West Ham United earned what could be a valuable three points on Wednesday evening, but this didn’t stop their fans booing the team at the final whistle.
Having lost their three previous Premier League fixtures, there was a real danger of the Hammers being sucked into the relegation zone. However, the 2-1 win over Hull City, achieved thanks in no small part to the visiting goalkeeper being sent off, has lifted them to 11th place in the standings, and nine points clear of the drop zone.
Despite this, the home supporters booed the team off after the final whistle, such was the unconvincing manner in which their team had gotten the better of the Tigers. This clearly surprised manager Sam Allardyce, who would have won few fans by reacting by cupping his ear in the direction of the section of the unhappy Upton Park crowd.
Asked why he cupped his ear towards the home fans at full-time, Allardyce told the assembled reporters: “I did it because I was hearing booing, I couldn’t quite believe it. I’d seen something I’ve never seen before. Nothing surprises me, I suppose. I can’t understand it, to be honest. We’ve got a difficult situation and it must be frustration.
“I’ve not experienced that before in the time I’ve been in the game. Obviously, for us, today was all about coming off with three points, whether we played brilliantly, indifferently or not so good. It was about getting the three points. The lads have gone about it and, when they’ve come off the field, they’ve got the three points and that is what matters.”
With the move into the Olympic Stadium set to take place ahead of the 2016/17 season, it is imperative that West Ham remain in the Premier League. For that reason, as much as their fans want to see the free-flowing attacking football their club has been associated with in the past, the most important thing at the moment is to avoid relegation.
This is evidently also the opinion of co-owner David Gold, who responded to the controversial booing by posting the following messages on his Twitter account: “At this time we should all be focus on one thing and that is retaining our Premiership status, it is vital for the future of our great club. Every season we remain in the PL we will get stronger and closer to going to the OS debt free. This must be our priority.”
The Hammers now have a few days to prepare for their next Premier League test, as their weekend clash against Sunderland has been moved to Monday night for live Sky coverage. The Black Cats put in a gritty performance against title-challenging Liverpool on Wednesday, but were ultimately second best as the Reds ran out 2-1 winners at Anfield.
This leaves Gus Poyet’s side third-bottom of the Premier League table, although they still have two games in hand, and they will no doubt see the visit of the Londoners as a great opportunity to register a three-point haul for the first time since 1 February. And if they do, the narrow triumph over Hull may not seem so bad after all for Hammers fans.