After being huge favourites for the Championship, West Ham fans may have been disappointed with their late winner play-off securing promotion. Although it could be argued that promotion is promotion and at least they will be in the top flight next year. The amount spent on transfers and wages is far higher than those of Reading and Southampton, who performed better with far fewer resources. However it’s not just the huge financial cost to West Ham, it’s the footballing style.
West Ham started the season with a new manager and clear objectives; get back to the top flight of English football. Although this is a tough task for relegated clubs, with a manager who could grind out results and plenty of cash to spend, it was no surprise they were short odds to be back in the Prem next year. Despite the losses of Demba Ba, Scott Parker and Wayne Bridge. Allardyce brought it Nolan, Taylor and Carew to name a few. With such ‘known’ names joining the Championship it was clear they were attracted by something, either Big Sam’s loveable character or most probably money. When rumours emerged that Kevin Nolan was on £40,000 a week to play for the Hammers it was clear that the club were willing to splash the cash. Despite remaining in the top 2 for the majority of the season, Allardyce spent big once again in January with the introductions of Ricardo Vaz Te, Nicky Maynard and Ravel Morrison of particular note. With the heavy amount spent on transfers, it could be seen as a disappointment for West Ham to only get through the play offs, considering that Blackpool pushed them with players earning far less. One thing that could be worrying for Hammers’ fans would be whether such investment would be there for keeping West Ham in the Prem, or whether the owners had overspent in getting them back up. If this is, unlikely I know, the case I don’t think their squad is good enough to cope in the Premier League.
When Sam Allardyce was appointed West Ham manager following the sacking of ‘Milwall Legend’ Avram Grant, many Hammers’ fans were concerned about their style of play. With signing like John Carew, famously a big frontman, fans were worried they could have to fork out every week to watch typical ‘hoof it’ football. After finally being persuaded Allardyce was the man to get them back up, West Ham fans realised that football quality would have to take a backseat if they were to be playing in the top flight next season. Although I admit I haven’t watched a huge amount of West Ham this year, I have seen them twice against Palace and a couple of times on Sky Sports. I remember the first of their games against Palace was a 2-2, in which a long ball to John Carew particularly frustrated me. I also remember the other being a 0-0 in which, I feel, Palace created more in front of goal. Only for Allardyce to say ‘Palace were too defensive’. Now I’m not hating on Allardyce, although I don’t agree with his playing style he has kept teams up where others haven’t. His style is also very effective, which he cannot be blamed for. However the play-off final showed to non-Championship viewers what West Ham were really like, compared to a passing Blackpool team. I feel West Ham have changed as a club for me. They are no longer the decent footballing team they were. I feel Allardyce has changed their style and they will no longer be remembered for their Lampards, Joe Coles, Scott Parkers. Rather their big men upfront and defensive tactics.
If you are a West Ham fan, take a look at your club. Will you be willing to pay £30 upwards to see a negative style of play? Are you happy with this style of play? If Allardyce joined Palace I’d be gutted, absolutely gutted. Yes West Ham are in the Prem next year, but have the negatives been greater than the positives.