The excitement is building towards the end of our days at Upton Park, and with Spurs and Man Utd still to come, Sunderland represent one of the less glamorous teams we won’t be seeing again at our beloved ground.  This game would usually pass without comment, but the return of Sam Allardyce to Upton Park has filled the column inches and sports reels.  For me, his appointment and tenure were a necessary period for us to go through; to re-build, to believe again and to change a losing mentality that the awful Avram Grant had instilled upon us.  It’s a bit like a hospital operation – you don’t look forward to it, it hurts, it takes to time recover but afterwards you feel strangely fresh and ready for a new challenge.  For this, I feel grateful to Sam for being the doctor, even if after the operation he tells us it was our own fault for the way we ran our lives, he still saved us in our hour of need.  We don’t need to go overboard with his reception, a polite ripple of applause and then on with the beating should do it…

As for the team, we’re looking like ticking again.  Although we started at Carrow Road poorly, we found our rhythm, albeit too late, and against Blackburn we were simply magnificent.  Some of the play and passing was amongst the best I’ve ever seen.  As for Payet, by the end of the season I expect him to cement the position of best player to ever don the shirt in my book. I’ve been going to the Hammers for 3 decades and I can’t remember a player like him.  Other heroes of mine..Devonshire, Slater, Di Canio are starting to pale into comparison.  Carloz Tevez may have established himself in that role, had his time not been so tainted and short lived, but I’m simply loving Dmitri Payet.  Manual Lanzini is another special player, it’s just a shame we’ve not seen enough of him.

On to the game, I’d hope for a solid win here – Sunderland will get physical to stop our play and either the ref or Payet will make them pay for that.  What are the bookies feeling? At UK bookie TonyBet you can get West Ham at odds of 19/25 against Sunderland at 37/10.  I’ll be backing the Hammers all the way on this one, maybe with a 3-1 win.  Hope we can do the biz and then enjoy the rest of the weekend’s football, come on you Irons!

 

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