So after 13 weeks its back and its top flight football at the Boleyn ground again and that feels fantastic. I have complete respect for the Championship’s competitive nature and we never had the right to get into the top two and to bounce back at the first time of asking was a superb effort from the whole squad. Also to do it at Wembley was a nice touch.
I don’t know about you guys but that dramatic win against Blackpool seems like a complete lifetime ago. We have had the Euros and the small matter of the Olympic games in our back garden this season has crept up completely on me. I have had a very interesting sporting summer. I watched major league baseball in New York during the Euros where I discovered not only interest from the locals for the football but passion it was everywhere!
Fans from most countries in the tournament were visible (especially the Irish which is not a surprise) it helped me enjoy the footy more and of course we went out on spot kicks. Then we have had the Olympic Games at Stratford where everything for me was 100% spot on.
The pride of a nation mixed with great organisation from security to ensure a safe but quick entrance to all events and superb enthusiasm from volunteers and all spectators made it a fantastic two weeks and one that everyone from the east end and the whole of the UK can be very proud of. Bring on the Para games.
So we welcome Aston Villa this afternoon who had a very poor season last time out coming 16th and just 38 points and even with a change of manager is a game I am looking to get three points from. That is crucial for our season is looking at games against teams that we expect to be near come the end of the season.
Another crucial element is how well we start. When we have struggled in the Premier League in the past we have got off to a nightmare start. Two years ago we lost our first four games and in 2002/2003 when we also went down we failed to win until our 7th game that season. I was in New York when the fixtures came out and I was absolutely delighted with our opening six games but of course every game is going to be very tough.
Also I strongly believe there are three teams worse than us and survival would make it a successful season. I also feel that teams such as Norwich and Swansea could suffer from second season syndrome.
Wigan did finish well but I always believe they will struggle and add QPR and today’s opponents to this list and I think this is our mini league that if we can win then we will be ok. I honestly believe we have enough to stay up this season.
The football might not the slickest in the league but I think Big Sam will have us organised and I would not be surprised if we go for 4-5-1 even at home. It’s all about staying up and that might make it a cagey season. I am only 25 so the ‘West Ham way’ is before my time but I am pretty sure I want the away wins from last season again and 1-0’s will suit me just fine!
Let’s be loud and proud today guys we need to improve our home form to have a chance of staying up and let’s show the League that we are back with a bang and to get off to a flier against a team that have seen better days.