A is for August home matches. Particularly as we didn’t get to have a single one and first played a 3pm kick off at home on September 30, but please tell me more about how West Ham got such a good deal out of the Olympic Stadium.
B is for Brighton. Brighton at home and away were my least favourite games of the season as we got so soundly beaten by the newly-promoted club in both. Bilic’s West Ham lost 3-0; Moyes’ West Ham lost 3-1. Progress!
C is for Comeback. We went two nil down in the Carabao Cup to Spurs at Wembley. We got hit by coins and urine, but in the second half we hit back with three goals including an Andre Ayew brace before Ogbonna brought us home. Scenes.
D is for Dust off the trophy cabinet – we came top of a league! That’s right, as of April 29, we had the worst defensive record in the 2017/18 season in all four divisions. According to Sky, we let in 1.9 goals a game, narrowly beating Chesterfi eld (1.8), Stoke (1.8) and Sunderland (1.7) Well done all concerned!
E is for Elderly. There’s something to be said for age and experience but whereas Southampton turned into Liverpool’s farm team, we started to resemble Manchester City’s retirement home. I’m sure we’ll announce Toure soon.
F is for Fade and Die. It’s been brewing for a few seasons, but this year the discontent towards the board boiled over in incredible fashion – and any remaining belief fans had that the board would deliver on their original promises truly faded and died this season after yet another unconvincing relegation dogfi ght.
G is for Give Ginger Pele a testimonial. I shouldn’t have to say this, but a loyal, hardworking and dedicated player of 11 years deserved a better send off and the club should be ashamed of how they handled his departure.
H is for Hot-Headed. Arthur Masuaku had a moment of madness and spat in the face of Nick Powell during our abysmal and uninspiring 2-0 loss to Wigan in the FA Cup – and was deservedly sent off and banned for six games. That stupid action cost us dearly. We conceded 15 goals in six games while he was out.
I is for Injuries. So many. Every year. Time to pull a Matthew Upson and start stuffing newspaper into your boots, boys. Perhaps we could start by using Karren’s column in the S*n, as that never does any damage to West Ham players, right?
J is for Jordan Hugill, the man who puts the ‘who?’ into Hugill. A young, eager player we panic-bought and then barely played. Not fair on the fans, but also not fair on the player – who just wants to play football (and play with the bubbles.)
K is for Keyboard warriors. In Karren Brady’s ill-thought out column for the S*n, which I can only assume is called ‘how to lose friends and alienate people,’ she waxed lyrical about Spurs and how she hoped they’d win the league on the day we played them (thanks), openly and pointedly slagged off Robert Snodgrass (who by the way is still our player) and then went hard for the fans, calling us ‘keyboard warriors and malcontents’ and suggesting we were at fault for the problems at the Olympic Stadium. For the record, keyboard warriors are not the reason we all sit on scaffolding.
L is for Legends. It’s shocking, but West Ham have had a kit launch in which no one was embarrassed or ashamed. The launch of the 18/19 home and away kits was approachable, classy, and a wonderful balance of the club’s much-loved players, past and present. Only problem is, no one’s sure if Carlton Cole is in it as an ex-player or a current one.
M is for the Magic of Madley (A touch of). Our away game at Bournemouth had all the drama – we went ahead twice and behind once in this end-to-end game, but the Cherries scored a late equaliser which was both offside and converted by the right arm of Callum Wilson, who delighted in referring to his cheating as ‘a touch of magic.’ Referee Bobby Madley overruled the linesman and gave the goal, as well as cementing himself as a prize fool in the eyes of most of the footballing world. A day to forget.
N is for Noble. His legs are fine, he gives 110 per cent every game, he can steward the ground by himself. He gives everything for the club – and I’m delighted Rice is coming up with Noble as his captain.
O is for Obiang’s goal against Spurs. We didn’t get to see much of Pedro Obiang through a genuinely unfortunate injury this year, but this well-taken strike was one for the books – and was extremely well deserved (and not particularly well rivaled) goal of the season.
P is for Pitch invasion. It may have cost us the game against Burnley, but it also may have been the catalyst that finally drove our board to action promised change and sign an ambitious manager (Pellegrini not Moyes). Discuss.
Q is for Queues to get in the ground. I think they got better this year.
R is for Racism. West Ham recruitment chief Tony Henry was reported as telling an agent West Ham wanted to limit the number of African players in their squad because they ‘have a bad attitude’ and ‘cause mayhem’. The allegations broke immediately after we offloaded two African players (one of whom was our joint top scorer) and didn’t replace them, so there’s both smoke and fire. It’s disgusting, and it doesn’t belong at our club.
S is for Stoke-ing the fire in Arnautovic. Stoke, their fans, and Mark Hughes hate Marko Arnautovic. I am convinced his pre-game strategy is to be locked in a room where he can feast on the blood of his enemies, but nothing motivated him more than showing that his move to West Ham was successful. Badge-thumping, fan-baiting, Mark Hughes calling him names as he came off the pitch – lovely stuff.
T is for Total eclipse of the Hart. He had a poor season and was eclipsed by goal after goal. This loan signing did not bring anything to the team bar disruption and inconsistency between the sticks.
U is for Unlucky. In January, Chelsea decided they simply had to buy professional sicknote Andy Carroll for £20million, somehow giving us a small profit on his purchase price (which would be reduced to around minus one billion pounds after factoring in his medical bills.) Instead, Andy Carroll got injured (shock, gasp, horror) and Chelsea switched their attentions to Peter Crouch. Unlucky, mate.
V is for Veneer. Often the first team were accused of putting in a toothless performance, but no one can question the commitment of Josh Cullen when his actual teeth were kicked out during a match and could be seen sailing through the air before being collected off the pitch and put in milk. Gross, but what commitment he showed.
W is for WPL Plate. Never trust a man to do a woman’s work – while the men haven’t been bringing home the trophy bacon, those of the fairer sex have been excellent. The West Ham Ladies won two trophies this year (including the WPL Plate in an empathic 5-0 victory over Luton Town Ladies) – and from next season, will be playing in the FA Women’s Super League, the restructured top tier of women’s football! It’s a fantastic result for the hard work and dedication of the players.
X is for Xtra Time. We spent so many minutes trying to beat Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup and finally managed to score a goal against them in the 112th minute of the second leg. That’s time we will never get back, however long we live. The Carabao Cup will not have extra time this year, and it’s likely because of this marathon attempt.
Y is for Youth as it turns out the kids are all right. Well, one kid – young Declan Rice. What a player. Sure, he made a couple mistakes this season and was thoroughly thrown under the bus of Moyes for it, but he’s confident, composed and a genuinely talented footballer – and we’re glad to have him on our books. If we could keep him there, and not throw insulting contracts in his face, that would be super.
Z is for Zaba not Zaza. This year we did better with our ‘Z’ signing. Zabba is an oldie, but a goodie. He still has a lot to offer, and his experience and dedication brings a lot to the team that others could learn from.