Eldo71: You lot finished 9th last season, played some reasonable football along the way and the hopes for the new season were high under Gianfranco Xola and Steve Clarke. So you must be sratching your head after a miserable start to the season?
DH: Just a bit! We just haven’t taken last season’s efforts and built on them as we thought we might. Of course, there have been untold problems away from the playing side so that is a factor for Zola. But even still, we thought we would do better than we have – the league table doesn’t tell fibs, does it?
Eldo71: Obviously Zola needs to turn things around or his job will come under scrutiny if it isn’t already. How long can you give him?
DH: Well, if things don’t improve by the turn of the year then we will have to look at things I think. The bottom line is that we are trying to play pretty football and it is costing us. So, the argument is nice football versus staying in the Premier League. Of course we’d like a bit of both…but given our circumstances I’d prefer to see a bit more steel, points on the board and top flight survival.
Eldo71: It’s hard not to like Zola, he’s a gent of football and not even his Chelsea career can take away the respects real football fans have for him. Is he too nice to be a manager?
DH: Well, I think that’s why Clarke’s there, to play the hard man role. Time will tell but certainly fans I know are starting to ask questions but they do realise Zola has had to contend with a lot of shite off the pitch in terms of ownership and funds available.
Eldo71: From the outside looking in, I don’t think you have enough quality in the squad. There are top class players such as Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole can be a handful…but, other than Noble and Scott Parker, who is injured I believe, who else is good enough to get you out of this fix?
DH: Diamanti still has plenty to give and he’ll come on and improve and Hines is one for the future who seems to know where the goal is – you seem to be writing us off already ahead of the game but I certainly think we can get a result if we liven up. I’m not so sure you boys are that great at defending!
Eldo71: Especially in the last minute of a Champions League game in Alkmaar! But given the way Zola is trying to get the team to play, you are hardly going to get the ball in the box at every opportunity and you can hardly park the bus as you are at home and have a set of demanding fans. How do see the match?
DH: From the Bobby Moore stand where I sit. Lol! I think we have to get amongst you boys and not let you be comfortable in possession but we need to be patient when you have got the ball. It’s a hard one, but I think if you get an early goal it will somehow unburden us a bit and the game plan will change. So, in truth, I haven’t a clue! Lol. I’d settle for a draw right now.
Eldo71: Are you in favour of former Birmingham owner David Sullivan taking over at Upton Park, as has been suggested might happen?
DH: I am not convinced he splashed the cash in sufficient amounts at Birmingham to give me confidence that he can change our fortunes. But he can bring a bit of stability and that would help. To be honest I would prefer a Russian billionaire, or an Arab with untold pots of loot!
Eldo71: Best of luck with that! For the record I reckon a 2-1 win for us.
DH: That isn’t an unreasonable expectation given our league form – but football can bite you on the arse-nal. Come on you Hammers!
Eldo71: Enjoy the game and up the Arsenal!