West Ham Need More Than Just the Olympic Stadium to Compete with the Elite
The managerial situation at West Ham has been up in the air for some time, but now it appears the club are committing to Sam Allardyce.
The man himself told Sky Sports News:
We both want to do it, it's just a question of sorting out the dotting of the i's and crossing of the t's.
As always, that is not as easy a situation as you would like.
You always have to do some negotiations when you are moving into the next contract, just as there were plenty of negotiations over the first contract.
So we will hopefully come to a conclusion very shortly.
There's been months of speculation that the London club would dispense with his services this summer after guiding them to safety in their return to the English Premier League.
The good news for Allardyce is that appears to be incorrect. The bad news for the fans is that the current boss will in fact continue.
It is ironic that in the same interview, "Big Sam" offers his thoughts on the club's move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016: "We need to move to this new stadium to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham in this world."
Unfortunately, I fear a different thing is needed in combination with the move for West Ham to compete, and that's for the club to employ a manager with the "X-factor" so many of the bigger names possess.
Allardyce is a man who has a proven track record of getting teams promoted, and also keeping teams afloat. He builds similar teams for each project given his knowledge of the situation, but pushing toward the top end of the table has become more and more difficult over the years.
His foray into Europe with Bolton Wanderers was impressive, but that was quite some time ago.
You know what to expect from an Allardyce team, and while fans of the team he manages need not fear relegation, they can't dream of glory either.
No team among England's elite plays like an Allardyce team, and the Dudley-born coach is very predictable in his tactics.
Playing off a big target man and sustaining pressure on the opposition with a constant stream of balls into the box, he will forever be known as a long-ball merchant.
He's tried hard to shed that tag and play some football on the deck in recent years, but his consistent recruitment of peripherals that would suit his old Bolton side give his team an auto-reflex action of lumping it skyward.
Signing Andy Carroll on loan doomed the Hammers to a season of direct football, and keeping Carlton Cole in reserve ensured the continuation of Plan A. Marouane Chamakh on loan? A third-choice striker, but no change in playing style.
Deserved or undeserved, wanted or unwanted, the stigma surrounding Allardyce and his methods will never loosen. As a result, outlandish claims he made about deserving to manage Real Madrid were laughed off in 2010.
Allardyce is tactically inflexible and lacks the personable "wow factor" to lead one of the world's top clubs, and if West Ham find themselves with him at the helm when they move into the Olympic Stadium, they won't be any closer to competing with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
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