Tag Archives: Sam Allardyce


Allardyce here for the long haul

KUMB today posted an article in which West Ham chairman David Gold came out in support of Sam Allardyce.


As I posted a week or so ago, it seems that the chairmen are solely focused on keeping West Ham in the Premier League at any cost prior to the move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. In an interview with Ridge Radio yesterday, Mr Gold said “this isn’t about one season, it isn’t about a couple of years – this is about a plan that takes us from joining the football club four years ago to the Olympic Stadium, which is a six-year venture.”

I suppose we all need to remember that the two Davids are businessmen first and West Ham fans second. Football today is a numbers game and long gone are the days when entertainment was top of the agenda.

Mr Gold did go on to blot his copybook somewhat though, when he claimed that “We’re now being associated as a long ball team, implying that we hit more long balls than any other club in the Premier League – but that is absolutely not true,” he argued. ” There is this perception but we have to be very careful.

“If we were in the bottom three then I’d say ok, we’ve really got to face up to this fact that we’re a long ball football club. However let me tell you this; Real Madrid, 2-0 down with ten minutes to go will launch the ball into the box. It’s human nature and it’s what happens.

“It’s just what you do when you’re running out of time, the ball starts getting launched. But equally, we must balance that by saying what a fantastic goal we scored against Tottenham where the ball never left the ground from the defence to hitting the back of the net.”

Now, I’m not sure what Mr Gold has been watching lately, and I know he has got to put a positive spin on things if he is intent on keeping Allardyce at the helm, but even he must surely be fed up with the dire drivel that has been played on the park in recent matches?


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: 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…


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.


Sam Allardyce

In support of Sam

OK, so last night was yet another hugely depressing experience in the tortuous life of a West Ham, and this morning all and sundry have been calling for the head of Mr Allardyce on a plate. But in the cold light of day, let’s take a step back and analyse the result and see if he actually deserves to go.

Man City are actually a very, very good side. Their squad is worth hundreds of millions of pounds, and really they should beat us by a good margin most times they play us – especially when they are at home. Man City have beaten other teams at home this season by similar scores and put 7 past Norwich who I would say are on a par with us. On their day they are untouchable.

The West Ham players that played last night are very ordinary. They are no better than championship material on the whole, especially the defence. We missed James Collins, James Tomkins and Winston Reid BIG time. If they had been playing the score would not have been half as bad.

We have no decent strikers. Maiga is average at best, as is Carlton Cole.

Joe Cole is past his best. He is not half the player he used to be.

Tactically, I would have gone out with a defensive set up last night and tried to hit them on the break. That’s basically what Sam did.

Lack of effort – this is what most people have been moaning about since the game, but I’m not sure about this. Apart from Diame, who seems to amble around the midfield with no urgency at all these days, I think that most of the players tried their best last night. The thing is, their best is so far short of what Man City’s players are capable of, it looks like they aren’t trying when they actually are. They are just not very good. If I was chasing shadows all night and losing by a cricket score, I would probably look deflated. I think most people would.

So what actually did Sam get wrong? Not a great deal really. He has had a nightmare season with injuries. Yes, some of his tactical decisions have looked dodgy, but if you haven’t got any decent players, especially up front, then you really have your hands tied. I know he has signed players that haven’t been that great, but he has very little money to spend and no-one seems to want to come to West Ham anyway. Those that do are usually has-beens looking for a final pay off.

The future? I still think we can get out of the relegation zone when some of our injured players get back. I really do. But we need to stay behind the team and the manager in the meantime. I know it hurts when we get beat big time. It hurts really bad. But protesting against the manager and the team won’t help that, just make it all the more difficult. I would prefer a different manager but we have who we have, and changing him now I don’t think will help much. I still think that the players are behind him. It still seems that Allardyce is behind his players. So, here’s to wiping the slate clean and putting in a big performance against Cardiff. Come on you Irons!!

