Tony Cottee: Victory keeps West Ham safe and that is certainly something to be thankful for
PUBLISHED: 14:40 28 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:56 05 October 2010
I am pleased for everyone associated with the club that we have avoided relegation and we can now look forward to putting this traumatic season behind us,"" says Tony Cottee
I am pleased for everyone associated with the club that we have avoided relegation and we can now look forward to putting this traumatic season behind us.
Everything that could have gone wrong this season has done and I am just delighted we aren't going into the last game of the season with the threat of Carlos Tevez scoring a goal that could send us down.
Although it was not the greatest performance against Wigan Athletic, like the Sunderland game, it is the points that matter.
I also think the team showed a lot of courage and determination and twice they could have easily folded.
To concede in the fifth minute through an own goal would have been a massive blow and to come back from that, as well as Wigan's equaliser in the second half showed real guts.
I'm not sure if celebration is the right word to use when describing the feeling of staying up and I am sure that the players must have felt a bit odd in the changing room after the game.
They should get praise for keeping the club up, but at the same time we should not have been in this situation in the first place, although there have been extenuating circumstances.
I went through the same thing when I was at Everton in 1994. We beat Wimbledon 3-2 to stay in the top flight and there was champagne in the dressing room after the game and I was sat there wondering why.
One man who definitely deserved a drink was Scott Parker, whose superb winning goal eiptomised what he has achieved this campaign.
He has been outstanding this season and there is no doubt in my mind he will win Hammer Of The Year, while his goal at the weekend could also win goal of the season, although his strike against Chelsea could push him close.
He has everything fans want, creativity, work-rate and the ability to put in a crunching tackle, which always gets the crowd going.
I believe England coach Fabio Capello is soon to announce a 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup and I really hope he picks Scott.
In terms of position, Parker is probably up against Gareth Barry and if you compare how the two have played this season, I believe the West Ham man comes out on top.
I think the club are right to build a team round Parker and I am delighted co-owner David Sullivan has said that he will not be leaving the club in the summer.
I don't know the financial situation and I know the chairman has said there would be more coming in then going out, so when he says the whole squad bar Scott is available, you can expect a completely different West Ham team next term.
I am slightly concerned that Rob Green and Carlton Cole are up for sale and it is good they wish to negotiate a new deal with Matthew Upson, but if Parker sees that all these internationals are leaving, it may cause him to think his future may lie elsewhere.
Another man whose future is undecided is boss Gianfranco Zola. There are two games left in the season, but as soon at the Manchester City game is over, it would be great to hear either way if Gianfranco is definitely going or definitely staying.
We need it sorted quickly so we can plan for next season and sort out targets as soon as possible to give ourselves the best opportunity to get the players we need to push back up the table.
Although safe, a win at Fulham is vital because we don't want to go in to next season having won just once on the road this campaign.
You don't want to be going in to a new season with that statistic hanging around your neck, because it just adds extra pressure to win away from home.
It will be tough against Fulham and they have had a tremendous season once again under Roy Hodgson.
They are in a comfortable mid-table position despite having to play in the Europa League and it would be an awesome achievement if they beat Hamburg on Thursday and make the final.
Hodgson has done an outstanding job and if Fabio Capello does leave after the World Cup England should definitely look to Hodgson to take over.
He has got the best out of Danny Murphy, Paul Konchesky and Bobby Zamora and hopefully all their focus will be on the Europa League to increase West Ham's chances on Sunday.
Hodgson has taken a lot of flack for the team he put out against Everton and I really don't understand it.
Football is a squad game and if he had played a lot of youth players I could understand the frustration, but the fact that he brought the likes of Chris Smalling, who is joining Manchester United in the summer for £9 million tells you all you need to know.
One way of eliminating the argument is to say to teams to pick a squad of 25 for the season and stick to it.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner