Are Allardyce’s men the boys to entertain you? - Yes, says Big Sam!
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce believes the fans have had value for money at Upton Park this season
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce gets a little prickly when you mention the Hammers’ traditional way of playing football.
The flair and swagger of the likes of ‘Budgie’ Byrne, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire and Paolo Di Canio are looked at through claret and blue tinted glasses and it is something that Allardyce has little time for in his current battle to haul the Hammers back into the Premier League.
“It doesn’t make sense to me because all this team did before was lose,” he said earlier in the season.
“I’ve been a manager for 18 years now and not for the life of me would I expect a football fan to accept playing well and losing, rather than playing well and winning, but if unable to play well, then just win.”
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That is certainly what happened against Nottingham Forest on Saturday as two penalties saw the Hammers sneak home by 2-1 and reach the summit of the Championship.
So are West Ham of 2011/12 an entertaining team? Allardyce thinks the answer to that is yes.
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“I think we have entertained really well at home this year, but if we have lost they have said we have been poor,” insisted Allardyce after Saturday’s win.
“So is it entertainment or is it winning? The answer to that is that winning means everything to everybody.
“If you entertain and win as well, then that is what it is all about.”
West Ham’s away form is certainly as effective as it has been for many, many years, but it is their form and play at Upton Park that has come under most scrutiny and criticism.
Certainly when you think of the performances against Cardiff City, Aldershot, Ipswich Town and Bristol City there wasn’t too much entertainment on show, but Allardyce believes that, in general, the home fans have got their money’s worth.
“I don’t see many games here where we haven’t entertained,” insisted Allardyce.
“Forest was a bit of a struggle, but in terms of our domination and our ability to create chances it has always been better than the opposition, apart from probably Ipswich and Cardiff in the opening game.
“Some teams will come here and not allow you to entertain by sitting back and not allowing us to play.”
Goals have been the problem in recent games for West Ham, but Allardyce believes that they still have proven strikers.
“We scored four against Watford, four at Forest, three against Leicester here, four against Portsmouth and Blackpool so we have shown that we can do it,” he said.
“At the moment we are not being quite clinical enough and today we have had to rely on Mark Noble scoring two penalties.”
West Ham have scored 22 goals in 13 home games this season compared to the 24 they mustered in all their matches at Upton Park last season.
Not a bad return and despite the clamour for more entertaining football, for the Hammers to play the West Ham way, if come May, Sam Allardyce’s team are heading back to the Premier League, there will be very few dissenting voices.
Promotion is simply the only thing that matters.