Much water has flowed under the respective bridges of Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce since they last shared the same parish.
That was in 2006, when they were vying for the position of England manager and when McClaren emerged a clear-cut – albeit short-lived – winner. On Sunday, it was Allardyce's turn to take the chequered flag and by a huge margin, too.
Both men have re-emerged in the Championship after various interim successes and failures but it was the West Ham United of "Big Sam" who comfortably outclassed the Nottingham Forest of the "Wally with the Brolly". Nicknames, however cruel, often stick and it is McClaren who has most to assess and address as the clubs enter the international break.
At least it was a sunny day at the City Ground, unlike the deluge at Wembley that preceded his departure from England after 16 months at the helm. Allardyce revels in his moniker, anyway, but he will appear just that little bit bigger in the eyes of the West Ham supporters this morning after engineering a third successive away victory and second in a row in which his side has scored four goals.
The traumas of relegation from the Premier League last season – not to mention from the 2-1 defeat to Aldershot in the Carling Cup on Wednesday – will continue to recede once West Ham can get their act together at Upton Park, where they have yet to win since the new campaign started.
"I think we're a little nervous at home," Allardyce said. "There's too much anxiety there at the moment – we feel a bit more comfortable away – but we've got to put that right. We exploited our own qualities to the maximum today and the opening up of the opposition was also very good."
If there is a life after Scott Parker, Allardyce got a good glimpse of it here and must have liked what he saw. As the midfield player mulled over a potential £5m move to Tottenham Hotspur, his team-mates – perhaps soon to be erstwhile – had fun in the sun.
West Ham had started poorly. Forest opened with vim and vigour, with Robbie Findley nodded over at the near post from a Lewis McGugan cross while McGugan and Chris Cohen also went close. Yet just as the Forest momentum threatened to reap its rewards, they collapsed. Matt Taylor started the 11-minute onslaught with a driven cross from the left flank that Luke Chambers sliced grotesquely into his own net. A Chambers of Horror no less.
Three minutes later, James Tomkins nodded back a Taylor corner and Kevin Nolan supplied the final touch; then Carlton Cole glancing in Winston Reid's header. Findley raised brief hope for Forest in the second half but Reid jabbed home from close range to complete the rout.
"That is a recipe for mid-table," McClaren said. "I couldn't believe we were 3-0 down at the break but we just gave them three goals from fundamental mistakes. We were the creators of our own downfall."
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