West Ham must stay the course with Sam Allardyce

West Ham fans are debating the future of Sam Allardyce at the club. Moving him on could just be a fatal mistake.

It was intriguing to see a West Ham blog yesterday ask 'Is it time to part company with Sam Allardyce?' - Going onto talk of a craving to see Paolo di Canio make his mark at the club as manager.

Football fans want excitement, we get that. Sam Allardyce's style of football is frequently derided as laborious, direct, and well, dull.

Di Canio is unpredictable, has an emotional connection with West Ham due to his playing time at the club, and had moderate success during his time with Swindon - which included promotion, and most of all he is available.

That is no reason to do away with Allardyce however. One only has to look at the mistake made by Blackburn Rovers when the club were in a similar position in the Premier League to dispense with his services.

It turned into a nightmare for them, and now they sit just four points above the relegation zone in the Championship, searching for their fourth permanent manager in a season.

There was no real reason to sack him then, and there is not one now. 

He took over the club in their hour of need in the Championship and won them promotion. It was not exactly plain sailing, but he achieved the objective, and life in the Premier League has not been bad either.

There is no escaping that 2013 has been poor in terms of performances and results, but the first half of the season was excellent, with the Hammers occupying spots in the top half of the table for most of it.

A campaign which was supposed to be simply about survival and consolidation has been more the latter, with West Ham rarely under threat of the drop all season long. A catastrophic late run could still see them in trouble, but Jack Collison's winner away at Stoke at the weekend appears to have eased any real concerns.

A look to what the Premier League's fellow newboys have been up to offers West Ham differing food for thought. Reading are rooted to the bottom of the table, currently without a manager apparently destined for the drop. Southampton meanwhile did change their manager and are so far not regretting it, but Pochettino will be judged on next season when he attempts to make his own mark on the team, providing they too do not suffer a late collapse.

Given the way the Argentine has adapted so far, it could inspire West Ham to be brave regarding Di Canio, but there are external reasons as to why the Hammers should not take the risk.

Allardyce may not be the long-term vision for the club supporters have in mind, but he is the man for the present to steer them forward, a safe pair of hands who is experienced enough and has the transfer market contacts to help them avoid relegation in the future.

And that is essential for West Ham. With the Olympic Stadium issue still looming large, West Ham require stability and this does not mean taking a risk which could land them back in the Championship.

Allardyce may represent a tired married wife, who raises the kids and brings some money in, and Di Canio a sexy mistress, but there is no reason for West Ham to be unfaithful at present.

Should West Ham stay the course with Allardyce?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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