Next Season and All That

Last updated : 18 June 2009 By Plymouth_hammer

This is the first piece from our new columnist 'El Martillo Ingles'

With the fixture list published and the first signings apparently in the bag its hard not to mentally scoot through Summer to 8 weeks on Saturday and find yourself wondering what the first 11 will look like at Wolves.

If the papers are to be believed we should shortly announce the signings of Amato Mancini and Walter Jimenez. Both are currently working under Mourinho at Inter but both have struggled to hold a place in his side. Mancini got to 16 appearances before being benched following a 15M euro move from Roma just last summer - rumour has it he fell out with the "special one". Jimenez has similarly struggled to get into the first team, held back by injury and stiff competition. So up step the Hammers with a smart looking season long loan deal with the option to buy - Worked very well for us with Ilunga who for my money was as good as any left sided attacking defender in the division last term.

More than most fans, we might be considered to have understandable doubts about the arrival during summer of two big name Latinos. Didn't exactly go well for us last time did it? But that was then, and this is the era of Zola and Clarke where even after less than one season we now fully expect these two exciting young talents to be swiftly accommodated.

Both the club and Zola have said 3 players were to come in… though this might change if we do have a leaver - a threat which has hopefully diminished with the positive statements from our new Chairman and these signings as proof. So who is the third signing? Presumably a striker where there have been no shortage of links. My choice would be Sturridge if only because he declared a desire to come even with Chelsea interested. What bright young thing wouldn't choose West Ham after the rise of Noble, Sears, Collison, Tompkins and Stanislas. A really big name might hold back the career of Stanislas who made a big impression toward the end of the season… enough to convince the management that Sears can go to Palace for a season. Where I hope he finishes as the divisions top scorer but is let down by the side around him…With all due respect to the long suffering Eagles fans I would hate to see Warnock and Jordan back in the top flight.

Whoever comes in now, and whoever moves on, there is something different about this close season. It's the almost complete lack of anxiety, borne out of total faith in Zola and Clarke to build a squad that can play in exactly the style they want. For once there is no doubt that we are mugging ourselves or that this faith in the future is unfounded. I predict we will kick off next season with the pundits tipping us to be the new Everton. As much as Moyes has been given the credit for the Toffees, Zola will be held up as the principle reason for forecasts of our success. And they will be right, though at 7/4 with one major bookie for a top 6 finish it's not a prediction that will make anyone rich. For the bloke that used to sit behind me in the Bobby Moore stand who would have his head in his hands if we were 3-0 up in second half injury time I can tell you that we are 18-1 to finish in the bottom 3. A slightly longer price than you can get about the Spuds coming down with Swine flu.


El Martillo Ingles