Tony's Target

Tony Cottee reckons that around 75 points would secure a place in the play-offs - and hopefully propel West Ham back into the Premiership.

He concedes, however, that making the automatic places would require a Herculean effort and explains:

"It is very difficult to see any of the other clubs catching Norwich or West Brom; the one team that possibly could do it is Sunderland, bearing in mind their games in hand.

"For West Ham it would have to have to be an exceptional run, probably winning the last eight games, and you would have to hope that Norwich or West Brom would lose at least three of those games, if not four.

"So it is going to be very difficult to make it up and get automatic promotion - though nothing is impossible.

"Realistically, it is what I have been looking at for most of the season, which is a place in the play-offs at the moment."

It has, of course, been a campaign of transition, and TC adds:

"It has been a very difficult season for everyone concerned at the club, including the supporters, the players, the management, and the board.

"Obviously the fall-out from the relegation was going to go on quite a while, and changing managers has had an effect.

"Alan has had to get his own ideas across and so many players have left and come in so it has been very difficult, and for that reason maybe it is expecting too much to even be in the play-offs.

"They have done well in the circumstances to be as high in the league as they have been and you can only hope that come the end of the season we are in the play-offs.

"I think once you are in them we are as good as anyone on our day and we would fancy our chances."

TC is hoping the blip in form is behind West Ham now and he adds:

"You are always going to have stages in the season when things don't go so well; it was disappointing against Millwall, I was at the Stadium of Light for the Sunderland game which wasn't a good performance, and we dropped points at home to Walsall.

"So it is three or four of the last games where we haven't been what everyone would expect - but surely it is better to have the bad run now, as opposed to the last few games when it is too late, and you just fall out of the play-off spots.

"Hopefully we can pick up for those crucial last eight games and get the results.

"I think if we can get to 75 points - another 15 points - I think we will be in the play-offs.

"I really feel West Ham will be in then with a great chance, because I don't see anything that scares me.

"I am very optimistic of getting back into the Premiership; it is so important that we make the play-offs.

"I just it would be great for everyone concerned with the club if we can get to the final and have a day out at Cardiff.

"It has been a long time since the supporters have had a good out; the last one was in the '91 semi-final - which was not a good day.

"The last good one was 1980, when we beat Arsenal 24 years ago; that is a long time to go without celebrating a success.

"I really hope we get to the final and give the supporters something to cherish and remember - and get us back to where we belong, in the Premiership."

Speaking ahead of the weekend, which will see former backroom staff Russell Holman and Simon Webster at Upton Park with their new employers Gillingham, TC adds:

"I didn't get to see the game on Sunday, unfortunately, but from what I have heard from my friends it wasn't the best performance of the season, which is disappointing in such a crucial game.

"But the great thing about football is that you can't dwell on bad performances - as you can't on good ones - and you have to very quickly get them out of your system and we have to bounce back very quickly.

"Bearing in mind the defeat against Millwall nothing less than three points will do."

TC has another Boys of '86 game coming up, and he says:

"We will be raising funds for charity; Billy Bonds is guesting and we have managed to tempt Paul Goddard out of retirement as well.

"Sarge is one of the boys of '86 but he has not been able to play recently because of his involvement with West Ham."

The game is on Thursday, April 15th, at Clacton, with a 7:30 kick-off time.

* If you would like a signed photo of Tony scoring his first goal for the Hammers, on 1st January 1983, aged 17, contact 0800 7833042 or go to

No prize, but if you were there do you remember who headed it against the bar for TC to follow up?

Scroll down for the answer....




















It was Joe Gallagher.

The photos, of which there is only a small quantity, are available for £30 plus post and packing.