If you haven’t seen the feature on West Ham and Sam Allardyce in the Evening Standard yesterday, please do click HERE and have a read. Initially, I was deeply sceptical of his appointment as West Ham manager – indeed, I was half of a mind not to renew my season ticket – but I can’t help warming to him. Everything I hear coming out of the club relating to him is positive. He seems to understand how to motivate players. They seem to relate to him. I may change my mind after Sunday, but I feel quite optimistic and positive about things at the moment. I’d still like us to sign a goalscorer and a centre back, but to my mind he has done as well as he could so far. Doesn’t this make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?
Big Sam fills a room and he has a personality to match. If you really want to know how much of an impression he has made at Upton Park, ask some of the people who see him at work every day at the club’s training ground. Ask Shirley, who has been helping to prepare the lunches for the players ever since Trevor Brooking was in his prime. “The other day Sam walked into the restaurant when the young players were queing for their food. He shook their hands, one by one, and talked to them. It reminded me of John Lyall,” she says. Ask Jimmy, who has been helping out with the coaching as long as anyone can remember. “Sam reminds me of John,” he says. “He’s a football person, he has football values and he treats people the right way.”
Allardyce has also spoken about his reasons for leaving Bolton. At least it shows he is ambitious. And he’s done a very long interview with Jeremy Wilson in tomorrow’s Telegraph. Fantastic stuff. I know, I know, I’m weakening… And there’s another long interview in the Daily Mail. Big Sam sure knows how to give good interview.
And finally, the club have posted a transcript of Allardyce’s pre match Friday press conference. Well worth a scaz. For me, this was the most revealing answer…
Where are you going to sit? Not quite sure yet. I will eventually always sit in the stand but whether I consider that to be the best place on Sunday I haven’t quite got my gut feeling yet. Probably on Saturday I will sit and think about it and should I go there right from the start or on the bench and get a feel for it. There is a better feel on the bench but there is no tactical awareness that you can see. We can all pretend we can as managers but realistically when you sit above you see the whole plan of the game very comfortably and of course your emotions don’t run as high.
I have never understood why managers always sit in the dugout. It’s impossble to get a full perspective of the game, so if he wants to sit in the stand for the first half, we ought to welcome that.
- This is an edited version of an article which first appeared on West Ham Till I Die.