The Runner Sports

2017/18 Premier League Fixtures Released: A Sad West Ham Fanbase

June 14 marked the release of the upcoming fixtures to the Premier League season. Happy to put the previous season behind them, West Ham United look to pick up where they left off in their last season.

The collective Twitter reaction was less than supportive and rather sad. A lot of supporters took to the social media platform to voice their displeasure of certain matches and months of games; the collective groans for a challenging schedule is a letdown to see.

Firstly, West Ham starts their season at Old Trafford where they will face off against what should be a revamped Manchester United squad on August 12. The large (uncapped) transfer budget should promise plenty of turnover in the Reds’ lineup. West Ham can look to capitalize on the lack of chemistry and Premier League experience from some of the imported players who should be featured.

The groans from supporters about the Hammers playing Manchester United on opening day are unwarranted, disappointing, and sad. They are a top-six team, one of the most popular squads in the world, and have a payroll that dwarfs West Ham’s, but they are still in the same league. West Ham avoided relegation last year and despite it being a terrible campaign, they finished mid-table in 11th position, only five spots off of Manchester United; they are a beatable squad.

With player additions this summer and a manager motivated to earn an extension with the club, West Ham should be relishing the opportunity to show the top-six that the East London squad is looking to take one of their spots. This is the perfect opportunity to prove last season was a one-off of what West Ham truly are; a gritty, hardworking club who can grind out wins against tough opposition. After all, West Ham did scrape together a win against Manchester United in the last ever game at the Boleyn Ground late in the game. That should be the identity of this team.

Secondly, the hypocrisy of the London Stadium haters comes to the forefront with the new fixture list. With the new home of West Ham still a publicly owned building (for the time being), the stadium is being used for summer Athletics and has pushed the home appearances for West Ham back into September. Now, the same people who criticized the club’s move to the London Stadium are upset that the team will not play at home in August. These fickle fans are the very same people who will comment on the home schedule, stating that West Ham does not have any home games because they moved stadiums a year ago. And such is the problem with social media, with such a constant stream of news and comments, no one has to have any consistency in their opinions about the club.

Lastly, many people have complained about tough stretches in the season for West Ham. Specifically, the last six games: Chelsea (away), Stoke City (home), Arsenal (away), Manchester City (home), Leicester City (away), and Everton (home). Despite the Twitter rabble, it is highly unlikely that, with 20 teams, multiple venues, and other events at stadiums and pitches, West Ham were screwed over by the schedule makers.

Last season West Ham, as a depleted team looking to stave off relegation, played a Sunderland side with nothing to lose, an Everton side fighting for European football, a competitive Stoke City team, Tottenham who were in the race to win the league, and a top tier Liverpool team. West Ham blasted relegation away, securing six points in this stretch, and only taking one loss. These games were also played with squad players as West Ham was depleted with injury. This alone should be a wake-up call to anyone who is prematurely assessing West Ham’s season before it has begun.

There is no reason to be pessimistic and negative about the released schedule. Sure, it will have challenging games and stretches, but they should be viewed as opportunities for West Ham to prove they are better than last year and challenging for a top-six finish. With United in their name, West Ham need their fans to back them next season. Make the away games feel like home and the home games feel like an absolute party. Now is the time for West Ham United to take the next step forward.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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