West Ham fans should be relieved with their first season back in the Premier League.
Finishing 10th was a remarkable achievement but an extraordinary start – the east London outfit were sixth after 11 games and lost just three of their first 12 – and a similarly successful finishing streak, Hammers fans could easily forget the team endured a lengthy bleak mid-season that they were fortunate to recover from.
Put into perspective, West Ham’s season has been a success as they bettered the other newly promoted sides Reading and Southampton. While they may have excelled us in the Championship, we avoided relegation and earned a top-half finish on our Premier League return.
Our home record has been solid throughout with just five losses in all competitions. The Boleyn Ground has hosted some great entertainment, too, including a triumphant comeback over Chelsea, their first since 2003, as well as two near wins against Manchester United.
The unquestionable triumph this season has been our transfer activity. Capturing two of the best performers, Mohammed Diame and Jussi Jaaskelainen, on free transfers was extremely pleasing.
Furthermore, Andy Carroll has proved a big success, and, despite a lack of goals, the acquisition of a player of his calibre on loan and the aforementioned signings has highlighted the club’s shrewdness and prudence in transfers this season.
Off the pitch there is much the supporters should be proud of. West Ham was finally announced as anchor tenants for the Olympic Stadium and recently agreed a lucrative commercial partnership with adidas.
The silver lining is that the relocation could trigger blanket growth and the agreement with a global sports brand giant is another signifier of the club’s growing ambition and potential for investment.
Our glaring weakness this season has been our away performances, the team securing only 13 points on the road with a league-low tally of 11 goals. Although our performances both in the league and cup exceeded all expectations, a 4-1 defeat at home to Wigan in the Capital One Cup definitely marked a low point.
West Ham supporters should count themselves lucky that the team reacted so well to a 3-2 defeat to Spurs at home to halt the slide and put together a strong finish to climb out of their mid-season slump.
With a fee supposedly agreed for Carroll and the Hammers completing the signing of Razvan Rat, boss Sam Allardyce and the board are already taking positive steps towards consolidating this season’s success.
However, Big Sam must add creativity to the midfield and a regular goalscorer to partner Carroll if we are to improve next season.
If London rivals Chelsea recruit a marquee signing for the new manager, the Hammers could swoop for Romelu Lukaku, who has been exceptional this season, scoring 17 goals in total including a hat-trick in an incredible comeback against the champions.
Allardyce deserves much credit for the team’s achievement during his tenancy, and a new contract is probably best during this period of transition.
The ambition is Europe but another top-half finish is a more realistic target without a horrendous financial gamble, however survivors Sunderland, Newcastle and Aston Villa should improve drastically next season.
Don’t forget to follow @FanZone on Twitter!