It's fair to say West Ham fans and boss Sam Allardyce have never exactly seen eye-to-eye. When "Big Sam" was appointed manager in the summer of 2011, the majority of fans reacted negatively, claiming that Allardyce would not adhere to the "West Ham way."
Even the chairmen, David Sullivan and David Gold, appeared slightly sceptical of their appointment, only giving the former Bolton and Newcastle boss a two-year deal.
Eighteen months in, Sam now has just half a year left on his current deal, and he has almost certainly surpassed the expectations of both the board and the supporters. Although the club did not achieve automatic promotion from the Championship, Allardyce did what was expected of him: He got West Ham back in the Premier League.
Yet still, fans refused to note his positive influence on the club.
Now half way through the Premier League season, West Ham sit comfortably in eleventh place, having spent nearly all this campaign in the top half of the table. Aided by the outstanding performances of free signings Jussi Jaaskelainen and Mohamed Diame, the Hammers have been the best of the three promoted sides and could yet still push on and fight for a place in Europe.
Led by Allardyce, West Ham have looked a completely different side to the team that graced the Premier League only two seasons ago. Under Avram Grant in the 2010/2011 season, the squad looked weak and gave up on matches far too easily. If not for the influence of Scott Parker, West Ham would have been relegated a lot sooner.
This campaign, the side has battled and fought for results, turning losses and draws into well earned points.
If Gold and Sullivan allowed Big Sam to leave the club come next summer, who realistically is there to take over that would do better?
The club is looking like a top ten finish this season, which for a promoted side is outstanding. Allardyce has got the best out of the current players and has added quality to the squad. Furthermore, he is enjoying himself at West Ham. He is allowed to spend money, work with the team and do what he feels is right.
Fans only need to look at clubs that have sacked him as manager to see why letting him leave is not the right move. When he left Bolton, the club fluctuated in the Premier League before finally getting relegated last season.
He was sacked from Newcastle, and the club got relegated.
He was sacked from Blackburn, and the club got relegated.
It doesn't take a genius to notice the trend here. Allowing Allardyce to step down would be a massive backwards step at this point for West Ham.
The board needs to keep him on and establish the club back in the Premier League. Fans need to be more accepting of Big Sam. Under any of the club's last five managers before Allardyce, who would have realistically led the side to come from 1-0 down to beat Chelsea 3-1?
Now is not the time for Allardyce to leave West Ham. The club needs him more than he needs West Ham.