Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse at West Ham, the unthinkable happens.
Sam Allardyce openly admitted that he would be be calling on a large number of the Development Squad for this afternoon’s FA Cup meeting with Nottingham Forest.
A was a decision that got a rare round of applause from West Ham fans. At last some of the kids would get their chance to shine in the first-time.
But that praise was short-lived when the line-up was announced and the cracks already began appearing in a side lacking heavily in experience and devoid of any real shape or purpose.
From the very first minute it was clear the formation was not working. It was clear for all to see that both Stewart Downing and Matt Jarvis – playing as wing backs – were not defensively minded enough to continue where they were. Forest were finding gaps behind each of them and their strikers were having a field day up against a defence that was clearly out of its depth.
We can have no complaints about their penalty. George Moncur made a mess of his clearance and, while trying to make up for his error, through himself in to a challenge that was always going to result in the referee pointing at the spot.
“I can’t help but feel that all we really learnt from that game was that our Development Squad isn’t as good as Nottingham Forest’s first team.”
But at half-time Allardyce should have seen that it just wasn’t working and that he needed to change the system. But, of course, his stubbornness to rethink his own approach meant it was as we were for the second half.
The second-half was, quite possibly, the most embarrassing 45 minutes of football I’ve ever seen West Ham play. But the blame cannot be put on the poor youngsters who were asked to make their West Ham debuts in a formation they’ve never played in before.
The whole thing stank of Allardyce’s tactically inept approach. It was an absolute disgrace to watch. An embarrassment.
That’s not taking anything away from Nottingham Forest, though. They were impressive, as they have been in the Championship this season, and fully deserved their victory. It could have been more had it not been for Adrian in goal. Although I can’t help but feel that all we really learnt from that game was that our Development Squad isn’t as good as Nottingham Forest’s first team.
There is not a lot more I want to say about the game (purely because I can feel my blood boiling at the thought of it), other than the final straw for me was when, after the third goal, the ITV camera zoomed in on a poor young Hammers fan in tears, distraught with what he was witnessing. If that wasn’t evidence that the fans are being punished by the board’s decision not to act and sack Sam Allardyce, then I don’t know whether they’ll ever wake up and smell the coffee.
I have mostly given Sam Allardyce the benefit of the doubt this season. The injuries we’ve had have crippled us, while a string of poor decisions early on in the season robbed us of at least five or six precious points.
But after watching today’s shambles against Forest, I just cannot find anything to convince me that sticking with Allardyce is the right thing to do.
That said, I still believe we will avoid relegation and stay in the Premier League, with or without Allardyce. If he keeps his job then he could still turn things around and guide us to a mid-table finish. But that’s not the point anymore. No. He is making a laughing stock of the club. He is insulting the club’s great fans.
He has to go now before it really is too late. Forget the reported £5million it would cost us to pay his contract off because, if it means the heart and soul of the club can be restored in his absence, it’ll be the best £5million Gold and Sullivan will have ever spent.