One of the happiest moments in my childhood was when my favourite TV character from ‘Happy Day’…’The Fonz’ rode his motorcycle and jumped over a shark a bit like Evil Knievel. In that moment all stars aligned and the quantum jelly beans within the cosmos started to harmonise with each other. It was perfection on a screen and it made a little boy and his friends, who were all gathered around the television, simultaneously jump for joy with a few ‘Woop-Woops’ for good measure.
Little did we know that it was all fantasy, however, I have waited my whole life for that instantly gratifying moment to return…but it never has. Football has been the closest to it and when West Ham score it sends a rush of endorphins through the brain that would give you a sense of euphoria…if only for a short while.
For over a generation, West Ham fans have suffered at the hands of owners who would rather service their own needs than prioritise those of the club and the fans. The players have worn the colours with pride…some have become temporary heroes, others legends…and many have come and gone without much of an impact or a lasting impression. However, all have failed to bring home the silverware that was prevalent in the 1960’s, 70’s and 1980…many of the fanbase are too young to have known the sheer ecstasy of victory but have become accustomed to the almost, the also-rans and the abject failures.
Since moving to the London Stadium, all parties have conspired to upset the applecart and has left the team in a precarious position in the league. The football has hardly been reputable nor has it inspired future generations of football supporters to want to follow in the steps of the claret and blue army. The atmosphere around the club and at the stadium has been stifling at times and overall, the vitriolic abuse aimed at the owners has caused many to become disillusioned with the club and the football as a whole.
These are dark days, albeit they could be a lot worse! The match on Sunday may prove to be the final blessing on a season of hard knocks but it will probably be out of the club’s hands. As David Moyes and the players set to face off against newly crowned Premier League Champions; Manchester City, the other teams at the foot of the table will be seeking results to perpetuate their mathematical chances of survival too.
The match will be regarded as a write off for many of the fans as they would not expect a win, however, a hard-fought draw is possible if only David Moyes would be adventurous. However, Manchester City is the one team that might be frustrated by a defensive posture, however, they are likely to be vulnerable in their defence also…if only the likes of Arnautovic, Lanzini, Hernandez or even Carroll would be allowed to make a nuisance of themselves.
All at the club would be seeking any points right now, merely to relieve stresses and to go into the summer with hope of a new beginning. The players have acknowledged this to be the case and the manager has started to make noises that he will be the man to take the club forward, whilst the owners have largely been anonymous for a few weeks whilst the fate of the club is decided in the remaining games.
All fans would wish for a final line to be drawn in the sand and for the good to replace the bad. It has been a long time coming and the masses would not stand for more transfer failings or misdirection. The owners will be pressured into spending a lot of money to bolster the squad, however most fans would fear that as well as the dead wood, some of the prized assets would be sold to fund the new green shoots of recovery.
The obvious players to be bartered away would be Hernandez and possibly Kouyate but there has been increasing speculation whether Lanzini would wish to remain or move onto pastures new. The sale of these three players may indeed generate upwards of £50million, however how much of that would be spent and would it be enough to buy another three players of equal standing…if not better? Perhaps not!
The next two weeks, the speculation will run riot, but all fans must wait until the end of the final game to make their final protests and for the club to make their final offerings. Everybody is looking for the return of those happy days…but who will be Mr Fonzarelli to ride this club and jump it over the crevasse where danger still lurks? Time is upon us and the answers shall be forthcoming…whether they will be welcomed or not is another story entirely.