When Sam Allardyce was the manager of Bolton, he had a certain knack of getting the right players and getting them to play well.
Players like Jay Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo were, without doubt, quality free players when he signed them, and were fantastic to watch.
Now we are hearing stories of players he doesn’t want, that the board want to keep, and players the board wanted, and signed, that Big Sam didn’t want.
Just how much influence the board has on club transfers varies from club to club, and how much input the two Davids have had since Sam took the helm is certainly open to debate.
In a recent interview with talkSPORT, David Sullivan said that this year himself and David Gold would be taking more of a hands on roll regarding players leaving and arriving West Ham.
So much so that if you believe what you read, Mauro Zarate was signed by the board against the wishes of Sam Allardyce. In his few brief appearances pre-season, Zarate has proved, thus far, to be a decent signing.
We also continue to hear speculation on the future of Ravel Morrison. Again if you believe what’s printed in the papers, Big Sam doesn’t like him and he doesn’t feature in his plans for the forthcoming season, but the board want to keep him and tie him down to a long term deal.
You could count on one hand the number of West Ham fans who wouldn’t want Ravel to stay at the club, so it would seem that Big Sam has either lost his transfer magic, or the board are interfering too much for his liking.
Last season he turned down the chance to sign Wilfried Bony for a mere £8million. He then went on to score 25 goals for Swansea and is now valued at close to £20m.
Just how much bard contribution is acceptable to run a football club? These two deals could make or break West Ham’s season before it even gets going. It reminds me of the Andy Impey transfer saga back in 1998-1999. He was sold by the board to ‘balance the books’ against the wishes of Harry Redknapp.
But whatever the professional relationship between Sam and the board is like, this current saga cannot be good for the club.