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By Chris Wilkerson, London24 West Ham blogger
Thursday, January 24, 2013
It was a shame to go out and get embarrassed 5-1 by Arsenal, but that ten minute passage of football of theirs last night was outstanding.
Name: Chris Wilkerson
Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson
Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid
Most memorable game: Playoff Final
Predicted finish: 12th
People call the Gunners toothless, but they pounced on us and showed themselves to be as ruthless as any other top side. The second goal hit us hard, we lost our shape, and they crucified us.
All in all it has been a disappointing week. Rumours and stories of disputes, dissension and departures surrounding Alou Diarra and Mohamed Diame have taken a bit of fizz out of us, although I would suggest the lack of a plan B or any attacking intent was more to blame for our performance at the Emirates Stadium.
Having been proud of how well we had worked to bring players in during the transfer window, the other side of the January sales has taken over. We cannot be the only ones taking players from other clubs and this is a very disruptive time of year when possible departures loom.
It is the flipside of finding players who perform outstandingly for us; there are bigger clubs in the Premier league who will seek value where they can and Diame’s reported £3.5m release clause represents value for many clubs.
"It can be a mucky month January. As long as there are plans in place then no club should be left to panic."
The transfer window can then become a bit of a game. Players make noises publicly to send a warning of discontent and agents start to play the puppet master. It is really very hard to believe Mo Diame has any control over what is being reported about him, but we all know there is an representative pulling strings to achieve his own goals. Whether that’s engineering a move away or forcing contract negotiations in their favour, it becomes a game of bluff.
The other thing that happens is fans react like a jilted lover. A month or so ago weaknesses were ignored, or not even seen, but once a player could be on their way out there is suddenly a mindset that criticises the man they will be missing.
The fans react with things like, “If he doesn’t want to be here then I don’t want him near our side”, “we’re better off without players that have that attitude” and “five good games and he thinks he’s Champions League quality, he’ll regret it every week he spends on the bench”. Like the girlfriend that packs her bags and leaves, you’re better off without her anyway; she’ll miss you before you miss her.
A lack of loyalty is always the key insult. A word never considered when a player, who delivered for you last year, begins to show his form, now you want him dropped or a replacement brought in.
It can be a mucky month January. As long as there are plans in place then no club should be left to panic. Targets slip away and key players get itchy feet. Hopefully, we have more contingency plans in the market than we did when things went wrong at the Emirates last night.