Nene looks a pawn in Irons power struggle


Cheerful sullyThe only Nene I’d heard of until late last week was a river which runs through Peterborough!

Now, however, a Brazilian footballer of the same name has turned up at West Ham and looks like becoming a pawn in a highly political game between co-chairman and near director of football David Sullivan and his manager Sam Allardyce.

It’s now no secret that this is a Sullivan-inspired move and that the manager didn’t want the former PSG winger who has been plying his trade in the middle east for the last couple of years. Quite why – given Andy Carroll’s injury and the lack of possible future option in the event of possible injuries and suspensions  – isn’t clear. Anything is surely better than nothing!

sad samOn the face of it this is a nothing deal which really shouldn’t matter in the great scheme of things but over the last 13 games it could become one of the biggest shows in town.

Allardyce’s job is very much on the line. What was a closely guarded secret has spilled over into the mainstream media and it seems from where I sit that if he has the remotest interest in saving his job we may see a little bit of the 33 year old.

Anybody who is holding tight to the idea that us media lads are making a lot of fuss about nothing on Sam’s situation will now get a front row seat of the power struggle that’s about to be played out.

Should Allardyce act entirely out of character and play the bloke it could be a sign he he is doing his last minute best to hang on to his job.

If he doesn’t -the more likely scenario – he will presumably be sticking it up DS and the board as far as he can before probably heaving a massive sigh of relief as he makes his final exit from the Boleyn.

The politics played out behind the scenes are presenting what appears to me and others as an impossible situation.

Sam and his long term scout Martin Glover have been matched up by Sullivan and his adviser, Tony Henry. Who is having the final say on signings amid reports that Henry isn’t allowed anywhere near the training ground by the manager is anyone’s guess.

That my friends is difficult. Whether such a situation is sustainable has to be very doubtful indeed!

On top of all this is the discovery by ClaretandHugh that Sam Allardyce has a clause in his contract which doesn’t allow a director of football.

That one seems to have been circumvented by the board deciding they will have a bigger say in transfers with DS the main player.

Life has never been  dull at the Boleyn but there  will only ever be one winner in such a situation. To quote the oldest cliche in the world: He who pays the piper calls the tune.

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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


  • johnham1 says:

    Just rid of him now and forget the politics for everyone’s sake…

  • rads45 says:

    Definately only one winner in this one.But the way i see it this battle has been going on since the start of the season.It is the only explanation for Sams strange team selections & unwillingness to play certain players.Zarate was the victim of this & im sure if Sakho hadnt started on fire he would now be in the reserves or a sub.Samasaurus has gone out of his way to play his boys & stick his fingers up at everyone.He has done it to the detriment of the club as well,all just to prove a point.Time for Sullivan to prove a point as well,that he is the big cheese who calls the shots.

  • Doughball says:

    Allardyce has been stubborn enough to play £2.5million man Nolan this season when other, better players, were available, so why should a 33 year old make any difference?
    By the way the nene is the state bird of Hawai’i !!!

  • TysonM says:

    What i find unfathomable is the fact he has been allowed to play his games.For example,if you had a great product,a smart tv say.If it was in the top 5 best sellers in the market place then there is no need to change it.If however a product manager tinkered with & produced an inferior product which slid down the sales market he would be deep in the proverbial with the directors & owners.Now i can see no difference with what Allardyce did.We had a great product & he dismantled it & played around with it for his own benefit.Surely he should be accountable for what he did from november onwards when his lover boys returned.No one,not even the most ardent sam fan can tell me he hasnt used the team as a pawn in this game.It is time we got a manager who wants to do things with the chairmen,together,for the good of the club.Not one who wants to prove he will do what he wants when he wants to prove he is the big man.

  • joe7211 says:

    they need to sort this out now get rid of sam and give the new guy time with no pressure [this season ] to bad in and be ready for the new season

  • Hammerman6 says:

    This type of soap opera is bringing our great club down. We all realise to terminate the managers contract at this time would be expensive. The club is safe from relegation, so I think the club, if they aren’t already considering this, should send Mr Allardyce on some sort of ‘gardening leave’ or rest him on full pay for a month or so. Because if he picks the team we all know Nene will suffer the same fate as Zarate, Morrisson, Poyet, Amalfitano & young Elliott Lee in bench warming exercises for the next two months. If anyone in industry blatantly contradicts their employers wishes or guidance would be brought to some kind of tribunal, so over to you Mr Sullivan, before BFS destroys another innocent players confidence and the whole infrastructure of the club.

  • HOTS says:

    I’ve been to Hawaii. The Nene is a very resilient bird which thrives in the hostile environment on the side of volcanoes and not to be underestimated! Hopefully this is a good sign.

    Coming back to Sam. It is obvious now that he is not going to get a new contract. This isn’t something new and the discord between him and the Davids has been rumbling along for some time now. Not only is the battle of words between him and Mr Sullivan been growing and becoming increasingly unseemly ( would you both please zip it!). But Sam has been embarrassingly “bigging himself Up”. I nearly choked when he claimed there wasn’t a manger more sophisticated than himself. Really sam? The only reason I can conclude is that because we had a great start to the season, he feels bombproof and knows that firing him would be an expensive choice considering we are safe and fairly guaranteed a top ten finish. Sam is a proud and stubborn man and he is what he is, a very good steady as she goes safe pair of Premiership hands and he has steadied our sinking ship and got us to where we are. But having tasted exciting football we the fans want more than steady for the remainder of the season.

