The biggest (un)surprise in football happened on the 15th May when West Ham United announced they had parted company with Avram Grant after only eleven months in charge. Naturally the media circus started instantly with regards to who was going to take up the Upton Park hot seat and it is rumoured that former Blackburn and Bolton manager Sam Allardyce has emerged as favourite. Is ‘Big Sam’ really the man to bring back Premier League football to Upton Park?
Allardyce has a reputation for managing sides that play ‘ugly’ football, his Bolton side continually rubbed Arsene Wenger up the wrong way, with their robust and strong nature, and the same can be said for his Blackburn Rovers side. There was a big thing throughout last season amongst the board, players and fans for West Ham to play the ‘sexy’ football, and well we all know how that worked out for them. Big Sam would most definitely not alter his style of management, and the Hammers would become a more robust outfit. However surely with the financial gain and the pride playing in the Premier League brings, everyone related to West Ham wouldn’t mind what way they got back to the top tier of English football.
Allardyce has a rather substantial CV, not in regards to trophies and individual awards but success in comparison with the clubs he has managed. Bolton became an established Premier League side under Allardyce and occasionally flirted with the European places, and Blackburn finished in the top ten in 2009/10 season and Steve Kean who took over Big Sam had Blackburn locked in a relegation battle all season. West Ham are now looking to become an established Premier League side again, like during the Harry Redknapp days and Allardyce’s record speaks for itself in achieving such feats, and is definitely the right man for the Hammers on that side of things.
West Ham need someone to steady the ship, someone who can persuade the likes of Robert Green and Matthew Upson that it is in their best interests to ply their trade in the Championship. I’m not even sure Sir Alex Ferguson could convince them of that, but the point is that West Ham need a determined, strong and powerful leader, everything Avram Grant wasn’t. The former Bolton manager wouldn’t have allowed a 2-0 lead against relegation rivals on the penultimate league fixture end in a 3-2 defeat.
For now and the considerable future appointing Sam Allardyce will be the first thing Karren Brady and co. would have done right.