What would you consider a successful season for West Ham this campaign? Where do you think we will finish this season?
Greg Richardson; At this moment, success would be staying up. Unfortunately I’m not remotely confident of us doing that. When you look at the sides that have come up, I’d fancy Leeds to do a Sheffield United and I’m not convinced there are three teams worse than us in the division. Optimistically I’d say 17th which is pathetic.
Meirion Williams: Sad to say but like Greg, I have a feeling it could be another season of misery. Our current lack of transfer targets along with a clear thinning out of the squad is a real worry and I have to question the board if it’s right that they have stated survival at minimum cost. The best we can look forward to is mid table with hopefully a cup run that doesn’t end in humiliation.
Bradley Holland: When Pelligrini came aboard I was hoping for 6th or 7th; these days my expectations are 12th or 13th – a little more optimistic than Greg, but looking at the fixture list there don’t seem to be any easy games anymore. Playing in a consistent, safe Moyes’ manner I’m hoping for 10th.
Are you surprised by our lack of spending so for in this transfer window?
GR: Surprised doesn’t really cover it. Livid is more accurate. I cannot understand the failure to act quickly to strengthen a squad that so clearly needs refreshing. We barely stayed up and are weaker now than we were when the window opened. It’s genuinely baffling
MW: No I am not. We went years without spending money then there was a rush of blood with too many changes. The money has been spent and with the owners not prepared to put more money in but rather take money out, it really doesn’t surprise me.
BH: I’m not surprised that we aren’t spending big, but I thought we would act quickly on a few key positions even if smaller. We seem to be horrible at scouting, and on the losing end of buying or selling.
Which of our departures were you sad to see leave – and what did you make of our other exits?
GR: Diangana is the only right answer. He has such potential and his return was the only bright spot of a miserable summer window. I can understand selling Ajeti and Hughill but that we didn’t get more for either is frustrating and the lack of any imminent replacement is worrying.
MW: I was sad to see Roberto leave as he could have been a club legend just like Alan McKnight. It really is early days but I will be disappointed if Lanzini leaves and Gradi could have had a great career with us. I was also sad to see Zabaleta leave as he was a great professional to have in and around the dressing room
BH: I’m praying that we now don’t sell Rice; Diangana leaving was a gut punch. Watching Ajeti leave was once again a tale of improper buying, training, and selling but didn’t hurt like Grady’s departure, which defeated the ethos of using young, hungry, West Ham bred Academy players.
Which months are you fearful of judging by our fixtures, and which are you looking forward to? Are there any standout games for you this season?
GR: After Newcastle, the first two months are pretty tricky and we could feasibly enter November without any points at all. I suppose having a home fixture on Boxing Day is nice but the likelihood of that having fans able to attend is 50/50 anyway so I can’t get excited by it just yet. We have winnable games in May but could be dead and buried by then.
MW: All of them. I really worry about this season and the lack of any cover in several positions. Sorry I’m a doom and gloom person when I look at the up and coming season.
BH: It’s obvious the initial six matches will hurt and it will feel like we’re on a relegation bound rampage. Hopefully we can pull through with some mental toughness and get some wins – if they can work out the defence and the mentality it could kick off to a decent start.
Who will win the title and who are your three to go down?
GR: I think Liverpool will drop off a bit, so reckon City are favourites. Chelsea could push them if all the new signings click but Frank’s inexperience could cost them. With all the optimism I can muster I’ll say Fulham, Newcastle and WBA could go down, but i think we will probably take one of the slots. Can’t remember ever going into a season expecting any less.
MW: My money is on a Liverpool repeat although I think that Citie will run them close. As for relegation, it has to be Brighton and then West Brom along with Aston Villa in my eyes. We will fight Fulham for that fourth from bottom place.
BH: Recent rumors around Messi going to Man City have been quashed so I think they will lack some bite and still have defensive problems but I pick them in the top three with Liverpool, and Chelsea battling Man United for the third spot. Arsenal might challenge for fourth and Tottenham look to crash again yeah! I think Fulham, Villa, and Brighton to go down