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Sunday, 23 February 2014

West Ham United: Does anyone still want Big Sam sacked?


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At the beginning of 2014 there was a movement building in the East End of London. After a few grumbles of discontent about the way the Hammers were playing, the calls for Big Sam's head snowballed following shocking displays in the cups against Nottingham Forest and Manchester City and the pressure on Gold and Sullivan to act was immeasurable.

But, after yesterday's victory over Southampton - their fourth in a row - the Hammers start Sunday morning in 10th place. So, the question now is, does anyone still believe Big Sam should be axed?

Now, Big Sam was never a popular appointment in the first place but the majority of the fans understood that desperate times called for desperate measures. They had just been relegated from the Premier League and Sam was the ideal candidate to get them back up. The Hammers had to rely on the play-offs to win promotion, but the former Bolton and Newcastle chief did what he was paid to do, and they settled into life in the top flight again comfortably.

Big samThe owners had faith in Allardyce and gave him a new deal and millions to spend. Andy Carroll made his loan deal from Liverpool permanent and Stewart Downing joined him, with Allardyce seeing the winger as the perfect man to provide the balls for Carroll to score from. Unfortunately injury to his star man put paid to that plan and they have controversially gone into games without a striker.

The fans' critcism has never bothered Allardyce. He has never minced his words with them either. He can't understand their fascination of playing the West Ham way. "The West Ham way? It sounds like not winning," he responded. And the Hammers have never sang their manager's name despite everything he has done for the club.

His plans for the season were hampered from day one following the injury to record signing Andy Carroll, which messed up his plans from the start. However, many fans have also blamed him for that debacle stating that it was sheer bloodied short-sighted of him to put all of his eggs in one basket. Having to ask Carlton Cole to come back after letting him leave in the summer was an act of desperation, but it was surely better than letting Maiga remain up front.

Of course, Big Sam has not been the only target for the fans this season. Captain Kevin Nolan has also had it in the neck. Two red cards over the festive period and a clear dip in form riled the home fans and many wanted him to leave too. But look at him now. Five goals in four games, Nolan is odds on to be named Player of the Month for February.

The atmosphere at Upton Park is one of sheer optimism. The dark clouds have blown away and everyone is looking forward to a smooth end to the season. With Andy Carroll back from suspension Big Sam will be keen to show the fans exactly what his vision for the team is.

Other Premier League chairmen may also be looking at the strength of Gold and Sullivan - some say strength, others say tightness as axing Allardyce would have cost the club millions in compensation - and opt to give their managers time to turn things around. After beating Spurs 3-0 at White Hart Lane, the Hammers only managed two more league wins before the start of February. Most chairmen would have pulled the trigger by then, but key players have returned from spells on the sidelines and the Hammers are now reaping the benefits. 

So has the big man changed your opinion of him? Do you think the Hammers should keep him in charge or would you prefer Gold and Sullivan to give him the boot in the summer? 

Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Antony Melvin

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