Play it again Sam – only this time attack!

Play it again Sam – only this time attack!
Sam Allardyce. Photo: AP

Sam Allardyce. Photo: AP

As votes of confidence go, the below statement from the ghastly people who have their grubby mitts on West Ham United is unlikely to have Sam Allardyce looking forward to next season.

The truth is that a) West Ham couldn’t attract the replacement they wanted to be manager and so; b) they decided to keep Sam on for next season, so saving them having to pay up the remaining year of his contract.

Messrs Sullivan and Gold – assisted by the devil who wears prada – are people I would have thought to be the ideal employers for Sam.

I am told by former colleagues in the media that Allardyce is a new man from the one I had dealings with between 1998-2002. They say he has cast off his misogynist tendencies and now engages a more politically correct mind ahead of his tongue. I will have to take their word for that.

 

The events at West Ham prove that male colleagues with their minds in the 19th century will not necessarily hit it off.

In my television days I had a couple of dealings with David Sullivan and his gun totting bodyguards. Nasty piece of work.

At a time when the media went into overdrive regarding the pathetic utterances of Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore, I wonder if respectable female supporters of West Ham mind that their club is run by the one time UK king of pornographic literature.

He’s always used Karren Brady as the “look, I not only like women, I employ them” protective shield. They go way back and, frankly, they deserve each other.

Brady’s latest utterances included her assurance to all women that Richard Scudamore is not a sexist. Having worked for a pornographer for as long as she has she would, of course, be a good person to judge.

I loathe the holy trinity that runs the once fine family club, West Ham United.

David Gold is seen as the genial gentleman who is a lifelong Hammer. But when asked to name the players honoured via a statue close to the ground; he couldn’t do so.

The Brady bunch

The Brady bunch

There has been much talk this week, and for as long as I can remember, about the so called ‘West Ham way.’ What is it?

 

Sam Allardyce says the West Ham way is: “Losing football matches. There’s never been a ‘West Ham way’ shown to me, not by anyone who has worked at the club. It’s a delusion.”

Let me help you Sam. I grew up believing it to be attractive football to watch. A fast moving, accurate passing, classy way of playing. But that was the 1960’s. Many people scratching their heads over the ‘West Ham way’ weren’t born in the era of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.

Later, at a time when Alan Devonshire and Trevor Brooking were wearing the claret and blue, you could still say that the Hammers had their own way of playing. But not since. The West Ham way did exist. But no longer. It is but a distant memory.

I’m not a West Ham supporter, but I did like the club back in the time when gentlemen like Ron Greenwood and John Lyall were in charge. And I know that Harry Redknapp tried to get the team he managed there to play that way.

But football has moved on. 50 and 60 something West Ham fans may hanker for times past. But they’re not going to return. They want yesterday once more. It’s not going to happen.

Certainly not under Sam Allardyce. He has never been style concious. You hire Sam if you want to go up and, if you back him, stay up. You don’t hire him to play attractive, entertaining football.

Sam Allardyce is not a disciple of Pep Guardiola! I can imagine Sam sat on his sofa watching Barcelona a few years back, drink in hand, packet of Pringles by his side, shouting at the TV: “Get on with it… hit the front man… get the feck on with it!”

Hurst, Moore & Peters. Yesterday once more?

Hurst, Moore & Peters. Yesterday once more?

The conditions of employment outlined in the West Ham statement will not work. Allardyce will not stand for it. Having his transfers questioned by Sullivan. Having an attacking coach foisted on him. Who will that be? West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio? What could possibly go wrong?

Tenth place is the minimum acceptable finish next season, say Sullivan and cohorts. The Hammers will have to get off to one hell of a good start to the season.

Sam Allardyce will presumably have a fit Andy Carroll. So his “hit the big man” attacking style of play should have an outlet. In fairness to Allardyce, he was without a few of his best players for several weeks last season.

I do feel for the fans. Yes, like many of us, they may have delusions of grandeur. Let’s face it, whichever team we support, most of us have been guilty of that. They long for the ‘glory days’ of the past. Again, I have sinned.

 

But West Ham fans love their football and can create a great atmosphere at Upton Park when what they are watching warrants it.

They’ll have their work cut out creating such noise at the soulless Olympic Stadium, even if they are playing football the West Ham way and in the Premier League.

And I have as much confidence in that as Sam Allardyce will have in his being the manager a year from now. Especially after the club statement published in full here.

**

West Ham United can confirm that manager Sam Allardyce will lead the Club into the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season after constructive talks with the Club’s Board. The Board and Allardyce have held lengthy and detailed discussions on the Club’s direction, values and philosophy and a positive way forward for next season has been agreed.

After listening to feedback from supporters, the Board have insisted on improvements to the set-up of the playing and backroom staff to ensure the team provides more entertainment next season. The manager has agreed to recruit a new attacking coach to complement the existing coaching set-up as well as an overhaul of the Club’s scouting and recruitment operation that will see the Board have a greater involvement in the players who are signed, as the Board will once again be investing considerable funds into the Club this summer. The Club have made clear that they want to see progression on the pitch and at least a top-ten finish as a result.

West Ham United Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said: “We have a very clear vision of how we want West Ham United to operate under our joint ownership. Although not everybody understands the West Ham Way, we do and we respect it as we have been supporters all our lives. We believe this is about a philosophy that is not just about the style of play, but the whole ethos that surrounds the Club.

“Sam was asked to give us a detailed presentation on his vision for next season and during this he assured us that he can deliver that ethos to West Ham United and we have agreed to support him with the resources that he needs. We have mapped out a way forward with him that will ensure our much-deserving fans have more to cheer about next season.

“We should also stress, though, that while improvements do need to be made, Sam deserves credit for the job he has done thus far after securing promotion in his first year and two respectable Premier League finishes in the two years thereafter. We have also seen the likes of Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Winston Reid all make huge progress under his management, which in turn contributed to our impressive record of 14 clean sheets last season.

“The truly historic opportunity of a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 forms a major part of our five-year strategy to take this Club forward and, while we have a duty to make sure we stay in the Premier League, we also want to make sure the performances on the pitch will befit a team playing in such a world-renowned stadium.

“We are absolutely committed to taking West Ham United to new heights and we want to see the Club continue on an upward trajectory next season. The 2014/15 campaign is crucial to our future and we are confident that Sam has the passion, experience and determination to make sure it is a success.”

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce said: “I look forward to taking the Club forward and improving the squad for next season to try and achieve the plans we have set out in our very productive meeting last week.”

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