HAMMERS BLOG: Gold and Sullivan set for frosty reception at Birmingham City
“Life as a West Ham fan is rarely simple, but even by recent standards the last seven days have been something of a roller coaster.”
Life as a West Ham fan is rarely simple, but even by recent standards the last seven days have been something of a roller coaster.
If criticism following the Newcastle defeat was justified, then qualification for the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, and a resolute defensive display away at Arsenal should have given rise to praise aplenty and an increased sense of optimism at Upton Park.
Not so, for Avram Grant and his beleaguered troops - a late, late winner for the home side at the Emirates and Wolves’ shock victory against Manchester City have left many Hammers fans fearing the worst, with their side rooted to the foot of the table, and now 4 points adrift of safety.
There has been much discussion amongst supporters about what has gone wrong to date, but now the focus must switch to a month that is pivotal in West Ham’s season, and crucial to their chances of survival.
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November brings with it home games against West Brom, Blackpool and Wigan, as well as trips to Birmingham and Liverpool; and represents a run of fixtures that everyone concerned with the club will feel offers an excellent chance of a good points return.
The back-to-back home fixtures against West Brom & Blackpool, in the space of four days next week, immediately stand out as being critical.
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First up though, for Avram Grant - and more pointedly David Sullivan & David Gold - is the visit to St Andrews.
It may not be the most glamorous fixture in the diary, but since Hammers’ relegation was confirmed there in 2003 and since the Sullivan/Gold takeover in East London; it is a fixture that provides plenty of needle - it might just be the one game that Mssrs Sullivan & Gold want to win more than any other.
When the pair completed the West Ham takeover in January of this year, there was no shortage of Birmingham City fans waiting to make disparaging remarks about their former owners.
Given that Sullivan & Gold had taken over the club in 1993 when it was languishing in the fourth tier of English football and left it as a Premier League club, these comments were and are brushed aside by many Hammers fans as being ungrateful and bitter.
It would be fair to say, though, that Sullivan & Gold’s actions since taking over West Ham have not exactly met with universal approval, and there appears to be a growing number who feel that their frequent media presence is both unnecessary and disruptive for (particularly the previous) manager and players alike.
That same number would also doubtless point out that West Ham fans were warned of what was to come by their rivals from the second city.
West Ham’s owners are guaranteed a frosty reception at their former club, and it’s imperative that the team remain unaffected by the circus surrounding the fixture in order to get this most important of months off to a good start.
At first glance, 10 points looks an eminently achievable haul from November’s fixtures; a second glance, this time taking in the league table, makes 10 points seem a long, long way off.
COME ON YOU IRONS!