FA Cup no bother for Allardyce, as West Ham become lambs to the slaughter

As the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest approached, few would have argued that West Ham’s priority should be Premier League survival, and considering Sam Allardyce’s indifference towards playing youth in the first team this season, few would have predicted a team selection comprising a large percentage of the U21 side.

For some time, fans (including myself) have been asking why no youth players seem to be getting a chance at West Ham, with the likes of Elliot Lee, Blair Turgott and Pelly Ruddock showing promise. No doubt this has been a source of irritation for Sam Allardyce who after all is the manager and knows best what his players are capable of. Even when we are so deperately short of fit first team players, Allardyce has preferred playing senior players out of position, and persevering with out of form players like Maiga. Surely blooding new talent gradually in first team games with senior players around them to give them advice and encouragement is the sensible way of going about it? It seems not. Instead, as if to prove a point, Allardyce today fielded a near entire team of young players up against high flyers Nottingham Forest, with only the lightweight collection of Jarvis, Maiga, Diarra and Downing providing the leadership that was required.

Forest bossed the first half and could have had a few, but the young Hammers kept the score down to a single penalty goal. The formation with three centre halves at the back was clearly not working with the defence being run ragged. The second half started and Big Sam obviously thought that things weren’t going quite to plan, and promptly hauled off Diarra and Downing and thrust on yet more lambs to the slaughter to fill their shoes. The tactics stayed the same of course. This had the desired effect, and Forest rattled in 5 goals by the end, and it could have been more.

As Sam Allardyce walked off smiling at the end, the young lads of West Ham trudged off with pain and disappointment in their faces and in their hearts. They had mostly tried their best but had been hung out to dry by their manager who had showed no intent to win the match, and seemed solely interested in proving a point and showing that he was in indeed right all along, such is the arrogance of the man. What should have been an opportunity for a few young lads to show what they can do ended in an exercise in cannon fodder that some of the lads may not recover from.

I have lost all respect I once had for Sam Allardyce, and I will be glad when he leaves these shores with his big fat pay cheque lining his big fat pockets. Shame on you.

West Ham in meltdown

With the news that Johnny Heitinga has rejected a move to West Ham in the January transfer window, it seems that the club’s grip on Premier League survival is loosening day by day. Heitinga said “You have to be convinced that you are taking the right step and I was not.” Whether he is referring to the owners, the manager or the club’s precarious league position is not clear, but it further emphasises the problems the club has in attracting new talent and nurturing the talent it currently has.

With Sam Allardyce’s preference for experience over youth and his reliance on statistics over flair, it is no surprise to see the inestimable talent of Ravel Morrison floundering amongst the predictable and turgid tactics that the manager employs. A complete absence of any youth players emerging from the academy and playing regularly in the first team over the last few years is another indictment of the current regime. The likes of Elliot Lee and Dan Potts should surely have been given more of a chance, especially considering the number of injuries the club have racked up over the season.

The alarming behaviour of captain Kevin Nolan is another indication that things are not right in the heart of the club. Having now been sent off twice in a month for completely random acts of violence, it is an obvious sign that things need to change, and despite the public backing of the board it seems that the manager’s job is now up for review. The owners will obviously have memories of the Avram Grant tenure in mind, when they procrastinated over have sacking him until it was too late, and so if a decision is to be made it is likely to be made soon.

The fans themselves have been patient so far. When the manager was getting results it was ok for the team to be playing precentage football. But when you are paying good money to watch boring football and you are losing most of your games as well, then the natives become restless and start revolting.

Personally I expect the owners to wait until Carroll returns. If then after a few games things have not improved, then I expect Sam to get the heave-ho. We shall see. In the meantime with Nolan out again and Noble now injured, I cannot see any prospect of a change in fortune, so keep on taking the tablets people!


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.


