Welcome to season 2022/23. Where I have swapped the cosiness of my birth town, Swadlincote and relocated to Stratford, East London. I have moved from TS Sports Fc (The Youth Club) and moved to West Ham United FC (The Academy of Football).
I have left TS Sports as Champions of Sky Bet League Two. The club will begin life in Sky Bet League One with most of the staff and players from their League Two campaign.
I join West Ham after they sacked Manuel Pellegrini who had been in charge of the club for almost four years. He had steered the club to 7th in 2018/19, 13th in 2019/20 12th in 2020/21 and 13th in 2021/22. However, the club made the decision that due to a run of poor results (no victories in eight matches during the later stages of the 2021/22 campaign) that a change was required.
I had been seen by West Ham. My recent successes at lower league level, the style of football that I had managed to get TS Sports playing and my recent certification of my Continental Pro Licence had all combined well to elevate my reputation in to the game. I’d also say the affiliation link between TS Sports and West Ham may have also helped.
I joined the club on 2nd June 2022. My first impressions of the playing squad were that there were players that needed to be moved out and there were gaps of quality that needed plugging. (This is where I now look at the screenshots I took when I first joined the club and shout “Frickin’ Idiot!!!” That’s right I do not have a screenshot of the squad I initially took over).
So, without that visual I will have to use a few thousand words to say what has happened to the playing squad.
Lucas Fabianski retired. At 37 the former Polish stopper has joined the Job Centre looking for a GK coaching role.
Nathan Trott a youth product has remained at the club and will provide back-up for the two keepers I have brought in.
Karl Darlow was spotted on the transfer market and brought into the club for £325k. Darlow is still a decent Sweeper Keeper and at 31 still has time to have a fulfilling career.
Dean Henderson I had seen through scout reports that Deano was unhappy at Manchester United. He was not on the transfer market or loan market, so I had to be direct with an enquiry before laying a sensible bid for the lad. The 25-year-old was a big purchase at £10m but I hope he can justify the high valuation by becoming my big number one. Dean looks to have good shot stopping, distribution, communication and mental attributes.
I have kept faith in both of the leftbacks that were in Pellegrini’s side. Alberto Moreno (29) and Blas Riveros (24) will compete for the left (CWB) position.
At right the club had Santiago Arias and Hiroki Sakai. I looked at both and thought both look like there are here to pick up a wage packet and nothing else. Armed with this thought I looked to put both on the transfer market and at the same time I went scouting. Arias left for Bournemouth for £8.75m rising to £11m and Sakai to Chievo for £4m.
Guillermo Varela who had been on loan last season at Sampdoria left to join permanently for £7.5m.
Timothy Castagne (26) came in from Liverpool for £12.5m. His physicals and crossing ability will be vital down the right-hand side.
I would also dig into the under 23’s and bring in 17 yr old Nathan Swift into the first team squad and mark him as the main back up for Castagne.
I looked at the names on the list and thought That this was certainly one area that needed improvement through immediate recruitment.
First Fabian Balbuena was sold to West Brom for £7.5m. And then Swiss Centre back Silvan Hefti was sold to Bayern for £45m. The guy had been pressing for a “bigger club” so when the offers came in, I jumped at the chance to cash in on this lad.
I brought in Ro-Shawn Williams and Nathaniel Ogbeta on free transfers from Manchester United and Manchester City respectively. Williams will be added to the first team squad whilst Ogbeta has been loaned out to Bristol Rovers for the season.
I have also brought in Jonathan Panzo for £16.5m from Monaco to supplement Reece Oxford and Issa Diop who were already at the club
I have loaned out Connor Coventry, Joe Powell, Giuseppe Penna and Bastien Toma.
I have extended Mark Noble’s contract for 24 months. 12 will be as a player/U18’s assistant manager. The last 12 will be as U 18’s assistant manager.
I then went mad with the free transfers in this area of the squad, more through fear that no-one would join and also through forgetting that I was now a manager at a Premier League side.
Matteo Guendouzi, Christopher Nkunku, Tom Davies, Luke McCormick, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Arturo Vidal. All joined the Hammers on free transfers.
These would supplement Jack Wilshire, Declan Rice, and Noble (mentioned earlier).
I would also bring in Harry Winks for £9.75m who had been on loan at West Ham last season. Along with Mason Mount from Chelsea for £6.75m.
We would see Sead Haksabanovic leave on a free to Stuttgart. Along with Fede Cartabia leave to join Zenit for £8.5m rising to £10.5m. Yarmolenko would go to Dynamo Kyiv for £15m and Arnautovic went to Sampdoria for £9m.
We would bring in Willian on a free transfer. And Harvey Barnes would join us for £30m from Sunderland.
These would supplement Felipe Anderson and Edon Zhegrova who were already at the club.
Soares would leave the Hammers for Fenerbahce. We would see £12m for the transfer.
I would then wheel and deal both Dominic Solanke and Sergio Aguero in on free transfers.
These two would add valuable alternatives to Callum Wilson up front.
Armed with the drastically new look squad. The media have predicted us to finish 11th. The board have also given me the leeway to finish midtable. Which will hopefully give me that time needed to get this squad to blend together given all the changes that have been made.
With it being 2022, preseason has been short and packed due to the scheduling changes required for the Qatar/Australia 2022 World Cup due to take place in November we have rammed seven friendlies into three weeks. Also, the Premier League gods are also taking the mickey with Zinedine Zidane’s Manchester City at home being the opening league fixture on Saturday 23rd July 2022.
I expect the friendlies will go as expected when I comes to results. I just hope the squad can adhere to my formation and tactical demands as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your time I’m off to have a cuppa tea with Danny Dyer in his box at the London Stadium.
Join me next time when I start my new adventure in the Premier League…..Wish me luck…