Don't forget that a few weeks ago, West Ham were in a very serious position. When the Credit Crunch bit a huge chunk out of Iceland in October, the money underpinning West Ham disappeared. Then, just as they were announcing the appointment of inexperienced (i.e. cheap) Gianfranco Zola as manager, XL Holidays went under, stranding hundreds of customers abroad and cutting West Ham adrift, financially speaking, with the transfer window looming.
This all brought West Ham's transfer policy in the Eggert Era into pretty sharp focus. Ever since the shiny-headed biscuit tycoon took over at Upton Park, West Ham were one of those teams that were willing to pay good wages, particularly for English players. Lucas Neill, Scott Parker, Dean Ashton, Robert Green, Luis Boa Morte and (tragically) Kerion Dyer all signed up.
Lucas Neill famously said he chose West Ham over Liverpool for footballing reasons, alleging that Liverpool never made him feel truly wanted. What he meant to say was after playing for Blackburn for 5-6 years, he wanted to live and play (and get paid) in London.
Did Scott Parker really leave Newcastle because he thought West Ham were heading for the top? What does it say about his ambition if he'd rather play for a mid-table team in London rather than an ambitious team in the north-west?
What happened to Kerion Dyer still upsets me. When it became apparent that he was leaving Newcastle eighteen months ago, I thought (and still think) Bolton would be (and still would have been) the perfect destination for Dyer.
Just think about it. On one hand, one of the most naturally gifted English footballers of the last twenty years, whose career has been derailed by injury after injury and who desperately needed a fresh start.
And on the other hand, the club probably best equipped to get the best out of him. When you think about the list of clubs in Europe with a golden reputation for getting veteran players into shape and extracting vintage performance, there's AC Milan and Bolton. That's the list.
Tragically, money trumps common sense every time. There's no way Bolton could match £6m for Dyer, or even match the wages on offer. It was inevitable that Dyer would try to rush back and play before he was fully fit. In his second game for the Hammers, Kerion Dyer broke his leg in two places.
You can definitely stick a fork in Dyer, but I'd argue that the same goes for Lucas Neill and Scott Parker. They're still very good effective players, but those off-field decisions they've taken have given us a brief picture of the type of people they are. Scott Parker might be as talented as Frank Lampard, but will he ever produce what Frank does?
Fabrice Muamba, 20 - £5m
Aaron Ramsey, 18 - £5m
Jimmy Bullard, 30 - £5m
Kevin Nolan, 26 - £4m
Two of the above are established Premier League performers, who would be considered a significant upgrade for most Premier League teams, (barring cruciate ligament injuries). And yet, in this severely depressed transfer climate, where nobody outside the Frivolous Four (Man Yoo, City, Liverpool and Spurs) is spending, Muamba and Ramsey are worth the same as Nolan and Bullard.
The difference is that Muamba and Ramsey have their whole careers ahead of them, possibly filled with international caps, medals and trophies, and therefore enormous price tags.
So these players' value is inflated by things they haven't achieved yet. If you want proof, here is an article regarding Darren Bent's move from Charlton to Tottenham, (which also happily details some of the profligate spending at West Ham).
"The main reason we think Darren has such a high value is because he has just turned 23," said the Charlton source. "In four years' time do you think for one minute transfer fees will have gone down with all the TV money coming in? He will be 27 and one of the top English centre-forwards. He's going to be worth at least £20m.”
The bit where he goes "It'll look cheap in a year," always cracks me up.
Which neatly leads us to Harry Redknapp, Bent's current tormentor at Spurs and former West Ham boss. When he was at Portsmouth he targeted undervalued veterans like Pedro Mendes, Papa Bouba Diop and Kanu. He's even been able to make a killing on Jermaine Defoe twice, because of the perception that Defoe has peaked as a player.
That's why Spurs spent January reacquiring the team that got Martin Jol sacked. Redknapp has built his success on putting out teams of astute professionals rather than promising youngsters. That's why Harry wants Palacios over Huddlestone and Chimbonda over Bale.
So, when West Ham's backing went south, they were left with a team full of players who they had no hope of making a profit on, who were all earning too much and who hold little attraction for bigger clubs. You'd think things at Upton Park wouldn't be looking too rosy, even though their existence must've been pretty reliant on the ridiculous Craig Bellamy money.
And you'd be wrong. While Chelsea drop points every newspaperman is going on about Abramovich's shrinking pot o' gold, but when there's a chance a club could go out of business altogether, if the results are good nobody cares.
The results have been impressive. 14 points from 21 is the sort of result Gary Megson should be targeting from the upcoming fixtures. Now it's the time for his team to produce.