West Ham are generally considered to have enjoyed a good transfer deadline day – which of the four signings are you most excited about?
James Longman: I’m always excited by a pacey winger and Michail Antonio looks promising. However if we have signed the Alex Song of the first half of last season then that is a real coup. Fingers crossed he rediscovers the kind of form he had then. James Longman: I’m always excited by a pacey winger and Michail Antonio looks promising. However if we have signed the Alex Song of the first half of last season then that is a real coup. Fingers crossed he rediscovers the kind of form he had then.
Tim Holland: Antonio for me, I saw him at Sheffield Wednesday a few years ago and was impressed. He’s got strength, pace and enjoys running at the opposition and which are all qualities we’ve been missing. With Victor Moses he’ll add some much needed width.
Geoff Hillyer: For me, Antonio is the most exciting signing. He looks like an absolute beast – if he can make the step up, he’ll contribute much-needed pace and goals. It’s another of those ‘feels right’ signings – I think he could be very successful with us – the proviso being he’ll need to step up to the demands of the Premier League. He seems confident he can.
Andrew Hosie: It was a terrific transfer window overall for West Ham and what a refreshing final day after many let-downs in the past. All the players brought in on deadline day are terrific for the squad. Obviously Song we know about, Moses is also a well-known in the Premier League, Jelavic will provide good back up for our main strikers. Antonio is the one I’m looking forward too – a pacey, strong winger with a great assist record and goal-scoring record too. Lets hope he becomes as successful as our previous Championship signing, Aaron Cresswell.
Would you have liked to have seen Emmanuel Adebayor join the club from Tottenham Hotspur?
JL: He has shown that in the right frame of mind, Adebayor can be an excellent footballer and there is no reason why Slaven Bilic couldn’t get the best out of him. I’m bored however by Spurs and the way they handle business so in all honesty, no.
TH: In a word, no. It was endearing to hear that he wanted to join us on transfer deadline day but I’m not sure his attitude and faltering abilities are what we need especially if his wages are £100k per week. I’m sure Nikica Jelavic will provide the necessary cover up front and we’ll have Mauro Zarate and Andy Carroll back soon enough
GH: I’m glad that we didn’t, in the end. I’m not sure why, to be honest, as the guy’s obviously talented – but I think we have a settled dressing room, we have Carroll and Enner Valencia to come back, we have Diafra Sakho and now Jelavic, I just think that it would be an unnecessary move. Plus it’s hilarious that Tottenham continue to have to pay him!
AH: Ha, no! A signing like Adebayor would have seemed like past West Ham, i.e. signing players past their prime. Also it is somewhat satisfying to ensure that Daniel Levy wasn’t dug out of a hole by us. Levy blocked us last time, glad it’s us that turned the tables on them. I hope the tweet by DG was more than a joke because there’s something rather satisfying about doing Tottenham over. If Moses turned down Tottenham too well that’s the cherry on the cake
The Hammers have had a mixed start to the season, are you more or less confident about the campaign now than you were four weeks ago?
JL: From the start, I’ve had no idea how this season will turn out and I still don’t! Two amazing away performances and two dreadful home ones. The squad has been bolstered so I’m hopeful we can start getting some consistency and Slaven has to work out his tactics at home. Hopefully we can push on. I’m not emotionally ready for a relegation battle.
TH: After our form in the second half of last season and our exit in the Europa League I thought we’re more or less where I thought we’d be — six points from four games, albeit I thought we’d get the points from Bournemouth and Leicester. I’m hoping for more consistency going into September though.
GH: More up and down than a yoyo. It’s early days. We obviously need to get the home form sorted – and Bilic will have to work out how to play in a way which differs from the very effective away performances. I feel reasonably confident that we’ll be OK. I think that once we get that first home win under our belt, we’ll be fine.
AH: To be honest our Europa campaign hadn’t left me to over-enthused about our prospects for this season but I was inclined to have an open mind and our stunning start had me feeling as elated as the previous home win against Manchester City from last season. Of course, in typical Hammers style, the opening day memories quickly evaporated before unexpectedly returning at Anfield. After our transfer deadline day exploits I am now much more confident for the rest of the season, we just need to make sure we try and keep 11 players on the pitch each week to build a settled side. With more strength in depth we are much better equipped to deal with the inevitable winter injury crisis.
