West Ham went through hell last season – the Tevez-Mascherano saga, the takeover speculation, trouble in the dressing room, changing managers half-way through the season and then the unbearable abuse hurled at them from all ends of the media.
It’s not to say that West Ham were devoid of any criticism, but the treatment handed to them was shameful.
However, West Ham has a strong base of fans and with Tevez moving on there will hopefully be less controversy at Upton Park (although Bellamy can cause trouble by himself). West Ham have a squad that can push for top 10, but it will take something extraordinary from Curbishley and I’m sure he has enough to take West Ham to Europe.
Manager Status: I’m not too fond of Alan Curbishley but he’s a decent manager and he’s led West Ham through the worst of times (although without Tevez he might be in the Championship right now) and he has had a full pre-season with the players to get things sorted out for next season. Magnusson wants results but he’ll stick by Curbishley for consistency and give him a lot of time.
Transfer Analysis: Parker, Faubert and Bellamy are good players but I’m not sure West Ham have enough quality players to win games when the chips are down.
Players to watch: Dean Ashton and…yes, Craig Bellamy.
August Fixtures: Manchester City at home, Birmingham away and Wigan at home – 9 possible points and West Ham are capable of getting all 9.
Expectations: Fans want a top-10 finish, despite what happened last season.
Predictions: Mid-table (9th-15th).