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    Hungry Hammer 66
    Hungry Hammer 66
    Boot Cleaner

    Posts : 366
    Join date : 2012-08-26
    Age : 53
    Location : Enniscorthy, Ireland

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    Post  Hungry Hammer 66 on Wed 21 May 2014, 7:20 pm

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    By Tony McDonald[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    At the risk of adding to a “cesspit of negativity”, as Iain Dale refers to those of us who don’t much want to “suck it up and just get on with it” and depressed though I am, I couldn’t let the latest debacle in the club’s recent history pass without comment and some tongue-in-cheek analysis.
    For me, the board’s decision to start next season with Big Sham still in charge is one we will all live to regret and is another opportunity to revamp the club missed. This stay of execution is merely delaying the inevitable and the problem will be so much harder to address when, as I suspect, he is finally shown the door before the end of 2014.
    In short, what Tuesday’s official statement from the club basically translates to is: ‘While we were in the Championship and then trying to get past the first season back in the Premier League, we couldn’t give a monkey’s how the manager did it or what the fans thought about it. Now we’ve realised that at this rate, we’ll be taking only around 4,000 season ticket holders to the Olympic Stadium. But we’ll wait until he’s actually into the final year of his contract, so we can get rid of him on the cheap’.
    For those of you out there who like pictures and few words, perhaps you might want to leave this page now and react disparagingly without bothering to read on. For those who want to hang around a while longer, let’s attempt to cut through the crap, delve a bit deeper into the co-owners’ statement and try and read between blurry lines with – yes, OK – a degree of justified cynicism . . .
    (Words which appear below in the lighter font are reproduced from the statement. Those in bold are my personal interpretation, mere speculation and have no basis in fact):

    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.

    Our lawyers have looked very closely at the small print of Sam’s fat, juicy contract – after all, let’s not forget, we did make him the 13th highest paid manager in world football this year – and, much as it pains us to admit this, we can’t quite find a way to sack him and his staff without having to cough up £5m, which we are naturally very loathe to do. So we’re afraid you’ll have to be put up with this rubbish for a bit longer. You see, we have foolishly allowed our manager and his agent friend to become so influential over the players we sign and release that we cannot extricate ourselves from this mess as easily as you may think without causing a massive upheaval. But don’t worry, we’ve come up with a cunning plan that will hopefully force him to walk away at relatively little cost to the club. Oh, and we’re praying that there will again be three teams even worse than us next season.

    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.

    We know full well that almost 78 per cent of 12,000-plus supporters recently voted for us to get rid of Sam. Of course we are aware of these facts. But we’re going to totally ignore them and hope that you’ll soon forget the absolute garbage you have been overcharged for this past season (and beyond, if any of you can remember back that far and put aside for a minute that we beat Spurs three times last season) and renew your season tickets all the same. Come on, you suckers are claret and blue through and through, right? ‘West Ham Till I Die’ and ‘Moore Than A Football Club’ and all that? Anyway, we are not totally ignoring the opinions and wishes of you, our loyal supporters. We always carefully consider all views expressed through the SAB and you may be surprised to know, we agreed wholeheartedly with their independent findings, which – surprise, surprise – very much coincide with our own. Fear not. Although we know absolutely nothing about the actual playing side of a football club, please believe us when we say we are totally on Sam’s case from now on. We’re definitely turning the screws and calling the shots here. You’ll absolutely love what we’ve got lined up for your joyous entertainment next season, so be sure to get those season ticket renewals in quickly and remember that we are all in this together. In the meantime, we’ll continue to encourage our good friends in the media to link us with a preposterously ludicrous string of world class names who would never be seen dead at Upton Park. There’s nothing quite like a few ‘West Ham are chasing (insert name of any World Cup 2014 player)’ tabloid reports to boost ST sales and loosen the pockets of those gullible fans.

    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.

