HOTY - From the Newsroom

Newham Recorder correspondent Dave Evans gives his take on who should be crowned Hammer of the Year
Newham Recorder West Ham United correspondent Dave Evans has followed the Hammers home and away this season. As such, there are few better to give their opinion on who should be crowned as the 2014/15 Hammer of the Year...

Forget the General Election, there is only one thing on the minds of West Ham fans today and that is the big question: Who is going to be the Hammer of the Year?

There will be no hung parliaments, no coalitions and all the candidates are wearing claret and blue rosettes, but just who is going to succeed Mark Noble to take the title tonight?

I spoke to two of the great legends in Hammers history on Saturday as part of the 50 year celebrations of West Ham’s European Cup Winners Cup triumph over TSV Munich.

Ken Brown was Hammer of the Year back in 1959, Martin Peters in 1965 and both were so proud of being back at Upton Park on Saturday, both glowed with the memories of special nights at Upton Park and at Wembley.

That is what the Hammer of the Year award is about. It is about history, about remembering the legends of the club through the years and that is what will be so important when West Ham finally leave Upton Park to move to bigger things at the Olympic Stadium.

So who do I think will win the big prizes tonight? I have got my hunches and the polls have been suggesting things that I don’t quite agree with, but that is democracy I guess.

Signing of the season, may be the most difficult of the lot. There is Aaron Cresswell, a bargain at less than £4million, who has played every minute of every Premier League game and barring a couple of shaky games, which you would expect, has been superb.

Cheikhou Kouyate hit the ground running, stormed forward at will and even shored up the defence when injuries ripped apart the defence.

If loan players count then Carl Jenkinson should certainly be considered, while you may be forgiven for thinking Stewart Downing was a new signing, such was his dramatic improvement when moving into the middle of the park.

For me though, the signing of the season was Diafra Sakho. He came in under the radar, seemingly as a squad player, scored a scrappy goal in the defeat against Sheffield United and then scored and scored and kept scoring.
He even surprised the manager, but he was no flash in the pan and though injury curtailed his season, 12 goals was a superb return in season one.

The best team performance must come from those two Upton Park wins that put West Ham on the map this season. If pushed, I have to go for the 2-1 win over champions Manchester City.

The Hammers matched City throughout, scored a goal in each half, the second of which was a superb header by Sakho that squeezed past England goalkeeper Joe Hart and then they survived a late onslaught.

For best individual display, I am not going to stray from that game. There were certainly other candidates. Adrian’s performance against Everton in the FA Cup springs to mind; Mark Noble in the home game against Liverpool; Stewart Downing at Stoke City.

But for me, the display of Alex Song against Man City was simply sublime. Within 10 seconds of kick-off he was up and at Yaya Toure and throughout the game he never stopped running, passing and tackling. It was a world class performance from a player who never quite lived up to those heights again.

And so to the big award. You all have your own favourite, but to me there are only three candidates to lift the prize.

New boys Cresswell and Kouyate go close, but for me, the man who has had most influence on the team this season, the player who has held the team together when things have not been going West Ham’s way, the player who has kept a smile on his face all season should take the prize.

Three penalty saves in a row is an incredible achievement and for me, the Hammer of the Year should be Adrian.

Can’t wait to find out if I am right tonight. 

*Dave Evans is the only West Ham journalist to follow the team home and away. You can follow him on twitter @Recorder_Hammer.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United.