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Echoes: May

Filed: Friday, 6th June 2014
By: Staff Writer

Over the course of the past nine months, KUMB Editor Graeme Howlett has been writing a weekly diary for Echo newspapers.

Condensed into a month-by-month account of the 2013/14 campaign, today we take a look back at May - a month of fans polls and general dissatisfaction...

May 2nd

This week, 16 independent West Ham websites and blogs joined forces to conduct a poll regarding the future of Sam Allardyce. 13,000 West Ham supporters responded with an overwhelming majority - 78% - calling for Big Sam to be replaced this summer.

Even though the poll was conducted on the back of four consecutive defeats - and that 65% of voters admitted to attending no more than a few games per season, at most - it was nevertheless a stark warning that the supporters are unhappy with the fayre they've been served this season.

In his defence, Allardyce has been severely hamstrung by injuries - none more critical than the absence of record signing Andy Carroll for six months. Despite this, he still managed to mastermind two memorable wins at White Hart Lane plus a run to the semi finals of the Capital One Cup.

Yet even though he essentially threw both cups in order to allow his fit, first team players time to recuperate for vital Premier League fixtures, West Ham find themselves going into the penultimate weekend of the season still not mathematically safe from relegation.

And that, to many supporters, is simply unacceptable.

The relationship between Allardyce and West Ham's fans has always been strained and he has often found himself at odds with the paying public. Dismissing the club's traditions - as he did when first joining the club - is one thing is you're getting results, but will be used against you when the chips are down.

The recent ear-cupping episode - his ill-advised response to booing at the end of the home win over Hull didn't help much either. Nor did once referring to fans who demanded a more fluid, passing game as "deluded".

It's often said that once the players lose faith in their coach, the end is nigh. Yet as the KUMB Podcast's Chris Scull remarked this week: "People talk about losing the dressing room, but it's equally important not to lose the fans. And I think Big Sam has done just that."

Still despite personal issues, concerns over a perceived style of football and the romantic notion of a 'right' way to play the game, what ultimately costs managers their jobs are bad results. With seven defeats from the last nine games - and Tottenham plus Manchester City to come - Allardyce's is hanging by a thread.

May 9th

Due to a computer-generated quirk of fate West Ham United's players find themselves involved in the Premier League title showdown this weekend as the 2013/14 season reaches its climax with a trip to Champions elect Manchester City.

Sadly it won't be the Hammers with a stake in the title race (well, there's always next year) but playing cannon fodder to the Citizens will at least heighten interest and raise the stakes in an otherwise mundane, end-of-season stroll in the park.

Although the odds will be heavily stacked against them, West Ham do of course have history where upsetting the Mancunian apple cart is concerned. 19 years ago it was United, not City who needed to beat the Hammers on the final day in order to stand a chance of winning the Premiership.

With title rivals Blackburn beaten at Liverpool, Alex Ferguson's side simply had to win at Upton Park to pip Rovers to the crown. However an inspired performance from goalkeeper Ludo Miklosko helped secure a 1-1 draw for the Irons and sent the title to Ewood Park instead.

If that snippet of history isn't enough to fray a few City nerves, the memory of their last-gasp championship win two seasons ago - when they relied on two goals in injury time to beat another London side, QPR - will no doubt be playing on a few players' minds come Sunday afternoon too.

As West Ham can't finish any higher than their current 12th position my ideal result this weekend would probably be a draw, so that both sets of fans can enjoy a big party at the final whistle. Those loyal City fans who stood on the Kippax and endured the toughest of times before striking oil deserve every bit of their current success.

* Most West Ham fans would have bitten your arm off back in August had you offered them a Cup semi final, 12th place in the Premier League and three wins over Tottenham this season. Yet Sam Allardyce's suitability for the job continues to be an issue for many supporters - and for some inside the club too.

Whether he survives pre-season or not remains to be seen, but if it's under Sam or a successor I look forward to bringing you more on the Hammers here in the Echo again next season. Until then, have a great summer - and come on you Irons!

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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