Monday, April 21

What is the West Ham way?

Some rather patronising comments from Alan Shearer on Match of the Day, with Shearer saying, "West Ham fans keep saying they're not playing the West Ham way. What is the West Ham way? Is that the way that's been so successful the last 40 years?"

It's pretty obvious to anyone with an interest in the club what the West Ham way is. It's the attacking and innovative football played by Ron Greenwood and then John Lyall, and to a later extent by Harry Redknapp. It might not have won stacks of trophies (though we can count the 1965 Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cups of 1964, 1975 and 1980, being losing FA Cup Finalists in  2006, third in 1986 and fifth under Redknapp in 1999 as achievements) but the feeling was you went home entertained after a match.

Over the years we've seen attacking and entertaining players such as Hurst, Peters, Brooking, Devonshire, Lampard, Carrick, Cole, Defoe, Di Canio and Tevez. I'm all for solid defending, scoring from set-pieces and playing with more steel and winning matches. But it seems disingenuous of critics to hide behind this "no-one knows what the West Ham way is" cliche. It's about being a mid-ranking team that might not win much, but more often than not sends the punters home entertained and occasionally produces a glorious upset. And playing more in the passing style of sides like Southampton, Swansea and Martinez's Everton rather than our current limited fare.


matt said...

I agree with every word, and would add that it is strange how Shearer and others keep saying that West Ham stuck with Allardyce and he got us out of the relegation zone (just about). But they never mention that it was Allardyce who got us into the relegation zone, through having an unbalanced squad with no strikers, and no plan b either.

Pete May said...

Good point. I think we were right to stick with Big Sam at Christmas, but few signs that we can progress next season on Saturday's evidence and he lacks the PR skills to get the fans onside