(This is a guest post by BOMAD)
An A grade is awarded as he hit his target of promotion – but please see comments below.
I admit here I wanted Allardyce as our manager as I thought he would toughen up the club and bring stability to it, whist getting rid of the dead wood in it. But I also admit that I was completely wound up by some of his tactics during the season.
A year ago West Ham was a club in a downward spiral having been relegated with an alarming wage bill and players who didn’t seem to care about our great club.
A year on, the wage bill has been halved and we have players who want to play for West Ham and look as though they are happy to put their bodies on the line – I believe this is down to Big Sam.
Gone are the players who care about money more than who they are playing for – Dyer, Boa Morte and Upson to mention only three. The replacements – Nolan, Taylor and Vaz Te to mention only three again look as though they do care.
So the start of the season was always going to be tough – a brand new team with no real time to gel but had to get the ball rolling straight away and grind out results. This is where Big Sam told everyone that we cannot afford to lose more than 8 games this season!
OK some of it, especially at home has been ugly, but sometimes you need to cut the cloth accordingly and win ugly. We did win ugly on numerous occasions but in the past we would have lost these games – and we would also lose when playing great flowing football – but this season we needed to win and win games however well or badly we played.
You also need to take a look at the players we have at our disposal and I have to admit there were times this season where I really didn’t understand what Allardyce was thinking – but how many times have we said that about managers – not just ours but other clubs and country’s come to think of it.
However we started to gel as a team and were looking good in January – in fact looking so good we were top with a game in hand and winning away games nonchalantly. Transfer deadline saw us purchase 3 players –Vaz Te, the bargain of the season, Maynard – who looks good and someone else – oh yes a top prospect from Man U – it would be nice to see Morrison play!!
But as always we cannot do things easily and our home form went to pot. Draw after draw meant we lost so many points at home we had lost top place and were in danger of missing out on automatic promotion, especially as Reading were on a run.
Typical West Ham saw us get slaughtered during the season at Ipswich and atReading(both away games?!) but still our away form held firm – and to win an amazing 13 away games (in the proper season excluding play offs and Wembley) was superb, but the home form wasn’t. I should point out we did only lose 4 at home however we drew far far too many! It was this that cost us automatic promotion and where I can criticise Allardyce on some of his tactics and player choices. You need a plan B and we didn’t seem to have one.
Just look at how we played against Birminghamin the second half at home and at home v Brighton – you can do it Sam by playing attractive, flowing football.
Come the end of the season – the automatic places were decided on the final day. So we went into the play offs – and we all know what happened. Brilliant v Cardiff, indifferent v Blackpool– similar to the season really.
Sam – you need to get some flair into the team and have a plan B when plan A isn’t working but overall you got your rewards for a decent season and the target of promotion at the first attempt. You took over a team in disarray and now have a team with spirit and a team that is very hard to beat.
Keep it going!!!! With the addition of a little more flair, as us ‘deluded’ fans would really like that.
To end with, just look where Blackburn and Bolton are now – and where we are – coincidence – I think not.
Well done Sam! Keep up the good work.