We football fans are fickle beasts. Let’s look back a mere six weeks and remember our fears. Let’s remember where we thought this club was heading. Let’s remember what we were saying about Zola, Cole and several others too. Let’s remember how little faith some of us had. Let’s remember that most of us thought that by January 31st we’d have probably lost Rob Green, Matty Upson and Scott Parker. Let’s remember that few of us would have expected us to buy a £3 million Czech international defender, let alone a £9 million Ugandan-German wunderkind from Italy.
And let’s remember that we are unbeaten since Christmas…
Hull City 2-0
That’s 8 matches without losing. That’s E.I.G.H.T.
Let’s remember Carlton Cole’s form and the fact that working with Zola and Clarke has enabled him to find the net 5 times in 6 league games. Let’s remember the defensive partnership between James Collins and Matthew Upson that has seen us keep 4 clean sheets in 8 matches. Let’s remind Fabio Capello who really is England’s Number One. Let’s all remember the tenacity and skill of Nehrami and Parker, whose tackled and passing have been crucial to the level of possession we have enjoyed.
And let’s remember Craig Bellamy. Who left all this behind for a team who contrived to lose to Stoke City today.
We are West Ham United. We understand what that means. No wonder Arsenal fans envy us. No wonder Spurs fans are jealous of our success.
Zola and Clarke have given us renewed belief. We anticipate a match now believing we will win. We hear the whistle and believe Carlton will score. We know Behrami will win his tackles. We relish seeing James Collins heading ball after ball away from danger. We can’t take our eyes off the colossus that is Herita Ilunga. We cherish the boyish enthusiasm with which Mark Noble approaches each game. Noble, Tomkins, Collison. West Ham Boys. Us.
Whatever happens for the rest of the season we can all agree that Zola has restored our faith in how the game should be played. We deserve to be where we are now. Who knows how much further this team can go.
Like you, I am looking forward to finding out.