While West Ham’s form and the seeming disinterest of a number of players would indicate that Sam Allardyce may be headed for the sack, West Ham United joint-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan have in the past shown remarkable patience with managers. When the duo owned Birmingham City, they gave managers time to sort out issues with the club.
Steve Bruce, who was linked with several other jobs during his time Birmingham City, saw his Blues side relegated in 2006. At the time, Bruce had been on the job five years. However, he was not sacked and returned the club to the Premier League the following season only to leave for Wigan whom he had previously managed.
Bruce’s replacement was Alex McLeish who took Birmingham City down. But McLeish was not sacked but instead given the same opportunity as Bruce to steer the club back into the top flight. Like his predecessor, McLeish brought the Blues back into the Premier League after just one season in the Championship.
Gold and Sullivan sold Birmingham City in 2009 and bought West Ham less than a year later. Their hiring of Avram Grant, who had taken Portsmouth to the FA Cup Final in very adverse circumstances the previous season, seemed to some like a good fit. Though I had warned on the preseason EPL Talk Podcast that I thought the 2010-2011 West Ham team could be one of the worst in Premier League history, the owners did little to upgrade the squad.
While my prophecies of doom were partially incorrect, the Hammers still did finish bottom of the table and were relegated (my predication was that West Ham would flirt with breaking Derby’s record for lowest points total). Grant was given the full season to right the ship and was only sacked after relegation was confirmed in a dramatic collapse at Wigan with two weeks remaining in the season.
History indicates the West Ham ownership duo may just give Allardyce, who like Bruce and McLeish took a relegated team quickly back into the Premier League, more time. The odds may look long for the Hammers particularly with the recent dire play, which admittedly is worse asthetically than anytime during the tenures of Grant, McLeish or Bruce. But the owners have proven a willingness to demonstrate patience and trust in the person they appoint to get a job done.
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