The current bottom five in the Premier League have all changed their manager at least once this season in an attempt to get out of danger but just one replacement had any previous Premier League managing experience.
At the same time that Fulham sacked Martin Jol and Rene Muleensteen, Cardiff relived Malky Mackay of his duties, Sunderland sacked di Canio, Crystal Palace said farewell to Ian Holloway, and West Brom binned Steve Clark, many Hammers fans were calling for West Ham to do the same with Sam Allardyce. However, the chairmen decided not to. Some will say that they just couldn’t afford to pay off Sam’s contract. Others will know that changing managers isn’t always the best method of improvement.
I write this after Big Sam has been awarded Premier League Manager of the Month award for February. The maximum of 12 points being picked up by West Ham in February whilst, Cardiff picked up just one point, Fulham two points, Sunderland three points, West Brom three points. and Crystal Palace four points. Sunderland are, however, an anomaly as they have been very much involved in Cup duties of late and have been on a positive form improvement under Gus Poyet.
I understand that the league isn’t all about February, but West Ham couldn’t have picked up more points with Mourinho in charge. West Ham managed to move themselves into the top half of the table, and remained there without playing over the weekend of March 8/9.
Meanwhile the sides who “twisted” and swapped managers are yet to reap the rewards. Pepe Mel at West Brom is yet to pick up his first win having been in charge for eight Premier League games. Felix Magath has only just secured his first win at Fulham. Both are fine examples of two managers with no Premier League experience or at very least experience of managing in England, finding it difficult to generate success. Not so much an issue if brought in pre-season but during a trouble-filled season, a very difficult task. A gamble I wouldn’t want West Ham to take, and gladly – didn’t.
West Ham are by no means out of the woods yet. However, we are nowhere near the trouble that Fulham and West Brom are in, with inexperienced managers (at least in England) at the helm, with not a lot of spare time left to find the points they need. I am by no means claiming that holding onto a manager is always the way forward but I’m certainly saying that sacking a manager when things get tough isn’t a guaranteed “quick fix” as seems to be the misunderstanding of many fans and chairmen alike.
We should be very grateful to the chairmen that their faith in Big Sam is proving good. In my mind why shouldn’t they, as after all, he did exactly what was asked of him in his first two seasons in charge. I trusted in Big Sam to get us through the mess we were in at one stage, which we’re not entirely through yet but a big step has been taken.