We must win our mini-league to stand any chance of survival in the Premier League

We fall into the largest mini-league and potentially the most exciting one - the bottom half relegation scrap.

Should we be privileged to be back amongst the elite of English football and stare around in awe at the likes of David Silva, Rooney and Aguero? Is survival the ultimate goal or do we actually do what we did when Pardew took us up last time?

We should take it to teams and frighten them with fearless football, however, I fear Sam Allardyce will be a bit more methodical in his approach. He loves his statistics and he will know what it takes to survive.

He must be laughing his head off at Blackburn Rovers and how they treated him. Replacing him with an inexperienced number two who was only taking them one place — down to the Championship. Not all of our fans agree with Sam’s style but he does have a lot of experience in keeping teams up. And, of course, taking teams up.

There are three mini- leagues within the Premier League. You have the massive clubs who are financially stronger than the rest. They attract nothing less than world class players that command in excess of quarter of a million a week! West Ham are obviously not in that category.

You then have a division of mediocrity which includes the likes of Stoke City, Newcastle (who I believed overachieved last year), Fulham and the two Merseyside clubs. Yes, they are giants from the past but they can’t even find the door to the top four let alone knock on it.

We fall into the largest mini-league and potentially the most exciting one – the bottom half relegation scrap. It is filled with teams who can beat each other on their day. None of us are paying huge wages and each fan of these clubs suffer every week. Staying up is the main objective for all of us down here.

QPR, Swansea and Norwich City without their heroic manager Lambert and take your pick from the rest. I think Southampton will surprise a few as Adkins is a top manager.

As a West Ham fan I have to be happy with fourth from bottom. I am not deluded enough to believe we can finish in the top half but we are more than capable of topping that mini-league. Our biggest problem is what it has always been – consistency! Last season
we showed patches of consistency but this season will be a lot tougher physically and mentally.

Carlton Cole – if he stays – has to step up and show how good he can be. Nolan will be up for the fight. Rob Green has taken a backward step in my opinion but that’s gone now.

The same old rumours about signings are here again but don’t expect miracles. Last season has gone now and players cannot afford to slip up in the top league. A few more solid signings and get rid of a couple of Championship-standard players then I believe a 14th place finish is a very realistic goal for West Ham United.

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