In just two months the entire outlook at West Ham United has changed drastically. The removal of Sam Allardyce, the appointment of Slaven Bilic, Europa League football, and new signings have changed the atmosphere from darkly negative to the most optimistic viewpoints coming out of just about any Premiership club.
But of course the question will be asked if these optimistic feelings West Ham supporters are feeling current are warranted. This is a team who finished 12th last season and were one of the poorest sides in the league since Christmas.
Outside West Ham there will be many who believe that Sam Allardyce was doing a good job and that West Ham fans should be “careful what they wish for”. This comment has frustrated many a Hammers fan including myself because I am not sure what people believe they are saying when it is asked.
If the claim is that staying in the Premiership is the sole goal for the club and that Sam Allardyce is the ONLY manager who could achieve this then fair enough, but its not. It is odd that when a club tries to display notions of ambition that they are shot down with decelerations of delusions and impending doom.
As mentioned, West Ham finished 12th last season so in effect anything above that during 2015/16 is an improvement? But its not just the league position and it is the approach the club take going into games. No West Ham fan is saying that they want to go down playing good football (think about that for a moment because no good footballing teams find themselves relegated), but there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to better ourselves.
Outside the bigger clubs in the league you have Southampton and Swansea who finished 7th & 8th respectively. It is generally agreed that these teams play an attractive brand of football and both have been managed superbly from boardroom to coaching staff. So as a West Ham fan I cannot see why I would be branded “deluded” for trying to aspire to something along these lines.
With the club being in London and generally receiving a lot of press attention there is scope to improve as a club in terms of size which is not entirely possible with some of the other Premiership clubs. I don’t mean to come across as arrogant with that statement, I am just basing it on the current climate and the upcoming move to the Olympic Stadium.
The appointment of Slaven Bilic is one which has united the supporters and the atmosphere at the recent Europa League qualifying match against Andorran side FC Lusitans was one of hope and a new beginning.
These things all sound a little flowery and until the Premiership season starts we will not fully know the extent of the change at West Ham but the noises the club are making say to me that this isn’t going to be just another bog standard season. The club is attacking the transfer market with ambition and I expect to see a dramatic improvement in quality before the transfer window closes.
The Europa League adventure has given a little more substance to the summers activities and the excitement surrounding this competition is being embrace by all West Ham supporters. Other clubs will perhaps laugh, many will dismiss the competition and the media will bleat that it will lead to a struggle in the League but if done correctly this can be a catalyst to help and not hinder.
Bilic has already tried to appeal to the supporters and has done more to build a relationship with the supporters than Sam Allardyce ever did. West Ham fans received a lot of criticism for the lack of bond with Allardyce but this was a two way thing and he disliked the fans from day one.
But no matter what your opinion on Sam Allardyce at West Ham is, his removal has lifted a dark cloud over Upton Park and with that cloud gone the positivity is shining through.
The song “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” has always been apt for West Ham with the lyric “Fortunes Always Hiding”, but at least this season the club are attempting to find that fortune and the day ambition was seen as erroneous is the day we should all give up.