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Allardyce: a Bolton fan speaks

Filed: Monday, 30th May 2011
By: Staff Writer

With Sam Allardyce set to be confirmed as West Ham United's 14th full-time manager, we decided to take the opportunity to examine some of the more obvious fears regarding the former Bolton manager's tactical approach to the game.

We asked KUMB.com member Troughie, a Bolton fan who watched his team finish in the top eight of the Premier League on four successive occasions under Allardyce for his thoughts. This is what he had to say...

"I can’t help thinking that some of you are missing the point. Allardyce’s success at Bolton was not down to playing long ball football. It was the way midfield was organised that was key.

It wasn’t about bullying, or being 'physical', but denying the opposition space to play. Every player knew his job and they bought into what he wanted – excellent man manager that he is. Kevin Davies gets a lot of stick, but he sacrificed his natural game to give the boss what he required.

We were quite happy to let the likes of Spurs mess about with the ball on the half way line, but once they got into the final third there was nowhere for them to go. We beat them in the league six times on the bounce. Fancy a bit of that? Or how about Arsenal being so demoralised they were done before a ball was kicked?

Although I have read some some interesting points here on KUMB they are those of an outsider, without a real understanding of my club. The debt position was stable when Allardyce left - it’s only deteriorated since. True, he left a small and aging squad, but that was down to a chairman who thought that Sam could continue to work miracles on a miniscule transfer budget.

As for not shooting outside the box? That was a joke by Kevin Nolan, that got picked up by the press and manipulated.

Sam, a short term manager? Seven straight seasons in the Premier League, four consecutive top eight finishes, two seasons out of three qualifying for Europe. I reckon you’d like some of that short term stuff. He was also responsible for getting the new academy facilities built. Not that there has been much return for that so far, but the investment has been made.

Neither the fans, players or the owner at Newcastle got what Sam is about, but he still left with them in a higher position than they’d finished the previous season.

West Ham fans may witter on all they want about 'the West Ham Way' but the only time I’ve seen you play passing football at the Reebok was under Gianfranco Zola in his first season. You still got beat (although on that day I’m still not sure how.)

The question is, will Sam want to come to West Ham? Thanks to Newcastle he doesn’t need to work again. He’ll want a big backroom staff and a long term commitment. If he does, he’ll get you promoted. He did with us, winning fifteen games away from home on the way.

Some Bolton supporters are jaundiced against Allardyce because of the way he left. He’s not the nicest man and he has a giant ego. But that shouldn’t detract from the extraordinary job he did at the Reebok."

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.

Your Comments

by Pete Richards
04:32PM 31st May 2011
''Same old, same old. When we've got Premier League mid-table mediocrity -it's not good enough. When we haven't, we would sacrifice anything to have it! Right now most of us would happily settle for Pardew, Curbishley or Zola.

I can't imagine Allardyce has any particular love of West Ham, he'll just be looking for one final big pay-out. I doubt if he still has the hunger and drive to recreate what he achieved at Bolton again. In any case, I don't think many Hammers fans would be happy for their club to become a Bolton clone. Having said that, Allardyce should be able to get West Ham promoted with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back.''

by ohiohammer
01:17PM 31st May 2011
''I just want to win. I want to be in Europe. I want to celebrate most weekends instead of being miserable because we lost yet again. I don't care if he plays long ball, short ball, hide the ball or good old fashioned Hammers counter attack, down the wing football as long as we have something to cheer for. The last few years have been absolutely miserable and winning is the only thing that matters at this point.

Once we get back to the Prem and build a solid squad we'll address the run of play but until then just bloody get me three points as much as humanly possible!''

by Hammer 50
09:34AM 31st May 2011
''I wanted Sam here, after reading this i really do! We have not played good football for a very long time, just the odd game here and there. The defence has been poor for a very long time, he will sort this. The midfield just stand and watch, he will sort this and our shot-shy forwards will be replaced with players that will score. WE ARE GOING UP!''

by Blimey
08:28AM 31st May 2011
''The article makes good sense, and I'm at least willing to give Fat Sam a season to prove his value.

