Galey's review of the season: part one

In a three-part special feature, former Upton Park favourite and regular columnist Tony Gale provides his own personal look back at the unforgettable 2006-07 campaign, with part one reflecting on the eventful first few months of the season…

Who'd have guessed what kind of a season we'd have in store after we won our first game convincingly against Charlton at Upton Park back in August? Everything looked rosy at that point in time and it seemed to be that the only way was up.

The Charlton game was followed by a decent point at newly-promoted Watford and a good performance, despite the defeat, against Liverpool at Anfield. Then, bang! The announcement that we were signing Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, plus the speculation of a takeover hanging over the Club.

I thought it was great news - two world class players adding to an already decent squad. Unfortunately, in my personal opinion, the Argentine boys were seen by a few of the players as a threat, rather than two great signings.

The manager, Alan Pardew, seemed to be a little bit put off that they weren't actually his signings but were additions that the previous board had made. If I was a manager I would have probably felt the same, then on reflection felt that I was a lucky man to have two great players on my plate.

The two internationals were going to have to take time to settle in to Premiership football and the English way of life. This wasn't helped by a run of poor results, which everyone found hard to explain.

Looking at it from the outside, I thought that the existing players who had done so well the previous season had started to take things for granted and the second season in the top flight was becoming a real slog.

Dean Ashton's early season injury after being called up to the England squad was a serious blow. I believe that Deano - had he been fit - would not only have scored 20 goals in the Premiership but would have also been an England regular.

The youngsters in the squad were particularly affected and their confidence was dipping alarmingly. Although we got the odd result here and there, already early in the season the danger signs were showing…

Look out for part two of Tony Gale's season review next week…