Merv reflects on last season

Looking back over last season, Mervyn Day admitted it was probably the most testing time of his career.

"Five months felt like about five years," he joked. "We came in December and they were five tough months. We were brought in to make sure the club didn't go down and by the skin of our teeth we managed to do that.

"Our major focus was on the players. We knew the Chairman was very ambitious and we knew he had plans to take the club forward over a period of time. Initially it was literally a case of making sure we got some results.

"We were fortunate enough in the first couple of games, against Manchester United and Fulham, to get a couple of results. Then we had a bit of tough time for nine or ten games.

"Thankfully we managed to turn it around and not only get some results but play some really good football for the last few games."

Reflecting on the tough times, Merv said: "The worst time was after the Charlton game. Luck was against us at that point, or so it seemed. We prepared a side where we had to make four changes after the last training session on the Friday because we had four players with niggly injuries.

"It's hard when you prepare for a game, you then go to Charlton, which is against our old club and where we had a lot of good years and we basically didn't turn up. We got beat 4-0.

"They had our old manager Alan Pardew and all our fans were singing 'We want our manager back.' It was very hurtful, but understandable given the circumstances of the game."

The turning point, according to Merv, came in the following game against Tottenham. "It was definitely chalk and cheese because the game against Charlton was so awful, then to play so well against Tottenham, even though we didn't get a result, we went for it at the end.

"But it was the performance and it was the fact that we produced such a good game for the telly, the fans and the players' self-belief. Then came the Blackburn game where we got a little bit of luck and all of a sudden we were on our way."

And the momentum the Hammers showed in the final part of the season has put everyone at the Club in a positive frame of mind for the new season.

"I think we've proved that if we get our heads right and we're focused and we put out a settled side that we are a match for anybody in the Premier League," said Merv.

"There will be some comings and goings in the summer and we're excited about that and sad about that in equal measure. But we're looking forward to it.

"In the meantime we're going to enjoy our break, I'm absolutely shattered, as are most of the players and the staff because the last few weeks have been incredibly stressful and tense.

"People say it's only a game but, believe you me, it's not. We're already planning for next year in terms of our pre-season programme and we're looking forward to it with renewed optimism and great hope."