The GoatyGav Column
A Dedication & An Article 'A Strong Finish Tees You Up Nicely'
Before I go in to the main article I wanted to make a dedication to a fellow Hammer. I also thought that a little credit was deserved by West Ham United. In this time of heavy criticism of the club it was good to hear, yesterday (today as I amend this post), that a sense of community and decency remains. Sadly I lost a cousin at the age of 35 just over a fortnight ago. He was West Ham through and through. His sister called the club to order a large flag for the coffin. To the club’s credit they promised that the flag would arrive on time for the funeral on Thursday and wouldn’t take payment for it. It meant a lot to my cousin – a lovely gesture that was greatly appreciated by her. We’ll all be wearing club colours at the ceremony – even my cousin’s Man Utd supporting husband has agreed to wear a claret top with a bit of blue in the outfit. I’m hoping the boys can send him off with a good win on Monday night. You can see Alan, pictured right, his brother John and sister Debbie, at her wedding, in the photo below: -
He was a gentleman and a gentle man – one of the nicest and best people you could ever wish to meet. He went to his first West Ham game vs Exeter City at the age of 9 with his borther, John, where he got his photo taken with Harry Redknapp. RIP Alan Thurston – peaceful journey fella.
Recent form is good. The players look hungry. We’ve won and drawn the last two and pulled 6 points clear of the relegation zone.
There’s a way to go until we’re safe but there’s a dangerous historical pattern that should serve as a warning to West Ham or any of those who take their foot off the gas too early.
Relief is an extremely commonplace experience for successful teams and sports professionals. Upon getting over the line, whether that’s to win or to simply survive, the feeling can kick in simultaneously whilst acting as a release of highly charged emotions. Occasionally players, if sufficiently wound up, can physically collapse when the final whistle, bell, kick, throw or step happens.
The start of a football season is often influenced by the end of the previous one. The stimulus for a good start to a campaign has been the run in to a preceding one countless times.
Should West Ham make their Premier League status, for 2018-19, safe with games to spare, which I’m sure many will hope comes to pass, there’s a real danger that the relief and release could contribute to a poor end to this, eminently forgettable, term. Without any real momentum going in to September we could quickly find ourselves in a similar position to that of 2017-18.
Ok, It’s far too early to start looking beyond the huge game we have at home to Stoke next Monday night, but should the job get done, and the 3 points be secured, would the temptation to let go of all those pent up feelings be too much to avoid? Amidst the relief of being well clear of relegation, with so few games remaining, is there a danger that momentum will be lost and a bad run in ensue. Arsenal, Man City and Leicester away before Man United looks an incredibly tough run. For my money it wouldn’t bode well for next season going in to those games with the feeling that the job had been done. Under those circumstances it would not be an easy test for David Moyes and his coaching staff to get the players completely mentally prepared.
Stoke City at home is a huge game but the fixtures afterwards are also important. Pre-season is nowhere near as important to early season form as the run in to a previous campaign. I’ll be over the moon if we come away with maximum points next Monday night but there will still be a job to do after that.
Lastly a word on Chelsea. The weekend was great. Joe Hart was class. An imperious, man of the match winning, performance in my book. We could easily have come away with a good tonking but, instead, came away feeling like we’d won. Recent form over Chelsea is extremely good – long may it continue. Our fans were brilliant. Every player in a West Ham shirt was terrific – a great team performance. Chicha, once again, proved he is the most deadly striker we’ve had at the club in quite some time. If the team can put in the same, determined and hungry, performances in the last six matches I’ll be a very happy Hammer.
Have a great weekend all.