Rafa has all the Irons credentials

The Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez
By Rich Sprent
Sam Allardyce – a name that’s as divisive as the possible solutions.
The Irons’ fan base appears to remain split down the middle over the team manager so where do we really stand in terms of progress and Sam’s position?
The pre-season objectives were for a cup run (failed) and a top half finish with a 50-56pts target. and with 13 games remaining and 1.38pt/game average required the league finish part is still on course.
If this is achieved then once again the manager will have met his major target despite some talk at one stage of the board wanting a European finish.
The lack of a cup run will certainly cast a shadow over Sullivan Towers and Sam come season end, as the powers that be gather for the end of season summit.
Whether Allardyce will have any other options for his services remains to be seen. Even so, It is unlikely – should it be offered – that he will be offered a better gig anywhere other than east London.
It’s been reported widely that DS has favoured replacing the manager but DG & KB do not. With no payouts to make this May a change will clearly be seen as a far more attractive option than previously.
And yet, the lack of an obvious suitor waiting in the wings is of concern. The usual faces will be served up on the betting sites headed no doubt by Rafa Benitez and Slaven Bilic,
The likes of Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche will be championed by those who desire a young manager to take this club forward to a new era and there are sugestions that several young coaches in Euriope are being monitored.
The fear is that the 50% who desire change at seemingly any cost may return to haunt the club if the board takes the same view.
However, to remain inactive through fear is certainly not the way forward. Much the same as making a change for change’s sake.
The next couple of seasons are possibly two of the most important years in the club’s history, a last year at the Boleyn ground followed by the 54,000 seater adventure into the Olympic Stadium.
There is no doubt that this season the team has shown improvement in on-the-pitch performance. That 50% of the fan base are still unhappy with the manager shows that it probably matters little what Allardyce does, he will still be reviled by half of the fans.
It is this that detracts from their never ceasing hue and cry for change – a dislike of the man and the perception of what he stands for over much reasoned debate.
The owners are pragmatic. The team are on course for a good league finish. Next season will be sold out and the indicators are, with increased investment, of more improvement on the pitch.
The question that the other 50% will ask is: ‘If we twist, then it has to be someone better than what we have’.
There are no certainties in football but Sam Allardyce is considered a ‘safe pair of hands’. Hardly a glowing endorsement for a man expected to lead this club into challenging for silverware and European competition.
And yet If he is not to be offered a new deal to manage West Ham then who right now is good enough to match the ambition of the board and fan base?
If we are serious about playing with the big boys then a choice has to be made:
O Continue the journey started by Big Sam; it won’t be loked by many and it won’t be a smooth ride.
O Twist and try someone untested at this level which could prove deadly
O Push for an upgrade?
The obvious and pragmatic view is to change but ONLY if you improve on what you already have and  Rafa Benitez is the obvious standout candidate on the bookies’ lists.
He has actually won silverware, has managed in the Premier League, has an excellent worldwide reputation and is out of contract at Napoli. He fits the criteria for taking West Ham forward.
He’d also get a clean slate from all the fans. He’d have the opportunity to be judged on performance alone. And that cannot be sneered at.

About Hugh5outhon1895

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

33 comments on “Rafa has all the Irons credentials

  1. Yes, Benitez could be the right man; he knows Premier League, good and winning curriculm, modern play style. In my opinion the the most important purchase of the next season will be the manager. Look at Southampton, they have not better players than us, but their play style is spectacular and they have a winning mentality.

  2. Please. Not this nutter. Fact! 😉

  3. My first name would be De Boer, but also Benitez could be good… much better than BFS, that’s for sure.

  4. De Boer, Guardiola, Klopp, Jorge Jesus… These are the names west ham should be looking at. Its obviously a long shot to get any, but with Allardyce’s pay wage and then perhaps win bonus’ on top of that, it could give these brilliant foreign managers an opportunity to take a fantastic squad to European football and beyond. We should not settle for has-beens like rafa!

    • Yes Klopp is another good name! Unfortunately I think Guardiola will never come here… another great motivator and leader in my opinion is Simeone, but probaly will just remain a dream… 😉

  5. Nobody was more against Allardyce coming to West Ham than me, but he has done a decent job under very difficult financial restraints. Playing superior football with an inferior squad = relegation. Just ask Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff. Building that squad takes more time, than most people want to wait. This season our squad is 50 % stronger than last season, so we are in a better position and generally playing better football. Simple as that.

