Tag Archives: David Sullivan

Between a rock and a hard place

Allardyce between a rock and a hard place!

It will interesting to see how this season pans out. With Sam Allardyce under strict instructions to play more entertaining football, it appears that he may be in a “no win” situation, especially when it comes down to his relationship with the fans.

Over the years Allardyce has defended his style, his tactics, his footballing philosophy to the hilt. Accused of being a “route one” specialist playing insipid football, Allardyce has always countered with a staunch defence of his record, with the fact that none of his teams have ever been relegated under his helm being a favourite retort. He claims he plays to win. He plays to the opponents’ weaknesses, and he plays the percentage game, with every iota of his tenure being governed by the big black book of statistics.

Rewind, then, to the end of season review in Sullivan’s mansion, when difficult decisions needed to be taken. The fans were in uproar over the mind-numbingly boring football on offer, and the tactics consisted of “hoof it up to the big man”, who was invariably injured. Sullivan was all for sacking Allardyce, but Gold and Brady were keen to stick with him, especially with the move to the Olympic stadium appearing on the horizon. And so a compromise was reached, and scrawled across the bottom of Allardyce’s report card were the lines “Can do better” and “Must be more entertaining”.

What strikes me as strange is that Allardyce ever agreed to this arrangement. I can only conclude that there are 3 reasons why he ever did.

Firstly, on that day in Sullivan Towers he had an epiphany. He saw himself for the one-trick pony that he was, and vowed to right the wrongs that he has inflicted on the footballing public over the years. He pledged to thrill us with a heady blend of skill and flair, unseen in these parts since the days of Greenwood and Lyall.

Secondly, he pulled a fast one. Realising that what the owners, Del and Rodney accompanied by vice-chairwoman Marlene, knew about football you could write on the back of a beer mat, he agreed to the deal full knowing that he had not the slightest intention of changing anything. He knew how to play football. They didn’t. He had never, ever been relegated you know. He would simply carry on as before. Get Teddy Sherringham in for show. If they sacked him he got a big pay off, and he could sit back and hope they got relegated, and the legend would live on.

Finally, Allardyce could have stuck his hands in the air and said, “hey , I can only work with what I’ve got! Go out and buy me some players capable of playing the way you want and I’ll happily oblige!” That would explain the large influx of players coming in this year. I certainly didn’t predict we had that kind of money to splash out.

Whatever the reason, and it could be a combination of any of the above or something completely different, Allardyce may find himself in between a rock and a hard place as the season goes on. If he changes the way the team plays, maybe puts more than one player up front, plays with attacking flair and a bit of style, he may find that the side does very well. Top ten finish and plaudits all round. Is he going to say “I guess you were right. I’ve been doing it wrong all along!” ? He sure as hell is not going to last long if he doesn’t change anything and dishes up the same predictable dirge as last season. He will be gone by Christmas and he will carry the “long ball” stigma to his grave.

COYI

Gold & Sullivan

Gold and Sullivan plumb new depths and heap more humiliation on West Ham United

It could only happen at West Ham!

After failing to back or sack Sam Allardyce at the end of last season, the owners decided that he would be given one last chance to appease the fans who demanded more entertaining football and a more attacking philosophy. Instead of employing a manager to manage the club the way he knows how, they have imposed a style and set of tactics on a man who knows no other way to play and the consequences are surely a long, hard season of battling against relegation. Moreover, instead of even giving him the chance to prove that he can deliver what has been asked, Sullivan and Gold seem intent on sniping and interfering at every step of the way. They publicly contradicted Allardyce’s stance on Ravel Morrison’s future, causing the manager to backtrack 24 hours later, and now it seems that David Gold has “favourited” a Tweet calling for the manager’s head.

Allardyce has also not been slow to stick his own oar in. After two defeats and lacklustre displays against New Zealand opposition, Allardyce blamed the new style of play on the defensive frailties, and now rumours abound that Allardyce may not even see the first game of the season.

This whole episode is an embarrassment to the club, and the owners need to sort it out quickly. There is no point in carrying on with a manager that is clearly not wanted by the board, and instead of shooting their mouths off in public, they should take firm and immediate action (and grow a pair) and dispense with his services. The owners need also to take a good look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves “are we fit and proper owners for this club?”

shirt

West Ham again show a complete lack of class in merchandise embarrassment!

