West Ham fans have always found it difficult to fully take to Sam Allardyce.
Over the seasons he has been in charge, he has improved the situation at Upton Park but there is something about the manager that the Hammers faithful can’t fully take to.
It could be his brand of football or the theory that Big Sam cannot take the club to the ‘next level’. It could be the fact that he makes little effort to engage with the fans to form some sort of connection. Whatever it is, there isn’t the sense that Sam Allardyce and West Ham will move to the Olympic Stadium together and live happily ever after.
Having said that, he still deserves one more season. Yes, the performance against Leicester City was awful, despite Allardyce claiming that the team didn’t take its chances. However, West Ham are still sitting in the top half of the table after a rather poor run of results.
Realistically, games against Crystal Palace, West Brom and Leicester this season have been truly terrible. Other than that, the team as a whole has performed well, even when they have been defeated. It seems silly to risk getting rid of a manager the season before the big move to the stadium. Surely we need to encourage stability and a guarantee that West Ham will still be playing Premier League football come August 2016?
Looking at Big Sam’s possible managerial replacements, there is no one that stands out. David Moyes will bring stability and gradual development to the squad, which is exactly what Allardyce is doing at the moment. Benitez will be looking for a job like Manchester City and the likes of Billic, Biesla and Howe lack any Premier League experience between them.
The style of football might be better, but there is the added risk of the team failing to adapt to the expectations of a new manager, especially a foreign one that is unproven in the Premier League.
Put it this way, would you take a top seven finish under Allardyce next season or sack him now and see how far up the table a new manager can get? Judging by Allardyce’s record, another successful summer window should see West Ham competing for European football next season.
The football has, at times, been pretty painful to watch. Having said that, in the first half of the season, West Ham were a joy to watch, even the neutrals were saying so.
The likes of Sakho and Valencia are struggling to perform at the same level they were hitting earlier in the season. This is because they are new signings who probably aren’t used to the rigours of a typical Premier League season.
The same can be applied to Alex Song, who has not played a lot of football over the past couple of seasons. Next season, the players will be more prepared for a long season and the West Ham squad will benefit from managerial stability. Yes, Allardyce does like to make excuses but he has a point. If he can get a West Ham side playing like the team in the first half of the season without serious injury issues for an entire campaign, then I’m all for it.
The match against Stoke will be a true test of Allardyce’s resolve.
Really, he should be doing all he can to win, and win in style. If the team produces a good result against the Potters, the calls for Allardyce to be sacked will wane once again. The current managerial situation is not healthy and it should be resolved sooner rather than later, I don’t think there’s a real reason as to why Sam should go other than the recent run of results.
However, he has proved this season that he can produce good football and with the right backing and the right amount of luck (no more last-ditch Harry Kane equalisers), West Ham can still continue to improve under Big Sam.