    As long as we strengthen the present squad by 5 high quality players in the summer, we should have a much better season next time ( probably qualifying for Europe ), whoever the manager is.

    It is always a risk to change managers, and that risk should have been taken earlier. Now, going into the new stadium, can we afford that risk? People on this site with a hate obsession for Allardyce, are asking for a new manager with new ideas. I can imagine it: “ let’s try this, now let’s try that, I wonder if this will work “ Relegation in our first year in the new stadium; not a good idea.

    At this moment, although it’s a pain to say it, keep what stability we have and add to it with 5 new players in the summer. We will all be much happier this time next year.

    • Agreed! I second this motion. I have always felt that Big Sam was employed to keep us in the Prem until the big move happens. From then the world is our oyster (we dream).

  6. All Allardyce has to do to get the boo boys off his back is stop picking Nolan. If he was to drop Nolan next season and go with an attacking style of play the boo boys would be happy. They just do not like the fact that Nolan is always picked when fit, he is too slow, and does not fit into the attacking formation anymore. I am not a boo boy but I know where they are coming from.
    To get Benitez (in my opinion) is just another SA. He may have European experience but when he looked after a premiership club he had a great team of players with financial backing from the club, but when things got tough he did not know what to do and failed. What West Ham need (if they are going to change the Manager) is a manager who likes to attack, not afraid to take that chance by trying to finish off the game at 1 nil up instead of bringing on another defender or defensive midfielder and try and keep hold of a 1 nil lead. If this was to fail though those boo boys will be back to say he should of tried to keep that lead (like big Sam did but they would of forgotten about him and his tactics by then).
    The powers that be should not listen to these boo boys and choose to do what they feel is right for the club, just like they did last Summer. COYI

  7. My hope is that the new stadium and the the great potential we have before us will draw the attention of great managers. This is reallly good moment for West Ham, I believe it is important to make the best possible use of these opportunities.

  8. Sam must go, as for Sam being a safe pair of hands , we don’t want to be safe and stand still , we want to go onwards and upwards, Sam is not the man for that, never has been, just look at his record.
    With the two Davids in charge , West Ham through and through, we need a Manager that is going to take us to the OS with a chance of winning things, not just being another also ran in the Premier League.
    I have supported the Hammers for 55 years and I want my latter years to be filled with expectation and excitement, as it was early in the season when Sam was forced, yes forced, to pick the team that gave us that excitement and hope, cos Nolan & Carroll were injured, we should never have changed the winning formula just to accommodate those two, we have gone backwards since they have playedregularly, thats what is so galling. Sam has his favourites and they are them.
    SAM out !!!! COYI

  9. The next two seasons at West Ham offer the greatest opportunity in my lifetime for a major push forward for the club. My worry as a West Ham football lover is that filling the stands next year is probably more about the history than the performances on the pitch so sticking with Sam will have no immediate impact. Season ticket transfers for year one at the Olympic stadium also looks nailed on as the sign up is very early. The business argument for the next year or two is almost unaffected by who is the manager. The football argument, which is the one that interests the fans, is totally different.
    Cards on the table I really did not want Sam as manager at the outset. He got us promotion, but we stuttered badly with the best team in the championship and you’d have to have rosier tints than mine to suggest we deserved to win the play off final. He got us league position two years running, but that also brought Upton Park memories that I have to go back to the days of Lou Macari to rekindle – truly awful.
    The year end meeting saw a new demand for attacking football from the board, a striking coach and a restriction on new purchases, moving away from older players. We know that Sakho was a Sullivan buy, we don’t know the real influence on the others. I actually believed that, having not sacked him (my preferred option) we had to give Sam a chance to prove himself in the new circumstances. He had a great start but his natural fear of success (one goal up and send on the defence) has started to shine through. I almost get the feeling that team selections are always against football logic to show what a truly unique coaching insight Allardici enjoys.
    I am now convinced that he cannot take us forward in footballing terms. I fear that we are running the risk of throwing away a golden opportunity in the clubs history.

    • Ammeral, I agree with all your logic, but I just think that significantly improving the squad will solve more than replacing the manager with the devil we don’t know.

      • Ok, but why assume that unknown players (devils we don’t know) will bring more success than an unknown manager?

