Victories away at Dinamo Zagreb, Manchester United and Leeds United, a draw away at Southampton and a league defeat at home against the Red Devils; What did you make of our September?
David Meagher: We are looking like a serious unit that can hoover up points. These days we get at least what we deserve from games in terms of points rather than the traditional moral victories that give hope for the future but little else. It’s interesting to see that teams don’t take us for granted as we can defend and if they get too ambitious we can catch them on the break.
Meirion Williams: Well, what a month it was. A month that exceeded all my expectations. Not only did we beat what was alleged to be our toughest away game in the Europa League but we also won at Old Trafford and Elland Road, two grounds that have not always been happy hunting grounds for us Hammers. A great month with the only question being can we follow it with an even better October? Now that’s a tough ask.
Geoff Hillyer: Good September to build on a good start. I think both fan and club mentality has changed – I now go into matches expecting to pick up points. The win in Europe was fantastic but one note of caution, I think that October will be tougher both with opposition and fixture congestion.
Emily Pulham: I enjoyed most of this month. We had some great wins, and as Geoff says, it’s so weird to be going into matches feeling like we’re going to win. However, I’m a glass-half-empty Hammer so that loss to Manchester United, the Lingard goal, the late Noble penalty miss, it all haunts me. It probably will for a long time.
‘David Moyes’ Claret and Blue Army’ could be heard on the terraces in Croatia, do you think Moyes deserves this recognition right now? Will you be singing it?
DM: Oh yes. He may be Mr Grim the headmaster but what a happy squad he has assembled. Boys like order and a system to believe in and that’s what he provides.
MW: Not only was it sung in Croatia, I was there joining in when we sung it at Old Trafford. It seemed to be a given years ago that we would chant our managers name but that all ended with Big Sam’s reign and his disdain for the Hammers faithful. What David Moyes has done for the club is simply amazing. I was against his reappointment but how wrong I was. Yes he deserves that chant and I will be singing it going forward.
GH: I supported the appointment, it was exactly what we needed at the time, but I have to confess that even I didn’t think we would be achieving what we have done at this stage. I’d sing his name, and even if we go through sticky periods I’d still sing it.
EP: Can’t think of any other manager I’ve seen in my time supporting West Ham who is more deserving of the accolade and I can’t wait to sing his name at the London Stadium. He’s been a miracle worker, turning water into wine all over the pitch.
What did you make of the penalty farce in the dying minutes of our league game against Manchester United? Should Noble have taken it?
DM: Personally I do. He’s an experienced and super successful penalty taker. He just missed for once – the penalty itself was his usual ‘not that precise but super confident’ style. We just need to move on.
MW: I jokingly said to my mates at the game that we needed Noble on the field but that’s what it was a joke. Noble wasn’t even warming up. It was simply a huge mistake. Of course if he had converted it, he would have been legendary and if any other player had taken it and missed no doubt we would have all been asking why Moyes had not brought Noble on. It’s a tough one but for me Declan should have been given the opportunity. Bringing Noble on was the wrong decision full stop.
GH: It’s easy to say it’s the wrong decision, but Moyes has the player with penalty pedigree available to come on. If someone else takes it and misses, we’d be hearing: ‘Why didn’t Noble come on and take it?’. Some of the hysteria after this was way over the top. As I’ve said elsewhere though, we do need a reliable penalty taker.
EP: Moyes was damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. Noble’s our best penalty taker; it was a risk worth taking and just think of the fairytale ending we could have had. Plus, it’s not like another penalty taker would have definitely scored – De Gea is one of the best goalkeepers out there.
Do you think Tomas Soucek is suffering from second season syndrome, or is he simply in need of a rest, or have other teams worked out how to nullify his threat?
DM: I think he’s had a lot of Czech Republic action along with our heavy schedule and looks a bit jaded. That said, I think Rice is opting to push forward more often so Tomas is staying back more. I wonder how playing Kral and Rice in front of the back four with Soucek further forward might work?
MW: It’s an interesting one with Tomas, he probably does need a rest but he is still a threat so it would be a hard decision to bench him. One of the reasons I feel he has slipped back is more to do with the improvement of those around him. Bowen, Benrahma and Fornals are just outstanding this season so there is no need to have that over reliance on Tomas. It’s also a fact that other teams know who he is now and thus are giving him greater respect and less space.
GH: I personally think this whole thing has been overplayed. As David says, he is playing a more defensive role at present. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was shattered, and might need a rest – but it isn’t like we aren’t scoring goals and the unit as a whole is, in my opinion, playing well.
EP: I agree with the thread the others have woven; he seems exhausted. In the past year he’s been one of the key driving forces for both West Ham and the Czech Republic and he just hasn’t had enough recovery time to atone for all the energy he’s put into both sides.
West Ham turned down PAI Capital’s second and final bid to takeover the club – what was your reaction?
DM: We don’t need to change ownership right now. I think G&S have earned basking rights for another season. They built this so let’s allow them to savour it.
MW: I pretty much had no reaction as it looked doomed to fail. It was clear from the outset that they were the wrong investor and so when the bid fell apart, there seemed to be an inevitability around it. Do I want a change in ownership? Absolutely. But we have been bitten too many times in the past. Our next owners have to be the right ones, not a group wanting to make money out of the club. We need simply to be a rich man’s play thing.
GH: The ownership question is interesting. Personally, I’m of the camp of ‘why destabilise things now?’. I didn’t feel at any stage that PAI Capital represented sound investors and I am relieved that it didn’t progress.
EP: This seemed like a similar circus to what we already have but with different ringleaders. Hard no on this one.
What did you make of the news that Winston Reid had agreed to leave West Ham?
DM: A great servant but life moves on. We have many memories to savour.
MW: I was slightly sad and had almost forgotten he was still a West Ham player. It was only a few weeks earlier that I noticed he still had a squad number. Winston was a great servant of the club and will still have his song ringing from the stands in years to come. There’s not many players who have that. Sad to see him leave but understandable and I wish him well in his next endeavours.
GH: Great servant, great player definitely, and always holds a place in my heart for scoring the last ever goal at the Boleyn Ground. For that alone, he will always be held in high esteem.
EP: I also forgot he was still a West Ham player. He worked hard while he was here and was unfortunate with injuries – but he’ll always be a part of this club’s history thanks to that perfect last goal.