Nolan demands improvement
Skipper Kevin Nolan called on the Hammers to finish the 2013/14 campaign
with a flourish
Captain Kevin Nolan was keen to rally the troops following Saturday's
Barclays Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace, determined to ensure that
West Ham United do not end the season with a whimper. The 31-year-old
offered an honest assessment of a third successive reverse, convinced that
the Hammers were the architects of their own downfall. A frustrated Nolan
thought the hosts should, at the very least, have taken a point and urged
West Ham to show their true colours before the season's end. He told West
Ham TV: "In the last two games here at home we've conceded three penalties
and lost the game. Our discipline has got to get better. If we cut that out
we come away with a 0-0 draw and although we'd have been disappointed with
that, we've come off with a 1-0 defeat.
"Now what we've got to do is stick together and have a good week in
training. We haven't moved down in the table and we're still seven points
clear of third from bottom. It's about getting over the line. They're all
big ones from now until the end of the season."
If West Ham are to fare rather better in their final three outings, top
goalscorer Nolan knows the goals need to flow once more, a responsibility
that he insists lies with the entire group. He continued: "We had six
[chances] in the first half and six in the second. When you get a chance you
[have to] put it on target, because that's what the fans remember and that's
what puts them [the opposition] under pressure. That's what we've got to be
better at as a whole squad, not just as individuals. "When we get those
chances, even if they're half chances, that's enough in the Premier League.
You've got to be able to take them and put them on target. We'll go away,
we'll study the videos and we'll try to put it right next week at West
For Nolan, the coming weeks present an opportunity to build foundations for
next season, one that he hopes will prove a somewhat smoother ride. "There
has been a determination all year," he confirmed. "There were a lot of
people who doubted us, then we turned the corner when we got everyone back
[from injury]. Hopefully in the next couple of games, when everything starts
clicking, we'll put a few points on the board and just make sure we
establish ourselves in the Premier League for next year. "Building for next
season is a massive priority and I'm sure, once we come back, this time next
year we won't be talking about relegation, we'll be talking about trying to
push for Europe."
Saturday's defeat was played against the tragic backdrop of young Dylan
Tombides' passing, news that shattered the football club on Friday morning.
"It was very emotional with all the lads. It wasn't too long ago that Dylan
was running around and smiling. Sadly we've lost him and we've lost a very
good player, a top lad and a colourful character around the training ground.
It's been a difficult couple of days, but I thought the lads handled it
Manager on Monday
Sam Allardyce is looking to secure West Ham United's place in the Premier
League next season
After watching his side slip to defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday,
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is looking to ensure his side's place
in the Barclays Premier League as soon as possible. A Mile Jedinak penalty
after 59 minutes was enough to send the Hammers to a narrow loss at the
Boleyn Ground and leaves the Club on 37 points with three games left to
play. The Eagles' victory secured their place in the top-flight for next
season, but means Big Sam's team head to West Bromwich Albion next weekend
looking to pick up the points that will also see them mathematically safe.
If a win is secured, the manager knows his planning for next season can
begin in earnest. "At the end of every season, at every club I've been at,
the squad has never been good enough at the end of the season because you
simply have to get better," said Big Sam. "The minute you don't get better
is the minute that you fall into massive trouble at this level. All the
others will go out improve, spend money and bring better players in so every
team has to improve season in, season out. "We have to improve when we've
finished this season and hopefully we'll have picked up a few more points.
As soon as we're mathematically safe we can start thinking about what we can
and cannot do."
Big Sam admiited he shared the fans' frustrations during a testing afternoon
in East London, where the Club paid tribute to Dylan Tombides, who sadly
passed away on Friday. The manager will be all too aware that he has the
perfect opportunity to put that right when neighbours Tottenham Hotspur
visit the Boleyn Ground in less than two weeks' time. "Fans are entitled to
air their frustrations. They want to see the team win, they want to see the
team go out and beat the opposition and score goals. When you get frustrated
like they did, it's because the opposition frustrate you with the way they
play and they play that way very well. "If you don't break it down then
everyone's frustrations boil over a little bit. I thought that when our
players went a goal down they let themselves become frustrated as well and
stopped doing the things they were doing before we went a goal down. We
should be patient enough and skilful enough to break down that stubborn
Crystal Palace unit. "I thought the fans did a grand job before the game
[during the tributes to Dylan] and they paid their hard-earned money to come
and watch us play and try and win a game of football. They want you to win,
they want you to score goals, and we didn't do that. "In many ways we let
ourselves down and we let them down because even though we knew what Crystal
Palace were going to play like, we knew we had to be good enough and patient
enough to break that down, but sadly we weren't."
Pulis on.. West Ham United
Filed: Sunday, 20th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
Tony Pulis reflects on a win that secures his Place side's safety for
another season in his post-match press conference, exclusively for you here
Tony: No complaints - a definite penalty?
Yes. Sam said his side could have had a couple of penalties, I think we
could have had a couple more as well. I think one's hit [Kevin] Nolan on the
hand in the first half and the second one with Jason Puncheon we could have
had a penalty there. So both sides are probably screaming that they could
have had penalties.
This defensive resilience - four clean sheets in five games?
They've been fantastic, but I also think we've played some really good
football. Today, again, we could have scored three or four goals; don't take
away what we've got. This is a different team that at Stoke, it's got
different strengths. We sat down and had a look at the strength of the team
and we worked out a system that we thought would suit them.
Yet you have to be string, you have to be resilient. We have great pace on
the break and the two wide players again today were absolutely outstanding.
[Yannick] Bolasie was the best player n the pitch.
Nine points in a week and you're mathematically safe now; what have you said
to the guys?
The big thing for me was the turnover. To play at Everton on Wednesday night
and to not get back until half-past-two in the morning, then to try and get
them recovered and ready to go ... The effort and commitment they put in
today was just wonderful. And it's a group; the people in the team have been
wonderful and everybody's bought into it.
The supporters have really been fabulous. I had nine or ten years at Stoke
and they were wonderful there but these have bought into how much and how
important they are as a group to help the players. Not so much now that
we're winning but when things weren't going very well at the beginning.
If you went to Selhurst Park we'd go a goal down and the supporters would
still be getting behind the team. So they have to take a lot of credit as
And that group wanted [Mile] Jedinak to take the penalty?
I just let them [decide]. Whoever's confident for me is always the one.
Unless you've got a specialised penalty taker. Glenn Murray was right up
when we got the penalty saying "get me on there!" [laughs] He did, you think
I'm joking! But Mile stepped up and thank God he did.
Never mind the penalty, his overall contribution was excellent?
Well you have to deal with [Andy] Carroll. He's a handful and he was that
again today, so you have to deal with it. Mile's helped the two centre
halfs; that little pivot in the heart of our defence.
Should Joel Ward go to Brazil?
Should he? I don't pick the England team, you'll have to ask Roy [Hodgson].
Blimey, that was one from left field! [laughs] It's up to Roy.
Could you ever imagine that with three games to go the club would be safe?
I looked at the last few fixtures and our last two home games - against Man
City and Liverpool - are an absolute nightmare. So we had to be close by
this stage because I wouldn't like to go into those games needing points.
But it's been a remarkable turnaround and everybody at the football club
deserves a lot of credit, they've really bought into what we've tried to do.
They've worked very hard on the training ground and that doesn't just
happen, you have to work very hard and they have. They've stomached a lot of
weeks without having days off and a lot of stuff that would maybe bore a lot
of people. But, they've bought into it and it's got results - and I'm very
pleased for them because they're a good group, a very good group.
Did you know before kick off that you were safe because of the Norwich
No, I didn't. I didn't want to know. I'd rather just concentrate on the
game. It kills me when the television is on, people watching TV before
Five wins in a row, that's a club record for Palace in the Premier League
era. Do you get the feeling around the club that the squad is something
special and you can really push on from there?
We've done absolutely fantastic - but in football, if you start tapping
yourself on the back someone will come along and kick you up the backside so
it's very important they keep their feet on the ground. It's important that
we approach the last three games with the same attitude and the same
approach, we know that it'll be tough.
