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Grady Diangana’s transfer was an accidental masterstroke and has sparked West Ham’s stunning start to the season

In a season already full of surprises, one shock success story that until last weekend had gone under the radar is West Ham.

The Hammers are ninth, but go into their GameDay clash with Manchester City LIVE on talkSPORT on Saturday, off the back of some impressive results.

Where has it all gone right for West Ham this season?

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Where has it all gone right for West Ham this season?

Convincing wins against Wolves and Leicester was followed by an incredible comeback at Tottenham last weekend, which saw West Ham salvage a draw despite being 3-0 down with 81 minutes on the clock.

Those jubilant scenes would have seemed inconceivable just a week before the season started as the club sanctioned the sale of promising academy star Grady Diangana to West Brom.

The winger had a brilliant season on loan at Albion as he helped them achieve promotion to the Premier League and carried on his good form in a pre-season clash at Ipswich as he laid on two goals for Sebastien Haller.

Finally it looked like West Ham were going to get the best out of record signing Haller with Diangana able to supply the crosses the big striker needs.

But Diangana joined West Brom for £18million

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But Diangana joined West Brom for £18million

Days later, Diangana was gone and all the cracks in the delicate relationship between the club have and fans surfaced once again.

Club captain Mark Noble even spoke publicly of his disappointment at seeing the 22-year-old go and Diangana’s brilliant solo effort at Everton earlier this season made it look like West Ham had made a mistake.

Many tipped West Ham to go down but the sale of Diangana has turned out to be of huge benefit to West Ham, as suggested by talkSPORT Live’s International Editor Tom Rennie. Something of an accidental masterstroke by joint chairman David Sullivan.

“I heard people say on talkSPORT that Mark Noble was wrong to speak out, I think he was very right to speak out,” Rennie told talkSPORT.com.

Noble didn’t outright criticise the club but made no bones about how upset he was at seeing Diangana leave

Noble didn’t outright criticise the club but made no bones about how upset he was at seeing Diangana leave

“The board’s reputation is irreparable, it’s irrecoverable. They will never, with a majority of supporters, recover their reputation in my view.

“When Mark Noble was visceral in his tweet against the board, I think it was actually quite a unifying thing. The players were united and the fans were united behind the players.

“They really built up a ‘get behind the team, knock the regime’ mentality to the point where David Moyes is reasonably popular, which is something I never thought I’d say. We’re reasonably pleased we have someone competent who’s in charge.

“I think the Diangana sale did something, either David Sullivan is a genius or this is coincidence. It united everyone against them. It gave us an ‘us against them’ mentality which you can see from the opening games of the season apart from the Newcastle game.”

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The season begun with a limp defeat to the Magpies followed by a narrow loss at Arsenal but things really clicked into gear after that, starting with a 4-0 blitzing of Wolves.

Their win over Leicester wasn’t by as big a margin (3-0) but it was a much better display given the Foxes went into that game off the back of stuffing Manchester City in their own back yard.

But the pinnacle of West Ham’s season so far has undoubtedly been the Tottenham result, a game they had no right to get anything out of.

Hammers fans will have their own brilliant stories about how they celebrated Manuel Lanzini’s stunning stoppage-time strike – Darren Randolph admitted the scenes were wild in the dressing room afterwards – and Rennie’s story is a special one too.

These scenes will bring a smile to the face of any West Ham fan for years to come

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These scenes will bring a smile to the face of any West Ham fan for years to come

He celebrated alongside former player Danny Gabbidon as the two were due to commentate on Sunday’s late kick-off.

The performances even sparked suggestions of the ‘West Ham Way’ making a glorious comeback. Rennie doesn’t agree but believes Moyes is building a side with an identity.

Instead it’s the ‘David Moyes Way’. New signing Vladimir Coufal has already made his name as a workhorse, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice complement each other well in midfield, while Michail Antonio has been converted into an accomplished centre forward, just like Moyes did with Marko Arnautovic.

The difficult decision has also been taken to phase club legend Mark Noble out of the starting XI with the midfielder struggling to keep up with the intensity of the top flight at the age of 33.

Rennie also believes Moyes should be given a long-term contract at West Ham

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Rennie also believes Moyes should be given a long-term contract at West Ham

They’ve also got Said Benrahma to look forward to, capturing the ‘Algerian Messi’ on deadline day of the EFL transfer window, even if he was signed on a ‘Sullivan scam’, as Rennie puts it.

Benrahma’s first season is on loan, meaning West Ham make a tidy profit this summer thanks to the Diangana sale.

The situation is far from perfect but it’s a nice time to be a West Ham supporter and although their team tends to ‘get mullered by Man City’, this season tells us that you should predict the scores at your peril.

Rennie says he’d be happy with a 2-1 defeat… but that’s how he felt before the clashes against Wolves, Leicester and Spurs.


You can listen to West Ham vs Man City live and only on talkSPORT at 12:30pm on Saturday, October 24

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