The appointment of Sam Allardyce is a fantastic one. But it may take a bit more than Sam Allardyce to achieve salvation at Upton Park...
A strong personality, a hunger for victory and a man with a point to prove. Big Sam's appointment at Upton Park has all the bearings of becoming a mutually beneficial partnership. Sacked from his previous two jobs (Newcastle and Blackburn), Allardyce's reputation had taken a bit of a hit and leading West Ham straight back into the top flight would more than restore his reputation. Sam himself states that "I wouldn't have contemplated the job if I didn't think there was the opportunity to build something substantial at West Ham" indicating that he feels he can certainly do a job here and that the dreams don't end with promotion, he's here for the long run.
I'm all for Allardyce, he won't take any crap from the players and as I stated before he has a strong personality, something which managers seem to be lacking now-a-days. Many fans feel that he will not get us playing "The West Ham Way" something from my point of view that's not been seen at Upton Park since the days of Lampard and Di Canio and something that us West Ham fans need to forget about. Allardyce certainly knows how to build and develop a strong defence, something that needs to be installed over the summer. A defence that could actually defend against corners and long balls over the top would be nice and the rumoured signing of Faye would indicate that this is what Allardyce plans to sort out first. Faye at 33 is no spring chicken however he does have a lot of experience under his belt and I feel that he would be a fantastic role-model for the likes of Tomkins and Spence for next season. As per usual we are linked with Premier League players, who I find it very hard to believe that they would be willing to drop down to the Championship: Nolan, Barton, DJ Campbell, Yakubu and Kevin Davies to name but a few. In my mind all unrealistic targets but hey, wave a wad of cash in front of them and who knows what will happen. DJ Campbell, Nolan and Barton I feel could all do a very good job in the Championship as they have all been there before and at a level of football well within their comfort zone. Thankfully all rumours linking us to El-Hadj Diouf have quietened down, a player who in my opinion could do a job for us next season following a strong season with Rangers. He is however a liability and fellow fans have quickly rushed to online forums to display their negative feelings on the potential signing.
It all appears to of gone quiet on the out-goings front. Matthew Upson the only player to of left the club (at the time of writing) thus far, but the inevitable will happen and we will soon see the likes of Green, Parker, Ba, Cole and Noble packing up their kit-bags and moving on to pastures new. The sales of these players will provide us with extra funds for our transfer budget and I feel that it will be our dealings in the transfer windows that will decide if we are to return to the top flight immediately.
I think it's slightly ironic that it was our 'failure' in the transfer window last summer that decided our fate and that it looks set to be the same this summer. One thing is for sure and that is we cannot take risks; Reid, Barrera, Piquionne and Obinna in my opinion were all risks last summer and failed to pay off. Barrera who signed for the albeit 'average' sum of four million wasn't even named on the bench for the majority of the games towards the latter end of the season and Reid who was billed as a "World Cup Star" failed to justify on numerous occasions throughout the season why he was worth his three million price tag. Its gambles like those that we cannot afford to take in the Championship as it will cost us promotion and even more money. Allardyce needs to buy smart - ageing footballers with a point to prove and young and hungry players who want to play on the grandest stage of them all. Then, they like their manager will be full of hunger and passion.
However I feel Allardyce has to stay away from players with a poor injury history, yes we took a gamble with Ba and it paid off as he stayed fit for the remainder of the season nonetheless players such as Dyer, Bellamy and Freddie Ljungberg who spent more time in the stands rather than on the pitch. Also we have to stay away from players with a 'bad boy' reputation as off the field antics is something we could do without. However as fans, we can only speculate as to who we will and won't see wearing Claret and Blue next season, I just hope that the 25 names in the squad that will eventually be listed towards the end of August are up for a fight because it's not going to be easy.
Needless to say, the summer months will be interesting for all Hammers fans and I should imagine we will be linked with just about every player that's made available however we've got to keep a level and business minded approach to all deals we make as the threat of financial ruin is still very much at large. Come On You Irons!
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