Pub Talk: How will we remember 2018? Who do we need to sign in January?

The Blowing Bubbles team settle down to put the West Ham world to rights...

How will 2018 go down in the history of West Ham United Football Club?

David Meagher: The start of a new era where we became a truly big club with the structures that make for European success!

Meirion Williams: It had to be one of a case of ‘what could have been’. I had high hopes that the club would move on to that infamous next level but it seems to be one dominated by negativity. The summer gave hope but we will end the year at best at mid table mediocrity. There is hope with the amount spent and with a proven manager now in charge but I can’t help feeling it’s a year when the fractured relationship between the fan base and the owners reached the point of no return.

James Jones: It will all depend on how we invest in January but this season it’s simply a rebuild job for Pellegrini. It’s the start of his era and he needs to continue what he’s started – he needs a couple of windows to get the squad he wants but this season is his chance to build something.

Lucy Woolford: It’s been a weird one and I have to agree with Merion, a really middle-of-the-road kind of year. We finished last season with a whimper but without too much fuss, then started this season in a mixed fashion. The biggest moment of 2018 will be the protests against the Board V Burnley.

With Newcastle, Cardiff, Palace, Fulham, Watford, Southampton and Burnley in December, how many points is the minimum you’d be happy with?

DM: We’ve got to be looking for 15 or more but with us being West Ham we might get seven or eight and find ourselves in a very interesting second half of the season.

MW: I’ve proved to not be a great one at predicting results after all I thought we would have a sizeable points haul already. Every one of the December games is winnable. A conservative 12 points for me.

JJ: Maximum points at home should be the target and then a few points away, even if it’s a few draws. Home form is massive for us moving forward and we need to put together a run of positive results in Stratford in order for it to feel like home.

LW: I feel like I need to make a big exhaling noise before I do this. Minimum, nine points. But they’re all winnable, so let’s be optimistic and say 12. That’s an attempt at optimism!

Who would you like the club to buy in the January transfer window?

DM: We need to sort out our full backs and exchange Chicharito or Andy Carroll for a forward who is up to it on a regular basis as a Premier League striker to take some pressure off Arnie. If we don’t, get ready for the usual overused striker gets injured story. We might need another physical midfielder to play alongside Declan Rice. If he got injured, we’d be very short for legs in midfield.

MW: Messi, Silva and Ronaldo please. Seriously though we need a left back and a forward. Hernandez is not doing it and subject to the amount of bubble wrap we can afford, Carroll is one game away from another injury. The biggest signing for me would be Declan Rice as I fear we will lose him if we are not careful.

JJ: A left-back, a central midfielder and a striker. In that order. Don’t care who they are, just as long as they improve our starting XI.

LW: Yes I agree that a left back would be nice. We need to be looking at the likes of Ryan Sessegnon though, not anyone in their 30s or without Premier League experience. Then yes, another striker — you can’t have too many of those. Again though, someone proven in England.

Who do you think we should sell?

DM: Andy Carroll, Chicharito, Michail Antonio and it kills me to say it but Arthur Masuaku. He looks goosed if we plan to use him as a full back.

MW: Pretty easy one for me, it’s clear Reece Oxford is not in the manager’s plans so needs to be moved out. I’ve already mentioned Hernandez and I’m undecided by Antonio. If a decent offer comes in I would be tempted to sell but we would need to replace.

JJ: Antonio’s time is up I think but other than that, I think there’s a place for everyone in that squad right now. That’s mostly down to injuries to key players but I don’t think we can afford to sell many right now.

LW: I echo the calls for Hernandez, Carroll and Antonio to head out. I hate saying it because I’m not ungrateful to them and recognise that they have their place, but we really should be aiming higher and getting more players who fit in with what Pellegrini wants to achieve.

What’s your favourite West Ham Christmas memory?

DM: Last year, getting our traditional Bobby Moore era away shirt. The classic two claret hoops on sky blue – i’d been waiting for years to get one. I’ve never understood why the club doesn’t stock them in our classic retro shirts section. It’s the greatest football jersey of all time in my opinion.

MW: It’s not so much a Christmas memory but one of New Year’s Day and it’s an odd one. I will never forget being away at Reading losing 6-0 yet every away supporter still seemed to be in the stand and all joining in a large conga to the sound of the home fans chanting “loyal supporters”.

JJ: Any Boxing Day win is the dream for me. Love it when West Ham make my Christmas even better with three points.

LW: Getting a West Ham football for Christmas when I was a kid. I took it to the training ground to get signed in the years to come. But I can still see that ball all wrapped up! Nowadays, I enjoy sitting around the table on Boxing Day and waiting for everyone else to commentate on how much we’re losing by!

Do you think we should have any concerns about relegation?

DM: Not really, Pellegrini is calm and won’t panic. We can expect to hover in mid-table until we get a few more regular performers into the side. No worse methinks.

MW: Yes definitely but I have a feeling that by the time we take on Brighton on January 2 we will be able to breath more easily.

JJ: No. We’re too good for that.

LW: I don’t think so. Like David says, we might have a few hairy moments but I think Pellegrini’s calm influence will impact on the club. Mid table again for me and I’ll take it gladly. Until next season…

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