Tony's Verdict

Tony Gale has urged the Hammers' fans to get behind Harry Redknapp and his players in their hour of need.

The fickle finger of fortune has conspired to drag West Ham a little closer than comfort to the relegation zone but Tony says that he has been thoroughly entertained by West Ham's performances this season even if the results haven't always gone the right way.

He says:

"Harry's teams have always tried to play football in the right manner, and now it is about trying to get the end product on all of that great play."

And he sympathises with Harry's predicament in trying to fit so much creative talent into one team.

With Paolo saying at the weekend that he would sacrifice himself to the bench if it meant West Ham picking up a couple of wins, and Harry himself wondering if he needs to change the shape of the side to grind out a result, Tony says:

"I certainly wouldn't tell Harry what to do but it could mean Joe or Paolo being sacrificed and in my view it would be the latter as he is the younger talent.

"But it would be for him to come to terms with the fact that he was left out."

Tony also concurs with Harry's assertion that a more clinical striker would benefit the team, and he says:

"Freddie is not a twenty goals a season man, more around twelve to fifteen but West Ham still need a goal scorer in and around the penalty area.

"It's a fine juggling act, but Harry has said he will go into the market this summer to buy a partner for Freddie.

And he backs West Ham's young trio of midfielders to bounce back from their recent disappointments, adding:

"I think Carrick, Cole and Lampard are different class; Joe is an incredible talent.

"Yes, he made the well publicized mistakes against Spurs but the kid is an incredible talent.

"And we talk about Frank being ah established player, but he is only 22.

"West Ham have got to keep all three at all costs - they are all super players."

A huge plus from the weekend thinks Tony, is that Hayden Foxe is now allowed to play for the club - although he is currently on international duty.

"It all points to Hayden now he's made his debut," says Tony, himself of course a ball playing centre half in his day.

"All the lads say how good a player he is and you can generally gauge from training sessions someone is quality.

"He is young, and we've seen already that he is comfortable on the ball."

Tony's father sadly died recently, and is missed by other fans who knew him as well as Tony for his appearances following West Ham home and away.

But Tony has taken some solace in continuing to follow his club around the country - and being thrilled by the delights on display.

"In answer to the criticisms I'd say if you are going to not win the league and miss out on europe what team would you prefer to watch?

"For me, with my radio hat on, for entertainment value and players of great skill, I must say I have not seen unenjoyable games involving West Ham."

* Reports that Strasbourg president Patrick Proisy has announced he will attempt to sign Marc Keller from West Ham, and that he is going to contact them about it, are somewhat baffling.

He's a Blackburn player!