Last Season: 17th
New Signings: Barrera, Reid, Hitzlsperger, Piquionne, Ben-Haim
Key Player: Scott Parker
One To Watch: Jack Collison (when he eventually returns from injury)
Needs A Big Year: Benni McCarthy
Would Quite Like: To keep their stars players and move up the table.
Thoughts: Life at West Ham is comparatively stress-free at the moment. A permanent manager in place, the owners have a little bit of money and all their best players still at the club. Yet you get the feeling it’s a very flimsy layer of calm. I’d be amazed if one of Green, Upson, Parker or Cole hasn’t left by September 1st, various clubs have been sniffing round the latter two in particular.
Keeping them seems key; Parker drove them on to safety with some inspiring performances while Cole had a breakthrough season which has brought England recognition. Some interesting players have been signed with Winston Reid and Pablo Barrera both impressing in the World Cup while Piquionne wasn’t awful for Portsmouth last year. Hitzlsperger was capable of scoring the odd spectacular goal in his time at Aston Villa. Hammers fans will hope that these guys complement the spine players above rather than replace them – Piquionne is no Cole for example.
I think Avram Grant is a decent manager who did what he could with Pompey and almost won the lot with Chelsea. His extra-curricular activities are interesting but his wife doesn’t seem to mind so it shouldn’t matter. I think it will be less of a struggle but West Ham will still be in the bottom half.
Tags: avram grant, baron von greenback, Barrera, Ben-Haim, Benni McCarthy, collison, danger mouse, Hitzlsperger, massage, piquionne, Premier League, Reid, rob green, Scott Parker, upson, upton park, West Ham, zamora