Things were looking a lot rosier for West Ham when they beat Huddersfield 4-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium early on in January, with fans expecting new signings to come through the door before the deadline day and with the club beginning to look up the Premier League table rather than over their shoulders towards the bottom three.
However, the rest of the month certainly didn’t go to plan for the east London outfit, as they lost in-form duo Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic to hamstring injuries in the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth at the London Stadium.
They were subsequently beaten 2-0 by League One outfit Wigan Athletic a week later and saw midfielder Pedro Obiang stretchered off with an injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season, while Arthur Masuaku was given a six-match ban after being sent off for spitting at a Latics player at the DW Stadium.
The addition of Joao Mario on loan from Inter Milan until the end of the season prior to the Wigan encounter gave fans hope that they would end January on a high, as the club continued to be linked with Anderlecht midfielder Leander Dendoncker – seen as one of the most highly-rated young defensive midfielders in European football.
The London Stadium faithful were also expecting a new striker through the door with Diafra Sakho joining Rennes and Andre Ayew returning to Swansea City, leaving Javier Hernandez and Toni Martinez as the only recognised strikers in the squad for the 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace on January 30.
One thing David Moyes didn’t need at that point – when he was already missing Arnautovic and Andy Carroll through injury – was Michail Antonio to turn up to a meeting late, but that is exactly what happened and he missed out on the 18 against the Eagles.
Deadline day started with hope, and then appeared to end in desperation for the club as they failed to sign the defensive or central midfielder they desperately looked to need, while they lost out to Newcastle United for the loan signing of Leicester City striker Islam Slimani because of comments made by Karren Brady, and instead brought in Jordan Hugill from Preston North End in a late £10m deal.
The West Ham fans aren’t very fond of their owners David Gold and David Sullivan, and they had every right to be angry and frustrated after a disappointing final 24 hours of the transfer window.
The club’s injury and suspension problems meant that Pablo Zabaleta lined up in an unfamiliar central midfield role for the trip to Brighton last weekend, with a poor display seeing Moyes’ men fall to a 3-1 defeat against their fellow strugglers to leave them just three points above the relegation zone.
The away supporters chanted for the board to leave and unveiled banners with a similar message, and you can’t help but feel it could have affected the players on a day where the defence in particular had an absolute nightmare – especially for Glenn Murray’s opener.
While West Ham fans are absolutely entitled to protest against the owners and the board considering what has happened to the club during their time at the helm, they also need to think about their players on the pitch and the situation the team currently finds itself in.
Those teams below them in the table – like Brighton – are beginning to pick up results and if the Irons continue to struggle to get wins on the board, they could quickly find themselves back in the dreaded relegation zone.
They face a huge game against Watford at the London Stadium this weekend where they can reach the 30-point mark with a victory, and the crowd must leave their protestations against the owners to either before the start of the match or after the final whistle, and get behind their boys during the 90 minutes – boy do they need it right now.
West Ham supporters are understandably desperate for their owners to go, but being in the Premier League is vital too and with David Gold and David Sullivan unlikely to go anywhere before the end of the season and saying the protests “will achieve nothing”, now is the time to focus their attentions on the players and ensure that they aren’t distracted or affected by any animosity from the sidelines.
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