We may have to sell one of our star players to survive
There is no money available for manager Gianfranco Zola to spend in January, so it looks like a big player may have to be sold for the greater cause,"" says Tony Cottee
THERE is no money available for manager Gianfranco Zola to spend in January, so it looks like a big player may have to be sold for the greater cause.
It is imperative that the club does not get relegated this season and although I am desperate for everyone to stay, someone may have to be sacrificed.
Our best players are Matt Upson, Rob Green, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole and with no money to spend the only way for the club to survive could be to sell one of them.
We all love watching them play and any one of them going would be a huge loss to the club, because they bring so much to the table, but the reality is that one of them may have to go.
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We have some really good young players around them, but with the amount of injuries there has been, a lot of pressure is being put on them and I don't think that is fair.
We have been really unlucky with injuries, especially to key players and the wafer-thin squad needs numbers added to it.
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You only have to see the squad that West Ham had for the Arsenal match last Sunday to see this and there is no doubt we need a bigger squad.
We cannot afford to go down and you only have to look at the likes of Southampton and Leeds to see what could happen if you lose your Premier League status.
West Ham fans know a lot about football and they themselves will admit that this scenario may have to be played out, especially as it does not seem likely that a takeover will happen in time for Zola to buy players in the transfer window.
There has been a lot of talk about a takeover, but these things take time and there is little chance of anything being completed in January.
Of course it is a blow to go out of the FA Cup, but if you consider the amount of injuries there are at the club, you cannot complain too much about the performance against Arsenal.
I think the team played quite well and there were only I'd say about three of four first-team members taking part and when you take on a top six team with a makeshift side it is always going to be tough.
We took the lead through Alessandro Diamanti and I must admit after we started the second half so well, I thought they were there for the taking.
Luck was against us and when on most days Junior Stanislas' powerful drive would have found the net, Arsenal goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski made a tremendous save, while Frank Nouble also had a couple of chances.
Frank made his debut and is only a young lad, so I would not read too much into his performance. Not everyone can have a dream debut and while it is fair to say he did not have a good game, but it was encouraging that he kept working hard and I am sure he will turn into a real asset.
The game changed when the Gunners made that double change and it is quite a luxury to have when you can call on quality players like Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri from the sidelines.
They stepped up their game and they had to because they started the game poorly, but I feel it was as much down to how we played.
Valon Behrami was outstanding in the middle of the park and the midfield really closed down Arsenal well to put a lot of pressure on them.
We really had a go and I know everyone wants to see us play good football, but it is just as important that players give 100 per cent and everyone on the pitch on Sunday certainly did that.
I'm not sure you can say the same for Arsenal, especially in the opening 60 minutes or so when they were pretty poor, but with a tough game against Bolton coming up as well as Champions League games, you can maybe see why they were not completely focused on the game.
I LOVE the FA Cup and when I played it was the most important competition of the season, but that certainly is not the case nowadays.
Things change over time and in the modern game the Champions League is seen as the Holy Grail, with the FA Cup a distant third behind European football and the Premier League.
One idea to even it out a bit and make Premier League sides play their best 11, would be to hand the winners of the competition a Champions League place.
Teams would then certainly play their first-choice line-up and it would reignite a lot of much-needed interest in the competition, but I can't see the Premier League agreeing to it.
They would argue that a team who have played 38 games in a season should be rewarded rather then a club who have played just six times.
Another idea would be to seed teams, so Premier League sides would be drawn away in the third round and would have to play lower league opposition.
It would be a great pay-day for lower league clubs and give more opportunites for giant-killings, which really make the compeition so special.
I would also get rid of replays and
make sure the game finished on the day through extra-time and if need-be penalties.
It will mean less games are played and again increase the chances of an upset.
I doubt anything will get changed, as the FA will be keen to leave it as it is, but I think it is important not to rest on your laurels and the competition needs to be updated to keep up with the times.
Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner