Filed: Tuesday, 12th August 2014
By: Paul Walker
New players, check. Youth being given a chance, check. More attacking approach and new systems, check. Big Sam smiles at us moreÖwell, you canít have everything can you?
Now I know itís easy to be flippant, and clever in hindsight, but please remind me what pre-season friendlies are really for?
You would think that itís Christmas already and we are down at the bottom of the table without a point. Now that would be cause for the wholesale abuse being heaped on everyone at the club from Ms Brady (Iíll get to her in a minute) to the gateman.
But all that has happened is that we have not done too well in our pre-season matches, apart for what I am told was an encouraging display in beating Sampdoria on Saturday, and when a few kids and new faces didnít do too badly.
We should not be getting our knickers in a twist about pre-season results, long distance travelling to the far side of the globe and the now expected injury for poor Andy Carroll. (As I have said before, he didnít get injured on purpose, and itĎs nothing to do with his TOWIE totty.)
At this point I can add that we are not the worst off. Everton have not won a pre-season game yet and I bet there are very few West Ham fans out there who would not like to swap our position with the Merseysiders. And their esteemed manager too, Roberto Martinez.
But I doubt thereís anybody up at Goodison Park calling for the managerís head while roundly abusing players and owners at will.
But such is the now entrenched views of a sizeable amount of our fans who despise everything about BFS and the people who employ him, you would have thought there is a crisis of biblical proportions going on.
Now I have had plenty to say about Big Sam and the way we play and the performances of players. Last season was dire, the entertainment value was not there and we were much nearer a genuine relegation scrap than Sam Allardyce has been prepared to admit.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, we pay for our tickets and have a right to be heard. But the season hasnít started yet, no ball has been kicked in anger and many of the things we were all screaming for are being put into place.
We wanted higher quality players. Enner Valencia and Cheickhou Kouyate seem to fit the bill. We wanted the club to look into the lower divisions for bright, likely lads to be brought to the Boleyn. Diego Poyet and Aaron Cresswell are just that.
A bit of flair was asked for. Mauro Zarate step forward. And we should be trying to acquire young talent from bigger clubs. Carl Jenkinson is just that.
Sam was seemingly asked to change the perception of our club, to produce more attacking style and flair and to improve the quality of the staff. He was also told to be nicer to us and make an effort to get along with fans he once called deluded and then was seen to cup his ear and mock the boo-boys after the truly dreadful win over a ten-man Hull last season.
Now to my mind he still has a bit to do on the PR front as far as we are concerned, the odd smile wouldnít go amiss. But within the framework of our budget, things look to be changing. Blimey, we played two different systems on SaturdayÖÖ3-5-2 and 4-3-3, and the kids were given their head.
So letís just give it a chance, see if things do look better in a few months and see whether we are enjoying it more.
I noticed a piece by Iain Dale on WHTID in which he rounded on the faceless abusers of our players on the internet, where cowards get away with saying stuff they would not dare address to someoneís face. Sometimes when you read threads on fansí forums you wonder why people actually come through the turnstiles any more, so much do they hate everything and everyone.
Every time we sign a player, there is always a long list of people who instantly slag them off, probably when it comes to foreign players having not even seen them playÖand I donít count a few grainy minutes on YouTube.
I agree that some of the pre-season displays were poor, in New Zealand and Germany, as well as Stevenage! But if you look at those squads, they were full of youngsters being given a chance to impress, seniors coming back from injury and new faces looking to find their feet. Nobody should read too much into any of that.
Good grief, people have been calling for BFS to be sacked for losing pre-season friendlies. I ask you! If we are a basket case come November, say, then I would agree. But not yet, give everyone a break.
And come on, now, we have a new member of the House of Lords at the helm. I wouldnít give you a penny for Ms Bradyís political views, but she hasnít done that badly as a woman in the world of business.
I feel that Baroness Brady of Highbury (that, I presume is what she will want to be called when she reaches Westminster) will not be long in her role as our chief executive now she has her eyes on higher office.
And you cannot expect her to want to be called Baroness Brady of Boleyn, young ladies with that name who have aspirations to reach the corridors of power tend to lose their heads.
But she has done what she was asked to do by the Davids. She has the right image to get round the likes of Boris and the PM, and she was the acceptable face of the club in the negotiations for the new stadium move. You cannot see the Tory boys being comfortable negotiating with a couple of ageing porn barons in the wake of the Olympics, so Ms Brady did what she was asked to do.
The same may well, in the end, be said of Big Sam. I know that ĎBFS outí brigade will never change their views or have a good word said about him, and I struggle at times with his abrupt, arrogant approach to anyone who is not a professional in the football industry. We know nothing, you see.
But he might, just might, be building a squad that can take us forward, whether he is buying the players or David Sullivan is. I can hear you all laughing out there, sure. But give it a chance for a few weeks, we need to be united when the real action starts. And that means on Saturday against the hated enemy. Itís happening again, anybody?
If we donít present an intimidating atmosphere and solid support for the team, then things really will go pear-shaped.
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.
comments powered by Disqus