Where does the West Ham buck stop exactly?

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Sam AllardyceThe result was fully expected on the basis of an appalling last few months, but the lacklustre way in which we allowed Manchester City to make it an attack versus defence training exercise was cause for yet more concern. Even a below par City proved way too smart and pacey for a West Ham team that is so lacking in confidence and spark, it’s painful to observe.

The City canter aside, the run of defeats and sub-standard performances after what was an incredible first third of the season is hard to come to terms with. Those of us well versed in Hammers collapses, be it week-to-week or season-to-season are well used to dealing with the highs (there are some folks, really) and the lows; it’s a West Ham trait that never seems to go away, no matter the manager, the team, or the money spent. But even by claret & blue standards, this fall from grace takes some beating. When some deluded West Ham supporters started talking about qualification for Europe back in October/November, I just shook my head and smiled. Nice as it is to dream, there was never a chance that we would maintain impetus and drive for a full season; history was testimony to that.

It has not been a bad season for injuries by comparison with past campaigns, though the final loss of Carroll, for me, was both a blow in terms of club morale and in terms of style options. Love him or hate him, the big guy knows how to ruffle feathers, and when the lightweight pairing of Valencia & Sakho fails to deliver, a more direct approach at least opens up other doors.

However, I am convinced that the major reason for the collapse lies with the manager; for those who need reminding that’s the bloke who gets paid millions to coach, select, motivate and MANAGE the side. Now Mr Allardyce of late reminds me of a sulky schoolboy who has been denied the last cream bun in the tuck shop. I sit eight rows behind at home games and I can no longer see the top of his  head; if he slumped any lower he would be laying on the ground. You don’t need to be a body language expert to read the man’s mind or inner feelings: arms folded, perma-scowl firmly in place, gum chewing that would put a camel to shame, and a total and utter lack of will or desire to get out in front of the crowd and do his job properly. The only thing missing is a ten foot neon sign on his head that reads “**** you” and points to us, the paying fan!!

Remember the days when he would prowl his technical area like a black cloaked demon, pointing here, yelling there, and doing all but strangle the poor fourth official when things went against us. Yes, there was a glimpse on Sunday when the cameras picked up his Ethiad pitch-rage, but prior to that episode it was mainly the old slump, scowl, and chew routine; he looked tired and bereft of ideas. Shopping with his missus looked like a preferable option for him; he really looked that forlorn.

This is Sam in full revenge mode, make no mistake. How dare the fans and the board and the press express opinions about his abilities. He’s never been relegated as a manager don’t you know ! Nothing he has ever done has been his fault either. Self belief is a great trait, but when it morphs into delusion and feelings of grandeur, then we have problems.

In fairness to Allardyce on a human level, having your bosses clam up on matters regarding your future, and helping to fuel sacking and non-renewal of contract rumours cant be easy to live with on a daily basis. If you employ someone, for as long as they work for you, you need to give them unequivocal public support and backing. I don’t feel that the Davids have perhaps handled things as well as they could have, and the upshot is we have a captain in charge of a sinking ship who is watching the waters lap the deck as the boats owners shuffle around debating whether to throw him a lifeline or not.

From being a season that could have made Irons history, it has turned into a virtual wake as we pay homage to the untimely death of an early season team that looked superb from back to front. Everyone will have there theories and opinions on what went wrong and who is to blame, but the bottom line is yet again, West Ham United have flattered to deceive, have failed to last the course, and have simply choked just as the record books beckoned.

Come August, I would expect a change of manager, and a notable change of playing personnel but the way this club is run dont expect me to stick any money on it.

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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!


  • simon says:

