David Sullivan, as de facto director of football, and his recruitment director to the board, Tony Henry, took all the stick in the world last summer and justifiably so. It was a dreadful transfer window of epic proportions.
But given that we are all ready to hand it out when things go pear shaped, let’s be as honest with ourselves this time around and give it up to Sullivan, in particular, who has pulled off a couple of master strokes this time around with the arrival of Joe Hart and Javier Hernandez.
It was impossible to believe that a couple of top class world names would commit to the Hammers – although in Hart’s case it’s just for the year initially. A top season will probably see the stopper stay and I think he’s a top bloke and great signing. Hernandez, of course, has us all drooling with Jose Mourinho claiming that in signing him the Irons are presenting themselves as shock title contenders.
Mourinho is always a tad over the top but we get the message: The Irons are on their way up with a front man joining us who boasts a CV with some serious names upon it – United, Real and Bayer Leverkusen, where he scored 72 goals in 180 games. Marko Arnautovic – very much a Bilic choice – arrives as a surprising record signing having pulled a near Payet situation on Stoke City.
The purists amongst us aren’t going to like that a lot and the jury remains out on the player. But those who live by the watchword “Trust Slav” will presumably have already made their minds up. It’s certainly not inconceivable that there may be up to a couple more arrive if they can get a couple through the exit door – with Robert Snodgrass top of the list.
So yes a resounding round of applause to Sullivan for his dealings in the market but whilst Slav will be pleased, he knows the heat has been turned up on him in a big way. These quality signings puts him in a position where anything less than eighth place will probably see him on his way at the end of his final year.
Bearing in mind too that he has the best crop of youngsters the academy has produced in many years, he will know that he has to produce far better than last year’s indifferent displays. I think he’ll be fine and for once in my life I am onside with Mourinho.