May blossoms once again for West Ham full backs
PUBLISHED: 12:48 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:56 23 May 2013
PA Archive/Press Association Images
Hammers defenders Guy Demel and Joey O'Brien are celebrating another good campaign at Upton Park
On May 19, 2012 there was a sense of relief for West Ham as they secured their place back in the Premier League with a play-off final win, and exactly a year on, full backs Guy Demel and Joey O’Brien were in a mood to celebrate again.
The Hammers had secured manager Sam Allardyce’s season-long aim of 10th spot after the weekend’s 4-2 win over relegated Reading and both full backs enjoyed a solid season back in the top flight.
“When we started pre-season, 10th place was the main goal when the gaffer sat us down in Portugal. We are really proud of ourselves because we have achieved our goal. It wasn’t easy but the season was a good one,” said Demel.
“Everyone who has come in has given their best and we have to carry on working hard because next season is going to be harder.
“We will try to enjoy what we have achieved this season now, but next season will be different.”
Left back O’Brien added: “Last season it was a sense of relief whereas today we can celebrate.
“We couldn’t really celebrate last season, it was just utter relief that we were back in the Premier League. It’s a different feeling, but we are celebrating now.”
There was a sense of relief though for Demel, having missed much of his first season with the Hammers through injury, the Ivory Coast international went on to make 32 appearances in claret and blue this term.
And despite many believing he has enjoyed a solid season in the West Ham defence, Demel expects more from himself next season.
“I think it was a good first season in the Premier League for me, it was difficult for me last year as I went through some bad injuries,” he said.
“The season was pretty good and it was a good achievement for us. On the pitch you can feel the difference, so it was pretty easy for me to come back.
“I wasn’t at my best though and I promise I will be much better next season.
“I have played many games and I have had some good games as well so I am happy with that, but without my team-mates that wouldn’t be possible.”
For O’Brien it has been another season at left back, but you won’t see the Irishman complaining.
“The whole season has been great,” said the 27-year-old.
“It probably took me a few games to settle in at left back, but after playing the first couple of matches I was able to settle in to it and I knew what I was doing.
“I have managed to stay there most of the season and that was pleasing for me.”
There is likely to be competition for both the full backs next season as Allardyce looks to strengthen, but it seems that in Demel and O’Brien, the boss has two players that will never let him down.