Football

Christmas cheer at last for Hammers

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This has to be the best Christmas period West Ham have ever had in the Barclays Premier League, eight points out of 12 is a return that most Hammers fans would not have thought possible but were very much needed as the next couple of games in the league look tough - Newcastle away and Arsenal at home.

Sandwiched in between those two league games are the F.A Cup match versus Barnsley and the League Cup semi final first leg against Birmingham City. Personally the Birmingham game is the more important game as for me if I had to choose between Barclays Premier League football or the chance of a Wembley final, I would pick Wembley all day long as football for me is all about glory and success and trophies, which being a West Ham fan I have been starved of for many years.

While I accept the Premier League is the place to be the chance to walk up Wembley way in claret and blue is what I dreamed of, and have achieved, as a child.

I am lucky enough to remember going to Wembley three times in the space of nine months in the early eighties and to go there again is perhaps my pay back for all the years of near misses and failure in the past. Obviously we have to overcome Birmingham City who I am sure would love the chance to revisit Wembley themselves and will be no easy team to beat over the two legs.

It will be interesting to see what team Avram Grant fields in the cup game against Barnsley three days before the Birmingham clash as I would imagine lots of changes will be needed to field a fresh team and this is perhaps a chance to field some of the young academy prospects mixed those senior players who cannot get a run in the team.

With not only the chance of Wembley but Premier League survival putting strains on our squad I am afraid the Barnsley cup game will have to be the least priority in the next couple of games as in January we are down to play seven games already, eight if we progress to the fourth round of the cup and possibly nine if the third round game goes to a replay.

I wonder that perhaps it is time to stop the semi final of the League Cup being played over two legs and instead have only one, as for me every other round is played to a finish on the night, no replays allowed, so perhaps by just having one game it will take the strain off the players and also us fans for whom, at the end of the day, it is another game to pay for.

Also in January, hopefully the decision on who is the preferred bidder for the Olympic Stadium between West Ham and Tottenham is made and for me the decision couldn’t come soon enough. I for one would hate to see the day when West Ham leave the Boleyn Ground never to return, especially to sit the wrong side of a running track, also the demise of the local area around the ground will be massive with quite a few businesses relying on the Hammers for their livelihood.

The local area is very close to my heart as it was where I was born and lived for nearly 35 years of my life. While I understand the move will be good for the in-debt Hammers on a business level, West Ham to me has never been about business, its always been about the football.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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