    On the one hand calling fans deluded for dreaming of Europe after our fantastic half a season because long term hardened fans are so used to the ups and downs of a west ham season, and slating the manager for the second half despite losing key players to injury and the ANC and a run of games where we actually played 8 times against top 6 sides – in case you forgot west ham arent top 6 material, no where close, whilst some of our performances were worthy of wins they didn’t come, but Kouyate has covered for CD because we didn have any fit and as it stands now we don’t have a front line to speak of, once again relying on the ever failing CCole to lead us to nowhere – love or hate Sam he has never been relegated, for our first seasons back he did exceptionally well with a very average squad, its only last summer we spent wisely and got a much improved squad which started well but has been brought back to earth in the typical west ham fashion- fact is west ham are a top ten club, top ten recourses, top ten squad and top ten team, we current sit tenth, could have been so much better but its not – Sams biggest issue imo is his tactical approach, he has forged his reputation on a defensive attitude, don’t concede and you cant lose, but this season he started with some attacking formations that really worked well, but he also started to get defensive over our position in the league, because even though we were winning we were leaking goals and conceding poorly – that irked him – we did it without Caroll at the start, he came in and we kept our streak going but Sam also changed tactics to accommodate – once injured Sam didn’t go back to the tactics that worked so well without Caroll, he put Downing out wide and opened up the middle, overworked the midfield and imo thats also why Song has fizzled out and become less influential – just like the players were full of confidence when winning, they now lack it because they are on a bad run, but the more defensive Sam as become as the season has gone on the worse our results and performances have become – injuries are now an issue even though they are nowhere close to as bad as last season – I still think Sam is a good fit for the club for the next 2-3 seasons to keep building, we know we are mid table and not going down, after that we can look to a more progressive manager, I find it mind boggling fans have been calling for his head for 2 seasons now, what they expect from west ham is delusional, Sam has his own style but at the very least he keeps this club in the PL and we have improved since we came back up, and there isnt one fan who would want another relegation at this or any stage regardless of what they say about tolerating just to see Sam leave – id be surprised if Sam wanted a new deal anyway, the media speculation around his future at the club has been rife, fuelling fans hatred of his position yet at the same time asking if West Ham are really sure they can manage without him, who will they bring into replace him to guarantee safety who is good enough to be interested in west ham and further improve the club, and that’s pretty much my point, who exactly, and then what, replace him in 3-4 years when we expect more, its madness, just keep Sam and look at it again when we are ready and need to – but if I was Sam id just leave in the summer, who wants to be constantly criticised and ridiculed for actually doing a job that you really cant expect better league finishes from with the resources hes been given, his style irks many, as many fans keep saying its not the west ham way, although imo the west ham way gets us relegated about every 5-7 years, but hey we look good doing it, but then fans complain when we don’t achieve or of we do the manner in which we do it – there are many factors to this seasons finish, imo Sam just needs to keep his attack minded formations and end the season playing that way, he and the club have nothing to lose, we might finish 8th, we might finish 11th, what does it matter, whether Sam stays or goes is between the owners and him, he already knows he will never endear himself to most fans, why bother keep trying, theres already a host of other clubs that want his services and just to give the safety and stability they crave in the top flight, which is obviously a milestone many hammers fans think we have surpassed – ive been a fan for 50 years, we haven’t got past the same milestone for as long as I can remember, in fact every time we get back to where you thinks it going well, along comes change and soon enough back to square one we go – im not saying be careful what you wish for when it comes to Sam, but i am saying we can still do a lot worse than Sam when it comes to the clubs fortunes, as a lifelong west ham fan experience has at least taught me that. COYI

  • Ken Perry says:

    Bit unfair on the David’s. They can hardly sack BFS until they have a replacement lined up. I certainly do not want the side managed even for one game by super Mac who I believe is even more inept than BFS. Remember these are the two that effectively run the playing side of the club, have overseen the demise of our once famous academy, failed to integrate our best academy players into the first team squad, continue to pick players who are no longer up to standard, are tactically inept etc. I for one can’t wait for the season to end – the football we are being served up is too awful for words.

  • hammer1958 says:

    Finding it very hard not to agree with every single word.
    Our problem goes deeper than inept manager and his antiquated tactics and style of play.
    Giving Noble a 5 year contract sums up our club. No ambition whatsoever. A player who will not get into any of the top 10 sides. Negative. Lacking pace and skill made a permanant fixture in midfield.
    Chasing ball all game does not make a good player.
    If we are to move forward, we need to jetison players like Noble, nolan and cole.
    No squad in the world could include these players and succeed.

  • Ronboy says:

    Not much to add Spencer but like you I thought this performance was as bad as I have witnessed for a long time,leaderless on field and on touch line ,bereft of ideas,spirit and,worst of all unable to put two attacking passes together and numerous episodes of giving the ball away in dangerous positions. Does BS ever coach passing and playing off the ball? It seems to me that even the bottom teams out pass us easily and seem always to have men in open spaces calling for the ball.Is it possible that the BS mindset is so defensive that preventing goals is his reason for living? I like our back four,especially with Tomkins present,but giving opponents so much space and possession is a danger game and one slight slip and we are down! It must be goodbye Sam but Nolan could stay on the coaching staff, if he could be prised apart.

    • evelyn swain says:

      I don’t only blame bs for our trouble I lame the board as well the players say that it doesn’t effect them all the hype about Sam but it must because it effects us the fans and atmosphere stems fom the top down and it seems to me that we are all feeling it they should make a desion and tell us all what’s going on not let it fester for months like this we had it all last season till the dying minutes

  • Beckton Geoff says:

    I to am struggling to disagree with you Spencer, I for one cannot wait for a new manager and then I can go back to going to away games again haven’t been since forest cup game and I am missing it , said no more after that game until they get rid of BFS and ment it , not sure noble deserves them comments he has represented his country so he has something and with the right manager im sure he will show it, as for the two Dave’s they just need to get there heads out of the sand, and shut that Brady bird up to, COYI !!!.

    • Spence55 says:

      Agree Geoff. I dont get the Mark Noble bashing either. Every single week the lad puts in more miles and tackles than the rest of the midfield put together. What more does he need to do ???

  • Ron says:

    Geoff agree with you about Noble and particularly Brady. I imagine that the majority of Hammers core support have originated from the East End and what would this Tory madam know about that sort of background. She wrote recently that she prospered without any state handouts but failed to add that her father was a millionaire.i would be happy for her to continue her politicking on behalf of the Eton Mess and leave the running of our beloved club to those who actually know what they are talking about but they choose to send her out for any public comment that promotes her own image.I wish she would elope with bfs and then we could have real knees up.

  • Brian McFlipper says:

    Haha..Excellent comments Geoff and Ron.

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