It’s been a quiet week at Upton Park after West Ham’s excursion to White Hart Lane last weekend.
The match in question, a 2-2 draw with fierce rivals Tottenham, led me to one of my most enjoyable ongoing debates with a friend who supports Man United.
I noticed that he was suggesting that the Van Gaal era at Old Trafford was not going to plan, that tactics were wrong and expensive signings unsuccessful. The same friend is also confused as to why we would want Allardyce out of West Ham, arguing that this is one of our most successful teams in recent history.
This leads me to ask myself the question, ‘what do I want for my club?’
On the face of it, and indeed to fans of other clubs with less in depth knowledge of the club, they are in 8th position in the Premier League, just a few seasons removed from the Championship.
Which other team would be disappointed by this?
The club has a nucleus of talented young players such as Enner Valencia, Diafra Sahko, Adrian and Aaron Cresswell. The chairmen seem willing to spend on transfers and a move to the Olympic Stadium is on the horizon.
So what’s not to like? Well, let me tell you…
How many Big Sam interviews have you seen after a disappointing result where he’s told you that the reason was because of poor play or the tactics, or even the other team simply being another level. Not many, I would assume.
Sam will constantly give you a stream of excuses – the amount of stoppage time, the other team’s dive and that West Ham should dive more, wrongly disallowed (or allowed) goals, the weather, tiredness due to a fixture pile up.
Reliance on the ‘wrong’ players
When Sam arrived at West Ham he brought with him some ‘friends’ from his management days at Bolton Wanderers, namely Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor, Joey O’Brien, Ricardo Vaz Te and Jussi Jaaskelainen.
These players were fine for the Championship, probably too good, which is what helped us return so quickly.
However, it is felt that he relied on them for too long, in the Premiership they have been shown to be mediocre. Three of these players still remain at the club and should be moved on.
Kevin Nolan is still being played on a regular basis in the first team, his inability to keep up with play is very telling, leading some fans to wonder if his inclusion is contractually obliged.
Tactics and Substitutions
When Andy Carroll returned to the team he went into a side in incredible form and 4th in the table. If Carroll is in the side they are less able to play the diamond in midfield and, despite his own performances looking good, the team as a whole suffers tactically and results have not been as good.
In the 2013/14 season the Hammers gave away a total of 23 points from winning positions. It is well known now that at 1-0 up Sam likes to sit back and invite pressure for the entire second half, more often than not resulting in an equaliser, or worse.
The draw against Tottenham is fresh in the minds of West Ham fans, where at 2-0 up in the second half Sam withdrew midfielder Mark Noble for striker Carlton Cole.
A baffling move at a time when you would be trying to consolidate a lead away from home.
For many years West Ham boasted one of the finest youth academies in football, with former Hammers such as Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole all emerging and developing as World Class talents.
Most football fans will agree that the ways to improve young players include experiences from the bench in the first team, in a similar manner to recent successes such as John Stones and Harry Kane.
Now, while I’m not suggesting that the lack of players with such potential is the fault of Allardyce, I believe that it is his responsibility to give the occasional low pressure run out to players like, Jaanai Gordon, Reece Burke, Elliott Lee and Reece Oxford.
That is other than throwing them all to the wolves at the same time in a televised FA Cup trip to Nottingham Forest.
Allardyce is not fully to blame in this scenario; the Chairmen would also be required to take some responsibility.
Sam Allardyce’s tremendously high salary has been well documented, spending some time as the 13th highest paid manager in the world.
This aside, some of the player wages concern me and I do worry that we are not getting good value for money. I give you: Andy Carroll (£80k p/w), Kevin Nolan (£50k), Alou Diarra( £28k), Joey O’Brien (£33k), Matthew Jarvis (£45k) and the recently departed Vaz Te (£38k).
We have seen what former manager Harry Redknapp does for the finances of his recent teams, and indeed the effects Sam had on the futures of Bolton, Blackburn and Newcastle. I am concerned for the financial stability of the club, which has been recorded as precarious in recent years.
Overall, as I am sure you can tell for the reasons above, I am part of the #AllardyceOut clan.
I truly believe that our Chairmen have given the club the players needed to move onwards and upwards in stature, and fresh leadership could bring the success we all crave.