Big Sam’s rebuilt the Upton Park outfit from a Championship side into Europa League contenders during his four-year spell, but criticisms over the Irons’ negative style of football under his leadership just won’t go away.
Indeed, there’s continuous pressure from the fanbase and, set to move to the Olympic stadium in 2016, it’s understandable the board might want a manager that can take the club to the next level of consistent involvement in continental competitions.
But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, especially when you’re ousting a manager with such a consistent record in the top flight.
With that in mind, we ask whether Hammers fans would prefer one of these FIVE viable alternatives to Allardyce donning the Upton Park dugout next season.
It would take a significant leap of faith on the West Ham board’s part but promoting from within often ensures less turbulent transitions, and by all accounts Teddy Sheringham has done a sterling job since returning to Upton Park as an attacking coach last summer.
The Hammers netted just 40 times in the Premier League last year but have nearly matched that already this season with 38, and many have attributed that huge improvement to the retired striker – although the influence of the club’s summer signings should not be downplayed.
The 48 year-old is a bit of a hero in East London, after spending three seasons at West Ham and firing them back to the Premier League during the 2004/05 campaign, and although his management experience is currently non-existent, Sheringham’s ability as a player was never in doubt – boasting equally affluent spells with Millwall, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Manchester United and England.
Always regarded as a particularly smart player, if the former Three Lions striker can carry that on-pitch intelligence over to the dugout, he could be a huge success for the Irons. Once again however, it could be a move too soon for an ex-pro that has just nine months’ worth of coaching experience on his CV.
Harry Redknapp limped away from a relegation-bound QPR after failing to sign Emmanuel Adebayor on January deadline day, citing debilitating knee pains that require an operation, and overall he’s done a rather disappointing job in west London, with a win rate of just 19% in the Premier League.
But there will be a strong segment of the Upton Park faithful that still view the 67 year-old as a hero, having represented them 175 times as a player and guided the club to their highest league finish of the Premier League era, 5th place in 1998/99, amid a seven-term management spell.
‘Arry’s also brought success to Bournemouth (1986/87 Division Three title), Portsmouth (2002/03 Division One title, 2007/08 FA Cup) and Tottenham, where he masterminded the Lilywhites’ way to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, whilst his reputation as one of England’s shrewdest operators of the transfer market, arguably surpassing Allardyce, is indisputable at this point.
Redknapp confirmed this week that he will return to football as soon as his knee heels from surgery, but the old adage of never going back in the beautiful game certainly comes to mind.
David Moyes’ ten months at Manchester United was an absolute nightmare, but it’s not enough to make us forget about the eleven years in which he transformed Everton from relegation battlers to top eight regulars, working on a shoestring budget and with little talent coming upwards of the Goodison academy, eventually leaving in summer 2013 with a win rate of 42%.
In terms of style of play, he’s not a million miles apart from the brand of physical, organised football the Hammers are currently enjoying this season, and if he can extend it long-term the East London outfit could be onto a real winner.
The Scot knows the Premier League like the back of his hand and the accompanying cunningness required in the transfer market – but he’s still yet to win his first trophy as a manager, which could be an issue for a Hammers board keen to take their club to the next level.
Likewise, Moyes was named Real Sociedad manager in November and although his spell thus far has consisted of just five wins in 17 games, he’s already moved them five places up the La Liga table and is privy to a squad that will be expected to compete for a Europa League spot, at the least, next season.
Moyes’ management style, philosophy and knowledge is certainly more compatible with the English game, but getting him to quit Anoeta after just a matter of months would likely take a rather lucrative offer.
Former player Slaven Bilic has been linked with the West Ham job so continuously over the years, particularly in 2008 when he elected to stay on with Croatia instead, it seems inevitable that he’ll don the Upton Park dugout at some point in his career.
The 46 year-old’s record at club level isn’t the best, his affluent spell at Besiktas, producing an ongoing win rate of 55%, juxtaposing a rather disappointing year-long stay prior at Lokomotiv Moscow.
But the retired defender masterminded Croatia’s way to the Euro 2008 quarter-finals after eliminating England during the infamous Steve McLaren qualifying campaign, and he’s unofficially monikered as the man who revived Croatian football, with many of his players, such as Eduardo, Luka Modric and Verdan Corluka earning transfers to the Premier League under his leadership. He left the international scene in 2012, with a win rate of 65%.
He’s a particularly passionate man, famed for his suit-and-beanie touchline attire, and will have a decent knowledge of the Premier League from his playing days.
Arguably the hottest management prospect England currently has to offer, a 37 year-old Eddie Howe has overseen Bournemouth’s rise from League Two to the Championship and he now has the Cherries competing for promotion to the Premier League, currently third in the second tier table, all in the space of just seven years – including a brief spell away at Burnley.
All the while, Howe has insisted upon an open and attacking brand of football that’s lead to his side boasting the healthiest goals for column in the Championship this term, an impressive 66, and resulted in a win rate of 51% throughout his two stints at Dean Court.
Young, ambitious, charmingly charismatic and already boasting 317 games’ worth of management experience, having originally took the job as a 30 year-old, the former defender could be the perfect man to lead the new era at West Ham, fuelled by their move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.
That being said, Howe does lack experience at the top end of the game, and there’s no way he’ll leave Bournemouth if they make it to the top flight this year.