Tony: We'll Do It This Time

Tony Gale is confident that Alan Pardew can take West Ham into the Premiership in his first full season in charge.

He says everyone must try and forget the disappointment of not beating Crystal Palace in the play-off final, painful though that was, and look ahead with a positive attitude.

"There is no hiding that it was a major disappointment and what could have gone wrong went wrong on the day," says Tony.

"It wasn't the performance of the second leg against Ipswich, it was more a case of playing as we did in the first leg against them.

"I think the boys just didn't perform on the day; on paper we were the better side and all around the side we had that bit of quality - but the one break that was needed went Palace's way.

"I think the game was pretty even, maybe Palace deserved to shade it, but I think sometimes in those circumstances you get a break.

"If Bobby Zamora had scored when he got through, it would have been a different game altogether, and I am not saying it is all Bobby's fault, of course - but goals change games.

"When you don't take your chances and one gets taken up the other end, then it is panic stations - and when Palace went one up I just couldn't see us scoring an equaliser."

West Ham had the ball in the net twice, of course, but Tony admits:

"They were both clearly offside, there is no doubt about that, but the foul on Michael was clearly a penalty and we were very unfortunate in that respect.

"But when everyone looks at it in the cold light of day I think they will say they underperformed on the day.

"The penalty decision was costly and it was one where we could have got back in the game and got the equaliser - and you never know if Palace's heads wouldn't have gone down.

"But you can't just reflect on the penalty; we played poorly on the day and I don't think anyone can disguise that.

"Christian Dailly had a decent game and Steve Lomas did but after that I was struggling to find anyone who really played up to their potential.

"On paper Palace were the lesser of the two sides but they got it right on the day, took their chance that arose - and good luck to Iain, who is a friend of all of us as an ex-Hammer.

"We didn't want him doing it at our expense, but he has worked hard, not just at Crystal Palace, but he has had to work hard as a player and since he has gone into management.

"If anyone was to go up in place of us I would say I am pleased it is Iain.

"Where do we go from here? Paul Aldridge, Terry Brown, and Alan will be looking at the purse strings and seeing which players they want to keep and working out the budgets for next season - and there has to be a real tilt at it this campaign because if we don't go up next time the parachute payments from the Premiership stop and it becomes doubly difficult.

"It is a really crucial campaign and it is vital we start the season well - and not have a playoff hangover.

"We have to be up there with the contenders all the way and we have to stay up there; I am always positive about West Ham and I think it is a poor first division.

"If we can get the blues out of our heads and get going it can be a good season but it all depends, of course, on what Alan is allowed to keep - and what he buys as well."

As for potential outgoings, Tony says:

"The most notable one could be Michael Carrick if a really good offer comes in for him, and I feel that could happen because he is a quality player.

"I said before, win the playoffs and he will stay, lose and he will go, but if he doesn't go now it will be at the end of the season when his contract is up and it would then go to a tribunal where West Ham would feel they would get a decent price.

"If someone comes in for him now, West Ham can't be held to ransom and they would get a good fee.

"You find out a lot about your team when it gets to the nitty gritty at the end and Alan will have looked at it and thought about who is good enough.

"I think we will see from the comings and going how Alan feels about it and how things should progress with the squad, which is the most important thing.

"He has got a full season now and they are Alan's players; it would be unfair to judge on last season, which was an up and down one with a lot of players going out of the door as well as coming in.

"But we still sustained a challenge and now everyone has to get behind Alan, even though it is hard for the fans to appreciate we are in a division we don't deserve to be in.

"The reality is we are there; I remember going down with West Ham before and we didn't go up the first time; Billy Bonds took over half way through a season and the next season we went up, which was Billy's first full season as manager.

"I think Alan's first full season in charge could be the same."