Hammers Top Brass Has Big Sam’s Back
Under-fire West Ham boss Sam Allardyce today received the backing of his bosses following the Hammers’ humbling exit from the FA Cup third round.
January 6th, 2014
In an open letter published on the club’s website, joint chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold wrote that, although “frustrated and hurt by our recent results”, “[w]e know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League Club.”
This weekend West Ham were beaten 5-0 by Championship side Nottingham Forest to exit the Cup at the first hurdle, following on from a 2-1 defeat against Fulham on New Year’s Day – a loss which leaves them second from bottom in the Premier League, and without a win in their last 13 league matches.
Tongues were set wagging when Allardyce then made nine changes for the Forest match – including two debuts from off the bench – and suffered the heaviest defeat by a team from the division below in the FA Cup since Newcastle got on the wrong side of Birmingham City six years ago, conceding five too but scoring one.
Allardyce has insisted that he’d made the co-chairmen aware of the plan to name a makeshift side, struggling as he was to name a full strength side with the likes of Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te on the injury list, while Andy Carroll has yet to start a match all season. All this along with the suspension of captain Kevin Nolan meant that Allardyce needed to make drastic changes in preparation for three huge upcoming matches.
The first leg of West Ham’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester City is this Wednesday, followed by a relegation six-pointer at Cardiff at the weekend, meaning that Allardyce had already made up his mind that the FA Cup would be a lost cause this season – though few could have predicted the emphatic nature of their elimination.
With Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert’s self-fulfilling prophecy of de-prioritising the oldest cup competition in the world answered by defeat against League One side Sheffield United, perhaps the time has come for its strongest naysayers to reconsider the merits – and the magic – of the FA Cup.