The perfect replacement for West Ham’s Sam Allardyce

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Harry RedknappThere’s a school of thought surrounding the current Sam Allardyce situation which preaches: ‘better the devil you know’. Well, there’s another devil we know, and his name is Harry Redknapp.

Firstly, on a personal level, I have never been anti-Sam and would have been more than happy to give him another season but it looks as though, with fan resentment at its highest since he took the job back in 2011, his position may have become untenable. Therefore, with the 78% who voted Allardyce out in the recent mass poll in mind, I’ve started to look at alternatives.

There have been countless cases of terrible managerial swaps in recent years. Too many of the more unfashionable managers doing solid jobs have been switched with suit and tie, foreign coaches promising Barcelona-esque football who have failed miserably.

Fulham, Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion, for example, all went down this route and ended the season making up three of the Premier League’s bottom four. West Ham are in a very similar situation. People will look to Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton as a success story but the Saints are in for a tough summer in terms of transfer business and I think the Argentine could well come unstuck next season.

Even if Pochettino does continue his success, his appointment was a roll of the dice by a very financially stable club with a settled squad. With the much discussed Olympic Stadium move beckoning, West Ham are in no such position and must play it safer.

‘Premier League Manager of the Year’ Tony Pulis was undeniably the best managerial appointment in the previous campaign and unsurprisingly he is a tried and trusted man at this level who plays with practicality rather than lofty ideals. Obviously he would be a sideways step from Sam but West Ham still need to learn from this triumph.

This is also a time when the Hammers should look to someone who knows the club very well. An identity crisis is nigh with regards to the stadium move and the club need someone who they can relate to their history.

The perfect candidate is thus British, experienced in the Premier League, affiliated with West Ham and obviously a promoter of attacking football given the root problem with the current regime. In one word: Redknapp.

I know there are plenty of West Ham fans who won’t want Redknapp back for whatever reason, be it the long-ago backstabbing of Billy Bonds, the more recent link to Tottenham Hotspur or just the generally crooked perception of him, but there is no one else who ticks all the boxes.

Just a few years ago Redknapp was managing in the Champions League and favourite for the England job, making him unanimously considered the best English manager. The FA eventually opted for a less volatile option but most rightfully believe Redknapp to have been avoided for media reasons and the contemporary tax evasion case rather than managerial ability. I hope David Sullivan and David Gold aren’t so deterred by his potential for controversy.

Despite his ripe age of 67-years-old, after being replaced by Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham (another failed case of British manager swapped with a potential mini-Mourinho), Redknapp proved he still has the thirst for football as he dived straight back in, first with a brief role at Bournemouth until he rashly took the helm of the sparkling, sinking ship in the form of QPR.

QPR hasn’t gone well for Harry; his squad wasn’t hungry enough to avoid relegation and the reckless spending before he arrived has left him with a big clear-up job. I get the feeling his heart was never really in QPR, it was more an attempt to keep his foot in the door through fear of being left in the wilderness and considered an old ‘has-been’.

But surely, regardless of what becomes of QPR in the upcoming Play-Off final, his heart would be in taking his local club, where he grew up looking up to Bobby Moore, played 149 games and managed for 7 years, out of their home and into the future. It’s the perfect final project.

I appreciate Redknapp may not always have remained loyal to West Ham since his controversial firing just after the Millennium, but he is still an East End bloke from Poplar with those memories.

Crucially, Redknapp is also a combination of attacking football and pragmatism. He has always encouraged his sides to get forward and partake in exciting games, but he will also play with the cards he is dealt with rather than being too attached to a certain philosophy.

Like it or not, West Ham have invested a great amount in Andy Carroll in terms of transfer fee and his bumper contract; unlike how Liverpool did, we can not afford to get a manager like Brendan Rodgers who will sacrifice him at a massive loss because he doesn’t fit a certain system. And also, why would we want to? The majority of the West Ham faithful like Carroll, even if they don’t like Allardyce, he is at a good age and one of the best at what he does.

Redknapp will not shy away from using a target man with wingers, and may even put someone up top with the big Geordie which would satisfy the wishes of many supporters, even if it might seem a slightly outdated system.

I’m not usually a believer in ‘going back’, I’m not sure a return for Alan Pardew would work although I liked him the first time round, but Redknapp has been gone long enough and is a big enough character to deal with the potentially tricky situation.

Also, an apt bonus is that Redknapp has been working with Ravel Morrison since February and reuniting the pair at Upton Park would dramatically improve the chance of him becoming a success. Redknapp’s man-management skills have seen him get the best out of many a difficult character, most notably Paolo Di Canio, and I would suggest no one would do a better to do a job with Morrison.

So if Sam has to go, why not go all out for Redknapp? He’s a fair more suitable option than a confidence-stricken David Moyes, a still unproven Malky Mackay or a Premier League unknown Ronald Koeman.

To really get back to West Ham traditions, why not also appoint a number two to be Redknapp’s apprentice in a manner reminiscent of John Lyall under Ron Greenwood? I’m not sure who would be heir to the throne but it would be great for a younger coach to learn under Redknapp and then eventually have the opportunity to take main stage after a few years in the Olympic Stadium to give the club some real identity and stability.

Tony Fernandes would certainly drive a hard bargain but if Redknapp fancied it he’d get what he wanted by hook or by crook. He could throw it back in our face, and that would be it, the already ropey relationship between club and man would be fully severed. But if he took it I can not envisage Harry failing. The return of the devil we know is, ironically, one made in heaven.

