than it was this time last year even though it is in the Championship.
Late transfer window action saw Henri Lansbury, Sam Baldock and Papa Bouba Diop also arrive at Upton Park giving a fantastic strength in depth to the best squad in the division.
If West Ham had not been relegated, I for one am sure they would have been in a battle to survive again this season, probably with Avram Grant still in charge and wantaway players putting in 50% effort for the cause.
If, but more likely when, West Ham return to the top flight, they will be much better off from their short stay in the Football League, bringing them back to reality and showing the passion of the supporters who still turn up in their droves for a home match with Peterborough United.
With the right man in charge and a talented squad things are looking brighter in East London and that combination could install some pride back to the club when they return to Premier League football next season.