Fortune favours the brave


Big SamHow depressingly familiar my fellow Hammers. The season of hope and goodwill fast approaches, and we find the east ends’ finest scuffling around near the foot of the table, looking for solitary, precious, elusive points like a well-worn beggar looking for crumbs and dog-ends to maintain his sagging spirits. Didn’t we all think times like this were of a bye-gone age, that somehow the two Davids, full of thrust and passion and business acumen were simply too smart, too seasoned, to be part of a flagging, sagging,outfit that we have now become.

Although their shock appointment of Sam Allardyce shook the supporters to their purist core, there was an underlying feeling of cheer and tacit approval because here at last was a tried and tested man manager; none to big on style or class, but a huge believer in all other aspects of the game that West Ham had probably lacked over the decades.

A strong team and work ethic, powerful players, a lack of prima-donnas, and no fancy-Dan Europeans over here for the nice club flat, a fat monthly wage packet, and the chance to indulge in London’s night life when not being cruelly distracted by training and matches.

The general feeling was that the team was in a safe, if grubby and gnarled pair of hands, and that whatever happened, West Ham would be shaken and slapped out of their previous existence.

One of mind-blowing team inconsistency, and, as a club, a worrying lack of focus and direction which everyone one of us supporters could see so clearly it was in 3-D, but which board after board ignored, either through a lack of awareness, or due to a shortage of expertise and know-how.

But things that seemed oh so solid, had now become unravelled, and questions were being asked of Big Sam’s acumen.

In years to come, the lack of a back up striker and the 4-6-0 farce will become stuff of legend, and if West Ham have done nothing else during this sorry saga, they will have provided every other Premier League competitor with a perfect template labelled “One simple method for achieving relegation.”

I watched from my seat as Allardyce looked across Upton Park – gum was chewed as frantically as ever – as he witnessed matches that slowly slipped  away,  performances that became disjointed and almost amateurish, and as long suffering crowds looked at each other and raised their eyebrows as if to say “same old same old….good old West Ham….”

So do we sit back and accept our fate? Or do we do what should have been done weeks ago and take the fight to the opposition instead of cowering in front of our 18-yard box sending hand written invitations to attack and score?

The age-old adage “attack is the best form of defence” was almost made for football, and I for one would rather have a go than surrender. To sit back and let Manchester City and Chelsea camp on our half-way line whilst their defenders sat in deck-chairs and read the newspaper was unforgivable in my book; the end result was six goals conceded and no attacking play worth speaking of.

Fortune favours the brave, Sam. The time has come to get some new blood in, some hungry kids with something to prove, shake it up, get the opposition on the back foot and have a go. What you have given us this season has been woeful and if ever there was a need for you to show us some management skills, its now.

Fulham at home is the canvas, for gods sake lets go out and paint a masterpiece in oils, instead of a doodle in biro.

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Plaistow born Spencer is a lifelong Hammer and having spent half-a century plus, enduring this lifelong obsession, along with every other West Ham supporter, knows exactly what it takes and what it means to wrap that Claret & Blue scarf round your neck every other Saturday and head off for the Boleyn !

A Chartered Surveyor by profession, Spencer, now 58, has played, coached and managed at semi-pro level within Essex for a number of clubs, and, simply unable to give up playing, currently turns out for the Iron Maiden Over 35’s side when he is not watching the Hammers, playing guitar in his Classic Rock covers band Gunrunner, or more probably, injured yet again!

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