In September, before the season started, I wrote a piece about my annual ritual of comparing current results against the corresponding fixture from last season.
I have done this for nearly 40 years and really should know by now that it is of little value, but it keeps me amused.
When I started doing the Stop! Hammertime podcast, I met Benji Lanyado who it turned out has an Uncle Jeff who does exactly the same thing. This method has since then been named the ‘Uncle Jeff Formula’.
To recap, I list out all the results from last season, replace the relegated teams with the promoted ones, and make a direct comparison of the corresponding results.
So for example, on the opening day we lost at home to Newcastle, but last season we also lost at home to Newcastle so that was 0 points difference.
But last season we lost at home to Wolves but this season we won so that was plus three points.
Indeed last season we lost all of the corresponding opening seven fixtures, so whilst it didn’t look good for us, at least we would not have a minus figure on the Uncle Jeff Formula.
What a pleasant surprise though to find that after those opening seven fixtures, the Uncle Jeff Formula stood proudly at +8 having turned around last season’s negative results against Wolves at home and Leicester away, and picked up a point a piece away at Tottenham and home to Manchester City.
The other results, Newcastle at home and Arsenal and Liverpool away were neutral as we lost them last season anyway.
The farcical win over Fulham at home didn’t affect the total as Fulham replaced Norwich in the formula but then we picked up another positive against Sheffield United away, where we lost 1-0 last season, and after beating Villa at home, which was a draw last time, the formula stood at +13.
At that stage, if all other results were equal to last season from that point it would put us on course for a total of 52 points; anything over 50 is not to be sniffed at.
But then Manchester United trundled along and stole three points in a fixture we won last year which dragged us back down to +10.
Leeds replaced Watford in the formula so our 2-1 win did not affect the total, but we picked up another point in a game we lost last season at home to Crystal Palace (+11) then lost at Chelsea, which pegged us back to +8 and the draw with Brighton was the same result as last year.
Southampton cost us another two points but Everton generously provided a three point bonus. So we stand now at +9 and the next four fixtures yielded only a single point last term.
To me, with 26 points already on the board it means, surely, that we can take the FA Cup a bit more seriously this season?
After 13 games we had 21 points which equaled our best ever Premier League start in 2014-15 when Valencia and Sakho ran riot, and 2015-16 when Payet got nobbled against Everton and progress was thwarted.
The important thing is that we keep going and don’t allow setbacks to set a template for the rest of the season.
The stats suggest that we will keep plugging away, this being one of the more resilient West Ham sides of recent years.
Last season we were generally lampooned by the media for failing to gain points from losing positions.
In other words if the opposition scored first it was game over. Indeed, four of the five points we did win from losing positions last term came after Moyes had taken charge at the turn of the year.
This season, we have clawed back points at home against Crystal Palace and Brighton and away against Leeds and Tottenham – that’s six points rescued with only 15 played.
On the flip side we have surrendered seven points from winning positions, but they were against Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Last season we surrendered 25 points in total from winning positions and we were not too picky who we were playing when we dropped them.
In summary, exactly a year after Moyes was re-appointed it seems like a good point in the season to review progress and compare, even though it doesn’t guarantee that any progress will be maintained.
However under Moyes I have more faith that we will not crumble and fade away as in so many previous seasons, that he will nor rest on his laurels.
I think he still has a lot to prove to us as fans, to the board and to the football world in general.
He wants to show that his time at Everton wasn’t a fluke, that he remains relevant in the modern game and he definitely will not want to end his career with just one FA Cup runners-up medal to his name.
Uncle Jeff suggests we should back him.