[dropcap]W[/dropcap]est Ham supporters will have gone home from yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham wondering just how the visiting side did not claim all three points from the London derby at White Hart Lane.
Sam Allardyce claimed in the aftermath of the game that Spurs got back into the game more by luck than talent, with credence to the accusation given the Hammers’ performance.
Despite the disappointment, the Boleyn Ground side have now not lost at the home of their local rivals in the last three meetings after a previously poor record at White Hart Lane.
Although this is not a conclusive insight into Allardyce’s management ability, the former Newcastle boss has not received the kudos that he deserves for the club’s upturn in fortunes this season.
The outspoken head coach has never really won over the West Ham faithful and has had to endure his fair share of criticism and calls for his head over the last four years in charge of the club’s first team.
Despite some turbulent times and occasions where a more trigger-happy chairman or woman may have dismissed the manager, it has to be said that Allardyce has helped the club to progress.
The 60-year-old’s contract with West Ham is coming to an end this summer, with no confirmation over whether he will get a new deal or head for pastures new.
If Allardyce does leave, despite some of the Hammers fans still not fully convinced by him, they must confess that he has left the club in a better position than it was in when he arrived in 2011.
This season, with the team sitting in fourth place at Christmas, the London club have played some excellent football and are good value for their top-six challenge.
Just how much input he had in the side’s excellent summer transfer business is unclear, but Allardyce has played a key role in getting the best from the finest squad that he has had at his disposal during his time at West Ham.
The club’s form over recent months has dropped off slightly, but the Hammers still have the potential to finish this term in the highest position they have yet under Allardyce.
Similar to Alan Pardew at Newcastle United, the retired defender faced an uphill battle in winning over some of West Ham’s fans for one reason or another and as such was never going to receive the gratitude he deserved.
Given that Pardew, another former Hammers boss, has moved onto Crystal Palace and is feeling much more valued, Allardyce would be advised to call his time at the Hammers a success and leave on a high this summer.
Presuming that the club can maintain its top-half position at least, the transition from a top-ten club to a top-six one is an unenviable task, which many managers have failed to achieve with plenty of clubs in the past.
Roberto Martínez is discovering it at Everton, Michael Laudrup was shown the door at Swansea after not delivering it and Ronald Koeman, despite an excellent debut campaign at Southampton, faces a battle to hold onto it this term.
Whether it is where Allardyce originates from, club allegiances from his playing days, his personality or the style of play his teams adopt, the 60-year-old was never going to be a messiah at the London club.
If he does leave this summer as is being touted in the press, his successor will have a very difficult job on his hands to better Allardyce’s achievements, while the departing boss can exit with his head held high.
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