Julen Lopetegui

Lopetegui Message is Just What We Wished For

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As I listened to Julen Lopetegui’s first official press conference as West Ham’s new head coach, I was reminded of Sam Allardyce’s inaugural presser almost exactly 13 years ago.

Big Sam, you will remember, was parachuted into West Ham to help the club get out of a very sticky situation in the Championship. However, his first ever press conference has remained in my mind for a multitude of reasons, most of which were made up of Allardyce contradicting himself.

I’m not precisely sure what it is about managers’ initial press conferences that makes them so memorable, but David Moyes‘ second debut also sticks in the mind for all the wrong reasons. Poor old Moyesie never quite shifted the stains which remained ingrained after he doubled down to the Press that he would rebuild West Ham in the model of Red Bull before going on to tell the assembled media that winning was what he did.

Anyway, I digress. Back to Big Sam’s first interview as West Ham manager in 2011.

Big Sam’s tactical revolution never happened.

Allardyce’s first presser was quite a spectacle; it was the ‘Big Sam Show,’ and we were the audience. However, punctuated somewhere between the Hammer’s new boss being very pleased with himself was a tactical pledge. It was a message that became lost amongst the contradictions and sound bites, but it was fascinating nonetheless.

A new tactical dawn

Allardyce promised tactical flexibility, whereby West Ham would deploy more open and attacking tactics at home, then switch shape and shut up shop when on their travels. Of course, the idea never manifested itself as an actual footballing mantra, but it sounded good at the time.

Therefore, when I heard Julen Lopetegui promise much the same tactic yesterday, I was buoyed, albeit with a wry smile. Because I believe the ethos to be a sound one and something West Ham has been lacking for quite some time. The team should be looking to get on the front foot during the home games in a bid to turn the cavernous London Stadium into a cauldron of noise.

Nobody would have argued or complained if David Moyes had only played with fear and caution away from home. Unfortunately for him, part of his undoing was using Southgatesque tactics at home against the likes of Sheffield United and Bristol City.

I’m certainly not going to judge Lopetegui’s words against the actions of his predecessors. The new Hammers gaffer deserves a chance to demonstrate and implement his new vision for West Ham and I must confess that I’m somewhat excited at the prospect.

There is an irony in Big Sam warning West Ham fans to be careful what they wish for with the appointment of a man who promises to deliver precisely what Allardyce couldn’t.

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose

0 comments

  • Charlie Farley says:

    Gonzo, I have a good feeling about the Julen and Tim partnership. How soon it can start baring fruit remains to be seen. They deserve the chance to get it up n running, without being expected to hit the ground running as demanded by too many negative Hammers’ fans. By the end of the new season, most of us might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Eric Southon says:

    I would like to thank you all for your kind words following the passing of my younger brother Hughie Southon, truly wish he had realised the respect fans had him. On behalf of the family, bless you and thank you all, have a magnificent season.

    • Martin Treasure says:

      Eric please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss. Thank you for those kind words. Sincere regards…

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