Written by Stewart Draper @CoachDraper
We are a week away from the season starting. West Ham fans across London, the south east and across the globe wait with baited breath for the next “Ex-update” on who is coming and going (and rightly so based on his accuracy) in the transfer market at West Ham. So far… the overriding opinions are very positive, we have bought experience, premier league quality that doesn’t bring the risks of a Tore or Zaza type of purchase. We have gotten rid of some dead wood and fringe players whilst avoiding the loss of any key players.
Our pre-season has been less than inspiring with a mix of poor performances, even taking results aside. Some promising performances from several of our youngsters, Rice, Martinez and Holland in particular have helped to keep a somewhat positive theme to some of these lackluster games in pre-season.
So why people focus on transfers, new youngsters coming up, loan deals going out… I believe there is a skeleton in the Olympics Stadium closet that only mildly gets discussed in the stands and on the rants within Twitter… FITNESS. Time and time again it seems players leaving our beloved West Ham talk about the intensity of training at other clubs, Reece Oxford being the latest with his move to Germany. So the question becomes… is our manager and fitness team doing enough to prepare us for the season? Why are we getting some many knocks and injuries, do we have injuries that could have been impacted as a result of poor fitness routines? Make your own conclusions; I don’t claim to have access to the training ground to answer these questions.
I have watched all of our pre-season games so far (mostly thanks to some great live streams) and with each game the lack intensity in closing down, transition from attack to defense, movement to receive the ball and been apparent. “It’s a friendly, it’s about fitness”… I agree… I’m not seeing a progression if the Man City game was anything to go by. Draw your own opinion.
Regarding Slaven’s recently media interview…. Mistakes will happen, we can reduce them but no team can eliminate them. Fitness however is not about individual mistakes that can happen to a singular person, if there is a problem it has a profound team wide impact that will surely cost us points and positions on the league table.
I’m going into this season with optimism, the board has spent money wisely, we have some hungry young talent coming through that I hope stay in our first team and above all I generally think our club is going in the right direction. Lets hope we don’t have a skeleton in our stadium closet and I can eat my words. COYI’s!!