Generally speaking, I’m a very positive person when it comes to West Ham, but during the second half of our performance at the Emirates something strange happened.
I got really grouchy, and I felt like any direction had completely disappeared. There was no second option and we went from being in a good leading position to losing 3-1. Not good at all. I say that I am the optimistic type when it comes to all things Hammers, but I think I just don’t see the point in being miserable about it. I know that a bit of whining isn’t going to change anything and I also recognise that all cannot be solved by simply sacking a manager.
When looking at the plight of Manchester United this season, I firmly believed that they were going about proceedings exactly as they should before the untimely departure of David Moyes. The key thing is, it’s all about rebuilding and taking your time doing it, and I honestly think that if Moyes had been given the summer to buy and organise, next season would have been a different story
Look at Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. He has revealed his long term plan and it’s already paying off. It was the end of September 2012 when he won his first league game after being installed in June and at the end of the season they sat in an average seventh place. The point being, it took time and thought to prepare for this season, and what a season it could be.
West Ham have looked for quick fixes before, and it doesn’t work. Sam Allardyce seems to be the first manager we have invested a bit of effort in for a good few years. I’d even go as far as to say Harry Redknapp was our last “proper” manager. But if in the summer we do part ways with Big Sam, it’s scarily close to our deadline to move out of the Boleyn Ground.
If we’re thinking about this sensibly, we know that getting a new manager would mean sacrificing a season, just as seemed to be happening at Old Trafford. The way I see it is that if Gold and Sullivan decide that they do want to give this club a bit of style and pretty football, getting any manager in to do that will see next season be even worse than this one, not to mention the amount of precious cash it will cost along the way.
There will have to be a mass exodus from the club and Andy Carroll would certainly have to go, because as we know, he doesn’t generally do pretty. Immediately, that’s millions down the drain. West Ham piled money into that one signing, meaning that it pretty much has to work for years to come. Building a team round Carroll is limiting.
Okay, we might be able to keep a few, and some have showed signs over the last few seasons that they can play really attractive football, but players would also have to be adaptable and willing to perhaps sit on the bench every now and then without sulking. The alternative, of course, is to keep the management and staff just as it is and invite a few new players to join us. That doesn’t fill me with optimism to be honest, because we have a rich recent history of buying badly. The problem is, from an ownership perspective, this is probably the safer option.
Think about it, we float around mid-table for two more seasons having the occasional scare along the way, but at least when we get to the Olympic Stadium we are a Premier League team. Bringing in a new face at the top and having a rocky season to rebuild could mean Championship football for us, and going in to a 54,000 seater stadium as a lower league side doesn’t add up.
Having said that, the predicament is clear, and West Ham have to be able to fill the Olympic Stadium in two seasons time. How do they do that? By playing nice football that people want to watch probably, but as you can tell by my earlier admissions, there’s going to have to be a quick turnaround.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to finish the season on a sour note because as I’ve said, I do look on the bright side, and I’m not calling for anyone’s head. On paper, Big Sam hasn’t been a failure but naturally as fans we dream bigger. We don’t want to lower our expectations and nor should we, but now and then I think we do need a reality check. Unfortunately, I fear that we’re caught in a bit of a trap, and it’s hard to see the way out.
You never know, we might get really good at playing the Allardyce way. The key is to have the right players to do it and a side that understand one another. For this reason, with or without Sam, I hope that we spend the summer buying well and getting rid of anyone who just isn’t putting in enough effort. I hope some of the frustrations of this season will be realised and worked on, and we can look forward to a top half finish again next season. On a final note, I wish you all a very long and relaxing summer, and hope you enjoy the World Cup, whoever you’re supporting.