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 Deadline Day Sept 1st

 

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

Latest West Ham news

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Axel Witsel of Belguim in action (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Read all the latest transfer stories for our London clubs and scroll down to the bottom to get involved with our team.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Alex Song in action for West Ham  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

West Ham co-owner David Gold has confirmed that Alex Song has signed for the club.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor in action (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Slaven Bilic has reportedly held talks with Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor over a deadlind-day move to West Ham.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Charlie Austin of QPR acknowledges the crowd after the final whistle against Rotherham. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Charlie Austin will be playing for Queen’s Park Rangers next week, according to the Independent.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Nikica Jelavic of Hull City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull and Huddersfield.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

West Ham have completed the signing of Nikica Jelavic, their third signing of transfer deadline day.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more