Tag Archives: Sam Allardyce

happy-lamb

This is how you do it, Mr Allardyce

Oh what a joy to behold. The sight of a West Ham side littered with promising youngsters giving a good account of themselves in the first team, backed up with seasoned professionals coaxing and encouraging them through the games. This is the way it should be. The future is bright methinks.

When I think back to the dark days of Allardyce’s reign when, as if to prove a point, he sent a team of young kids out to slaughter against Forest in the cup, out of their depth and bereft of support, without giving them an ounce of a chance in hell. That was the day that I turned against Allardyce, and it is a day I will never forgive him for.

Compare that to the way that the squad for the games against FC Lusitans has been prepared. Chalk and cheese. The kids have been nurtured and encouraged, and the teams are spiced with a backbone of experience. The first match was just a revelation, the way that the ball was knocked around, confidence in abundance. Terry Westley has done a great job getting these kids ready, and Bilic is to be commended for letting him run with it. This is how it is done, Mr Allardyce.

True, West Ham are playing a team who are no great shakes in Andorra, but that is not the point. Allardyce NEVER gave youth a chance. His percentage game plan didn’t give him that option. He was fixed in his ways and was a one-trick pony. Imagine if he was still in charge now. What side would he put out against Lusitans? You can bet it would look nothing like the one that is playing tomorrow. It would contain the same old journeymen that would give him the best chance in his eyes of not losing and maybe nicking a win.

Tomorrow, if luck prevails, I will be watching the game on the internet again, and I shall be smiling. This is how it is supposed to be. This is how I want it to stay. COME… ON… YOU… IRONS!

clare-balding-sam

Big Sam on the Clare Balding Show

Big Sam is making a guest appearance on the Clare Balding Show this week where, amongst other things, he will be talking about his rather legendary response to Chico Flores making a meal of a Carlton Cole tackle against Swansea. The big man says that he was hoping Flores would punch him so he would get sent off!

Here is a clip from the show:

The show will be airing this Thursday at 10:15pm on BT Sport 1 and on Friday on BBC 2 at 10pm so make sure to tune in.

COYI

Flying fickle finger of fate

Fate shows Allardyce the way – but will he learn?

Saturday’s win at Selhurst Park was certainly a welcome change to the usual West Ham performance, with great finishing, good passing and lots of movement. Sam Allardyce was certainly pleased and said that they “got everything right” on the day. For the fans, it was good to watch, and it was nice to celebrate a win with a bit of style. It has been a while.

One wonders though, what might have happened if fate hadn’t lend a helping hand to Allardyce’s team selection? For starters, if Nolan had been fit, he would have started, and that would have meant the bench for Zarate. In the game Zarate was a revelation, finding lots of gaps with some great movement, and showing great skill, not only for the goal. Nolan has been very average for quite a while, and I personally think his days should be numbered.

Secondly, if Collins had not been banned he would have started ahead of Tomkins. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Ginge has been a great servant to the club, and he has been the rock of our defence in many games. But time is catching up with him in my opinion. He has had a poor pre-season and shows an alarming lack of pace these days, and is often prone to making a basic error leading to a goal. But, for me, the most important thing is his ability on the ball going forward. If anyone is guilty of playing “hoof ball” it is Ginge. I don’t think he has the skills to play it around on the deck like Tomkins, and I think that youth should have its day.

So, you could say that Saturday’s win was fortuitous. If fate hadn’t lent a hand it probably would have been another boring no score draw. But Allardyce was shown the way, how to play like it should it should be played, and what to do to make it happen. The question is, will he learn? Will he recognise what everyone else can see, or simply go back to his “favourites” once they are available for selection again? Time will tell, although fate might have just lent another helping hand with the news that Nolan will out for possibly twelve weeks! What’s the betting West Ham go on a bit of a run now?

COYI

mrmagoo

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was………..

The Premier League finally got under way on Saturday, and the West Ham fans turned up in droves to witness a new era in the club’s recent history. After a disappointing season last year, the owners made it clear to Sam Allardyce that they wanted to see a change in the footballing ethos, with attack being the best form of defence being the new mindset. To back up their demands, the owners have dug deep into their pockets and brought in a raft of new attacking talent including Kouyate, Valencia, Zarate, Poyet and Sakho, plus defenders Cresswell and Jenkinson.

True to his word, Sam Allardyce chose a team to set the pulse racing, and prolific striker Carlton Cole was the centrepiece of an attacking 4-5-1 formation. The new players were prominent on the substitutes bench in a 1-1-1-1 formation, although the physio had to called on a couple of occasions due to splinter issues on the nether regions.