We have a responsibility to the Barclays Premier League because it is the
best league in the world and the most competitive, without a doubt.
Do you think that people will start appreciating the way you play, the
attractive and attacking way you play?
Well someone's just said to me now that that monkey is off your back. We
played well at Stoke at times and never got the credit, but you get
pigeonholed with it. I think we're an exciting team. And, we've missed our
best player today, [Marouane] Chamakh has been wonderful for us. He really
links the work we do defensively with the work we do going forward.
I thought Joe Ledley, in there today again [was excellent] with his quality
on the ball. He slows the team down to allow us to get up the pitch; it's
How personally pleased are you with maintaining your record of not having
Everybody was telling me not to take it. It was only Peter Coates and Sir
Alex [Ferguson], they were the two who said there's plenty of games left to
do it in.
Are you already thinking about what players to add next season?
No, I'm thinking about a glass of wine of wine! [laughs] I'm going to sit
down with Sam [Allardyce] now.
Thank you very much.
Allardyce on... Crystal Palace
Filed: Sunday, 20th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
Disappointed but not disillusioned, Big Sam admitted that his mind had been
elsewhere before today's game. Here's his post-match press conference, in
its entirely, exclusively for KUMB readers...
Sam: it was an afternoon where a penalty decided the game. Did you feel that
perhaps West Ham should have had one from the spot themselves?
We think Andy was fouled in the box in the first half by Scott Dann, I think
it was. As always I've had a look at the key incidents when the game
finishes and looking at that it certainly looks like a blatant penalty to
me. Quite why Martin didn't give it [I don't know] - because he seemed to be
in a very good position, which is the next thing you look at. Obviously that
has been the difference today.
Having said that, breaking down Crystal Palace is never going to be easy as
you can tell by all the teams they've beaten recently. They've beaten
Everton and Chelsea, teams like that. So those things need to go for you but
the last thing we needed to do was give a silly penalty away like we did. In
the end we've paid a high price for that today.
When everything was looking like we were going to create another chance for
another opening we let them get ahead. After that they defended even deeper
and continued to defend deep with the team in their own half because they've
got what they wanted, and that's the lead. They'll hold onto it as best they
possibly can - and they did.
You re-shuffled your defence today; what was wrong with Guy Demel?
He's ill. He was vomiting yesterday, the doctor went to see him and said he
was too weak to participate in today's game. I would have normally played
Joey O'Brien at right back but Joey has only recently recovered frmo a
dislocated shoulder and hasn't even trained much with the first team yet. So
we played George in there and I think he did a very good job.
It's a disappointing day from a results perspective, but football doesn't
mean too much today after what's happened to Dylan [Tombides]. When I heard
the bad news about him passing away my thoughts were with him and his
family. My sympathies go to them; it's a sad day for the family and us. He
was a young man who put up such a great fight to live and continue to play
Do you think it affected the players?
Not really, no. I thought the players played how they should play to try and
break down Crystal Palace's defensive unit. In the end it's about one thing
- when you get the opportunity to score you've got to score and we didn't do
that today. We were pretty miserable in our finishing.
Not making the 'keeper make more saves than he actually did was my biggest
disappointment, apart from the penalty being a silly one to give away. Our
quality of finishing wasn't good enough when we created the chances we did -
and against Crystal Palace, you don't create that many.
With the last two against Spurs and Manchester City do you need to get
....Well we've got West Brom next week which is the most important game for
us to concentrate on. [We need] to try and play as well as we've been
playing but make sure we get a result. Having got nothing from the last two
home games and having lost to three penalties is a bit difficult to take, to
say the least.
At least the points gap [below us] means we're not going to be under too
much pressure, but we are under pressure because we haven't won in three
games now - in fact we've lost all three. We've got to put that right at
West Brom on Saturday and make sure we get a result. It's that simple.
Do you have some sympathy for the fans and their frustrations that were
echoed in the second half and again at the final whistle?
