“Eventually the fans will turn against you” warned Sam Allardyce
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 19 March 2017 at 12:27pm
This is written by Fake Carlton Cole @_CarltonCole9
Just after he left West Ham, Sam Allardyce warned Slaven Bilic that “eventually, the fans will turn against you.” At the time we just laughed at him, accused him of being salty after the way he was being treated by fans. Look at what’s happening now.
After last season, we all thought Slaven was the second coming of Christ. He gave us a last season at the Boleyn to remember, leading us to an impressive 7th position. We had a world class player in Dimitri Payet and we were going into a “world class stadium”. All was good wasn’t it?
Underneath the surface, behind the facade of overachievement, something more poisonous was happening; we were becoming arrogant. We started thinking that this was going to be the norm. We had deluded ourselves into thinking we could compete for Europe year in year out. Our expectations outgrew our ability.
I include myself in that list. This has probably been the most disappointing year as a West Ham fan that I can remember. Even in 2011 when we got relegated, I sort of knew it was coming. But this season I thought would be different. I thought this would be the season, with the stadium and all, in which we could break through the glass ceiling and become the type of club who would expect top 6 each year. That’s how deluded I was (and how deluded some fans still are). This is why this season has been a reality check; at the end of the day we are West Ham United – a mid table side with mid table financial backing. We are a team who have ups and downs, and this current “down” isn’t even the worst we have been through in the past 15-20 years by a long shot.
This is where Slaven comes in. Personally I don’t think he’s done as bad a job as everyone seems to think. Don’t get me wrong I have questioned his tactics many times, whether it be playing people out of position or omitting certain players. Last weeks result against Bournemouth I admitted was largely his fault for his poor tactics. But look at the shit that’s happened this season: shoddy transfer dealings (a couple of which were his fault but that blame predominantly lies with the board), losing the only true world class player we’ve had in years and, most crucially, moving into an athletics stadium which is completely unsuitable to play football. Someone tweeted me saying that we were lucky to beat some teams (Bournemouth, Hull, Burnley, Palace, Sunderland etc) but that wasn’t luck. Slav needed to win and he got 3 points, so he did his job.
Now let’s talk about who I believe the blame (if there is any) is more applicable to; the players. Last season very few players put a foot wrong. I said this at the time and I will reiterate my point, but I believe that was down to Payet. Not only was he individually superb, but his effect almost magically spread across the pitch and he made everyone around him better. This is why players like Noble did so well last season, because Payet seemed to play to everyone’s strengths. Remember the results we had when he was injured in November-December 2015? Now he’s gone (a scenario Slav handled with professionally) some players are showing how truly mediocre they really are. Is it Slaven’s fault if Carroll and Ayew miss sitters? Is it Slaven’s fault if Kouyate can’t pass properly? Is it Slaven’s fault that Aaron Cresswell has become unable to play football? Is it Slaven’s fault that Ogbonna got injured and his replacement, Jose Fonte, cannot defend? I could do this about 15 times over but you get the picture.
Whether you want Bilic to go or not, realistically he won’t. Gold and Sullivan don’t sack managers quickly. Avram was only sacked the day we went down and Allardyce lasted a year longer than he should have. Hypothetically, let’s imagine he does get sacked. The name that’s being thrown around a lot is Roberto Mancini. Granted, he won the league with Man City, but he did that with a bottomless wallet. We don’t have that luxury. Since then, he’s led Inter Milan, a team with a huge wallet and a squad greater than most in Italy, to uninspired 4th and 8th placed finishes. He’s been out of a job for a year and has been using his spare time questionably, appearing on the Italian version of Strictly. Do you want us to be managed by the Italian Ed Balls?
Mancini plays a very defensive style, a similar style to Allardyce (albeit done with better squads). Remember when we hounded Big Sam out for not playing “The West Ham Way?” Those same people are irritated at Bilic for putting too much emphasis on attack and would inevitably want Mancini gone for being too boring.
This is the fickle nature of many West Ham fans. Although we mock Arsenal fans, a lot of you are slowly evolving into a sea of Claudes – having meltdowns and contemplating gun rampages after every loss. If Manuel Lanzini played poorly for the rest of the season, would you hound him out the club? No. Then why want Bilic out because he’s in a bad run. If we sacked managers for having bad runs, we’d be the laughing stock of English football like Leeds – chopping and changing before the seat gets warm. Where were you when we beat Palace and a Boro consecutively and convincingly? And where will you be when Slaven inevitably turns things around? Like I said we are a club with ups and downs. Someone like Mancini would be a short term thing before the fans get bored or he gets a better offer whereas Bilic is a man who would be with us for the long term.
Other than Mancini, who else is there? If Slaven goes, we will be too optimistic and waste our time going for managers who are way too good for us. It will be like Groundhog Day from summer 2015. Some fans really need to take their heads out the sand. We have only been in the Premier League for 5 seasons and have finished in the top half twice in that time.
At the end of the day, we are not a big club. We are West Ham, a proud, family club. You may still be drunk off last season and the lies that have been spun by the board and think we can push on for higher places. You may be right. But to quote John Webster, “Ambition is a great mans madness.” This pursuit of greatness, like Webster’s plays, will only lead to downfall and destruction. We don’t have the stature to compete for top 4. If you support West Ham for the glory then honey, you support the wrong team.
Whether Bilic will get a new contract or not I don’t know. Whether I want him after his contract runs out, I can’t say yet. Hold on until the end of the season, see where we are. Possibly wait until the first few months of next season and see how he’s doing when we have a (hopefully) better squad and are more accustomed to the soulless bowl we call the “London Stadium.” But until then, for the love of god, stop being so frivolous and just have a little bit of faith in the manager. All hail Slaven.