We welcome Crystal Palace to London Stadium on Saturday, which means we also welcome back Sam Allardyce.
We rarely have much luck when it comes to facing up to former managers and, with all the mess that we’ve experienced this season, it’s understandable if you’re not confident that we can win the game.
Palace are arguably having a worse season than we are at the moment and currently sit just a point above the drop zone. But their decision to swap Pardew for Allardyce just before Christmas should turn out to be the decision that preserves their Premier League status.
Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s huge clash for both sides, I spoke with Crystal Palace fan Lucy White (@Juicy_Lucy__x), who is part of Holmesdale Radio – an independent Crystal Palace radio and podcast show – to get her views on Palace’s season, Allardyce and, of course, James Tomkins…
Alan Pardew was given the chop before Christmas – were you happy to see the back of him or do you think he would’ve eventually turned it around?
I’m delighted he’s gone. For so long I wanted him to turn it around. He used to be such a legend at Palace, and only because of that one goal he scored in the 1990 FA Cup semi-final.
He was a good fit for Palace when he came, but sadly the form was just dire and he really should have gone after the FA Cup final last May. The romance went stale very quickly and I was glad to see the back of him!
What are your thoughts on Sam Allardyce? Can he save you from relegation?
Well he certainly wasn’t he who I wanted. In fact, I really didn’t want him anywhere near the club. I was routing for Roberto Mancini to get the job.
However, he’s there now and after hearing Steve Parish speaking on the podcast I’m part of (@holradio) about how he has no issues with the big man and also about the way Sam has been speaking, it’s refreshing to have a new outlook with the club. Certainly since the bitterness of Pardew’s reign anyway.
Whether he keeps us up, remains to be seen. I am quietly confident he will do what’s expected of him, though. Pints of wine for everyone!
Obviously West Ham fans have a love/hate relationship with Sam Allardyce from his four years at the club, are you worried his style of play and consistent disrespect towards our fans could be replicated at Selhurst Park eventually?
It’s hard to say. With Big Sam, I’m kind of just taking each game at a time and I know that there are a lot of fans doing the same. There’s also a lot of fans that have written him off already.
His job is to keep us up ultimately but if there is any disrespect towards us as fans, my God he will know about it!
What are your thoughts on James Tomkins since he signed for you in the summer?
I like him. He’s not set the back line alight as we’d hoped but he’s had injuries and hasn’t had regular first team games, but he’s certainly becoming part of the “Palace family” – I think he will probably have something to prove this weekend…
Excluding Dimitri Payet, if you could have one player from West Ham this January, who would it be?
Andy Carroll – he’s made of glass (we are used to strikers like that!) but scores goals!
Are you looking forward to visiting London Stadium for the first time?
I’m not going! I used to love West Ham away at Upton Park and had planned to go to the new ground but tickets sold out before I’d sorted what I was doing. I will try and watch it online if I can.
What are your best and worst memories of West Ham v Palace?
Best memory – 2004 Play-Off final (Sorry!)
Worst memory – Every time you beat us!
What are your honest thoughts on West Ham United?
I like to say that I hate you lot, but I actually have a bit of a soft for the Hammers. My Grandad Bob was a huge fan so deep down you lot aren’t all bad.
How do you think Allardyce will approach this game?
I think he’ll go fighting for the win. However, we are without several players through injury and most notably Zaha and Sako, who are at the AFCON, so it’ll be interesting to see the line up he picks.
What Palace players should West Ham be worried about most?
Sum up your season so far in just three words…
It’s just begun…
What’s your score prediction?
2-0 Palace, obviously!