    As we readily admit, we have never coached nor managed a football club at any level, let alone in the Premier League, but you will appreciate that we are very successful business people in our own right and have the club very much at heart. We seriously believe that we are expertly qualified to give our manager, who has 25 years of experience at his job, the best possible advice when it comes to identifying problems on the field and appointing important assistant coaching staff. In this respect, we are delighted to say that our trusted adviser Barry Silkman tells us that we shall shortly expect to be interviewing Kevin Davies, John Fashanu and Mick Harford for the new role, with Iain Dowie and John Radford also shortlisted, while Savio and Maiga insist they still have something to bring to the party on the attacking front, too. As regards player recruitment and scouting policy, the manager has kindly agreed to at least consider some players who are not currently under the Mark Curtis banner. The way we see it, we’re in a win-win situation: by undermining Sam in such an obvious way, we’re banking on him throwing in the towel and walking away. And if our leopard really does change his spots and starts to produce the kind of scintillating football we all hope for next season . . . OK, we admit, even we don’t really believe this can or will happen.

    The Club have made clear that they want to see progression on the pitch and at least a top-ten finish as a result. West Ham United Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said: ‘We have a very clear vision of how we want West Ham United to operate under our joint ownership. Although not everybody understands the West Ham Way, we do and we respect it as we have been supporters all our lives. We believe this is about a philosophy that is not just about the style of play, but the whole ethos that surrounds the Club’.

    To be honest, as you already know, we don’t really have much of a clue what the ‘West Ham Way’ is either – and the man we appointed certainly doesn’t. Sure, we know all about the visionary manager John Greenwood, the White Horse Whisky Final and didn’t we win some old tin trophy about 50 years ago? (Note: We really must remember to invite those old dinosaurs to a game some day and show them just how well we like to look after our never-to-be-forgotten heroes.). With the benefit of hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea to have made our ‘clear vision’ and the ‘ethos’ of the club crystal clear to the manager before we actually gave him the job. But, to be honest, we assumed – rightly, as it’s turned out – that you would all keep coming along and paying your hard-earned money anyway, regardless of how poor the entertainment value has been. You certainly seem to have fallen for it so far, although one or two of you have been getting a bit pesky lately, hence this appeasing statement. (By the way, please note the new signage above the turnstiles at the Boleyn Ground next season. The entrances for home fans will be clearly marked ‘Cattle’, ‘Sheep’ and ‘Mugs’. We continue to welcome you all.) Rest assured, we have now read up on the club’s history and traditions and we have passed this enlightened information on to our man Sam, too. We’re talking ethos, philosophy and style here. We get it. Allardyce is being ordered to completely change a playing style that he has stuck to rigidly for his entire managerial career. Not only that, but we expect him to do it in the space of six weeks when the squad returns for pre-season, add backroom staff that he doesn’t want, and most probably some players that he hasn’t even signed. In other words, we’ve set him a near-impossible task.

    Sam was asked to give us a detailed presentation on his vision for next season and during this he assured us that he can deliver that ethos to West Ham United and we have agreed to support him with the resources that he needs. We have mapped out a way forward with him that will ensure our much-deserving fans have more to cheer about next season.

    Actually, we all fell asleep during the presentation and the screen we watched it on wasn’t really as tall as it could have been, because the ball kept disappearing from view. But hey, Sam has promised us he will be working very closely with the players to ensure even more clean sheets. A ball will be introduced to coaching sessions on Wednesdays, too, so that should really help the players to get a feel for things ahead of the weekend’s action. They have also pledged to spend at least 10 minutes per week practicing set-pieces from now on, although Mark Noble has questioned the whole concept of the little known term ‘practice’. The most positive thing to come out of our last meeting with Sam was his Wenger-esque vision for achieving an ambitious target of 35 per cent possession in at least a quarter of our games next season, which we hope you’ll agree is a considerable improvement.

    We should also stress, though, that while improvements do need to be made, Sam deserves credit for the job he has done thus far after securing promotion in his first year and two respectable Premier League finishes in the two years thereafter.

    We really had to slot this in somewhere, just to keep Sam’s legal people happy, you understand? Didn’t want them possibly counter-attacking (probably not the appropriate phrase where Sam’s concerned) with a constructive dismissal claim, did we? After all, you can only go so far in undermining a manager.

    We have also seen the likes of Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Winston Reid all make huge progress under his management, which in turn contributed to our impressive record of 14 clean sheets last season.

