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

Live Blog Transfer Window Live - August 29

 

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 14:16
The twins, who spend most of their day latched onto dad, have been named Winnie and Piglet by zookeepers ahead of this weekend’s Winnie the bear celebration at the Little Creatures family festival.

These two new arrivals, born just in time for a weekend celebrating the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh, have been given some very apt names.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01
Firearms officers arrested the suspect

Members of the public helped to thwart an attempted armed robbery in Whitechapel yesterday.

Read more

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

TOP STORIES

Quizzes

Guess the managers quiz

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
Croatia's Daniel Prajnic, France's Paul Pogba and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo... three hair-raising World Cup stars (Picture: Archant/Getty)

The World Cup is a showcase of fantastic football... and terrible hairstyles. Try this quiz and test your knowledge of the wackiest barnets in Brazil.

Read more
World Cup countries quiz

It's about time you refreshed your brains about the countries competing in Brazil.

Read more
Which London club play their home games at this stadium...? (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Do you fancy yourself as a football ground buff? Test your stadium knowledge with this brilliant quiz.

Read more

West Ham Transfer News

Follow the latest transfer news and gossip with London24

With the clock ticking towards the transfer deadline, clubs are pushing to get deals done before the window slams shut on Monday night.

Read more
Follow the latest transfer news and gossip with London24

London24’s Transfer Window Live brings you all the latest news and gossip from around the capital.

Read more
Alex Song   (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

West Ham are closing in on the signing of Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, according to Spanish football expert Graham Hunter.

Read more
Armand Traore of Queens Park Rangers (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has revealed Crystal Palace have made a move for R’s full back Armand Traore.

Read more
Manchester United's Danny Welbeck (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Keep up to date with the latest transfer news with our handy round-up.

Read more