It is no secret that a lot of West Ham fans wanted Sam Allardyce gone following a disappointing season for the Hammers, but he will be in charge for at least one more campaign and is to make a number of changes to his backroom staff and style of football.
Known for his direct style of play, Allardyce frustrated fans last season as his side often failed to entertain or gain results. Chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan have insisted that he is the man to take the East London side forward, but they want to see more attacking football. Argentine forward Mauro Zarate has already reportedly agreed to sign on a three year deal, adding pace to a big, strong attacking line. He is traditionally a striker, but can play as a winger, prompting speculation that he will be used out wide rather than alongside Andy Carroll - a less drastic change than expected.
Gold and Sullivan will also have far more of a say regarding transfers this summer, as they look to be more active than just supplying the money. These massive changes are seen by many as fantastic, giving the fans optimism that their side will play attractive football, but also gain results - Hammers fans have always been an optimistic bunch after all. However, it is strange that the chairmen would enforce so many rules and guidelines on a manager who has such a tried and tested style of football, rather than replace him altogether. An obvious reason for this is the reported amount that West Ham would have to pay if they sacked their boss, roughly £3million. Clearly the two Davids believe that money could better be invested in the squad, which isn't entirely wrong. The question is, however, how significant will that £3m be in the long run?
Big Sam will have £20m to strengthen his side this summer, but that seems rather inadequate if he is to transform a solid, experienced and defensive side into a young attacking side (Ravel Morrison being the only player under 25 in the first team last season). West Ham certainly don't need any more experience, although the older players in their team are only experienced in playing for teams similar to the Hammers. It appears that a little more is needed than just a decision to play attacking football and a squad overhaul is required. A number of fringe players need to be sold before they are worthless, such as Modibo Maiga, Matty Taylor and, although it pains Hammers fans to say it after his playoff final winning goal, Ricardo Vaz Te. Perhaps if these players were offloaded then the co-owners would have raised the money needed to terminate Allardyce's contract early, but that's a different idea altogether.
Hammers fans will no doubt play a huge part next season, as their frustration towards Big Sam was clear, particularly towards the end of the campaign when thousands participated in an online poll and the majority wanted him out. If West Ham don't hit the ground running next season, fans will almost certainly get on his back right away and Gold and Sullivan will then have an even bigger decision, as replacing a manager mid-season is not always a straightforward move, just ask Norwich, Cardiff and Fulham fans.
The fact of the matter is, a manager who prides himself on his style of football is going to have to change entirely, with a squad geared up to play his way, using a relatively small budget in the context of the Premier League. It could happen, of course, but in reality, David Gold and David Sullivan have asked a lot of a manager who, in the past, has shown very little in the way of change and it is confusing as to why they have done so instead of just finding a more suitable replacement.
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