The current incumbents of the West Ham tenure have again showed a complete lack of class with the release in the online shop of merchandise celebrating the “treble” that the Hammers won last season. No, not the FA Cup , Premiership title and Champions League of course! Messrs Sullivan and Gold have seen fit to brag about winning, wait for it, 3 matches against Spurs in one season! I mean, how embarrassing. What next? How about a “We scored a goal” t-shirt or a “We actually won a game!” mug. Yet again we are the laughing stock of football. Sometimes it is like our club is being run by Delboy and Rodney. Good grief.

New Sam

Is Sam Allardyce really a changed man?

The fact that Sam Allardyce is still the manager of West Mam United has riled many Hammers fans, but it is only fair and just that the man who has delivered everything that was asked of him when appointed is given a chance of delivering a new set of demands from the club’s owners.

When he was first entrusted with the reins, the demands were simple: get the club back into the Premiership as soon as possible, and ensure that they do not suffer the “second season syndrome” that sucks many a promoted club back down into the Championship. Allardyce achieved exactly that, getting promotion in his first season and ensuring that the tentacles of relegation were sufficiently avoided to ensure another season in the top flight.

But there has been a cost to this success, and all those that witnessed the insipid, jaw-breakingly boring football week in week out have had enough. When winning (or not losing, shall we say) is everything and nothing else matters, then there really is not much point in going to see West Ham play. A trip to the shops with the other half is honestly more appealing. Chairman David Sullivan is obviously in agreement with this, as rumour has it he wanted Sam Allardyce out, and was only appeased by a deal brokered with David Gold, Karren Brady and the manager himself. This deal demands changes to the style of play, to provide more entertainment for the fans, and promises money to sign new “flair” players that will take West Ham to the next level. A new “attacking” coach will also be employed (and presumably not parked on the pitch) to fine tune the skills of the front men.

But wait. Call me old fashioned, but something seems a bit off here. The man Sam Allardyce who has played only one style of football in his whole managerial career, is being asked, nay told, that his side must be more attacking and play with flair. Isn’t that like asking Ed Milliband to start acting cool and hip? It is just not going to work! Sam Allardyce is proud of his “style”, he resolutely defends it and he knows it gets results. He knows no other way. Or so it appears.

So what on earth is going to happen? Is the leopard going to change its spots and start playing for fun? Let’s think about it from Allardyce’s side of the half way line. First, the new attacking coach is Big Sam’s responsibility to appoint. He is going to be Sam’s man. He is also apparently going to be part time! Rumour has it that Teddy Sherringham is the likely candidate. No disrespect to Teddy, but what difference is going to be able to make? Allardyce is still choosing the tactics, the way they will attack. In my opinion it is a token gesture that Sam has conceded, because he knows that it is not going to make the blindest bit of difference. And it is a bit of an earner for Teddy. I wonder if he still has an agent? 😉

So let’s move on to the tactics. Who is going to make way for the flair players? Carroll? Nope. Nolan? Don’t be daft. Noble? Downing? Jarvis? Diame? It just doesn’t add up. I can honestly see the same side turning out come August that ended last year. With maybe a couple of new faces on the bench. I really can. I just don’t think that Allardyce can change. He is just too stubborn and arrogant.

Allardyce believes his way is the right way, and he has made some wishy washy concessions to keep his job. Hopefully I am wrong and we start to see some big changes, but I won’t be holding my breath. I can see the fans getting restless within a few games of the new season, and I wouldn’t be suprised to see Allardyce gone by Christmas, especially if results are poor.

But let’s be optimistic. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks, the West Ham Way will return, and it will be a season to savour. Pretty please?

Sam Allardyce

Player power to keep Allardyce in job?

Today is the day. The big, end of season meeting at Sullivan Towers will today decide Sam Allardyce’s fate. Allardyce has come under intense pressure recently from fans who demand an end to the boring, anti-football that the manager favours to get results. But it looks like Allardyce could be saved by the power of the players, as one by one the senior pros have come out in support of their manager.

Yesterday it was skipper Kevin Nolan who said: “Hopefully Sam’s going to keep his job and be able to do what he’s done and recruit in the summer and bring people in to go on.

“Sometimes it’s a mistake to change. If you do get rid, who do you bring in?

“His pride is definitely hurt and anyone who knows him should know that. At the end of the day he deserves more respect than what he’s got and I’m disappointed there is all this talk.

“But that’s the life of a football manager. He’s got a thick skin and he’s got a meeting with the chairman this week to discuss where we are going to go in the future and all the lads are hoping it is only paper talk.

