It had been seven games since the Hammers last won in the Premier League, but a heroic performance in Wales lifted the doom and gloom in the East End. From one to 11 every player stood up to be counted, putting an end to the myth that Sam Allardyce had lost the dressing room.
They showed heart, desire and that little bit of class when it mattered as the Hammers collected three points for the first time since their home win over Fulham in November. I have criticised Allardyce umpteenth times this season in this very magazine, but on Saturday he was spot on, tactically sound and he clearly motivated the team.
Mark Noble showed why he has all the correct credentials to become a top captain; he wore his heart on his sleeve and covered every blade of grass on that pitch. He deservedly picked up the decisive second goal to secure victory as he once again put “captain” Kevin Nolan to shame. The team showed great character and it was the West Ham that we know and love on the pitch, hardworking, dedicated and fearless.
Even when they were presented with the potential problematic situation of being reduced to ten men following Tomkins’ dismissal, the Irons showed a lion-hearted attitude as they repelled everything Cardiff threw at them. So I guess the real question is why can’t we play like this every week? Why can’t we produce the same desire and level of commitment showed in Cardiff last week?
It is the most frustrating thing about being a Hammer. I am not asking us to win every week, though it would be nice of course, but the way we rolled over and died at Forest and City respectively left a very bitter taste in the mouth.
It isn’t hard to become a likeable West Ham player, as a player if you play with heart and with fight you instantly get put into the “one of us” categories. Mark Noble epitomises everything good about West Ham. His work rate is exceptional and it isn’t a surprise that he is banded about as a “legend” already. If only he could be more consistent with those free kicks and corners and we would have a real top player on our hands.
It is for those same reasons that Adrian is starting to make a name for himself at the Boleyn. His attitude since his arrival has been second to none. Despite being treated very poorly by Sam Allardyce by being dropped and then recalled again, he is passionate and it seems like he has settled in very quickly in the East End. His save from Campbell in the second half shows he is quite a keeper as well.
On to the lion heart at the core of our defence, and his injury woe, which has been a large reason behind the blip in defensive form at the club. Winston Reid is, of course, the man I am alluding to. He is a future captain of the club in my eyes and comfortably my favourite player at the club. He again like Noble wears his heart on his sleeve and puts his body on the line time after time, our very own New Zealand warrior.
Watching the game on Saturday and seeing all the maybe not so big names at the club starting was lovely to see. The likes of Matty Taylor and Carlton Cole showed that you don’t have to be the best player to put in a good shift and star on the day. Cole has always and will always have a place in the heart of every Hammers fan. His effort and commitment to West Ham United has never faltered and he is a confidence player and right now he is at an all-time high on the confidence front.
With three goals in the last five games he is certainly pushing for a new contract at the club. It is the likes of Noble, Reid, Adrian and Cole, who keep the soul and traditions of the club going. They are gentle reminders to all the West Ham faithful as to why we support the club.
Sprinkle a bit of quality from the likes of Carroll, Downing and Diame and we could be onto a winner in the coming months. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself but it has been a long time since we have felt this feeling of having three points in the bag on a Saturday afternoon.