Football Season Guide

West Ham United


Mohamed Diamé (mid), Wigan), Stephen Henderson (gk), Portsmouth), Jussi Jääskeläinen (gk), Bolton), George McCartney (def), Sunderland), Modibo Maïga (att), Sochaux), Raphael Spiegel (gk), Grasshoppers), James Collins (def), Aston Villa), Alou Diarra (mid), Marseille)


Ruud Boffin (gk), Eskisehirspor), Pablo Barrera (mid), Cruz Azul), Freddie Sears (att), Colchester), Marek Stech (gk), Yeovil), Frank Nouble (att), Wolverhampton), Robert Green (gk), QPR), Papa Bouba Diop (mid), Abdoulaye Fayé (def), Hull), John Carew (att), Julien Faubert (def), Elazigspor), Péter Kurucz (gk), Ravel Morrison (mid), Birmingham)

West Ham are back among the big boys after just one year in the Championship and are determined to avoid the gruelling relegation battle that has accompanied almost every of their Premiership campaigns in the last decade. Sam Allardyce will never win a popularity contest at Upton Park but he got the job done last season when steering the team through the war of attrition and endurance that the Championship is to an ultimately successful conclusion. The 2:1 win over Blackpool in the play-off final realised the dream of the fans of seeing their club back in business. The Hammers had lofty ambitions for their transfer business during the summer but the failed pursuit of Andy Carroll, who refused to join from Liverpool, epitomised the somewhat frustrating experience for Allardyce. He still signed some quality players with James Collins back at the club from Aston Villa. The biggest coup could prove to be Alou Diarra who was one of the more impressive performers for France in the Euros and played in a World Cup final too. Alladyce will expect his side to be solid in defence and take their chances up front where Carlton Cole will be the battering ram and Ricardo Vaz Te is expected to continue his remarkable reverse of fortunes having become one of the key players for the Hammers since joining in January. Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and James Collins form a capable midfield for Premiership standards while Jussi Jaaskelainen has the class to make up for the exit of Rob Green. All in all, the team looks in decent position to beat the drop and given that a big number of the squad have experience at this level, plus the cunning leadership of the manager, should ensure a safe mid-table spot.


Survival is of course the main objective but the Hammers are setting their sights a bit higher and will feel that they can finish safely in mid-table if the new signings gel in quickly