I'm always sympathetic because I'm as frustrated as they are. I don't want
to see my team losing when they're playing a game of football, particularly
at home. But at the end of the day, when you are playing against a team that
is very good at what they do - and have been since he [Tony Pulis] got his
new players in January - then you hope to break that down and win that game
They've barely conceded more than once in the last ten or 11 games, maybe
even longer, so we knew that it had to be us to score the first goal and try
and win the game 1-0. If we got any more than that, that would be fine, but
it'd always be difficult. Today our finishing failed us; perhaps the referee
failed us on the Andy Carroll foul and in the end Pablo really shouldn't
have given that penalty away. It was a silly challenge and we've paid a
heavy price for that.
New Zealand trip confirmed
Filed: Sunday, 20th April 2014
By: Staff Writer
West Ham United's summer trip to New Zealand is on, after the club confirmed
they would be playing two games down under during pre-season. A report in
today's Herald reports that West Ham have finally agreed to face Wellington
Phoenix in the latter half of July, as revealed here on KUMB back in
The Hammers will also feature in at least one other match, with Auckland or
Dunedin said to be likely destinations for the touring party. West Ham will
become the first Premier League team to visit the country since Everton made
the 12,000 mile journey 28 years ago. Although nothing has been confirmed
as yet, Newcastle United are still in negotiations with view to joining West
Ham in New Zealand this summer.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce feels Andy Carroll needs time after missing five
Last Updated: 21/04/14 7:17am
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes it could take some time for Andy
Carroll to regain his match fitness after missing the opening five months of
the season. The news may come as a blow to England manager Roy Hodgson, as
he prepares to select his squad for the World Cup in June. Carroll moved to
West Ham for a club record £15m before the start of the campaign, but the
striker was ruled out until January with a foot problem. Following a string
of impressive performances on his return, which contributed to an
improvement in West Ham's results, Carroll has scored only twice in his 13
appearances and his form has faded of late. "He's not 100 per cent,"
Allardyce said. "He's had no pre-season at all. He's worked very hard, but
getting into games at this stage of the season after so long out is hard.
"It's hard to get that ultimate sharpness that you need. Hopefully he can
find it. "He looked sharp when he came back. His enthusiasm and the energy
from being so pleased to be back with us carried him through, but that
catches up with you when you've been out for so long. "A little bit of
fatigue kicks in. We've got to work through it and hopefully he can finish
the season by scoring a few goals for us."
West Ham's five senior strikers have netted just 11 league goals this season
between them while the club's top scorer is a midfielder - Kevin Nolan with
Allardyce believes the Hammers, currently 12th in the table, would be
finishing the season in the top half had Carroll been fit and insists the
club need options to help Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga. "What we need to do
is find an alternative type of front man that scores a few more goals, we'll
have to do that," Allardyce said. "If Andy had been with us all season, we'd
be top half, I'm convinced about that. "Carlton Cole has done a fantastic
job but it took him a long time to get going because he didn't join us until
after the January window had shut, and Modibo Maiga has struggled since he's
been here unfortunately. We would have hoped he'd have done better. "I'm
convinced the front man is the key to how you do in a season, and if we had
Andy out on the pitch, match-fit and scoring the goals we know he can with
Kevin Nolan, I think we'd be a lot further up the table than we are now."
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce pays tribute to Dylan Tombides
Last Updated: 20/04/14 2:16pm
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has paid tribute to striker Dylan Tombides
who died on Friday at the age of 20 following a battle with cancer. There
was a minute's applause at Upton Park on Saturday before West Ham's game
against Crystal Palace in honour of the Australian, after which his father
and brother came on to the pitch and laid a shirt with his name and squad
number, which has been retired, on the centre spot. Speaking on Goals on
Sunday, Allardyce said: "We all felt so much for the parents who have
supported Dylan for so long and had so much hope. "There were so many times
that young Dylan looked like he had pulled through and recovered. "Because
he loved football so much, he couldn't wait to get back into training, even
though he had been through chemotherapy and wasn't feeling so well.
"Unfortunately it kept coming back and sadly, in the end, the brave fight
was no more. It was a great shame for the family and for us, and it was a
sad moment when we all found out."
