Thursday, 2 June 2011

Why Big Sam can take West Ham back

Sam Allardyce has been confirmed as the new manager of West Ham United. The Hammers, recently relegated from the Premier League, will look to Allardyce to secure an immediate return to the top flight. Allardyce has an impressive track record, particularly at Bolton where he guided them to a League Cup Final and secured UEFA Cup qualification. He also helped Blackburn to stay in the top flight and was beginning to bring stability to Ewood Park before the club's new owners intervened.

In spite of this success, it’s fair to say that this appointment hasn’t proved to be a popular one with all West Ham fans. West ham are a team with a tradition of playing attractive football and their academy has been responsible for producing players such as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. In complete contrast, all of Allardyce’s success has been based on more direct tactics and with a greater emphasis put on set pieces.

However, in reality, with financial instability and a move to the Olympic Stadium around the corner, an immediate return to the top flight of English football is far more important than their style of play. Whilst West Ham have admirably tried to stick to their principles and philosophy, they simply don’t have a squad of players with the calibre and quality required to produce the sort of football West Ham fans expect and those who do have that quality (with the exception of Scott Parker) have underperformed in recent years and many will probably be sold as West Ham attempt to rebuild.

Although West Ham fans can be sure that they won’t be treated to much scintillating, free-flowing football, they can be equally sure that their team will be far more organised and disciplined than they were last season under Avram Grant. Providing Allardyce can secure an instant return to the Premiership, I find it hard to believe that too many West Ham fans will be complaining. If he does manage that, with his experience and track record, I would expect to see them stay there and stabilise on and off the field.

The football purists at West Ham may not like it but they surely can’t enjoy watching their team lose every week and I’m sure they won’t be complaining if they are promoted with Big Sam.

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