A fan’s adoration for their club of choice is a selfless act that is rarely returned in kind. Players may commend, salute and pledge all their might to produce over and over again for the pleasure of the crowds. They may declare love and gratitude for those who would cheer but whilst all of that is a handsome reward in itself, all that we require from our hammer heroes right now is a damn good performance and results that give us three points…and in that, they failed to deliver with a gutsy or talented display at Swansea on Saturday afternoon.
“A man loves a thing that don’t mean it’s gotta love him back” – Robert E. Lee Prewitt – From Here to Eternity
It would be too kind to offer counsel to failing stars, who did not turn up to the relegation showcase game. We had sold Fonte just the week before and on the morning of the game, Collins and Ogbonna were ruled out. Reid stepped into the fray but lasted little until receiving another blow to his injury woes.
We were laboured in defence, albeit Declan Rice showed some resilience but could not escape fault in a goal nor during the match too. Left and right wing backs gave us experience but lacked pace to counteract the flanking invaders. If irony were to be a foe, then it be most bitter to stab with vengeance, then twist the knife in a final act of torture. Ayew performed with pomp and made us rue the day we let him go back from whens he came, but his success was hyped due to our lethargic and malignant display.
Swansea wanted it more, hassled and hustled with intent, harried and created opportunities when there were none…and notably took their chances. A drubbing from those in the top six is a pain bearable through gritted teeth, however a thrashing from fellow strugglers is laughable, lamentable…no…it’s down right disgraceful.
The fans know it! The players feel it and the manager can only be bewildered by it. The selections gave us little pace and did not exploit the best qualities of our players. However, regardless of injuries and squad depth of our own creation…each and everyone of the team could not find form and did not deliver.
The performance is not a board issue nor is it of an isolated incidence where consolation may be grabbed from better days. This is purely indicative of a team that has been floundering for two years and we are reaching the point at which the cards have been dealt…and we’ve got a pair when all the rest have got flushes.
We know there is much to lament about the ownership and the transfer deals, but the players cannot be given excuses to hide and must not deflect blame from themselves. Of course I noted some unsavoury Swansea players collapsing to the floor and doing just enough to excite our players to vent their frustrations, but on the whole all of our opponents made good the opportunities they created, bullied and pressed players but also played some decent football.
A fan is for life, not just for winning days however these kinds of losses do little to ease the pain or make our club an attractive proposition for the next generation fans or indeed the next multi billionaire owner that so many are desperately calling for, but alas may never materialise.
Ahead of the game and especially after the Liverpool defeat, I was convinced that this was a game we had to win, possibly even draw as a last resort…but never lose and certainly not in this manner. Time is running out and our remaining fixtures may make us venture to the safety of behind our sofas for there is horror ahead of us. If we thought we were in pain now, take a knee and consider what it will be like when we continue to lose and get sucked into the bottom three, for good that will seal our fates.
Before every match I am hopeful, I am spirited and remain the eternal optimist but I am quickly learning to keep my emotions in check until the referee first blows his whistle and then pass judgement when the whistle is blown for the last time. However, we have been caught in a time loop that replays our worst fears over and over again. This is not ‘Groundhog Day’ with stranded folk in snow stricken sleepy towns, although many of the fans may have thought so as they battled their way to get to the match. This is no laughing matter, this is not a comedy but it is an absolute farce in which I fear our destiny is for the second tier.
Of course I hope to be wrong but as I reflect on much of this season, West Ham have not filled me with overwhelming confidence. Many would concede that has been the case for many years apart from occasional spikes in fortune, but I was aiming high this season and have been left flat and disillusioned with most of the performances. Swansea have been resurgent of late, however they were not so repaired that they should put four goals past us and dominate proceedings…the players cold not match them for effort and let them get away with it.
I could blame the board, but I won’t! They have been the cause of so may problems but those are associated with largely off the field activities. I could blame the manager and the coaching staff, but I won’t! Moyes has succeeded and failed in equal measure and has made some confusing and debilitating decisions that may have cost us dearly. I could blame the dissenting voices from the crowds who might boo and hiss, but I won’t! Every fan has a right to vent and cheer as they wish. I do not care for the personal attacks or the vile abuse from online trojans but that cannot be held accountable for these disastrous & impotent displays.
I can however blame players, whether collectively or individually for performances not delivered and endeavour not displayed. I would not stoop to state that commitment was lacking but it was a challenge to find any positives in a really poor day at the office. Were must do better, we must pick up points desperately, from here to eternity or we be with infinite pain.