Earlier today rumours were abound that West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is about to be sacked, despite lying in a healthy 12th position with just one game to go.
Of course West Ham's position does not tell the full story of their season, they have fought against relegation for whole season and are currently only six points ahead of 18th placed Norwich. A heavy defeat against title chasing Manchester City could see them end up in 15th - not what the board would have ordered at the beginning of the season.
Indeed, after spending 20 million on Liverpool flops Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing; as well as Champions League veterans Razvan Rat, Mladen Petric, Antonio Nocerino, Pablo Armero, Marco Borriello; and highly rated goalkeeper Adrian, the fans and board alike were right to expect more. When West Ham fans look up at the table they will be annoyed to find that teams on much smaller budgets such as Stoke (10th) and Crystal Palace (11th) are nailed on to finish above them.
From this point of view Allardyce has been unable to maximise the most from his team - but then how could he? Only five of his entire squad (Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Guy Demel, Mohamed Diame and Carlton Cole) have played 25 games or more. Injuries have caused Allardyce to reshuffle his squad disrupting momentum; if Arsenal found their title aspirations sabotaged by injuries, then a side like West Ham harbouring only mid-table aspirations would do well to avoid relegation.
In that sense Allardyce has done well, though West Ham fans do not see it in that way. Not because of the team's position but rather because they have achieved their aims through rather dull means.
Allardyce's long ball tactics were never going to be a hit at West Ham, a club famed for their tradition in exciting football, unless it won them a trophy (unlikely) or the top 4 (impossible). Nonetheless, the incessant booing when West Ham beat Hull earlier in the year were unwarranted and a sign the club needs a reality check.
Without serious investment into the team, West Ham will never crack the top 4 and it is highly unlikely they will win a trophy. However, with Sam Allardyce at the helm, they have a seasoned manager who knows the ins and outs of the Premier League and knows how to make the most out of a bad situation. As West Ham are set for a period of mid table mediocrity, they are better of with a savvy manager who has made a career out of overachieving.
West Ham fans should not forget it was Sam Allardyce was the man who brought them into the Premier League after the exciting brand of football Gianfranco Zola brought them 9th in 2009, 17th in 2010 and when Avram Grant took over, 20th by 2011. In only their second season back, West Ham are only 6 points behind the total they hit last season under Allardyce when they finished (46). Given the injury hit season that is a success in itself and more to the point, suggests Allardyce will give them the stability they need.
If West Ham want good football, they should get owners who can afford it.