And so ends my first full season in T100 at West Ham.
The initial boost of results the club saw after my take over had faded towards the end of last season and we finished with a bit of a whimper. Ok a lot of a whimper. Infact whimper probably doesn’t do how badly we finished justice alright so lets leave that there.
Expectations were low for this season, indeed a pre season blog predicted a 15th place finish based on average first team ratings and that was assuming the first team stayed fit, something older players seemed to struggle to do and we do love an aging player in the east end.
Hilton 43/87, Juanfran 35/87, Rukavina 36/87, Diego 35/8, Joaquin 39/87 and Bravo 37/87 were all been recruited to boost squad numbers but also to try and maintain at least an average 87 starting average through the season.
Pre Season was traumatic to say the least as we set off on a 5 game tour and were promptly thwacked in 4 of them achieving only 1 draw. Not the greatest of pre season confidence boosts, but its seems to fit the feeling of impending doom for the season ahead.
A quick trip with the squad to the Queen Vic on the Friday night before he opener helped raise morale and we actually started a lot faster than expected with a draw and 2 wins in the first 3.
However im not quite sure what happened next but the collapse was spectacular. One afternoon we announced the exciting capture of young Englishman abroad, Musah, and all was rosey then…. Oh my what happened then….
Over the course of the next 11 games we would collect just 7 points, we would score only 7 goals and slide down the league faster than a fat kid on the Orbit slide outside the ground.
As points dried up we often had a bigger gathering of fans outside the ground calling for an end to my reign than attending actual games.
The middle of the season saw a slight improvement with wins over the bottom 2 keeping the club hovering in and around the 3rd automatic sacking spot much to the delight of the preying ultras. The 12 games saw us win 4, draw 2 and lose 6.
By this point it wasn’t just the fans that were restless I was becoming more fixated on the automatic sackings than ever before.
Then I had another managerial epiphany. I called in club captain and all round hardman Tomas Sivok and between us we decided to utilise a gap in our schedule (less said about our cup games the better) to take the squad a 2 day trip to Sivoks Czech home town, the delightful and under appreciated Ceske Budejovice. It may sound crazy and taking a squad of 48 players on a 2 day trip to a town with a population of under 100k may not seem like a good idea, well let me tell you this, you are correct. The trip was a disaster, young Joe Scally was arrested for urinating on a tree, Musah spent the entire time telling his agent to get him out, star striker Mata spent more time dancing on tables than relaxing and worst of all Sivok bumped into his high-school girlfriend and promptly announced his retirement from football. In retrospect going to a small Czech town famous for its beer with a group of aging alcoholics was probably a bad idea.
What a shit show. Anyway after 1 night of the proposed 2 we all came home early and vowed never to mention the trip to each other again. Sivok agreed to come back but maintained he would leave for home again at the end of the season.
The final 3rd of the season looked like being as much of a struggle as the first but like any good gaffer it was time to switch it up, out went 532 and in came a snazzy new 4231 formation, Enes Unal wasn’t happy to lose his spot but then again I wasn’t happy spotting him spray painting the Czech monastery a few days earlier with the phrase “menajerim bir pislik”.
So off we set 16 games to save the season and what a ride it was. Our defence was tighter than before, 65 year old Hiltons new hip was holding up well, fortunately due to his age he’d had it done on the NHS, new keeper Campana proved there was life after Andrade left the club while new boy Konopyanka was doing everything my other forwards couldn’t – he scored some goals.
The fans began to return and a glorious charge saw us only lose 2 of the last 16, climbing up the dizzy heights of 10th finishing the season with 14 wins 11 draws 13 loses, scoring 39 and conceding 37. The 3rd best defence in the division but also 3rd worst attack.
At his traditional end of season dinner Life Chairman Danny Dyer delighted the players with a rendition of forever blowing bubbles and declared he wants to see Seats at the club for the foreseeable future. He also questioned why he wasn’t invited on the trip to the Czech Republic but I swept that one under the carpet.
On a serious note the strong finish to the season and some pretty interesting looking younger players joining the squad the future looks positive – so long as my defence don’t all retire any time soon. We do however wave a teary good bye to my most consistent performer Mr Sivok, enjoy your retirement captain.
Up the Irons.