Regarding criticism of Curbs' dreary negative football. Sorry mate, but during that season (I saw 30+ games) we were comfortably mid-table; solid but unspectacular. BUT remember, he had at least 10 first team regulars out injured the entire season, and we were fifth in the table when he left.

I'd welcome Alan Curbishley back as West Ham manager any day.''

by Kayahammer
03:00AM 31st May 2011
''The thing that bothers me about Sam is not his ability to wear expensive clothes and make them look like they were on the hanger of a local Bolton charity shop less than an hour before, or the fact that he moans like an old woman with hemorrhoids, or that he sounds like an extra from 'Open All Hours', it's the resounding fact that watching his teams makes you want to punch him in the face repeatedly.

The stop/start, break up the momentum nonsense. Any free kick sees the game held up for half a minute or more while the CBs trot forward, or the playing for throw-ins in the corners, then waiting while the CBs trot forward for the inevitable long throws, or the winging it in the box looking for knock downs and defensive errors. I can't remember a Bolton goal under Allardyce that wasn't scrambled or poked in, let alone anything from outside the six-yard box.

I despair at the Davids' lack of ambition. Too many are deluded into thinking that we'll sacrifice football for promotion. It is not a cert by any means, and we'll be stuck in the Championship playing long ball that defenders can deal with all day. Ho hum.''

by '64 '75 '80
12:21AM 31st May 2011
''While this viewpoint from a Bolton fan seems reassuring, I would rather hear from a Blackburn fan about his tenure there. After all, this was his most recent job and one where he had a more limited squad (and budget) than at Bolton, a situation he is likely to find repeated at West Ham.

by Pablo
07:57PM 30th May 2011
''Recently published stats confirm that Bolton are more of a 'long-ball' team under Owen Coyle than they were under Big Sam. It's all about perception. Allardyce had entertaining players with great ability in his teams - e.g. Okocha, Djorkaeff, Anelka, Stelios, Campo and Hierro. When their skills were not enough, he used Plan B - long balls to Kevin Davies. Incidently, this appears to be Owen Coyle's Plan A.

Allardyce is a great motivator and I am sure Hammers' fans would welcome every single player giving their all for the club every match!''

by Andy
07:17PM 30th May 2011
''Agree with first comment. Hammer attendee for 44 years. We have not had any manager at UP good enough to even lick Greenwood or Lyall's boots!''

by stan the man
06:45PM 30th May 2011
''My attraction to West Ham over the years has always been that they 'just might' win something. Well I can dream can't I? I fear that under Mr Allardyce, the emphasis will be on not losing.

When we get back in the top flight (it may take a couple of years but of course we will) I don't want to watch a team whose only ambition is to survive. If we can't have hope at the beginning of the season we may as well give up. While the man has strived throughout his managerial career not to be a loser, judging by his previous form, he's never, ever gonna be a winner.''

by bob hammer for life
05:45PM 30th May 2011
''I've been a West Ham supporter for 50 years and read comments from other West Ham fans. We must all stick together and give Sam a chance. I've seen some great players at West Ham but all our best teams had great managers. We have not had one since John Lyall and Ron Greenwood.

The players will come and go but the supporters will always be there. Thank God Grant has gone.''

by Tell it how it is Charley
05:27PM 30th May 2011
''Well said Daniel. BUT NO ONE HAS COMMENTED ON THIS GUY'S HEALTH! Is he another Houllier? Watching West Ham puts your heart in your mouth, God only knows where your heart is being the manager or Chairman!''

by Kendal iron
03:08PM 30th May 2011
''I would love to say I am reassured by this but the evidence of my own eyes over a number of years tells its own story.