The win at Anfield was as spectacular as it was unexpected – when else have the Hammers left you pleasantly surprised?
JL: In recent years, my biggest surprise was the signing of Andy Carroll. Though that hasn’t turned out as successful as expected, at the time I was absolutely buzzing and gave me the old excitement I used to get as a kid. The other pleasant surprise was the club fixing the toilets in the chicken run. What a time to be alive.
TH: Wins against the supposed top six are always good but I’ve been pleased by our purchases during the transfer window. We’ve strengthened in all areas, we’ve added some flair and width, we’ve attracted top players like Payet and we didn’t get lumbered with dodgy free transfer or loan deals on transfer deadline day!
GH: The performance at Anfield was different to previous visits – whilst we’ve gone up there, and indeed, to Arsenal, in the past and tried to nullify them, this time, we actually had an outlet. I loved the pace that we showed on the counter. It was most unWest Ham like – quick, and effective. I’ve been surprised by how good Dimitri Payet is though, he’s been the star of the show. I thought he’d be good, but he’s the real deal. Can’t wait to see more of him
AH: Well, at the moment it’s more exhiliration one week and crushing disappointment the next. I take part in a predictions competition each week and so far I haven’t managed to predict a correct West Ham result let alone the score. We’re so unpredictable but I guess that’s part of the reason we all love them. My local newspaper had an article before the Liverpool match discussing just how insane West Ham are that he predicted we’d win. So it proved. Difficult to remember when I was simply ‘pleasantly surprised’ rather than ‘dumbfounded in shock’. I think though making the break with Sam Allardyce left me pleasantly surprised, seeing as we all pretty much knew it was coming, but still a relief when it happened.
West Ham host Newcastle and Norwich this month while there is a road trip to Manchester City. How many points do you think we will get?
JL: I think we will probably end up with four points though the optimist in me says six. City have looked the real deal this season so a win there is unlikely though a win at Anfield and the Emirates was unlikely! I like to think we have enough to overcome Norwich and the Toon, but Bilic must sort the home form.
TH: My heart says six points but my head says four. I think a draw with Newcastle, win against Norwich and we’ll narrowly lose to Man City. I really hope we start performing at home otherwise it could be a long season.
GH: If we play to our full potential I don’t see why we shouldn’t claim at least six points. Manchester City is the interesting one. They’ve gone off like a train – but every team, somewhere along the line, comes a little unstuck and drops points. I wonder if we could be their banana skin? I’m anticipating somewhere between four and six points – though not necessarily in the games you’d expect
AH: Well, as I said with my predictions each week, I have failed to get even a result correct for West Ham this season so asking me is probably not the best idea. However as we’ve seen this season home wins are getting scarcer each year as every team strengthens to a point where they can blunt a home side’s attacking verve. Newcastle did it to Manchester United and they are capable of doing that to us. And we’ve had a great result against Liverpool so we probably will come back down to Earth. No disrespect to Norwich but we have to be targeting three points for that one, and Manchester City are currently playing in a league of one so it will be extremely tough to get a point. Four points won’t be a bad return at all from those games
The Capital One Cup starts this month with a trip to Leicester City. How high a priority should the competition be on Slaven Bilic’s to do list?
JL: We have a good enough squad to consolidate in the Premier League and crack on in the cup. I would think the chairmen would have told Bilic that it’s a priority and there is no reason why we should progress, though Leicester are proving to be a tricky team. I would love a cup run in our final season at the Boleyn.
TH: I think it should be a priority especially after the palaver of the Europa League and it would appease fans. A decent cup run would also be a fitting tribute for our last season at the Boleyn Ground.
GH: I think we should attack the cup competitions this season. In the Capital One Cup, we have a real chance of progression. I think Leicester have had a good start, but they are by no means unbeatable. Unless we end up really struggling in the league, I think we should approach each game with a full squad to try to win it. After all, we are in round three and so only four wins from Wembley!
AH: It would be great to actually win a cup competition wouldn’t it? I’d love to see us have a really good go. It does seem to be a competition where teams throw caution to the wind and goals seem to fly in all over the place. It does seem a nice fit for Bilic and with our more rounded squad why not? The problem is getting over the first hurdle against Leicester. They’re not half bad at the moment