Tombides, who joined West Ham at the age of 15, had turned out for the
club's U18 and U21 sides and made his senior debut in the League Cup tie
against Wigan in 2012. "According to all the reports from (Academy boss)
Tony Carr, when I first arrived, he was looking like being the one to go
straight through into the first team as a teenager," continued Allardyce.
"All the indicators were there that he was going to be that good." The
youngster worked tirelessly to promote awareness of male cancer, supporting
the One for the Boys campaign along with celebrities including Hollywood
actor Samuel L Jackson, snooker player Jimmy White and Australian singer
Peter Andre. "It is a terrible disease and we have to do as much as we can
to fight it," added Allardyce. "We do that in this country through charity
WE NEED A CREATIVE PLAY-MAKER, SO HOW DOES LEE CATTERMOLE FIT IN TO OUR
By S J Chandos 21 Apr 2014 at 08:00
West Ham Till I Die
Arguably, the current West Ham side is crying out for a creative play-maker.
A player like Berkovic or Benayoun who can pull the strings in midfield and
pick out the killer passes in the final third. But the latest speculation
links us with who exactly? None other than Sunderland's industrious midfield
workhorse, Lee Cattermole. Least ways, that is what we are led to believe by
Gary Jacobs, writing in sports pages of The Times. His proposition being
that Sam Allardyce has long admired the player and will make a move to sign
him if Sunderland are relegated. Now, I think that whole hearted and
committed players like Cattermole have their place in any squad. They are
the players that do all the hard work, shackle the opposition and give more
creative players the scope to play. Cattermole is good at what he does and
is one of those players that does not get the credit that he deserves.
In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that Cattermole could be a good
addition to the squad. A Geoff Pike or Neill Orr type player, who oils the
wheels of the midfield machine and facilitates the play-making role. Trouble
is, we do not currently have the player(s) we need to play that creative
role and that is a major reason for our problems this season. So, if
Cattermole is signed, I fully expect the deal to be accompanied by at least
one creative midfielder. Especially if, as looks likely, Mo Diame seeks
pastures new this summer. In fact, there is likely to be major changes in
the midfield department, with Alou Diarra, Joe Cole and Jack Collison also
possibly on the way out and Nocerino unlikely to be signed on a permanent
basis. As for Ravel Morrison, well who knows what next season holds for him?
It is good that there is now wider recognition that a overhaul of the
Hammers squad is essential this summer. We currently have a squad that is
competitive, but it cannot deliver an assault on the top 6-8 of the PL. Too
many times the team's limitations have been exposed this season,
particularly by the top teams, but also by the likes of Stoke City and
Crystal Palace. Do not get me wrong, the present squad has a good core, but
it is essential that it is added too and supplemented by greater quality.
The task now is to persuade our targets to sign! After all, that has been
something of a problem in the past couple of seasons.
It is noticable that Andy Carroll has not had the same impact in the past
two matches. Is this because opposition teams have adjusted how they play
him, he is struggling with his fitness or has the supply from the flanks
just not been good enough. Maybe it is a combination of all three?
Personally, I feel Carroll is a great asset and, when on song, is virtually
unplayable. But our current system is too heavily reliant on the big man
winning the high balls played up to him. We need a more multi-faceted and
sophisticated approach and that means signing a playmaker and a different
type of striker, who can play off Carroll and poach goals.
Sam Allardyce admitted as much when he stated in his post-match conference
that: 'What we need to find is an alternative type of front man as well, one
who scores a few more goals. We will have to do that and then evaluate what
we want in other areas and build a squad of 25 that is better than this
So, if the club successfully implement their transfer plans, it looks like
being a busy summer window!
NOW A MOTD PUNDIT DISMISSES THE 'WEST HAM WAY'
By S J Chandos 20 Apr 2014 at 09:00
West Ham Till I Die
I do not know about my fellow Hammers supporters, but the smug mocking of
the 'West Ham Way' on Yesterday evening's MoTD outraged me. Not only for its
arrogance, but its ignorance of our club's history and traditions. It is a
dismissive view that originates directly from Sam Allardyce's orginal
comments and which now appears to be gaining wider credence.