        • Players are much easier to quantify than managers. The managers who win big things have access to megabucks, but we don’t know what they will do with our modest budget. Any other managers are big gambles. Gambling on a player is more easily rectified. Managers must be longer term, or we end up like spurs with 250 managers in last ten years. Anyway we did fantastic business last summer, and it’s all we can hope for with our budget to do similar again.

          • Now I understand your position – despite things being far less than perfect we should succumb to fear of change. Give Sam a job for life!

  10. Oldiron I probably saw you there 55 years ago. One of Allardyces biggest faults is his obsessive loyalty to Nolan and Carroll, but even that won’t last long, because Carroll is never fit, and Nolan will be released at 33 in the summer. Then it’s a level playing field.

    By the way, Nolan can never compare to Brooking, Peters, Devonshire, Paddon, Boyce, etc etc etc but he has certainly always given 100% for the cause and has been a great captain ( nowhere near Bonds of course )

  11. If you want more negative football, a load of rubbish transfers then by all means go in for Rafa, he has won a lot of cups you have to give him that but the football was always boring to watch and on numerous occaisions those cup wins at Liverpool can be put down to Steven Gerrard not Rafa. We don’t have the transfer budget that Liverpool had or the pull, I think it would be an unmitigated disaster. I don’t think DeBoer would come to us either but if he was available then definitely, lets get a big name manager that can deliver attractive football and results.

    • Thinking better, probably yuo are right; Benitez built his victories thanks to big budgets (Liverpool and also Napoli) that probably West Ham doesn’t have. Yes, as I wrote before, De boer, Klopp, or other modern manager which are able to value young players without a big budget would be better than Rafa.

  12. I think that at the end of the day ‘the safe hands’ that will almost certainly take us to the OS in the Prem will override any thoughts The Davids have of bringing in a new manager for next season.Maybe they themselves fancy going down another road with regards to a manager.But they know Allardyce will near as damn it guarantee we enter the OS in the top flight.I think that will have a massive bearing on their decision when it comes to his contract in the summer.

    • I think you are right Rads45, the David’s know SA will deliver prem football and they wull stick with him for maybe another 2 years.

    • I agree too that thye will do that. They will give him a 2 year contract, until we settle in, while looking for a sucessor. They won’t take too many chances now.

    • Are we allowed to tap up managers?
      Maybe we can start talking to the great ones now about taking over in 2017.
      The future is bright, the future is claret n blue.

  13. I really hope the Davids will have the courage to change. Probably Allardyce is a manager who can guarantee the stay in Premier League, but in my opinion, with the actual squad, anyone could do it. But as a fan I want more than this, I’d like a brave and innovative attitude. No pain, no gain.

  14. I have lived in Valencia on and off for 12 years and Rafa is still seen as a god here,but the year they won the league and the cup in Europe,he demanded a lot of money to improve the squad and when he was told no he left in a sulk,( my interpretation) most fans would not have looked the sort of football he played which was totally built on not giving the ball away at any price,plus he had a few special players such as De Silva ( Man City ) ,
    We’re ever he goes he spend millions more than we will have avaliable,
    I would go for ex westham Bilic or Sherwood ( for me Di Canio ) because the sooner we get back to our way the better.

  15. Sherwood is at villa now.

  16. Sorry TysonM suffering from fatigue ment Sherringham,must be a bad bout would never have suggested a ex Spurs man,
    Haven’t heard from conkerpot starting to get worried think his having tea with his mate SAM ?

    • Lol,i think maybe he is on the naughty step after his mafia outburst.Im sure he is still reading your messages to him though.Getting close to exploding & returning with his right to reply to you.Maybe he is serving a Claret & Hugh suspension,might have recieved a yellow card.

  17. Simeone. Earns considerably less than Sam. We can afford him. Go get him Daves.

  18. If it was possible to get Benitez it would be fantastic – the guy has managed at Valencia,
    Liverpool, Internazionale, Chelsea and Napoli plus others – where does West Ham rank amongst this lot?

    I’d like it to happen but in all truth I can’t see it!

  19. Its strange how many of the top trophy winning managers have had very mediocre or no playing career.I think maybe when they enter management they start with a open mind.They dont take their playing days mentality into it.Sam has certainly always taken his playing days philosphy into management.Unfortunately it is us who are suffering.

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