Filed: Tuesday, 10th December 2013
By: Turns to Stone
It’s important to remember the circumstances in which our current financial situation arose.
Ever since the Icelandics arrived (and swiftly went bust) the football side of things wasn’t being dealt with by one man. It was being handled by a committee. That’s why Alan Curbishley left. He was having players sold from under him and replaced by players that he hadn’t scouted or authorised.
This got worse when Gianfranco Zola arrived. We hired a ‘yes man’ who would do what he was told and try and get the best out of whatever dross Gianluca Nani served him up. He also wouldn’t ask any questions when the likes of Savio arrived for £9million.
Once David Gold and David Sullivan arrived, they spent a fortune on the club and (as is their wont) then tried to do things on the cheap. An experienced (but cheap) manager arrived and added Freddie Piquionne and Thomas Hitzlsperger to a squad that should have been relegated the previous season.
Almost inevitably, we were relegated.
Following these ‘committee’ management regimes where agents, scouts and owners had as much say in transfer dealings as the manager did, it was essential that we brought in someone that would get back to a single vision. They needed to be experienced, with a quality background and a history of success.
It would have been ideal to bring in a young, hungry manager who wanted us to work towards getting back to a traditional West Ham mentality of passing football and promoting youth. But that manager would have to compete in the toughest division in the World. We were also running out of time to get the OS.
Our supporter numbers would have decreased if we’d stayed in that division. We would have lost any assets that we currently had. It was essential that we got promoted that year, but also that we bring in an actual manager who would give US an identity.
At the time, it was more important that we get the manager right, than we got our identity right. We needed a manager who wouldn’t be pushed around by scouts, agents or owners. A manager who would be bloody-minded and would use success as the only yardstick.
He wouldn’t be kowtowed in playing in a certain style, he wouldn’t be concerned whether the fans liked him or not; his concern was uniting a completely detached playing staff that had been thrown together over the last five years by four different managers and dozens of scouts and agents.
Sam Allardyce HAS united the players. I’ve seen more heart from the team in the last two years than I had in Zola’s two seasons and Grant’s one season combined. The players do have a single goal, they do play a certain way and they are working towards something. But that something takes time.
I’ve been arguing for years and years that West Ham under Allardyce are far more like Everton under Moyes than Stoke under Pulis. They are not a ‘long ball’, ‘hit and hope’ team. They are a team that utilises their ability, a team that will play balls into dangerous areas.
But they are also a team that will utilise Mark Noble in a way that Pulis could not utilise Charlie Adam. They will hit the back post, but Andy Carroll is NOT Kenwyne Jones etc.
Allardyce’s sides are not Swansea, nor are they Barcelona - but they have their strengths. When we drew with Southampton at their place this year, it was not a team of bruisers against a team of artisans. I saw very little difference in the style and the football of the two teams.
The difference is in the way our manager is judged versus theirs due to his heritage and his background. WE have to forget that when we look at our plight. We have to remember that the job he started is not finished. He was hired to take us to the Premier League and provide stability in the division. He’s done that.
He’s struggling this year, but I think he’s been unlucky, Allardyce has been without his best striker for the entire season, he’s been without his best defender for much of it and the one player he has that provides us with pace - Ricardo Vaz Te - has been injured as well. It was always going to tough, but we have to be brave as a club and back our convictions.
VAZ TEARS: Just one of a string of misfortunes to hit the squad this season
Remember that sometimes you have to take one step back before you take two forward - and that had Everton sacked David Moyes after 18 months and hired Roberto Martinez, would they have had the backbone required to make Martinez’ style work, as it seems to be doing quite well this season? Do we need to reach our limit with Allardyce first before we hand over the baton?
For me, Allardyce is our best hope of staying up this year. He’s also our best hope for the future. I long for the day that we bring in a Martinez, a Scott Parker or a Brian Laudrup, but I want us to do it when we have a young-ish squad of Premier League players. I don’t want to do it when we’ve had three transfer windows and have spent the best part of £40million on a handful of players.
I want us to do it when we’re sitting 12th in the league after three to four years of consistent mid-table finishes. Our young players, slowly integrated into the side and the new manager can have the freedom to create something positive rather than having to cobble together something beautiful from someone else’s cast-offs.
Let’s not forget that a huge percentage of our side is still made up of players that couldn’t get in other Premier League teams. Matt Jarvis is the only player that we have signed whilst in the Premier League that was a regular starter at their previous side.
Then there’s Stewart Downing, Joe Cole, Andy Carroll, James Collins, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Mo Diame, Kevin Nolan, Joey O’Brien and Guy Demel. The vast majority of the team was struggling to get into other Premier League teams, and these players have been turned into a solid and decent Premier League team.
I don’t think that another manager would or should be expected to just come in and start getting better performances from there. I think we’ve been mediocre this season, but I don’t think we’ve been bad. I think we’re four or five points off where should be. We need another three or four transfer windows before we can begin to expect 8th-10th placed finishes and I think we’re still season or two away from when we can dream about becoming a football team that other fans aspire to be.
My point is, still, that Allardyce wasn’t really a ‘choice’ that we made. We needed someone of his type; someone of his ilk, his pig-headed, his stubbornness. To shoo out all the shit from West Ham, all the nonsense and all the laziness that had been allowed to go on.
He’s moved us forward hugely. But I still don’t think we’re quite ready to be released back into the wild yet.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!
comments powered by Disqus