“It’s crazy, but that’s the world of football these days. The pressure on people is enormous and that’s something what the gaffer’s got to put up with.

“I’ll be very disappointed if he lost the job and all those boys in the dressing room will be very disappointed.

“Before he came we were in the Championship, and it was in a real bad state – not just on the outside, but inside and that’s what he does, he builds from the foundations up and he’s starting to build something here.

“He’s got the vision and he’s got to make us believe his vision. If we all get behind him, the chairman, myself, the players, the fans, if we all get behind him, together we will be in for a successful future for this club”.

Now, fan power is one thing, and Sullivan and Gold run the risk of performances being affected by critical fans next season if Allardyce stays. But player power is also a big factor in all this. If Allardyce does get the heave-ho and the players are not as comfortable with his replacement, then performances could suffer even more. If the new manager has lost the dressing room before he even gets here, then the prospect of relegation becomes a real possibility.

So what will Sullivan and Gold do? My guess is that they will give him one more season and play it by ear. If the results pick up and West Ham start playing with a more attacking bent next season, then the fans will be happy. If the song remains the same then he could be gone by October/November.

It will certainly be a fascinating day.

XFactor

Poll result: And the winner of the X-Factor 2014 is………………………..

Well, it certainly isn’t Big Sam.

In a poll conducted by 16 West Ham related fan sites more than 12,392 people took part, and 77.95% of them have expressed the view that Sam Allardyce should not be retained as West Ham manager next season. 22.05% voted for him to continue in his job. The survey ran from Thursday and closed at 7pm on Sunday 27 April. It is thought to be the largest ‘opinion poll’ ever undertaken of a club’s supporters.

The 16 sites taking part were Blowing Bubbles, Claret & Blues, Claret & Hugh, Ex-Hammers Magazine, Forever West Ham, Hammers in the Heart, Iron Views, KUMB, Moore Than Just a Club, Very West Ham, West Ham Fan (that’s us folks!), West Ham Online, West Ham Till I Die, West Ham World, WHU Stuff and WHUFCTV.com.

Of those who voted, 27% are season ticket holders, with a further 48% attending home matches. A quarter of the respondents never go to a game, but watch them on TV.

28% of those who voted live in London, 26% in the South East, and 12% in East Anglia. 14% who voted are overseas supporters.

Of those who voted, a massive 4,850 people left comments. The points made in the comments which seem to be the most repeated are these…

* We should thank Sam for what he has done but he is not the man for the future of the club.
* Nobody wants a witch hunt but it is time for him to go
* Be careful what we wish for – he should not be sacked without a clear idea of who is to replace him
* Many people are threatening not to renew their season tickets
* Sam’s style of football is too one-dimensional. There is no plan B.

The conclusions of the poll have been sent to David Sullivan.

Soooo……..what now? My guess is the Davids will wait till the summer’s end of season debriefing and see what Big Sam has got to say. They need to balance the fact that Allardyce has actually delivered (barring a miracle) what they asked him to do, but they need to heed the fans too. A new season with the fans continually barracking the manager and players is not a recipe for success on the pitch. The fans need to be behind both the manager and the team and, if Allardyce is still here, that probably will not happen, unless Johnny leopard changes his spots. I think the Davids like the fact that Big Sam delivers survival on a regular basis. With the move to the Olympic stadium round the corner, that is the number priority in the next couple of seasons. Bringing in a new man with more panache and flair brings its own risks, and it will be a brave decision to give Sam the heave ho. But the die is cast and the might of the West Ham blog readers have spoken. The poll turnout was (I think) higher than the poll for the Olympic Stadium move conducted by West Ham, so the result of this new poll cannot be taken lightly. Disgruntled fans means less income and unhealthy atmosphere for the players. If a new is deemed to be the best solution, they need to act fast. They need to hit the ground running next season, and, if they can afford to, new players have to be bought, though who would actually want to come to West Ham is another matter. A lot would depend on who they choose as manager.

It’s going to be an interesting next few months!

Big Sam

Why so glum, chum?

As the current season draws to an unsatisfactory close, West Ham are all but safe from relegation and look to have secured another season in the top flight. But there is not much celebrating going on, not much smiling. What would bring a broad smile to the face of, say, a Cardiff fan, has left the West Ham faihful grumbling and fed up with the goings on at Upton Park Towers.

With continuing calls for the manager’s head, the Hammers approach the final 3 games needing the odd point or two to make sure of survival. But why is everyone one so miserable? And what can be done?

