For those of us who seemingly haven’t realised it as of yet – Sam Allardyce simply isn’t the right manager for West Ham United Football Club. In reality, he never really has been.
The club’s well documented plummet to the Championship in 2011/12 was a season defined by the same lack of creativity, questionable tactics, and slow, laborious performances that have largely followed Big Sam into the Premier League. Although the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn boss did in-fact achieve promotion at the first time of asking – the footballing community seems to have all but forgotten just how risky and precarious our play-off final against Blackpool really was.
In the Premier League – aside from the beginning of this once promising league campaign – the Hammers haven’t changed one bit under Big Sam.
With the West Ham boss looking unlikely to be offered a new contract upon the expiration of his current deal at the end of the season then, several high profile names have subsequently been linked with the Hammers hot-seat, including the likes of Slaven Bilic, David Moyes, and even former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.
Although someone like Bilic would certainly go a long way in re-establishing the link between the manager and the fans down at Upton Park next season, one other contender seems to have largely escaped the attention of everyone involved with the club this time around…
And that man is Paolo Di Canio.
Sometimes the most obvious person for the job is the one who gets most often overlooked. It seems many among the Upton Park faithful have grown scared of the concept of Di Canio as our next manager. They have seemingly forgotten just what the ever enigmatic Italian really means to West Ham United, and what the club also means to him – instead placing our bets on a former Bolton manager whose biggest claim to fame is never being relegation from the Premier League.
Sam Allardyce, perhaps to his credit, admitted upon being appointed at the club that he never even knew what the ‘West Ham Way’ was meant to be all about – but in Paolo Di Canio – the club are lucky to have someone who acts as the actual embodiment of the phrase.
Yes he’s pretty much a nutter, yes he will likely alienate a great deal of our current players, and yes, his political displays of right handed emotion cannot really be backed – but as this is football we are talking about and not politics – such potential stumbling blocks really don’t need to have as big an influence as many are currently making out. The Upton Park faithful must remember Di Canio for who he was as a West Ham man, not for what the sensationalised press try to make him out to be.
Those who disagree however, may also point to his less than successful stint at the Stadium of Light for conclusive evidence as to why West Ham must never appoint him – but once again – such a viewpoint completely disregards what Paolo means to West Ham and vice-versa.
Of course he wasn’t going to make it at Sunderland – it just wasn’t the right match. He tried to weed out those who didn’t want to work hard for him on and off the pitch, but as the Sunderland board seemingly got cold feet with his position at the club – the Black Cats now continue life as a relegation fearing side, especially with their most recent 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Paolo Di Canio also proved a revelation and widespread fan-favourite during his time with Swindon, but that aspect of this argument all too often gets forgotten.
The former Hammers no. 10 would sign the type of players we all want to see, he would passionately drive the team forward in a progressive and ambitious direction, and whilst a few aspects of the partnership would inevitably have to be ironed out along the way, he would certainly make life as a West Ham supporter entertaining – and that is something Sam Allardyce has never really been able to achieve.
Whilst David Sullivan has previously come out against hiring Paolo as the next West Ham boss though – that hasn’t stopped the chairmen from flogging his name all over the official club store, or even creating our very own ‘Paolo Di Canio’ lounge for the club’s hospitality supporters.
The prospect of such a club legend returning to his unfinished business with the team in the dug-out therefore remains an all-important possibility – but at the moment sadly – a seemingly unlikely one at best.
With a slight change of mindset and just a little bit of old fashioned faith however, and everything would soon be in place for Paolo Di Canio to once again resume his hero status with West Ham United.