It’s been a far from ideal season for West Ham United with off-field matters largely taking over and leaving the Irons distracted, dysfunctional and, at times, directionless.
The club actually started this campaign fairly well, though, and summoning up that spirit and quality is what is going to decide whether or not they steer clear of relegation this season, with a hugely testing run of fixtures on the way.
Up next for the Irons, a trip to Manchester City at the weekend before games at Liverpool and Arsenal are punctuated by a match with Southampton.
Home games against Wolves and Chelsea are also not so far away whilst in between those matches they have a trip to Spurs.
On paper, this is a run that could leave the Hammers well adrift or, certainly at least, in the relegation zone with then just a handful of games to save their skins.
With a lot of attention from fans, most of it negative and understandably so, aimed at those running the club – or at least claiming to – supporting the players and the ones that matter on the pitch or on the training ground has suddenly become second fiddle.
And, at a club like the Hammers where the support can be so vital in influencing results, now is the time for fans to, if they can, try and box up their anger towards the owners and get behind the players.
Put all of the disharmony and disagreement to one side because right now they’re facing their most important, difficult period of the season but the start of the campaign showed, with a bit of coherence – albeit short-lived – this side can achieve some decent results.
There’s quality in the side at West Ham – Mark Noble reckons it’s the best squad he’s ever seen during his time at the club – but the environment in which the players perform needs to be right, that is the case at the east London side more than at most clubs.
Clearly, those in charge at the club are not setting the right atmosphere in which the players can work to their best but the supporters can certainly have their say.
The squad themselves need to stand up and be counted, of course, but now is the time for Hammers fans to use their ingrained siege mentality and get behind their side for the coming weeks – putting on ice the board out campaign.
Going down would hit them harder than most of their fellow relegation candidates, it’s time for the bigger picture this season to prevail.