West Ham fans disappointed

STAYING: West Ham and ex-Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce

STAYING: West Ham and ex-Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce

First published in Sport
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WEST HAM fans are "disappointed" the club have decided to stick with Sam Allardyce and feel their views have been ignored by the club's owners, says the editor of a prominent Hammers fanzine.

The club announced on Tuesday that Allardyce will remain as manager for the start of next season but that he must accept a handful of "improvements", including a commitment to a more positive style of play.

A statement released by the club said: "After listening to feedback from supporters, the board have insisted on improvements to the set-up of the playing and backroom staff to ensure the team provides more entertainment next season."

Allardyce has agreed to hire a new attacking coach and has been told by joint chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan to aim for "at least a top-ten finish" – but sceptical supporters remain unconvinced.

"There is certainly a lot of disappointment and a feeling the fans haven't been listened to," said David Blackmore, editor of The Blowing Bubbles Fanzine.

"Gold and Sullivan are talking about 'the West Ham Way' but the more you look at it the more it seems the Allardyce way is never going to be 'the West Ham Way'.

"A lot of fans are absorbing it and making notes on what has been promised so that when it doesn't materialise at the start of the season they can call the board out on it."

He added: "At the moment we don't have the types of players to be entertaining so I don't see much changing.

"Having a squad that is going to be fit is going to make a difference but I doubt it will be long past October or November before fans start voicing their concerns again."

West Ham's prospects last season were damaged by a number of injuries to key players, including club-record signing Andy Carroll.

Allardyce will have "considerable funds" available to strengthen his squad this summer but the board will have more influence over which players are brought in.

Sullivan and Gold said: "We have a very clear vision of how we want West Ham United to operate under our joint ownership.

"Although not everybody understands the West Ham Way, we do and we respect it as we have been supporters all our lives. We believe this is about a philosophy that is not just about the style of play, but the whole ethos that surrounds the club.

"Sam was asked to give us a detailed presentation on his vision for next season and during this he assured us that he can deliver that ethos to West Ham United and we have agreed to support him with the resources that he needs.

"We have mapped out a way forward with him that will ensure our much-deserving fans have more to cheer about next season."

Allardyce guided the club to promotion from the Championship at the first attempt in 2012 and secured a 10th-place finish in the team's first year back in the Premier League.

The Hammers failed to progress last season, however, and spent the majority of the campaign fighting off the threat of relegation.

Three wins over rivals Tottenham and a 13th-place finish in the table did little to appease disillusioned supporters, who complained about the team's defensive style of play.

In March, the home fans at Upton Park booed at the final whistle even after the Hammers had beaten Hull 2-1, to which Allardyce responded by cupping his ears in disbelief.

Maintaining status in the Premier League remains the club's priority, especially given the significant financial implications of moving to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.

The statement concluded: "We are absolutely committed to taking West Ham United to new heights and we want to see the club continue on an upward trajectory next season.

"The 2014/15 campaign is crucial to our future and we are confident that Sam has the passion, experience and determination to make sure it is a success."

Allardyce added: "I look forward to taking the club forward and improving the squad for next season to try and achieve the plans we have set out in our very productive meeting last week."

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