Tony Cottee Column: It’s fantastic that West Ham fans will get a day out at Wembley

12:00 10 May 2012

Kevin Nolan celebrates with James Tomkins after scoring

Kevin Nolan celebrates with James Tomkins after scoring

Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

“Credit must go to everyone at the club for rallying round and putting in two great performances.”

From the very start of the season, I was keen on the idea of West Ham being in the play-off positions and reaching a final at Wembley.

I always said that automatic promotion would of course be ideal, but when you finish in the top two there isn’t really a day out for the fans.

And that is what Saturday, May 19 will provide.

It will be a memorable day for the thousands of fans that are lucky enough to get tickets and for those that don’t it will still be a special occasion.

West Ham fans have stuck by their team in recent years, with little in return and it is about time that the supporters had the day out that their loyalty deserves.

I am pleased that the Hammers managed to show the grit, determination and desire to reach the final, as it is often difficult for the team that finishes in third place.

It was especially difficult for us to take given that we had been in the top two for the majority of the season, only to then fade away.

However, we finished strongly with two good wins and that helped us build some momentum going into the Cardiff City games.

I think that a lot of credit must go to everyone at the club for rallying round and putting in two very impressive performances.

We put in another solid away performance last week, but I thought we looked really good on Monday.

There was always going to be some nerves before the first goal of the game, depending what side it went to, but once again, up popped Kevin Nolan to pretty much decide the tie.

Kev has had his fair share of criticism this season, but I don’t think you can argue with what has been a strong season from the Hammers captain.

He has scored some crucial goals over the course of the season, and his work off the pitch is just as important.

I think he has been a tremendous leader this season and it hasn’t been easy for him.

Ricardo Vaz Te scored the second goal and it was a real rocket.

I think everyone in the ground was screaming for him to pull it back, but he only had one thing in his mind.

Pleased

I was also pleased for Nicky Maynard to get on the scoresheet, especially so soon after coming on.

It isn’t always easy for a striker to come on as a substitute and sometimes it can take a while to get into the game.

But credit to Nicky, he hasn’t sulked about not being picked, he has kept his head down and done well when called upon, and that is the attitude of a player that you want to have in your squad.

The one negative that came from Monday was the injury to Jack Collison and I really felt for him when he was forced to come off.

The exact extent of the shoulder injury is unknown at the moment, but it isn’t looking good for him to fully recover for the final.

In a big game like a play-off final you really need to have all of your players 100 per cent fit and he mustn’t be rushed back too soon.

The injury has come at such a bad time for the Wales international too, just as he was getting into form and back among the goals.

I am glad that we are playing Blackpool in the final.

Having beaten them twice already this season, we would be extra confident against Ian Holloway’s side, but I am sure that we have enough experience in our squad, with players like Rob Green, Carlton Cole and Nolan to deal with the pressure that the final brings.

Anything can happen when it comes to one-off games like this and I expect Sam Allardyce to have a real selection headache on his hands.

These big matches are the ones you want to be playing in and I am sure that every player will be keen to stake their claim for a place in the matchday squad at the home of English football.

Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Submit your West Ham player ratings

Latest West Ham news

Friday, March 6, 2015
West Ham's Sam Allardyce (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce believes West Ham will need “three or four quality signings” this summer as they look to achieve their ambition of playing European football in the Olympic Stadium.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Mauricio Pochettino insists Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue’s Tottenham careers are not over despite having not been involved since January.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Malaga's Ignacio Camacho has been linked wtih Tottenham (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Check out our round-up of the latest transfer gossip on Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and West Ham from around the web.

Friday, March 6, 2015
West Ham's Aaron Cresswell deflects the ball into the net as Wilfried Zaha watches on (PA Wire)

After Saturday’s disappointment in front of the England coach, Aaron Cresswell is back in fine form

Thursday, March 5, 2015
West Ham United's Kevin Nolan, (right) battles for possession of the ball with Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, (left) during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

Hammers captain Kevin Nolan put in a superb performance against Chelsea

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The best new apps on iOS and Android this week.

Read more

Rounding up the best videos this week in the world of technology.

Read more

Scientists have found that celebrity cooking shows make calorie-laden dishes more acceptable.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

West Ham's Sam Allardyce (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce believes West Ham will need “three or four quality signings” this summer as they look to achieve their ambition of playing European football in the Olympic Stadium.

Read more
Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino (Nick Potts/PA Wire)

Mauricio Pochettino insists Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue’s Tottenham careers are not over despite having not been involved since January.

Read more
Malaga's Ignacio Camacho has been linked wtih Tottenham (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Check out our round-up of the latest transfer gossip on Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and West Ham from around the web.

Read more
Doneil Henry, Blackburn Rovers

West Ham youngster Doneil Henry has revealed he nearly missed his Blackburn Rovers debut as he got on the wrong train.

Read more
Hector Bellerin and Carl Jenkinson (Getty)

Arsenal sent Carl Jenkinson on loan to West Ham at the start of the season and the full-back has thrived at Upton Park - but what does Hector Bellerin’s form mean for the Englishman?

Read more