The Ex Files: So many have stepped up in this fine campaign

Thoughts will soon start to turn to the contenders for Hammer of the Year

What a season we are having! It’s a season that I, for one, and I am sure every reader of this fanzine as well, didn’t see this coming. 

I would have taken a season where we just avoided a relegation battle and got closer to a mid-table position. I didn’t expect to be writing this with us still challenging for a Champions League spot. 

As for enter the last few months of this season, thoughts will soon start to turn to the contenders for Hammer of the Year. For me, just coming up with a shortlist is a challenging task – picking a winner is even harder.

If you included staff in this award then, for me, the clear winner is David Moyes but it is, of course, just the players that we are talking about. 

I am going to talk about my favourites and then a couple of possible outside chances. 

The first is last year’s winner: Declan Rice. He is now the model of consistency and he has almost set his bar so high that his performances are less noticed now because they are expected as the norm now.  

Another factor that must be taken into account is that Declan has captained the side to our most successful season in years at the young age of 22.

He has played every minute of every Premier League game again and also taken on penalty duties too. You cannot look past him again this year. 

I think there are two main rivals to Declan’s throne and they are Tomas Soucek and Angelo Ogbonna. 

Let’s start with our potato-salad-loving Czech; What a signing this player has been. 

Not only is he an obviously great goal-scoring asset but his overall play is superb. He helps out in all areas of the pitch and covers so much ground during a match. 

He also seems an absolutely lovely bloke and someone that must be great around the dressing room.

Something else that cannot be underestimated was his role in bringing his compatriot Vladimir Coufal to the club. 

Coufal has been amazing and worked out to be an absolute bargain, so much so that I would also consider him an outsider for Hammer of the Year.

But I think only for the fact he wasn’t here at the start of the season, I do not expect him to win. Although his performances since being at the club are certainly worthy of winning.  

Angelo Ogbonna has been our most consistent centre back for a number of years now and has really shown the quality and leadership needed to make West Ham a very solid defensive team.

I have mentioned Coufal as having an outside chance and I think the same applies for Craig Dawson because ever since he came into the side, he has put in weekly top class appearances.

I just feel having not played every game this season, this will ultimately count against him. Another player who has been sensational since he joined is Jesse Lingard and I pray that we keep him beyond his initial season long loan. 

Had it not been for periods on the sideline, where his hamstrings became the talk of the town, I think Antonio would also have been in with a shout. 

We have become so reliant on him and he has scored some very important goals. He is surely on track to become our highest ever Premier League goalscorer when he will inevitably replace Paolo Di Canio on 49 goals. 

At the West Ham Way, we do our alternative end of season awards and in my opinion the winner of this would be Aaron Cresswell, which also makes him an outside choice for Hammer of the Year too.

It is very hard to pick the winner from these contenders but what a nice challenge to have. 

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