Almost four years have passed since Sam Allardyce took charge at Upton Park, and in that time, the club has been turned into a far more solid side, which most opposition do not look forward to playing against.
Hard to break down, aggressive playing style, and the ability to grind out results. All in all, the complete opposite to the tatters left behind in East London by Avram Grant that 60-year-old Sam Allardyce was left to face and conquer. He was placed with what seemed by many as a near impossible task by the West Ham Chiefs; lead the freefalling club back to the promised land of the Barclays Premier League at the first time of asking. Hardly an easy objective.
As you know, this was achieved by Big Sam, which was followed by an impressive 10th place finish back in the big time, and then by a not so pretty 13th place finish the following year. So why is such a drastic change needed at the top in E13?
The biggest reason is the clear divide between Sam and the majority of the West Ham faithful. In short, the fans are unhappy with the negative style of football played, the lack of youth players blooded into the first team, and the sometimes absurd tactics.
This ordeal is something that is clearly hindering the club’s unity, and the concerning issue to most is that it seems just to be swept under the carpet every time a new problem is encountered. Allardyce makes what fans seem to think is a big tactical decision which results in a mistake, unrest with the fans occurs, and the argument is left to naturally die down. Repeat.
Fan unrest is never a good thing. At the end of the day, football fans are the heart and soul of the game. The longer fan unrest continues at Upton Park, the more poisonous the atmosphere at the club will become. The fans are longing for a more forward thinking manager, who’s open to utilising the club’s youth, and playing a more expressive game to appease the supporters.
This does, however, beg the question of who is there to replace Big Sam on the throne in East London? Unsurprisingly, many names are touted as possible replacements at the end of the season, but realistically, only a few of those would be interested in the job. Real Sociedad manager David Moyes is reportedly the top target by the West Ham ownership, however, it seems that their pursuit will falter, as the former Manchester United boss is happy with life in San Sebastián.
Other rather unrealistic names being linked are in demand managers Rafa Benítez, who is out of contract with Napoli at the end of the season and supposedly interested in a return to England in the Summer, and Borussia Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp, who is regularly linked with some of Europe’s biggest clubs. An approach for the two wouldn’t hurt, but full focus should be placed on more realistic targets.
One of these more realistic targets who is heavily linked to the post, to most fans’ pleasure, is former Hammer Slaven Bilić. The current Beşiktaş manager is keen on managing in England in the future, and taking charge of a club with a large fan base, in one of the most glamorous cities in the world, with the Olympic Stadium on the horizon may be too good an opportunity to pass up.
The Croatian has already proven that his teams can handle the Premier League’s best clubs, knocking an in form Liverpool side out of Europa League over two legs earlier on this season, as well as competing for the league title in Turkey. This must surely grab the West Ham Chiefs’ attentions, as the former Croatia boss ticks almost every box in what they are looking for in a potential Sam Allardyce replacement.
Given the necessary funding, Slaven Bilić would bring the sorely missed passing game back to East London which the fans have been craving, and with more passion on the sidelines, filling the fans with belief in their side and restoring their faith in the board.
Sam Allardyce has no doubt stopped the club from going into a terrible slump and falling into the dreaded struggles of the Championship, possibly even League One, if you look at the saga of mismanagement at Wolverhampton Wanderers in recent years.
All West Ham United fans are grateful for this, but they now demand for the club to be more ambitious going into their potentially greater fortune changing move to the Olympic Stadium, wanting to challenge for continental football regularly, and for this to happen, a change at the top is needed. The football has become stale and too predictable for the opposition, which has led to negative end results. I am sure that West Ham fans have seen their side sit back and try to hold on to a lead in the dying minutes of a game and failed to do so more than enough times in the last few seasons.
With Sunderland interested in his services at the end of the season, and the West Ham board looking for a change; it would be for the best.