Slaven Bilic has had an amazing first season as manager of West Ham and if anything I warm to him after we got knocked out of the cup for simply admitting that on the day the better side won. It makes a nice change from managers blaming the ref or saying "we was robbed". But I cannot hide my disappointment, none the less. The winner of that replay had to be favourite for the cup as we entered the semi-finals and I just felt it might be "our season".
I did my bit not to hex West Ham. That is to say I did not watch a minute even on the box or twitter. Instead I watched some God awful drivel on the telly that the Mrs wanted to see, trying hard not to think about the game. But when it was all over I checked the score. And it is all over. Even the Mrs, who does not really understand soccer, seemed to understand my disappointment.
Now we must hope that we get the rub of the green and a Champions league spot. We are just one point behind Man United in fifth and, unlike them, we are now blessed to have no FA Cup distractions. If Man City can do the decent thing and win the Champions League whilst Liverpool do NOT win the Europa League then England sends five clubs to the Champions League. As of now West Ham is five points behind Man City so that is probably our only realistic hope of Champions League football. All we need to do is overtake Manchester United to cause misery in the red tribal heartlands of Surrey and joy on the other side of London.
Having said that what am I doing talking about how West Ham could get entry to the Champions League? We are West Ham. We dont do that sort of thing, we are just not that good. Well maybe we are these days. I still cannot quite adjust to looking at the top half of the table. Normally at this stage of the season I am chatting to my friend Lucian about how if we beat Norwhch, Sunderland lose to Villa, et, etc ,etc then we should stay up. We do complex maths as we try to figure out if we avoid the drop and who will be manager after we fire the incumbent clown.
However, life is just different these days. With Bilic, Poyet and the Olympic Stadium, next year is a whole new ball game and as Leicester have shown (or will soon show), winning silverware is no longer the prerogative of the traditional "big clubs". There are new "big clubs" and heaven help us I think West Ham is in danger of becoming one of them.
For folks like me weaned on my dreams fading and dying every season, on numerous campaigns of misery only now and then interrupted by a season when we had a cup run and occassionally played half decent football, it is a whole new world. I am still finding it hard to adjust