I had it down as 1 point at best. But Kevin Nolan returned to whatever St James’ Park is called these days to haunt his old club. West Ham defeaedt Newcastle one nil to record our first league win against the Magpies since October 31st 1998. Sam Allardyce (sacked by Newcastle after eight months in charge) will have enjoyed the win. It seems to have been a close enough game and sometimes lady luck smiles on you. A good day at the office – the league away record now shows 2 wins, 2 defeats and a draw: no disgrace.
A test of how long you have followed West Ham is how you look at a league table. Naturally I start at the bottom. My daughter is now a fully trained supporter and in her second full season seems to think you start at the top. Bizarrely, right now, she finds West Ham more quickly than I do, as we are in sixth position. Her razor sharp mind has already worked out that if we win at home to Stoke next Saturday we could go 4th. The Big Four: Man United, Man City, Chelski and West Ham. As it should be. We can work out which side gets entry to which European contest later.
I take a rather different view. I note that we are one place ahead of the Scum and that if Spurs can slip another 11 places they will get relegated. Fingers crossed. We can but dream. More realistically 18 points after 11 games is a quite amazing haul –I struggle to remember another season that has started this well for yonks. The way I look at it, if we beat Stoke we might go 4th but, more importantly, we would be on 21 points and so 50% of the way to safety after just 12 games. We are now 4 wins ahead of the relegation zone and can I honestly see Reading, QPR and Southampton stringing together 4 wins before Christmas? Even between them that might be a bit of an ask.
It is hard not to get too carried away but for our defence to keep a clean sheet on the road is a pleasant surprise. On this sort of form games against Stoke at home, West Brom away, bogey side Everton, Liverpool at home and Reading away are all winnable and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that West Ham might secure something against the Scum and also against the other members of the big four (Man United and Chelski). It will not play out like that – I am pinching myself to stop myself from dreaming. But it is just now conceivable that the Hammers start calendar 2013 already so far clear of the relegation zone that I can stop thinking about the R word already.