The HamburgHammer Column

Can someone please wake me up when this atrocious season is finally over ? I have learned while supporting this (once) great club that it is rarely bumper to bumper fun and biscuits, but this season has been quite a revelation in terms of delivering one body blow after another. I won’t bore you to death by naming them all again.

Did we really lose 22 points from winning positions this season ? That’s bad.

Were we not once this season in a position to field our best starting XI due to a neverending chain of long term injuries ? Sad, but true.

Is there anything that our players actually do consistently well on the pitch during games ? Other than running out of steam? Answer on a postcard please.

I know we are not safe yet, or so my former maths teacher tells me. But it looks like the season is petering out the same way it has played out all season. Poorly. Shockingly gutless. With less passion than your average Sunday League outfit.

It all has a very matter-of-factly feel about it. Our players (with the odd exception) seem to do the bare minimum in order to avoid a fine for not doing their job properly. We are basically going through the motions, but at the same time never seem to get out of second gear. We don’t run or sprint, we jog. We don’t chase and harrass opposition players, we jog next to them at a respectful distance and watch what they may do next.

Why is that? Why do we not go for the jugular once we take a lead ? It is utterly frustrating to see us throw away points in such careless fashion. Plus the alleged rumours about unrest in the dressing room over the wage levels of certain players, especially when put in comparison with the money paid to players who have performed better and done more for the club than certain new arrivals.

Togetherness and team spirit was our main asset last season. Now we just have a group of players who happen to wear the same shirt but who don’t sing from the same hymn sheet. We are hitting all the wrong notes and are a shambles, both as a team and as a club too.

If I take my claret and blue tinted glasses off for a moment I couldn’t seriously advise any player of a certain quality to come and join West Ham at this point.
It might put a significant dent in your career. We used to be a bit special.
Now we are a trainwreck waiting to happen and I hope at least the emergency brakes have been checked thoroughly and are still in working order.

How about Diafra Sakho for instance, just returning from a long-term back injury, who apparently refused to travel with the squad to Sunderland after being told he would only start on the bench. Really ? After all the previous crap of throwing his toys out of the pram? How stupid can you get? I don’t blame Bilic at all for trying to ease Sakho back into things, with 15 minutes here, then half an hour the next game, maybe an hour the game after. As much as I love Sakho as a player, he is not quite good enough to warrant a starting place at all costs. A teamplayer he certainly is not. So he may be another one on his way out. As surely there has to be some sort of reboot in terms of our squad. A massive overhaul is due, covering all the bases:
Players, coaching staff, medical team.

We have too many players just making up the numbers. We have loan players with next to no chance of being signed permanently. And we have players who tend to get injured. A lot. For God knows what reasons. I expect a lot of things to happen at our club over the summer, the revolving door will be as busy as the ticket office trying to flog the season tickets of those who won’t be renewing.

I’d like to think we may have learned a thing or two from past mistakes and get most of our decisions right, but I’m not holding my breath in anticipation.

And I will most certainly go to bed on a regular basis during the transfer window as I shall no longer buy into all the big words coming from our board about marquee signings, 20 goal a season strikers and making the top 4 clubs looking over their shoulders anytime soon.

A quick word on the goalkeeper situation. Randolph had a dismal game on Saturday, granted. He deserves to be dropped now with Adrian going back in goal for a few games, that’s how it should be anyway, especially if you have two goalkeepers who are not far apart in terms of quality. Randolph ain’t a bad custodian between the posts, he is a decent enough goalkeeper and doesn’t deserve some of the crap I’ve heard him labeled with. Are there better goalkeepers out there ? Course there are. But guess what?

They cost a lot of money. So, do we want a top goalkeeper in the summer? A decent RB, either of experienced veteran variety or a top prospect ? Or the 20 goal a season striker?

Because sure as night follows day we will not get all Fahrerin the summer. We are skint, remember ? Still in debt to the tune of £100 million or so. Restricted by FFP on top of that. Let the wheeling, dealing and signing loan players comments.

If I want to put a positive spin on all this, it’s never dull to be a West Ham fan, right ?

It’s also never dull to be a Concordia supporter. Starting with the bad news, the lads lost their Easter Sunday away fixture against the country pumpkins from Buchholz, a totally disappointing and unnecessary 1:0 defeat. Depending on how our promotion rival Altona do in their fixture later today, the gap could now grow to a gulf of nine points with only six games remaining. So the league season appears to be petering out for Concordia as well, with the promotion dream slowly fading and dying, however, we are still very much harbouring dreams of winning the Cup this season as you can see from the above video link.

Cordi beat Osdorf on Good Friday and are now in the Semifinal draw of the Oddset Cup, the local cup competition determining which Hamburg based team from the lower leagues will be entered into next season’s first round draw of the German FA Cup. Two more wins for Concordia and a bit of luck in the draw and Concordia could be playing someone like Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Moenchengladbach in a competitive fixture in the not too distant future. That should be a bit of fun! And possibly a rugby score…:-))

Not long to go now for my next West Ham game against Spurs. Unlike previous visits though my excitement is fairly contained this time, maybe I’m just going through the motions at this point too, same as my club…COYI!

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