It is a matter of public record that the West Ham chairmen view financial stability, and thus Premier League survival, as the only item on the agenda prior to the move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. That’s why they employed Sam Allardyce in the first place, and that’s why he will remain our manager until then. Yes, there are managers available out there who could bring more attractive football to the club. But they also bring risk. Risk of it all going pear-shaped. Allardyce is the safe bet in financially uncertain times. He took us up from the Championship, and he’s kept us in the Premiership (God willing) for 2 years on the trot. He has done what has been asked of him, and he has done it under difficult circumstances (albeit some of his own making).

But yes it is dull. Boring. It is football by numbers. As I sit in my chair watching the game, I feel no passion. I feel numb. Depressed. I see a game plan that is the same every week. Don’t give anything away, defend for 80 minutes, and maybe we’ll pinch one at the other end. A nil-nil draw is “good” result. It is knock the ball up to Andy Carroll. He’ll knock it down for someone else to try to get on the end of it. Except we’re pretty crap at knocking it up to Carroll. Jarvis is in and out. Downing is just generally rubbish at crossing. The rest are just as bad. When Carroll needs an angled ball with pace on it, he gets a high floated effort that is as useful as a chocolate fireguard, or they chicken out altogether and knock it sideways. They paid how much a week? And they can’t even cross the ball very well? Sheesh. And that is Plan A. Plan B doesn’t exist (with Carroll in the team, anyway).

I was thinking the other day, that I would actually not mind us getting relegated if we played some decent football along the way and played with a bit of passion. But that’s not what it’s all about any more, football. It’s now all about money, fear, survival. Football is now a business. It matters not that it’s boring to watch. The fans will always turn up. It’s balance sheets and calculators. But that’s the way it is for everyone. We had better get used to it. The good old days are gone, never to return. If you have loads of money to spend you’ll be fine. It will even be fun to watch. But those of us scrabbling around at the bottom of the barrel will have to make do. (Financial Fair Play? What a crock of shite!)

I can see Allardyce going in a couple of years. Once he has done his job. Maybe the next chap will bring some flair and excitement, who knows? But for now, mid-table security is the best we can hope for. I suppose we ought to be grateful. The Davids have saved the club from finanical ruin and the club is now being run properly. They have spent a lot of their own dosh on the club, and I guess they have the right to do as they see fit. To be honest we should all be a bit grateful. I know it’s a bit crap at the moment, but I actually feel maybe we should just put up with it for a bit longer. Until the Olympic Stadium. We might even win something on the way. As they say, better safe than sorry.

Now where’s my medication?

Poll

Poll: Should Sam Be Our Manager Next Season?

Social media gives West Ham fans a voice. Sometimes that voice makes uncomfortable listening for those in power. Hundreds of thousands of us use social media to vent our views on all things West Ham most days of the week. It’s rare that we all come together as one but in a unique, probably one-off initiative, virtually all the most popular West Ham sites, blogs and forums have decided to come together and run a unique poll on Sam Allardyce’s future. It asks one significant question…

“Should Sam Allardyce be retained as West Ham manager next season?”

The participating sites are listed below. Between the sites we probably have more than a quarter of a million unique users each month between us. Maybe many more. We hope as many supporters as possible will take part. You will also be asked how often you go to a game, your age and where you live, just to ensure transparency and so we can’t be derided as armchair supporters who never watch a game.

Please only take part in this poll if you are a supporter of West Ham United Football Club. And please only vote once. Multiple votes will be rejected by the polling software. Each of the participating sites will publish the results of the poll simultaneously next week. The results will also be forwarded to David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady. Please spread the word and encourage all your West Ham supporting friends to register their vote…

VOTE HERE

Please note that this is not just an “anti-Sam” poll, but an attempt to find out what the genuine fans feel is the best way forward for the club.

 

manutd-whu2013

Man United preview – bring it on!

West Ham travel to Old Trafford tomorrow with their best chance in a long time of taking all three points from the game. With Rooney, Van-Persie, Nani and Carrick all absent through injury, and Manchester United playing below par post Ferguson, a buoyant West Ham side stand a great chance of getting the victory they so desperately need.

