The GoatyGav Column
The media are making a lot of noise about a few clubs at present. High flyers Southampton are deservedly taking much of the plaudits. The Spuds are starting to be spoken about in title chasing terms, with Ally McCoist and others answering the hypothetical that they will finish above City this season, while Aston Villa and Leeds are being praised for their efforts this season to date. Of course many channels have been at pains to point out that Leicester had, before yesterday’s defeat, been three points better off this season than at the same point in their title winning campaign of 2015-’16.
Meanwhile our perennial underachievers in Claret & Blue have been uncharacteristically consistent since the disappointing opener against Newcastle. Despite the fact that there have been one or two that have stood out slightly more than others the team ethic, that continues to grow on matchdays, has developed to the point where all eleven players on the pitch are performing well. So many aspects of their play seems more confident including their strength and conditioning which is enabling them to compete, control and dictate more of the game.
A few weeks back I replied to a post-match comment with words to the effect of ‘I don’t care if West Ham unbeaten runs rarely last long…I’m just enjoying the ride right now’. Let’s face it, we’re so used to false dawns, we might as well enjoy the purple patches without concern for what lies ahead. I’m genuinely glad to still be in the same place as when I made that ‘in the moment’ post. Without getting carried away, or dreaming of European football next season, long may that feeling continue. Quite frankly it’s great and I’m absolutely loving it.
At this point of the season, with a quarter of the games already played, our usual MO is to be looking downwards and worrying about a relegation scrap. It’s a really nice thing to be looking upwards and just six points off the top of the table. Apart from the nose bleed it’s particularly pleasant having a positive goal difference. In fact ours is the equal fourth highest in the Premier League alongside Liverpool’s!
Another reason to be cheerful this term is the lack of injuries we’ve suffered. Almost always near the top of that division by this stage, in fact at any stage come to think of it, there’s a strange absence of physio room occupants. The only major miss has been Antonio with his recurring hamstring problem. Thankfully, on this occasion, it’s not a six month lay off but one that’s seen him miss only three and a bit games. In fact, if he’d have been available for the Liverpool match, you wonder if the result might have been different…such has been the impact of the likeable former Tooting and Mitcham Talisman.
So despite David Moyes’ call for calm, and solid feet on the ground, this Hammer is only focused on the enjoyment of recent games and the satisfaction of seeing us in the top half of the table without thinking of where the rest of the season will take us. Long may it continue. Be that as it may, however, it has to be said that it could have been a worse time to be facing Aston Villa at home. Next Monday can’t come quick enough.
Sadly not quite so happy tidings with the Women’s team. The club announced, last Thursday, that Matt Beard has left the club by mutual consent following the defeat to Brighton. Beard will always have the cup final the season before last on his CV. Having attended the semi-final, and were it not for ridiculous fixture scheduling I would have been at the final as well, I can honestly say that it was one of the highest, most enjoyable, points I’ve had watching West Ham over the last couple of seasons so, if you’re happen to read this Matt, many thanks for great memories and all the best for your future in the game.
As I write the under twenty threes are taking on Dimitri Halajko’s former charges at the King Power stadium in what looks like a good start for our lads. With Burnley currently leading Palace, and Nick Pope pulling off a worldy of a save from Benteke, it looks like we might also hang on to our eighth spot for the time being. I’m going to chill out for the rest of the evening with a ‘Bolognese a la Gav’ and unwind so won’t be doing my usual brief report on the game this week.
Stay safe and well and have a good week all.