Follow me on Twitter @RichMaher93

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  • Graham says:

    Got a feeling they might have a look at getting Steve Bruce from Hull. They loved him when they worked together at Birmingham, they like English managers with experience in the division, and also like managers that are shrewd in the transfer market, something that Bruce defiantly is. He ticks all their boxes. Also he plays a better style that allerdyce, although can still grind out a result when it’s needed. They have waited until the FA cup final has been played so now no disruption before the biggest game in hull’s recent history. Like allerdyce he has one year left on his contract so it would cost DS and DG quite a bit to get rid of Sam and appoint Bruce.

  • jim says:

    bruce might be a good idea as fat sams players that hes left might be more suited to bruce than redknapps playing style but we do need to get rid of big fat useless allardyce first

    • Rolfe Dawson says:

      I am curious as to why you call big Sam useless! He brought the debacle that was left by Avram Grant back to the Premiership in one year and has kept the Hammers up for two years with limited budget and a shed load of crucial injuries, finishing close to mid table on both occasions. Sure, the style of football may not have been pretty, but it was effective! How many managers could have achieved the same?

      • Ashley says:

        I believe any manager can achieve results with the anti football tactics Sam employs. I’d also disagree that he’s had a minimal budget. If you look back over our history he has probably spent more than any previous manager each season. He spent close to £14 million in the championship, where we had the best squad and still needed the playoffs. He wasted £12 million on Jarvis, £6 million on Maiga, £3 million on Diarra with £60kpw wages. The jury is still out on Carroll, I like him as a player and think he’s very talented but the fee and wages are worrying given the fitness record he holds. Who’s the answer? I do not know, given the squad Sam has assembled. Moyes is a half way house, but his confidence will be shot. Bruce doesn’t do it for me. I’d happily welcome Harry back, but his age is against him for a 5 year project, which is what the next manager should see the role as. Interesting times

  • matt says:

    Harry,s been relegated 3 or 4 times
    Sam hasn’t?why the hell would we want to go backwards for. people really need to wipe shit out of there eyes.
    if anyone moyes would be the one he would bring up the young talent and would do well with the money for transfers and finish top ten?
    Sack him don’t sack him just hurry up

  • QPR Chris says:

    You are welcome to have Harry. He has been massively found out at QPR. Tactically clueless. Close to retirement so has an at times very obvious lack of desire/hunger for the job. Be careful what you wish for. Big Sam as hated as he seems has done the business results wise for you. PS We all thought Redknapp liked attacking football too. You obviously haven’t watched any QPR games over the last year. It’s been by and large dreadful to watch.

    • The Cat says:

      Some of our finest are rabid, deluded & clueless! It’s like yearning for an ex-loved one after a painful divorce. Harry has TOO much history, NEEDS Money to manage and is 67 years old!…. Ah, Memories are a wonderful thing!
      But we have a bunch of desperate dreamers here, who want to baby step to disaster!

      I’m willing to hold my hands up and say that the owners (DESPITE Big Sam meeting his remit success on limited budget. Limited budget means limited budget in comparison to other same sized clubs) have the ultimate right to replace the manager IF……….. and thats a Big IF, they have the funds to attract a Top ranked/class manager and IF they have the FUNDS to back him.

      IF they haven’t got that budget to match their ambition, DON’T gamble with the clubs status so close to the stadium move (which could end up two steps back!), stick with and back the man who is currently in charge of a squad that “he” assembled and probably knows what it needs to fulfil the criteria of the fans and chairmen to move this club forward and remain in the premiership for the crucial season.

      It’s common sense really!

  • gill1948 says:

    Apart from possible cost why not laudrup , had Swansea playing great football last year and has an idea for shrewd buys ie michu

  • Ian says:

    Firstly… a well written piece regardless of whether you agree or not.

    Secondly, when everyone talks about whether Sam should stay or go, everyone always harps on about playing style. Yes, i think most West Ham fans would agree, its not been pretty, but as others will argue, he’s done his job, got us promoted and kept us there.

    The real reason Sam should go is in fact managerial negligence…
    1. He started the season with 1 striker. (Maiga – Vaz Te is no striker) Even if Carroll was fully fit, which sane manager would not have at least 4 strikers in the squad? The season was doomed from day one.

    2. Transfers – They have been appalling.
    Downing – 1 goal, 2 assists – Not good enough
    Jarvis – 2 goals, 3 assists – Not good enough
    Carroll – 2 goals from 15 games this season (ok, so we’ll judge him next season when he is fit)
    Borrielo – didn’t play
    Nocerino – He chose not to play him
    Maiga – 3 goals over 2 seasons
    You could argue, that Sam is at his best when he doesn’t spend big with his notable successes being James Collins and Adrian

    3. Growth. As Sam admits himself, his job is to help West Ham grow. Small steps forward. But this season we have gone backwards…
    2012/13 – we finished 10th…. this season 13th
    2012/13 – we got 46 points…. this season 40
    2012/13 – we scored 45 goals… this season 40
    2012/13 – we lost 16 games… this season 20

    4. Lack of any youth promotion. With the exception of the FA Cup debacle (which was again terrible management), there has been no real sign of young players coming through. Chambers, Potts and Lee have seen rare glimpses of the first team, but we are no wiser as to whether they can or will be Premier League players. We’re mid table at under 21 level suggesting we must have some decent talent. Where is it?

    These are just some of the reasons I believe Sam should go. His playing style is what gets Hammers fans annoyed and yes, who wants to pay for unentertaining football, but in actual fact, its his management of the club that I have bigger issues with.

    For the record, my choice of manager to follow Sam would be Glenn Hoddle or Steve Mclaren.

    • ian hill says:

      For me there is only one manager for ‘the 5 year project’ and that’s Slaven Bilic. He’s a West Ham legend. Liked the football he played with Croatia. He has good knowledge of English football, albeit from some time ago. He wears cool suits smokes and is a socialist. What more can you want?

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