    OK, so anyone who knows even the slightest thing about the game knows that Mark is really no more than a journeyman midfielder who passes the ball sideways and backwards five yards, creates very few chances and scores even fewer goals (other than penalties). But who else can we crow about? You all love him because he’s ‘one of our own’ and will always be quick to overlook his obvious deficiencies. And the way young James performed in extra-time in Brentwood High Street last season . . . well, if Roy Hodgson won’t take him to Brazil, then it’s his and the nation’s loss. If we could cash in by selling both our young English stars and Winston to one of the top six clubs, we would – but no top Premier League clubs want them anyway.

    The truly historic opportunity of a move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 forms a major part of our five-year strategy to take this Club forward and, while we have a duty to make sure we stay in the Premier League, we also want to make sure the performances on the pitch will befit a team playing in such a world-renowned stadium.

    One way or the other, we confidently expect Sam to be gone six or eight games into next season. Realistically, there’s no way he’ll put up with his revised terms of reference or be capable of abandoning his ultra-cautious, negative, route one approach in favour of the new swashbuckling style we are demanding from him. Who knows, he may even beat Glenn Roeder’s record of being sacked three games into the new season if our new attacking coach doesn’t produce a few 5-4 cliffhangers for us all to enthral over. Who will we get in as Sam’s replacement? We clearly haven’t thought that far ahead but, obviously, he will be a limited, cheap option, someone no other Premier League club wanted, and we’ll entrust him with the basic brief of keeping us in the Premier League at all costs. Besides, it won’t matter much who we get in as his replacement or how the team plays – we’ll have banked all the season ticket money by then, whether you turn up or not.

    We are absolutely committed to taking West Ham United to new heights and we want to see the Club continue on an upward trajectory next season.

    As Sam constantly reassured us in his detailed presentation, not every ball aimed at Andy Carroll next season will be ‘on an upward trajectory’.

    The 2014/15 campaign is crucial to our future and we are confident that Sam has the passion, experience and determination to make sure it is a success.

    ‘Passion, experience and determination’, we said. Did we say he had vision, tactical nous and flexibility, makes astute use of substitutions or is clever transfer market operator who never pays over the top for a player, too? No, we most certainly did not mention those elusive qualities. See, we’re learning.

    West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce said: “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.”

    Sam’s legal advisers insisted on us inserting this final paragraph into our new bullish statement of intent. He was so delighted that we brought the club’s attacking, entertaining ethos to his attention after three years here at the helm that, as he says, it’s like a new awakening for him. Let’s face it, if we do try and exert more influence over player recruitment and poke our noses in by telling him how to manage and set up his team tactically, he is bound to throw his toys out of the pram and walk away eventually. If he and the new attacking coach fail miserably after all our shrewd advice, he can always blame us and walk away with his proud record as the supreme advocate of 19th century ‘football’ in tact. See you soon and don’t forget to renew those season tickets . . .
    Some weeks ago, while still counting the days to Big Sham’s departure, some posters on here threw back at me the wearisome and predictable “well, who else can we get? Who’s out there?’ line, as if decent football coaches don’t exist beyond Dover. One of the names I put forward as possessing the kind of calibre and pedigree our board should be looking at was Celta Vigo’s Luis Enrique . . . the same man Barcelona appointed as their new coach just two days ago. Of course, we couldn’t possibly have competed with Barca for Enrique but you get my drift? I bet the denizens of Camp Nou are looking forward to the start of the new season a whole lot more than most West Ham fans are.
    Now that all the speculation surrounding BS has subsided, at least temporarily until our tactical genius returns to the dug-out in August and we are doomed to another period of torture, let’s remember Iain Dale’s words and decide where we stand on the issue of Allardyce. To all of you who renew season tickets or pay at the gate expecting to see a spectacle, don’t come on here or Twitter whinging and disappointed that nothing has changed.

    *Tony McDonald is editor of the long-established retro EX magazine. To find out more visit [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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    Posts : 1601
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    Post  JulianDicksLeftKnee on Thu 02 Oct 2014, 1:08 pm

    So bitter.

    Gold has played football at a higher level (I guess) than this writer (albeit 60 years ago)

    We'd love to be Barcelona but never will and survival is the name of the game before progress. Early days but now seeing some in footballing terms. No good being the prettiest team in League 2 (presuming the club exists at that point)

    I agree about Noble though!

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