After a woeful start to the season, and a difficult January transfer window, West Ham are turning their fortunes around.
The win at Southampton over the weekend not only overturned a 3-0 drubbing at the London Stadium in the reverse fixture, but it drove Slaven Bilic’s side back into the top ten of the Premier League.
The top half is, granted, where West Ham are expected to be so this should, many will argue, just be a given that they are now back there. However, it was not too long ago that the Hammers were considered one of the prime candidates for relegation, and they’ve turned that around having sold not only their best player but one of the best in the Premier League last season in Dimitri Payet.
The club, after a horrendous summer window in which they brought in a number of players who had never tested themselves in the Premier League and, it turns out, were nowhere near the standard required.
The additions of top flight proven talent in Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass, both for less than £10m, were very shrewd and canny signings in the winter window, and are slowly but surely working into their new roles.
The turnaround in form, however, can do more than just improve the club’s league standing and end of season payoff.
A big song and dance was made of the Hammers last season at Upton Park, sorry, the Boleyn Ground, many will say it went too far. However, it was the end of an era and would, quite clearly take some adjusting to.
The move to the London Stadium was fraught with problems for the club, most of which were self-inflicted, although they were not helped by what the fans were seeing on the pitch.
The win over Southampton at St. Mary’s showed a togetherness in the side that has not been seen for some time. Take that feeling back to Stratford for the Premier League clash with high-flying West Brom this weekend and a real statement can be made at the new home of the club. A win over the Baggies and the London Stadium will become closer to being just that, home.
It was never going to be easy to leave Upton Park behind for the new ground which, although impressive and full week in, week out, was not built for football.
However, with the wins over Chelsea earlier this season added to memories such as Andy Carroll’s volley, fans are slowly forming an affinity with the place. If Andy Carroll & Co. can put a home run together between now and the end of the season, the optimism going into the next campaign will be tangible and the London Stadium, or whatever it will be called by then, will well and truly be home.