Sam Allardyce is proud to continue as manager of West Ham United, and is willing to accept the challenge of introducing a more entertaining brand of football.
Whilst few can argue with the 59-year-old’s record of keeping his teams from relegation trouble, he has often come in for some criticism for the style of play he instructs his players to deliver. And at a club such as West Ham, where their supporters demand style just as much as results, there was always going to be a point when staying in the top-flight was not enough.
This was demonstrated back in April when the Hammers recorded a crucial 2-1 win over Hull City at Upton Park, when the full-time whistle was greeted by boos from the home fans who were upset with the long-ball system implemented by their manager. Yet despite the pressure he has come under, Allardyce has this week been assured his position is not under threat.
However, the London club have also told Allardyce that they expect a more entertaining brand of football next season. And rather than defending his record in the Premier League, the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers manager has accepted the challenge, and is confident he can win the fans over with attacking football next term.
“I am happy and proud to continue for another season as West Ham United manager,” Allardyce told the official club website. “We – the board, the staff, and the players – are unified in wanting to create an exciting team for next season, one that is going to be better than last season. We are all moving forward in a very positive manner. We want to try and achieve at least what we did in the first year back in the Barclays Premier League, which was a top-10 finish.
“Style of play is crucial, but it is also important that players realise their capabilities and play to them on a consistent basis. Entertainment value, contrary to what some people say and think, is high on my list and always has been because this is an entertainment business. It is also a results business, though, and we need to win matches. If we can win games the right way next season then that has to be our ultimate aim and number one priority, particularly at home.”
Only eight sides in the Premier League conceded less than West Ham’s 51 goals during the 2013-14 season, but it is clear their problem is in attack as their 40 goals was a better return than just five teams. For this reason the club have suggested Allardyce appoint an attacking coach to his backroom staff, and this is something he is willing to do in the coming weeks.
“I am enthusiastic about that idea,” he added. “We all agreed that whoever comes in has to be qualified and of the right type to supplement our already highly qualified backroom staff, in whom I have complete confidence. The appointment is absolutely down to me and the challenge is to find the right person to help us score more goals next season, because that is what we need to do.”