I know Bolton had some good midfield players, but attacking moves almost invariably started with a long ball to Davies in the corner, who either won the ball or threw himself to the ground.
I saw a comment making the point that Bobby Moore was known to play long balls for Geoff Hurst, and that`s true he did.

But not every single time he got the ball...''

by micada
02:44PM 30th May 2011
''Great point made, I for one will look forward to next season under the Allardyce regime. A team that may finally be organised and hard to be beat along with a little Hammers' flair.
Don't forget Bolton harboured such talents as Okocha, Campo and Nolan, who all used to get rave reviews for their ability. I don't remember Jay Jay ever holding back using his creative skill.

Sam has always seemed to get the very best out of his squad, and also manages to prolong even the ageing players careers' with his fitness regimes. People go on about the negative football, but I believe Curbs was the fans' favorite to succeed Pardew and look at the football we watched with him in charge. Give Allardyce the chance to succeed, my God we have definitely seenn worse. The club needs an overhaul from top to bottom and he may just be the man to do it.''

by Pablo
02:34PM 30th May 2011
''Recently published stats confirm that Bolton are more of a 'long-ball' team under Owen Coyle than they were under Big Sam. It's all about perception. Allardyce had entertaining players with great ability in his teams - e.g. Okocha, Djorkaeff, Anelka, Stelios, Campo and Hierro. When their skills were not enough, he used Plan B - long balls to Kevin Davies. Incidently, this appears to be Owen Coyle's Plan A.

Allardyce is a great motivator and I am sure Hammers' fans would welcome every single player giving their all for the club every match!''

02:29PM 30th May 2011
''I am over the moon about Sam coming. Over the last 25 years the football we have seen at WHU has been generally awful and at best ok. 1986 was the last great season. The West Ham way? Most fans have never seen us play that way.

He plays the tactics that are needed. As mentioned with Bolton they played some great football that was successful; we will be fit and very organised and no longer will we see players in a West Ham shirt getting away with not trying, which we have seen season after season. We need a strong manager; it's what we have been crying out for.''

by Rob
02:27PM 30th May 2011
''Top stuff Troughie. A good viewpoint of what he's really all about.

Barca and their excellent football were being discussed the other day. The best thing we can take from them for next year, is what it looks like Allardyce will instill: Work ethic off the ball.

Give me some of that please, I'm looking forward to it. ''

by DD
01:58PM 30th May 2011
''Troughie's views emphasise what I have felt to be the case for some time - namely that Sam Allardyce is a manager who is not to be underestimated. We tend to forget that in the early years under Greenwood, West Ham's style involved defending in depth but with some magical counter-attacking set up between Bobby Moore and Budgie Byrne. Those two players formed the core of the West Ham development and it is easily forgotten that even with his knee injury, Budgie Byrne was in the original squad of 26 in 1966 (as might also have been John Sissons).

There has been a lack of organisation apparent in many games this season, partly disguised by the brilliance of Rob Green and Scotty Parker. Sam Allardyce also shows the ability to vary tactics in the second half to meet changes by the opponents - something that it became manifestly apparent Avram Grant lacked.''

by bobo the clown (of Bolton)
12:58PM 30th May 2011
''Should you fear having 'Big Sam' as your manager ? Well ... Yes and no, really.

He has a decent track record and he took ... and kept ... up a mid-sized club on a small budget. His football was not too flowing, but if you guys are honest, it's been a long time since yours was really. Long-ball? Well, to some degree you play to your strengths. If you have Davies up top then you may as well use him. To be honest though, it did get a bit tedious at times. However, how poor can it be when we had the delight of seeing Okocha, Stelios, Campo, Hierro (the BEST player I've seen live, ever), Djorkaev, Anelka, Gardener, Speed, Faye, Candela?

