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Ironside: Collison’s return and Liverpool star’s arrival make it a happy new year

12:00 03 January 2013

Joe Cole. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Joe Cole. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

EMPICS Sport

Our West Ham blogger gives his thoughts on an exciting start to 2013 for Sam Allardyce’s side.

About our blogger

Name: Chris Wilkerson

Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson

Regular Attendee

Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid

Most memorable game: Playoff Final

Predicted finish: 12th

The Christmas break away from writing this column was a blessing considering the poor form we endured over the festive period.

The Reading game will live long in the memory. For some reason games against Reading are categorised in a folder within my mind marked “West Ham United: Never Get Carried Away”.

Many, many defeats to Everton are in there too, and that red card to Carlton Cole is at the forefront.

Thankfully, we picked up a much needed win and produced a far livelier performance against Norwich on New Years’ Day.

Nearly every player was exceptional, if only in parts rather than over the whole 90 minutes, but the most pleasing aspect was the way our returning players slotted back into Premier League football.

Guy Demel was once again brilliant, if only his fitness were better, and Ricardo Vaz Te gave us a winger-cum-striker that we have been missing.

However, the really important part, and the most heartening, was watching Jack Collison putting his stamp on a top flight game of football again like he had not missed a step in injury.

The young Welshman has talent, a grace and guile that oozes West Ham academy and Tony Carr’s teachings.

He really is a joy to watch when it’s all working, and only a fine reaction stop from Bunn in the Norwich goal denied him marking his return to Upton Park with a well deserved goal.

We have lacked zip with Diame out injured, and although Collison lacks the dynamism, he may give us something in midfield that lets us forget the Momoshaped hole in the middle of the park for the time being.

I must briefly move onto the story of the week at West Ham United.

As a child I had a few favourite players. Julian Dicks was almost forced upon me as a hero to worship, my father adamant (and rightly so) that the man was a legend.

Paolo too is a hero of mine, and I will not be the only one this weekend remembering a daft French ‘keeper with no hair waving his hand around as our Italian maestro poked the ball beyond him at Old Trafford.

But Joe Cole was everything I wanted a footballer to be. Courageous, outrageous and passionate, a player who cared and a man who hurt with us when we went down.

Joey was the one I went out and copied, I must have attempted countless mazy runs and unnecessary flicks as I played football with friends.

I hope the deal is financially sound, but forgive me for sitting with childish expectations and nostalgic excitement, forgetting the complexities and details of a transfer as I pray to watch one of my footballing heroes return home to east London.

Happy New Year.

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