In this day and age of sacking managers for doing so much as picking their nose, it’s refreshing to see West Ham United sticking with Sam Allardyce – and not for the first time having been put under massive pressure from fans before, most notably in January after being hammered 5-0 and 6-0 in successive matches by Nottingham Forest and Manchester City (dis)respectively.
The two Davids, Sullivan and Gold, and Karen Brady have given their backing to Allardyce for doing what was expected of him when he joined the club. And that was to first get them promoted then consolidate their position in the Premiership. From now on it will be on the understanding that he operate ‘the West Ham way’; a philosophy that has brought them three FA Cups and one Cup Winners’ Cup in nearly 120 years.
Big Sam has, like he has done at all his other clubs, improved upon the position they were in when he joined. It’s understandable that fans are frustrated with the football despite the side securing their place in the top-flight, because it’s not as if they are improving on many of the past finishes – even if he did better the one they were in when he joined by managing them to promotion.
He’s not exactly falling below the usual expectations of the Hammers, a club who could well be the epitome of an average top division side judging by their regular mid-table finishes. And it’s not as if he’s done a ‘Moyes’ and taken them below their standards, but perhaps West Ham followers would support him if they were competing for the top four with the style of football his current side employs. The same applies to if they were playing ‘entertaining’ football competing for 17th place.
It’s that middle ground, competing-for-nothing scenario while playing ‘boring’ football that irks the fans the most. Or maybe it’s because he had a stint as a player with hated rivals, Millwall; a fact I have never seen mentioned when hearing supporters’ concerns. It may certainly play a part in disliking Allardyce more than if it was manager approaching his duties in exactly the same manner, but who did not have an association with the south London club.
In a way of life where only the strong survive, the only reason to get rid of Allardyce would be if they could hire someone better. The football may not be pretty, but if they don’t have anyone lined up that is likely to bolster their league position, and who can more or less guarantee their top-flight status, then Big Sam is still the man. If the moment when West Ham move into the Olympic Stadium is the time they kick on to really seriously challenge for Europe regularly then they need a base to work from in being in the top-flight. Keep Allardyce on and that’s more or less a banker.
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