West Ham had a stroke of good fortune in the first half when Naughton was sent off for Spurs, and Allardyce took advantage of his team’s extra man by getting everyone behind the ball to make sure Spurs didn’t score, because you know how hard ten men are to beat. After an hour, Allardyce showed his astute tactical knowhow again and succeeded in pressing home West Ham’s advantage by taking off a defender and replacing him with, um, another defender. Not to be content, though, Allardyce outdid himself after 81 minutes by throwing caution to the wind and giving Valencia his first taste of Premiership football. Valencia came on for ….Cole, and the new formation saw him thrust into the opposition’s half, although not by much.

Unfortunately, Spurs managed to take advantage of the Hammers’ relentless attacks by nicking a goal right near the end. Life sucks, eh Sam?

Give me strength!

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

Sam-Allardyce-laughing

Allardyce sticks two fingers up at the board and the fans

With Sam Allardyce only keeping his job after acceding to demands from the board that his team plays more attacking football, you would think that with pre-season nearly done and dusted and a handful of new, exciting recruits to choose from, that there would be a glimmer of things to come on the pitch at this point. Far from it though, as Allardyce seems intent on thumbing his nose at the owners by serving up the exact same boring defensive anti-football that the long-suffering fans had to put up with last season. Playing same old 4-5-1 and with a gap of least 20 yards between the midfield and the lone striker, Messrs Sullivan and Gold are no doubt beginning to think that they have been mugged. Despite a win on penalties against Schalke to cheer up the fans, the football has been the same dross as last year without even a single shot on goal to count for it. Allardyce is clearly not going to be told how to play football, and despite paying lip service by giving his old mate Teddy Sherringham a part time job as attacking coach (where are you Teddy?), you can bet on this leopard not changing its spots. You have to feel sorry for all the poor souls who were persuaded to part with their hard-earned cash for another season ticket. If it was me I would be sending it back for a refund under the Trades Description act. What a laughable state the club is in again. I know this is only pre-season, and in the words of Mr Allardyce the pre-season games are for the sole purpose of getting fit (not for trying out new tactics then?), I can pretty safely say that this is as good as it’s going to get.

Allardyce out!

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?”

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.

Dead man walking

Wow, I didn’t see that coming. In an interview with The Mail, Sam Allardyce has come out with some extraordinary comments about West Ham, that befits someone who knows that they are on the way out of the club. Despite assurances to the contrary from David Gold, it now seems that the tide has turned for Big Sam, and he is now odds-on in my book for the chop at the end of the season.

After David Sullivan’s extraordinary apology to the fans at the end of season bash, and the online vote that went massively against him, Sam has been talking to the Mail, and all things combined leave the distinct impression that he is for the chop at the end of season debrief in Sullivan’s mansion. Mr Allardyce said, “I have more ambition than West Ham ever have. I have more ambition than them, or the same ambition as them.

“I want to get into Europe. I want to get into the new stadium. I want to win a cup. If I don’t have ambition I don’t do this job.

“If I don’t have drive, or motivation, I don’t do this job. I am ambitious. I have seen it all before and you use your experience to try to achieve that ambition. Can West Ham match my ambition? Eventually, yes. It is whether everyone is patient enough to wait to get there. That is the problem today: a lack of patience across the board.”

When Big Sam was asked whether he would still be in charge when the Hammers moved into the Olympic Stadium, he said “As the average life of a manager is 13 months you would have to say “no”, being realistic.

“We’ve had more (managerial) changes in the Premier League than ever before and one never knows when it’s going to happen to you. You have to do the best with the resources you’ve got.

“This club was in the Championship when I came here and I have delivered what I have been asked to deliver. I did what Gus Poyet did at Sunderland, but six or seven weeks ago. So if I had done it now instead of then would everyone be singing my praises? Probably yes.”

The line that is most curious is: “I have more ambition than West Ham ever have. I have more ambition than them, or the same ambition as them.”
Now that just sounds a bit odd, when looked at on its own, so there is a chance that he may have been quoted out of context, and it is The Mail after all.

But generally I think that Sullivan has had enough, and is willing to ring the changes to keep the fans happy and get West Ham playing more attractive stuff. There also have been plenty of fans claiming that they will not be renewing their season tickets if Sam stays at the helm, and that in itself is enough to make Sullivan sit up and take action.

Interesting days ahead!