It’s a huge season ahead for West Ham.
After the longest goodbye in footballing history to their illustrious home, the Hammers have the chance to shine and compete with the elite in English football.
This season, the manager and the team need to better an impressive last term and with all that’s going on at the bigger clubs, the Hammers will need to be better than ever and expectation is now on the shoulders of all concerned.
However, at this point, West Ham look a shambles. Pre-season has been tortuous and the public transfer dealings derided by many as sheer fantasy. On top of all of that, speculation arose this week that the naming rights of the new stadium could go to Tesco.
As Hammers fans scratched their heads on Friday morning after a defeat to a team no one had ever heard of, with a team that was on paper far better, the pre-season just got worse.
On a positive note, everyone will learn from this summer. Tesco haven’t been granted permission to call the stadium the Tesco Stadium yet, the transfer window is still open for another month, there is a Europa League return leg at home and the they have an away goal with just a single goal in it.
Pre-season is by no means a barometer for the Premier League and West Ham can still bring in quality even if they don’t get their marquee signing. But next time, the club should think twice about being so vocal about their potential transfer dealings. Mum’s the word.
Another plus for Hammers fans, is that quite a few regular players were absent through either injury or because they are still away on their holidays, and of course these players will begin returning to the club next week.
So it’s not all bad news, but West Ham really needs to start completing their transfer deals, as rumours over potential players never seem to move past quotes such as “weighing up a move,” “interested” and “possible target.”
It’s all getting stagnant, boring and above all else frustrating when you see a capable squad lose to European minnows without much of a fight.
Hammers fans will point out that a lethal striker is required and that’s been the club’s mantra all summer, but both full-back positions are in dire need of bolstering, as Bilic seems keen to shoe-horn players into positions that simply don’t fit their skill set.
Michail Antonio is not a right back and Sam Byram is not a left back. The Hammers have no competent replacement for Aaron Cresswell and have ridden their luck for two seasons – now something needs to be done before they play Chelsea in a couple of weeks.
The way it is at present, the return of Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins can’t come soon enough and the kids are not ready to step up just yet.
After last night’s embarrassment for the club, it’s to take stock. They must identify who they need, where they need them and then bring those players in sooner rather than later. Too much focus has been set on chasing strikers that do not want to come to East London, whilst other positions appear over-looked with targets being signed elsewhere.
Huge expectation now weighs on the manager and the players to build upon last season’s foundations and not slip backwards.
Let’s hope that lessons are learnt and confidence high as the new season approaches.