This season has been a major disappointment for the manager, owners and fans of West Ham. The Andy Carroll debacle has been widely documented, and Sam Allardyce has come under increasing pressure as the Hammers drift precariously close to the bottom of the table. The owners have publicly backed the manager (always a bad omen for managers!), although should the results not improve quickly it will take a lot for the owners to hold their nerve in face the inevitable calls for a change of leadership. Under scrutiny, the West Ham players seem to still be behind the manager with committment not currently an issue. Many argue that West Ham have just been unlucky this season, although you tend to make your own luck when you stick all your eggs in one large, leaky basket. Personally, I think that Allardyce should stay, as I think that results will pick up and we will finish comfortably mid-table at the end of the season. Allardyce’s man-management skills and unflinching confidence should see him through, although there will be an interesting end of season review between the manager and the owners.

The win against Spurs on Wednesday should hopefully serve to boost the confidence of the squad, and in particular Maiga, who is capable of good things when he has the confidence to apply himself. It will be interesting to see if Allardyce starts with Maiga instead of Carlton Cole who started the Spurs game. Tomkins returns from injury, but is likely to start on the bench, and Ravel Morrison returns to his former club with a point to prove. Diame and Noble should return in place of Collison and Diarra, with Kevin Nolan sitting out the last of his three game suspension.

With both teams playing mid-week, there are likely to be some tired legs out there, but I have a good feeling about this game and predict another 2-1 win, with Welbeck being the main danger.

COYI

David Sullivan

Has David Sullivan made West Ham a laughing stock?

I’m sure it is not just me. I’m fed up of being the laughing stock of the Premier League. Again.
Since the Davids took over the pattern has been clear. David Gold is the wise old bird with a love of tweeting. David Sullivan is the brash, hands-on fanatic, like a kid with a brand new toy.

To be fair, they have pumped a substantial part of their personal fortune into the club, and for that they are to be thanked. They have (along with Mrs Brady) negotiated a move to the Olympic stadium for peanuts, which could be a masterstroke or the end of the club as we know it. But that’s all fine. What I take issue with is the manner in which certain things are done.

From the start Sullivan has been overly vociferous. In the days of Zola he was openly commenting on how pathetic some performances were. He also stated at one point that the entire West Ham squad were up for sale (apart from Scott Parker). Whether that was to deliberately undermine tha manager because they wanted their own man in (who laughably ended up being Avram Grant), or whether he just got over-excited with his new toy, the end result was cringing embarrassment and yet another face-palm of the highest order. Over the months that followed Grant’s appointment, Sullivan did manage to keep his comments to himself somewhat more, and when Avram Grant was rumbled for who he really was (just a randy old bloke who hangs around football clubs pretending to be a manager), the two Davids seemed to make the right decision (despite initial concerns) when appointing Sam Allardyce.

But things have slipped again since then. Sullivan’s teenage son, Jack, has a Twitter account. It must be with his father’s blessing, and perhaps it sometimes is his father in disguise, but some of the comments that get tweeted are not just unhelpful, they are unprofessional and damaging to the club. When Chamakh was signed on loan from Arsenal, young master Sullivan tweeted how disappointed he was, and that the player would not have been his choice. Many other tweets have followed, some saying uncomplimentary things about players we were hoping to sign. There was even a spot poll on whether we shouls sign a convicted rapist. Enough! What other clubs have to sput up with this complete lack of professionalism? In my opinion Sullivan senior shows a lack of class allowing this foolishness to perpetuate.

And finally, we have the lamentable business that was the recent transfer window. Carlton Cole turned down a new contract at the end of last season (if what we are told is correct), and despite just having Andy Carroll (who was out long term injured), Modibo Maiga (who has been unimpressive since his arrival) and a couple of unproven kids, we neglected to attempt to sign a second striker until the very last day of the window (and they were long shots at best). When Carroll got crocked again and we were left with nothing, we tried to re-sign Carlton Cole again who was now out of contract (having spectacularly failed to find a new club over the summer). Unfortunately for both parties, Carlton had spent too much time on the beach and was nowhere near fit enough. Doh! So West Ham scoured the remaining pile of out of contract players and managed to sign Croatian international and former Fulham striker Mladen Petric on a season long deal. On the face of it that sounded like good business, and a good stop gap until Carroll’s heel finally mended. But wait! It seems Petric is also unfit and needs a few weeks to get up to speed! Amazing! But wait, isn’t there that Carlton Cole chap? He was half decent. Let’s sign him again. And so it goes on.

So there we have it. I’ve had my rant. I’m grateful to the current owners for saving the club from financial peril. I grateful to them (and the manager) for guiding us back to the Premier League so quickly and keeping us there. I even think that moving to the Olympic stadium is a good move. Just please start showing a bit more class and professionalism. It would be much appreciated.