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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce shouts from the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

The Hammers put Chelsea to the sword but couldn’t find the breakthrough they thoroughly deserved

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
West Ham United's James Tomkins (left) and Alex Song wearing DT38 Foundation T Shirts in memory of former West Ham player Dylan Tombides during the warm up before the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce fears for defenders’ hopes after Crystal Palace defeat

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Tony Cottee

West Ham Columnist Tony Cottee is hoping for the team to bounce back against Chelsea tonight

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
West Ham United's Nene shows his frustration after a missed chance during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

After a fine debut, Nene could start tonight’s game with Chelsea at Upton Park

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Stephen Henderson of Charlton Athletic   (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson believes the Addicks must push as hard as they can to climb towards the play-off places this season and is loving life at The Valley after his struggles at West Ham.

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.

(Not guaranteed)

Mothers Day is fast approaching, so we’ve rounded up some unusual and beautiful gifts for you to dazzle the most important woman in your life come March 15th.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

West Ham's Winston Reid in action against Tottenham (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce insists Winston Reid is no closer to agreeing a new contract at Upton Park – despite having an “exceptionally good offer” on the table from the club.

Read more
Fiorentina's Micah Richards (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

On-loan Fiorentina right back Micah Richards has admitted he wants to come back to the Premier League but probably not with Manchester City.

Read more
Steven Fletcher of Sunderland is tackled by Winston Reid  (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

West Ham defender James Tomkins wants fellow centre back Winston Reid to follow in his footsteps by signing a new contract at Upton Park.

Read more
Sam Allardyce and Emmanuel Adebayor

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admits he was gutted the Hammers missed out on signing Emmanuel Adebayor from Spurs on transfer deadline day.

Read more
Lassana Diarra in action for Lokomotiv Moscow (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Lassana Diarra has set his sights on a summer move to West Ham after he missed out on a January switch to Upton Park.

Read more