    So rather than sack him, would it not be possible to put him on gardening leave until the end of the season and run out his contract , with Teddy interim team coach while a new Manager is selected to take over at the end of the season. It works in business cases but not sure what his contract will allow. Then maybe, maybe we might see the Nene bird erupt!

    • West Ham Fan No 32 says:

      You have to remember HotS that his sophistication claim was backed up by that other pillar of sophistication Phil Brown… In truth he is a good manager to put foundations in, he just has never evolved to building on them. Who ever we choose as the next manager will need to be strong minded to deal with DS in a perfect world it will be someone who is strong minded, plays attacking football and that isn’t so stubborn to look a gift horse in the mouth if the David’s present it. If we have a weak manager that caves in to DS it could be a slippery slope next season, remember Zola he tried to stand up to him but that ended badly.

  • rads45 says:

    This situation can only deteriorate, with games against Spurs,Arsenal & Chelsea coming up in 3 of the next 4 matches,unless there is a miracle & we get results in a couple then the resentment & bitterness surrounding this saga is going to grow with every passing day.I agree the ‘gardening leave’ option is a great shout.Though how practical i dont know.BFS can offer us nothing this season with regards to the league or cup.I think better to get him away from the day to day running of the club before his game playing causes too much damage within the squad.I find it hard to believe there isnt bitterness from some players when they work their backsides off knowing it will achieve nothing & BFS will just play his pets.Zarate must he laughing his head off in west london everytime he sees a report about Samasaurus being booted out.

  • pabloonechop says:

    Zarate take 2!
    Might play once in a good away performance, maybe score a goal, then never be given a proper chance again….sadly this isn’t a joke.

  • stanhammer says:

    So forget the plaudits of Man.Utd game even Nolan was given credit,Southampton a away point most unexpected.Forget that Zarate cannot get a game at QPR as does not reach fitness standards,forget Morrison not able to hold a spot at QPR or Cardiff .Forget that Hammers in highest position for years ,forget 2 of three centre backs injured,forget Carroll scoring goals while Sahko injured.While wins have dried up defeats are few results against top 4 impressive.Remember possible next season no Song,Jenkinson Reid,remember its a slow buildto revamp youth set up ,move stadiums and build depth in squad as always lets be realistic a loss in Cup doesn’t mean we should forget the football that has been enjoyed for the majority of the season.

    • Hammerman6 says:

      Morrison has more natural talent than our starting midfield line up put together. He needs control. Lazio do not recruit average players. We were promoted with Southampton why was a point most unexpected there ? Nolan’s one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Some of what you say is plausible but the politics have overcome the good and its really time for a new broom. THe board and the manager must be in harmony not at logger heads, that’s a recipe for disaster.

    • lmwhu says:

      well said

  • rads45 says:

    So if everything is going so well as you seem to be alluding to Stan then why do the owners want to get rid of the manager that has masterminded all this you speak of.The football was fantastic & enjoyable for the first three months.Im struggling to think of too many ‘enjoyable’ performances since then.

  • bubs says:

    It’s alright bring these players in but even if BFS likes him who goes,if Sakho starts then you got to drop Valencia or Downing ,
    This is not a Nolan thing he is already out with Kouyate back and Noble and Alfitano fighting for the other place that leaves Jarvis,Lee,Cole and Valencia 10 minutes million man 12 million man young pretender never to get a chance and SAMs bring back man,
    Really bad business,we have no right back if Jenkinson gets injured and in 13 games we have nothing are there none of them out there that could cover at centre half for 13 games.
    If this was to make BFS do what he is told tell him with out injury he must start Sakho and Valencia or he must give Lee half a dozen games,
    More money we could have spent on keeping Reid .

  • mattefumi69 says:

    Hi Stanhammer, I respect your opinion, but my personal one is quite different: I remember the first two months of this season as the only period in which I enjoied and I remember in that period Carroll and Nolan were out. Is this a case? I don’t think so. I remember we were in highest position exactly when Carroll and Nolan were out. If Song, Jenkinson and Reid will leave the club has nothing to do with BFS. If you enjoyed the majority of the season I tell you I enjoyed only two months. I think anyone here is not saying that the reason of our frustration is a loss in Cup (this loss is a natural consequence of his work), but BFS stubbornness of using Carroll and Nolan at any price even when was not necessary, even when Sakho and Valencia were perfect together and our football was amusing. Why BFS did all this? For the good of the team or for his personal satisfaction? Last little personal observation, and probably I’ll be unpopular about it: I loved Ravel, and I think he had never a real opportunity to show is talent (on the bench or on loan is very dfficult), he was young and I think he just needed to play with a certain continuity. But Morrison, Zarate and other quality players are useless for Allardyce, indeed he ruins them.

    • johnham1 says:

      Totally agree with you, please put him out to pasture for a few months and lets get back to some enjoyable football.

      • mattefumi69 says:

        Hi John, unfortunately Rav has been sold. Next year he’ll play for Lazio… I wish him all the best. Don’t worry, we have Nolaninho… Thanks BFS.

  • bubs says:

    I agree I would rather sit and watch for 1 or 2 seconds of brilliance from Ravel or Zarate then cry for 90 Mins watching Nolan chugg around the pitch just for once this year to see the birds song.if BFS and Nolan had not tried to get Ravel to change his manager and let him play football we would not have needed Nene if BFS had given Zarate fair playing time we would not have neede Zarate and Cole would have got his dream move and maybe Lee would have got some playing time in the last 2 games
    It’s a no brainer every day every problem comes down to one thing BFS,

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