It’s been a while since we’ve seen our ex-manager Sam Allardyce aft er his departure from West Ham United last summer. It’s not like we’ve been missing him too much; both West Ham and Sam have kept themselves busy since we said goodbye. West Ham have moved into the top six of the Premier League and already won three league games in January. Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce became a published author and is working hard to relegate Sunderland.
This division of ways has gone just fine. But, much like when you and your ex-lover have to attend a mutual friend’s wedding after months of silence and deleting each other on Facebook, we’re going to have an awkward face-to-face reunion with Big Sam when his relegation-threatened Sunderland side take on our high-flying Hammers at Upton Park.
We haven’t seen Sam since his contract wasn’t renewed at the end of last season – a decision initially touted as ‘mutual’ but since then appearing to be anything but. So when we see ‘dear’ Sam again – how should we react? Does Sam deserve a bad reception when he returns to Upton Park, or should we applaud him for his previous efforts?
Sam worked hard to get West Ham promoted EMILY PULHAM @makingthemarrow Subtle: West Ham fans let the club’s board know what they think of their manager and stabilised in the Premier League – something for which fans are grateful for – but in his last seasons, fans became increasingly frustrated with his lack-luster and overly cautious style of play as well as his absurd insistence on giving constant playing time to ageing offside expert Kevin Nolan.
Most fans were pleased to see him go, and it could have been over then. It could have ended peacefully, without bloodshed. But no, Big Sam wasn’t done with West Ham United. He wasn’t even close to being done. You see, then Sam wrote a book. In this book, he took the time to refer to West Ham fans as ‘deluded’ and ‘brainwashed’
He elaborated by complaining about the pressure the fans put on the management and players by their negative reactions. To be fair, Sam, we don’t tend to boo Dimitri Payet, but I just don’t think you’d understand. Furthermore, after seeing him chuckling away on Match of The Day at West Ham losing to Bournemouth (a feat he narrowly avoided himself last week) he burned any remaining the bridges between himself and the claret and blue faithful.
So how should we welcome the big man back to the East End of London? Do we remember the man who gave us Premier League football and stability? Or do we see an ear-cupping monster who called us names when he wasn’t offered a shiny new contract?
Sadly for Sam’s legacy – it will be the latter. He behaved badly when he left, and we’ll repay that in kind when he returns – with jeers, boos and inappropriate hand motions that children shouldn’t really see. We can’t applaud someone who calls us ‘deluded’. The simple act of doing that would validate his claim that we aren’t thinking clearly – and we can’t allow that to happen.
Does Sam deserve a bad reception when he returns to Upton Park? Possibly not – but will we give him one? Of course we will.