West Ham United fans will have to swallow their pride and their principles next season when new boss Sam Allardyce attempts to get the Hammers back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
Big Sam will earn a one million pound bonus – on top of his annual salary of £1.25 million – if he can deliver promotion. And anyone who expects the former Blackburn, Bolton and Newcastle boss to do it playing beautiful football is as deluded as FIFA’s stubborn President Sepp Blatter.
The 56-year-old replaces Avram Grant, sacked minutes after West Ham’s relegation was sealed by a 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic last month. And Allardyce is too long in the tooth to change his footballing philosophy now. But do not underestimate the ability of the experienced boss, who took Bolton into the Premier League and is well equipped to do the same with the Hammers.
“It is an honour to be the new manager of West Ham United. It is a fantastic club with a great tradition and loyal supporters who deserve to be in the Premier League. I can’t wait to begin pre-season training as I am determined to get this club back where it belongs,” says Allardyce.
Can Big Sam deliver at
the Academy of Football?
“I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t think we could bounce straight back into the Premier League. More than that, I wouldn’t have contemplated the job if I didn’t think there was the opportunity to build something substantial at West Ham.”
The board have told Allardyce he has money to spend. But he knows his first test will be to win over Hammmers’ fans worried about the style of play he will adopt.
‘I know there will be West Ham fans asking whether I’m going to abandon the style of play that’s been the club’s heritage over the years,” admits Allardyce who was sacked by Blackburn mid-season because the board wanted to see more entertaining football.
“All I’ll say is it will be a tale of home and away. At Upton Park we’ll attempt to play the kind of passing game the fans want. We will aim to continue in the same way on our travels but we’ll also be tough, hard to beat and utterly resilient.”