Will West Ham fan power prove too strong for Allardyce?
12:00 29 April 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce is coming under increasing pressure in the Upton Park hot-seat
There are three ways for a manager to lose his job. First he must lose the support of the fans; then the support of the dressing room and finally the support of the club owners – at the moment, it seems like Sam Allardyce has lost only one out of three.
At Upton Park you expect the boos of the crowd when things are not going well, but when it is the staunchly loyal away fans who are showing their displeasure and knocking up a banner to bring with them, then you have to take things seriously.
It wasn’t Saturday’s display in isolation that so frustrated the West Ham supporters, this has been slowly building since the team’s fabulous February that saw them all but safe in the Premier League for another season.
The over-reliance on Andy Carroll; the lack of creativity in the midfield with Ravel Morrison knocking in goals for QPR; the poor displays of the wingers have all combined for the fans to start resurrecting the ‘West Ham way’ comments.
Allardyce himself has generally disregarded the boos, except for his ear-cupping incident after the home victory against Hull City.
But he was certainly aware of the protests at The Hawthorns.
“You don’t want the abuse do you?” said Allardyce on Saturday.
“You don’t want to stand there and get abused in any way, shape or form.
“It is something you are aware of and you know what changes it around – the players going out on the pitch and winning.
“Until that happens the criticism is going to continue being thrown at me and I accept that criticism because it is my responsibility.”
The protests started close to half time on Saturday with the Hammers trailing 1-0, though West Ham had certainly gone close two or three times.
A banner was unfurled with the legend ‘Fat Sam Out – Killing WHU’ and chants, which had begun earlier in the half, continued.
“Fans show their disapproval and they are quite entitled to. I don’t have a problem with it – well, I do have a problem with it, but understand why they show their frustration.”
So will losing the fans be significant in the future of Sam Allardyce at Upton Park? It certainly won’t help.
Various polls have indicated that they want to see Allardyce sacked, while the name of Michael Laudrup seems to be mentioned in plenty of chat on social media.
One thing seems fairly sure. Allardyce is not going to walk away after a couple of nasty words.
“I’m contracted to West Ham United – until such time that the owners tell me something different, that is exactly what I am.
“I wake up every day, come into work and do the very best I possibly can for West Ham, for the players, for myself, for the owners, and for my family.”
No mention of the fans in that statement and there certainly seems to be no love lost between him and the West Ham faithful.
It seems hugely unlikely that Allardyce would ever lose the dressing room while Kevin Nolan is a part of it, but it is now a question of how the owners want to progress into the Olympic Stadium.
First and foremost, the owners want to be in the Premier League when they move and that should mean ‘Big Sam’ is still at the help in August 2016.