Continuing our series of guest articles, On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to West Ham United fan Sam Hewitt (aka Rex Hammer) from the fairly recently established Hammers blog We Love You West Ham and supporters forum.

You can also follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam_Hewitt

I was brought up with West Ham surrounding me. Everyone in the family supports West Ham and not a single glory hunter in sight. I used to be a season ticket holder for about 4/5 seasons from the age of about 12 until 16. One of the main reasons I love West Ham is due to its fanbase. West Ham's fans are one of the best. I have been told many times by fans of other teams that they enjoy coming to Upton Park over any of the other London teams due to atmosphere, I was brought up on that atmosphere.

West Ham is a big team due to it's history and Legends like Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Sir Trevor Brooking, Julian Dicks and Paolo Di Canio. Even Spurs fans would say that England winning the World Cup in '66 was down to the West Ham representatives. Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick (the first and only hat-trick in a World Cup final) and Bobby Moore was the captain. Also Paolo Di Canio's goal against Wimbledon is still rated as the best premiership goal by Sky Sports

While the past is all well and good, the current West Ham team is not as attractive to the neutral eye. In the past we used to be everybody's second favourite team (it was a saying i heard a lot) and now due to the whole Carlos Tevez affair, the repeated sacking of managers, stupid wars between ourselves and Millwall and also having two owners that talk too much is just making my beloved club look silly. Us West Ham fans have felt it all over the last few years due to outrageous decisions I.E. appointing Avram Grant, constantly selling our best players and worst of all, the contracts that Eggert Magnússon and Björgólfur Guðmundsson gave to our players. They was giving players silly amounts of money and putting them on long term contracts. In 2008 there was a collapse in the Icelandic banking system, which forced them to sell the club while leaving those players with the contracts and building up a huge amount of debt that is still effecting the club today.

Last season we were in the top eight of the highest wage payers in the Premiership and we finished bottom of the league. I still can't work that one out, but I have a fair idea. The season before last we gave Zola a chance to manage our club whilst having no real management experience apart from being Italy's Under 21 Assistant Manager. I quite like Zola as a person, but his management skills were bad. He won over the changing room as all the players loved playing for him, but his bad tactics and decisions got him sacked by the gobby pair David Sullivan and David Gold. Many of us West Ham fans just call them SuGo for short. SuGo decided to replace the little Italian with a zombified Israeli called Avram Grant. Grant was pretty much the opposite of Zola in many ways. Grant did not win over the changing room, as the fans and players did not like him, but he did share one thing with Zola, and that is also having bad tactics ... actually terrible tactics; he would drop our best players and wait until the other team scored before making a much needed substitution. I used to scream at the TV over some of his decisions.

It was not all Grants fault, SuGo has to take some blame for appointing him in the first place AND the fact that many of our players are just trash. Footballers in general are just spoilt and for the money that they are on, they should be running around until they cough blood ... I know that I would for even £5k a week, let alone some of our players being on £80k a week. For many years I have been shouting out for a major clear out of our team and it seems that Sam Allardyce is doing just that. So far there have been twelve departures and I expect a few more over the coming weeks.

West Ham is going to get bigger and bigger and we WILL be back in the Premiership in the near future. We have now acquired ourselves a 60k capacity stadium which will be West Ham's gold mine. I believe that the main reason that SuGo bought us is due to the fact of us having a chance of obtaining that stadium and now we have. Once we are back into the Premiership, I can imagine investors sniffing around and SuGo will make a nice profit for only a few years worth of work. There is already a rumor that Westfields want to buy West Ham and they are also in the running for the naming rights of the Olympic Stadium, when we get it.

This season will be a good one for West Ham. With Sam Allardyce in charge and with players like Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins in our team and with a few more additional players like a proven goalscorer and an attacking Midfielder, I can see us fighting for the title next season. I am really looking forward to the season starting even though it will be hard to watch games due to the lack of available streams. I am really glad with what Sam has done so far at the club and I think it is only going to get better. COYI!

Ed: COYI - Come on You Irons (West Ham United fan slang) - thanks Sam for contributing to the site and good luck for the season ahead!

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Ian Wilkinson

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2 comments so far,add yours

I've definitely got WHUFC in my list of contenders for automatic. I think the first five fixtures will be the real litmus test for them with the likes of Cardiff, Donny, Watford, Leeds and Forest as opponents.

Good luck for the season ahead, I will be watching with interest Sam.

RexHammer said...

Thanks a lot for the post mate. I wish you and Barnsley all the best in the future.