With his contract up at the end of the season it is unsurprising that Sam Allardyce’s future at West Ham United is under consideration, a manager who divides opinion throughout football can point to his record that his tactics keep teams in the Premier League.
Since Christmas the team have struggled for form and look a shade of a Sam Allardyce side, unable to close out games and letting in goals from set pieces left, right and centre.
The club have maintained a motto during the speculation of the manager’s future that there will be an end of season review where the board will decide to stick or twist with regards to the Boleyn Ground hot seat.
Super Sam to the rescue
Allardyce arrived at Upton Park with the club in a shambles after a torrid season that ended in relegation from the top division in English football. Big Sam picked up the pieces and made a side under his image, tough to beat and able to win ugly, something the Hammers had not had for a while, and the 2011/12 season can only be deemed a success as he lead West Ham back into the top flight.
Since then the ex-Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn manager has kept the club in the Premier League, finishing in tenth and thirteenth before the current season which saw the Hammers reach as high as third place prior to Christmas Day.
Last summer the board demanded Big Sam try and please the fans with some attacking football, a move that seemed to pay off as the side looked transformed and there was talk of finishing in a European place and whispers of a Champions League spot.
However, the Hammers have endured a tough January and February that threw up the poor performances against Crystal Palace in the league and West Brom in the cup, whilst also dropping points from good displays and winning positions against the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham.
Sam stonewalled the media yesterday, showing signs that he is bored of the rumours surrounding his future saying, “All publicity is good publicity so write as much as you want. We can’t explain the situation more than we have already explained it and I’m not going to explain it again.”
It is believed that the board will go into the end of season review with a shortlist in mind if they decide to pull the metaphorical trigger on Big Sam. Besiktas’ coach Slaven Bilic, former Swansea boss Michael Laudrup and ex-Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit among others are rumoured to be interesting the club.
It’s almost a certainty that with Allardyce at the helm the team will remain in the Premier League, a tried and tested figure within English football, his record speaks for itself. It may not be pretty but over the course of a season Big Sam has shown time and again he will keep a team from getting relegated.
Hammers fans have slightly bigger, possibly risky, aspirations of not just securing their Premier League status but pushing on and challenging for cup success and European places.
Fans always want more, it’s natural to dream of bigger things, but could the supporters of West Ham be asking for too much too soon.
Getting rid of Allardyce is a risk, though one that could pay off, at the end of the season the club will reveal whether they have decided to stick with the devil you know or roll the dice on the future of claret and blue.
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