Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Have Our Man!

Gianfranco Zola has landed. What a time to be a Hammer! Yes, the jury is still out over whether he will replicate his stellar, attack-minded accomplishments as a player while prowling the touchline in a suit and tie. But you have to like the odds. I have been told by Jim Sturman -- a name familiar to many of you Hammers' fans -- that "Gianfranco is a wonderful man." It only takes one look at the Italian's massive, ever-present grin to know that Sturman's assessment rings true. As much as you had to admire what Curbs accomplished, bottom-line wise, at our club, can you ever imagine Zola keeping a player of Tevez's caliber on the bench as West Ham capitulated to a club like Reading (no offense meant to Royals supporters) 6-nil on a chilly New Year's Day? He will have the instant respect of the pumped-up egos that inhabit the dressing rooms of the modern-day Premiership. The problems the "flash" Alan Pardew and "old-school" Alan Curbishley had in keeping the bling-bling Anton Ferdinands and Nigel Reo-Cokers of the world in line evaporated the minute Zola signed his deal. Here is a man who was an understudy to Diego Maradona at Napoli, for goodness sake! Zola shredded defenses at Chelsea, but his intellect, first touch and movement were as much a part of the package as his finishing. And Zola truly was at the vanguard of changing the way Prem players looked after their diets and fitness. No more guzzling 12 pints at the pub on your day off from training; more like a glass or two of red wine and a fish (minus the chips) or pasta dinner. I honestly don't care if Gianfranco uses our club as a steppingstone to managing his beloved Chelsea someday. Just grab us an FA Cup or a shock spot in the Champions League on the way, please!