Following the detrimental Premier League defeat to Burnley, David Moyes’ West Ham United embarked on a five-day warm weather training camp in Miami, Florida, here are the opinions of five moorethanjustaclub.com writers on the trip, some believing the plans should have been cancelled in the wake of three successive losses for the relegation-threatened Hammers and others, quite the opposite.
Luke Glanville (@Glanville_Luke) – Site Lead:
“It’s my understanding that Moyes and his staff planned this warm weather training trip to Florida at least a month in advance, before the three defeats in succession that have thrown the Irons firmly back into the relegation fight.
“Bearing in mind that when this trip was planned West Ham had just come off of a very busy period indeed in impressive form, a hectic December and January without any real break, losing once in the league in those months, the players deserved to get away.
“It must also be noted that the Claret & Blue stars have been put through their paces in this training camp with some very gruelling sessions, as they would be had they stayed at Rush Green, the only change, the setting.
“However, I can fully understand the frustration of fans when they open the dailies and see images of Joe Hart, who made a mistake at the London Stadium last weekend and Andy Carroll, whose antics while injured have ruffled a few feathers anyway, relaxing by a pool and on the beach especially after the nature of the loss before.
“This is not the club’s fault, Moyes had obviously just given the players the afternoon off to relax after a session in the morning, which is understandable, there are not many settings where a photographer isn’t lurking I’m afraid.
“Overall, Moyes clearly believes that the best thing for the players was to get them some warm weather training, this will be his only chance between now and the end of the season and as long as the players are back and up for the fight at home to Southampton, I don’t see why anyone should have a problem with that”.
Alf Gasparro (@alfgasparro) – Columnist:
“Hola Miami! As if greater insult could not be added to injured West Ham fan’s woes…then the club have only achieved the impossible. After two abysmal seasons, after a string of recent performances that flattered devils doing good deeds…the squad were whisked off to Cubano infused lands for some warmer climes and team bonding exercises.
“Many fans would feel aggrieved that underperforming players are pampered in such manner whilst acknowledging there are benefits to this madness, however, the final reckoning will be when players return to symbolically play Dagenham & Redbridge in a friendly on the 21st March and then vitally against Southampton on the 31st in the next league encounter. Anything other than a convincing win will not be acceptable after such a public relations blunder.
“Fans’ will and wellbeing have been tested to the maximum in recent times, and for pictures to emerge of players with wives and girlfriends having a jolly time in first-class hotels and on white sandy beaches…is tantamount to flaunting a total disregard for sentiments of supporters still languishing in hellish mire. Of course, everyone is aware that some training is taking place, but many would question, “Por Que Miami?” Why the ‘Chicas’…and why after such awful performances…and whilst in the middle of such tensions between the club ownership and the fans?
“Timing is everything in comedy but this has been a farcical decision, which may come back to haunt them all over and over again. If they wanted sand…I could have arranged for a lorry load to be dumped at Rush Green! If they wanted sun…I could have prayed to Ra or sent them to the solarium! What I wanted was anything but this! What I wanted was to shackle them together in a chain gang and have them dig ditches with nothing more than mouldy bread and stale water…now that’s team building and just as demoralising as fans are feeling right now. What a sham”!
Ciaran Judge (@Refjustice) – Columnist:
“West Ham abject on the pitch in turmoil off it and now the papers are full of photos of the boys sunbathing in Miami. Now I am not a PR expert but did anyone seriously think that this would be portrayed as anything else as a jolly? I know they are training as well and no doubt working very hard, but it does feel like they are being rewarded with a break after some desperate performances. People in the know would point to marginal gains and team building but to my uneducated eye, it smacks of a bunch of pre-Madonna’s being pandered to because the modern footballer is so fragile that telling someone the truth would shatter already brittle confidence.
“As is always the case with West Ham everything is played out in front of the media and it just looks dreadful, the shambles off the pitch has hidden our performances on it, we are shipping goals all over the place it’s time for reality boys this game against Southampton is a huge one. The atmosphere in the ground has been toxic at times and while I can see where the anger comes from how it was conveyed was far from ideal.
“A number of players have gone on record and said how hard it is to play in such an atmosphere and I can see that but how about you give the fans something to cheer. For all its faults when the team show heart and fight the Stadium has 50,000 odd West Ham fans in it and there have been times although few and far between where the atmosphere has been great. As always it’s the fans who have been short-changed by the club and recently by the team, they owe a big performance I just hope that this training produces an improvement, we are starting from a low bar”.
Federico Maroli (@MaroliFede) – Tactical Analyst:
“After the more-than-disappointing results and the fans’ protest, West Ham’s management decided to give the lads a “well-deserved” vacation in Miami. My esteemed colleagues have different views on this decision. Let me give you my (rather humoristic) take on it:
“From a tactical perspective, team bonding is vital. It gives the players a chance of solidifying their relationship and this will have positive effects on the way the team plays and how the players organize themselves on the pitch. With the never-ending experiments attempted by Moyes, this is vital: a strong bond between the players can at least try to overcome the Manager’s indecisiveness and lack of stability.
“Nevertheless, given the recent events, perhaps the Hammers’ management should have opted to alter their plans for this long football break. While a team training retreat is extremely useful, this short trip to Miami further highlights how players and staff do not feel extremely compelled with the situation they find themselves in.
“If you think about it, heading to Miami requires extensive traveling and jet-lag: two excuses that Moyes will potentially utilize if West Ham do not succeed the following games. What happened to the short typically British holidays in South of Spain? I think that would have been a more appropriate destination: still, a nice opportunity for the lads to unwind and train in warm weather but not too far for the fans to envy them and think that they are running away from the current problems they are facing. Overall, this short trip displays the organizational problems that West Ham is facing and that the fans protest so passionately (perhaps a bit too passionately)”.
Nick Caccavone (@slicknick66) – Columnist:
“So the lads are taking a well-earned break in Miami. Good on them I say. Things have been a little tricky lately, few dodgy results, fans going to war with one another, bit of bad press. Nothing too much to worry about really. Whilst the players are having a kick about in the sand the owners and directors are burying their heads in it we’re left at home worrying about our little soldiers.
“A bit of Sun, warm weather training and a place to chill. Judging by the photos being shared on social media we can’t begrudge them that, can we? Hang on a minute, as the club sits precariously over the trap door that spells relegation the manager, staff and squad have legged it over to the states quicker than I can say pitch invasion. I’d be really gutted if they come back unscathed without a mugshot peppered across the front pages. That really wouldn’t be The West Ham way.
“If they wanted to get a sweat on they were more than welcome to use my gym, I certainly don’t. So when the squad arrive back to Blighty all fresh, glowing and bonded let’s give them the welcome back they deserve. Can we please wait until after the Southampton game as finished though. If we win I’ll drive the coach back to the airport for another jolly, lose and we’re heading for Beachy Head”!!
After the three-week break from competitive action, a time that involves a fundraising friendly trip to National League side Dagenham & Redbridge and the fourth International break of the season, the East Londoners welcome Mark Hughes’ Saints to London Stadium in yet another relegation six-pointer.