Swansea City v West Ham

Swansea preview and the merits of 4-6-0

The merits of the infamous 4-6-0 formation came crashing down to earth last week at Upton Park against Manchester City, where we were soundly dispatched with the minimum of fuss. Granted, the opposition that day was of a higher quality than provided by Spurs in the previous game, and the silky skills of Silva and Aguero were a delight to watch. But the fact of the matter is, we need a goalscorer – even in a 4-6-0 formation, and we simply did not have one on the pitch that day. We need a Suarez or a Michu, and Vaz Te – despite his endeavour – does not compare. What we do have to choose from are Carlton Cole, Petric and Maiga. Carlton is approaching the required fitness levels, but he is surely not going to improve on his form from last year, which led to West Ham taking the decision not to renew his contract. He is the type of striker that fits most comfortably into the Allardyce Plan A formation though, so may get some time on the pitch to wards the end of the match. Petric is the most obvious choice if continuing with the 4-6-0 formation, and surely he must be fit enough by now to give Vaz Te a run for his money? I would not be surprised to see him start. But I fear it will be a case of “Play it again Sam”, and the same formation up front as last week.

In midfield, Nolan seems a shadow of his fomer self, and I would imagine that if he were not the skipper, he would have been given a rest already. He is probably still one of the first names on the team sheet though, and I would very surprised if that were to change.

Against Man City, the defence were lambasted by Allardyce for some simple mistakes in giving 2 goals away, and as well as Tomkins has been playing, I would expect him to make way for James Collins today who has been generally outstanding this season. Rat should keep his place now he has forced his way into the team, and Demel and Reid should complete the lineup.

Today’s match against Swansea should be interesting, as they do play attractive football along the ground like we used to many moons ago. They have had two managers – Laudrup, and Rogers before him – that have a similar view on how the game should be played. I must admit to feeling a little envious of both teams’ supporters, and have a hankering for a manager like that at West Ham one day. Still, we have Big Sam for now and we must all get behind him and the players he has at his disposal. Carroll is unlikely to be back on the pitch before Christmas, so we may struggle with results. The January transfer window will be interesting, and a chance to fill some holes in the squad (assuming we can offload Maiga and AN Other), but despite all the current problems, I am still hopeful of a mid-table finish at the end of the season.


The Italian Job

After West Ham’s very surprising win against Spurs at the weekend, things have all gone a little crazy. True, it was great to get a win, and Ravel Morrison’s goal was sublime, but the hyperbole that followed was surely mind bogglng. Not only has Sam Allardyce become an Italian tactical maestro all of a sudden, but Ravel Morrison is also a genius who walks on hallowed ground.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Ravel is a serious talent and we are fortunate that he seems to have turned his life around and is realising his potential while at West Ham. But heaping such praise so soon on such a young, precocious talent is asking for trouble. Considering his past, I can only hope that the manager and fellow players manage to keep his feet firmly on the ground and don’t let things go to his head. If they can do this, and Ravel can keep working hard and learning, then we are in for some exciting times ahead. One gripe though – it grates with me that the person who has done most to get Ravel’s head sorted out is not getting any of the credit. Step up Lee Clark, who was Ravel’s manager while he was on loan at Birmingham. It would be nice if Allardyce publicly credited him for his part in turning the boy around, but so far there has been nothing. Shame on you, Mr Allardyce.

Now on to Big Sam and his tactical masterstroke. What exactly did he change? We have known that without Andy Carroll we have no decent strikers, yet Big Sam has persisted with Maiga up front on his own in the Andy Carroll role, week after week. Against Spurs the penny finally dropped, and we started with …no strikers. The tactics were generally the same though – defend in numbers and try and hit them on the break. This time, with no “big” man up front to hit, the midfield became the front line. And it kind of worked. We got a set piece goal from Reid, a flukey goal courtesy of a break from midfield from Vaz Te, and Morrison’s goal. We defended well, but Spurs could have had a couple of goals, and they played quite poorly overall. A hangover from their midweek trip to Europe? Who knows. But what I am saying here is this. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We had a good day, a fair sized portion of good fortune, a great goal from Ravel and a strong all-round performance. We have the visit of Man City up next, no Andy Carroll again, and the likelihood of a repeat of the formation and tactics. If we get beaten at home by City playing 4-6-0 again and trying to just hit them on the break, I’m sure that that will be the last we will hear of Big Sam Allardicci.