All of the Time - How West Ham was won and where it got us

Lynchpin: Marouane Chamakh

Lynchpin: Marouane Chamakh

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

In my last column after the Aston Villa game I nervously reflected that I should not have gotten so carried away.

I had no idea that two games later, two WINS later, it would be a mathematical done deal: we’ve survived! With three games to spare! On a glorious run of form!

It's all a surreal sequence nobody could have imagined or dreamed of last August.

It seems absurd it's happened now, Premier League survival at the fifth attempt - it hasn't sunk in.

Our squad, slowly cobbled together over the past three or four years, is a motley crew of misfits, acquired by several different managers, ranging from free transfers like Mile Jedinak or Glenn Murray to bargains like Joel Ward (£400,000) or KG (£600,000).

Even the players on higher wages or following more serious transfer fees still epitomise the club, like Jason Puncheon (£1.7m) or Maroune Chamakh.

Rejected by higher flying teams, Southampton and Arsenal respectively, they were forced to swallow their pride and economise.

Croydon Guardian:

Top season: Joel Ward

Blossoming dramatically, both are lynchpins of our attack, focal points in our triumphant resurgence this season. They're the ones who look so desperate to prove the doubters wrong, and definitely candidates for our player of the year as a result.

The man to thank for all of this, of course, is Tony Pulis. He might not have brought all the players in, but he grasped what to do with them.

Ian Holloway knew he was out of his depth, Pulis swept in and his experience in the top flight shone immediately - while he somehow forged a reliable, powerful and regular starting 11 from the huge, mismatched squad he inherited.

The January additions of Scott Dann (£1.5m) and Joe Ledley (£700,000) were utterly inspired.

But the most remarkable aspect of Pulis' revolution has been our style of football. We aren't playing tiki-taka but this isn't Stoke either.

Our counter-attacks are kept grounded and we have various flair players like Yannick Bolasie and Puncheon that Pulis has managed to incorporate to devastating effect and tease out their best ever football, while turning them into battling workhorses at the same time.

Yet not much of this mattered at Upton Park on Saturday, as we faced among our worst opponents of the season; totally devoid of passion, subtlety or a plan B besides hoofs to their ponytailed predator up top.

The atmosphere felt like a red and blue celebration, well before Jedinak's emphatic top-corner penalty.

It's exhilarating, it's impressive and it’s... going to have to happen again.

Starting in a few months.

I'm trying to bask, but there's a nagging, persistent fear of an impending "difficult second album syndrome".

While we won't be overestimated, the rest of the division won't underestimate us again either.

In fact, verses Liverpool and Man City, in the final two home games of the season, they'll both be wary of the Eagles.

With shots at the Premier League title they will have undoubtedly taken note of our Chelsea and Everton wins and be prepared to overcome our immense defence and ferocious wing-play.

Then there's the worry that with our newfound safety we'll have one foot on the beach already, not to mention an eight-day hangover by the time we play City on Sunday.

But I like to think after the miracles he’s already performed, if anybody can keep us going through the final three games it’s Pulis.

Although, and this is still a strange concept, even if we lose all three it won’t matter.

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