Brown: “Fans are Sam’s biggest ever challenge”


Phil BrownNobody knows Sam Allardyce better than his former  assistant manager and personal friend Phil Brown.

And the 54 year old Southend United manager – who was the West Ham boss’ number two during the Bolton years and his skipper and assistant manager at Blackpool- claims the Hammers boss is facing the biggest challenge of his career.

He told ClaretandHugh: “Sam knows he has a huge job in front of him winning over the Irons fans and I reckon if he does so will be the biggest victory of his entire career.

“I know for a fact that nothing would give him greater pleasure than to do that and I also know he is well up for meeting the challenge from them.”

Brown believes Allardyce’s reputation as a long ball “merchant” is down to Graeme Souness who slaughtered him on Match of the Day.

He explained: “We stuffed Liverpool once or twice but Souness came out saying: ‘ You can’t call that football – it’s hoofball’…the reputation has stuck and it’s not fair.

“Sometimes supporters are a tough bunch to please and clearly many West Ham fans hark back to the days of Bobby Moore, Alan Devonshire, Trevor Brooking, Martin Peters … so they should.

“The Hammers fans have every right to be very proud of their history and they should never be told to shake it out of their hair – everyone of us should be proud of our club’s heritage. I love the Sunderland legends. It’s part of what we are.

“The game has changed though, one million per cent, and we have to move on and embrace the future.

“I was with Sam throughout his Bolton years as numberTwo and I have never heard him talk about lumping it long.

“Nobody accused David Beckham of doing that when he was supplying the balls for Ruud van Nistlerooy to score so many goals at Old Trafford were they.

Nobody gave Paul Scholes a hard time when he was hitting 50 yard diagonal balls – I don’t get it.

“Ok last season was not the best for the Hammers and there has been a change in policy both on transfers and the style of football required.

“The fans will need to be patient and I hope there won’t be a reaction whenever a player hits a ball over 30 yards. Sam can mix it up – but he has to get a fair crack of the whip.

“I hope he can win the fans over and I hope he can but if the Hammers are to play a different kind of football there will need to be some heavy investment.

“I believe Sam can take the club into the top ten but for every two or three places beyond that there will need to be more and more investment.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon


  • markscott2512 says:

    Not sure how much of us Phil Brown saw last season but Allardyce’s reputation of long ball football is well deserved at The Boleyn. We constantly and consistently played the long, straight ball to a lone front man, more often than not conceding possession immediately. We do not play out from the back and, even with the addition of an ‘attacking’ coach, I cannot see us playing this way under Sam. This ‘back to front’ style of football does not encourage or foster attacking talent and I believe we will struggle to attract any true flair players to the Club as they will know only too well Sam’s tactical preferences.

  • spyinthesky says:

    Fair points I remember Bobby Moore hitting long balls regularly including the World Cup final of course when they thought it was all over. Mind you pin point accuracy isn’t available to all. I think a lot of the problem is the endless accusations by other fans and pundits who never let up on the accusations while hypocritically denigrating West Ham fans when they dare to critic either. The stench is appalling in that regard and sadly like it or not the perception is too deep to quench it and that is seriously hurting the reputation of the club for good football. However until we are in a position to buy players who can actually play football and that’s not as easy as in the academy heydays then survival will need to take precedence sadly.

  • Munky says:

    If Brown and Allardyce really believe this they are idiots. It’s not the length of the pass, it’s not even the accuracy really. It’s whether or not the ball is at least an attempted pass, or just a big ball forward to put the cat amongst the pigeons, or the carroll amongst the defenders.
    My main problem with Allardyce is I always saw him as coming from the same school of thought as Graham Taylor/Howard Wilkinson, where football is all about percentages and statistics and if you get the ball in the box more then you will score more goals, and little things like accuracy, movement, a midfield, are not particularly important.

    Having said that, if it’s true that Allardyce is willing to overcome his stubborness and embrace a change in his football culture, I’m willing to give him a chance. Games like the 3-0 against Fulham, where Morrison and Joe Cole were on the pitch together for the last 15 mins showed he can play football if he wants to. If he’s got the balls to play like that over the course of the season while still keeping tight at the back, we might just get the best of both worlds.

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