So Sam Allardyce appears to be living to fight another day after West Ham’s dramatic collapse at the City Ground, Nottingham on Sunday. Many owners and chairmen may have seen fit to make a managerial change there and then, whether this reaction would’ve been knee-jerk or not is another argument but West Ham’s co-owners have publicly shown their support for Big Sam with a message on the club’s official website.
The fact that West Ham’s exit from the FA Cup to a Championship side (who also made changes to their line-up) was unsurprising to many highlights just how much of a slump they find themselves in. Even if West Ham had been at full strength, they would’ve still found it difficult to beat Forest. In all honesty, it’s difficult to see them winning any games any time soon.
However, the main reason behind West Ham’s plight can’t be blamed on Allardyce. As David Gold and David Sullivan mentioned in their message, he was down to the bare bones in terms of the availability of his players with a squad of just 14 to choose from at the weekend. Injuries have decimated the Hammers this season and none of these have been as well-documented as that of Andy Carroll, the club’s record signing and main source of goals. Inevitably, any side without their main man in front of goal will struggle but this has worsened due to the fact that, for the majority of the season, Allardyce has been forced to play without a recognised striker.
Frankly there isn’t any manager in the world that would be able to completely reverse the Hammers’ fortunes given these problems. No manager should be punished for unfortunate circumstances which are beyond his control. Therefore I find it refreshing to see Gold and Sullivan publicly keeping their faith in Allardyce, in complete contrast to the shambolic state of affairs which unfolded at Cardiff.
Whereas most of their relegation rivals have already changed their managers, it’s arguable whether or not their decisions have paid off. In all honesty, West Ham’s chances of survival are going to be no different whether they decide to keep Big Sam or replace him. Therefore, there’s surely no need to sack him at this point. The only time when his position can be called into question is if he fails to significantly add to his squad in January as this is a factor which is in his control, unlike all the others which I’ve already alluded to. This coming month will be key to their chances as the squad is in dire need of being bolstered.
If West Ham, as a club, make all the right moves from now until the end of the season they should stay up. I say this because of all the teams in danger of relegation, West Ham are one of the most well-equipped sides to deal with a battle like this. They have a strong squad (when everyone is fit) and they have a manager who knows exactly how to scrap for points. This should give them an edge during the second half of the season. Many West Ham fans are losing patience with him due to his style of football but with their current predicament, attractive football isn’t the priority. It’s called a relegation battle for a reason. Clubs involved in it need to show battling qualities or otherwise they will not survive. Under Big Sam this won’t be an issue.