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Anorak | The Bubble Bursts

The Bubble Bursts

by | 12th, May 2003

‘I THOUGHT I had resigned myself to West Ham’s relegation months ago. I was sure that I had done my mourning after the defeat at Bolton.

‘When I open my eyes it will be 1966 and we’ll have won the World Cup…’

But even when the odds were firmly stacked against us on the last day of the season, a small glimmer of hope remained.

And for just a while yesterday that glimmer seemed almost a ray as Michael Ricketts got Middlesbrough back into the game at the Reebok Stadium and Les Ferdinand put the Hammers ahead at St Andrew’s.

So dominant were West Ham at that stage that it almost seemed possible they would score the eight goals they needed to overtake Bolton on goal difference.

But then – as has been the case so often for us this year – two cruel pieces of luck dashed what hope we had.

A wicked deflection off Rufus Brevett gave Birmingham an equaliser totally against the run of play and Middlesbrough were harshly reduced to 10 men as they enjoyed their best spell of the match against Bolton.

That was when we all knew the game was finally up – that we were down on a record number of points and having lost just the one game in three months.

It is nothing short of a tragedy for West Ham, who will surely now see the core of what could – and should – have been a very good side broken up.

Unlike Bolton, who managed to field a side this year without a single British player, West Ham have developed many of their own stars.

They may have had to sell Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard already, but they could now lose Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe and even Glen Johnson – all of whom came up through the youth team (even if Defoe was poached from Charlton).

And of course that doesn’t include the likes of Trevor Sinclair, David James and Freddie Kanoute.

Yesterday’s game was a microcosm of West Ham’s season – but we all know that the damage was done in the first half of the season.

Had there not been a transfer window, Glenn Roeder may have been able to act sooner in response to our awful start.

But those are all ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’. The harsh truth is that the Hammers will start next season in Division One with a very different squad.

Just because it’s been coming for months doesn’t make it any easier.



Posted: 12th, May 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink