One of the most pivotal times in West Ham's long history is coming soon. They will move into the Olympic stadium after next season, and it is vital that the club make this move as a Premier League club.
If not it will seriously jeopradise the club's long term future, considering the loss of revenue and attendances if they drop out of the top flight. It could even be an irreparable loss, though that would be unlikely considering West Ham's history, but look at the direction Leeds have gone since their decline.
By showing such disrespect to Big Sam, and essentially forcing him out of the club, both fans and the board, are running a major risk. As Newcastle have shown this year, it is a dangerous game, forcing out a manager with a proven track record with no viable alternatives lined up. West Ham have made some speculative approaches for names like Jurgen Klopp, which frankly is fantasy on their part. David Moyes would have been a decent choice, but he seems set on staying at Sociedad for at least another year.
There are other options out there, but few clearly stand out (Laudrup perhaps, but how he left Swansea doesn't inspire great faith), and as Hull and Newcastle's seasons have shown, mediocre squads, which under decent management can finish in mid-table, become serious relegation contenders when injuries or poor management take their toll. Perhaps Benitez would be persuaded, or more realistically Steven McLaren. Though they are undoubtedly good managers, it seems an unnecessary risk to have taken.
Big Sam has proven over the last decade that he will consistently be able to lead a mediocre side to security in the Premier League. Though at times his playing style can be perceived as dull and lacking in class, this shouldn't be the priority for West Ham at the moment. For the bigger clubs, with almost bottomless pits of money and world class talent in every position, playing attractive and entertaining football should be essential. But at a club like West Ham, whose long term future is utterly dependent on Premier League survival until 2017, their fans, and board, unrealistically expecting the club to play like this is a risky strategy.
What's more is that Big Sam has admirably tried to pander to this desire and his recent transfer policy has reflected the calls for more attractive football to be played. While West Ham this season have been a far cry from Barcelona when on song, they are certainly not a one dimensional route one side.
Though to an extent it is admirable not wanting to settle for mediocre quality football, it could also prove self destructive. Relegation could spell disaster for the club, next season more so than any other. Big Sam will undoubtedly be plying his trade elsewhere next year, Fulham seeming the logical choice. Though perhaps a viable candidate will arrive in the summer, this seems to be a huge risk the club are taking, and for their sake I hope it doesn't backfire.
Playing in an empty Olympic Stadium, with a seriously deteriorating financial situation could prove a bridge too far for West Ham, and ousting Sam Allardyce could prove to be their first step in this direction.