Ahead of the new Premier League season West Ham have been busy in the transfer market as they look to improve on a stuttering campaign last term, however their decision to stick with Sam Allardyce as manager could prove to be their downfall.
The Hammers finished 13th last season reaching the benchmark points tally of 40 which is often enough to ensure a team of their Premier League safety.
However the 2013-14 season was not like many others with the bottom half of the table in a relegation dogfight for the majority of it.
Just seven points separated the relegated Norwich in 18th and West Ham. Allardyce deserves credit for getting his side out of the scrap and clearing them to safety, which he has previously stated was his objective for the season.
Although if the club want to progress and ensure they are not involved in a similar situation in the future, then it is perhaps not wise to stick with the man that put them there in the first place.
In need of a new style
Allardyce teams are fighters, scrappers and give everything they've got to the cause which is a credit to the man as it has got them this far. But in my opinion his style does not suit the West Ham philosophy of free-flowing, attacking football, breeding youngsters through the academy and generating excitement among fans with their often unpredictable but enjoyable performances.
Nowadays under Allardyce they are the complete opposite. They have become so predictable that teams know how to deal with them and have wisened up to the 59-year-old manager’s tricks.
He plays direct, percentage football that isn't very reliable or pretty to watch. The fact that his sides are usually defensively sound and well organised is his saving grace, but is that enough in the modern era of football that is all about goals and excitement?
Calls for sacking
There were vociferous calls from sections of the club’s support for his dismissal last season despite the side reaching the Capital One Cup semi-final and securing league safety.
The board at the club have been insistent on improvements being made to the team’s style of play to provide “more entertainment” in future while also demanding a top-half finish. But having watched many Allardyce sides in the past he is not one to change – his Bolton, Blackburn and Newcastle team’s all provided similar displays and outcomes.
In my view it would be a surprise if Big Sam is still at the helm this time next year as his new season objectives appear rather ambitious and I don't believe he is the man to take them forward, but if his new signings deliver then there is no reason why he can’t steer them clear of relegation once again.
Do you think West Ham could be relegated this season?