Galey's View - Feb 15

Former Hammers defender Tony Gale provides his expert view every week, exclusively on

ONCE again, we're looking back at another great week, following an impressive win against Birmingham City on Monday night.
There's no doubt that we faced Steve Bruce's men at a good time - they were missing several first-team regulars through injury and suspension - but they still had some quality and show and you can only beat what is put in front of you.
Scoring the early goal certainly had a key influence on the result. We have generally started games well this season but don't seem to have had much fortune in front of goal early on - I think the Manchester United game at home was the only other time we've scored inside the first 10 minutes - so it was nice to take immediate control on Monday.
It was also good to see the boys up front get the goals - it was important that those two justified the manager's selection, and I thought both Deano and Marlon showed the kind of confidence and quality you want to see from strikers who know they are under pressure to deliver the goods.
So another welcome three points, that took us past the magical 40-point mark and means that we can now look above us and have a real good crack at finishing the season in style. For me, it's nice to see everyone at the Club - staff, directors and supporters - walking around with a smile on their face. After the difficult times everyone has experienced in the last couple of years, it's good to see the good times here again…and long may they continue.

THE win against Birmingham made it seven in a row in all competitions, which I'm told equals the record we set back in 1985-86. That was actually part of a run of nine wins in the league - with a League Cup defeat at Manchester United sandwiched in between.
Personally, I hope the current side go on to beat our record. It would be great for the Club - records are there to be broken and, should they beat our nine successive league wins, I would imagine they will be set up for a memorable finish to the season.
It certainly looks good at the moment. Alan Pardew has virtually a fully fit squad to choose from, and having his first-choice team out is going to be key factor in the coming weeks.
Another key factor is that the team looks very fit and able to cope with the physical demands at this stage of the season. A lot of it is to do with confidence - when you are winning you can't wait for the games, while losing can make you feel a bit jaded - but Alan also has a young spine to his side. That is fantastic for the Club, and the players look as if they have the legs to finish the campaign strongly.

continued on next page...[PAGE]
LOOKING forward to Saturday's FA Cup tie at Bolton, there's no doubt it will be a tough match, and a draw will be a good result for the Hammers.
However, given the form we are in and the team we will put out, we have a great chance of winning the game and there is no reason to feel anything but confident.
Bolton certainly won't fancy playing us at the moment and, if we can impose our game on them early on, I can see us getting a result.
We'll have to be at our best, though, because they can be a formidable force, especially at home. It's a bit like facing Wimbledon in the old days - you know you are going to be in for a difficult afternoon, but they are by no means unbeatable.
They have a strong defensive outfit and some very talented players in attack, but hopefully their UEFA Cup tie against Marseille on Wednesday night will have taken a bit out of them, and the chance is there for us to grab a win.

I'LL end this week's column by paying tribute to Ron Greenwood, a man I sadly didn't have the pleasure of playing under but certainly know a lot about and respected a great deal.
Ron was obviously a regular visitor to Upton Park when his protégé, John Lyall, was managing in the 80s and would always stop for a chat whenever you bumped into him at the ground. He was a true gentleman and, from a footballing point of view, was quite simply one of the greatest coaches English football has ever seen.
The methods and beliefs he introduced back in the 60s are still being used today by Tony Carr to develop the young players progressing through the ranks, and I think every player who has played for West Ham United in the last 40 years has something to thank Ron Greenwood for.
Of course, the game is very different today, and people often ask if the likes of Ron and John would be successful managers in modern-day football. I certainly think they might have some trouble coping with agents and certain sections of the media nowadays but, when it comes to the football, they would have no problems.
On the training pitch, Ron Greenwood was simply untouchable, and he left West Ham United with a priceless legacy…