Tell-it-as-it-is Nigel Khan today JOINS CLARETANDHUGH as our No 1 blogger!
Tomorrow morning inside David Sullivan’s Essex mansion a board meeting will decide manager Sam Allardyce’s future.
His position in the club has been the sole talking point inside the club for weeks and here perhaps his fiercest critic Nigel looks at what may be the manager’s final stand and says: “He has to go!”
By Nigel Kahn
The season is done and dusted but the circus hasn’t quite left the East side of London as all eyes turn to the meeting between the owners and Sam Allardyce!
At stake is the future direction of the club! The removal of Allardyce will signal an end to one of the most disruptive management tenancies this club has seen.
Almost three years ago this club was at a crossroads, relegated and manager-less after ditching Avram Grant. Looking back you could be excused for believing that by comparison all is rosy in the garden.
We are back in the Premier League having enjoyed two mid table finishes yet the club is in turmoil because football is not played on paper its played on grass, viewed by the 30,000 pairs of eyes.
Many are deciding they’ve had enough of what we’ve seen under Sam Allardyce based, not on what the see with their eyes, but what they feel in their hearts.
Gradually the patience of even the most patient of supporters has been worn away. The Championship season was accepted by many as a means to an end although I argued we could have played it more expansively – instead of respecting the point we should have gone looking for three!
There were warning signs even then; no automatic promotion even though being in the top two for most of the season. We were caught by Reading despite them having been 15 points behind us at one point and went looking to win unlike us who went looking not to lose!
We secured the playoff victory and got our quick return to the top table which saw us have a steady season which masked the reality of our one dimensional football.
Other teams could see that nothing had changed with us, they knew how we would play, they could counteract it. But Sam Allardyce ploughed on and then came the excuses.
Injuries were to blame, the players were to blame, even the pressure placed on the players was to blame, but we all knew then and now who is to blame – Sam Allardyce. This is his squad, playing his tactics.
A 13th spot finish and a Cup semi-final looks good on paper but as I said before, we don’t play on paper – we play on grass. Sam knew that some fans – people like me – would never accept him.
He is alien to the culture of this club, the club of Ron Greenwood, John Lyall, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst Peters, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire Tony Cottee plus the steel of Bill Bonds, Dave Cross, Mark Ward… the list of greats in endless.
The “West Ham Way” was the losing way he said on day one! Well the Sam Allardyce Way of dropping deep behind the ball, defending, surrendering territory and possession, taking a chance IF WE CAN, is appalling.
If you don’t have the ball or possession or players in the opposition half when defending how can you expect to mount an attack. Thirteen clean sheets he crows, ignoring the 15 we didn’t score in.
The Sam Allardyce Way also involves bringing on an attacker but taking off the supply line, further alienating those on whom the goal hopes rest.
The Sam Allardyce Way means this: Blame everyone else but yourself.
His was a business appointment and had nothing to do with football. His reputation preceded him and the fact he had to comment on the West Ham Way on his first day proves that he was always wrong for us!
Yet with fans now weary after three years of functionality over style or performance and with many a season ticket holder threatening to turn theie backs on the club, his actual position at the club threatens the business side in ticket sales.
A club is nothing without the fans who devotedly go through the turnstiles. Once you lose them you have an empty shell. Sam, Allardyce is losing them – in droves!
The booing that followed the Hull City victory sent a message to him and the owners that ENOUGH REALLY IS ENOUGH. football is not just about the result. Sky Sports can tell you that!
No, football is about how we witness it, and this season what we have witnessed is the straw that broke the camel’s back, he has to go.
Football is played as much in the hearts and minds of the fans as it is on the pitch, and a large section of the paying public have had enough.
Time for Sam to take that Taxi