A season like no other. A season no one expected. A season to remember. That has been the story of West Ham United’s season so far.
At the time of writing this they sit fifth in the Premier League only two points off the top four, a stark comparison to their relegation battle of last year. It’s clear that David Moyes and his men have been incredible this season, but just how do West Ham fans feel about their season?
In a recent survey conducted by The Athletic, their subscribers were asked several questions about their chosen club’s season. These results are eye opening on just what Hammers fans are thinking as we approach the end of what should be considered their best season in decades.
So, let’s start off with the first question ‘Happiness with the club’s performance this season’. 93.02% of West Ham fans who voted are happy with their team this season. Unsurprisingly considering their poor season last year, narrowly avoiding relegation with just a few games remaining. Moyes’s men finished 16th after 38 games last season with just 39 points, but already have managed to acquire 49 points so far with nine games to go.
As previously mentioned, the side sit on the cusp of Champions League football and are in pole position to achieve Europe League next season. It’s clear that fans are happy with where they are sat in the league table, with the hope that they can at least be playing Thursday night football next season or even push themselves onto the pinnacle of Europe and play with the best of the best.
This is where the survey starts to become interesting, the second heading being ‘Thinks team plays entertaining football’. Coming in at a surprisingly low 68.84% it is clear that fans are still demanding more from their team. The East London club has long been associated with entertaining football, from the days of Trevor Brooking, to Paolo Di Canio and more recently Dimitri Payet.Embed from Getty Images
Despite their performances this season fans obviously want more from the players. Moyes has been accused in the past of never showing up against the so called ‘Big Six’ teams, with most of their points this season coming against teams outside of those six. But they are still performing well, signings like Said Benrahma and Jese Lingard have brought an exciting attacking flair to the side.
With Moyes making incredible signings like the two previously mentioned and additionally the likes of Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Craig Dawson, the squad has improved massively since he took over. So, with West Ham sitting in a European position how happy are fans with their Scottish manager and would they like to see him in charge this time next year?
Well 83.72% of fans said they would be happy to see him at the helm at this point of next season. This shows that fans of the East London club are very happy with the Scotsman who was once appointed as the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson.
When Moyes was hired for a second time by owners David Gold and David Sullivan there was a general feeling around the club that he was brought in merely to avoid relegation every year, a task he managed to achieve last season with only a few games left to play.Embed from Getty Images
Prior to the 2020/21 season no one could’ve predicted the season that Moyes and his men would have achieved, with the team now competing for a European position, it shows just what Moyes can do. Harping back to his days at Everton when he managed to steer them towards European football, he has completely changed the complexion of this West Ham squad.
Fans were promised by their owners back in 2015 that within six years they would be challenging for European football, a promise that came when the club moved from their home of Upton Park to The London Stadium. The promise had failed to come true ever since the move to the renovated Olympic Stadium, but this season seems to be coming true.
The team finally reaching its potential could be the reason behind why fans are so happy with Moyes this season. With many fans hoping that if they qualify for European football for next season the board will financially back their manager in the summer transfer window, enabling him to build on his current squad and push on in the coming years.
But the final question in this Athletic survey relates to David Gold, David Sullivan and Karen Brady, known to West Ham fans as GSB. The question reads ‘Believe their club is well run’, the percentage of which is only 51.63%, the third lowest out of the entire Premier League. It is no secret that fans have issues with GSB, with protest against the trio a regular occurrence at the London Stadium, including famously during a match with Burnley, during which some fans raided the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
With the club riding high in the hopes of European success it’s clear to see fans are still not happy with GSB and despite the performances of the team this season they still want the trio out of their club. This is largely for many fans due to them selling the clubs home of Upton Park and making the move to the London Stadium, something most West Ham fans will say they will never be able to get over.
But perhaps the most interesting thing to consider is when you look at the survey that The Athletic conducted prior to the start of this season. In which they asked fans ‘How optimistic are you about their teams upcoming 2020/21 season’. Slap bang at the bottom of the pile were West Ham fans, sitting at just 8.8% of fans optimistic, nearly 30% behind second from bottom West Brom.
This shows just how far fans have come since before the season begun and how surprised everyone is by their team’s performance. No one could’ve predicted that the Irons would be chasing a European position and fans are clearly very happy that they are doing so. Whether the team can achieve European qualification is still unknown but however the season wraps up it’s clear to everyone that it has been a hugely successful season and the club is making major strides to becoming a team competing every year for a European position.
Fans will now be hoping that next summer the club can build on their success and invest in the transfer market to help improve the squad even more to ensure they are competitive next season should they qualify for European football.