2010 has been a year to forget in many ways for West Ham. Aside from maintaining their Premier League status, primarily due to Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth being so utterly dreadful, nothing has really gone the Irons’ way, and even under two different mangers, they have struggled. Here are ten things we’ve learnt about West Ham during the course of the year;
1.) The future is bright
With all the doom and gloom surrounding the club, it is refreshing to see that the youth academy is still producing great talent, as James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears went from strength to strength. 2010 was an injury-laden year for both Jack Collison and Zavon Hines, but with Hines coming back into the squad towards the end of 2010 and Collison hoping for a return early in the New Year, hopefully 2011 will be the year of the academy graduates.
2.) Olympic Dreams
It appears more and more likely that West Ham will be leaving Upton Park after the London Olympics in 2012, and moving into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, after submitting a bid that complies most with Olympic Park Legacy Company’s needs.
3.) Keeping a team up doesn’t mean you keep your job One thing West Ham fans learnt, and one thing Gianfranco Zola definitely learnt, was that keeping a side in the Premier League doesn’t mean your job is safe. After a season of turmoil, Zola eventually kept the Hammers up, only to be relieved of his duties over the summer.
4.) Getting relegated gets you a job Zola’s successor was Avram Grant, a man who had, albeit through a 9 point deduction, finished bottom of the pile in 2010 with Portsmouth, and with his inauspicious start with the Irons, Grant hadn’t, in fact been out of the drop zone since 2009, and spent an entire year there with both Portsmouth and West Ham.
5.) 13th Heaven In the year 2010, West Ham never made it above 13th place in the table, and it looks as though it will be two successive seasons of relegation dogfights as we enter 2011.
6.) West Ham’s new owners love the limelight Having taken control of the club in January 2010, David Gold and David Sullivan have been anything but shy and retiring. Declaring ‘Armageddon’ would happen to the club if they were to be relegated due to their financial state, the Davids then reportedly offered Ruud van Nistelrooy £100,000 per week to come to the club, and over the summer there were reports a similar weekly wage was offered to Thierry Henry. Through autograph signings, BBC interviews and Gold being banned from the away match against Birmingham City early in the 2010-11 season, the new owners are a world away from the previous Icelandic regime, but maybe that’s a good thing…
7.) The new owners are also loyal… …Well apart from booting out poor old Gianfranco. With there being many calls for Avram Grant’s head from the very beginning of the season, the David’s have stuck by there man, and may well yet be rewarded.
8.) West Ham have been unlucky with transfers… again
It doesn’t seem to matter who is in control, West Ham are either very naïve or very unlucky in the transfer market, this time with flagship summer signing Thomas Hitzlsperger, who was injured on international duty in the summer, and hasn’t featured once yet for the Irons.
9.) Be patient, we’ve got a plan
The Davids have also expressed their confidence in their 5 year plan, which involves getting West Ham into the Olympic Stadium, sticking with Avram Grant, and ridding the club of its reported £100m debt. Let’s just hope relegation isn’t in those plans.
10.) Hopefully 2011 holds more promise
Well, it can’t get much worse than 2010 apart from relegation, can it!? Let’s have a little optimism for 2011!