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Will “Big Sam” have the last laugh at the Hammers?

The marriage between “Fat Sam” and the Hammers was always one that was going to end in acrimony. The troubled pact between manager Sam Allardyce and West Ham had been heading for the rocks for some months and, to use one too many metaphors, the wheels came off as the season ended.

Allardyce and West Ham appeared to be a marriage that was just kept together for the children – neither party was particularly fond of the other, but for a good period of time it suited both parties.

When Sam came in he shook them out of their lethargy, installed his man-on-the-pitch Kevin Nolan, and hauled them back into the Premiership. There then followed two unspectacular seasons in the top flight, that although not exciting, didn’t have the normal West Ham fans’ concerns about falling back into the division below.

But the tension between fans and manager was never far below the surface. The problems started almost immediately when Sam first arrived at the club and was confronted by accusations that his northern ‘lump-it’ style would not fit in to the West Ham way. He then ill-advisedly but correctly stated that surely the West Ham way was to lose, because if they had been successful he would not have found himself as the latest incumbent in the manager’s chair.

The bitching between manager and fans came to a head last season when the team won but the fans booed and Sam mockingly clapped his detractors.

Remarkably Hammers fans, despite years of yo-yoing between the top two divisions, believe they deserve better and want a cavalier, swashbuckling style of football delivered by the likes of Di Canio, Brooking and Bonds. But sadly in an era where Premiership survival is all that matters for the vast majority of the teams outside the top six who is going to risk delivering that?

Which makes it all the more remarkable why the current porn empire bosses that run West Ham decided to wield the axe at this particular moment. With the Olympic Stadium being prepared for the Hammers arrival in August 2016 the forthcoming campaign has never been more critical. The team needs to stay in the Premiership as it would be a disaster to arrive at their new home to be playing matches against Huddersfield, Brentford and Rotherham.

Sam might not have been able to deliver the flair and style that the fans demanded but he was 99pecent sure to get West Ham into the Olympic stadium as a Premiership team. Now the dice have been rolled and although many names were mentioned the team’s new manager Slaven Bilic has many of the credentials that Sam was missing. Slaven is an ex-Hammer, he has an idiosyncratic nature which includes being a smoker, a heavy metal fan, a trained lawyer and heralding from somewhere more exotic than ‘Up North’.

But what is he like as a manager? His record at club level is patchy to say the best and bookies already have him at 4-1 to be fired by Christmas. A few bad results at the start of the season and the pressure will be on both him and the board like no other time before.

As for Sam he has said he’ll take his time before taking up a new job. His stock has been improved by his time at West Ham and as soon as any club wobbles after November he will be one of the first names out of the hat. At the moment everybody seems happy. Sam can have a relax and a holiday. West Ham can move on with their more new “exciting” manager. But let’s look again at how the situation is come Christmas, because although I was no champion of Sam Allardyce I fear he could well have the last laugh in the saga of who comes out of this divorce looking better.

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