May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Sam Allardyce feels West Ham have made “massive progress” in a short time, but warned there is still hard work ahead if the club want to establish themselves in the Premier League and be playing at a packed-out Olympic Stadium.
The Irons have been away in Dubai for some warm-weather training this week as Allardyce looks to rejuvenate his squad for the closing 12 matches of the campaign, which continues with the visit of Tottenham on Monday, February 25.
With a seven-point cushion over the bottom three, no-one at Upton Park can rest easy just yet.
As the club prepares for a new era which could see them take up tenancy at the Olympic venue in August 2015, Allardyce knows the club must continue to show the same determination which saw them secure promotion back up to the top flight at the first time of asking last May.
Speaking to United Arab Emirates-based daily sports newspaper Sport360, Allardyce said: “They [the board] gave me a two-year period to (get promoted) and I did it in the first year and that was a massive achievement.
“We are 11th with 12 games to go and only need at the very, very maximum 10 points from the last 12 games to make sure we are safe. The progress has been massive in a short period of time.”
Allardyce continued: “There is this huge massive-looking Olympic Stadium which is going to be converted and if that is going to be converted into a football arena, it will be one of the biggest in the country, then West Ham needs the players to be established in the Premier League if they want to fill it.”
Hammers’ co-chairman David Gold confirmed any talks over a new contract for Allardyce, who took over from Avram Grant in June 2011, will have to wait until Premier League survival has been assured.
Allardyce, though, maintains he will not let that distract him from the job in hand.
He added: “We said we will deal with the contract when we are safe in the Premier League.
“It is as much my choice as it is theirs. We have come together and we are both comfortable with the decision.”
Midfielder Mark Noble feels the squad will be refreshed after their short change of scene and ready to tackle Spurs.
He said on the club’s official website, www.whufc.com: “After the two seasons we have had, playing three games a week in the Championship, getting promoted and the start we had to the Premier League season, the manager believes a break and the sun will do us good.
“We will enjoy it but will work hard, train hard and be ready for Spurs.”
West Ham will use the Tottenham fixture to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of former defender and England captain Bobby Moore, who died aged 51 from bowel cancer.
On Sunday February 24, a commemorative wreath will be laid at the Heroes statue, of Moore and his fellow West Ham World Cup winners, near the Boleyn Ground.
There will also be a minute’s applause ahead of kick-off at the Monday night match, where the likes of former team-mates Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst and Sir Trevor Brooking will attend.
Supporters in the Bobby Moore Stand will help display a special mosaic depicting his number six shirt, which was retired by the club in August 2008, 50 years after the defender’s club debut.
Donations from programme sales will also be made to the Bobby Moore Fund, with supporters also able to contribute via collection buckets at the stadium.