Michail Antonio has been someone that has always seemed to be able to create a lot of press for himself, whether it be positive or negative. This week he has maintained this form after he spoke on a podcast saying that he may still leave the club in January, something that has been denied by West Ham.
These comments have understandably upset a number of fans and even it appears the manager in what he said in his recent press conferences. When the club is in the middle of a relegation battle, you don’t really want to hear your only fit forward discussing moving on, especially as the most likely destination is to one of our relegation rivals.
I personally do not understand why players are allowed to do podcasts and ‘unofficial’ chats during a season anyway because it is only asking for trouble. At the West Ham Way, we have interviewed over 110 ex players now which you can listen to on our Patreon no matter when you join but we are never allowed to interview current players.
The club fear they may say something which could be bad PR. This is a strange dance when we are die hard fans and wouldn’t let this happen, yet the players are allowed to do these other random podcasts where there seems to be permanent PR gaffs.
Antonio is a strange character to understand. Some people tell me he is a popular joker around the changing room whereas others have told me he is but when things don’t go his way, he makes it very clear he is unhappy.
The same can be said for his abilities. Whilst as our all-time top Premier League scorer, who has spent large parts of his time here as a winger and even a right back, shows he should in some ways be considered a club legend.
But his actual on field abilities still lead to some fans not rating him. It cannot be argued that he has been a great signing for the club when we picked him up from Nottingham Forest under Bilic and that he has been a bargain deal.
Whether he is technically that good is another thing. The fact he didn’t play for academy sides as a child and made his way up through non league suggests that perhaps without his physical attributes he wouldn’t have been a top class player.
I personally feel we need to sit Antonio down and make him feel happy and a big part of this squad again. We can tell him that we believe in him but are happy to evaluate the situation in the summer and hopefully get some decent performances out of him.
If the right player comes along in the summer though I feel that it might finally be time to cash in on Mickey. When he does finally leave us, he will be very fondly remembered by the fanbase and will hold the honour of scoring in the last game at Upton Park but also the first winning goal for an opposition team at the new White Hart Lane.