The team we fielded that day wasn't fantastic. Carroll was in goal in the days when a Carroll wanted to play for us. The back four read Dailly, Ferdinand, Gabbidon and Konchesky. Would any of those get into our present team, even when on top of their games? Perhaps Konch. In midfield we had Mullins and Reo-Coker, neither of whom have pulled up trees since leaving West Ham, and neither of whom could hold a torch to Diame and Diarra. And up front we had Sheringham and Harewood. Now I know Cole has his critics but he is surely at least as good as Harewood, whilst Nolan is a slightly more mobile version of Teddy.
So, of that team that kicked off 2005-06 so gloriously, only Etherington and Yossi would definitely feature in my team, and if Vaz Te hits his stride, he could be the equal of Matty at the very least. Of course, we did have Zamora waiting in the wings, and Noble, and Repka, and Ashton would join in January, but the point is, that team was not significantly stronger than the team available to Allardyce - and that team finished ninth and featured in the best FA Cup Final ever.
Of course, we were managed by Pardew and Pardew went into the season saying he wasn't targeting survival, he was looking for a top half finish. It sounded absurd. It sounded like spin. But he meant it, and he achieved it. Contrast that with Allardyce who has said that we need to be at our very best all season to survive. Which manager would you rather play for, apart from the fact that your wife would never willingly climb into the sack with Allardyce! "No foreplay love, get in the box as quick as you can is my philosophy!"
The Prem is weaker this year than in 2005-06. There's no reason why we can't succeed. Bugger 17th, we should be chasing "top half only" as Ewan McGregor says in Brassed Off. What we need is a positive attitude and a cauldron of support at the Boleyn. We can do it, if we all truly believe!
Come On You Irons!