The pressure is on at West Ham to produce results, with the latest outing at home against Arsenal an embarrassing 5-1 loss. While the team spent money on high-profile transfers and big loan deals in the summer, the core of the team that turned heads and reached 7th in the league table is still at the team.
So what can the team do to improve? Panic buying in the January window is always popular among the fans, but unless the team starts being accountable to each other, no amount of new players can fix the malaise that the club is currently suffering. Bilic’s former West Ham and Croatia teammate Igor Stimac told whufc.com that “I point my finger at the players here to wake up and bring back... the same passion they showed last season.”
Harry Redknapp wrote in the London Evening Standard that Mark Noble is critical to helping Slaven Bilic to sort out the dressing room. Redknapp claims that “Most of the new signings aren’t getting into the team, so they will all have the hump. They’ll sit around wondering what they’re doing there. If you have load of negative people moaning about the club and the manager, then West Ham are doomed.”
Anyone who has ever played organized sports with malcontents or worked at a job with bitter, negative employees can tell you what an impact those kind of people have in a team environment. In any workplace, a few bad apples can drag down the performance of your entire team, with your average team members being sucked into the cesspool of negativity. And while the manager has a huge impact on the team, leaders in the team need to step up and be vocal about the direction the team is going and drown out the negativity.
This is the sort of environment that Mark Noble and other leaders in the dressing room need to deal with quickly to save the season. Noble bleeds claret and blue, so he needs to get all of the players to bleed for the club as well, or he should let Bilic know what players need to go. It’s easy to lead when things are going well and results are going the team’s way, but the captain’s job is toughest when the chips are down. Noble’s always been the most committed player on the pitch, let’s hope he can get the other players committed to the team as well.