Its a view that is certainly at odds with both my historical knowledge and
my memories as a Hammers supporter of some 47 years standing. Were West Ham
Utd not lionised for their style of their play in the 1960s? Was the 1965
ECWC victory over Munich 1860 not acknowledged, at the time, as the finest
team performance by an English side in European competition? Did not West
Ham win a BBC award for team performance of the year for their 1965 ECWC
Final display? Was the 'West Ham way' of playing not instrumental in
England's 1966 World Cup victory? Were West Ham in the 1960s and early 1970s
not frequently referred to in the press as the 'Aristocrats of English
Football' and 'the great entertainers'? Did that not continue in to the John
Lyall era, with a succession of West Ham teams who played quality football
and were almost universally admired for it? Did I imagine the style and
entertainment value of the 1985-86 title challenging team? Was the attacking
ability of the Redknapp sides an illusion? As recently as 2005-06, did West
Ham not star in one of greatest FA Cup Finals of all time? (Perhaps the last
great FA Cup Final?).
Did I imagine the technical ability and skill of greats like Moore, Hurst,
Peters, Brooking, Devonshire and Di Canio? Did West Ham's Academy not
produce generations of England internationals, from Bobby Moore to more
recent graduates such as Ferdinand, Carrick and Joe Cole? Similarly, did the
famous triangular passing moves of Lampard Snr, Paddon and Brooking not
happen? Were the skillful, expansive, attacking displays of the West Ham
teams of Fenton, Greenwood, Lyall and Redknapp some kind of false memory?
No, they are real and they are things of which we can be justifiably proud.
West Ham are far from the most successful club in English football, we have
been inconsistent and exclusively achieved our honours in Cup competitions.
Since 1978, we have suffered multiple relegations and, apart from 1985-86,
have not really challenged for the 1st Division/PL title. All this is freely
admitted, but do these facts give anyone the right to dismiss our equally
real traditions/history of playing an outstanding and attractive style of
football. When did the almost universal respect of the West Ham philosophy
in the1960s and 1970s degenerate in to the contemporary mocking by Alan
Shearer on MoTD? And what does it say about society and football in the
If you had asked commentators and football people, of earlier eras, what is
the 'West Ham Way,' they would have told you without a moment of hesitation.
They would point to a philosophy and style of play based upon flowing
passing movements and attractive attacking play.They would talk of
full-backs and central defenders that could pass the ball well and quickly
switch defence in to attack. And forwards of skill and vision, who could
pass through the opposition rearguard and carve out precise goal scoring
opportunities. All underpinned by innovative coaching and tactics. They
might also talk of the sporting spirit of the club and its insistence upon
high standards of fair play. Ex-players from the Greenwood and Lyall eras
can easily explain the West Ham Way and its interestingly that none of the
cynics seem to have taken the time to ask them. That committed Greenwood
convert, Bobby Gould, famously offered to go to Chadwell Heath and explain
to Sam Allardyce exactly what the West Ham Way was. Perhaps, while he is
about it, he should also take the time to educate and enlighten Mr Shearer
On Alan Shearer, it has to be said that he obviously has a short memory.
Perhaps he should think back to his PL title winning season with Blackburn
Rovers and a certain evening game at Upton Park, when a inspired Redknapp
side inflicted a convincing 2-0 defeat on his championship chasing side. Not
only did we beat them, but we did it playing with a style and swagger that
screamed 'West Ham Way.' While he is at it, he might also look at his
Blackburn Rovers Championship medal and reflect on the fact that he
ultimately owes it to West Ham Utd playing out a exciting 1-1 end of season
draw with mighty Man Utd! So, maybe he owes more to West Ham, and our ways,
than he seems to realise.
Putting the issue of style of play aside for one moment, what if we were for
a moment to adopt the view that winning cups and titles is actually the 'be
all and end all.' Then it would be only right to point out that there are
actually less successful teams in the PL than west Ham, like Newcastle Utd
for instance! When did they last win anything, the 1971 Fairs Cup? And are
their fans not also protective of their history, of the late 1940s and
1950s, Jackie Milburn and all that? Moreover, are they not also adverse to a
certain type of direct football and keen to see the game played the right
way? Yet, strange enough, no one attacks their traditions and justifies it
in terms of their lack of success!
