Cole believes that the fractious relationship between the owners, David Gold and David Sullivan and manager Gianfranco Zola has been the leading cause for the Hammers poor season.
Cole has said on the matter: “We’ve tried to get on with it, game by game, but all the speculation over the manager’s future does trickle down to the players and it does affect us, I can’t lie about that. It’s the same as in any job, really. If your top man, your boss, is not … you know, doesn’t feel secure, then obviously it sends the wrong message out to the players. Sometimes you can see it out on the pitch. We are professional footballers and we did the job to stay up, but we just need to push on now and forget about this season.
“It’s been a write-off, and I’d just like to apologise to everybody. I represent West Ham. The players and the manager will tell you we’re all sorry things haven’t worked out the way it was supposed to be this season. We haven’t been good enough and, hopefully, next season we can put it right. But we need to regroup and start again. We have to do better next season, that’s the bottom line. It’s been a bad season and we want to just progress from that because it can’t get any worse for us.”
Whilst Cole’s honesty is admirable, surely this should have been said months ago and it’s about time the players stood up and took responsibility for this dismal season. West Ham have arguably been very lucky not to be relegated this season, were it not for three worse teams than them in the division then the club could well of been facing the prospect of Championship football next season.
Although they have had a slice of luck with regards to the teams below them, they do have some undoubtly talented players in the side, such as Scott Parker, Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Valon Behrami and Alessandro Diamanti. However five players cannot make up a whole team and the efforts of the other players have been unacceptable as far as the club is concerned. Also Gianfranco Zola unfortunately looks set to leave the club in the summer, which is unfair as he has proven himself to be capable of leading West Ham which was evidenced by the team’s 9th place finish in the Premiership last year in Zola’s first season as a manger. Zola couldn’t of tried any harder this season to motivate his players and despite all the negative comments that he has recieved from Gold and Sullivan he has just got on with his job.
Next season the players must step up their performances because the club know that they cannot spend another season battling relegation. If West Ham play the same as they have been for all of this season, with the sides that are coming up from the Championship and between the sides that are in the Premiership, then relegation will be a certainty for the East Londoners.