Sam Allardyce and everyone involved with West Ham United left White Hart Lane gutted on Sunday. The Hammers squandered a two goal lead, with a last-gasp Harry Kane rebounded penalty giving Tottenham Hotspur a precious point.
Any team that leads 2-0 with ten minutes remaining and leaves with just a point would be naturally devastated. Spurs struggled to deal with Allardyce’s side at times, and were lucky not to fall even further behind. Mauricio Pochettino’s side had to rely on a controversial injury time penalty to get them out of jail.
But it’s the fact that West Ham would have really fancied their chances of getting a positive result at White Hart Lane that’s the difference this year. The Irons may have beaten their London rivals three times last season, but even the most ardent of Hammers’ fans would admit that it was hugely unexpected. However, this season, the way West Ham have played and the results they have produced throughout the campaign just shows how far the east London club have come from last term.
Despite West Ham enjoying one of their better seasons under Sam Allardyce, it does seem to be a case of no matter where the club finishes this term, he looks more and more likely to be on his way out of the Boleyn Ground in the summer. With the Mail Online reporting that the West Ham board are ready to get rid of Big Sam, and have Michael Laudrup and Frank Rijkaard lined up as possible replacements, it looks as though the 60-year-old boss’ days at Upton Park are numbered.
Sometimes, though, you have to be very careful what you wish for in football. When you really analyse his time in east London, Allardyce has undeniably done a superb job at West Ham. He was initially employed to get the Hammers out of the Championship and back into the Premier League – he did that. Back in the top flight, he has subsequently guided the club to 10th and a 13th place finishes.
The Irons now sit in eight place in the Premier League table, after somewhat tailing off in recent months. But another top half finish would be an excellent achievement by the Hammers boss – setting them up nicely for their last season in the Boleyn Ground.
Allardyce did some superb business in the summer, bringing in the likes of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Alex Song – amongst many other successful signings. He has turned them into a much better footballing side than what they were at this stage last season.
The protocol at the start of the current campaign would have been survival at all costs. West Ham have obviously done that with ease, but with every good result, the expectation levels have risen slightly.
The club have come an extremely long way this season, and Big Sam deserves an awful lot of credit for that. At present, it’s a very exciting time to be a West Ham fan – and no one man has contributed so much to this as Sam Allardyce.