West Ham review
West Ham's prime target on their return to the Premier League was survival, but James Marshment believes a top-half finish provided supporters with plenty to cheer and underlined Sam Allardyce's Premier League credentials.
By James Marshment, follow me here.
Last Updated: 22/05/13 10:01am
A top-half finish more than makes for satisfactory reading to all connected with the club on their return to England's top table.
Never really in relegation danger, the Irons will go into the summer looking to consolidate next season and further establish themselves among the top tier.
Two of the main issues for the club to address over the summer will be the need to add a bigger goals threat to their squad, with their tally of 45 at the time of writing, the sixth lowest in the league.
Allardyce will also need to improve upon the Hammers' dismal away record, which yielded just 13 points from a possible 57 available - with their 12 defeats on the road 'bettered' only by Reading.
Player of the Year
Not only the club's choice for Player of the Year, Winston Reid is also the most improved performer in the last two years at the Boleyn. Auckland-born Reid, a £3million signing from Midtjylland in 2010, has become a first-choice pick at the heart of defence and is one of the first names down on Allardyce's team sheet. Strong, quick and reliable, Reid was tied down to a new two-year deal to ward off interest from a series of Premier League suitors.
Ratings Player of the Year
Fans' favourite Mark Noble narrowly edged out James Tomkins and James Collins to claim this honour on our Ratings page. Still only 26, Noble netted four goals for the club in 25 league starts this season and deserves his tag as the Hammers' Mr Reliable.
Breakthrough Player of the Year
Although he was converted into a centre-half by Allardyce ahead of the 2011/12 promotion-winning campaign, question marks still remained over Reid's ability to play in the position in the Premier League. Any doubts were soon extinguished however as Reid - who played at right-back during the Hammers' ill-fated 2010/11 Premier League campaign - built a formidable partnership at the heart of the defence with Collins and proved himself one of the Premier League's most consistent centre-halves.
Signing of the Year
Known as a no-nonsense defensive midfielder, Mohamed Diame soon established himself as one of the club's first-choice and has started 31 games in the Premier League. Such were the quality of his displays, Diame was soon being linked with moves elsewhere, with Arsenal reported to be among his suitors. Goals against both the Gunners and Chelsea were notable highlights in a fine campaign for the Senegalese star.
Could do better
Signed for an initial £7.5m fee, which could rise to well over £10.5million, it is safe to say that England cap Matt Jarvis has endured a disappointing first campaign with the Hammers following his move from Wolves. With just two goals to his credit and even fewer assists, it is fair to say that Allardyce will be looking for a big improvement from the winger next term.
He's much-maligned by many, but there's no doubting that Sam Allardyce knows the Premier League inside out, and knows what it takes to survive in the Premier League. The football may also not be to everyone's tastes at times either, but Allardyce can take great satisfaction from West Ham's campaign and will aim to use that as a launchpad for bigger and better things next season.
Jamie Redknapp's view
West Ham have had a really good season. People thought they might finish in the bottom five or six but they had a good start to the season and Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll have been key men for them up front. However, the trio of Winston Reid, James Collins and Jussi Jaaskelainen is what they've built their success on. They've been really solid for them all season. I also like Mohamed Diame, he's a powerful presence for them in midfield and it's important they keep hold of him. Their manager Sam Allardyce doesn't really get the credit he deserves. Just look at where Blackburn and Bolton are, the two clubs he's left - they wouldn't be there if he was still in charge.