The club needs to understand that there is real concern amongst the fan base
at the way that we have played this season. Sam Allardyce illustrates his
lack of understanding of the club's supporters when he attempts to explain
their discontent in narrow terms of a reaction to losing a home match (i.e.
Vs Crystal Place). It may be that way for Bolton or Blackburn Rovers fans,
but the expectations of West Ham supporters are different. Its not only
about winning, its also about playing with some style. Some people might
find that unimaginable, but then they need to appreciate that it is a
product of generations of us being brought up in the 'West Ham Way' of doing
It was always obvious that in order to succeed at the club, Mr Allardyce
needed to 'mix up' his play, combining flowing passing moves with his more
direct tactics. Last season, the club did not do too bad a job of doing
that. However, performances this season have too often been both dire and
one dimensional. All things being equal, there will not be a change of
management this summer. However, the board might be well advised to use
their 'end of season review' to impress upon the manager the necessity, next
season, of delivering improved entertainment and a greater respect for the
club's traditions. If the board can also fund some quality summer signings
to facilitate a better style of play, then so much the better!
Sam Allardyce U-turn: West Ham fans were RIGHT to boo my frustrating team in
loss to Palace
Apr 20, 2014 22:30 By Neil McLeman
Sam Allardyce admitted West Ham fans were right to boo after his side were
beaten at their own game by Tony Pulis. Keeper Julian Speroni hailed the
Welshman's impact as "amazing" after his Eagles soared to their fifth
consecutive win. Brighter, sharper and better organised, Crystal Palace
outclassed an Allardyce team built on the same principles. Last season's
Championship play-off winners are now safe, but the Hammers will be sucked
back into the relegation quagmire if they continue to stagger along like
this. While Palace's rock-solid defence gave Yannick Bolassie and Jason
Puncheon the freedom to roam forward down the flanks, West Ham were
creatively clueless. Allardyce responded by pulling off both wingers and
throwing on Carlton Cole alongside Andy Carroll – and then claimed they
should have settled for a goalless draw. No wonder the locals are restless.
Big Sam complained when Upton Park booed after a home win over Hull last
month, sparking back page headlines. After a sixth defeat in eight games, he
acknowledged: "Fans are entitled to air their frustrations. They paid their
hard-earned money to come and watch a game of football. "They want you to
win and score goals and we didn't do that so in many ways we've let them and
ourselves down. "We knew Palace were going to frustrate us and knew we had
to be good enough and patient enough to break them down but, sadly, we
didn't. Too many simple passes went astray. "We should have sat in at 0-0
and making sure we picked up a point. The real frustrating thing is we
gifted the game to them with the penalty."
After both sides had penalty claims turned down, Martin Atkinson had no
doubts about the 59th-minute award for Pablo Armero's trip on Cameron
Jerome. Mile Jedinak crashed home his first Premier League goal from the
spot. "That's the way the season has gone for us this year," admitted Mark
Noble. "It was a blatant penalty. I've seen it on the video and there was
nothing to moan about. It was a sloppy mistake from Pablo." With Allardyce
admitting Carroll is still struggling for fitness, the West Ham boss is keen
to add more goalpower this summer. "What we need to do is find an
alternative type of frontman as well, one who scores a few more goals," he
said. "We'll have to do that and then evaluate what we want in other areas
and build a squad of 25 that is better than this year."
Pulis has only needed since November to transform Palace. "Amazing," said
Speroni. "It is an amazing job he has done. How he manages to organise the
team, the professionalism of how we work on the training ground, he has been
fantastic all season." The Palace boss said: "We played with freedom. We had
five or six players in the box at times and when we break we do with great
pace, power and a bit of quality." The former Stoke boss also insisted
Allardyce has "done a wonderful job" at West Ham. "The problem is, you give,
you give, you give and people want more and more and more. You have to
accept that. That's life. But my supporters are cheering me, so I'm really
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