Allardyce has a desire to play lovely, expansive, flowing football ... But that is tempered by the need to be practical. So he will set up a defensively capable squad. He will have as many failed signings as successful ones. He will concentrate on results first, flair second. He has an ego the size of a house. A large palatial mansion sort of house, not a 2-up, 2-down terrace either. His 'Mr Angry' business will get you down after a while and his tendency to rant and rave at every little thing does embarrass you after a while.

However, he will steady the ship, he will sort out the defence, he will wheel and deal. He will bring controversy and some of the football will be dour. But he will also get you promoted and move things the right way. He will NOT cope with an 'anti-Sam' campaign as per while at Newcastle. He will NOT tolerate the David twins poking their noses in - and Karrrren Peschisolido had better wind her neck in too.

All in all, fasten your seat belts, this could get bumpy, but compare him with what you've had and he should be a blessing for you. Just keep your eye out for a few odd signings though.''

11:40AM 30th May 2011
''He is the best man for the job, especially after reading this article.

It's about time we had a team that can do this, the pretty football has got us absoluetly nowhere. Time to get on with it!''

by delroy of the rovers
10:35AM 30th May 2011
''Thanks for posting this.

Allardyce's appointment has been polarising to say the least. In my mind I am desperate to see us competing and winning games again but like many others, not if it means selling out our tradition for trying to play the game 'the right way'.

I will be interested to see the length of contract they give big Sam (not fat Sam anymore...) and whether the Davids see him as a man to do a job and get us promoted or someone who can genuinely build the club back up and consolidate in the Premier League.

What has given me hope is the comments above about the academy he set up at Bolton which I was unaware of. I think when the biscuit boys bought us and we started throwing money at a load of has-beens and never-will-be's we moved away from something which has been the heart of West Ham for decades, the Academy. Having a core of a team which was West Ham, not journeymen or people looking for a pension top-up.

Some of the games I watched this season we were so far off the pace it was embarrassing. I do think the team needs re-building, I don't mean just offloading some dead weight, I mean putting back in to the team two things that are fundamental to competing and winning anything - passion and discipline. I do think Sam could inject these two things and with the Academy central to that, I have to say I am a bit more positive.

At the very least after so many poor decisions, the Davids have to be due a good one?''

by g portugal
10:30AM 30th May 2011
''Spot on - great piece. From a West Ham point of view, we no longer have the luxury of playing 'attractive football'. This is about one thing and one thing only: RESULTS.

Allardyce got results. Over a sustained period of time. And his Bolton teams were very hard to beat. He isn't very nice? GOOD. I'm thrilled to hear it. Because 'nice' managers like Roeder, Zola and Grant ended up with one thing only: relegation or near-relegation.

I'm not interested in nice. And I'm not interested in pretty. I'm interested in winning, whether it's ugly or not. IF and WHEN West Ham United proves that it can defend properly, for a full 90 minutes,then the club can think about playing more expansive football.''

by jak
10:28AM 30th May 2011
''This can only be a good step after the last incumbent. He' a motivator, that's what the team was crying out for all last season. Scotty could not do it all by himself, although he did try very hard. If he does leave WHU good luck to him. But let's hope Sam can talk him round; if he does, it'll be worth his salary just for that act alone.

I'm also sure that if he had come in place of Grant in Jan we would not be having this discussion now.''

by Deane
10:16AM 30th May 2011
''Did you consider the fact he wasn't given any transfer budget because the money wasn't there, as the good people of Bolton couldn't stand the football being played? It's not all about success, entertainment is the name of the game. Don't be fooled into swallowing Sky's game plan for football. The game exsists outside of Sky's champions league obsession.''

by jaybs
10:09AM 30th May 2011
''The Bolton fan is allowed his opinion but it does not impress me. FAT SAM is only interested in his ego and £, he wastes so much money on the technical data side and bet he does not have a clue how it works!

A friend I have worked for is a Director at the Reebok so I did get dragged along to some games and I fell asleep many times! IF he is appointed (and I still hope he is not) then I HOPE we have a good get out clause in the contract. We may want to get rid of him by Christmas!''

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