West Ham United host Newcastle United at the London Stadium in the Premier League this evening and it is a game that could have huge repercussions for both club’s seasons.
The hosts are trying to ensure that they maintain their top flight status while the visitors are looking to strengthen their position in the top four. It was only two years ago that West Ham were in a position similar to Newcastle as they broke into the top six in 2020-21. They flirted with breaking into the top four last term before ending the season in seventh.
The Hammers were arguably one of the most exciting teams to watch in 2021-22 but now they are a shadow of what they were as the threat of relegation looms. David Moyes’ side recorded a huge victory over fellow strugglers Southampton at home last time out to carry them out of the bottom three but just a point above the drop.
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The fans have let their frustrations known towards the club leaders in David Sullivan and Karren Brady as the team has deteriorated rapidly with question marks over recruitment and the position of Moyes as manager. Some have been left surprised that the Scotsman has survived this long given how underwhelming this season has been for West Ham - not to mention the 12 sackings that have already taken place across the division.
The London Stadium has been a sort of fortress for the Hammers of late as they are currently unbeaten in their last five there, but the ground is soulless. Everyone knows that if West Ham were to return to the Championship that it would become even more soulless, if that were possible. Gates will drastically decrease and there is no telling of what the squad would look like because a lot of the players will need to be moved on to help finance a rebuild.
It’s staggering to believe that they invested over £100 million on players in the summer and the team is not much better for it. The most valuable signing they have made has been Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd, the match-winner against Southampton at the weekend. You get the sense that he has a bright future ahead of him in the game. The same can’t be said for West Ham if they drop back down to the second tier.
So when flashy Newcastle show up on Wednesday night, the home fans will be feeling a sense of mixed emotions ahead of kick-off. They will be thinking about where Newcastle currently are, where they used to be, and how they couldn’t be further away from that.
Now they are fighting for their lives to ensure that come the summer they have the chance to formulate a plan to get the club back on track to meet the ambitions required to have a ground such as the London Stadium, regardless of how it simply isn’t a venue suitable for football.
West Ham are in need of fresh ideas and it seems as though the fans feel that it is more than time that Messrs Sullivan and Brady moved on to allow the club to take another direction in the hunt for success. Newcastle have shown that it is possible, so there is some hope for the East London outfit but it depends on them retaining their Premier League status.
For a team that enjoyed Europa League nights against Lyon and Sevilla last year, this fall from grace is quite farcical and it stems from the boardroom all the way down to the pitch. West Ham will be praying that they stay up this year but their problems could continue.
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