Ahead of this evening’s FA Cup quarter-final replay against West Ham, RoM has interviewed Sam Diss about their season so far, the Olympic stadium, and predictions on tonight’s game.
RoM: How happy have you been with West Ham’s season so far?
Sam Diss: You have no idea. In my lifetime, it’s rarely really been much more than a constant pain – the dull, aching kind – supporting West Ham. It was a hereditary disease passed on from my dad – “Oh, nice one. I have to support a team that wilfully constructs a team around Joey O’Brien.” But this season there’s life and fun and goals and skill and all sorts.
In August I just prayed for a nice, safe season and would’ve taken 15th. Above all else, I didn’t want us to be the team with the nicest stadium in the Championship. To think that we’ll be in Europe next season and maybe – GENUINELY – in the fucking Champions League is mindblowing.
RoM: Payet didn’t set the world alight in France. Why do you think he’s thrived at West Ham?
SD: I think it’s a bit of a falsehood that he wasn’t the same player in Ligue Un because he was still one of the world’s highest assist makers but I guess he’s never been the marquee signing anywhere. He came to East London and he was immediately The Man and it was clear Bilic wanted everything to move through him – I think he’s just thrived on that power and positivity.
RoM: Other than Payet, who do you think will pose a threat to United?
SD: Andy Carroll’s renaissance notwithstanding, we’ve been a bit short upfront last few months but our midfield has been extremely good. If Noble and Lanzini can get their foot on the ball we’ll be in a great position. Lanzini’s such an incredibly underrated player – he’s a bit like a slightly-shitter Coutinho, but only slightly – and he’s got goals in him.
RoM: If you could have one United player, who would it be?
SD: I’d say Anthony Martial – he’s just got everything you want in a football. He’s got great feet, pace, control, bit of strength. He’s finding his form in front of goal and as soon as he settles for good and cracks it, we’re all fucked. He’s a real player. (Can you imagine Payet and Martial together? I’m getting a semi just writing this.)
RoM: Do you fancy West Ham to finish above United and City and play in next season’s Champions League?
SD: Honestly, no. I don’t think we’re quite there yet but next season, who knows?
RoM: Are you happy about moving stadiums next season?
SD: Yes and no. It’ll bring tremendous prestige to the club and will be a nice bit of bait to get new players, and potential investors, but it’ll be a real shame to leave Green Street. The area will be devastated. The shops that line the road are all done up in claret and blue, all of them depending on the pre-game trade, and that’ll all just disappear overnight. Still, nice to have a nice stadium, innit?
RoM: It’s been more than 10 games since West Ham last beat United, the 4-0 in the League Cup six years ago. Are you confident of ending that run tonight?
Yes. This is our best chance to win a trophy in about ten years and we’ve been great against the big clubs this year. I think out time is now.
RoM: And finally, your score prediction?
SD: 2-1 – I’m going for Lanzini and Payet to get one before Rooney scuffs in a late one that’ll have us all shitting ourselves. Football’s great.