Sam Allardyce returns to Upton Park for the first time. How do you feel about his return? Do you think fans will boo or applaud him?
David Bowden: Sam Allardyce is the ultimate ‘marmite’ figure. Some fans like him, many don’t. For that reason I think it will be a strange reception. I am hoping the polite ripples of applause will outweigh the boos. It’s important to remember what he did for us.
James Longman: It’s the circle of Big Sam life. Hated him at Bolton. Supported him here. Mild dislike for him at Sunderland. I think enough fans appreciate what he did in a difficult time. I was chuffed to see us win beat Blackpool at Wembley, but it was time for him to go. I hope he gets applause and then we stuff them.
Marcus Johns: I disagree. I think fans will boo him. As has been said many times before, there are ways to leave a club, and there are ways not to. For every Rio, there’s a Lampard. And Allardyce falls into the same category as the latter, and not just because they’re both fat! Yes, he did a great job in getting us up and keeping us there. but the football was dire, and he refused to buy into the ethos of the club.
Andrew Hosie: Judging by the scramble for tickets for this match, it’s one that has been keenly anticipated since Sam was announced as Sunderland manager. There’s bound to be lots of boos, but should, hopefully, be more on the banter side than hostile side. Let’s hope Sam doesn’t spoil our party.
It looks like Carl Jenkinson has played his last game for West Ham after suffering a serious knee injury. What will you remember from his time playing in claret and blue?
DB: It’s a great shame for Carl, and it was disappointing to see some fans celebrating his injury on social media. He was terrific last season; unfortunately he hasn’t quite lived up to that Returning: Sam Allardyce hype this year. The moment that sticks out in my mind was his cracking last-ditch goal-saving tackle against Chelsea at the Boleyn last year.
AH: He had a great first season. Maybe Sam’s playing style suited him more than Slav’s or maybe he’s just been found out. There’s no doubting, though, that many people were unhappy when Arsene Wenger refused to sell him to us before this season and were pleased we got him back on loan again. Obviously, while no-one wants to see anyone end up with a serious injury, it does seem we’ve come out of a difficult situation fortuitously
MJ: I think people will be split. The Jenkinson of last season will be remembered as a great attacking full back. This season’s will be remembered as a defensive liability who was devoid of confidence. There’ll be some who won’t bother to remember him at all.
JL: I’m sorry to say that the match against Bournemouth will live long in my memory. Costly mistakes, a stupid sending off, a lack of confidence. People seem to think he had a great season last year. He did OK, but our defence was shaky. Good luck to him, and thank you, but it’s time to look elsewhere.
Mauro Zarate joined Fiorentina last month. Were you surprised he left? Do you think we’ll miss him?
MJ: Given the injuries, I was surprised he’d gone, especially for such a small fee. I did, however, find him frustrating to watch. He did so many good things, but invariably tried to do one good thing too many, and would lose the ball rather than pass. His talent was unquestionable, but I felt he played more for himself than the team. Compare him to Payet, who is more skillful and more prepared to track back. It’s a shame Zarate didn’t display those qualities more.
AH: I was a little bit surprised because I thought he’d done well and had upped his game a bit under Slav. However, with Antonio making sure he took his chance when he finally started for the first team, Lanzini on the way back and a variety of options to ‘mix it up’ in midfield and wide areas, I guess it worked out best to free up some wages and go on to strengthen in other areas.
DB: It didn’t come as a massive surprise. It was clear that Mauro wanted Departed: Mauro Zarate joined Fiorentina in the January transfer window first-team football, and his displays this year have shown that. He has tried to make an impression, but by doing that he has often been greedy which has had a negative effect on the team. I wish him luck in Italy.
JL:The 50/50 man. Fifty per cent brilliance, fifty per cent utter garbage. He had his time, and though we saw flashes of brilliance, they were too rare. If Joey Barton describes you as disruptive, you know something isn’t right. Mauro, we shared some special moments but it’s time to say ciao.
What did you make of the signing of Sam Byram?
DB: He looks like a good signing with Jenks being injured. To get a young promising English talent ‘on the cheap’ is great for the club. His debut was one of the most assured I have seen in recent times given the circumstances.
JL: I was very happy with Byram signing for us. It shows we are moving in the right direction. He is young, hungry, talented. A great debut, a great first touch from Payet’s testing pass, and a welcome addition to the squad. I just hope he gets home each night in time to do his homework.
AH: This is one that many of us had flagged up for a while so obviously I was delighted that he chose to come to us rather than elsewhere. To be thrown in earlier than expected against a team of the calibre of Manchester City and do so well shows just why the club wanted to land him and what a great talent he is. A great performance and looking forward to seeing many more!
MJ: It’s a good signing that showed Bilic understands our need for young British players – something Sam never did. I thought he’d be more for the future so was worried when he came on against Manchester City, but he was great. His 50 yard cross field interchange with Payet was a great introduction to the fans, and he looked good going forward and tracking back. The fact he kept cramping up shows he’s clearly off the pace a little, but I think he’ll do for us exactly what Cresswell has done.
How do you feel if West Ham were forced to share the Olympic Stadium with Tottenham or Chelsea for a season?
DB: Th is is irony at it’s finest. Spurs wanted to win the right to knock it down and build on the area, now they want a piece of our cake? I hope West Ham tell them to politely ‘do one’. It would make my blood boil seeing them in our ground, so it’s a definite no from me.
JL: Th e whole situation feels like we are being made a scapegoat for a badly handled Olympic legacy. I can’t see Chelski or Spuds fans wanting to share with us in any case. They are welcome to pop round once a season to see their team get spanked by claret and blue.
MJ: To be honest, I’m not sure I have an opinion either way. Yes, it’ll be annoying, but it’s not really as if it’s our home yet, in the same way as Upton Park is, and I’d rather them move into the Olympic Stadium with us for a year than for them to have Upton Park aft er we’ve moved out!