Sam Allardyce helped turn a miserable start into a respectable campaign for West Ham, and in the end, it was enough to keep his job.
Reported by West Ham's official website on Tuesday, the club has opted not to part ways with the 59-year-old manager, despite the widespread expectation that he was on his way out of Upton Park:
West Ham United can confirm that manager Sam Allardyce will lead the Club into the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season after constructive talks with the Club's Board.
The Board and Allardyce have held lengthy and detailed discussions on the Club's direction, values and philosophy and a positive way forward for next season has been agreed.
After listening to feedback from supporters, the Board have insisted on improvements to the set-up of the playing and backroom staff to ensure the team provides more entertainment next season.
The manager has agreed to recruit a new attacking coach to complement the existing coaching set-up as well as an overhaul of the Club's scouting and recruitment operation that will see the Board have a greater involvement in the players who are signed, as the Board will once again be investing considerable funds into the Club this summer. The Club have made clear that they want to see progression on the pitch and at least a top-ten finish as a result.
The statement appears to suggest Allardyce's stay of execution is dependent on him delivering a more attacking brand of football at Upton Park next season.
West Ham got off to a miserable start, and relegation was beginning to look like a realistic fate midway through the campaign. However, the Hammers eventually turned things around, finishing with 40 points, good enough for 13th in the league.
The club clearly expected better from Allardyce, though, and five losses in the final six matches of the campaign made it nearly impossible for him to stay employed through the summer.
However, it appears Allardyce has convinced his employers to remain loyal.
Allardyce joined West Ham in June 2011. The Hammers were fresh off a last-place finish and relegation to the Championship, but the veteran boss was more than up to the task of resurrecting the club.
Right decision by West Ham?
He led them to a third-place finish and a victory in the Championship playoff, securing promotion back to the Premier League in his first season. In 2012-13, West Ham tallied 46 points and finished 10th in England, marking their best campaign since 2008-09.
With the signing of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing in the summer of 2013, expectations to build off that success were high. But Allardyce crashed and burned to start the campaign.
Through 20 matches, the Hammers secured just 15 points, falling into 19th place in the table and in danger of once again being relegated. A series of successive embarrassing defeats—5-0 at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and 6-0 to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup—in early January only added to the panic in east London.
In fairness to Allardyce, he had to deal with injuries to a slew of key players, including Carroll, and in an open letter on Jan. 6, via Dominic Fifield of The Guardian, chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold admitted Allardyce had been "handed a near impossible task."
"We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club," the letter said.
Allardyce rewarded their faith, guiding West Ham out of danger from relegation and keeping them in the Premier League.
However, West Ham fans want more from their club, and mere survival will not keep Allardyce in his job much longer. Judging by the club statement, the Hammers can expect a more attacking outfit next term.
Allardyce said on the club's website: "I look forward to taking the Club forward and improving the squad for next season to try and achieve the plans we have set out in our very productive meeting last week."
He will first be judged by the type of player he signs this summer. No longer will power and strength be accepted it seems. Allardyce must show he can do with West Ham what he once achieved at Bolton, when the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo helped Wanderers entertain on their way to an eighth-place Premier League finish.