Filed: Thursday, 19th December 2013
By: Paul Walker
David Sullivan got the sort of result and performance he no doubt feels justify his claims that if West Ham were looking for a new manager, Sam Allardyce would be the sort of person they would want in a mounting relegation crisis.
Our co-chairman was given all the ammunition he needs to ride out the storm over Allardyceís tenure as manager with that remarkable 2-1 League Cup win at Spurs.
I feel now you can write off any thoughts of the axe falling on Big Sam after such a morale-boosting triumph at White Hart Lane, certainly unexpected by anyone who witnessed Saturdayís turgid, feeble display against Sunderland. Only shame really is that it wasnít another league game because points are more important than cup wins to us at the moment.
Now we all have to pray that we can get something at Manchester United on Saturday and then against Arsenal on Boxing Day before the more winnable games at home to West Brom and then away to Fulham on New Years day arrive.
The euphoria of another victory at Spurs - getting too easy, isnít it? - will be swept away, I fear, when reality bites again in our next two matches.
But letís be happy for small mercies. Actually, if you read the coverage after the win at Spurs, you would be forgiven for thinking we were not really there. It was all about Spursí downfall, Tim Sherwoodís chances of being manager (not a hope with Daniel Levy wanting another fantasy manager) and the shambles that is now White Hart Lane.
Do we really care about all that? So it is worth underlining what a very good win it was for our lot in the circumstances. Sam says he had 16 fit players, with James Tomkins clearly failing a fitness test as he was not even on the bench.
Then there was the little problem of having three full-backs in our back four, and George McCartney as a central defender alongside James Collins. Both were outstanding on the night.
Then we had the rare opportunity of seeing Alou Diarra in a starting line-up (only his sixth) since he joined at the beginning of last season. And the big Frenchman did very well in a holding role.
Our Spanish goalkeeper Adrian was excellent and Jack Collison produced another high-energy display. All this has generally gone unnoticed in what has became a Spurs wake in the national media. And of course we had the even more unlikely situation of Modibo Maiga scoring, Matt Jarvis too, only his fourth for the club.
All in all, Sam threw together one of the weakest sides we have fielded this season and they showed spirit and effort for the cause. That is what Sullivan was talking about when he praised the sort of professionalism that Sam provides in a crisis.
Now Sam is cute (no not like that, even his old lady must feel the grizzled old groaner has gone past the cute stage by now) and he may feel he can utilise a few of the cup heroes at Old Trafford on Saturday. We are not expected to get anything, so why not give Adrian a run out, as well as Diarra?
If Adrian can produce a miracle performance, there could be a point in it for us. And you never know how long it will be before Diarra gets injured again, so why not play him now?
After the win at Spurs, both probably feel they deserve another crack. Getting the best out of a job lot of our fringe players was the requirement, and the result unexpected. The sack race stuff seems to wash over Sam, and the fact that emerged on Thursday that he is one of the highest paid managers in the world just underlines why.
Letís face it. He is a very, very rich man with business interests in Dubai and elsewhere, and he doesnít need to work. If we sack him, he will care because it will hurt his pride, but financially itís not an issue.
Not say for someone like David Flitcroft who was axed by Barnsley and jumped straight into a new job at Rochdale. He, like many others in the lower divisions, does need the money.
If Sam leaves West Ham, someone, somewhere, will give him a job. Heís a fire-fighter and a tough as old boots realist. None of that, however, will appease the many West Ham fans who were brought up on the fine traditions of our past.
But thatís the way it is. Sullivan got the performance he needed to justify his backing for the manager. Now we will see Sam working through the transfer window trying to bring in new faces and no doubt sell a few too.
He now has three cup ties in January, only one - at Nottingham Forest - where anyone gives us a dogsí chance. Manchester City home and away could be very painful, and it is not as if they have the Champions League to distract them again until February.
City are averaging over four goals per home gameÖ as Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal have discovered, as well as Norwich. But on their travels they are not as predictable, even over-cocky to be honest.
If we can just survive the away leg without being massacred, maybe, just maybe, we can do to them what Cardiff and Sunderland have managed against them on their own patches. You never know. And by then Andy Carroll will be back and maybe another new striker could be in the squad. You can always hope.
But just for now, letís bask in another humiliation for Spurs. Itís worth it just to see Levyís face (but donít expect him to sell us anyone in the window!)
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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